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 […]

Turkish Educational System Imports Christian Doctrine in Guise of Creationism

I’ve discussed the introduction of American Bible-belt style creationism to Turkey on this blog before (see the entries under ‘Science’). The Muslim version doesn’t accept that humans descended from primates, but otherwise leaves the science intact. (click here) The fundamentalist Christian version, on the other hand, is based on a reading of the Bible and claims […]

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 […]

Turkey in Africa

Update: Erdmann’s talk was based on an article (in German) available here. For non-German speakers, the chart might be of interest. Update 2: Here is an ORSAM report in Turkish. I’m presently in Berlin and a couple of days ago attended an interesting talk about Turkey’s presence in sub-Saharan Africa, which is arousing the attention […]

Why Turks Don’t Speak English

I know the major news story in Turkey is the continued explosions and attacks across the country, presumably by the PKK, but those stories are all over the news, so I won’t repeat them here. I found the following opinion piece by Güven Sak in Hurriyet interesting about why it is that, despite Turkey’s openness to […]

A US Take on the Gülen Movement

Click here to link to the 60-Minutes video on the Gülen movement that everyone is talking about. Here’s the URL (for those using an alternate route like

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 […]

Turkish Youth Ignorant, Inward-Looking

Turkey might have a young population, but the country’s youth are largely insular and ignorant, posing problems if the nation wants to run a globally competitive, knowledge-based economy, leading sociologist Nilüfer Narlı says. Internet penetration is low, while many young people don’t know a second language, she says. (click here for more)


Below is a TUSIAD summary of the new educational reform bill that was rammed through parliament by the AKP government against the wishes of the opposition and apparently without much public input. I don’t know which way the new rules will fall out.  It was certainly rammed through in an undemocratic manner, which makes one […]

The Neo-Kemalist Ottomans?

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described his government’s objective as “bringing up religious generation.” Click here for Ihsan Dağı’s sensible response in Today’s Zaman. Excerpt: …Pursuing such an objective is obviously an attempt at social engineering. It assumes a hierarchical relationship between the state and society, and assigns the state the duty and power […]