Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rights backlash in Turkey

Beating drums and blowing whistles, hundreds of women marched last month on Istanbul's central Taksim Square, in one of dozens of rallies that have been held around the country to protest a new threat to reproductive rights.
Abortion until the 10th week of pregnancy has been legal in Turkey since 1983, and little contested until Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan railed against the practice in May, calling it akin to "murder" ...

Unlike in the United States, abortion hasn't generally been much of a political issue in Turkey, so the prime minister's recent statements came as a shock, bringing women and their supporters out into the streets to protest and generating news coverage around the world.

Reporting my latest piece for Women's eNews, I spoke with experts about how this renewed debate affects the general climate for women in Turkey, and how further restrictions on abortion could impact efforts to some of the country's most pressing domestic problems, including violence against women and a troubling gender gap.

Read my story for Women's eNews on their website: "Turkish Women Blow Whistle on Rights Crackdown"

Monday, July 2, 2012

Scavengers' stories

In the shadow of the Acropolis, they set off before dawn. Men and boys driving rusty trucks, pushing heavy hand-carts, towing wagons behind battered motorcycles. As the city slowly comes to life, they are already well into their day's work, scouring alleys and Dumpsters for old box-spring mattresses, appliances, car parts, anything they can salvage and sell at a scrap yard for a few dollars a day. 

Many Athens residents have been struggling to get by since economic and political crisis erupted in Greece, threatening to engulf much of Europe. But the estimated 80,000 Athenians who collect and process scrap in the city's informal economy were eking out their meager livings back when the rest of the city was still living large...

Back in April, I had the opportunity to watch the new documentary "Raw Material" and interview its director, Christos Karakepelis, as part of the 31st Istanbul Film Festival, which hosted a special series of screenings and talks related to current events in Turkey's tumult-wracked neighboring country, "What's Happenıng in Greece?"

This month, my interview with Karakepelis, a passionate and fascinating filmmaker, became the basis for my debut article for The Atlantic's CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities), one of my favorite publications addressing urban issues.

Read my piece on the CityLab website: "How the Garbage Pickers of Athens Predicted the Greek Economic Crisis"