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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Working as a Journalist in a Repressive Political Regime

Working as a Journalist in a Repressive Political Regime

“I was always at risk of being arrested by secret service agents. They hated independent journalists,” says Aida Eizeman, a former journalist from Uzbekistan. “There are eight journalists currently languishing in their dungeons. When they told me that they can easily imprison me, I left my homeland. I have lived as a refugee in Idaho. Now...
Young and in Love (with God)

Young and in Love (with God)

The Orthodox Church of Georgia is attracting a post-communist generation in need of a point of reference. Nine years after the Rose Revolution, the young generation reflects the hopes and contradictions of this ancient Christian nation, torn between desire for freedom and preservation of tradition. About thirty kilometers from Tbilisi, nestled in a valley, the...
The Annotated Adventures of an Apparent Academic

The Annotated Adventures of an Apparent Academic

Below are my SUUUPER LONG travelogues from this summer. Read them at your leisure, or not at all! Take care, ladies and gentlemen! Adventurously, Jaimee Dusty Desert I look out my window at the dusty mesquite tree. There is no puff of wind in this desert to shake it. I hear the sound of voices....
Çanakkale: Historical Memory in the Making

Çanakkale: Historical Memory in the Making

One of the most striking visuals that greets a visitor passing through the Dardanelles Strait (known in Turkish as the Çanakkle Boğazı) is this fragment of Turkish verse carved into the hillside: Dur yolcu! Bilmeden gelip bastığın, Bu toprak, bir devrin battığı yerdir. The words are a fragment from a poem by Necmettin Halil Onan. Those are...
Life Across the Street from a Civil War

Life Across the Street from a Civil War

HATAY PROVINCE, TURKEY — One of the main Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha, came at the end of October. During the massive fireworks and celebrations all around Turkey, fighting continued in Syria despite hopes for a cease fire. Even though the Turkish military is playing a more visible role by the border, the trust in the...
Stories of Migration and Globalization from the Subcontinent

Stories of Migration and Globalization from the Subcontinent

Zurich – Dubai On a recent flight from Zurich to Dubai, I had a couple from Switzerland sitting next to me going on their honeymoon to Réunion. They asked me where they could find the movies in German. They wouldn’t understand English, not to mention have any interest in the selection of Arab, Hindi, Telugu,...
"Except in Kurdish Class"

“Except in Kurdish Class”

“Yes, they do, they do!” says 11 year old Nagihan. She is reacting to her mother, Aynur Kusca, who says elective Kurdish class isn’t offered at her daughter’s school. They discuss the topic but keep disagreeing. But anyway, Aynur explains, even if her daughter is right she wouldn’t enroll her in Kurdish class. “It is...
A Mother Tongue and the Daughter Teacher

A Mother Tongue and the Daughter Teacher

In the jumpy YouTube video, tiny eleven year-old Medya Ormek, dressed in baggy green pants and a black-checked scarf stands at a podium with her microphone in hand. In front of her are nearly a million people gathered for Newroz festival, an ancient Kurdish celebration of spring refashioned into a celebration of ethnicity and rebellion....
Coffeehouse 3.0: Of Spies & Bloggers in Our Midst

Coffeehouse 3.0: Of Spies & Bloggers in Our Midst

picture credit: Molapse - http://molapse.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/molapse-is-back-in-analogue-form/   When farangi find out that I’m a professional blogger working on Central Asia, they usually pause and ask, with all sincerity, “they have the Internet out there?” I’m not trying to make a dig at my fellow Occidentals. It’s true that, for one reason or another, Central Asia tends to...
What to Expect When You're Electing

What to Expect When You’re Electing

Most elections are boring. It’s true, not some sort of Imposition of Western Norms or anything; people vote for the fella they like the most, and the obvious candidate usually wins. The binary nature of democracy — the “him, not her” aspect of it — really puts a damper on the theater of the political...
Fifteen Deaths at Seven Kilometers

Fifteen Deaths at Seven Kilometers

  It was late April 2011. The air in Belbulak, the Almaty satellite city we temporarily called home, was coarse with burning garbage. Dust hung along the unpaved roads. The refuse of the winter’s toss-in-the-snow disposal system was emerging rotted and unclaimed. The smell through town was enough enough to turn our eyes watery and to...
The Word in the Ruins

The Word in the Ruins

  “Poetry is the queen of language, the sovereign of the word. […] Language has free will in it and it warms the heart with the roundness and perfection of its form.” So says Abai Qunanbaiuli, perhaps the most well-known of the nineteenth century Central Asian men of letters. This epigram is taken from his...