Poverty Increases in Turkey

Poverty in Turkey increased in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to a recent report by the Turkish Statistics Institute, or TurkStat. (click here for a news account) The percentage of Turkey’s people living below the poverty line increased to 18.08 percent of society, or 12.75 million people, from 2008’s 17.79 percent. The proportion of […]

No More Bald, Pointy-Eared Policemen

New guidelines have been issued about physical requirements to be a policeman. For one thing they can’t be bald. That is, missing half of their hair or the hair at the crown. There are photos in the guidelines to illustrate. Also, there are explicit standards of  tooth alignment and how many millimeters a man can open his […]

Devlet Baba: Father State’s Children

Turkey  has banned sperm donors and egg donation and has vowed to prosecute women traveling abroad for such a procedure, with a one-to-three year jail term  penalty (click here for my recent post on this issue). Why? To safeguard Turkish racial purity, according to the Health Ministry. There is also an Islamic moral issue — […]

The Wages of Sin

I had to laugh at this notice (with ‘graphic’ photo) that has apparently appeared on cigarette packs in Turkey. A law now requires cigarette packs to carry graphic warnings about health risks. So someone obviously thought that this particular risk was one that would frighten Turkish smokers into quitting. The Health Ministry was shocked, shocked, […]

An Extraordinary Woman: Şafak Pavey

Şafak Pavey is one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. She is charismatic in the true sense of the word, attracting people to her — and to her many good works — by the force of her personality, her knowledge, her charm, and through sheer admiration of her perseverance. Şafak is now coordinator of […]

The Land of No

No Assisted Conception Unless Egg and Sperm Are Married A new law passed in Turkey has made it a criminal offence for a woman to go abroad and get pregnant via artificial insemination. Artificial insemination is already illegal, but women have until now been able to go overseas to seek sperm donors. Now they will face […]

The Gas Mask Bra and the Nobel Laureates

Here’s the film we’ve all been waiting for — the 2009 Public Health Ig Nobel Prize and its demonstration on three well-known Nobel Laureates. Click here for more information about the Ig Nobel Awards held every fall at Harvard’s Sanders Theater, a hilarious annual spoof of the Nobel Prize. Awards are handed out by actual Nobel […]

Retouching Turkish History

Photo from Radikal The governor of Tokat province had an oil painting of Ataturk hanging outside the governor’s office retouched to eliminate the cigarette in Ataturk’s hand and the trail of smoke. Even Ataturk has to obey the new no-smoking law. (click here, in Turkish). They could have replaced it with a rose. Along the […]

Tabsir and The Virgin

I should have added this great blog about the Middle East and Islam to my blogroll long ago: Tabsir. Well, it’s there now and I encourage everyone to have a look. It’s written by scholars of the region and is committed to fair, open-ended scholarly assessment of the current political issues of terrorism, gender inequality […]

Virgin Feminists

According to the 2008 Population and Health Report (click here for the report, in Turkish), carried out by Hacettepe University for Turkey’s science association TUBITAK, 80% of women agree that women should be virgins when they marry; 41% believe that even if women don’t agree with their husbands, they shouldn’t argue with them; but only […]