Category Archives: Turkey

Guilty Men


Turkish democracy didn’t die all at once in last week’s referendum; it’s been languishing for years. Why did so many in the West fail to notice?

Published in The American Interest on April 24, 2017

What’s Behind Turkey’s Unrest

June 4, 2013

The media coverage of the upheaval in Turkey has been extensive, but certain points have been insufficiently emphasized.

The story began as a peaceful sit-in in a park near the city’s central Taksim Square. It was slated to be demolished and replaced with a shopping mall. The protesters wanted to preserve it, but Ankara disagreed.

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Notes on the Turkish Troubles

America’s muted response is both confusing and disheartening.


28 June 2013

President Obama surely knows that the current unrest in Turkey, which has left at least four dead, 12 blind, and some 7,000 injured, many critically, does not remotely compare—as a humanitarian disaster or as a threat to American interests—to the unremitting carnage in Syria; to the urgency of evaluating the meaning of Iran’s elections and what they portend for its nuclear program; to the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq; to our imminent defeat in Afghanistan; or to at least half a dozen other foreign policy crises of greater moment, not least in the Pacific.

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Erdoğan’s Miracle Reprieve

July 9, 2013

If you’re reading the American press, you might think that the protests in Turkey have died down. Nothing could be further from the truth. On July 6—last Saturday—delivering a stern rebuke to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Istanbul 1st Regional Court issued a decision cancelling the controversial Taksim construction and the Artillery Barracks project, thus reopening the park for public use.

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How to Read Today’s Unbelievably Bad News

August 20, 2012

An unshocking admission: I’ve made some ungodly-embarrassing retraction-worthy journalistic mistakes over the course of my career. Almost every journalist does. It’s hard to write about complex events at once quickly, without boring your readers witless, and without making mistakes. One example in particular embarrasses me; I’ll share it with you at the end of this piece.

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Turkey must act to avert an earthquake tragedy

July 27, 2009

Almost 10 years ago exactly, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Turkey, killing as many as 40,000 people. Thousands were crushed in their beds when their buildings, such as the one pictured above in Kaynasli, collapsed.

An outcry ensued over the shoddy construction material, loose building codes and widespread corruption among licensing officials: these were correctly blamed for the high death toll.

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The Gezi Diaries

Published in abridged form in The Tower
June 2013

Part 1: Laying Pipe

In the sitcom business, they call it “laying pipe.” It means the exposition of the backstory, the quick explanation of the events that set the plot in motion. Sitcom writers admire each other for the economy with which they lay pipe. In writing about Turkey, the hardest part is that before you can even begin to say anything interesting, you need to lay ten miles of pipe, and by that point you’ve lost your audience.

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