The Crusade Against Press Freedom

The Crusade Against Press Freedom

Imagine that Donald Trump wins the presidency. Then, as he has done throughout his career, he goes after his enemies. He purges the Republican Party of everyone who refused to support him. He initiates criminal proceedings against Hillary Clinton. And he shuts down...
When States Dream, Is Syria Their Nightmare?

When States Dream, Is Syria Their Nightmare?

The war in Syria is a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for all the civilians who suffer from constant aerial bombardment, who are trapped without food and medical assistance inside crumbling cities, who experience the retribution of either the Islamic State or the regime...
Are We Near the End of NATO?

Are We Near the End of NATO?

If the number of eager applicants on a waiting list determines the strength of a club, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in fine fettle. At its most recent gathering in July, NATO welcomed its 29th member — Montenegro — which means that the...
Would Americans Ever Back a U.S. Military Coup?

Would Americans Ever Back a U.S. Military Coup?

News of the military coup in Turkey was dribbling in on Saturday afternoon when I was having lunch with a group of six friends in West Virginia. Suddenly, one person looked up from her salad and said, “If Trump gets elected, I’d support a military coup in this...
The Kurdish Elephant

The Kurdish Elephant

Let’s mix some metaphors in the Middle East, all of them involving elephants. In the crisis zone that encompasses Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, the Kurds are the elephant in the room. They are the “problem” that no one really wants to talk about. Because it would be...
The Roots of Social Rebellion? Social Movements.

The Roots of Social Rebellion? Social Movements.

Historic change eventually comes via small and modest beginnings. The current revolts in Brazil and Turkey actually started in low-key fashion at least one decade ago. Had they been spotted earlier, there would be less befuddlement about explaining the genesis of the...
Erdogan’s Iron Fist

Erdogan’s Iron Fist

On Monday May 27th, about 100 activists in Istanbul staged a sit-in at Gezi Park, the last bit of green space in a largely commercial area, in order to protest the uprooting of its nearly 600 trees to make way for a restored Ottoman army barracks and a shopping mall....
Erdogan Goes All Robert Moses on Istanbul

Erdogan Goes All Robert Moses on Istanbul

In the New York Times, Tim Arango reports from Istanbul “Across this vast city, a capital for three former empires, cranes dangle over construction sites, tin walls barricade old slums, and skyscrapers outclimb the mosque minarets that have dominated the skyline...
Turkey Brings Refugees Out of the Shadows

Turkey Brings Refugees Out of the Shadows

More often than not, news coverage of Turkey’s treatment of refugees is negative. Whether commentary is focused on conditions for asylum-seekers waiting for their status to be determined, or on the problems facing those who have already been found to qualify for...
Syria: Chess Match Turned Free-for-All

Syria: Chess Match Turned Free-for-All

In some ways the Syrian civil war resembles a proxy chess match between supporters of the Bashar al-Assad regime—Iran, Iraq, Russia and China—and its opponents—Turkey, the oil monarchies, the U.S., Britain and France. But the current conflict only...
Key Fact Suppressed in the Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Story

Key Fact Suppressed in the Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Story

Certain facts simply do not find purchase in the Western corporate press. A seemingly minor example is furnished in the latest round of reporting on the 2010 Israeli naval assault on the Mavi Marmara vessel. The basic facts are circulating as background for the just...
Camel Wrestling on the Aegean Coast

Camel Wrestling on the Aegean Coast

Drums pound along the Aegean coast. In a natural amphitheater only miles from the ruins of ancient Ephesus the air is split by wailing horns and the raucous cheers of 10,000 spectators drunk on raki and the brute intoxication of camel wrestling. In the arena a pair of...
The Dreams and Dilemmas of Iraqi Kurdistan

The Dreams and Dilemmas of Iraqi Kurdistan

Once strong and unified states on the vanguard of Arab nationalism, Iraq and Syria are on the verge of partition, fragmentation, and dismemberment. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and at least 60,000 Syrians who have lost their lives, other victims...