Turkey
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...
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....
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...
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....
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...
"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....
The Volga's Children - Turkey

The Volga’s Children – Turkey

Mornings in Osmaniye, a tiny village in northwestern Turkey, are so calm that even a light whisper could disturb the silence. Turkeys (hindi, as in “Indian” in Turkish) are running on the dirt roads frightened of the newcomers. A few children ride their bikes up and down the main street, for there is little else...
Yüksekova and the Forty Thieves

Yüksekova and the Forty Thieves

A printable version (.pdf) of this article is available here. An earlier version of this article had a misattributed quoted included. That quote has since been removed because of the error. YÜKSEKOVA –  As my host pours me tea, he asks me, “do you see how white this sugar is?”It’s Iranian, much more pure, so...