Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Homophobia (and the Sultans) got to go!
This past week has been quite tumultuous for Turkey, as the country had its municipal elections on the 31st of March. Although they are not over yet, preliminary results show a rather interesting change. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Erdoğan suffered a blow with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) winning in major cities like the capital Ankara and Istanbul. Of course, it is difficult to forget that the Sultan always tries to dispute any results that might undermine his reign, namely in 2015 when he reran a general election after the AKP lost single-party rule, or his threats ahead of Sunday’s elections to dismiss elected officials. Something that he did, after claiming that the votes should be recounted and that he will wait for the final results after 10 days. Needless to say, the state-controlled channel Anadolu, just before the final votes, stopped broadcasting the elections for over 10 hours’ time. That is something that has people wondering whether he played with the results or not. But then again, who knows right?
The fact that the Sultan is slowly losing his supporters does not come as such a surprise, since the economy has been on a downturn since 2018 and the Lira is continuously devaluated in the global sphere. To give an example, 1 EUR = 6.313 TRY as of 6th of April, this is a little more than double than what it was two years ago. In a country like Turkey, local elections are important. Parties build their base at the provinces, and Mr Erdoğan himself increased his power after being mayor of Istanbul almost two decades ago. So, losing this enormous city is seen as a bitter hit to him, because as he continuously says, “whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey”. He turned this election into a thing about himself, but people are slowly seeing the sad little man he is. Even Europe has replied with Frans Timmermans saying that the Turkish President should respect the local elections results and that he should try to “bring his policies closer to European values”. After all, as CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, “The people have voted in favour of democracy. They have chosen democracy”.
As for next week, make sure to be on the lookout for news about the upcoming general elections in Israel on the 9th of April. For most, it’s one of the most threatening general elections for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On the other side of the world, another Sultan fueled a global protest when he applied new laws making gay sex punishable by stoning to death. The Sultan of Brunei introduced these laws back in 2014 but they came into effect on April 3rd, stirring up the world. It all started with George Clooney who called for a boycott of hotels owned by the kingdom of Brunei, as a protest to the new laws made in that tiny kingdom that breaks basic human rights. In his opinion piece for Deadline, he said “Every single time we stay at, or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery. Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”. More and more celebrities and companies protest in solidarity, with people cutting ties with the hotels, or cancelling their trips to Brunei. While this may be seen as an insignificant trend by some, we have to understand that complying to laws that suppress human rights or saying nothing makes us culpable as well. LGBTIQ rights are human rights whatever the race, religion or political affiliations.
On a more positive note, according to a recent study, if you want to avoid mosquito bites just listen to electronic music, or more specifically dubstep music by Skrillex. Funnily enough, female mosquitos were rather entertained by the music and bit the hosts later and less often than those who weren’t listening to Skrillex. Also, the mosquitos listening to the songs were having sex less often than those which were not. Isn’t that the greatest?
Click here if you want to read the whole study. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001706X19301202
Stella Theocharidou is doing a Pre-Master at UM, and writes for the MD