The App that Makes You a Terrorist

For The Boston Review: In May 2017, Mustafa Yaman, a fifty-one-year-old lawyer in Istanbul, received a troubling phone call from a friend in the Turkish Ministry of Justice in Ankara. Prosecutors were preparing to bring terrorism charges against him, alleging he was part of a religious movement blamed for a bloody attempted coup the year before. The case, Yaman’s source said, was based on evidence that he had used a smartphone app called ByLock, a secure messaging program also allegedly used by the coup plotters….Continue Reading “The App that Makes You a Terrorist”

A Kurdish Problem

For The Boston Review: On the morning of June 7 this year, a car bomb exploded in front of Istanbul’s Vezneciler metro station. Used by tourists and thousands of university students daily, it was a ten-minute walk from my home. Perplexed Turks gathered at the tape strung around the site, watching as the husk of a police bus was towed away, the presumable target of a powerful blast that killed twelve. The closest I could get was the sixteenth-century Shehzade mosque, more than a hundred…Continue Reading “A Kurdish Problem”

For The Boston Review: JAMRUD, KHYBER AGENCY, FATA, PAKISTAN – Kabir Afridi gingerly makes his way through the bustling bazaar in Jamrud, past hawkers offering everything from cheap cell phones and fresh fruit to heroin and American military boots and flak jackets. Located in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along the highway between Peshawar and Kabul, the bazaar offers, among other things, items pilfered from the stream of trucks carrying supplies to American forces in Afghanistan. Few of the thieves are caught. And then…Continue Reading “A Rock and a Hard Place: The Neglect and Abuse of Pakistan’s Tribal Areas”

Leaving ISIS

For The Boston Review: -Sanliurfa, Turkey: This time, Hammad did not expect to escape alive. He knelt on the side of a desert highway leading from Raqqa to Aleppo, fingers intertwined behind his head, where an ISIS fighter pointed a machine gun. “They told me I had committed a crime against Islam, against God,” he recalled of the five men who abducted him. We talked in Sanliurfa, Turkey, about fifty kilometers north of the Syrian border. A thin, wiry twenty-two-year-old with a penchant for chain…Continue Reading “Leaving ISIS”