The Latin Lovers of Armenia

Among the samples of Yerevan’s architecture is the bridge at the end of Kievian Street.

It unfortunately has the reputation of being a favourite drop-off point for the suicides of the city. Walking across it the other day, however, I saw a series of markings on the railings that evoke happier times and thoughts.

It appears that there is a young man who is quite infatuated with a young lady. So infatuated, in fact, that he can barely express his words … Continue reading

‘Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey’, By Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan

‘Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey’, By Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan

‘Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey’ features eight essays born out of two major conferences at Columbia University. Editors Kuru and Stepan address key questions in exploring the concept of state-religion relations in the context of Turkey’s evolving democracy: What place does religion have in public life? Does it even need to be addressed, and, if so, how can it be accommodated?

Let it be said once more: Turkey has changed a lot in recent years, especially over the course of the past decade. Alongside the nation’s economic growth, its society has witnessed significant transformations that have affected the way it views itself, as well as the way the world sees it.

What the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has brought about is not simply policies that encourage the generation of wealth or more proactive steps in diplomacy. Turkey is undergoing a philosophical shift. Things are changing in a way that does not just make people feel better about themselves as Turks or as citizens of Turkey; rather, they are being made to re-evaluate the very basis of the Turkish state — what it means, where it has been, where it is headed. And that is not always an easy task, especially given étatisme’s importance as a tenet in the foundation and organization of the Republic of Turkey. Questioning the heretofore unquestionable can provoke powerful challenges. Continue reading

A ‘Close Creative Encounter’ between İstanbul and Yerevan

A ‘Close Creative Encounter’ between İstanbul and Yerevan

A creative format born in Japan that allows people to present and discuss ideas recently helped foster creative dialogue between two neighboring peoples who do not always see eye-to-eye: Turks and Armenians.

Pecha Kucha — Japanese for “chit-chat” — was conceived by two architects in Tokyo in 2003, originally as a means for young designers to showcase their work while giving them a chance to meet and network with one another. It has since grown immensely in popularity, with presenters from all artistic genres, and even academia, participating in regular franchised Pecha Kucha Nights in over 500 cities around the world.

Two of those cities are İstanbul and Yerevan. Organized with the support of USAID, the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and the Global Political Trends Centre at İstanbul Kültür University, the Yerevan Pecha Kucha franchisee — associated with Yerevan’s The Club, a well-known eatery that is not just a restaurant, but also a gallery and gathering space — worked together with the İstanbul franchisee, 34 Solo, a design consultancy, to put together what was described as “probably the first” inter-city, international Pecha Kucha Night, entitled “Close Creative Encounters.” Continue reading