About this site

Who are you? You’re not called James!

Back in the day

Back in the day

I’m a journalist based in London. I was born in the UK but raised in Turkey and I’ve worked for newspapers and broadcasters in both countries.

When this website began life, as a blog in 2006, I felt it was best to write under a pseudonym. My employer at the time had a low tolerance for extra-curricular journalism, as I discovered after writing this in response to a op-ed piece by Turkish columnist Mehmet Barlas. So James Vincent was born.

The pseudonym later became superfluous but “James in Turkey” was a brand. So I kept it.

Why do you say “AK Party” and not “AKP”?

By law, every Turkish political party must define a “shortened name” for itself. This does not necessarily have to be an initialism like “CHP”. The Justice and Development Party constitution, article 3, defines the party’s shortened name as AK PARTİ, which – cleverly, you might say – makes a pun out of the party name, “ak” being a Turkish word for ‘white’ and ‘pure’.

On this website I use each party’s chosen shortened name, except where I have to use initials because of a lack of space. Thus, I anglicise AK PARTİ to AK Party.

Other parties have done it too: in its final years, Erkan Mumcu’s Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi) changed its shortened name from ANAP to ANAVATAN, while the People’s Voice Party (Halkın Sesi Partisi) used to call itself HAS.

This 10% electoral threshold. What is it and why does it matter?

I wrote about this nearly nine years ago – see my entry from 13 August 2006, substituting Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in place of the DTP, which has since been closed down. Two elections have since been held and, apart from CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu endorsing a 7% threshold, not a thing has changed.

Can I get in touch?

Yes, please do. I’m @JamesinTurkey on Twitter. Alternatively, emails to contact@jamesinturkey.com will find their way to the right place.

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6 comments

  • You are mistaken about ANAP, it is quite the contrary, actually. Just like what AKP did, ANAP wanted its short name to be ANA PARTİ, i.e. Main Party. However, unlike Erdoğan, Özal would not resort to threatening the press to enforce it, nor was he able to create his own media blindly loyal to him, so the name did not catch on, and the press called the party ANAP (AP being unavailable due to the lingering heritage of Adalet Partisi). Eventually ANAP had to accept the short name given to it by the media.

    Yes, parties can officially choose anything to be their official short name. If you intend to stick with them, bear in mind: The official short name of Vatan Partisi is Vatan Partisi, as their “constitution” defines it (how smart). I wonder if you intend you use that “short name” instead of VP. And the chosen short name of Saadet Partisi is SAADET, not SP, which I have seen you had used in a lot of pages where you used AK Party. You will need to correct that mistake.

    Or, you could just follow common sense and common usage, and call them VP, SP and yes, AKP.

  • What a great resource for those of us who travel to Turkey but don’t know enough of the language to understand local newspapers just yet. Thank you for providing election insight!

  • Wishful thinking. AKP will win at least 45% of the votes. HDP will be buried under the treshold. Anti-Erdogan CAPUL will eulogize the outcome.

  • AKP may not be perfect but does anyone seriously think any of the others will be better, or could any of them achieve what AKP has done. No one can possibly deliver national policy to suit everyone. But AKP suit the majority.

  • I would summarize result of election as follows,
    Power of one from the grave beat the hell out of many living.
    All Turks have to do follow what Atatürk had said and live by them.
    Thanks God, Turkey has chosen the one thing makes the country unique. Secular state & islamic religion can, will, should co-exist. Islam can only be fully appreciated under the secularism.

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