Local Elections 2014 Roundup

Overall AKP 46% – CHP 28% (with 80% of the vote counted).

Dog Fight

Many familiar tropes, phrases, and accusations that I’m sure many people had hoped that Turkey had left in the past. It’s a haunting — nasty ghosts of regimes and eras past rising to scare the willies out of the present.

Turkish Hizbullah Is Back In New Sheep’s Clothing

Turkish Hizbullah is back — in a new guise as a political party, Huda-Par. Hizbullah (not related to Lebanon’s Hezbullah) has been around for a few decades, wreaking havoc of one kind or another.

It’s Out!

Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks is out in Turkish translation, Müslüman Milliyetçiliği ve Yeni Türkler

Safak Pavey’s Historic Speech

Last week Safak Pavey, MP for CHP, gave a speech in the Grand National Assembly on the occasion of the very first inclusion in parliament of four women wearing headscarves. Her speech captured the historical moment in all of its ambiguities and anguish.

The Snitch State

AKP has always claimed to run a ‘law and order’ state, but seems to have dropped orderly law for order based on opinion, rather than rights.

The Rock n’ Roll Imam

Ahmet Muzin Tuzer, the 42-year-old imam of the small village of Pinarbasi on the Mediterranean, ministers to his flock of about fifteen families, and then plays in a rock’n’roll band, FiRock, which he says is “a bit like Pink Floyd”.  They play Sufi-inspired sacred songs as well as genre-jumping originals. The Diyanet has launched an […]

MPs Wear Headscarves to Parliament

Not long ago this headline would have caused a violent uproar (as happened when newly elected MP Merve Kavakci tried to take up her post veiled in 1999), but today the four AKP MPs who entered with scarves on their heads were greeted by cell-phone photos and some handshakes.

The Stork Brings A Democracy Package

At long last, the democracy package has arrived, the nation breathlessly examining it in its crib and arguing about whether it resembles the AKP or whether, as the prime minister claims, it was engendered by “international human rights, the European Union acquis and the works of the Wise People” (a group of public figures nominated to advise the peace process between AKP and the PKK). Whatever the parentage, the package, which will take form through legal amendments or even simply administrative adjustments, offers some important changes.

Breaking Bread With A New National Community

In a sense, the protests are a dramatic reinscription of active community into a system that had taken all reciprocity out of relations between state and citizen and that defined people entirely as passive consumers — of party services, of products in malls, of prepackaged government messages about what is “best” for the nation.