"The YÖK issue

John Singer Sargent (United States, 1856–1925), Dolce Far Niente, 1907 found here

The Turkish ’68 – The Lost Generation

The resurgence of Islam in Turkey began as a counter-reaction to the leftist student activism of 1968; one of the key activists among the right-wing students of the time is now the country’s president. Zafer Senocak takes a look back"

The YÖK issue


The Higher Education Board (YÖK) has been an interesting institution, as well as an interesting issue, since it was established. On YÖK’s anniversary, on Nov. 6, if I am not mistaken, this issue will be discussed once again.

A case to take a lesson from

Kudos to the students of Boğaziçi University! Congratulations to those who lend support to others’ fight for freedom! Please look once again at that beautiful photo that will leave its mark on the history of Boğaziçi University.

Boğaziçi is Turkey

A Turkish proverb says "There is auspiciousness in everything." This is definitely the case with the recent rector problem of Boğaziçi University, the country’s most prestigious university. Yes, the problem is not the headscarf problem but the rector problem.

A matter of conscience and respect for labor

The “reactionary” move of the newly appointed rector at Boğaziçi University sparked a reaction from students and faculty members.

Boğaziçi students and the headscarf


The fact that Boğaziçi University students are standing by their friends who wear the headscarf and trying to help them get through the university gates is a positive sign in terms of possible solutions to this matter.

Boğaziçi University and our reflexes by HERKÜL MİLLAS

When someone asks me “Where are you from?” I never answer, though I want to say “I am from Boğaziçi University,” or, more correctly, “I am from Robert College,” as this was the name of the university when I attended it.

Turkish youth although less religious, do not see Islam a threat

Religiosity in decline

This was the main message of Neşe Düzel’s interview in the Taraf daily on Monday: Religiosity in Turkey is in decline. What is on the rise is the visibility of religious people and pseudo-religiosity.

‘Headscarf ban’ tension reduced at Boğaziçi University

Students have been allowed to enter Boğaziçi University if they have a hat covering their headscarf, easing tension that has arisen since the headscarf ban at the school came into effect for

Who’s afraid of Islam? Not youth!

While Turkish youth are less religious than their parents, they also worry less about a religious threat to secularism, according to a survey released yesterday. These views and others

Byzantine flag causes outrage in Kayseri

A Byzantine flag hung on the walls of Kayseri Castle during the filming of a documentary has caused outrage, with a group of 50 protesting the flying of a crusaders’ flag.The police were called in

Survey reveals Turkey a loner, summit disagrees

Religiosity is not a major factor in Turkish foreign policy views, a recent survey has revealed, despite bitter tensions that have flared up between secular circles and the more conservative religious circles

Fasting Lasting »

The dark side of nationalism: Sept. 6-7 incident

As a historic meeting took place in the first week of September between the Armenian and Turkish presidents, Turkey approached the anniversary of a fateful day when its dark forces got rid of most of the country’s non-Muslim minorities.

The heyday of public transportation in İstanbul


İstanbul residents have had to deal with heavy traffic day in and day out until recently, when new projects undertaken by the İstanbul Municipality and the İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT) were completed.

Ramadan is politics (2)

By Fréderike Geerdink

A headmaster who decides that the teachers’ canteen will not serve food during Ramadan. Children who don’t fast during Ramadan being bullied at school by children who do. Official functions where no drinks are served. During Ramadan Turkey becomes visibly more religious. Especially when things like this happen in schools, government or municipality buildings or

Alevis are ‘still invisible’

As Turkey’s top cleric extended an olive branch to the Alevis amid doubts over the government’s ability to embrace the community, a German human rights advocate has argued Alevis were still

Sabbatai Sevi and Sabbateans (or Dönme)

By Jenny White on Sabbateans

Sabbateanism, a movement that began 400 years ago in the Ottoman Empire, is the subject of some of the most popular conspiracy theories in Turkey. …
Historian Cengiz Sisman [has] studied the subject for his doctoral thesis at Harvard University and recently published a book on the subject in Turkish titled “Sabatay Sevi ve Sabataycilar: Mitler ve Gerekler” (Sabbatai Sevi and Sabbateans: Myths and Realities).

How Creationism Entered Turkey’s Schools

By Jenny White on Intelligent Design in Turkey

(from an article by Taner Edis): The December 1992 issue of “Acts and Facts” (of the ICR [Institute for Creation Research]) describes a “Creation Conference” in the October of that year in Turkey, featuring Duane Gish and John Morris, explaining how

Sometime in the mid 1980s, the Turkish Minister of
Education, Mr. Vehbi Dincerler [. . .] placed a call to ICR. [. . .] he wanted to eliminate the secular-based, evolution-only teaching dominant in their schools and replace it with a curriculum teaching the two models[.] As a result, several ICR books which dealt with the scientific (not Biblical) evidence for creation were translated into Turkish and distributed to all Turkey’s public school teachers.

Starting Small: Giving Alevis Their Rights

By Jenny White

The Municipality Assembly of Kusadasi, a small town on the Aegean, has recognized the Alevi Cem House in its district as a place of worship and therefore its water bill will be charged at the reduced rate given to mosques. (click here) The recommendation was made by the town’s AKP mayor Fuat Akdogan and ratified by an assembly composed also of  CHP and MHP members and independents.

New dress code for students

The Ministry of National Education, or MEB, announced new dress codes for students in primary and secondary education on its Web site. According to MEB’s announcement, students will

Sexual Identity Politics in Turkey

By Jenny White

The following are brief excerpts from a fascinating article by Kerem Öktem, “Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey”, in Middle East Report Online (for full article, click here) I’ve also added MERIP to the blogroll.

… June 29 marked the largest gay pride event ever to be held in Turkey, and indeed the largest in the immediate neighborhood of southeast Europe, where similar, if smaller, processions were attacked by right-wing extremists and members of the general public…. Yet no one used the gay pride parade to pose as champions of public morality. There was no hate campaign, and indeed there was benign neglect, in both the Islamist and secular sectors of the mainstream press…. Was this an indicator of growing acceptance of gender non-conforming lifestyles in Turkey, a sign of a more tolerant, outward-looking society, affirmation of a more progressive cultural climate?

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