Catching up – from soap series and ombudsman to Patriots and hunger strike

How to start blogging again after not doing it for some three weeks? That ain’t easy, dear readers. Especially when you blog about Turkey, where so much happens in three weeks. How can I decide what’s the most important thing in this period of time, enough to start up the blogging routine again?

There was the death penalty discussion, there is the intention of the AKP to lift the parliamentary immunity of BDP MP’s, school uniforms were abolished all of a sudden and headscarves allowed at religious schools, Erdogan caused a debate about ‘Magnificent Century’, a highly popular soap opera. Also debated: the brand new ombudsman.

Let’s not forget international politics, where my own country the Netherlands was in the news: Patriots will be stationed along the Turkish-Syrian border and the Netherlands, as one of the three NATO countries owning Patriots, is preparing to station them. And Gaza, there was Gaza. Prime Minister Erdogan  is planning, oh no, not planning, he is probably going on an unplanned surprise visit to Gaza this week.

You know what I am going to do? Give you links to nice stories and interesting comments about all these events written by colleagues of mine. So you can catch up a bit, and I can clear the list of blog post subjects and start fresh again after three weeks of silence. By the way, I haven’t been sick or anything like that. I have just been too distracted by a trip to Holland and to Istanbul and Ankara. But I’m back 🙂

Andrew Finkel wrote a great piece about PM Erdogan and The Magnificent Century. Key sentence: ‘My own view is that Erdogan sees “The Magnificent Century” as subtly undermining his own authority’.

The brand new ombudsman – and why the ombudsman system has died at birth, by Murat Yetkin.

Here’s a column in Today’s Zaman about the abolistion of school uniforms. I find it a hilarious piece, actually. The author writes about the freedom and individuality the abolistion of uniforms gives, but refrains from even touching upon the whole school system in Turkey that is designed as a one size fits all. And the plea ends with a call for full freedom for headscarves.  Today’s Zaman at it’s best.

Aaron Stein is an expert when it comes to security issues and Turkey’s role in the Middle East. Here you can find his piece about Turkey’s handling of the conflict in Gaza. 

Want to know more about Patriots and Turkey’s efforts to build missiles itself? Aaron Stein is again your man, read it here.

Also important: the hunger strike in Turkish prisons came to an end. Here’s a list of the articles and blogs I wrote about it:
* Will hunger strikers die in vain? (blog post in English, Kurdish and Turkish, 23 October 2012)
* Hunger strikes in Turkish prisons reach critical phase (article for website SES Türkiye, 25 October 2012 – there is a Turkish version too)
* Thirsty for blood (blog post in English, Kurdish and Turkish, 17 November 2012)
* Dutch MEP causes controversy in Turkey (news agency shorticle, 17 November 2012)
* Kurdish hunger strike over (news agency shorticle, 17 November 2012)
* Demands of Kurdish hunger strikers not met (news agency background, 17 November 2012)
* Prison hunger strikes end without agreements (article for website SES Türkiye, 19 November 2012 – there is a Turkish version too)

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