Turkey’s Scientists Stripped of Autonomy as Ruling Party Extends Power

3 Apr., 2012, Bianet

While the AKP has certainly become more outspoken about its intent to assert influence over Turkey’s academic institutions, it has been doing so behind the scenes for several years now.

Two years ago, a scientist named Onur Hamzaoğlu began finding arsenic, mercury and lead in the women and children who live in Turkey’s Kocaeli Province, the country’s second biggest industrial zone.

Hamzaoğlu, the head of the public health department at the local university, encountered these heavy metals in infants’ feces and mothers’ breast milk in the course of a three-year research project that began in 2009 and will end later this year.

When he told a journalist about his findings in early 2011, however, Hamzaoğlu triggered a government campaign aimed at discrediting him and his research.

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Wind Energy and Organic Farming Collide in Western Turkey

2 Apr., 2012, Green Prophet

Virgin wilderness on Turkey’s western coast is threatened by the construction of new wind infrastructure. 

An organic farmer near İzmir in western Turkey awoke a few weeks ago to the sound of poles and transmission lines being installed on a hill near his farm. The lines will connect new wind energy projects in Çeşme to the city of İzmir, but pose a serious threat to future farming activity in the region, according to the farmer. The twist: this organic farmer is also the manager of one of Turkey’s first wind energy project developers.

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INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Hakan Günday

April 2012, TimeOut Istanbul (print edition only)

With the announcement last autumn that Turkey will be the market focus of the 2013 London Book Fair, it seems Turkey’s contemporary authors are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve. Hakan Günday is one such rising star on Turkey’s literary scene. You won’t find English translations of Günday’s work in bookstores yet, but he’s nevertheless made an international name for himself as one of Turkey’s most up-and-coming young writers. The author of seven critically acclaimed novels since 2000, Günday is the only Turkish author invited to the London Book Fair this month. TimeOut Istanbul caught up with him before he left.

You were born in Rhodes, completed your primary education and some of your university years in Brussels, and went to Ankara for high school and most of your higher education. Is one of these places more home to you than the others?

Once you begin to travel as a child, the first place that becomes close to you seems to be your home. When you move for the second time, you quickly understand that you don’t have a home — that home, in fact, doesn’t exist if you keep traveling. My father was a diplomat, so we traveled a lot and I became really used to presenting myself in front of forty other little children with the hand of the teacher on my shoulder, saying, “This is your new friend.” It was difficult at first, and then I became a professional at it.

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