Camel wrestling etc

My audio story on the Selcuk camel wrestling is online now. You can listen to it here.

I also have a piece out on SETimes that is looking at the related issues of Turkey’s immigration readmission pact with the EU (currently being negotiated) and visa liberalization.

Whilst this might not immediately seem like a subject to set the pulse racing, it’s generated some heated debate on the comments section of the website. One of the more interesting features of SETimes is the fact that each story and comment is translated into ten different languages, resulting in some intense cross-cultural dialogues.

The comments on the visa story bear out how intensely many Turks feel about this issue. From the story:

According to Cengiz Aktar, chairman of the Department of EU Relations at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, the EU’s past reluctance to liberalise its visa regime has caused “huge damage” to its perception in the country.

“Turks are systematically humiliated with visas,” Aktar told SETimes. “EU businessman can jump on the plane in the morning, sign the deal, and that’s that, but the Turk simply can’t do that: he’s queuing at the consulate.”

While a host of Balkan countries — including Serbia, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina — have recently secured EU visa waivers, Turks have been forced to look on with envy, despite being a membership candidate, and holding a customs union with the EU since 1996.

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