Turkish Journalist Ahmet Şık Held in Prison, Yet Again
On April 12, Ahmet Şık, a Turkish journalist, was acquitted in the OdaTV trial, which began six years ago, but the courts will not let him leave prison. This last trial in the Ergenekon case was the final one in a series of court battles that began in 2007, resulting in the detention of 275 military officers and civilians. Though the Ergenekon case was ultimately dismissed in April 2016, due to a lack of evidence that the Ergenekon network existed, acquittals for the Oda TV trial were not issued for a full year.
With Tight Margins on the Upcoming Turkish Presidential Referendum, Erdogan Turns to the Kurds
Polls on the Turkish presidential referendum suggest a close race. ORC, a polling company loyal to the government, has placed the yes vote at 55.4%, while Gezici, a company associated with the opposition, has predicted that 51 to 53% of eligible voters will cast their ballot for the initiative. Neither poll suggests that the ruling AKP party will achieve the 60% yes vote that it has predicted. The AKP, together with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is proposing changes to the constitution, which would introduce a presidential system of government that could keep Erdogan in office until 2029.
With such slim margins, Erdogan is turning to the Kurds to rally support for the referendum. There are 15 million Kurds in Turkey, making up 19% of the population.
There Is a Brewing Language Reform Controversy in Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, a call to change the language of education is enough to get a minister into hot water.
On March 8, 2016, American-educated minister of education, Yerlan Sagadiyev, proposed a plan to reform the Kazakh education system to include English as a third required language of study. Kazakh nationalists reacted critically to the proposal. In a March 3, 2017 editorial in SkifNews, a faction of scholars even demanded Sagadiyev’s resignation