Eastward bound…

Being the second of my dispatches from Turkey, this time from Ankara… The call for prayer is echoing outside my window, I’m staying with Aykut and his wife and I�ve just seen on the news that the UN has failed to reach an agreement with Iraq on the return of arms inspectors and that the New York Times has published a front-page story outlining plans for a three-pronged attack on Iraq. … I’ll be there in a week.

This is the second of my posts from Turkey, made after I arrived in Ankara. Prior to my arrival, I met with Turan Ceylan, the manager of the Inter-Continental Hotel in Istanbul. He’s a Kurdish success story, one of many in Istanbul where many Kurds have settled after the PKK troubles in the southeast during the 1980s and 1990s. I didn’t get much to get out of the interview, except that he is pro-EU (he’s a businessman) and he believes that discrimination against Kurds is blown way out of proportion by Western press (which is easy for him to say; he comes from a rich family that runs one of the largest construction firms in Turkey.)

This was an attitude I discovered among many middle-class Istanbul residents. Aydin Kudu, my original fixer before he suffered a hip injury, had me over for dinner and during the post-prandial tea, he and Raia, his girlfriend and sometimes partner-guide, said the same thing: There is no discrimination in Turkey; Kurds can do whatever they like, as long as they don’t break any laws.

On one level, they have a point. At least one president of Turkey, Turgut Ozal, has claimed Kurdish ancestry and Istanbul has seen a number of Kurds other than Ceylan rise to success in the business world. But there is a great deal of unknown truth in the statement that “Kurds can do whatever they like, as long as they don’t break any laws.” But until recently, it was illegal to be Kurdish. It was illegal to teach or sing in Kurdish. Yes, Kurds could succeed in Turkey, but only if they assimilated and acted Turkish. And even then, if someone’s ID card listed them as hailing from the southeast, they would often be greeted with suspicion and had a harder time finding jobs in the more cosmopolitan western part of the country.

At any rate, this gave me much to think about. So after a couple of days, I took a bus from Taksim in Istanbul where Aykut Uzun, my fixer, met me. After five hours on the road in Turkey, I was glad to see him.

Continue reading “Eastward bound…”

Issues with Internet Explorer 6

Greetings. It has recently come to our attention that there’s a bug in Internet Explorer 6 for Windows that prevents pages displayed with stylesheets (such as this one) from loading completely. You may see the problem if you try to scroll past the “Powered by MovableType” logo at the bottom of the right column. The left column (the main content) is cut off right there, and you can’t scroll down past the end of the right column.

This is a known bug in IE6. Heavy sigh. And there’s no known solution yet, although there are a couple of workarounds. You might try hitting the F11 (refresh key, I think) twice in quick succession. Or try resizing the browser window a little. That is supposed to clear it up, although we’ve not been able to test this yet.

If you have this problem please email us about it. And if either of the tricks we mentioned above work, please let us know.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation,
The Management