Due to the ongoing difficulty for me to post updates, I have decided to move my blog. Its new url is http://ataturkey.blogspot.com
Times like this I miss living in a country where there is real freedom of speech and entire websites aren’t blocked because of one mad hooligan. Peace.
…is a name I’m becoming all too familiar with. The picture above is what I see when I try to access my blog. Today I was browsing the news and saw the comical headline, “Clinton calls Cheney Darth Vader” I clicked on it and…no access! It turns out that the CNN blog and Flickr blog have been added to the list of websites blocked by Adnan Oktar’s petitions to the Turkish government.
Outraged by this worrying trend, I did some background research. Adnan Oktar (whose pen-name is Harun Yahya) is a famous Turkish creationist, considered to be the leading Muslim advocate for creationism. His widely published books include “Holocaust Lies”, about how the Jews all died of typhus and famine during the war (which, I should note, he later denied writing after associating anti-Semitism with neo-Paganism and Darwinism), “The Disasters Darwinism Brought to Humanity”, “The Blunders of Creationism”, and “A Weapon of Satan: Romanticism” among many, many others.
His campaign to block websites started back in April with http://www.sourtimes.org and superpoligon.com, and then spread to wordpress.com and now the CNN Political Ticker and Flickr blogs. So what do these websites have in common? All contained criticism (or in his words, defamatory remarks) about him, and all web hosts refused to remove the content.
My reaction: THIS IS ABSURD!!!!!
sources: wikipedia and the article “Shooting the Messenger” from the August 20 edition of The Guardian.
1st night of ramadan
This is a picture of Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque in background) on the first night of Ramadan. As it happened, there was nothing but food, food, food everywhere. I think it would be pretty easy to gain weight during Ramadan with all the feasting they do at night.
I have a headcold, and since it’s Sunday, all the pharmacies are closed. I have loaded up on vitamins and freshly squeezed orange juice, green tea and honey, and now I just need to wait for tomorrow so I can buy some antihistamines.
Only two more weeks of September– I’ve got a big countdown going.
WordPress is still blocked in Turkey. To be honest, I really didn’t think it would be blocked for so long. I finally realized I might be able to post via Flickr; this is my first attempt at doing so.
The picture above was taken yesterday, on my way back home after teaching a private lesson on the Asian side. I have been incredibly busy with work, but it’s all going very well right now. I love my new class and my classroom, and I’m so happy to be part time (though to be honest, I’ve been staying even later than I did when I was full time working on a huge list of things that are all associated with the beginning of school).
In Taksim and Kadikoy, pre-Ramazan festivities are kicking off. A few of my friend are in Syria for the week and Lars is in Tehran, though he was supposed to leave for Esfahan today. Jimmy Kelly, a friend from St Andrews, came to stay this past weekend which was a blast. Tonight is the first night in a long time that I don’t have plans– I welcome it. I miss everyone, and hope that all is well back at home.
The night before I left for the US I met Ozler, her husband Ege, and their adorable baby Batu. This is a picture of us on Bagdat Cad. It was so nice to meet people who know New Haven and Foote all the way in Istanbul!
Tonight I am flying back to Turkey after a lovely break in the US, which was spent mostly eating and shopping, and of course catching up with friends and family. 🙂
n.b. the Turkish government has blocked wordpress.com so I don’t know for sure when I will be able to update again (last time they blocked a major website, youtube.com, it was only for about a day). Just a little warning that it might be awhile! Right now, users in Turkey are getting the following message when they try to access wordpress,
“”Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance.”
Patience is a virtue, right? This too shall pass, but there is something to be said for the first amendment. Anyway, off I go back to the land of endless cups of tea, durums, Efes, and baklava. Görüsürüz, Amerika!
This is Patlican, the puppy who just moved in.
During puppet week I made a few of my own to use next year. This photo is of Princess Tiffany and Leif Erikson.
My sock puppet still needs a name.
Ahoy! Where the Black Sea meets the Bosphorus…
This week went quickly. LL got the overnight train to Ankara Monday night, but just by the skin of his teeth–we barely caught the ferry to Haydarpasa and then when got there the train was fully booked. But patience (and being a nice foreigner) is a virtue and he managed to get a ticket at the very last minute due to a cancellation. I tried to call him when I heard about all the floods in Oxfordshire, but typically he was staying in a cave in Cappadocia and I couldn’t get through. Now he’s in Mt Nemrut, headed to Urfa.
I would be jealous, but I’ve been quite busy myself. I am now officially done with work until August 29th, and I’m heading home Wednesday for a badly needed, much appreciated dose of America, which I’ve been missing quite a lot lately. Last night was not one of those times, for I found myself at a house party on a terrace with a sweeping view of Sultanahmet, the Bosphorus, and the Asian side. Other people had their cameras and got photos, which I may post later. The party was hosted by a large and inebriated Lithuanian Oxford graduate. One party-goer knew three people I knew quite well from St Andrews, another had extensively read the writings on the middle east of two of my professors and we found another shared aquaintance. We managed to find some Laphroaig and parmasean–a friend commented, and its completely true, that you can judge the poshness of any Istanbul household by their parmesean. Having it at all puts you in a bit of a league of your own. Anyway, we sipped the night away until about 3am when I had decided it was the perfect start to a month’s holiday and it was okay to go home.
The other news is that we have a new housemate–a 2 month old rottweiler that Erin and Rachel found yesterday in Rumeli Kavagi that was being beaten by a broom by an old woman. One of them will take it home when they leave. So far we are deciding whether to call her Ayse Gül or Patlican; my vote is for Patlican because LL has a former student who I’m not hugely fond of and two of his girlfriends are called Ayse Gül so it reminds me of him.
Today my goal is to do very little. Right now the big plan is to watch Il Postino and read more of Burning Bright, the new Tracy Chevalier; yesterday I watched Scoop which was a hoot. See everyone next week!