Mehmet Ali Agca who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released from Prison earlier this year and has now alleged in a Turkish TV interview that the Vatican government had masterminded the move. Originally Agca, who was a member of the Turkish Grey Wolves laid the blame at the door of the Bulgarian Secret Services. Agca's Grey Wolf colleagues were involved in some interesting and nefarious business. Meanwhile the crazy is running strong. (related).
Mimar Sinan; 16th century Ottoman Architect Mimar Sinan born a Christian in Anatolia, from either a Greek or Armenian background, was conscripted into Ottoman service in 1511, and converted to Islam. He was the chief Ottoman architect to four sultans. Sinan worked in seismic, as well as political, fault zones, and his buildings are famous for their earthquake resistance. His extraordinary output included 146 mosques. [more inside]
A Turkish Celebrity, Bulent Ersoy; a popular singer of Ottoman classical music, has gone on trial charged with attempting to turn the public against military service. What makes this a bit different is that Bulent is a 56 year old transexual. It has been suggested in local daily news that this is the Revenge of the oppressed sexual identity. Here is Bulent Ersoy performing as a man and as a woman. [more inside]
The Ergenekon Affair: - The Killer Elite that fuels unrest in Turkey. On 22 January, Turkish police arrested 33 individuals, some connected with the military, in the largest concerted action against the "deep state" , which is heavily involved in Corporate Crime. This might resonate with some US observers.
Qantara (meaning bridge in arabic) is a German based website looking to have dialogue with the Islamic world. Turkey is carrying out a radical revision of Islamic texts trying to define modern Islam. Through dossiers and dialogue and slideshows Qantara is helping this debate.
Two podcasts from the BBC. Around the world, by every measure, America's reputation and image has never been so poor. Part 1: Venezuela; Part 2: Turkey