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 Girls Do Better than Boys in Science

Hannah Fairfield’s article in The New York Times is an eye-opener, showing that 15-year-old students in Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East had slightly lower overall scores in science (including reading and mathematical literacy), but girls consistently did better than boys (in Turkey almost 3% better). In fact, girls outperformed boys in most […]

The Donkey Library

The fascinating story of a man who in the 1950s started a lending library in the Cappadocia region where he lived, but realizing that the villagers couldn’t easily travel to it, he decided to bring the books to them. (click here for the full essay) …First [Mustafa Güzelgöz, who died in 2005] turned his hand to […]

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 […]

Patriarchal Democracy

Forget about the old question, is Islam compatible with democracy. Maybe what we should really be asking is whether patriarchy is compatible with democracy? Two statements recently made by PM Erdogan struck me at getting at the heart of his autocratic tendencies. The first refers to students who had protested against him at Middle East […]

From Innocence to Sense?

The end of an era! Turkey is getting rid of the school uniforms that have accompanied all Turkish grade schoolers since early in the Republic. Images of children in lace-collared blue uniforms intimate innocence, although I can easily imagine the children chafing against the styles as they grow older. I too wore uniforms in a […]

What’s Scary About Gülenists?

Here’s an interesting and disturbing essay by Margaret Spiegelman about her time teaching at a Gülen school in Istanbul. Click here. A brief excerpt: …Every day, during and after school, teachers at Fatih College are modeling – largely without question – a society where women’s behavior is closely monitored, and where they have no voice in […]

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.

Curriculum Changes: Elective Religion

Three to four hours of elective religion classes have been added to the national curriculum (click here). I’m not sure what the previous situation was, as it had undergone some changes over the past years. I believe Islam was already an elective part of the curriculum, but I don’t know for how many hours or […]

Congratulations! Tebrikler!

Aslı Çakır Alptekin won the 2012 Olympic gold medal and Gamze Bulut the silver medal for the 1500 meter race. An inside account of Turkey’s race strategy (click here) contains an interesting comment by the coach and by an athlete: …Coach Alptekin said that the emergence of Turkish women athletes at these Games is a […]