Captain Miki and The Banned Atlas

 In a twist of irony, Turkey is at once celebrating the lifting of decades-old bans on 453 books and 645 periodicals while waiting for the fate of two classics whose fates are yet to be decided. One of these classics is John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” The other one is the beloved children’s book […]

It’s Out!

My book has been published; it has taken its hat in hand and run out into the world. And the first review is out as well, in The Economist: Click here. Muslim Nationalism and the New TurksJenny White Read Chapter 1 Table of Contents  

Was Özal Poisoned?

…The exhumed body of Turkey’s late President Turgut Ozal, who led the country out of military rule in the 1980s, contained poison but the cause of death was unclear, local media reported an autopsy as showing on Wednesday. There have long been rumours that Ozal, who died of heart failure in 1993 aged 65, was […]

Ritual Opposition

National rituals have always been charged ideological sites, but now that Turkey is rife with competing rituals (choose either National Youth Day or Holy Birth Week; they’re at the same time), the strife has reached epic proportions. The Ankara governorship has banned the celebration of October 29 Republic Day rituals celebrating the republic’s founding, it’s […]

The Sledgehammer Descends: More Than 300 Officers Sentenced to Prison

On September 21 a court in Istanbul has sentenced three retired generals to life imprisonment in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer), then reduced the sentence to 20 years. Air Force Cmdr. retired Gen. İbrahim Fırtına, retired 1st Army Cmdr. Gen. Çetin Doğan and retired Navy Cmdr. Adm. Özden Örnek were convicted to life on charges of “attempting to overthrow the […]

Coming Soon at a Bookstore Near You!

Publication date is early November. The excitement (well, my excitement) is mounting. Here’s the publisher’s website with a pdf of chapter 1.

Bad Nationalist Habits Reemerge: Mor Gabriel Loses Appeal and State Takes Its Land

I’ve been following the attempt by the 1600-year-old Syriac Orthodox Christian Mor Gabriel monastery to defend its land against the state, which wanted it for the Treasury, and against encroaching villagers who claimed it for their cattle. The villagers accused the Christians of being un-Turkish and anti-Islamic. (click here for round one of the battle […]

My Two Kuruş

At the Abant meeting a journalist did an interview with me for Today’s Zaman that covered a dizzying number of topics. Here it is. And here (JWZamanInterview) is a pdf of the actual newspaper — with slightly better photos. I know, I’m being vain.

More Changes: Military Clubs Will Admit Religious Clothing, Beards (and Foreigners)

In the past, it was illegal for the following types of people to enter military casinos, wedding halls and other social establishments: 1. people who did not wear contemporary (çağdaş) clothing, and instead wore beards, (imam’s) robes, turban, skullcaps, headscarves, etc.; 2. those who haven’t shaved that day, wore dirty or unironed clothing; 3. people […]

Out With The Old National Rituals

A major change: the end of the iconic Kemalist national displays and rituals that included stadiums of costumed and choreographed youth (sometimes wearing Ataturk masks), ten-story banners of Ataturk, military displays, and in some regional centers, “reenactments” of victories over “foreign forces” like Armenians that in one case featured young Turkish boys dressed as soldiers, […]