tv Focus on Europe PBS April 28, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
i'm michelle henery. glad to have you with us. turkey is undergoing profound political change, moving away from being a secular society to a country where nationalism and religion are at the forefront. and it is president recep tayyip erdogan who has been overseeing this change over the last 15 years. starting out as a reformer, his critics say he has now become an autocrat with a thirst for power. president erdogan has an ever-tightening grip on the personal and political freedoms of his citizens. but it seems that his pervasive control has not quite reached every corner of the country.
ovacik is a small village in the northwest whose mayor is lauded by locals for his hands-on governing style. he has become so popular, that erdogan's akp party hardly plays any role there. reporter: nestled between high mountains lies the small town of ovacik. with its 3000 inhabitants, it seems like any other small town in anatolia. but look closer, and you'll see the local cafe is called cuba, that a picture of che guevara rather than the president hangs in the town hall, and that there are no biographies of erdogan in the library, but instead, of krushchev. ovacik is the only town in turkey with a communist-led local government. this is the mayor, fatih mehmet macoglu, a lab technician elected four years ago with over 36% to head a coalition. erdogan's akp recently got less than 4% of votes. macoglu hates wearing a tie and
likes to be hands-on. here, people like to help each other. mayor macoglu: one person will drop shoes off at the town hall, someone else will bring books, another clothes. and whoever needs something can take it from here. just now, a school boy dropped off some books. we underline solidarity. look, these men aren't employed here, they're volunteers. reporter: much in ovacik differs from the rest of turkey. you can buy alcohol without difficulty and there's hardly a headscarf in sight. although, it seems the government doesn't want too many eyes on this communist-led spot. a civilian policeman stopped us from filming. to continue, we have to agree to restrictions. all residents are invited to town hall meetings in ovacik, even the youngest. two council members are absent. macoglu explains why. mayor macoglu: one had to work,
and the other couldn't attend because he was arrested this morning. reporter: the kurdish council member has been accused of supporting terrorism, part of everyday life since erdogan declared a state of emergency two years ago. students study for exams in the town hall library. the mayor provides young people from poorer backgrounds with a modest university scholarship. the students wouldn't want to live in a city run by islamic nationalist erdogan supporters. >> things are freer here than in most places in the country, especially for women. reporter: it is women who run the farmers' co-op. the mayor is proud to show us where orders for ovacik's organic produce are handled. organic salt, beans and honey are dispatched to the whole country. it's a way for opponents of erdogan to support the left-wing town.
mayor macoglu: we do three things with the proceeds. first, we finance school scholarships. second, we support farmers by providing fuel for their tractors. and third, we distribute seed free of charge. currently, around 250 farmers in the region have joined our co-op. reporter: that number is rising. these city employees are collecting soil samples in a field. the co-op is to start growing crops here, too. president erdogan promised more prosperity for turkey's poorest. but he hasn't kept that promise, says this farmer. kenan: the price for one kilo of beans is the equivalent of 1 euro 50. but the wholesalers only ever paid us half of that. the local government here guarantees me that i'll get the full 1 euro 50 within just 14 days. reporter: macoglu drives a humble compact car. the communist is not only popular among local residents,
many see him as a beacon of hope in turkey's politically discordant opposition. many opposition members have been neutralized by erdogan or put into prison. macoglu is aware of the risks. mayor macoglu: we believe we are doing the right thing. if we're to be punished, or i'm to be stripped of my office, then that's the price we have to pay. reporter: and so, ovacik continues to shine a glimmer of hope in these rather dark times of turkish politics. at least, for as long as erdogan will tolerate it. michelle: and he could remain in place for years to come. last year he narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029. how safe is your personal information? that's what people around the world are now asking themselves in light of recent revelations that facebook allowed the misuse
of personal data of millions of users. but in russia's capital moscow, where almost every aspect of modern life is digitized, instead of fearing the possibilities of technology, they embrace it. reporter: everybody's got internet reception, even here, 80 meters underground, explains fellow passenger tatiana. here, wi-fi is free. tatiana: two years old, i think reporter: and how do you like it? tatiana: i like it, of course. it's a very successful achievement in our life. reporter: she can even re-charge here, she says. moscow's public spaces are peppered with mobile re-charging points, in more and more buses, stations, and theaters. sports fan alexei is on his way to see a moscow spartak match.
he's another well-connected citizen. he uses a state app called gos-uslugi. much of his data are bundled into this one app. alexei: i'm completely transparent. it's got everything about me. i can pay taxes, rent, the power and water bills, and even fines on my mobile, without ever getting off the subway. reporter: something new pops up -- a parking fine, about 35 euros. he sees it as convenient that he can pay it right away. alexei: it would be monitoring if i had an implanted chip. but i can toss away my mobile whenever i want, and the monitoring would be over. reporter: this state-run app can find out lots more about its users, and the 160,000 surveillance cameras around moscow, even more. according to the mayor, the aim is to make life safer and simpler.
as soon as students carrying electronic cards pass through the turnstile at school number 627, their parents are informed of it by the same state-run app. no pens or notebooks are needed for 10th grade biology. the students look up supplementary information on the internet on the russian yandex search engine. alexander: they can't pay attention for an entire 45 minutes. these kids think in terms of clips and switch topics every two to three minutes. so i'm constantly changing activities in my lessons. reporter: the parents can check the learning materials online using the same state-run app. and the students can evaluate the lesson, as does ivan. ivan: i like being in this environment. it's very interesting and entertaining.
reporter: smart it may be. when it's time for the kids to eat, their parents can monitor their selections. ivan: they see what you bought and how much it cost. reporter: the school's i.t. expert is fascinated by the exchange of information. he can check any student's data. sergei: the kids know their parents can see what they're doing in school at any time. it may not motivate them, but it does stimulate them. the teachers evaluate every lesson. afterwards, they give grades, and these appear immediately in the app. reporter: now, the students have no chance to keep bad grades a secret. ivan had to pass tough exams to get into this smart school. ivan: i think it's a good tactic to have total control over the child. the system is fairly unique. we can learn a lot faster, and we can't cheat.
all we can really do is get good grades. reporter: ivan's school serves as a model for 800 moscow schools. and the smart moscow is paving the way for the digital russia. data means everything, they told us here -- everything for progress, and control. michelle: april sees the 75th anniversary of a devastating massacre, when german police and s.s. troops crushed a jewish uprising in the warsaw ghetto. in the polish capital, more than 300,000 jews had already been sent to concentration camps. despite knowing they had little chance of beating their persecutors, the jews that remained refused to surrender and fought hard against their german occupiers. the warsaw ghetto uprising was the largest single revolt by jews during world war ii. nazi germany cleared the jewish quarter of the city with brutal force.
thousands were killed, and anyone who survived was taken to a concentration camp. several hundred children were smuggled out of the ghetto by the polish resistance and survived. our reporter met two of them in warsaw. reporter: joanna sobolewska-pyz was four years old when she was rescued from the warsaw ghetto. she was saved by polish resistance fighters. it would be years before she discovered how lucky she'd been. joanna: this is me. reporter: this is her earliest photo, taken after the occupation. her jewish parents had her smuggled out of the ghetto, something she no longer remembers. joanna: my father was called grunspan, and my mother, silberbart. reporter: how did you discover what had happened to you? joanna: i found family members in israel. after i first heard the old family names, i wrote to an israeli newspaper, and that's how i found an uncle.
reporter: one day prior to the ghetto uprising, sobolewska-pyz was brought to a polish resistance fighter here in warsaw, a woman, who found adoptive parents for sobolewska-pyz. her new parents had her baptized as catholic. it wasn't until her 18th birthday that she found out about her jewish origins. wanting to learn more about her parents, sobolewska-pyz contacted the former resistance fighter. joanna: she told me, you have to be grateful to the sobolewskis for raising you and for allowing you to study. she stressed the role the sobolewskis played. but i wanted to find out as much as possible about my biological family. reporter: this wasn't easy. after the ghetto uprising in 1943, the nazis had nearly all remaining jewish survivors deported to concentration camps.
almost all were murdered. today, a monument commemorating the ghetto and its 300,000 killed inhabitants marks the location where the infamous footbridge once connected the large and small quarter. here, jewish people lived densely packed. the german occupiers didn't allow them to exit the ghetto without permission. and yet, polish resistance fighters managed to smuggle jewish children out past the guards. the fate of these children is being researched by the polin museum of the history of polish jews in warsaw. including the fate of krystyna budnicka. when the ghetto uprising began in 1943, budnicka was still inside it. she is one of its last surviving witnesses. >> and where was the bunker in which you hid, krystyna? krystyna: it was on the corner of zamenhofa street and mila street. it's always been hard for me to get more information. i tried to find out who on the
so-called aryan side helped me. to this day, i don't know which resistance fighters saved me. was it zegota, the secret council for aid to jews? was it the jewish committee? i still don't know. reporter: budnicka was 11 years old when her siblings hid her in a bunker that had been constructed under the house. at the time, two of her brothers had already been deported and killed in the treblinka death camp. when the uprising began, she went even deeper to hide herself, down into the sewers. while german occupying forces attacked the jewish resistance above with flamethrowers and gas grenades, budnicka, now 85, stayed hidden below with three others, until she was saved by resistance fighters.
krystyna: we were brought outside through sewage pipes, and then put into sacks. reporter: why into sacks? krystyna: we didn't look human anymore. we were just skin and bones, we had no strength left. we had been underground for nine months, without light, and without contact to the outside world. reporter: she was kept hidden until the end of the war and then brought to an orphanage. today, budnicka tells young people her story to warn of right-wing extremism. krystyna: if this big group goes into warsaw and bears witness to what i've told you, then i don't think anti-semitism can survive. it's in your hands. i wish you well. thank you. reporter: krystyna budnicka and joanna sobolewska-pyz are
founding members of the children of the holocaust association. they want to share their story about life and death in the warsaw ghetto as often as they can. michelle: it's only by repeating these stories can we hope to prevent history repeating itself. there's an epidemic sweeping across europe. and despite the fact that it has claimed lives and continued to spread, it has largely gone unacknowledged. it's the epidemic of loneliness. recognizing the severity of the issue, the british government recently appointed a minister of loneliness to tackle the increasing isolation of individuals that can lead to poor health and people harming themselves or others. reporter: it could be almost anywhere. london has many faces. and this is one of them.
behind many of the countless windows are people, and many of them are lonely. age u.k. is a state charity working with older citizens. it also provides a place to get together. around 20% of britons have contact with other people once a week or less. half of everyone over 75 years old lives alone. especially women tend to feel isolated. felicity: sometimes i don't want to live. that's happening now. but that's old age. things change. maybe health-wise, up or down, and things like that. and you can't do what you want to do, and then you fall asleep during the day, and the worst thing you can do is sleep during the day and wake up, and you feel terrible, not worth it. just to stay awake, and time to go to bed.
reporter: loneliness isn't just a senior citizens' problem. robyn bourne feels isolated, too, so much so that she sees rebecca, a hug therapist. it may sound a bit dubious, but it's quite real and quite serious. the two women don't know one another. robyn lives alone in the countryside north of london. she works at home, organizing events that bring people together. but, perhaps ironically, she herself feels lonely. robyn: i enjoy my own space, but then it gets to a point where you actually realize that you have too much of your own space, and then you can't just suddenly magic up friends that you've built a relationship with. it's that small talk, i think. so then you suddenly realize that, on a saturday night you've got no one to go out and have a few drinks with. reporter: robyn is in many ways an average single woman -- not shy. on the contrary, she's confident and well-established in her profession.
but like the traffic on the motorway behind her home, people tend to pass her by. robyn: a lot of my conversations take place on what's app messenger. we even leave voice messages for each other. it's not even like you have a quick conversation. you just leave a voice message, but you're not building anything sustainable, so you're still going home at the end of the day lonely. reporter: it takes her an hour to drive into london for her therapy sessions. at stake is not just her mental and emotional well-being. studies have shown that loneliness can damage physical health nearly as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. the british government followed a commission's recommendation and widened the brief of the ministry for culture, media and sport to include the fight against loneliness. but first it is has to find a way to measure loneliness objectively. julianne: but also, i think that society is changing, and for issues like social media, people working from home -- and not just from home, working from
vans -- perhaps there's less church, so people have got less institutions. loneliness is not a niche issue, it's not a health issue, it's not anything else, it's about how we change our society. reporter: rebecca takes 65 pounds for an hour of hug therapy. she averages three clients a day. it's hardly surprising that she quit her studies to do it. and robyn doesn't care if some think it looks funny. robyn: well, you've got that thing, which is like saying, well, are people going to think i'm mad? is it really sad that you actually have to pay to come and see someone? but it is pure, if you're lonely, and it helps you. but yeah, unfortunately, we don't all get what we want for free. reporter: robyn is only one of some nine million britons who suffer from social isolation. all the lonely people, where do they all come from?
michelle: a trip to italy would be incomplete without sampling some of the country's renowned cuisine. and there's a restaurant in milan that both food writers and diners agree is one not to miss. it just happens to be located right in the middle of a prison and is staffed by its occupants. in a project designed to better prepare inmates for life beyond the prison walls, our correspondent visited the restaurant for the inside story. reporter: at 8:00 a.m., inmates elson and said are off to work. they're waiters at ingalera. both men have spent years in jail, though they're not allowed to tell us why, by order of the prison authorities. still, they have lots of freedom, almost like living in a hotel. on their way to work, most doors are unlocked, and they have an amicable relationship with the guards and other inmates. elson has been enjoying such
freedoms for two years thanks to his work at the restaurant. it gives meaning to his life behind bars. elson: the best and most important thing a man can have is a purpose. when i get up in the morning i know that i'm doing something useful for my family, that i'm helping them. reporter: elson, who is originally from albania, misses his family the most. but when he's setting tables, polishing glasses or serving guests, he feels a sense of pride. that's why he applied three times to be transferred to bollate. here, inmates can learn a trade and dabble in the arts. these pictures were taken as part of a photography course. massimo: we need to combine imprisonment with giving inmates a purpose in life once they're released from jail.
they should be able to make a contribution to society, because a lower reoffending rate makes for a safer society. reporter: and this strategy has proven successful. just 20% of bollate's former inmates reoffend, whereas the italian average is close to 70%. so the future looks promising for elson and said. they've now been joined by their boss, silvia polleri. she's checking over this evening's reservations. 40 people are expected and everything must be just perfect. silvia: we want to tell people on the outside, this time you should come to us, in prison. make yourself comfortable and see for yourself how humane it is here, what we have to offer, and what we can do. reporter: in the kitchen, federico shows what he can do. he's been at bollate for a year, and has five more years left to serve. he whips up chocolate rack of lamb, monkfish milanese, and purple carrot gnocchi.
these reinterpretations of classic italian dishes have won the restaurant rave reviews. that can only happen if chefs love what they do, and can be trusted with sharp knives. federico: i really love the work. i always wanted to cook, even as a boy. before i was incarcerated i worked as a chef. reporter: will he continue after he's released? federico: yes. i might even keep on working here, as a free man. reporter: prisoners earn between 1000 and 1500 euros a month at ingalera. most of the money goes to their families. elson: but i also put a bit aside for me. so when i get out i can build a life for myself and take the first steps on my own. reporter: later in the evening, manager silvia polleri checks on the guests. said and elson are also busy.
the patrons are happy with the service and don't seem worried that they're being served by convicted criminals. >> one day these people will be on the outside again. working here now might help them reintegrate into society later. reporter: ingalera strives to rehabilitate prisoners and offer guests fine dining. it's an ambitious goal that thank you for watching. see you next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
it's enormous, with literally miles of grand halls, designed to help administer that sprawling, multinational hapsburg empire. by the end of world war i, the hapsburgs were gone, and hungary, while much smaller, was fully independent. but then came the nazis, followed by the communists. that illusive freedom was finally won after the fall of the soviet union in 1989, and since then, the city has blossomed. today, hungary rules only hungary, and it's ruled not by an emperor, but by democratically elected representatives who legislate from what's now a palace of democracy. like vienna, budapest feels more grandiose than the capital of a relatively small country, but the city remains the cultural capital of eastern europe, with a keenly developed knack for good living. you can enjoy that hungarian joy of life at the széchenyi baths.
soak with the locals. of the city's two dozen or so traditional mineral baths, this is the most accessible and fun. budapest is hot, literally. it sits on a thin crust over thermal springs, which power all these baths. both the ancient romans and ottoman turks enjoyed these same mineral springs. they still say, "poke a hole in the ground anywhere in hungary, and you'll find hot water." magyars of all shapes and sizes squeeze themselves into tiny swimsuits and strut their stuff. babushkas float blissfully in the warm water. the speedo-clad old boys club gathers pensively around soggy chessboards. and the circle of rapids brings out the kid in people of all ages. after 2,000 years of experience and innovation,
locals have honed the art of enjoying their thermal hot springs. budapest straddles the danube river. on the west side is hilly buda, dominated by castle hill. the royal palace marks the place where one of europe's mightiest castles once stood. since the 14th century, hungary has been ruled from this spot.