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About this site

Who are you?

Back in the day
Back in the day: 2007

I’m Michael Sercan Daventry, a British-Turkish journalist based in London. I was born in the UK but grew up in Turkey, so I’ve had a foot in each, its politics and its culture, all my life.

I’ve worked for newspapers and broadcasters in both countries. These days I’m based back in London. You can find out more about the journalism I do these days by visiting michaeldaventry.com.

What’s this site about?

Back in the day: 2010

It’s a website that analyses political developments in Turkey and tries to unpick some of the bewilderingly complicated things that happen there.

People seemed to enjoy our Turkish political road map, which uses the medium of squiggly lines to explain how the parties we know today were formed, and our breakdown of how the AK Party and MHP reformed the Turkish constitution to sideline parliament and create an executive presidency.

Other stuff is available if you click around.

Turkey is a country that I love, but it’s frequently misunderstood. I started out as a blog back in 2006 to comment and try explain on political developments. It’s grown into the website you see today.

Do you vote?

Back in the day: 2015

Yes.

Aha! So you’re in cahoots with [Political Party I hate] and against [Party I love]?

No. I’ve never been a member of any political party and I’ve never worked for a political party. I think parties across the spectrum have decent ideas for improving the country.

So who pays for all this?

A good question, one that people should be asking about every outlet that purports to provide news and analysis.

Here’s my answer: at the moment, no one pays for this website. I ran a crowdfunder back in 2017 to help me with the costs of hosting the website and received the generous support of quite a few people. I’m pleased to say that, four years on, the money they pledged is still keeping the website ticking along.

I don’t earn anything from this website. I write it all in my spare time for free because I enjoy doing it.

You’re not called James!

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 rather recognisable. So I kept it.

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.

This blog is powered by WordPress, albeit with a fair bit of tinkering.

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 eleven 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. Several elections have since been held and, apart from CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu endorsing a 7% threshold, not a thing has changed.