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Jul 26

Mor Gabriel, Alevism and the ECHR

‘We will fight this decision all the way to the European Court for Human Rights’. It’s a sentence you hear often when injustice is done once again in a Turkish court, or when you talk to people who feel they have been treated unjustly by the state. Way more often than not, the ECHR rules in favour of the plaintiff …

Jul 02

The root of the problem: the Special Authorized Courts

While I write this, late on Sunday night, there is chaos in the Turkish parliament. Before the summer recess starts next week, the ruling AKP party wants to change the law on Special Authorized Courts. Emotions are running high, even leading to a fist fight, and the outcome is unclear – and it will probably take a few more hours. …

Jun 16

The right to strike

Let’s go back in time 42 years, to 15 and 16 June 1970. Workers protested against a government plan to ban strikes. Around 75,000 people participated, mostly in Istanbul and Izmir. Many of the organizers of the strike were arrested and tried according to martial law. But in the end, the protest was successful: the proposed law was withdrawn.

Why is …

May 23

Yours truly in the Turkish media

As you could read here, I have been to Gülyazi village for eight days last week. This sparked some interest from the Turkish media. It started with a column by my friend and colleague Amberin Zaman, who writes for The Economist and for daily paper Habertürk. She wrote a column about me on Tuesday, under the title …

May 13

Mother’s Day

Esra wants to take me to the local shop. I’m not sure why, but she insists and takes me by the hand. In the shop I want to buy her and her sister a notebook because they want to practice their writing all the time. But she doesn’t like it. She wants a gold coloured necklace. I refuse to buy …

Apr 26

The KCK case theatre

The thing I remember most is the atmosphere in the court room. Not angry, not frustrated, but, amazingly enough, relaxed. Even though we are talking about one of the big show trials in Turkish history.

At the beginning of this month a series of hearings started in the case against dozens of prominent Kurdish politicians, mayors, local government employees and activists, …

Apr 13

The wrong discussion about tear gas

‘It’s not harmful’, Interior Affairs minister Sahin said, referring to tear gas. Still, over the last couple of years, seven people have died in Turkey from the effects of tear gas. For example: two had a heart attack after they were sprayed with tear gas, one died after a tear gas canister hit his head. So, now there is a …

Apr 07

Three anonymous Christians

Have you ever heard of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yüksel and Christian Tilmann Geske? Small chance you have, bigger chance you haven’t. They are three Christians (two Turkish, one German) who were brutally tortured and murdered in the East-Turkish city of Malatya in April 2007. This Monday, the court case against the killers and accomplices will resume. The murder is in …

Mar 28

A ‘new approach’ to the Kurdish issue: a road leading nowhere

I have not been blogging for over a week. I have been uncertain what to blog about. Recently I have written a lot about oppression of Kurds, and I felt I needed more variety in my subjects. So I was pondering what to write about. But today, I decided to give up. I’m a journalist; it would be ridiculous to …

Mar 19

Newroz, or: a day in the park

Let me start with a picture of how I spent most of Sunday afternoon, when Newroz (the coming of spring) was celebrated in Diyarbakir: here it is. All quiet, no police to be seen, only in the air were two helicopters keeping an eye on the crowd. Around me, there were families having a picnic (some …

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