Workshop Freelancen in het Buitenland!

Het is weer zover: op donderdag 6 september geef ik de workshop Freelancen in het Buitenland. Er is nog plek! Klik hier voor alle informatie.

Leer het van de beste! Ja, ik zeg het gewoon zelf, want van freelance correspondent zijn weet ik inmiddels álles. Niet alleen over de journalistieke inhoud, maar ook over het ondernemerschap dat er onlosmakelijk bijhoort.

In de tien jaar dat ik als correspondent in Turkije werkte, publiceerde ik in de meest uiteenlopende bladen: van Viva, Flair, Elle en Jan tot HP/De Tijd, Volkskrant Magazine, Groene Amsterdammer, Wordt Vervolgd, Opzij en the Independent, Al-Monitor, BBC, VRT en NPO. Kortom: noem maar een titel en er stond een Turkije-stuk van me in. Daarnaast schreef ik (bijdrages voor) verschillende boeken.

Dus, wil je worden geïnspireerd en geïnformeerd? Wil je volgen in het voetspoor van mensen die in de afgelopen jaren deze workshop óók volgden en hun koffers daadwerkelijk pakten? Er is nog plek op 6 september! Meld je aan voor de workshop in Utrecht!

Explainer: old stories on my site

Dear friends, dear readers,

Today I have posted two old stories on this website. One of you has asked why this happened – why post stories from 2015?! I can understand the confusion so let me explain.

It has to do with the design of this site. On the right hand side of the site, there is the feature ‘My Last Twelve’. When this site started, in 2015, I somehow assumed that stories that would fall off that list, would automatically be stored somewhere. This turned out not to be the case. So the archive stayed empty 😦
There is a solution: if I want to keep older stories, I have to add them seperately as ‘posts’. I have known this for some time but I did not have the chance to add these older stories. After all, between summer 2016 and summer 2017, I was with the PKK, and until May this year I have been too busy with writing the book. Now, I am working on my ‘After the book todo list’, and adding posts with older stories is the thing I will be doing the coming days or weeks. Not that many, by the way: I have not published that much while working on the book 😉
There are new stories too and they will be added as well. So don’t despair!

Why don’t I change the design of the site? That has to do with security. This site runs on a WordPress server. I never spoke much about it, but my previous site, KurdishMatters.com, has been under such fierce ddos attacks that no website provider could deal with it – seriously! The only affordable way to have a safe site that is not hacked by Turkish trolls, is running it on WordPress servers. But this comes with design limitations. So, blame the attackers 😉

Stay with me, now that the book is finished and now that I will return to Kurdistan later this year, more brand new stories will be added!

‘Dit land haat de Koerden. Dat besef doet pijn.’

This article was published in Dutch weekly news magazine Vrij Nederland, 25 May 2016. 

Terwijl president Erdogan de media onderdrukt en deals sluit met Europa, pakt hij de Koerden onverminderd hard aan. Journalist Fréderike Geerdink werd vorig jaar Turkije uitgezet. Hoe vergaat het haar achtergebleven Koerdische vrienden en kennissen?

Continue reading here!

Stop defending Turkey’s secularism – it’s been a lie all along

Published on the World Post/Huffington Post, on 2 May 2016. 

Finally, after over a decade in power, the true face of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is surfacing. The speaker of the Turkish Parliament, Ismail Kahraman, said that the new constitution that the AKP is preparing will have no reference to secularism.

AKP officials quickly denied the intention but many Turks felt as if an idea was planted in their brain — an idea they would have to get used to. Fearing a secularism-free constitution would be the first step towards introducing Shariah law in their republic, secularist Turks immediately started defending secularism fiercely. Apparently, they do not realize that this secularism got them in trouble in the first place.

Continue reading here!

Bommen op de bergen

(Background article in Dutch weekly Groene Amsterdammer about Turkey’s decision to join the fight against ISIS – but whom is Turkey really fighting? Published 29 July 2015.)

Een adembenemend gezicht was het wel, de F16’s die voor de wassende maan langs over Diyarbakir vlogen en koers zetten richting het zuidoosten. De ene na de andere steeg op, twintig op z’n minst, eerst met bulderend geraas over de stad, daarna over de vlaktes tot de bergen net over de grens met Irak. Daar lieten ze hun lading neer, op de regio’s Zap, Qandil, Hakurk, Qadesh, Habur, Haftanin, Avasin en Amediye, allemaal gebied dat onder militaire controle staat van de Koerdische PKK en waar de organisatie haar kampen heeft.

De eerlijkheid gebiedt te zeggen dat er ook F16’s in zuidwestelijke richting vlogen en bombardementen uitvoerden op IS-stellingen aan de grens bij de provincie Kilis. Maar dat was slechts gesputter vergeleken bij de stortbui die op de PKK terechtkwam. Terwijl het narratief toch is dat de Turkse regering eindelijk heeft besloten op volle kracht mee te doen met de oorlog tegen IS. Het land heeft zelfs, na jaren aandringen door de Verenigde Staten, besloten de belangrijke luchtmachtbasis Incirlik bij de zuidelijk stad Adana open te stellen voor Amerikaanse gevechtsvliegtuigen die aanvallen willen uitvoeren op IS.

Wie bevecht Turkije nou echt?

Lees verder bij de Groene Amsterdammer. 

We were all from Digranakert

‘Apologizing’, Abdullah Demirbas told me in an interview last week, ‘doesn’t weaken you. It makes you stronger.’ We were talking about (what else these days?) the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Most stories you read about it these days deal with how the Turkish state handles this black page in its history: defiant, in denial, harsh, without love. The Kurds show that there is another way. Continue reading “We were all from Digranakert”

Savunmam: kimlik ve basın özgürlüğü

(Bu savunmamdır. Durusma salonunda böyle, Türkçe, okudum, 8 Nisan 2015.
Find the English version here!)

Sayın savcının son yıllarda yazdığım bazı yazılardan kopyala yapıştır ile aldığı cümleleri gördüğümde, hemen aklıma savunmam için aynı metinlere başvurmayı düşündüm. Örneğin Kürt kimliği üzerine İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi’ndeki bir konferans için yazdığım metinden bazı cümleler var. Van’da röportaj yaptığım, dağa çıkıp çıkmamak konusundaki düşünce sürecini anlatan bir öğrenci hakkında yazmıştım. Bu, her açıdan kimlikle ilgiliydi, çünkü ona göre, gerilla olmayı seçmeden çok önce bir insanın kendini gerçekten tanıması gerekiyordu. Kendini değerlendirdiğinde, kararını geciktirmişti çünkü ondan bir gerilla olmayacağına karar vermekten çok korkuyordu. ‘Belki’ dedi, ‘her şeye karşın karşısında mücadele ettiğim sistemin içinde yaşamak isteyeceğim.’ Continue reading “Savunmam: kimlik ve basın özgürlüğü”

Identity and the core of press freedom – my defence

(This is the English version of my defence in the trial against me, read out in Turkish in Diyarbakir court on 8 April 2015.)

When I saw the sentences the respected prosecutor had copy-pasted from some of my writings from last year, I immediately wondered if I should draw on these writings in my defence. For example, there are a few sentences from a piece I wrote for a conference at Istanbul’s Biligi University, about Kurdish identity. I wrote about a student I spoke to in Van, who talked about his deliberations on whether to go to the mountains or not. It had everything to do with identity, because in his view, you had to know yourself really well before you could choose to be a guerrilla. And he postponed really looking at himself because he was so afraid that he would conclude that there was no guerrilla in him. ‘Maybe’, he said, ‘I will find out that, despite everything, I prefer to live inside the system I am fighting against’. Continue reading “Identity and the core of press freedom – my defence”

No, it’s not justice prevailing in the court case against me

Türkce burada okuyabilirsiniz

‘He’s going to ask for acquittal’. My lawyer walks over to me from his place in the court room and sits down on the chair next to mine. He whispers it in my ear, while the prosecutor continues his plea. ‘He hasn’t said it yet, but I know it from the way he is developing his plea. This will be an acquittal.’ And indeed, a few minutes later the prosecutor demands acquittal. I have to wait till Monday for the final verdict, but I start to smile: the court case against me ends without conviction. Continue reading “No, it’s not justice prevailing in the court case against me”

One nation, one language, one flag, and one time

Six, I think every evening when I go to bed. I should get up at six. That’s around the same time the sun rises, so I would be able to catch as much sunlight as possible and not spend most of my waking hours in the dark. But of course I hardly ever manage to get up that early. There’s nothing much we citizens of Diyarbakir can do to avoid our fate of living in darkness.

Darkness
Darkness

At least, as soon as winter time has started. Suddenly, it starts getting dark right after 4 in the afternoon, and towards the end of December it starts even earlier. This is not, like in the north of Europe, because the days are so short, but because the time on the clock is just not in line with reality. Continue reading “One nation, one language, one flag, and one time”