Dying for a cause: the destructive power of empathy

Brussels, Belgium_Now that the initial shock of the attacks on my new hometown has subsided, I’m trying to make sense of it all. The move with my family from Istanbul to Brussels last September was long planned, but as tensions rose rapidly in Turkey, my husband and I told ourselves that in hindsight our timing…

De Nederlandse Bruid zet zich in voor meisjes die een kans willen

De achterstand van de Turkse vrouw is pas een ‘sexy’ media onderwerp geworden sinds de uitlatingen van president Erdoğan het duidelijk maken dat zijn partij de situatie graag zo wil houden. Ik moet bekennen dat ook ik er in mijn correspondentschap slechts zeer sporadisch over bericht heb. Als vrouw ging het me natuurlijk aan het…

Touched by Görümlü

I suppose the people of Görümlü, a hamlet between the town of Silopi and the Turkish border with Iraq, didn’t know yet, when they smuggled me into their village in 1993, that six of the men who had recently been arrested, were sadistically murdered by the soldiers who took them away. This week a trial began…

Expelled through the back door

When I heard that Bram Vermeulen, my award winning successor as the correspondent of NOS, the main T.V. and radio news in the Netherlands, and reporter for the respected NRC newspaper, was blacklisted by Turkey, I immediately thought of my friend and former colleague, Aliza Marcus. It was 1995. The PKK and the Turkish army…

Some not so ordinary days in Istanbul

The last few days captured in tweets. Top  tweet was 18/06/2013 21.50, bottom one 14/06. Jessica J.J. Lutz ‏@JessicaJJLutz 2m First #standingman accused of ‘resisting the police without using violence or movement by standing still’ Law 2911 http://bit.ly/19fyTEX  Letter from Turkey ‏@CNybak 6m Experts on Nietzsche to gather in Assos. http://bit.ly/11u5Tmr Perfect timing for discussions…

Open Letter from Young Academicians to Prime Minister Erdogan

The letter below speaks for itself. It was signed by over 3.000 people. Dear Mr. Prime Minister, We, as the youth and academics of this country, of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Alawite, Shafi’i, religious and nonreligious, atheist and agnostic backgrounds, all joined with a firm belief in secularism, find your recent remarks about raising a…

Hrant Dink, in memoriam

After five years finally some people have been convicted for the murder on Hrant Dink. Yet, liberal newspaper columns are filled with outrage at the verdict, which rules out that any organisation –let alone with links to the state- has planned the murder. Like yesterday I remember being in a different court, trying to fend…

Between a rock and a hard place

In front of my butcher’s shop the other day, I bumped into an old Armenian friend. I hadn’t seen him for several years. “Don’t you want to buy my apartment?” was the first thing he asked me. I laughed. “As long as I know you, you have been asking me that question, but you never…

A book is born

A book is born For months on end now I have been writing and rewriting my latest novel. Finally it’s ready to meet the world. I’ve sent it to an agent in New York, who’d said she was interested. There is still a long way to go before it is actually published, but a writer’s…

I’m the toughest!

Someone sent me a link to a website that compares the armies of the world. Proudly the sender pointed out that the Turkish Armed Forces score best (together with the UK) in ‘tradition’; that the Turkish Armed Forces are the third biggest force in Europe, including Russia; and that it has the second (it’s actually…

Thank you, Big Brother!

‘What should I do with him, Jessica?’ asked the janitor’s wife. Emine had come up from the windowless basement where she lives with her husband and three children, to bring me a handful of village cheese and a plastic bag of freshly picked hazelnuts from the Black Sea coast. She had just returned from delivering…