In June, Turkey experienced the worst anti-government protests in decades over plans to redevelop Gezi Park in central Istanbul. Now, a historic church once used by Russian refugees fleeing the 1917 Bolshevik Coup is at the center of a fresh controversy over the city’s development ambitions.
Coal mining is among the more hazardous occupations in Turkey, underscored by a mishap earlier this year that claimed eight lives. But economic necessity is keeping the country reliant on coal, and pushing miners to risk their lives.
For some, a contortionist is nothing more than a freak-show act, doing something unnatural, not a thing of grace or beauty. But in Mongolia, flexing and bending the body into seemingly impossible positions has been perfected into what some call a uniquely Mongolian tradition. And these advocates of the art form are seeking international recognition.
Georgia has embraced privatization as the cure for all its healthcare ills. But in the rush to reform in recent years, one critical detail largely has been overlooked – ensuring that Georgian doctors actually are qualified to practice medicine.
Georgia’s healthcare system faces multiple problems: limited training for doctors, poor access to hospitals in the regions, expensive medicine. But some health professionals believe the biggest issue boils down to simple arithmetic – there are too many doctors and not enough nurses.
Despite budget shortfalls and social unrest, Kyrgyz leaders are forging ahead with the most expensive film in Kyrgyzstan’s history, apparently in the hope that a tale of a 19th century heroine can promote a sense of cultural unity. Critics worry that the epic’s nation-building aim is overly ambitious, and it will end up flopping.
In 1972, legend has it, Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky insisted on featuring bottles of Borjomi mineral water in his science-fiction classic Solaris to emphasize that the beverage, a Soviet cultural icon, would exist far into the future. He was right.
Central Asian states are becoming entangled in a trade spat involving Russia and Ukraine. Ostensibly, the dispute’s origin can be traced to Russian concerns over the quality of Ukrainian chocolate. But Russia’s real aim, according to some observers, is enhancing the viability of the Kremlin-led Customs Union.
While there are numerous touchstones of tension in Azerbaijan, including corruption and income inequality, local analysts say it’s unlikely that religion will emerge as a major fault line in Azerbaijani society for the foreseeable future.