When it comes to Azerbaijan and music, Eurovision – and, now, Jennifer Lopez – have largely hogged the outside world’s attention. But practitioners of mugam, an ancient Azerbaijani form of musical poetry set to percussion and strings, feel no sense of threat. Western pop music and mugam – the one about glamour, the other about ghazals – can peacefully coexist, they say.
A debate in Turkey over abortion is growing increasingly heated. But, unlike earlier controversies sparked by the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party’s reform initiatives, the opposing camps in the abortion battle do not necessarily fall along secular-versus-religious lines.
For decades, the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Republic of Turkey’s first president, has served as the country’s guiding force. Yet, amidst an unprecedented debate on the role of secularism, has Turkey begun to steer away from Atatürk?
Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul, with its dazzlingly clear, sapphire-blue waters, is one of Central Asia’s prime tourist areas. But for the Central Asian nation’s movers and shakers, Issyk-Kul isn’t just a place for R&R, it’s also a battleground.
A US government-funded survey on mass media trends in Iran found that state television remains by far the most common source of news for Iranians, though roughly half its viewers admit that they don't consider it to be entirely trustworthy. At the same time, Iranians are skeptical of the content in foreign news broadcasts too.
Russia is suffering from a labor shortage. But President Vladimir Putin, in a move that satisfies his Russian nationalist base, has approved measures that make it more difficult for prospective labor migrants from CIS states, Central Asia in particular, to find work legally in Russia.