Abandoned by tourists Istanbul is a shadow of its former glory…

I first visited Istanbul on a four-day business trip in 2002 and was so impressed I have returned many times since; on business and for holiday. Recently, I returned from my ninth visit with disappointment at the changes. Istanbul in September 2016 is a very different city to the one I had fallen for yet I hope and believe that it will ride out the current challenges and renew the vibrancy and energy of this beautiful historic city. On the …

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Bombay mix-ups: the politics of placename changes

A few days ago, before hitting the headlines with the news that his newspaper would stop printing next month and become an online-only publication, the London Independent‘s editor Amol Rajan announced that henceforth the paper would stop calling India’s most populous city, Mumbai, and revert to using its previous name of Bombay. Explaining the move to Dan Damon on the BBC World Service, Rajan said that he wanted to use the name Bombay as a symbol of the city having …

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Speaking of the Armenians

Addressing a group of German army officers at his Obersalzberg home in August 1939, Adolf Hitler assured them that their upcoming razing of the Polish nation-state was an act that they could get away with, since global attention to such events had tended to be fickle: [O]ur war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the …

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“are you serious?” – redux

Having taken umbrage previously at the sight of the Union flag on a bit of turkey in his local Asda store, the now Sinn Féin councillor, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, is bemoaning the lack of eggs “produced locally” in Sainsbury’s.  Or so he claims…  [He has photographic evidence! – Ed]  Indeed.  As he says in the Andersonstown News How did I know the eggs weren’t local produce? That was easy: every box had a mini-Union Jack. [In Sainsbury’s!? – Ed]  Of course, “we’re not part …

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Donie Cassidy: Sorry lads, there’s no sitting. I’m off to play golf in Turkey…

Whilst we’ve been obsessing with things Nordie, there’s been a whole series of awkward expenses stories in the south that’s led, for instances, to the resignation of the Fianna Fail whip by Ivor Callely.  Technically there’s nothing wrong with Parliamentarians playing golf with other Parliamentarians from other countries. But when you close down the upper house in order to facilitate your trip, that’s a different matter. Apparently that’s what Fianna Fail Senator (and leader of the house) Donie Cassidy did… …

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Israeli-Turkish relations irrevocably damaged

The actions of the Israeli military against the civilian flotilla of aid into Gaza has provoked widespread international reaction. Israel is bracing itself for a wave of diplomatic repercussions in the aftermath of the interception of the small crafts where at least nine people have been killed. Perhaps the gravest consequences from the killings will be the effect on Israeli-Turkish relations, which have taken a disastrous hit. Al Jazerra reports the claims of a Turkish charity that the majority of …

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