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Turkey Media Roundup (February 16)

[Şırnak Silopi, January 19. Image by Fatih Pınar] [Şırnak Silopi, January 19. Image by Fatih Pınar]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Turkey and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Turkey Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Sunday night of every week.]


Violence in the Southeast/Kurdish Politics

The Destruction of Sur: Is This Historic District a Target for Gentrification? David Lepeska reports for The Guardian, suggesting that, besides fighting the PKK, the government hopes to “remake the central districts of these nettlesome, predominantly Kurdish cities into something more profitable and more amenable to state control.”

Doctors Join Turkey’s Ever-Growing Army of 'Terrorists' Mahmut Bozarslan points to the pro-government media’s vilification of doctors in the Kurdish region over their supposed negligence of injured policemen and military members.

So Where Were All the Wounded People in Cizre? - (2) - (3) In his columns from this past week, İlnur Çevik, Daily Sabah columnist and the president’s new Chief Advisor, accuses the HDP of fabricating claims of injured civilians trapped in Cizre, accuses the PYD of being a terrorist organization, and praises Turkey for its treatment of refugees.

ECtHR’s Cizre Decision Cafer Solgun expresses shock at the decision by the European Court for Human Rights to defer to the Turkish government regarding matters in Cizre. Further, he wonders how many civilians are among the 564 “terrorists” confirmed killed by the army in the last two months.

Syrian Kurds and Turkey's Kurdish Question According to Ebubekir Işık, the staying power of the PYD and the Kurdish movement in northern Syria means that the Turkish government can no longer engage the PKK and other Kurdish political movements as it has since the 1980s.

Is the PYD being Managed from İncirlik? İbrahim Karagül contends that “the US is waging a war on Turkey” by virtue of its support for the PYD in northern Syria.

Master Plan… After a visit to the cities of Diyarbakır and Mardin, Kemal Öztürk asserts that the PKK and the HDP have lost popular support, and that those who are protesting have been coerced by either the PKK or the HDP.

To Distract Turkey while Iraq and Syria are Redesigned Arguing that “the region should only normalize after the region is cleared of armed terrorists,” Abdülkadir Selvi suggests that the HDP, the PKK, and Abdullah Öcalan should all be excluded from new negotiations for peace and reconciliation.

Domestic Politics

Is This the End of Turkish Miracle? Kerim Karakaya points out that Turkey’s economic success story of the past decade has dramatically changed, becoming instead a tale of caution.

AKP Generous with Lip Service, But Turkish Soldiers Need More Pınar Tremblay reports that the AKP is glorifying military "martyrdom" in an attempt to steer civilian-military relations into support for the government.

Erdoğan Returns to Interest Rate Policy With the Central Bank governor set to step down, Seyfettin Gürsel worries that a new governor will be unable to resist pressure from President Erdoğan to cut interest rates.

Academics and the 'Medium-Quality' Trap Daily Sabah columnist Etyen Mahçupyan accuses those who signed the Academics For Peace petition of polarizing debate and creating a situation where “war has become more acceptable” for both the government and the PKK.

Erdoğan, Cigarettes and the Nanny State Appraising President Erdoğan’s efforts to extend a ban on smoking cigarettes in public spaces, Mustafa Akyol suggests that he wants to create a “nanny state” in order to steer everyone toward his vision of a moral life.

Turkey's Pervasive Political and Social Polarisation Riada Asimovic Akyol contends that the AKP government is responsible for deepening divisions and increasing unrest in Turkey over the past fourteen years.

Turkish Intervention in Syria

Turkey’s Bluff Ömer Taşpınar argues that the Turkish government’s intervention in northern Syria is limited, an attempt to “gain US attention and convince the US government to reduce its support of the PYD.”

Will Turkey conduct cross-border land operations in Syria? Faced with the military establishment’s wariness about ground operations, Emre Uslu suggests that the government is playing on military fears of the PYD “as a pretext for the broader goal of removing Assad.”

Turkey Must Intervene in Syria! İbrahim Karagül asserts that if Turkey does not intervene in the conflict in Syria, the PYD will strengthen its position in Rojava, which will compel the Kurds in southeast Turkey to attempt to secede, ultimately causing Turkey to be divided up.

Can Turkey Return as a Player in Syria? According to Metin Gürcan, the Syrian government siege on Aleppo as well as Russia’s increasing intervention in Syria may compel the Turkish government to take a more active role in ground operations within the country.

Turkey Gives Mixed Signals on Syria Examining debates about the possibility of a ground intervention in Syria, Semih İdiz contends that the Turkish government’s warmongering does not translate to coherent or feasible military strategy.

Will He, Won't He? Turks Ponder Whether Erdogan Will Invade Syria Cengiz Çandar points out that President Erdogan has many factors to consider if he is contemplating military intervention in Syria.

How Fighters are Filtering Across the Syrian-Turkish Border According to Fehim Taştekin,the looming question is what Turkey will do with militants, their families and IS-affiliated fighters who will flee across the border when the Syrian army recovers the area.

Can Erdogan Bully Turkey's Armed Forces into Invading Syria? "Following his failure in Aleppo, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s eagerness for a military intervention in Syria is stronger than ever, but will the Turkish military acquiesce to his plans?" asks Kadri Gürsel.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

NATO: The Savior of Turkey, Greece, EU and the Schengen Agreement Serkan Demirtaş suggests that a recent agreement between Turkey and the EU allowing NATO intervention in the refugee crisis will help quell the tide of refugees moving into Europe.

Turkey: Let Stranded Syrians Seek Protection Human Rights Watch calls on the Turkish government to continue letting in Syrians massing at the border, fleeing their homes in the face of a renewed Syrian government campaign in Aleppo.


Merkel Knows Erdoğan Means What He Says (1) - (2) Writing about the controversy over President Erdoğan’s threat to allow more refugees into Europe, Murat Yetkin argues that the Syrian refugee crisis may ultimately bring Turkey and the EU closer.

Turkey's Refugee Crisis: Time for Europe to Take Action Birce Bora discusses the lack of social and economic opportunity for Syrian refugees in Turkey and suggests that the EU should provide more support to the Turkish government in order to slow the movement of refugees into Europe.

Turkey's Help toward Refugees According to Ergün Yıldırım, Turkey is being forced by the international community to be the primary destination for refugees, but the international community is also accusing Turkey of not doing enough for refugees.

Foreign Policy

How Turkey's Foreign Policy May Have Lost it $25 Billion in Trade with Iran  "A preferential trade agreement between Turkey and Iran has failed to stop the decline in bilateral trade as regional political disputes between the two neighbors deepen," Mehmet Çetingüleç reports.

Kick the Coalition Out of İncirlik Writing for Daily Sabah, Yahya Bostan argues that the US-led coalition using the base at İncirlik has accomplished little and is now actively helping the PYD. 

Why the PYD Has Become such a Big Deal for Erdoğan Emre Uslu argues that the Turkish government’s recent hostility to the PYD stems from concerns that it is a stalking horse for western influence in the region.

From the 'Hood Incident' to 'the Picture' Daily Sabah columnist Kılıç Buğra Kanat describes the meeting between US Envoy McGurk and the PYD as a blow to US-Turkish relations comparable to detention of Turkish soldiers by US forces in 2003.

Turkey Bets, yet again, on Barzani: Turkey-KRG Relations in Light of the Regional Turbulence Gallia Lindenstrauss argues that the Turkish government’s relationship with KRG President Barzani is growing more important as Turkish hopes for influencing northern Syria fade.

Turkey's Position on the PYD is not Realistic According to Semih İdiz, it is myopic for the Turkish government to continue to insist on the PYD’s illegitimacy, especially now that the PYD has the backing of two superpowers—the US and Russia. 

Other Pertinent Pieces

Why Did Erdogan's Bodyguards Beat Up These Ecuadorian Women?  Erdoğan's intolerant attitude toward Ecuadorian protesters surprised even those who are familiar with his aggression.

Turkey Can't Avoid Post-Arab Spring Mindset Galip Dalay argues that, in the wake of the Arab uprisings, political elites in Turkey mistakenly saw an affinity with Islam as a necessary method for maintaining political legitimacy.


Violence in the Southeast/Kurdish Politics

Dünyada eşi benzeri olmayan bir 'çözüm süreci'  Ezgi Başaran questions how Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s peace plan can be effective if he refuses to talk with armed factions.

Oslo, çözüm süreci ve hepimizin bilmesi gerekenler Ezgi Başaran looks back on the negotiations between the government and PKK leaders in 2011 as a lost opportunity for peace.

İthal Toledo sanayii Reflecting on the ways Diyarbakır has already been changed over the past century, Yetvart Danzikyan wonders what it meant by the governments talk of making it a new “Toledo.” 

"HDP'nin siyasi varlığı bir şans" Oral Çalışlar takes recent comments by Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmuş as a signal that the government is willingness to reengage in talks.

Çatışmalardan sonra Cizre Photos from Radikal of Cizre following the recent government military campaign.

Türkiye’yle Kürdistan... Excerpts from Hasan Cemal's book titled Kurdistan Diaries during the Resolution Process.

Suriçi'nde 6 günde harabeye çevrilen mahalleler Nurcan Baysal reports on the extent of destruction and violence that took place in the Sur district of Diyarbakir during six-days security operations.

Soyulmuş ölü kadın bedeni, neyin intikamı? Mehveş Evin criticises the Turkish military officers for exposing dead, often tortured, bodies of female Kurdish militants.

Hesabı mahşere kalmaz! Hayko Bağdat expresses his anger in the wake of killings of civilians and animals, and destruction of their houses by the security forces and calls for justice. 

Diyarbakır'ı Diyarbakır yapan yer Suriçi'dir Berivan Kaya writes that the people fleeing and the attacks on historical sites in the Sur district of Diyarbakır make it resemble Kobane in northern Syria.

Sana güle güle diyemiyorum Gülistan Füsun Erdoğan offers a short biography of Gülistan Üstün, a Kurdish musician and former political prisoner who was burned to death, along with fifty-nine other people, by the Turkish military in a basement in Cizre.

Başkaldırıyorum öyleyse varım! Selin Top discusses the “Women for Peace Initiative,” which has mobilized women against patriarchal violence and against the war on Kurdistan.

Cizre'yi onurlandırmak Dilşah Özdinç writes an elegy for Cizre and for the students she met at the only Kurdish-language school in all of Turkey, located in Cizre.

Silopi Raporu ve 'tecavüz etme' yetkisi Nami Temeltaş discusses a recent report about Silopi published by Mazlum-Der (the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed), which quotes a policeman fighting in the city as saying, “Right now, I have the authority to rape, to kill, to kidnap.”

İki madde olmadan olmaz According to Ahmet Yaşaroğlu, Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s recently announced ten-point “Master Plan” is missing the two most important points—the need for Kurdish-language education and the recognition of Kurdish democratic autonomy.

Cizre'nin cenazeleri Ender İmrek claims that in spite of the Turkish government’s disinformation and propaganda campaigns, “one thing is for sure: a massacre took place in Cizre before all of our eyes.”

Diyarbakır'da Kurdistani konferans Fehim Işık asks, “if now is not the time for Kurdish political movements to enter into permanent and balanced cooperation, then when?”

Cizre, biraz daha Cizre Describing the cultural monuments and historical sites of the distant past that are located in Cizre, Mehmet Said Aydın wonders about remembering the recent past, and mentions the dozens of people who have been killed in recent weeks.

Domestic Politics

Erdoğan ve çılgınlık! Hasan Cemal argues that someone must say "stop" to President Erdogan, because his desire to bring "one-man rule" to Turkey is indeed dragging the country into an impasse.

Daha fazla zulüm için haydi başkanlığa! Mehveş Evin writes that a presidential regime promoted by Erdogan and the AKP government would bring Turkey nothing, but more oppression.

Nasıl bir yeni anayasa? Rather than focus solely on the issue of a presidential versus parliamentary system, Fuat Keyman argues that a new constitution should reflect Turkey’s urbanized society and promote economic growth.

“Dışlanmışlar Hareketi’ne vizyon lâzım" In an interview with Al Jazeera, journalist Ruşen Çakır casts doubt on how effective dissident AKP members like Bülent Arınç and Hüseyin Çelik can be as critics of the government.

Berat Bey, Erdoğan'ın yakını olmasaydı Ahmet Hakan argues that newly appointed Energy Minister (and son-in-law of President Erdoğan) Berat Albayrak is actually pretty qualified for his position.

İki kadın lider Sezin Öney wonders whether Selin Sayek Böke and Meral Akşener, female MPs from the CHP and the MHP respectively, will be able to transform the politics and political culture of Turkey

AKP'ye seçmen desteğinin asıl nedeni Hüseyin Şengül contends that the AKP’s electoral support is rooted in a Sunni Islamism pursuing a kind of political revanchism against the overextended dominance of Republican secularism.

AKP politikaları içinde Alevilik Discussing the so-called “Alevi opening,” Ali Balkız asks whether an institutionalized version of Alevism offered by the AKP government is a better solution than challenging the government’s regulation of religion itself.

Foreign Policy

Suriye seferi son çılgın projeniz olur Sayın Erdoğan Oya Baydar argues that Erdogan's foreign policy in Syria has dragging both countries to an impasse, and a possible military intervention in Syria would put an end to Erdogan's rule.

Erdoğan’ın gözü Suriye’de, asker yine rahatsız! Kadri Gürsel points out that Turkish army is not content with Erdogan's intervention plans in Syria. 

Sınırlarda NATO devreye giriyor Dilek Zaptçıoğlu contends that the mobilization of NATO to contain the refugee crisis will place the Aegean region in a state of exception and will only result in further isolation of Syria.

PYD takıntısı Hüseyin Şengül compares the AKP’s aggression to the Kurds in northern Syria with the government’s hostility toward northern Iraq in the 1990s.

Türkiye-ABD ilişkilerinde 'Kürt kırılması' İbrahim Genç writes about the history of the divergent political and diplomatic approaches taken to the Kurds in northern Syria by the United States and Turkey.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Marmara Denizi acilen doğa koruma alanı ilan edilmeli Nilay Vardar discusses the complacency that the Turkish government has displayed toward the Sea of Marmara, in spite of the fact that it is completely within Turkey’s jurisdiction, and calls for the Sea to be declared a protected zone.

Sürgünde kadın ve LGBTİ olmak Feryal Saygılıgil discusses a recently released book of interviews with women and LGBTI refugees who fled from Syria to Turkey, which looks at the various forms of physical, symbolic, and structural violence that these refugees face.

Published on Jadaliyya

Speaking Truth to Power: A Panel on Academic Freedoms and the War Against Kurds in Turkey (17 February, CUNY Graduate Center, New York)

Letter by American Sociological Association Expressing Concern for Signatories of Academics for Peace Statement in Turkey

Call for Papers: Graduate Student Conference on Social and Political Change in MENA (April 8, New York)

Under Fire: Translating the Growing Crisis in the Kurdish Cities of Turkey’s Southeast

Statement of Concern by Professors of Turkish Studies and Ottoman History Regarding Diminishing Academic Freedoms in Turkey

Urgent Call for Action by Women’s Freedom Assembly in Turkey

Letter by American Anthropological Association Regarding Repression of Academics in Turkey

Letter by American Political Science Association Regarding Academic Freedom in Turkey

Joint Letter by Global Higher Education Networks in Support of Turkey's Higher Education and Research Community

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