Ümit Balak may be the only mayor in the world who is campaigning to bury his own village.
Tuzköy, a community of about 2,000 people near Nevşehir in central Turkey, is blighted by an epidemic of cancer and lung disease linked to erionite, a rare and highly toxic mineral present in local rocks.
A group of villagers is held in thrall by omnipotent rulers, who warn that misfortune will befall the inhabitants if they defy authorities. And then, one day, the emperor is revealed to have no clothes.
“A patriotic state official only takes bribes in the local currency,” deadpans Nurlan Anarbayev, one of three presenters on a new Kyrgyz television satire news show. With its motto “more than the truth, a little less than a lie,” the show, Studio 7, filters politics through the prism of comedy, employing a format similar to American primetime hit, The Daily Show.
The focus of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s May 16 talks with US President Barack Obama may be on Syria, but with public rage growing in Turkey over two deadly car bombs in the Syrian-border town of Reyhanlı, the chief aim of the discussion now may be how to limit a potential Turkish domestic backlash.
As officials in Kyrgyzstan prepare to negotiate with their country’s largest investor in Bishkek this week, new details are emerging about how the Kyrgyz government wants to restructure the agreement covering operations at the country’s flagship gold mine.
In Georgia, where motherhood is seen as a woman’s chief duty, a family without children has long been considered a tiny tragedy. To avoid such a situation, many childless Georgian families rely on a shortcut – directly paying or negotiating with other families for the parental rights to unwanted children.
Seven years ago Aijan was walking home from her waitressing job in central Bishkek with two girlfriends. They did not notice the three men following them. As two men tackled the other women, one dragged Aijan, 21 at the time, into a waiting car.
Amid a growing awareness of Western-style civil rights in Georgia, journalists are wrestling with a thorny question: where is the line between reporting and social activism? A recent tussle in the Georgian capital Tbilisi between police and protesters illustrates the trouble that many have in answering.