Turkey Frees Some Hostages

The news on October 26 that a Turkish court decided to release German human rights activist Peter Steudtner from prison, and even allow him to leave the country, was not expected and was greeted by sighs of relief. But it is by no means the end of the story. Read Further...

Erdogan’s Extraterritorial Ambitions: The Case of Dogan Akhanli

Deciphering the behavior of the President is a challenging task, and not only in the United States. Narcissism, paranoia and megalomania are the terms the psychiatrist would use to describe the brand of personality disorders driving the erratic behavior that has become routine not only in the White House but also in the thousand-room presidential palace in Ankara. And the clinical diagnosis would be on the mark. That said, it fails to explain the political calculation that the affected subject has contrived to rationalize his outrageous actions. Yet, no doubt, there must be a method to the madness. The actor is after all a political animal.
Consider the recent moves by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with regard to Germany, which, from any sane objective standpoint, he should consider his closest European ally and trade partner.Read Further...

Interview: The Implosion of the Erdogan-Gülen Family Devastates Turkey

BERLIN — Special Correspondent for the Mirror-Spectator Muriel Mirak-Weissbach recently interviewed prize-winning author Dogan Akhanli on the recent coup attempt in Turkey and its devastating purge in the country. Akhanli is a German of Turkish descent who escaped the military dictatorship and received asylum in Germany. A prize-winning author of novels and plays, as well as a human rights activist, he has come under attack for having dealt with the Armenian Genocide in his works.Read Further...

Genocide Centenary: Where Does Germany Stand?

As the New Year opened, several German cities hosted events commemorating the centenary of the genocide, many of them scheduled to coincide with the eighth anniversary on January 19 of the assassination of Hrant Dink. Those in Berlin and Frankfurt attracted large crowds of Germans and Armenians, as well as Turks, Kurds and many other minorities.
At a memorial convened in Cologne on January 25, one central issue discussed was the need for official recognition of the genocide, not only on the part of the authorities in Turkey but also in Germany.Read Further...

Creating a Transnational Memory Space Dogan Akhanli Honored in Cologne

COLOGNE, Germany — If post-war Germany was able to acknowledge the Holocaust and work through its implications, politically and psychologically, why cannot the present Turkish establishment do the same regarding the 1915 Genocide? It is not only Armenians in and outside Germany who raise this question, but also Germans of Turkish descent, first among them Dogan Akhanli, who received the Georg Fritze Memorial Award in Cologne, Germany on September 19. Read Further...

Power of Art to Move Mind and Heart:
Dink Remembered in Frankfurt

By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
FRANKFURT — Anyone who doubts the existence of a growing movement in Turkey committed to profound political reforms, emphatically including the recognition of the 1915 genocide, should reflect on the mass turnout in Istanbul on January 19, reported by the Mirror-Spectator last week. Several films circulating on the Internet (such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RuZDt6wj4k and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELFOe-lvZ5Q) transmit a sense of the potential that this Turkish civil society movement represents, not the least because it has increasingly woven the strands of several related political demands together into one fabric. Thus, those calling for “justice” are demanding not only that Hrant Dink’s assassins be identified and prosecuted but also that the rule of law replace a system fraught with politically motivated rulings, corruption, violation of human rights and willful distortion of historical fact. From the Gezi Park protests to the ongoing upheavals triggered by the corruption scandals, a new process has been unfolding which may put the country on a course toward fundamental change.
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Bad Theater in Istanbul: Turkish Court Performs Kafka

ISTANBUL — Like any other day in the summer season, on July 31, thousands of tourists were standing in lines in the blistering heat to visit the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and numerous other sites here.
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Activist Targeted by Turkish Authorities Again

What is really happening in Turkey? And where is it going to lead? What began as a protest against government plans for Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square has swelled into a mass movement throughout the country and those thousands of citizens engaging in civil disobedience are giving no signs of capitulation. Not only: solidarity actions are unfolding in other countries especially in Germany, which hosts a very large Turkish community. Here, a new judicial scandal against a leading German-Turkish intellectual, which broke out just prior to the Gezi protests, is intersecting the ferment and fuelling the wave of solidarity with those fighting for democracy and free speech in Turkey.
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Judicial Scandal: A Test Case for Turkey

Is Turkey making progress in the democratization process? Has the September referendum led to reform of the judiciary? Who really rules Turkey? These are some of the questions raised, albeit implicitly, by a recent court case in Istanbul which has become a cause célèbre.The case of Turkish-born German citizen, Dogan Akhanli.Read Further...

Imprisonment of Human Rights Activist Puts Turkish Establishment on the Dock

When Turkish authorities seized Dogan Akhanli on August 10 on his arrival from Frankfurt at the Istanbul airport and threw him into prison, they may have thought they could proceed unhindered, with the law on their side. But they miscalculated utterly. As soon as the news circulated, human rights activists, intellectuals, and political figures denounced his arrest and demanded his immediate release.Read Further...