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Piero Castellano

Genoa, Italy
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About Piero
I am an independent journalist and photojournalist.
I specialize in heritage, street photography, new media activism, civil rights and struggle for them. I look for human stories on wider political, social, or economic backgrounds.
I work as a freelance photographer since 2002. After I settled in Turkey in 2011 I began cooperating with Italian daily “La Repubblica” and international media and agencies. I have covered the 2013-2014 mass protests in Turkey. 
I work on cultural heritage, local traditions (typical food, ethnic gastronomy, craftsmanship) and sea related topics (boat building and restoration, yacht racing, seafaring traditions).
I pay special attention to social and economic issues in depressed areas, including those regarding displaced people, urban refugees, neglected suburbs and craftsmen in disappearing professions, always with an eye on local history.
I am quite active on Twitter.
I write in Italian and English, have photo and video capability.
Languages
English Spanish French
+1
Services
News Gathering Feature Stories Content Writing
+4
Skills
Politics Current Affairs Science & Environment
+5
Portfolio

Parliament lacks a role under Turkey’s new presidential rule

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the significant political changes in Turkey following the June 24 elections, which solidified President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's power and marked the transition to a new constitution. This constitution grants the president extensive executive and legislative powers, effectively reducing the role of parliament. Critics like Aykan Erdemir and Magdalena Kirchner argue that the new system lacks substantial checks and balances, particularly with a judiciary subservient to Erdoğan. The article highlights concerns about the erosion of democratic institutions in Turkey and the consolidation of power in the hands of the president, with the parliament now largely symbolic and the state of emergency laws making Erdoğan's control over the AK party and state apparatus even more pronounced.

Turkey's Missed Opportunity in Renewable Energy and the Cost of Fossil Fuel Dependence

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
Experts criticize Turkey for not fully utilizing its renewable energy potential, despite ranking 17th in Ernst&Young's renewable energy attractiveness index. Turkey's heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels is costly and increases its carbon emissions, which grew by 135.4% from 1990 to 2016. The government's investments in fossil fuels and nuclear energy overlook the benefits of the green economy. Greenpeace Akdeniz and 350Ankara highlight the issues with Turkey's energy policy, including the high carbon emission model and the overproduction of energy. The article suggests that a shift towards renewable energy could reduce energy import dependency, create jobs, and mitigate climate-related costs, which have been significant for Turkey. Despite the lack of decisive government action, there is some growth in renewable energy in Turkey, which could potentially influence its foreign policy and relations with the EU.

Mystery of Italian kidnapped in Turkey

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
Alessandro Sandrini, an Italian citizen, disappeared during a holiday in Turkey in 2016 and has recently made contact with his family, claiming he was taken prisoner by armed men. The case became public in December when Italian media reported that Sandrini had called his mother after being missing for over a year. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Brescia prosecutors are investigating the kidnapping, with the Italian embassy in Ankara cooperating with Turkish police. The case has sparked debate in Italy over the payment of ransoms and the safety of traveling to certain countries. Despite the sensitive nature of the case, mainstream Italian media have been quiet, possibly due to the discretion requested by investigators. The situation has raised suspicions and left many questions unanswered, potentially affecting Italian tourism to Turkey.

Tight security and mourning mark the aftermath of deadly attack

04 Apr 2024  |  pierocastellano.tumblr.com
The article discusses the heightened security measures and the state of mourning that have ensued following a deadly attack. The specifics of the attack, such as the location, perpetrators, and the number of casualties, are not provided in the excerpt. The focus is on the response to the incident, indicating that authorities have taken steps to increase security to prevent further incidents and to help the community cope with the tragedy. The mood of the affected area is somber, with individuals and families grieving the loss of life. The article likely provides details on the security protocols implemented and the public's reaction to the attack.

Turks in Europe caught in electoral whirlwind

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the significant influence of Turkish expatriates in Europe on Turkish elections, highlighting the polarization and challenges they face in their adopted countries. It explores the impact of President Erdogan's anti-Western rhetoric and the European response, including bans on Turkish political campaigning. The article also examines the role of organizations like the TGD in Germany and the sentiments of Turkish communities towards integration and political participation. It touches on the rise of xenophobic parties in Europe, the Gezi Park protests, and incidents that have raised concerns about Erdogan's influence on Turkish expats. The article concludes by discussing the controversy surrounding German footballers of Turkish origin and the broader implications for integration and identity in Europe.

Brunson case: What will Erdoğan do?

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the escalating diplomatic tension between the United States and Turkey over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey. President Donald Trump has threatened Turkey with sanctions if they do not release Brunson. The situation has been complicated by a failed deal that was reported by The Washington Post, where Turkey allegedly reneged on a promise to release Brunson in exchange for Israel freeing a Turkish woman. The article also touches on other contentious issues between the two nations, such as Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missiles and U.S. support for Kurdish forces in Syria. The U.S. Congress has considered blocking the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey, and other sanctions are being contemplated under CAATSA and through the U.S. Treasury. Experts from various institutions provide their insights on the matter, with some suggesting that Turkey's economic vulnerabilities may limit its response options.

Grass-roots environmental protests spring up across Turkey

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
In Turkey, a surge of grassroots environmental protests is emerging in response to numerous megaprojects that are transforming the country's economy and environment. Despite initial optimism for job creation and economic development, communities have become disillusioned by the negative environmental impacts of projects like lignite mines and coal power plants. Activists like İbrahim Yalçın and Murat Karacan are mobilizing local resistance, often in areas that are traditional strongholds of the ruling party. Organizations such as Greenpeace and 350Ankara are supporting these efforts by providing information and legal assistance. Despite the challenges posed by strict anti-terrorism laws and a political climate that favors large-scale projects, environmental awareness is growing, and activists are increasingly organized and informed, leading to some successes in halting harmful projects.

Turkish firms shut Italian chocolate factories, leaving bitter taste

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the closure of two Italian chocolate factories, Cioccolato VdA and the iconic Pernigotti, by their Turkish owners, leading to job losses and sparking concerns about Turkish investments in Italy. Turkish investments in Italy have increased significantly, with Turkish companies investing for various strategic reasons, including gaining a foothold in the EU market. The article highlights the benefits of Italian-Turkish business collaborations, especially in developing markets. However, the devaluation of the Turkish lira and high inflation in Turkey have affected businesses. The article also touches on the political and legal challenges faced by foreign investors in Italy, such as the rigidity of Italian commercial law and the lack of an insolvency mechanism, which complicates the rescue of troubled firms. The case of Pernigotti, now owned by the Toksöz Group, is used to illustrate these challenges, with the company's decision to move production to Turkey causing political and media uproar in Italy.

Business as usual: European companies increase trade with Turkey despite human rights concerns

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article investigates the paradox of increasing trade between European companies, particularly Italian, and Turkey, despite the European Union's concerns over human rights abuses in Turkey. It highlights that while political leaders criticize Turkey's human rights record, businesses continue to invest and trade, driven by economic interests. Italian companies are deeply involved in Turkish mega-projects, and trade relations are flourishing. The article discusses the implications of Turkey's authoritarian turn for foreign investors and the potential risks to property rights. It also touches on the impact of Italy's recent elections and the rise of populist parties on Italian-Turkish relations. Despite the political rhetoric, economic and security needs are likely to keep the EU-Turkey relationship intact, although experts suggest that Turkey's disregard for the rule of law and diplomacy makes a healthy relationship challenging.

'Öcalan factor' in the Italian debate

04 Apr 2024  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the tension between Italy and Turkey over the decision by some Italian cities to grant honorary citizenship to Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Despite Turkey's dismissal of these gestures as legally insignificant, the issue was discussed during a meeting between Italian and Turkish officials. Italy maintains economic ties with Turkey, being its third most important trading partner and supporting Turkish accession to the EU. The article also touches on the complex Kurdish political landscape, with Freedom House's Nate Schenkkan noting that Öcalan represents only one faction of the Kurds. The conflict between Turkey and the PKK, which has claimed over 30,000 lives, is also mentioned, as well as Turkey's offensive against the YPG in Afrin, Syria. The possibility of Öcalan playing a role in peace processes is suggested by journalist Amberin Zaman.

Book review: Lisa Morrow’s “Istanbul 50 unsung places”

11 Aug 2023  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
Piero Castellano reviews Lisa Morrow's book 'Istanbul 50 unsung places', a travel guide that diverges from the typical tourist path and offers a deeper, more intimate exploration of Istanbul. The author, an Australian sociologist and travel writer who resides in Istanbul, provides a unique perspective that blends practical travel advice with personal anecdotes and historical context. Castellano praises the book for reigniting his love for travel guidebooks and for its ability to transport the reader to the less frequented, yet culturally rich areas of Istanbul. He commends Morrow for creating a guide that not only helps travelers navigate the city but also allows them to experience it as if they were locals. The book is described as a treasure map for explorers and a travel tale that restores the exotic charm of Istanbul, making it a valuable resource for both visitors and residents with foreign friends.

I have to confess.

19 Feb 2022  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The author shares a whimsical and reflective experience in Turkey, where they engage in tourist-like behavior despite their usual disdain for it. The narrative centers around an encounter with a cat in an Istanbul shisha cafe, which leads to a fantastical conversation about the historical significance of cats in Turkish culture. The cat recounts tales of feline ancestors witnessing key historical events and the changing fortunes of cats in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The story touches on the reverence for cats in Turkey, their integration into daily life, and the respect shown to them by the people. The article concludes with the author leaving the cafe, humorously noting the high cost of the shisha and the cat's dignified demeanor.

The dog who wanted to fly

10 Feb 2022  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article tells the story of a street dog in Turkey who became a local legend among the paragliding community. The dog, later named Harley, was rescued from drowning by a paraglider pilot and developed a fascination with flying. He would hitch rides up Babadağ mountain and watch the paragliders take off. Recognizing his desire to fly, the pilots eventually took Harley on a tandem flight, which was captured on video. However, Harley's story ended tragically when he was killed by a shepherd for attacking livestock. The author, who learned of Harley's tale during a paragliding trip, reflects on the dog's legacy and the community that remembers him.

Sevan Nişanyan: a living test case for democracy

17 Jan 2022  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article discusses the case of Sevan Nişanyan, a Turkish-born Armenian linguist, architect, and businessman who has become a symbol of the tensions and contradictions in Turkish history. Nişanyan, who faced legal troubles and imprisonment in Turkey for various reasons including his outspoken intellectualism and irreverent blog posts, escaped to Greece in 2017. Despite being a legal resident in Greece, married to a Greek citizen, and having committed no offense, Nişanyan is being deported for undisclosed reasons related to national security. The article criticizes the lack of transparency and fairness in the deportation process and suggests that this reflects poorly on the state of democracy and human rights in Greece. It also touches on the broader implications for the European Union, which criticizes Turkey for similar practices. The article ends by comparing Nişanyan to Amadeus, suggesting that his legacy will outlast the injustices he faces.

Interview to a former Türk Hava Kurumu Canadair CL-215 pilot

05 Aug 2021  |  Medium
The article is an interview with a former pilot of Türk Hava Kurumu's Canadair CL-215 firefighting aircraft, discussing the capabilities and maintenance of the fleet amidst catastrophic wildfires in the Mediterranean region. The pilot clarifies misconceptions about the aircraft's obsolescence, comparing it to the modern CL-415 and highlighting the importance of good maintenance and continuous pilot training. He also addresses the operational differences between various firefighting aircraft, including Russian planes and the US-built B747 Supertanker. The pilot praises the coordination of Turkey's firefighting efforts during his tenure and expresses a strong passion for aerial firefighting, stating he would return to fly the CL-215s if asked.

Turkish and Greek relations into uncharted waters

03 Aug 2020  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the escalating tensions between Turkey and Greece, particularly in the context of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent actions and statements. Erdoğan's call for peace with Greece, despite being allies, is seen as a signal of detente after heightened rhetoric and incidents following the 2016 failed coup in Turkey. The article highlights the historical and geopolitical complexities surrounding the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the borders between the two nations, and the ongoing disputes over territorial waters and airspace in the Aegean Sea. The situation is further complicated by Turkey's geopolitical ambitions under Erdoğan, the asylum requests by followers of Fethullah Gülen in Greece, and the domestic political climate in both countries. The role of international actors like the EU, IMF, and NATO is also examined, with concerns about the potential for military conflict and the impact of recent purges in the Turkish military.

An Eid memory from Turkey

31 Jul 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article is a personal recollection by Piero Castellano of an event that occurred during Eid al-Adha (kurban bayrami) in Urla, near Izmir, Turkey. The author describes witnessing a family transporting goats in a truck from a temporary livestock market for the bayram. One goat managed to escape when the truck stopped at a traffic light, leading to a chaotic scene where the rest of the goats followed suit, causing a stampede in the street. The author humorously recounts the futile attempts of the men to recapture the goats and the disruption caused to the bayram traffic. The story ends with the author moving on, unsure of the fate of the goats, and a mention of a rumor that the goats were trained to return to the market.

Story of a Pizzeria in Naples

17 Jul 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
Antica Pizzeria e Friggitoria Di Matteo, a modest establishment in the historic center of Naples, has played a significant role in the history of Neapolitan pizza. Since its opening in 1936, the pizzeria has evolved from a street food spot to a full-service restaurant. Salvatore di Matteo, the current owner, emphasizes the importance of traditional ingredients and the unique pizza-making method that led to UNESCO recognizing the art of Neapolitan 'Pizzaiuolo' as an intangible cultural heritage. The pizzeria gained international fame when Bill Clinton visited in 1994, and it continues to thrive amidst the competition, representing the culinary excellence of Southern Italy.

A Naples pizzeria story

17 Jul 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article tells the story of Antica Pizzeria e Friggitoria Di Matteo, a historic pizzeria in Naples, Italy, and its owner, Salvatore Di Matteo. From its modest beginnings in 1936, the pizzeria has witnessed the evolution of Neapolitan pizza from street food to a dish served in restaurants. The article highlights the impact of US President Bill Clinton's visit during the 1994 G7 summit, which brought international attention to the pizzeria and Neapolitan pizza. Salvatore Di Matteo emphasizes the importance of traditional ingredients and techniques, and the article discusses the UNESCO recognition of the art of Neapolitan pizzaioli as intangible world heritage. The story underscores the pizzeria's commitment to maintaining tradition while adapting to a changing world.

Wines of the volcano

16 Jul 2020  |  Medium
The article 'Wines of the volcano' by Piero Castellano explores the unique viticulture practiced in the crater of an extinct volcano near Lake Avernus, Southern Italy. The area, once feared as a gate to the Underworld, now hosts three vineyards producing Campi Flegrei DOC wines, including the red Piedirosso and the white Falanghina. These vineyards, dating back to the 19th century, survived the Phylloxera Plague due to the volcanic soil's properties. The article tells the stories of local winemakers like Emilio Mirabella and Umberto Guardascione, who returned to their ancestral lands to continue the tradition of winemaking. The wines produced here are ungrafted and have gained the D.O.C. quality assurance classification. The article also touches on the historical and cultural significance of the region, mentioning the Latin poet Virgil and the submerged Roman harbor city of Baiae. Emilio and Umberto are not only preserving traditional winemaking but also contributing to the area's tourism and protection from urbanization.

Wines of the volcano

16 Jul 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article 'Wines of the volcano' by Piero Castellano explores the unique viticulture practiced in the crater of an extinct volcano near Lake Avernus, Southern Italy. The region, known for its volcanic soil, is home to ancient grapevines that survived the Phylloxera Plague of the 1860s and now produce the prized Campi Flegrei DOC wines. Emilio Mirabella, a former sailing boat skipper, and his neighbor Umberto Guardascione, a former electronic technician, have returned to their ancestral lands to cultivate these historical vineyards. The article delves into the history of the area, the winemaking process, and the efforts to preserve the land and its traditions. It also touches on the touristic potential of the region, with its rich archaeological and cultural heritage, and the personal stories of the winemakers who are now producing wines like Piedirosso and Falanghina with traditional methods.

Guns and toys

11 Jun 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
Piero Castellano reflects on a personal experience where he saw a child with a toy gun, which triggered memories of his own childhood filled with toy weapons and his family's military background. Despite playing with toy guns as a child, he grew up to be a pacifist and developed a technical interest in war hardware, coupled with a respect for the real-life consequences of weapons. He questions the cultural fascination with weapons and criticizes the casual attitude towards them, suggesting they should only be a last resort for justice and security. The article is a contemplation of how early exposure to toy weapons and the culture surrounding them can impact one's perception of violence and conflict.

The other 1789 revolution

01 May 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article by Piero Castellano recounts the story of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty led by Fletcher Christian against Captain William Bligh on April 28, 1789. The mutineers sought to escape their oppressive life by returning to Tahiti and eventually settling on Pitcairn Island. The mutiny led to a series of tragic events, including internal conflict and murder among the mutineers and their Tahitian companions. The author also discusses the aftermath of the mutiny, including Bligh's remarkable navigation to Timor and the failed mission to introduce breadfruit as a cheap food source for slaves in the Caribbean. The article concludes with the author's personal visit to Pitcairn Island, interactions with the descendants of the mutineers, and reflections on the island's history and current state, including a scandal that broke out in 2004. The author provides resources for those interested in learning more about Pitcairn Island.

Whispers are as powerful as screams in the blue room

16 Jan 2020  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article describes an intimate concert experience in a setting referred to as the 'blue room'. The author conveys the atmosphere of the room, which is set up with casual furniture and musical instruments, creating a feeling of being in someone's living room. The performer, Aylin Aslim, is mentioned as the host who welcomes the guests and shares the spirit of her voyage through music. The music is described as familiar yet transformed by the experiences of the artist, with whispers of songs that once filled stadiums now conveying different emotions. The piano and cello accompany Aylin, adding to the storytelling. The article captures the emotional connection between the artists and the audience, culminating in a shared moment of singing and the inevitable end of the concert, leaving the guests longing for more.

One Hundred Years of 'Victory'

04 Nov 2018  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
Italy commemorates Armed Forces Day and the anniversary of the Victory in World War I, reflecting on the sacrifices and betrayals faced by soldiers. The article critiques the nationalist fervor post-WWI and the failure to achieve the democracy longed for after the Risorgimento. It argues that the true victory, one of democratic foundations, is still distant but not unattainable, and that the actions of the armed forces, both honorable and deplorable, are carried out in the name of the citizens.

The “Gezi Resistance” in Ankara

31 May 2018  |  Medium
Piero Castellano reflects on the third anniversary of the Gezi Protests in Turkey, a series of civil unrest events that began as a movement to save a park but quickly escalated to nationwide protests. The article discusses the diverse participation in the protests, the unity among different political groups, and the subsequent political developments in Turkey. It highlights the missed opportunities for change, the government's harsh response to the protests, and the shift in the political landscape since then. The author suggests that the Gezi Protests were a turning point and a missed chance for Turkey, as the current political rhetoric has moved from democracy to obedience.

Report from Ankara at the onset of coup attempt (In Italian)

Anniversary of Gezi protests in Ankara

Turkish Romani celebrates Kakava and Hidirellez

Oil wrestling tournament in Turkey's Edirne

The reconstruction of an ancient fishing boat

Izmir Catholics miss the Pope's visit

Sword fish hunters in the Straits of Messina

Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated at exhibition

19 Jan 2018  |  SBS Australia
The statement by SBS is an acknowledgment of the Indigenous peoples of Australia, recognizing their role as the Traditional Custodians of the land. SBS pays respect to their ongoing connection and stewardship of the natural environment, including the skies, lands, and waterways. This acknowledgment is a common practice in Australia to show respect towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their enduring cultural heritage and rights.

Camel wrestling is a Turkish tradition that dates back almost 2,500 years. In a lot of ways it's like a goofier and less deadly version of cockfighting. I visited a fight recently and was able to sneak into the arena to get these shots

An international fight over the bones of Santa Claus

19 Jan 2018  |  ahvalnews.com
The article discusses the changing relations between Turkey and the Christian community regarding St. Nicholas' church in Demre, Turkey, which has been rebranded as the 'Father Christmas Museum'. It highlights the discovery of what could be St. Nicholas' bones, reported by Hürriyet Daily News, and the cautious reactions from international scholars. The article also touches on the potential impact of this discovery on local tourism and the broader development plans for the region, including a new airport and increased cruise ship tourism. These plans are controversial among locals and tourism entrepreneurs, with concerns about the loss of the area's authentic character and the shift towards mass tourism.

Kybele’s Voyage

06 Oct 2017  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article 'Kybele’s Voyage' by Piero Castellano recounts the journey of the ship Kybele, a replica of a Phocaean bireme, which was part of an Experimental Archeology project led by Professor Osman Erkurt in cooperation with ANKUSAM at Ankara University. The ship traveled from Foça, Turkey to Marseille, France, and was involved in various cultural events. The author joined the ship's crew for a voyage and reflects on the insights gained about ancient seafaring, navigation, and living conditions. The article also discusses the broader implications of experimental archeology in understanding the history of maritime exploration and the experiences of ancient sailors.

The night Turkey changed forever

16 Jul 2017  |  Medium
The article by Piero Castellano reflects on the impact of the failed coup attempt in Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016. It discusses how the event has led to a transformation in Turkey, with President Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) gaining strength and the country's democracy being questioned. The coup attempt saw a significant portion of the military remain loyal to the government, and the public's resistance played a crucial role in its failure. The AKP has since adopted more nationalist policies, drawing support from the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP). The article also touches on the rise of anti-western sentiment, the political role of religion, and the purges that followed the coup, affecting thousands across various sectors. Questions about the coup's events persist, and the country's future remains uncertain even a year after the coup attempt.

Istanbul, civili scesi in strada in risposta all'appello di Erdogan

16 Jul 2016  |  www.vice.com
Piero Castellano, an Italian photojournalist living in Ankara since 2011, recounts his experience of the attempted military coup in Turkey on July 15. The night began as a typical warm summer evening until reports of armed soldiers blocking the Bosphorus Bridge and demanding police weapons surfaced. The possibility of a coup had been discussed among Castellano's group, but the likelihood seemed slim. As events unfolded, with jets flying low and rumors of a military uprising, it became clear that a coup was indeed taking place. Erdogan called on citizens to take to the streets in defense of democracy, which they did in large numbers. The coup attempt failed, leading to thousands of arrests, including military personnel and judges. The aftermath of the coup saw a crackdown on those associated with Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric accused of orchestrating the coup. The article captures the confusion, fear, and eventual relief of the people as the coup was thwarted and Erdogan's power was solidified.

Beyond Gezi: remembering Ankara’s silent protests in photos

31 May 2016  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article by Piero Castellano provides a retrospective look at the protests that took place in Ankara, Turkey, leading up to the more widely covered Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. It highlights the various incidents of civil unrest in Ankara, including protests against religious discrimination, government opposition, and police brutality. The article describes the escalation of events, such as the banning of Republic Day celebrations, the violent response to student protests at Middle East Technical University, and the kissing protest at a subway station. It also covers the police's attempt to evict Gezi Park occupiers, which became a tipping point for nationwide protests. The article includes photographs taken by the author, capturing the essence of the protests and the government's response, and concludes by noting that while Istanbul received more attention, Ankara's struggles continued with increased police brutality and political tension.

Beyond Gezi: remembering Ankara’s silent protests in photos

31 May 2016  |  pierocastellano.medium.com
The article by Piero Castellano provides a retrospective photojournalistic account of the protests in Ankara, Turkey, leading up to and during the Gezi Park demonstrations in 2013. It highlights the various incidents that signaled growing unrest and opposition to the government, such as protests against religious discrimination by Alevi associations, the banning of Republic Day celebrations, and police brutality at Middle East Technical University. The article also describes the 'kissing protest' in response to a public decency warning, which was attacked by a mob led by an AKP youth leader. The culmination of these events was the police attempt to evict Gezi Park occupiers, which sparked nationwide protests. The author emphasizes that while Istanbul received most of the attention, Ankara experienced continued police brutality, religious discrimination, and environmental destruction. The article includes photographs of the protests, showcasing moments of resistance, solidarity, and the aftermath of police confrontations.

Woman Holds Soviet Flag in Front of Presidential Palace During Liberation Day Commemoration in Prague

08 May 2016  |  alamy.com
On May 8, 2016, in Prague, Czech Republic, a woman was photographed holding a Soviet flag in front of the presidential palace during a demonstration to commemorate Liberation Day, marking the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi invaders.

Turkey, wine with obstacles between taxes and Islamic extremism

02 Dec 2015  |  la Repubblica
Following the rise of the AKP party in Turkey, the wine industry saw a boom with new vineyards like Urlice, founded by Bilge and Reha Ogunlu. However, the introduction of strict Islamic regulations in 2013, including advertising bans and sales restrictions near mosques and schools, has significantly impacted small quality wine producers. Despite the challenges, including high taxes and a ban on alcohol sales during election days, Turkish wines like those from Corvus and Kavaklidere continue to gain international recognition. The industry's resilience suggests it may still play a significant role in global winemaking.

Turkey, pain and anger among the survivors of Ankara

10 Oct 2015  |  la Repubblica
Ankara woke up to a nightmare as two bombs targeted a peace demonstration organized by the People's Democracy Party (Hdp), killing young pacifists and HDP members. The streets emptied quickly as rumors of a third bomb spread. The Ministry of Health's claims of the situation being under control conflicted with ongoing appeals for blood donations. Witnesses reported delayed ambulance services due to police firing tear gas and plastic bullets at the crowd. The HDP leader, Demirtas, was seen comforting victims' families, while the crowd outside hospitals accused President Erdogan of being complicit in the attack. Prime Minister Davutoglu suggested various groups, including leftist ones, could be suspects but also attacked Demirtas for his harsh statements against the government. The HDP has canceled all electoral rallies ahead of the November 1st elections, raising concerns about the legitimacy and democracy of the elections given the security risks and the opposition's need to avoid public gatherings.

Turkey Elections, Civil Society Organizes to Fight Fraud

07 Jun 2015  |  la Repubblica
In Turkey's elections, considered the most important in recent history, civil society is mobilizing to ensure fairness amid distrust in institutions and election violence. Thousands of volunteers are monitoring voting operations to prevent fraud. Last year's administrative elections saw blackouts in areas where Erdogan's AKP was weak, raising suspicions. The Kurdish HDP, led by Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, is challenging the 10% electoral threshold to potentially disrupt AKP's majority. Organizations like Oy ve Ötesi and Ankara'nin Oylari are deploying volunteers and providing training to safeguard the electoral process. Legal assistance is offered by the Turkish Bar Association, and the TMMOB supports volunteers. Concerns include multiple voting, ballot replacement, and electronic system manipulation. The YSK, accused of being close to Erdogan, has been criticized for printing excess ballots and quickly dismissing detailed appeals.

Armenian singer Hayko Cepkin climbs to fame in Turkey

06 Apr 2015  |  www.al-monitor.com
The article discusses the heightened attention on the Turkish Armenian community due to the upcoming anniversary of the 1915 mass killings, which Turkey does not acknowledge as a genocide. The mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, has sued a Turkish Armenian journalist for insult, and a senior adviser to the prime minister, who is also of Armenian descent, expressed that he identifies more with his Ottoman heritage than his Armenian roots. This statement prompted a response from Hayko Cepkin, a well-known Turkish musician of Armenian ancestry, who criticized the president's apologetic tone when referring to Armenians.

Traveling with the Yoruk, the last nomadic shepherds of Anatolia

25 Nov 2014  |  repubblica.it
The Yoruk, nomadic shepherds of Anatolia's Taurus Mountains, maintain a traditional lifestyle, migrating with their flocks and living in simple stone dwellings. Their diet includes bean or potato soups, goat yogurt, and bread with pekmez. The Yoruk face challenges such as harsh weather during migrations and economic changes threatening their way of life. Despite these difficulties, they are known for products like Tulum cheese and are characterized by strong community bonds and national pride.

Italian restoration team for the frescoes of Ephesus

13 Nov 2014  |  la Repubblica
Italian restorers are working on the frescoes of the Terrace Houses in Ephesus, Turkey, under the auspices of the Austrian Archaeological Institute. The restoration projects, which began after the houses were unearthed in 1977, are funded by private sponsors through the Ephesus Foundation. The Italian team, which includes Francesca, Linda, and Savina Gianoli, operates in full view of tourists, maintaining and cleaning the frescoes annually. Despite joking about the notion of a 'brain drain,' the Italian restorers consider themselves professionals in an international market. The Terrace Houses, destroyed by an earthquake, present ongoing stability challenges. The work is seasonal, with the team returning to Italy for other projects. The site, one of Turkey's most important archaeological locations, has been under scientific excavation since 1893, initiated by Otto Benndorf.

Protesta dei rifugiati afghani in Turchia: sciopero della fame e labbra cucite

30 May 2014  |  la Repubblica
Un gruppo di rifugiati afghani ha organizzato una protesta fuori dalla sede dell'UNHCR ad Ankara, Turchia, per manifestare contro la sospensione della registrazione di nuovi profughi e il blocco delle pratiche per l'asilo in altri Paesi. Alcuni rifugiati sono in sciopero della fame e si sono cuciti le labbra. La Turchia, che non ha ratificato le modifiche alla Convenzione di Ginevra del 1951, considera i rifugiati non europei come transitori. L'UNHCR ha interrotto la registrazione di nuovi richiedenti asilo afghani a causa dell'elevato numero di rifugiati già presenti. I rifugiati afghani in Turchia vivono in condizioni precarie, senza possibilità di lavoro legale e con accesso limitato ai servizi. La polizia municipale di Çankaya ha ricevuto lamentele riguardo alle condizioni igieniche del campo dei rifugiati. Dopo un anno di attesa, la protesta è esacerbata e i rifugiati sono disposti a morire per ottenere un futuro migliore per le loro famiglie.

Reckless Emotions on the Silk Road

06 Dec 2013  |  la Repubblica
Kemaliye, formerly known as Egin, was a prosperous stop along the caravan route, known for its artisans, merchants, musicians, and writers. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the loss of its Armenian population, the area declined. Renamed Kemaliye in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, it is now a hub for extreme sports such as BASE jumping, paragliding, rafting, and climbing. Despite the dangers, it is one of the few places where BASE jumping is legal. The Euphrates River suffers from eutrophication due to the Keban Dam, and KEMAV has initiated a petition to address the issue. The town is experiencing a revival with the return of successful emigrants, leading to restoration efforts of traditional wooden houses, while nearby villages remain depopulated with few prospects for development. Local authorities hope to leverage the popularity of extreme sports and outdoor activities to promote tourism.

Turkey, the Amazons of Jirit

08 Oct 2013  |  repubblica.it
The article from La Repubblica, dated October 8, 2013, describes a women's Jirit team in Turkey, highlighting the sport's traditional tactics reminiscent of historic Asian cavalry from the Parthians to the Mongols. The team, led by captain Aysun Yilmaz, faces challenges due to the sport's masculine image and difficulty in securing sponsorship and financial support, especially from conservative local institutions. The team members, including young girls from nomadic Turkmen families, demonstrate skill and agility in the sport, despite facing ridicule from male counterparts.

Battle of the Beasts: Camel Wrastlin’ in Turkey

02 May 2013  |  vice.com
The article discusses the tradition of camel wrestling in Turkey, a practice with a history of almost 2,500 years. The camels, often imported for these events, participate in matches in the Aegean region. The article describes two types of matches: traditional ones, where a female camel is used to incite the males before being removed, and contemporary ones, where camels are made to fight by bringing them face-to-face. The article also mentions controversial practices such as entangling camels or starving them to increase aggression. A match ends when a camel falls, flees, or screams.

Kybele, Sailing the Seas Like the Ancient Greeks

05 Dec 2012  |  la Repubblica
The article discusses the sailing of 'Kybele', a ship modeled after ancient Greek vessels, focusing on its features such as the boar-shaped ram and apotropaic eyes, and the use of traditional materials and techniques in its construction and navigation. It highlights the participation of volunteers and archaeology students in the crew, the challenges of modern port maneuvers, and the historical significance of the ship's namesake, the ancient mother goddess Kybele. The article also mentions Professor Erkurt, a historian of navigation from the University of Istanbul, who teaches at the 9 September University in Izmir and has previously reconstructed and sailed the ship from the famous Uluburun wreck.

Turkey, for the first time a woman animates the shadow theater

16 Aug 2012  |  la Repubblica
Müzeyyen Nalkesen is the first woman to perform in the traditional Turkish shadow theater, animating the character of Karagöz after undergoing rigorous training to master the character's deep voice. The article details the intricate process of creating the articulated figures from camel skin, painting them with vegetable colors, and the role of the master puppeteer, or 'Hayali', and their apprentice, or 'çirak'. Performances are popular during Ramadan evenings and involve characters that are stereotypes from various parts of the Ottoman Empire. The article also touches on the historical and cultural significance of the shadow theater, mentioning the legendary origins of Karagöz and Hacivat in 1300s Bursa.
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