How to feel better about this horrible year.
The beekeeping traditions of the Hemshin people, an ethnic minority originating from Armenia, are both evolving and at risk of vanishing.
President Bashar al-Assad said the millions of citizens who fled during the war have been blocked from coming back. But he left out the main reason they are staying away: Mr. al-Assad himself.
Russia and Turkey brokered an end to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. But they don’t have the region’s best interests at heart.
The German company BioNTech, founded by two scientists, has teamed up with Pfizer on a vaccine that was found to be more than 90 percent effective.
In an agreement brokered by Russia, Azerbaijan won many of the concessions it has sought for decades in negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist region.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, who is known for his ties to the Trump White House, said he was quitting as Turkey’s lira tumbles and its economy worsens.
Elif Perincek, 3, clung to the hand of one of her rescuers as she was lifted from her collapsed home in Izmir.
The magnitude-7.0 quake that struck in the Aegean Sea also killed at least two people in Greece. Hundreds were injured in Turkey and many thousands displaced.
The quake was centered off the coast of Samos, a Greek island, and caused major damage in the western Turkish city of Izmir.
At a shipyard in Turkey, the boats, including some from Carnival’s Fantasy fleet, are being turned into scrap, even as the industry hopes to find a way to start sailing.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes Hindus more equal than religious minorities, Muslims seek equality from the secular Constitution, not Shariah.
New details of the Justice Department’s handling of the accusations against Halkbank reveal how Turkey’s leader pressured the president, prompting concern from top White House aides.
SpaceX staff and members of the media have been inundated this morning with emails ostensibly from concerned Armenians around the world, asking the company to cancel a launch contract with the Turkish government. The concerns are valid — and the mass-email method surprisingly effective.
In the form email, received by TechCrunch staff hundreds of times in duplicate and with minor variations, the senders explain that they represent or stand in solidarity with Armenians worldwide, an ethnic and national group that has suffered under the authoritarian rule and regional influence of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan.
SpaceX is slated to launch the Turkish satellite Turksat-5A in the next month or two, a geostationary communications satellite built by Airbus that will serve a large area of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The deal has been on the books for a long time, and SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk even traveled to Turkey to meet with Erdogan regarding the satellite in 2017.
To enter into the complexities of the long conflict in which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and nearby countries and powers have figured is beyond the scope of this article, but it is hardly controversial to say that there have been serious human rights abuses under Erdogan’s regime and others. The word “genocide” is frequently used.
As the email plea points out, many countries and governments have opted to condemn Turkey’s behavior, and some companies have stopped doing business with the government. Will SpaceX join them?
At this stage — a month before launch, when the payload is likely already locked in — it seems unlikely that SpaceX will return the millions of dollars Turkey has no doubt already paid it, in order to appear more ethical by deplatforming, as it were, the government there.
But the campaign raises a legitimate question that is increasingly faced by new tech-focused companies growing to encompass a global community that is diverse and at times difficult to navigate. Where do companies like SpaceX — or Apple, or Google, or Facebook, or for that matter Airbus — draw the line? Should SpaceX be disinterested and mercenary, simply providing services to anyone who pays? Or are there some governments or people whose money it will not take?
So far SpaceX hasn’t had to walk too narrow a path on that front; the launch industry is heavily weighted toward military and government contracts, so the deal is already made with that particular devil. But as it becomes more established and can be a bit more choosy with its customers, it may consider acting as a gatekeeper in the industry where 10 years ago it was a gatecrasher.
As for the email campaign, TechCrunch staff were surprised at its effectiveness in eluding Google’s spam filters. I contacted Artsakh Strong, listed in the email as the originator of the campaign, for more information and to be removed from future emails (which I was).
Strong said that the emails were sent by individuals, not from a central location, which despite their duplicative content may account for their all making it to our inboxes. “These are people who are coming together to make their unified voice heard,” she wrote. ” We are not affiliated with any groups but our message is one shared by every Armenian American. I apologize for the inconvenience of you having to delete excessive emails but our people are being murdered on a daily basis and we need to bring attention to our cause.”
She suggested that as an American company, SpaceX should embody the country’s (supposed) values and refuse to do business with regime’s like Erdogan’s. Furthermore, she noted that SpaceX receives a great deal of funding and business from the U.S. government, which amounts to a secondhand blessing of its deals as being in the public interest.
“There are calls for sanctions of Turkey by the US and other NATO countries,” she wrote. “SpaceX is strongly urged to take all these factors into consideration and decide for itself whether or not it wants to continue to aid Turkey in the face of such overwhelming and clear evidence of criminal actions. At the very least, Elon Musk and SpaceX can halt the launch to see what these investigations lead to. While this may be a loss of profit for SpaceX it would be a huge leap for world progress.”
Strong raises legitimate points that many companies providing services internationally must address or have their intentions inferred from their actions. This cannot be the first, nor will it be the last, that SpaceX or any of the new generation of space companies will have to make a difficult choice. At the very least they might explain why they choose how they do.
Analysts say the assault, which violated a seven-month truce, could be seen as a warning to Ankara.
The fiancée of the slain Washington Post journalist sued Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an attempt to learn more about the 2018 killing.
A humanitarian asks if America will step in to prevent an atrocity.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis coexisted in Soviet days. But conflict over the disputed territory exploded in the late 1980s, leaving festering wounds that have erupted anew.
The testimony by the man, who claimed to be an intelligence agent, offers insight into President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pursuit of foes and undermines the conviction of a U.S. Consulate employee in Istanbul.
The oil giant’s takeover of Noble Energy gives it a foothold in an emerging energy hot spot: the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Hundreds of people have already died in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Bigger neighbors can help stop the bloodshed.
Without engagement from the United States, the region may be engulfed in war.
The delay in punishing Belarus for the crackdown that followed its flawed elections had been a huge embarrassment for the bloc.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and Iraq this year. His aggressive policies put him increasingly at odds with Russia.
Bitpanda, a crypto assets platform, has closed a $52 million Series A funding round form Valar Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by Peter Thiel. Vienna-based VC Speedinvest also participated, alongside other unnamed investors. Claiming 1.3 million users, Bitpanda has previously been trading digital assets and tokenizing precious metals.
The Vienna-based company will use the cash to expand internationally. It expanded to France, Spain and Turkey in 2020 and plans to enter additional European markets this year and next. It has 300 employees.
Essentially, Bitpanda is a crypto exchange which can support other kinds of assets in a tokenized form. To date, it’s not very well known or used in the Crypto world.
What this represents is an interesting move by a crypto exchange, effectively expanding into real-world assets. At the other end of the spectrum, platforms like eToro, Robinhood and Revolut, which came from traditional assets world, and are now adding Crypto world assets. Eventually, the two will meet, in some shape or form.
As part of the investment, Valar Ventures founding partner, Andrew McCormack, will also join Bitpanda’s board. McCormack was previously with PayPal in its early years and supported Peter Thiel during its IPO and eventual sale to eBay in 2002. Valar has previously invested in European fintechs including Transferwise and the Germany-based digital bank, N26.
E.U. foreign policy moves require unanimous support from the member nations — a rule that continually undercuts the bloc’s bold ambitions for global influence.
Weeks before lockdown, I made a whirlwind tour of Istanbul’s public baths. It was a crash course in pleasure that helped me understand what we’ve lost since.
They may be less appealing than economic prosperity, but they are indispensable.
The sentences, of up to 20 years in prison, were issued months after one of Jamal Khashoggi’s sons said he and his siblings had forgiven the men who killed him.
It’s time to listen to Germany and take a step back.
Conflict over drilling rights to massive natural-gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean is becoming increasingly militarized, risking a conflict between two NATO members.
A sharp drop in the value of the lira is testing businesses and residents while they are coping with the pandemic.
The European pact, signed in Istanbul in 2011, was intended to protect women but has become a target for populist leaders who claim it threatens “traditional families.”
The announcement of a cease-fire was a rare positive development in a chaotic conflict plagued by foreign meddling. But skeptics abound.
Many Greeks have grown frustrated as tens of thousands of asylum seekers languished on Greek islands. Now, evidence shows, a new conservative government has a new method of keeping them out.
Handguns are quietly being smuggled into Britain, despite tough gun-control laws. The police fear that the illegal weapons are contributing to a rise in gang-related crime.
Despite being a NATO member, Turkey has bought Russian air defense. And a recent push into Libya and its energy ambitions nearly led to armed conflicts with France and Greece.
The legislation extends control over social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Critics worry it will be used to stifle dissent and criticism of the government
Rescuers continue to pull the bodies of victims from Lake Van, in eastern Turkey, more than three weeks after the fishing boat carrying them sank.
The coronavirus continues to hit people hard mentally, and this has meant a boom for mental death and meditation apps. According to a recent report from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the world’s 10 largest English-language mental wellness apps in April saw a combined 2 million more downloads during the month of April 2020 compared with January, reaching close to 10 million total downloads for the month. The charts were dominated by market leaders such as Calm, Headspace and others such as “Relax: Master Your Destiny”.
However, a slightly lesser know app called Meditopia featured, and that’s because it’s become a big leader non-English speaking markets.
Today it’s announced a Series A investment of $15M co-led by Creandum, and Highland Europe . Carl Fritjofsson of Creandum and Fergal Mullen of Highland Europe will join Meditopia’s Board of Directors. Total funding prior to this round was $3.2m. This new round takes the total to $18.2m.
Based between Istanbul and Berlin, Meditopia has majored on localization for 75 global markets, in 10 languages, with a focus on long-term mental wellbeing programs. Since launching in 2017 Meditopia has grown to 14M users across 75 countries.
Until recently, most meditation and mental health apps were built to suit the needs of English-speaking, Western culture, especially in the way these apps dealt with topics such as gender.
The startup was founded by Fatih Celebi, Berk Yilmaz and Ali Murat Ceylan.
In a statement, Murat said: “Mental wellness is something everyone should be able to achieve, regardless of their country of origin, native language, socio-economic status, ethnicity, or religion. We first focused our efforts on our home country Turkey before expanding worldwide so whether you are Latino, Japanese, Russian, North American, or Arab, you can find support and coaching in our global community.”
Carl Fritjofsson, Partner at Creandum commented: “We’ve followed Meditopia for the past two years and have been incredibly impressed by how they’ve been able to capture this opportunity across the world, all while being one of the most capital-efficient run companies around.”
Fergal Mullen, Founding Partner at Highland Europe said: “For too long, the technology available was created for English-speaking groups alone. Meditopia provides the alternative; a solution that helps its members get to the heart of what they need in a way that suits them. We’re thrilled to be a part of getting this vital service to those people.”
The Hagia Sophia has been designated as a mosque again, its status as a museum viewed for decades as a seal on the country’s spirit.
The 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, will become an active mosque beginning on July 24, ending its 85-year run as a secular museum.
Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered the building’s construction in 532 CE; for nearly 1,000 years, its 55.6 meter (180 ft) dome covered the largest indoor space in the world. Over a millennium and a half, the monumental structure has been an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox cathedral again, and then a mosque.
Today, the Hagia Sophia is one of Turkey’s largest tourist attractions; an estimated 3.7 million people visited the site in 2019. It became a museum in 1934, under a decree from the Cabinet of Ministers under then-president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Turkish soccer, hobbled by fallen giants and rife with conspiracy theories, can no longer match Europe’s powerhouses. Fixing its problems will require the one trait no one seems to have.
For Americans eager to resume international travel, here are the countries that currently allow U.S. citizens to enter, though there may be restrictions.
Devastating attacks, occurring almost daily and often in the capital, Mogadishu, have put a strain on the country’s fragile government.
Supporters of the slain journalist expressed hope that the proceedings would offer a chance for justice. The defendants are to be tried in absentia.
Serkan Golge, an American caught up in increasingly fraught Turkish-U.S. relations, arrived with his family in Washington after nearly four years of imprisonment and house arrest.
Officials said two people were killed in the bombing at the facility in Mogadishu, Turkey’s largest overseas military base.
Ignoring U.S. arguments that the charges were baseless, a court convicted Metin Topuz of aiding the group that Turkey accuses of masterminding a 2016 coup attempt.
Relations between President Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey have long blown hot and cold. For the moment, they are finding common cause.