Tag Archives: Asia Minor & The Caucasus

Armenia Feature | Blind & Visually Impaired

Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia

As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.

Read:
How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)

(Image Credit: via Global Voices)

Turkey News | Girls

Outrage erupts over proposed bill in Turkey to clear adults married to minors of sexual abuse charges
  • The bill, approved after an initial reading and set for a second vote, would allow for the indefinite suspension of sentencing for sex “without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” if the perpetrator marries the victim.
  • Women’s rights, children’s rights, and other advocates were swift to condemn the proposed bill, which they argue effectively condones statutory rape and child marriage.
  • Child marriage is illegal in Turkey, but non-civil religious marriages proliferate, particularly in the southeast of the country.

Read more:
Turkish ruling party sparks uproar with sexual abuse bill” (Reuters)
Turkish bill to clear men of child sex assault if they marry their victims” (AFP via The Guardian)
Turkey: Thousands protest against proposed child sex law” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Sedat Suna/EPA, via The Guardian)

Turkey News | Advocates & Critics

Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
  • Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
  • Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
  • More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.

Read more:
Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)

Turkey News | Gay Refugee

Gay Syrian refugee decapitated, body found in Istanbul
  • Muhammed Wisam Sankari’s violently mutilated body was found in the Yenikapi neighborhood of Istanbul on July 25, two days after he left his house in Aksaray.
  • Friends reported that Sankari had feared for his safety and that police and other officials had been slow to respond to concerns.
  • Sankari had also reportedly been raped in the months before his death and had been attempting to gain refugee status for resettlement outside of Turkey.

Read more:
Syrian gay refugee killed in Istanbul” (Kaos GL)
Missing gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul” (The Guardian)
Gay Syrian man beheaded and mutilated in Turkey” (BBC)

(Image Credit: via Kaos GL)

Armenia News | Yazidis

Largest Yazidi temple in world in plans to be built in Armenia
  • Funded by a Moscow-based Yazidi businessman, the temple (Quba Mere Diwane, or “All Will Come Together”) is set to be built in the village of Aknalich, near the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
  • Though set to be the physically largest, the most theologically sacred temple will continue to be Lalesh, a pilgrimage site located north of Mosul in northern Iraq.
  • Yazidis are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Armenia, with their community expanding as the global diaspora has ballooned in the wake of systematic persecution by the Islamic State.

Read more:
Armenia to House World’s Largest Yazidi Temple” (EurasiaNet)
World’s largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia” (The Guardian)
Largest Yazidi Temple to Be Built in Armenia” (The Armenian Weekly)

(Image Credit: Maxim Edwards via The Guardian)

ClimateWatch | Turkey

ClimateWatch
Turkey’s “Purge”

The recent attempted coup by a faction within Turkey’s military has left the country in the throes of uncertainty, further increasing citizens’ and human rights watchdogs’ already pronounced concerns about the future of civil liberties in Turkey. Ground zero for the attempted overthrow of the government were Ankara and Istanbul, home to journalists overrun on the air by military forces and ordinary citizens called into the streets by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via FaceTime.

Daylight illuminated the deaths of nearly 300, the wounds of the 1,400 injured, and the beginning of a so-called “purge” that has further endangered groups already vulnerable under Erdogan’s regime: political critics, journalists, and intellectuals. Women, too, found themselves targeted amidst the instability, and Turkish Kurds worry that the aftermath will further heighten anti-Kurd sentiment.

But the coup attempt and retaliation are only the latest in Turkey’s security woes. Terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, conflict with Kurdish militants and pro-Kurd advocates, ongoing intimidation and blackouts of journalists and political dissidents, and a regional refugee crisis have upended the tenuous stability in the country secured through a 2013 ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the restoration of Erdogan’s government was seen as a victory for democracy, Turks and observers alike fear what measures Erdogan, already intolerant of dissent, will take in its wake.

Here is a look at coverage of the destabilizing security situation for at-risk communities in Turkey: Continue reading ClimateWatch | Turkey

Turkey News | Travelers

Dozens from more than 9 countries dead, hundreds injured after attack on Turkey’s main airport
  • Three suicide attackers killed at least 41 and wounded 239 more in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
  • At least 23 victims were Turkish, while others killed included people from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • Over the last year, Turkey has experienced multiple terror attacks as the government faces threats from the Islamic State, political divisions between Islamists and secularists, and violent conflict with Kurdish separatists.

Read more:
Islamic State prime suspect after suicide bombers kill 41 at Istanbul airport” (Reuters)
Victims in Istanbul Airport Attack Reflect City’s International Character” (The New York Times)
At Least 41 Killed Including 13 Foreign Nationals In Attack On Istanbul Airport” (BuzzFeed News)

(Image Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)