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Turkey Media Roundup (April 26)

[Nationalist Action Party election bus before the Turkish municipal elections. Istanbul, Turkey, 2009.] [Nationalist Action Party election bus before the Turkish municipal elections. Istanbul, Turkey, 2009.]

[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.]


Domestic Politics

Even The Smell of Betrayal Is Bad According to Faruk Aksoy, the conspirators behind the HDP and the Kurdish movement are now trying to mobilize the MHP in order to establish an “Erdoğanless Turkey.”

Operation Akşener Targets AK Party, Erdoğan Daily Sabah columnist (and presidential advisor) İlnur Çevik argues that the Gülen movement and “the elite of Turkey that governed the country for decades until 2002” are colluding to elevate Meral Akşener to the leadership of the MHP.

What Turkey Can Learn From Coup Plot Case Dismissal Metin Gürcan suggests that Turkish military officers’ willingness to submit themselves to prosecution despite their belief in the unfair and manufactured nature of the charges has been a positive development for Turkish democracy and the rule of law.

How Will Turkey's Military Use Its Restored Standing? Cengiz Çandar argues that in order to weather attacks by the Gülen movement, President Erdogan made the decision to ally with the military--and doing so meant both reversing the Ergenekon trials and the Kurdish peace process.

Foreign Affairs

The EU's Point of No Return with Turkey Murat Yetkin contends that the EU-Turkey visa deal only has any success because the Turkish government is able to threaten to stop its efforts to contain the refugee influx into Europe. 

Weakest Link of the Turkey-EU Visa Deal: New Passports Serkan Demirtaş reminds readers that, even if the visa deal goes through soon, Turkish citizens will need new passports in line with EU document regulations before they can enter Europe without a visa, which means that the deal will have virtually no immediate effect.

Turkey's Second Honeymoon with The EU Failing? Semih İdiz asserts that the refugee deal between Turkey and the EU is “fraught with pitfalls which could undermine it at any time,” leaving both Turkey and the EU with an exponentially magnified crisis.

Both An Opportunity And Threat for Turkey Writing about Turkey’s recent appointment to the presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ali Saydam claims that “the Muslim world will pull itself together with Erdoğan's active, energetic action plans” and turn away from violent groups like Boko Haram and ISIS.

Israel and Turkey: Approaching Reconciliation? Söner Çağaptay and Michael Herzog discuss Turkish attempts to mend relations with Israel, pointing out that Turkey’s demand that restrictions on its trade and construction projects must be lifted unsettle both the Israeli and Egyptian governments, which worry  about empowering Hamas.

Erdoğan, Davutoğlu Shed Tears for Gaza, but Little Else According to Zülfikar Doğan, Erdoğan and the AKP government “frequently invoke the Palestine issue and the plight of Gaza for domestic political advantage” but were revealed by the World Bank to have reneged on a two hundred million dollar pledge to help rebuild Gaza.

Why Turkey Frets over US-Russian Relations Cengiz Çandar claims that the Turkish government is not satisfied with the kind of relationship between Obama and Putin, as evidenced by their tacit agreement about Russian involvement in Syria.

Kurdish Politics

Resuming Dialogue with PKK Does Not Look Easy Murat Yetkin blames the PKK, along with Western governments’ support for the PYD in Syria, for the impossibility of renewed negotiations between the PKK and the Turkish government.

Table Calling for the separation of the Kurdish issue from the terror issue, Aydın Ünal nonetheless claims that “we are face to face with sub-contracting organizations that are easily used by international intelligence organizations, that supposedly use the Kurdish issue as an excuse, yet do not have an ideology at all and instead use terrorism as a tool for trade.”

The PKK and the PYD: Comrades in Arms, Rivals in Politics? According to Gareth Jenkins, the PKK has found itself in a difficult position: reducing its aid to the PYD exposes it to accusations of not aiding fellow Kurds; on the other hand, its efforts against ISIS limit its ability to challenge the Turkish government.

Neoliberal Wars and Violent Gentrification Jenny White observes that the speed with which the government has moved forward with its seizure and redevelopment of Diyarbakir neighborhoods suggests state planning that predated the recent destruction of the neighborhoods.

Persecution of Journalists

If This is Not Bigotry, What Does Böhmermann Do? Daily Sabah’s Melih Altınok argues that German comic Jan Böhmermann’s mocking of President Erdoğan is actually disrespect for all Turks and that while “blacks, Catholics, homosexuals or feminists” in the West are “protected by political correctness,” “an Asian, African, Muslim or Turk” can be freely disrespected. 

How a German Comedian Saved the Turkish President Alex Christie Miller reports that President Erdoğan has launched 1,845 libel prosecutions in the last nineteen months. Despite this, the racial-stereotypes used by German comic Jan Böhmermann have rallied many to the president’s defense.

Turkey’s Crackdown on Critics of Erdogan Snares Dutch Journalist Reporting on the arrest of Dutch journalist Ebru Umar for criticizing President Erdoğan, Tim Arango observes that “Turkey’s clampdown on the news media has increasingly become intertwined with Europe’s attempts to cooperate with Turkey on the migrant issue.”

Other Pertinent Pieces

Award-Winning Turkish Film Explores Lives of Istanbul's Cleaning Ladies Kaya Genç reviews the new film Dust Cloth (dir. Ahu Öztürk), which follows the lives of two Istanbul house-cleaners

New Yorkers are Left Baffled as Skywriters Paint 'How Happy is the One Who Says I Am a Turk' in Turkish in the Sky Above Manhattan - But Armenians are Not Amused The Daily Mail provides pictures and an account that must be seen to be believed.


Domestic Politics

MHP'de mücadele: Çanlar kimin için çalıyor? Yunus Emre writes about the current antagonism within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that is threatening to pull it apart, and attributes it to the tension between urban and rural interpretations of Turkish nationalism.

AKP, CHP ve MHP’nin dokunulmazlık kardeşliği İbrahim Genç claims that lifting parliamentary immunity—in principle a useful way of keeping politicians accountable to the law—would only have the consequence of silencing the HDP’s active and effective opposition within parliament and in the public sphere.

İBB Başkanı Kadir Topbaş'a açık mektup Hüseyin Şengül writes an open letter to Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş about the incredibly poor planning of Istanbul’s future mass transit investments, which do nothing to ameliorate the transit problems the city faces.

Dokunulmazlık teklifi ne diyor? Haluk Kalafat examines the clauses that are poised to be altered in the removal of parliamentary immunity, claiming that it all boils down to one main point: "Those who vote yes to the legal changes will remove the immunity of those who vote no."

Sümeyye Erdoğan’a suikast yalanı Özgür Mumcu discusses the newspaper Akşam’s accusations that a CHP member was plotting to kill the president’s daughter—false accusations for which Akşam was ordered to pay a 6000TL fine.

Yumurtasız omlet, HDP’siz Meclis Aydın Engin argues that the government’s plans to lift HDP legislator’s parliamentary immunity will increase political violence in Turkey by giving Kurds no legal means to express themselves.

Ergenekon Efsanesi’nin hazin sonu Nuray Mert expresses her shock that the Ergenekon trials can be so easily dismissed and that the government can so blithely claim that the Gülen movement had established a parallel state under its watch without taking any responsibility for its failure.

Meclis’te “Savaşa devam” dendi! Appraising the minutes of the anniversarial meeting of Parliament, Tarhan Erdem claims that the obsessive discussion of containing terror misses a crucial point: a necessary discussion of how to precipitate peace.

Erdoğan’ın ülkeye verdiği en ağır hasar Levent Gültekin argues that President Erdogan has come to put obedience above all other values. The result of such a policy is that every aspect of social, political, and economic life has become subordinated to the question of whether or not one complies.

Kurdish Politics

Siyasette çıkmaz sokak ve alternatifler Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu argues that the CHP, MHP, and HDP leaders are all following policies that strengthen the government: The MHP’s role has been taken by the AKP; the CHP is attempting to stay on the side-lines; and the HDP, by seeking to appease various factions, is heading toward greater division.

Suriçi’ndeki yapıları yıkıp yeniden yapabilirsiniz, peki ya yaşamları? Nurcan Baysal reports from neighborhoods in Diyarbakır where people are attempting to restart their lives--but insufficient damage compensation from the government and the state’s focus on building police stations in the area rather than schools are makes the process all the harder.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Ezidiler Çarşema Sor'u kutluyor Nami Temeltaş writes about the Yazidi holiday Çarşema Sor, or Red Wednesday, and the myth of creation that the day is intended to celebrate.

Published on Jadaliyya

A Belgian Bombing in Istanbul: How Small States Manage Terrorist Moments

Urgent Call for Solidarity with Academics in Turkey (Letter to the US Department of State)

New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

Entertainment and Consumption: The Impending Destruction of the Armenian Memorial Trchnotz Puyn

“Cleaning out the Ghettos” - Urban Governance and the Remaking of Kurdistan

On a Day of a March…

Humanism and Its Others

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