The Berlusconi Paradigm

On Wednesday, the Turkish parliament with a show of hands approved another blatantly anti-democratic piece of legislation. It authorizes the Director of Telecommunications (TIB) to block websites at will with no judicial oversight.

Breaking News: Women in Trousers

In the end it was easier to change the rules to allow headscarves in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly than to allow women MPs to wear pants.

Eid Mubarak – Şeker Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun

Even the recently overworked police are on holiday. T24 reports that children are playing in Gezi Park and police are spritzing cologne instead of pressurized water and passing out chocolates to passersby, instead of shooting them with teargas canisters.

Gezi’s Nineteen Days

NTV Tarih, a popular history magazine, decided to record the nineteen days of the Gezi protests hour by hour as a contribution to historical documentation: “History Written While Living”. The issue, the remarkable cover of which is pictured above, never was never distributed. Instead, the owner, Doğuş Media Group, closed the entire magazine down.

Turkey Wired: By the Numbers

With 18 million TV homes, Turkey is one of Europe’s major markets… [But t]he introduction of the cellphone at the end of the 1980s and its immediate spread was a major factor in Islamist political organizing, making it possible to set up phone trees and mobilize large numbers of people through their personal networks.

Time For An Afternoon Map

I found this image of a 19th century Istanbul tram ticket decorated with a map of the routes on a wonderfully intriguing site exploring eclectic Turkish and Ottoman maps, Afternoon Map. It’s a site that I love to peruse and have just added to my blogroll. Afternoon Map gives the provenance of each map and discusses […]

My Hero Lives On

I was thrilled this morning when I discovered that my hero Abdülcanbaz still lives. I used to cut Abdülcanbaz comic strips out of Cumhuriyet newspaper; I have stacks of them. Decades ago in a used bookstore in Istanbul I discovered a large cache of his original comic books and bought all of them. I still leaf […]

Publishing in Turkey

Some information from a recent evaluation of Turkey’s publishing industry (click here): According to the Turkish Ministry of culture, over the last 10 years there has been a 300 percent increase in number of books published. In 2011, according to the Turkish Publishers Association, 43,190 titles were released with sales of 1.5 billion dollars.  30-35% are […]

Turkish Sweet History

A new book on the history of Turkish/Ottoman sweets, Sherbet and Spice by Mary Işin, was reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement (here). An excerpt: Starch was not regarded as a cooking ingredient in eighteenth-century Europe and was primarily used to powder wigs. In Ottoman Turkey, pulled sugar sticks (similar to Edinburgh rock) were particularly favoured […]

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 […]