Tag Archives: Istanbul

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)

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)

Turkey News | LGBT

Istanbul LGBT and transgender marches banned following threats
  • The Istanbul Governor’s Office revoked organizers’ assembly permits following threats from conservative groups, particularly Turkish ultranationalists.
  • Organizers criticized the government response as kowtowing to anti-LGBT parties rather than increasing security and protecting the LGBT community’s right to assemble.
  • Coinciding with Ramadan, Pride Week in Istanbul is scheduled to take place from June 19-26, with the main LGBT parade originally planned for the final day.

Read more:
Governor’s Office bans LGBT Pride march in Istanbul” (Hürriyet News Daily)
Turkey bans Istanbul gay pride due to ‘security fears’” (Al Jazeera)
Istanbul authorities ban transgender and gay pride marches” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: via Hürryiet News Daily)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Turkey News | LGBT

Court fines Turkey’s football governing body for firing gay referee
  • Istanbul’s 20th Court for Serious Crimes fined the Turkish Football Federation 23,000 Turkish lira ($7,900) for revoking the refereeing license of Halil İbrahim Dinçdağ, the country’s first openly gay referee, in 2009.
  • Dinçdağ’s release came after the TFF declared him unfit for military service due to the military’s exemption of gay men from military service, with which referees are required to be in good standing.
  • Dinçdağ’s lawyer plans to appeal the ruling, which fell considerably short of the 110,000 lira originally demanded.

Read more:
Turkey’s top football body fined over dismissal of gay referee” (Hürriyet News Daily)
Turkish Football Federation fined for sacking gay referee” (BBC)
Turkish FA ordered to compensate referee who lost licence for being gay” (AFP, via the Guardian)

(Image Credit: DHA Photo, via Hürriyet News Daily)

Turkey News | Atheists

Turkish group lobbies for equal treatment and protection for atheists
  • The Turkish Atheism Association has created a petition calling for the end of automatic registration of Turkish newborns as Muslim, the removal of religion from Turkey’s ID cards, and the inclusion of the association in official meetings with non-Muslim groups.
  • Although a 2010 poll found only 1% of Turkish people identify as atheist, the group hopes the 5,000 signatures it hopes to attain will bring attention to their marginalization in Turkey’s nominally secular society.
  • The association was founded in 2014 in Istanbul, but a court blocked access to its website in March on the grounds of “provoking the people.”

Read more:
Turkish Atheism Association starts petition calling for ‘equal treatment’” (Middle East Eye)
Turkey’s Atheism Association starts petition for ‘equal treatment’ before law and in society” (Hurriyet News Daily)
Atheists raising their voice in Turkey amid polarized reactions” (Hurriyet News Daily)

(Image Credit: via Hurriyet News Daily)

Turkey Feature | Women

Turkey’s Chic Women

Women from around Turkey converged on Istanbul and 9 other cities across the country for the third-annual Chic Women’s Bicycle Tour, a solidarity bike ride to promote transportation equality for women as well as sustainable transportation options in cities riddled with motorized vehicular traffic. Decked out in a colorful potpourri of dresses, hats, flowers, and balloons, the women dressed in resistance to attempts by conservatives to dictate to women how they should dress and act in public. Al-Monitor spoke with organizers about the history and mission of the ride, while Hürriyet provided a vibrant gallery of event attendees.

Read and view more:
Pedal power gets Turkish makeover” (Al-Monitor)
‘Chic women’ across Turkey’s western coast cycle for sustainable transportation” (Hürriyet News Daily)

(Image Credit: AA Photo, via Hürriyet News Daily))