Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS

Born in Turkey, Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil recently reported, along with Bryan Myers, the Signature video Turkey’s Kurds Seek Justice for Unsolved Murders.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Turkey woke up to a newspaper photo of a line of handcuffed Kurds in detention. Among them were several prominent Kurdish elected officials and human rights advocates.

On the same day, in early morning raids conducted in eleven cities in the southeast of the country, Turkish police arrested dozens of members of the recently banned Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), including at least seven local mayors and other politicians. Their alleged crime was to be part of a civil and urban network of the militant separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS

Gizem Yarbil is a producer at Worldfocus and recently reported, along with Bryan Myers, the Worldfocus signature video Turkey’s Kurds Seek Justice for Unsolved Murders. Gizem grew up in Turkey and writes of her experiences covering the story of Kurdish grievances, which remain a polarizing political issue in Turkey.

It was a blistering morning in early June and we were driving in the southeast of Turkey. Worldfocus producer Bryan Myers and I were traveling to Diyarbakir for a story about the Kurds and the latest developments in their often tragic plight.

We had already shot and produced two stories around Turkey, but this one was especially important for me. Surrounded by golden fields that were illuminated by the scorching southeast sun, I was traveling to a region, which, up until a few years ago, was a no-go area in my country.

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This feature story aired on the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Correspondent Gizem Yarbil and producer Bryan Myers recently traveled to the Kurdish enclave of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey for a closer look at the allegations that the Turkish government had engaged in a so-called “dirty war” against the Kurds.

Turkey’s longstanding conflict between ethnic Kurdish minority and the Turkish government flared this weekend after demonstrations erupted when the high court outlawed the main Kurdish political party.

The Kurds see themselves as an oppressed minority, while the Turkish government sees many of them as dangerous separatists.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil interviews Neil Grungras of ORAM, a not-for-profit organization providing legal assistance for refugees fleeing sexual or gender based violence. He describes the difficulties faced by gay, lesbian and transgender refugees who often flee persecution only to find continuing harassment while in transit.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees are among the most vulnerable refugee groups in the world today, according to Neil Grungras, the executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM).

Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

PolygamyPublished on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS

A proposal last week by Malaysia’s Islamic party argued that polygamy can be beneficial for women.

The conservative Islamic party has called for Muslim men in the country to marry single mothers instead of “young virgin girls,” said a state official. Al-Arabiya news channel quoted Wan Ubaidah, head of women, family and health affairs in a northern state,  remarking that although Malaysian men usually prefer young and virgin girls as their additional wives, this new proposal would help single mothers and widows who are finding it hard to raise their kids.

Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

This feature story aired on the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Almost all of 77 million people in Turkey are Muslim, but signs of Islamic faith are noticeably divorced from everyday life. But a growing number of Turks are joining conservative movements that believe religion should play a greater role in the country’s ethical and moral values. Secular critics brand these religious groups as fundamentalist.

Correspondent Gizem Yarbil and producer Bryan Myers report on how traditional religion and modern democracy are trying to coexist in Turkey today.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Dr. Ömer Taşpınar and Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil discuss the role of several important conservative religious groups in Turkey, including the Gulen movement, which is the largest, and the Mustazaflar-Der, which is influential in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

Gizem Yarbil:  How influential are Islamic groups like the Gulen movement and Mustazaflar-Der in Turkey politically and socially?

Ömer Taşpınar: Particularly, the Gulen movement is very influential in the social, economic and cultural (particularly education)  field. The members of this brotherhood are probably in the millions. I think of this movement as a pious Muslim version of freemasons.

It’s essentially a solidarity network and a civil society organization with religious proclivities. Some analyst are bothered by the movement’s cultish attachment to its leader but this is not uncommon in Turkish/Anatolian political culture.

Read the rest of the interview on the Worldfocus website.