Tag Archives: Turkey

VOMENA 5.28.14 – Coal mine tragedy in Turkey and correcting ancient Persian history in schools

On May 13th, a mine explosion in the western town of Soma, Turkey, triggered an underground fire which killed more than 300 coal mine workers. This was not the first coal mine disaster in Turkey but it’s the deadliest mining disaster in Turkey’s history. The tragedy has raised questions about the impact of neo-liberal and privatization policies of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and its far reaching impact on the lives of millions of workers in Turkey.

On this edition of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, we will have a conversation with Erdem Yörük, an assistant professor of sociology at Koç University in Turkey about the the impact of the politics of the AKP party on workers’ rights and safety in coal mines and other hazardous industries in Turkey.

According to a report on the BBC, mining safety incidents are not new to Turkey – Around 13,000 miners suffered accidents at work in 2013, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. On average, for every million tons of excavated coal, more than seven miners die every year, according to a report by the Economic Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV).

Many blame these accidents on loose regulatory standards and privatization. Since the state leased the mine to the Soma Holding Company in 2005, the company has cut mining costs by up to 80 percent – most likely at the cost of worker safety.

“Work safety? There is no work safety. They cut corners wherever they can,” Veli Yilmaz, a coal miner in Soma for nine years, told the Guardian. “The foremen receive a bonus if we produce more coal than planned. So all they worry about is working faster and extracting more coal.”

Just weeks before the disaster, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) voted against a motion in parliament calling for a thorough inspection of mines throughout the country.

“We are sick of going to the funerals of miners. We have to do something to stop these fatalities,” said Ozgur Ozel, an MP from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who called for the inspection.

Five company officials, including the mine’s operating manager, Akin Çelik, have been arrested on charges of causing death by negligence as part of an investigation into the disaster.

 

Later in the program we will have a conversation with John Lee, Associate Professor of history at UC Santa Barbara and Dr. Jaleh Niazi of HistoryAdvocates, about a new campaign to bring radical change in the way ancient Persian civilization is being taught in California K-12 public education.

Jaleh Niazi is a member of the History Advocate campaign, an effort to correct California schools’ biased representation of ancient Persian civilization. You can learn about the campaign at historyadvoctes.com.

3.26.14 – “Tunisia’s New Constitution and Twitter Banned in Turkey”

Protesters hold placards reading “Do not touch my Twitter” during a protest against the Turkish government’s Twitter ban. [CNN]

Unlike its less fortunate neighbors to the east, since the fall of its long-time dictator Tunisia has so far managed to stay free of major violence and disorder. Host Khalil Bendib interviews Tunisian political scientist, Nadia Marzouki, a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, about the recently passed Tunisian constitution.

Last week, Prime Minister Erdogan waged – as some have called it – a digital coup d’etat by banning the widely used social media network Twitter. On March 20th, during a campaign rally for the March 30th local elections, he said “We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic!”

On Thursday evening, Twitter users in Turkey were welcomed to their screens by the message “Twitter is blocked in Turkey by court order.” What was behind this daring move by the Turkish government and why has Prime Minister Erdogan decided to lash out primarily at Twitter? Host Malihe Razazan put these questions to Alexander Christie-Miller, a Turkey-based freelance journalist who writes for the Times of London and Christian Science Monitor.

A Turkish court just overturned the ban, and the government has 30 days to restore Twitter service to the country. Global news network, Vocativ, recently revealed that despite Erogdan’s dislike of the social media network, he has an “army” of fake accounts posting content supportive of the Prime Minister’s party and politics.

 

Egyptians in the street

 Mass protest in Egypt

Last Saturday, a criminal court in Cairo sentenced Egypt autocrat Hosni Mubarak -along with his long-time interior minister Habib al-Adli, to life in Prison but dismissed corruption charges against Mr. Mubarak and his deeply unpopular sons, Alaa and Gamal, on technical grounds. Six top police commanders, who faced the a charge of complicity in killing unarmed protesters, were acquitted for what the judge said was a lack of evidence.

Soon after the verdict was announced, protesters poured on to Tahrir Square and planned for a million strong march, which took place yesterday. Khalil spoke with Egyptian journalist Amad Shokr about the protests and the current political landscape in Egypt.

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Turkey’s Role in MENA Region; Interview with Firoozeh Kashani

This week on Voices of The Middle East and North Africa we will be looking at Turkey’s expanding role in the Middle East and North Africa. We will be speaking with Dr. Karem Oktem, a research fellow at the European Studies Center of Saint Anthony’s College about Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Later on in the program, VOMENA producer Shuka Kalantari will speak with Iranian-American author, Firoozeh Kashani of Penn State University about her debut novel ‘Martyrdom Street.’

turkey

turkey

 

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Turkey’s Role in the MENA region; Discussion of Firoozeh Kahani’s “Martydrom Street”

Turkish Flag

Turkish Flag

This week on Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, we take an in-depth look at Turkey’s expanding role in the Middle East and North Africa. We will be speaking with Dr. Karem Oktem; a research fellow at the European Studies Center of Saint Anthony’s College; about Turkey’s assertive foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Later on in the program VOMENA producer Shuka Kalantari will speak with Iranian American author Firoozeh Kashani of Penn State University about her debut novel “Martydom Street.”

'Martydrom Street' book cover

'Martydrom Street' book cover

 

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This Week: Coup D’Etat in Turkey; U.S. Boat to Gaza

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

On this week’s program, we’ll have a conversation with political scientist Gamze Yasar about the upcoming referendum on Turkey’s constitution on Sept 12th, the 30th anniversary of 1980’s military Coup d’etat in Turkey.

Then, later in the program, we’ll speak with filmmaker and co-founder of international solidarity movement Adam Shapiro abou the upcoming U.S. boat to Gaza that will take place some time this fall.

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Attack on Free Gaza flotilla; Iranian-American hiphop

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

A conversation with Israeli-born UCLA history professor Gabriel Piterberg about last weeks Israeli attack on the Free Gaza flotilla.

Revolution of the Mind Later in the program, Iranian-American hip-hop artist Ali Abdollahi of the group, “Revolution of the Mind,” talks about his music and about the protests against the fraudulent Presidential election in Iran.

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The changing role of Turkey; A film about women in Iran

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Women Without Men

Women Without Men

Two different perspectives about the changing role in Turkey vise a vie the U.S. and Israel. In light of the recent attack on the Free Gaza flotilla, and the killing of nine Turkish activists by Israel commandos.

Later in the program we’ll speak with award-winning Iranian-American visual artist Shirin Neshat about her first full-length motion picture titled, “Women Without Men.”

Click here to a see a trailor.

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