Peter W. Galbraith is a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, and is now professor of national-security studies at the National War College in Washington, D.C. Since the late 1980s he has been studying Iraqi war crimes and has also worked closely with the Kurds, who control a small territory in northern Iraq. He'll talk about the effect of a war on the Kurdish people.
When Elif Shafak's novel The Bastard of Istanbul was published in her home country, the best-selling author was was accused of "public denigration of Turkishness." She was eventually acquitted. As many as 60 writers, journalists, publishers, scholars and intellectuals have been prosecuted under the Turkish penal code. One of them was editor Hrant Dink, who was assassinated last month by a Turkish fanatic.
Former Istanbul bureau chief for the New York Times, Stephen Kinzer. He written the new book Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). He describes a country caught between the entrenched ruling elite and its younger, well-educated population who want democracy. He describes a country of talented –writers, thinkers, university professors and business executives— who have been excluded from positions of power. Kinzer is currently the Timesnational culture correspondent based in Chicago.
Professor Bill Beeman of Brown University discusses the historical and cultural background of the Kurdish population in the Middle East. Without a country of their own, the Kurds have taken what support they can get from other players in the region. With the Gulf War over, there has been a Kurdish uprising in Iraq, which threatens Saddam Hussein.
Turkish-born writer Alev Lytle Croutier has a new book about harems. Contrary to their popular associations with polygamy, these spaces were most commonly used to isolate women slaves and family members from the outside world. Croutier herself grew up in a harem with her mother.
Billy Hayes' years spent in a Turkish prison for smuggling hashish have been well documented in his book Midnight Express, which was later adapted into a book. He now pursues an acting career in California.