Stories from Quick Reads and Turkey
The LGBT Muslims blog identified 5 Muslim nations where the legal system does not outlaw homosexuality. The 5 countries are : Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania. While the law in these countries does not criminalize gay lifestyles, the LGBT Muslims blog points out that LGBT communities still suffer from discrimination and non-negligible pressure to remain discreet regarding their lifestyles. Still, the main take away lesson is that gay rights may be more advanced than most would believe in the aforementioned countries.
Today's Zaman interviewed İştar Gözaydın, a professor of law and politics at Doğuş University in İstanbul, who has alslo done extensive academic research on Turkish law, society, politics, and is one of the founders of the human rights organization the Helsinki Citizens Association. In the interview, Gözaydın claims, among other things, that Turkish citizens have a lack of trust in the country's judicial system, that social norms and morality are based on personal connections and, hence, biased, but also that transparency is simply not a notion that fits or is accepted in Turkish politics. The experienced Turkish professor said:
It is true that the Turkish people have a sense of a mighty state. This applies to the legal domain as well as matters of political participation. For many years, reference has been made to the weakness of civil society. [...] In Turkey, civil society attempts to benefit from the state. There is a political culture that seeks the preservation of advantages rather than creating a structure separate from the state. This is also because of how we understand and define the state. There are two approaches to the problem of state in the literature: The European system referring to state power and public power and the Anglo-American structure in which a contract is made between the state and individuals. Moving away from the “mighty state” approach to the idea that “I pay tax, so the state has to be accountable for its acts” is not an easy process of change. It concerns a variety of different factors, including human psychology, mentality and morality.
Human rights and ethics advocate Frederic Jacobs notes that the number of people using Tor is on the rise in Turkey:
Tor usage is peaking in Turkey. > 35 000 connecting. More expected for the next few days. pic.twitter.com/1c7AOflm7h
— Frederic Jacobs (@FredericJacobs) March 23, 2014
Turkey has just banned Twitter.
Scholars and researchers of the Russian Internet can rejoice this week, for Russia's leading search engine, Yandex.ru, is now the second website in the world, after Bing in the United States, to gain access to Facebook firehose data [ru]. This means that Yandex can now search Facebook's streaming API and provide live results for all public posts. The new deal with Facebook is limited to users based in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Currently, only Yandex's blogs-specific search feature is capable of returning Facebook results, but the company's spokesperson told TechCrunch on January 13, 2014, that Yandex hopes to incorporate Facebook links in its general Internet search results soon.
“We made this video to tell you we are with us. We had nothing more in mind.”
A moving video with testimonials of anti-fascist solidarity from Turkish activists in the memory of Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas, slain by neonazis in Athens last month, was uploaded on YouTube, subtitled in Greek. The video was set to a dirge written by Turkish composer Zülfü Livaneli and Greek lyricist Lefteris Papadopoulos, and performed by famous Greek singer and political Maria Farandouri, an icon of the struggle against the Greek military junta in the late 60′s.
Twenty-five years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and gave it to the world. To mark this anniversary, we are building a major new three-part festival at Southbank Centre, where we will ask all kinds of people to share their ideas of how the Web should develop over the next 25 years.
Inspired by Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation and working in partnership with our ‘Web We Want’ global campaign for a free, open and universal Web, the Web We Want Festival is an extensive celebration of how the Internet has changed our lives. It will also explore some of the things that threaten the Internet as we know it and what solutions there might be.
Mirroring Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the web as a place for equality, we’re asking local and distant community groups, neighbours and strangers, techies and technophobes, old and young, urban and rural, with any level of web-literacy to create the substance of the festival.
To do this, we are having a Web We Want Think-In on Sept. 5 to plan the festival, listening to your ideas all together at the same time. This virtual brainstorming session will take place at a Think-In Hub in Istanbul at the Internet Ungovernance Forum (details here) and in London at Royal Festival Hall (register to attend here). Online, anyone can participate using the #WebWeWantFest hash tag on Twitter.
Suggest artists, ideas, activities and what would you like to see happening so the Festival becomes an enabler of a global movement. Become a part of the party!
Messages of support continue to pour in for Alexander Sodiqov, the Global Voices community member wrongfully detained by local authorities in Khorog, Tajikistan on June 16, while carrying out academic research. Global Voices is grateful to Dr. Marc Herzog and the Ankara Segmenler Forumu who contacted us via email today with the following message of support:
Attached are solidarity pictures for the release of Alexander Sodiqov from the Ankara Segmenler Forumu (a local neighborhood assembly in Ankara which meets every week). I talked about Alexander Sodiqov's detention and we took a group foto with ‘#FreeAlexSodiqov’ poster and I also encouraged people to sign the online petition and gave out print-offs from AI's information. I hope it helps perhaps to indicate the global nature of solidarity with Alexander's case and [pressure] for his immediate release.
Best from Ankara,
The question “How Should Middle Eastern Women Dress in Public” posed by the University of Michigan is attracting hilarious spoofs online. The content is so rich that an additional post to our first one was necessary.
When Washington Post Max Fisher shared the original image on Twitter, he wasn't expecting this response by WSJ blogger Tom Gara:
— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) January 9, 2014
But the spoof that got the most attention was undoubtedly Karl Sharro's of KarlreMarks:
An Arab university ran this fascinating poll about what is most appropriate for American women to wear in public. pic.twitter.com/uIta80i1f8
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) January 9, 2014
Interviewed on PRI, he explained his motivation:
“It's almost like putting Muslim women on a scale from 1 to 6, from being fully covered to not being covered at all, which I think is pretty absurd.”
Bulgaria, as the closest EU country to Syria, is seeing more than its fair share of the average 5,000 refugees that are fleeing Syria every day. Unprepared and inexperienced in dealing with this influx of refugees seeking shelter, food and protection, Bulgaria has requested assistance and financial aid from the European Union. Meanwhile, some Bulgarian ministers have allegedly proposed to use some of the new funding to put up a 30-kilometer barrier fence along the border with Turkey to prevent illegal entry.
Open Democracy reports in more detail:
Geographically, Bulgaria is not that remote from Syria. Sharing a border with Turkey, Bulgaria is the EU member state closest to Syria if one is travelling by road or railway transport. Therefore, as the most likely first point of entry into the Union, Bulgaria must be well equipped to meet the challenges that will ensue with the new expected waves of Syrian refugees in the coming months. Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case.[...]
This week it is expected that the European Commission will make a final decision as to whether Bulgaria will receive financial aid to cope with the situation. In the meantime, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, has warned that the Bulgarian authorities lack experience of dealing with similar situations and have failed in crisis planning.
As the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) blog reports, the Serbian, Turkish, Slovenian and Brazilian under-18 girls’ national volleyball teams showed outstanding results on the weekend of July 27-28, some with a perfect win-loss ratio. Full stats and results are available and regularly updated on the Federation's website.