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Published Articles

Kurd rebel leader calls ceasefire

The Independent, 22 March 2013

I contributed to an article in the English paper The Independent about PKK leader Öcalan calling a ceasefire. Here's a PDF!

Turks divided about Yunus’ faith

news agency ANP, 17 March 2013

ISTANBUL – Turks don’t seem to be unanimous in their opinion about the faith of 9 year old Yunus, who was placed in the foster care of a Dutch lesbian couple after Dutch authorities took him away from his abusive Dutch-Turkish parents. The matter already overshadows a visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to the Netherlands this week. Erdogan ...

Doubts about report on Uludere massacre

ANP, 6 March 2013

ISTANBUL – A commission in the Turkish parliament has finalized its report on the Uludere massacre, in which 34 civilians were killed at the end of 2011. According to the report the bombing of civilians was unintentional, and it was caused by communication flaws between civilian and military authorities. Nobody is guilty, according to the report. Three of the four parties ...

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Mar 14

Free state Okmeydanı

The around two hundred young men and women around a burning barricade in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Okmeydanı joke around, the atmosphere is relaxed. But then an aerosol in the fire explodes, BAM, and the group scatters. Right under the surface, the tension is high. The battle can begin any moment.

It’s Thursday evening, 13 March. The day after Berkin Elvan …

Mar 11

Berkin, and: the exception murder

How devastating to again wake up to a state murder. The victim this time is Berkin Elvan, fifteen years old. During the Gezi protests in Istanbul last year, he went out to buy bread for his family. He was hit in the head by a teargas canister shot by the police. Taken to hospital, slipped into a coma and now, …

Feb 08

Censorship is freedom

‘In my view’, President Gül tweeted, ‘in principal no freedom should be curbed. Everybody who wants to should be able to surf the internet freely’. That was on 28 May 2011. It may give some people hope that Gül will use his veto right to stop the new internet law from taking effect. But I doubt it.

The …

Jan 24

Kurds ain’t sexy

A colleague told me that a few months ago. ‘Kurds just ain’t sexy’, she said. As I knew she couldn’t possibly be talking about the attractiveness of Kurds, I figured she must be meaning it in a journalistic sense. Sexy being sellable. That when you propose a story about Kurds to any media, they immediately jump on you. Kurds! Yes, …

Dec 25

A basket stuffed with rotten apples

The corruption affair is still shaking Turkey. It’s a week ago now that the sons of three Ministers and some businessmen, among whom the filthy rich real estate magnate Ali Agaoglu, were taken into custody, suspected of corruption. That was followed by a wave of policemen getting fired: the government sees the affair as a political game and aneffort to …

Nov 29

Power struggle, or: off the shelf

On Thursday, daily Taraf revealed a document from a National Security Council (NSC) meeting at which it was decided that the movement led by the influential Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen should be finished off. The signature of Prime Minister Erdogan is on the document, which dates back to August 2004.  A long time ago, you would say, so is it …

May 25

A man-made law

It was 2007 and I was in Cappadocia (central Anatolia) with my parents. It was spring and hot, we had taken a walk through a valley and ended up in a small village, Ibrahimpasa. We went to the cafe on the town square for a drink. My dad, not yet a regular Turkey visitor at the time, sat down on …

May 04


How did the lipstick affair make it into the news? Did Turkish Airlines issue a press release in which it stated that as of now red lipstick is forbidden for stewardesses? No, they reacted only after the discussion started. Probably it was the group of stewardesses that protested the ban by putting pics of themselves with red lips online. Fact …

Apr 07

Papers should fire ‘wise men’

It was another victorious week for Prime Minister Erdogan: he managed to get the Turkish media further under his control. And the media are not even protesting. On the contrary, they are willingly and with a smile accepting Erdogan’s proposal to make propaganda for the peace process that the government is (supposedly) initiating. At the same time yet another columnist …

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