Ramadan, the second day.

The Ramadan started all over the world.  A whole month of fasting. Now I have to get back to work/writing so i will read the Wikipedia entry for fasting later but it seems Islam’s is one of the most difficult fasting tasks. I wonder what kind of liars were those who said Islam is a religion of ease in my childhood. What kind of easiness involved in this ritual? 🙂 As part of my eccentric fragments of belief, I do fasting. And since I don’t feel attached to collective part of it, it doesn’t seem very sensical. However, it is yet another test of iron will I won’t quit. I think fasting is easier when practiced collectively and I sometimes feel jealosy for those living in a more collective mood. Yes, at least my family does fasting- mostly. But theirs is too routinized. I have to attend Iftar frequently because they are upset if i don’t. But the iftar is just another dinner in which I have to put with the then current family issues.

Anyway, here is a roundup on Ramadan, corruption in Turkey- Zeynep Göğüş interview seems to be linked extensively in the net-, Alevis and AKP, and an update on Sulukule… 

Istanbul shows Ramadan’s cultural side

Folk dances, poets and famed local and foreign musicians will perform during the month of Ramadan as part of the municipality’s effort to embrace the cultural side of Ramadan, a

Ramadan divide remains unbridged

For hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, Ramadan, the ninth month in Islam’s lunar calendar, is a time for unity and solidarity among Muslims. However, their joy is lightly

High-Tech Fasting for Ramadan

By Jenny White

Turkish Muslims plan to resort to appetite suppressing diet patches to help them get through the daily fast during the Ramadan holy month, the Anatolia news agency reported Friday. One of the most popular questions asked on a help line run by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate is “whether diet patches are suitable for fasting” and “whether the use of diet patches will amount to foul play,” the report said.

Ramadan in the country

Our job requires a minimum level of gossiping, and within the sanctified atmosphere of Ramadan it becomes harder to perform this job. Sometimes it becomes quite impossible not to swear at a news item we read or hear.

Ramadan: social cohesion or exclusion?

As the holy month of Ramadan starts Sept. 1, many Muslims are expected to begin fasting during the day. The Ramadan has become more visible and celebration-like in big cities over the last

Official Pressure To Fast During Ramadan

By Jenny White on Turkish Islam

A comment from a reader alerted me to this article (in Turkish) that discusses plans by the State Planning Organization to close its employee restaurant and cafeteria for the month of Ramadan. More serious is the administration’s request for those who are unable to fast “for medical reasons” to give their names. They will then be able to eat in a smaller cafeteria that will remain open (presumably only to those on the list).

[MONDAY TALK] Zeynep Göğüş: Corruptıon hurts Turkey most


Zeynep Göğüş, founder and president of TR Plus Centre for Turkey in Europe — a Brussels-based NGO — has said if Turkey manages to be successful in its fight against corruption, it will inspire confidence in Turkey both domestically and externally.

What To Do About Corruption?

By Jenny White

Despite EU-inspired reforms, corruption continues in Turkey. Why is this so, and what can be done about it?

Click here for article. Excerpts:

Mustafa Özyürek, a former field auditor and the general accountant and Istanbul deputy for the CHP, thinks that unless the auditing system is reformed, corruption cannot be prevented…. [A]udits in Turkey are performed by the inspection boards of the public institutions, the Higher Inspection Board (YDK), the Presidential Public Inspection Board (DDK) and the Supreme Court of Accounts.

[CROSS READER] Eyes turn once again to Turkey’s Alevi issue

President Abdullah Gül’s recent participation in the 45th annual festivities to commemorate Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, a beloved figure for Alevis who established the Bektaşi order of dervishes, carried Turkey’s long-standing problems with the Alevi community, a religious group thought to number between 6 million and 12 million in Turkey, back onto the agenda.

Number of foreigners marrying Turks falls in 2008

AKP Versus Alevi

By Jenny White 

The beating of a shopkeeper in Keciören, a suburb of Ankara, for selling alcohol after 11 pm appears to have another side: AKP discrimination against Alevis. The shopkeeper is an Alevi living in an AKP-run neighborhood where Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also resides. Other Alevis have complained about discrimination and threats from the municipality and police. Alevis are a syncretistic Muslim sect whose members have often supported left-leaning parties as well as Ataturk’s secularist reforms, which Alevis hoped would free them from Sunni Muslim oppression dating back to Ottoman times. There are estimated to be around 20 million Alevis in Turkey. Many Kurds are Alevi.

Sulukule: The End is Near

By Jenny White on Sulukule

sulukule.jpgPhoto from Today’s Zaman

Istanbul’s Fatih municipality has announced that it will cut electricity to the Sulukule neighborhood for the next eight days while parts of the neighborhood are demolished. Sulukule is Istanbul’s Roma (gypsy) quarter dating back to Byzantine times.

Are people treated equally in Turkey? (1)

My initial topic was going to be “Are foreigners and locals treated equally in Turkey?” Then I suddenly realized that there is no equal treatment amongst locals in Turkey, either. Like what, you ask?

The AKP’s litmus test: Alevis’ problems


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