A request for a moment of your time

A request for a moment of your time

JamesInTurkey.com has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its future. Any contributions gratefully received.

This website can trace its roots to 2006, when it was a blog hosted on Google’s Blogspot service.

Turkey’s political agenda was just as busy then. Some of the things this site wrote about will be frustratingly familiar today (“Will the electoral threshold ever fall?“, August 2006).

Others relate to issues no longer controversial (“A crash course in Turkey’s headscarf debate“, January 2008) while others still – “Sending Turkish troops to Lebanon“, August 2006 – feel like they relate to another planet.

JamesInTurkey.com has become a fairly successful operation since then. It’s read by thousands of people, observers of Turkey abroad and English-speakers within Turkey itself. Scores of risk analysts use my work and graphics for the reports they generate for their clients. There is also a healthy social media following.

With the exception of some stellar contributions from Twitter’s @hasavrat on election nights, this has been entirely the work of myself, Michael Sercan Daventry. I enjoy running the site immensely and want to carry on doing it.

Things can be done better

But there are three aspects of the site that I would sorely like to improve.

First, I would like to post content more regularly – say, twice a week. Turkish politics moves at a bewildering pace and although there are plenty of immediate news sources out there that relay Turkish developments, there are very few that provide analysis.

Analysis is important because it puts a story in context. What does President Erdoğan really mean when he throws about the word ‘Nazi’? Why is the leader of a centre-left party running such a right-wing referendum campaign? What is the Turkish nationalist obsession with the first four clauses of the country’s constitution?

Coverage of Turkish political events sorely lack these, which is why I think JamesInTurkey.com fills a void.

Second, I want to improve the resources offered by this website. There are some features – like that spaghetti of a political road map – that constantly draws visitors to the site because no-one in Turkey or abroad has explained it quite as effectively.

Over the years I have done short videos charting the election ad campaigns on TV, tracked the ongoing detention of pro-Kurdish HDP MPs and offered live commentary on election nights.

All went down very well and I have great ideas for more features.

Third, I have to switch to a better web server. JamesInTurkey.com has a frustrating habit of crashing under demand at the most inopportune moments.

Until recently this was during election nights, when many log into the live text coverage. But it happened again just a couple of weeks ago when the first Qriously voter intention poll was published. The site needs a more robust server to handle the traffic.

The money bit

Maintaining JamesInTurkey.com costs money – mine, to be precise, at around £250 (approx ₺1155) of it every year. The Qriously episode convinced me that the site is going to need more if it is going to expand into a full Turkish politics website.

Some colleagues have suggested taking advertising, but it’s something I’ve never warmed to. I want to retain the neutrality and independence that I think this website has a reputation for and, besides, advertising is intrusive and looks ugly. Whatever happens in the future, JamesInTurkey.com will remain ad-free.

That is why I have decided to turn to you, the community that reads this website, in the hope you might be willing to contribute to it. The route I have gone for is crowdfunding and my hope is that you can make a contribution, however small, to not just keep the site running but to grow it into something better.

Yesterday JamesInTurkey.com launched a campaign page on Kickstarter. Please click the link to check what’s being planned for the site’s future.

The funds are being raised in pound sterling, meaning a contribution of £10 is equivalent to approximately ₺46. I hope you’ve benefited from the site enough to make a contribution, however small. There are a few small benefits for those who are able to.

The campaign runs until the middle of May and it’s all or nothing: if I don’t hit the target, I don’t get anything.

And with that, back to regularly scheduled programming. There’s a referendum on, you know.

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