Transitions and Ascensions

Friends and comrades, We got started with this website last June with the goal of publishing interesting content about the region and giving writers and artists a new platform for their work. It’s been, undeniably, a tremendous success. Our content has slowed up significantly in the past few months, but that’s been for good reason. I am happy to announce that The Tuqay is joining forces with Ajam Media Collective and is subsuming itself to the Ajam name. The first question I’ll answer is what this means. In the coming months, all of our content at The Tuqay will be copied and migrated over to Ajam’s website, www.ajammc.com. Ajam is undertaking an overhaul during this time, and The Tuqay will remain live. Once the overhaul is complete, www.thetuqay.com will redirect to www.ajammc.com. The Tuqay will remain standing as a website even though there will be no new content. Ajam Media...
Islamists and Secular Oppositionists in Azerbaijan: Toward Rapprochement?

Islamists and Secular Oppositionists in Azerbaijan: Toward Rapprochement?

Islamists have occupied a marginal role in post-Soviet Azerbaijani politics, not least because of their strained relations both with the Azerbaijani government and the country’s secular opposition parties. But there is an intriguing political process underway in Azerbaijan today. Against the backdrop of widening social and political unrest, Azerbaijan’s Islamists...
Karzhantau - Transversing the Ridge

Karzhantau – Transversing the Ridge

In the beginning of April, three alpinists (mountain climbers) from Uzbekistan made another ascent to the peak of Mingbulak, 2, 824 meters above sea level. “Mingbulak” means “thousand springs”, and is the highest point of the Karzhantau ridge. Karzhantau is the northern spur of the Talas Alatau system of mountains...
The Men are Bigger and the Women are Louder: a Chechen Expat on Chechnya

The Men are Bigger and the Women are Louder: a Chechen Expat on Chechnya

Chechens might not be from the Czech Republic, as many believed following the horrific April 15 bombings in Boston. But there are some Chechens in Turkey. They might be far from their ravaged homeland, but Chechens in Turkey still feel the need to keep a low profile. In Istanbul, their...
At the Tomb of Imam Asim

At the Tomb of Imam Asim

    Mystics seem to have a penchant for seeking out remote locations. Perhaps out-of-the-way spots are more conducive to contemplation, and they add an element of enigma when chosen as a final resting place. The tomb of Imam Asim, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Province, conforms to type. North of...

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Kurds without Slogans

Kurds without Slogans

The advent of spring has relit the path of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey. Activists tighten the ropes on banners strung over Newroz celebrations. But what do the slogans above mean to those dancing halay below? Young men fueled the festivities at Kazlıçeşme, a twenty-minute bus ride southwest of Istanbul’s tourist hub. On the long...
Interview with a Stone-Thrower

Interview with a Stone-Thrower

I first met him when he was a lanky 17-year-old with a shaven head, wide-set features, and a quiet voice that carried a hint of menace. He went by the name “Amed”, a pseudonym he chose as it was the Kurdish name for the city of Diyarbakır. It was 2010 and for the first time...
Hunger Strike in Uzbekistan: No Justice, No Food

Hunger Strike in Uzbekistan: No Justice, No Food

The  (unregistered) Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (HRAU) has reported, “On February 26, 2013, an activist of HRAU, Larisa Gregoryev and her 16 year-old son, Gregory Gregoryev, embarked on a hunger strike in protest against an outrage by the law-enforcement authorities of Uzbekistan. Policemen have tortured them, brought them to unfair criminal and administrative liability;...
The Rise and Fall of Lazika

The Rise and Fall of Lazika

In December 2011, the Georgian president announced—to widespread surprise—the construction of a new city on the coast of the Black Sea, to be called Lazika. As bulldozers rumbled to life in the middle of an immense swamp, the Georgian Constitution was amended to suit the occasion. NGOs pointed out the irrationality and lack of transparency...
"An Apparatus of Mediators" - State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

“An Apparatus of Mediators” – State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

Throughout Azerbaijan’s two decades of post-Soviet independence, relations between the country’s secular government and independent Islamic organizations have ranged from tenuous to openly hostile. However, following a steep deterioration in relations in recent years the Aliyev regime has taken steps ostensibly to revamp relations with Islamic organizations and improve its image among Azerbaijani believers. In...
Modern Miniaturism: An Interview with Kurosh ValaNejad

Modern Miniaturism: An Interview with Kurosh ValaNejad

The Cat and the Coup is a documentary videogame created by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad. You can find their website, and the link through which to download the game for Mac or PC for free, here. Like any good documentarians, Brinson and ValaNejad make liberal use of artistic cues – visual and aural –...
Treasure Map Time Machines

Treasure Map Time Machines

  Anyone who has traveled in rural Turkey as a foreigner has undoubtedly had the experience of being taken for a spy. Most likely, anyone who has ever expressed interest in Greek or Armenian ruins has also had the experience of being asked, first jokingly but then seriously, with the offer of a 50/50 split....
Corruption and Transportation: How to Make a Profit in Uzbekistan

Corruption and Transportation: How to Make a Profit in Uzbekistan

In connection with the breakdown of the autoloaders at the customs warehouse “Tovarka” (“Merchandise”) there is a critical situation there: people still have to wait in long lines and pay large amounts of money for loading their containers.  Two entrepreneurs tell the details of the situation, on condition of anonymity. The Uzbek customs warehouse “Tovarka”...
The Secret Soulitude in a Soulful City

The Secret Soulitude in a Soulful City

The plot of land across the road from the Cevahir shopping mall in Istanbul’s Şişli neighbourhood is marked by high walls topped with barbed wire. In the daily hustle and bustle of shoppers that surround the area it is easy, expected even, for the casual passer-by to pay little attention to the whitewashed walls. I...
Hijacked Drones

Hijacked Drones

My plane from Dubai was tilting towards Peshawar when I started guessing places below; which city in the FATA or perhaps Balochistan would have such a wide radius of luminescence? Looking westward, I could see lights of airplanes flying in bulk over Afghanistan…the troop drawdown? The in-flight screen made me aware of the fact that...
The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

Even at first glance, Aron Aronov has a demanding presence you can’t forget. He doesn’t stand very tall and he dresses in plain dark clothing, but there is something about the way he looks at you that is captivating. His gaze drills into your eyes, and he speaks rapidly, his furrowed brows moving in tune...
The Wounds Cannot Heal

The Wounds Cannot Heal

It is not just the families of the victims of the Uludere massacre who still feel the pain of their loss. The whole village is affected by the bombings, which occurred just over a year ago, on December 28, 2011. But the pain of the entire community can be seen in each of their stories....