Foreign academics risk arrest in Iran
Tehran's new hostage policy
Political hostage takings are nothing new in Iran. But the detention of several western academics represents a new dimension. There are grounds for suspecting that hardliners in the judiciary, intelligence service and Revolutionary Guard Corps are intent on scuppering talks to salvage the nuclear accord. By Ulrich von Schwerin
Turkey's Syria offensive
Burying the Kurdish autonomy project
When the Kurds of Syria came under Turkish fire less than ten days ago, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria was left with no choice but to call on Assad for help. Thus ends a political project that many hailed as a model for the future order of Syria. But, as Ulrich von Schwerin points out, it was a project built on very shaky foundations
Held hostage by the Turkish authorities
Deniz Yucel, the "agent terrorist"
Former correspondent for Germany's "Die Welt" Deniz Yucel comes to terms with his imprisonment in Turkey in an intimate new book. Impressively and humorously, he talks about his struggle for dignity and self-assertion and provides an insight into the debates behind the scenes. Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered. By Ulrich von Schwerin
The Arter, art and gentrification
Modern art makeover in Istanbul?
A new modern art museum recently opened its doors at the heart of Istanbul's working-class Dolapdere neighbourhood. An opportunity for this culturally diverse quarter or a threat in an area recognised as a social flashpoint? Ulrich von Schwerin reports on the relationship between art, commerce and gentrification on the Bosphorus
U.S. policy on Iran
Trump's fake "stability" premise
The United States justifies its policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran by accusing the nation of "destabilising" the region. But neither is stability the correct criteria for evaluation of Middle East politics, nor is Tehran essentially behaving any differently to its neighbours, says Ulrich von Schwerin
Berlinʹs Binooki publishing house
Cultural rapprochement hamstrung by Erdogan
Set up to foster understanding between Germany and Turkey by distributing Turkish literature in translation, Binooki, a niche publishing house founded in Berlin by daughters of Turkish guest workers, is fighting for survival – thanks to Erdogan. By Ulrich von Schwerin
Chinaʹs oppression of the Uighurs
Save our Turkic brothers, Mr. President!
Following a long silence, the Turkish government yielded to pressure from its nationalist voter base in February – arguably in a bid to garner local election votes – and criticised the persecution of the Uighur people by China. Yet how to strike a balance between Turkic solidarity and pressing economic interests? By Ulrich von Schwerin
Local elections in Turkey
Erdogan's allure is fading
Because he completely dominated the poll, the Turkish President will be finding it even harder to swallow his party's defeats in Ankara und Istanbul. The loss of Turkey's two biggest cities shows that in the midst of an economic crisis, more Turks want solid solutions instead of bluster and grandstanding aimed at polarising the electorate. By Ulrich von Schwerin
The end of the "Islamic State"
Entering a new chapter in Syria
The appeal and the peculiarity of Islamic State always lay in its claim that it already existed as such, not that it was a work in progress. But the capture of the last IS bastion on the Euphrates must now represent the final nail in the coffin for the jihadistsʹ state-building project. By Ulrich von Schwerin
Book review: Bettany Hughes' "Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities"
Cementing the Orientalist legacy
Over the course of over 800 pages, the British historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes paints a dazzling picture of the history of Istanbul. Using vibrant and vivid language, she describes wars and battles, eunuchs and harems, but says little about everyday life in Istanbul or how the city grew and evolved. Ulrich von Schwerin read the book
Turkey and the Gulen movement
Erdogan seizes the school initiative
Since the attempted coup in Turkey, President Erdogan has been pressing foreign nations to hand over schools run by the Gulen movement. Although many countries have entrusted control of the schools to the Turkish Maarif Foundation, the controversial movement continues to enjoy protection. By Ulrich von Schwerin
After the elections in Turkey
There may be trouble ahead
With his election victory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has secured power for years to come. Despite an energetic campaign, the opposition did not manage to break the Turkish patriarch’s power or even increase its share of the vote. Society seems to have become entrenched in its various camps and there is a risk that tensions will escalate further. Ulrich von Schwerin reports from Istanbul