Who Invented Ataturk’s Signature?

According to an interview with 90-year-old Dikran Çerçiyan in Hurriyet Daily News, Ataturk’s emblematic signature, familiar to everyone in Turkey, was developed by his father, Hagop Vahram Çerçiyan. For 55 years Çerçiyan was a teacher of math and geography at Robert College, which graduated former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, former foreign ministers Selim Sarper and Turgut Menemencioğluları and former […]

Who Is Killing Armenians In Istanbul?

Update 3: Police have arrested a local man of Armenian descent as the culprit on the basis of DNA and other evidence. He followed members of the community home and robbed and attacked them. Another killing in Istanbul of someone linked to the Armenian community. On Tuesday evening, İlker Şahin, 40, an IT teacher at […]

The Last Armenian

A wonderful essay by Avedis Hadjian about a lost map on the Istanbul tram… (click here for the full essay) “Who are you? This is Turkey. Do you know what Turkey is?” a man asked me, his thick glasses magnifying the fear in his eyes. He belonged to the little-known Armenian Gypsy community, in 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.

What’s So Funny?

So the Turkish government DOES have a sense of humor: The Ministry of Education has defended a school text book that includes slurs about Armenians as well as a number of Turkish writers, saying the book was “written with the sense of national reflex and humorous criticism.” Penned by Yunus Zeyrek, the book, titled “Bu […]

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, […]

Turkey’s Taboos

An excerpt from Ayşe Kadıoğlu‘s heart-felt essay in The Guardian (here) about the frightening taboos that mould the Turkish mind and daily practice. These taboos (and others) are at the heart of my forthcoming book, Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks (Princeton, November 2012). I too felt that these nationalist taboos, rather than the threat of […]

Istanbul’s Art Scene

Suzy Hansen writes about “The Istanbul Art-Boom Bubble” in the New York Times. (click here) It’s an interesting look inside the glittering, hot-money world of contemporary art in Istanbul. Hansen gives us a sense of the out-of-this world scope of activities, galleries, events, and art production, but also a critique of its limits, its lack […]

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The rector of Kütahya Dumlupınar University has removed the statues of a lion and eagle that graced the university entrance because people kept complaining that it reminded them of the Armenian coat of arms. The sculptor, Atanas Karaçoban, who teaches at Gazi University, said he was shocked and pointed out the irony that on the […]

Hrant Dink Killers Sentenced. Larger Plot Discounted.

This post has been updated TWICE. It is satisfying that after five years of courtroom anguish (click here) after the assassination of the Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, that his killer, Ogun Samast, be given 23 years in prison and the man who instigated the youth to pull the trigger, Yasin Hayal, be given a life […]