Author Archives: claire

How to Understand Gul’s Column

John, you brought up Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s column in The New York Times. I thought I’d provide some of the domestic political background that has obviously prompted him to this latest round of deflecting attention toward Israel during a moment of awkwardness at home–a longstanding pattern for the AKP, and one with a proven record of working. If you’re in Turkey today, as I am, you’ll see headlines like »

A Theory About Conspiracy Theories

When I submitted the first draft of this piece about the arrest of Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık to City Journal, their (extraordinarily good) editors returned it to me. They tactfully asked me to rewrite it because they could make no sense of it. What, they asked me, was real, and what was parody? I hope the final version makes a bit more sense. I’ve done my best. The key point »

The Free Gaza Flotilla, the Beslan Massacres and the Progressive Librarians

I’m on the press list for the IHH and the Free Gaza Flotilla. I receive invitations to all of their events. Yesterday’s concluded with a few inspirational words from an unlikely heroine: Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness…is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” –Helen Keller Whether Helen Keller would have found this mission a worthy purpose, I cannot say; »

El-Khiam: A Village-Sized Suicide Bomb

As you may have heard, the Israel Defense Force has declassified maps showing their assessment of the locations of Hezbollah bunkers, weapons facilities and surveillance posts in the village of El-Khiam, north of the Israeli border. Having just recently been looking at that village–from the southern side of the border–I was particularly interested to see this. Judith Levy’s analysis of the IDF’s decision to release these maps right now seems »

Conspiracy Theories Take Over Key NATO Ally

The latest development in the saga of the Imam’s Army suggests a novel development in political history: Conspiracy theories–which you would not think capable of agency or intention–have quietly, secretly penetrated every organ of the Turkish body politic, where they have been lying in wait patiently, waiting for the signal from their hidden master. They have, as of today, taken control. Whoever we think we’re dealing with, they’re not really »

The Hunt for the Imam’s Army

Here in Turkey, we’re consumed by the hunt for the forbidden manuscripts of The Imam’s Army. The police have arrested the author, Ahmet Şık, on suspicion of membership in the Ergenekon conspiracy, and they’re hunting down every copy of the draft of his book. What’s in that book? Who knows? Supposedly it blows the lid on Fethullah Gülen’s control of the Turkish police, or supposedly it contains the organizational blueprint »

What I’ve Been Up to in Israel

I promised Power Line an exclusive report from Israel, and believe me, I will keep my promise–although it will be an exclusive report from Israel datelined “Istanbul,” because that’s just the kind of week it’s been, and this is the Mediterranean, the land that deadlines forgot. But the exclusive report is coming, Power Line, I promise. In the meantime, I thought I’d point you to a few things I did »

Holy Land Press Junket Instructions

So those of you who follow me on Ricochet will know that this week, Ricochet is going on a Holy Land Press Junket. That’s right, your Turkey correspondent’s been invited on a press junket to Israel, where she’ll be hooking up with Ricochet’s Permanent Holy Land Correspondent Judith Levy and our Pro-tem Holy Land Correspondent Mollie Hemmingway. Together we’ll be live-blogging, filming, and podcasting the entire week. Our hosts are »

The Rose of Damascus and Money Laundering

Paul Rahe over at Ricochet has a great post about Vogue’s suck-up to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The mild-mannered opthalmologist has, Paul concedes, an eye for the ladies. If we are to judge by the photographs taken by James Nachtwey for Vogue, we have to admit that Asma al-Assad is easy on the eye. “Dark-brown eyes, wavy chin-length brown hair, long neck, an energetic grace. No »

I’ve Got the Power

Greetings from Istanbul, Power Line! I’m your new guest host. John asked me to send a little bio to introduce myself, but come on, John, everyone knows who I am. I’m that journalist who lives in Istanbul with seven cats and secretly manipulates the world’s currency markets from her basement, also known as the Alexander Haig of Ricochet. Don’t take my word for my influence, though. This description of my »