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Turkey Media Roundup (June 22)

[Photo by Mahmut Bozarslan. Diyarbakir, May 22.] [Photo by Mahmut Bozarslan. Diyarbakir, May 22.]


[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.]


Prime Minister Davutoglu’s Resignation

What is Happening in Turkey? Writing for Daily Sabah, Fahrettin Altun explains that soon-to-be-former-Prime Minister Davutoğlu was “unable to read the political reality of the new period and insisted on being a strong prime minister.” Fortunately, “We can be sure that the figure who will come next will be one who . . . accepts the de facto political structure.”

Power over Policy: Erdoğan’s Overthrow of Davutoğlu Gareth Jenkins argues that the ”overthrow of Davutoğlu has demonstrated the naivety of the EU’s policy of appeasement” toward the Turkish government and means that the visa-free travel deal negotiated in March will likely come to nothing.

Political Stability in Turkey as Remote as Ever (1) - (2) Semih İdiz describes the “vicious circle” between Erdoğan’s need for public support and the many problems that his populism begets, and suggests that the appointment of Binali Yıldırım as new prime minister is the first “civilian coup” in Turkish history.

Davutoglu’s Departure Thrusts Erdogan Son-in-Law into Limelight Mehul Srivastava suggests that the president’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, formerly a CEO at Çalık Holding, a major pro-government conglomerate, helped orchestrate the media campaign leading to Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s ouster.

As Davutoglu Exits, Erdoganists Demand 'Obedience to the Leader'  (1) - (2) Mustafa Akyol writes that the departure of Ahmet Davutoğlu as prime minister marks the opening of a new narrative that makes obedience to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a religious duty.

The Davutoglu Era is Over Cengiz Çandar argues that as Davutoğlu has no grassroots support, the prime minister's departure will be smooth.

Davutoğlu is Gone While Al-Assad Goes on Calling Ahmet Davutoğlu “the ideological father of Turkey’s Syrian policy,” Barçın Yinanç argues that Davutoğlu’s most permanent legacy will be the war in Syria and the concomitant Syrian refugee crisis.

Additional coverage of Davutoglu’s “resignation” and its effects from Bloomberg (1) - (2), Politico, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Violence in the Southeast

Photographing Turkey’s Hidden War The Turkish-born photographer Emin Özmen documents the conflict in the Southeast which resulted in the destruction of homes and villages and the forced displacement of more than 350,000.

Behind the Barricades of Turkey’s Hidden War Robert Worth reports on violence in southeast Turkey for The New York Times Magazine, trying to capture the experiences of people caught in the middle of a conflict where both the government and opposition have “dropped all caution.”

Border Guards Kill and Injure Asylum Seekers Human Rights Watch reports on the Turkish state’s use of violence against refugees in border areas including “occasions in March and April in which Turkish border guards shot or assaulted 17 Syrian asylum seekers and two smugglers,” killing five people.

Will Turkey Sacrifice Even More Civil Rights to Battle Terrorism? Metin Gürcan writes that Turkey's parliament is  considering a bill that would significantly broaden military authority that could suspend freedoms to achieve operational effectiveness with a controversial "legal shield" for soldiers.

Division between Turks and Kurds Growing According to Semih İdiz, the PKK’s staying power and its strong recruitment suggest that a military solution to the Kurdish question might not be possible.

Is a New Government-PKK Dialogue Possible in Turkey? Murat Yetkin claims that, although the AKP government is adamantly refusing to return to the negotiating table with Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK, the time is right for a return to the peace process.

Turkey's Southeast Beginning to Resemble Syria Kadri Gürsel highlights that as clashes in Turkey's southeast between government forces and the PKK worsen, some cities mirror the destruction across the border in Syria.

Regional Kurdish Party in AKP'S Crosshairs According to Mahmut Bozarslan, the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party, which controls most of the local administrations in the southeast of Turkey, is under intense pressure not only over the self-rule movement in its provinces but as a staunchly democratic counterpoint to the authoritarian trend in Turkish politics.

Critical Period in the Fight against Terrorism Kemal Öztürk claims that the Kurds who have been suffering in the southeast are “ready to embrace Ankara” and usher in a renewed peace process, replacing that which had been, in his opinion, destroyed by the HDP and the PKK.

AKP's Draft Report for Protecting Family's Sanctity

Is Erdogan Against Birth Control? Riada Asimovic Akyol reports that the latest manifestation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pronatalist agenda insists that Muslim families refrain from using birth control.

There Is No Divorce Problem in Turkey Melis Alphan eviscerates the AKP’s report on preserving the integrity of the family, calling it “truly frightening” and asserting that its numerous patriarchal presumptions about women will only cause more maltreatment and violence against women.

Secularism, 1453 Celebrations, and Constitutional Debates

Turkey is Yet to “Conquer” its History Hakan Karaveli suggests that the recent celebrations reveal an “unease with a historical legacy that is marked by a heterogeneity that is unsettling for an authoritarian state” rather than a confidence with past achievement.

Divine Wisdom (1) - (2) In two new articles, Kaya Genç reflects on the controversy surrounding the Aya Sofya and visits a new exhibition on “Memory/Narrative” at the Kasa Gallery in Istanbul.

Turkish Jewry’s Secret Medieval Messianics Survive Nick Ashdown reports on the pressures facing Dönme in contemporary Turkey as the increasing toleration of the 2000s seems to be coming to an end.

The Battle for Haghia Sophia in Istanbul Escalates Pınar Tremblay argues that the Turkish conservative movement’s demand to turn the Haghia Sophia Museum into a mosque is gaining strength.

Erdogan Engineers His Own Conquest of Istanbul According to Cengiz Çandar, the 563rd celebration of Istanbul's conquest was overblown, much like the omnipresent pictures of President Erdogan's head on giant posters.

Does Erdogan Want His Own Islamic State? Mustafa Akyol argues that Erdoğan is willing to not abolish Turkey’s constitutional secularism, as some fear, but rather to use religion in the most effective way.

Will Turkey Bid Farewell to Secularism? Cengiz Çandar reports that İsmail Kahraman, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, has caused a sensation by proposing a constitution that avoids any reference to secularism as the ruling party continues to promote its Islamist agenda.

Domestic Politics

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 19 This week’s litany of anti-press activity includes the arrest of “Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and Ahmet Nesin for symbolically acting as guest editor of the newspaper Özgür Gündem.” Additionally, several reporters covering Istanbul’s LGTBQ rally were detained and beaten. Previous weeks’ reports from the Committee of Protect Journalists can be seen HERE.

152 Turkish Deputies Face Charges After Immunity Lifted Anadolu Agency provides quick statistics: “HDP and CHP deputies face 511 and 211 charges respectively. AK Party deputies face 50 allegations while MHP members are charged with 23 offenses.”

The Man of Action to Become Prime Minister Daily Sabah columnist İlnur Çevik writes positively of the new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim that, “When Erdoğan sets a policy in motion he needs a man like Yıldırım to act with speed and overcome all the hurdles.” He suggests these policies will include a constitutional change allowing the president to serve as party leader.

Erdogan Expected to Put Anti-Gülen Movement in High Gear  Zülfikar Doğan reports that the Turkish government has officially declared the Gülen movement a terrorist organization, paving the way for even speedier seizures of Gülen-affiliated universities.

Can Turkey's 'Iron Lady' Thwart Erdoğan's Game Plan? Amanda Paul and Demir Murat Seyrek profile Meral Aksener, a member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who is poised to oust Devlet Bahçeli from presiding over the party, and whose ascent could recalibrate party loyalties and threaten Erdoğan’s plans for a consolidated presidency.

Erdoğan Giving Extra Powers to Turkish Military Murat Yetkin writes about the political expediency of empowering the military and giving them forms of legal immunity and protection against investigation, effectively restoring to the military many of the powers that Erdoğan had previously stripped it of.

Is Erdoğan's University Diploma Forged? Cengiz Çandar writes that allegations regarding the authenticity of Turkish President Erdoğan's diploma, and therefore his position as president, are gaining substance.

Erdogan's Take on Terror Attacks Nicely Fits AKP Agenda  Cengiz Çandar argues that despite the wide Western condemnation of the two latest terror attacks in Turkey, President Erdoğoan is interpreting these e attacks as part of an international plot against his party and  pointing the finger of blame westward in accordance with his party's narrative of persecution and defiance.

Has Turkey Given Up Fighting Corruption? According to Şükrü Küçükşahin, Turkey's new government shies away from even paying lip service to fighting corruption, as allegations of graft and bribery at the higher echelons of the state reach as far as the United States.

Foreign Relations

With Africa Trip, Turkey's Erdoğan Aims to Quash Influence of Islamic Cleric Orhan Coşkun and Tulay Karadeniz report for Reuters on the Turkish government’s efforts to pressure African countries to close popular Gülenist-run schools.

Gülen Links are Everywhere in Zarrab Case Daily Sabah columnist Ragıp Soylu argues that “Turkish media discovered” that the US case against Reza Zarrab is a set up: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is tied to Senator Charles Schumer who has accepted donations from the Gülen movement and the judge on the case previously visited Turkey on a Gülenist-funded junket.

How Turkish Soap Operas Took Over The World Esra Gürmen discusses the spread of Turkish television programs through the Middle East and South America, highlighting the way many shows do (and don’t) upend gender norms.

AKP Finally Acknowledges Its Foreign Policy Failures Semih İdiz describes the “déjà vu” of new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s efforts to ameliorate relations with neighboring countries, reminding readers that Ahmet Davutoğlu also made the same promises as foreign minister, with disastrous consequences.

US Alliance with Syrian PYD Alienates Turkey Kadir Üstün criticizes the United States for supporting the PYD in the struggle against ISIS because the Turkish government sees the PYD as a threat to the regional balance of power.

How Are Turkey and Russia Getting Along These Days? Fehim Taştekin points out that Russia and Turkey are extending gestures to one another in hopes of strengthening ties, but there are many factors at play: their opposing goals in the Syrian war, Black Sea politics and Turkey's downing of the Russian jet last year.

How UN Summit Disappointed Its Turkish Hosts Sibel Hürtaş reports that Turkey refused to sign a joint statement at the end of the first World Humanitarian Summit it hosted in late May, wary of an international investigation into gross human rights abuses in its conflict-torn southeast.

Why Turkish Military Isn't Welcome in Syria, Iraq  Semih İdiz argues that military and political observers say the Turkish government's failure to recalibrate its policies to better cooperate with the United States, Russia and Iran is undermining Turkey's security interests in Syria and Iraq.

Erdogan Kicks Off African Tour with Creative History Lesson Fehim Taştekin argues that as Turkey’s relations with the West continue to sour, President Erdoğan is off to try his luck in Africa, especially Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia.

Turkey-EU Ties Facing New Risk after Immunities Lifted According to Serkan Demirtaş, while EU officials are supporting Turkey’s military and anti-terror campaigns, they are concerned that the revocation of parliamentary immunity is disrupting democratic politics in the country.

Germany’s Armenian Genocide Resolution

Turkey Huffs and Puffs at Genocide Vote, But It's Business as Usual with Germany Semih İdiz points out that Turkish government is angry after Germany adopted a nonbinding resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 as genocide, but Turkey is wary of undermining important ties with Germany.

Germany's Armenian Resolution: Unlawful and Harmful İbrahim Kalın, spokesperson for President Erdoğan’s office, criticizes the German government’s resolution on the Armenian genocide as hypocritical because of its fraught positions regarding Turkish migrants and German citizens of Turkish origin.

What's next after Germany's Armenian Genocide Resolution? Cengiz Çandar writes that the German parliament's historic resolution on the Armenian genocide led to predictable responses from Ankara while creating further uncertainty in Turkey's relations with the West.

What Are the Germans Planning? ‘Bloodshed’ Instruction, Attack Bigger than Gezi İbrahim Karagül contends that the German state and state institutions like Deutsche Bank were behind the Gezi Park protests in 2013, and further asserts that the recent resolution on the Armenian genocide portends an even bigger “attack” by the Germans to come in the fall.

German Parliament's Lynching Attempt (1) - (2) Quoting Friedrich Nietzsche to call Germany’s Parliament “the lustful eunuchs of history,” Yasin Aktay praises the unity among the AKP, CHP, and MHP in rejecting Germany’s “lynching attempt against Turkey.”

Other Pertinent Pieces

Reşat Kasaba Lecture at Boston University The University of Washington professor gives a speech on contemporary events (and multiplying troubles) in Turkey.

Recent studies from TEPAV dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis in terms of (1) public health and (2) employment; as well as (3) a study on the Turkish mining industry.

Culinary Backstreets writers use food as a way for presenting the larger issues facing Istanbul residents. Recent articles include Jennifer Hattam on urban gardens; Dalia Mortada and  Ansel Mullins on Syrian shopkeepers; and Paul Osterland on businesses in Kumkapi and Ferikoy (Osterland also has an article on the plight of corset-makers at The Balkanist.)

The Mysterious Woman Who Inspired a Bestselling Novel Writing for the BBC, Emma Jane Kirby interviews Filiz Ali, daughter of the famous novelist Sabahattin Ali—his book, Madonna in a Fur Coat will come out in a new English translation by Maureen Freely in June.

A Turkish Call to Massacre LGBT Community Özgür Korkmaz appraises Turkish nationalist groups’ threats against the Istanbul LGBT pride parade in the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.


Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s Resignation

AKP’nin anayasa açmazları Seyfettin Gürsel points out some dilemmas that the AKP is facing during constitution writing, such as the secularism debate, the lack of an electoral support, and the conflicts between President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.

AKP içi kavga… Hasan Cemal sheds light on the ongoing conflict between President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.

Bu da benim Pelikan Dosyam Writing for Sözcü, Soner Yalçın looks at the clash between president and prime minister over ministerial appointments as one source of tension—in particular he points out that the president’s circle did not want to see control of public works contracts slip from their hands. 

AK Parti’nin asıl ihtiyacı  İbrahim Kiras argues in Karar that “politics is a job of cadres” and that even a president requires “smart, talented, experienced, charismatic” people around him. Though Erdoğan himself may be a strong leader, that alone is not enough for success in politics.

Hoca’dan sonra kim? Yusuf Ziya Cömert reviews possible replacements for the outgoing prime minister: he considers Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ or Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım likely, but deems Energy Minister (and presidential son-in-law) Berat Albayrak a bit premature a pick. As for former Felicity Party leader Numan Kurtulmuş, such a choice would appeal to the base.

Ahmet Davutoğlu'nun sekiz kabahati varmış Ahmet Hakan mixes together a list of Davutoglu-policies leading to his resignation (Hakan Fidan’s candidacy, the refugee deal, the possibility of a new peace initiative), predictions for the next prime minister (Bekir Bozdağ), and cat photos.

Violence in the Southeast

Mahmut Bozarslan'ın fotoğraflarıyla Sur'un bugünü Photographer Mahmut Bozarslan documents the massive destruction in Diyarbakır's Sur district after military operations.

“Suriçi’ndeki yıkım, sadece insanlarına dair bir hukuksuzluk değil, tarihe karşı da suçtur!” An interview with Nevin Soyukaya, head of Diyarbakir Municipality’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, on the destruction of Surici district, which has been home to more than 30,000 residents as well as as historical sites recognized as World Heritage.

Memleket cehenneme dönerken çaresizliğim büyüyor! Hasan Cemal quotes from Oya Baydar's recent book about the military operations and the destruction in Sur, and writes that as Turkey is turning into a hell he is becoming more desperate everyday.

Evini, sokağını yerinde bulamamak Şeyhmus Diken writes about people who return to their homes and streets after the end of the state-imposed martial lockdowns, only to find their homes and streets turned into flat, empty fields of dirt.

Gever'de yasak kalktı da… Necip Çapraz discusses Gever, where the martial lockdown lasted for seventy-eight days before being finally lifted on 30 May.

Orada bir Nusaybin var uzakta… Özlem Durmaz Mungan writes about the Nusaybin she knows, from her many visits over the course of the 2000s, and how the martial lockdowns utterly decimated its landscape, its parks, its streets.

Kan ve yıkım Ahmet Yaşaroğlu tallies the losses in Turkish Kurdistan, counting nearly fifteen thousand killed, wounded, or arrested, and asserts that a “new awakening” that transcends ethnicity will mobilize the people in Turkey against Erdoğan and the AKP.

AKP's Draft Report for Protecting Family's Sanctity

Boşanma komisyonu ne iş? Gülnür Elçik argues that the report by the AKP regarding the preservation of the integrity of the family completely lacks any reference to gender equality and instead pathologizes men for being poor or unemployed or suffering from addiction.

Domestic Politics

Erdoğan, tek adam rejimi için İslamiyet’i kullanıyor Ruşen Çakır discusses the lack of internal opposition in the AKP, pointing out how figures like Gül, Arinc, and Davutoğlu who might have challenged Erdoğan  “missed the train” and now have no real political base from which to stage a challenge.

Yarın olsun! Can Dündar sends his wishes to the staff at Cumhurieyt, arguing that the paper must remain proudly independent in the face of government pressure. The day the column published, Dündar was nearly shot on his way to court—and, once in court, sentenced to five years in prison.

Kürtaja Uludere denmesi yalnızca kadınların sorunu değildir Sibel Schick points to the paradox of those who claim that killing cells in a woman’s uterus constitutes murder, when those same people often support the killing of innocent children in the country.

Secularism, 1453 Celebrations, and Constitutional Debates

Meselenin aslı budur (1) - (2) Soner Yalçın gives an overview of the life and career of Parliament President (and secular constitution critic) İsmail Kahraman. He contrasts Kahraman’s career in conservative-nationalist student politics during the 1960s, with left-wing student Turhan Emeksiz, born the same year but killed by police in 1960.

Laiklik anayasaya sığar mı? Birgün columnist Fatih Yaşlı welcomes the call by İsmail Kahraman, AKP member and Parliament President, to remove secularism from the Turkish constitution because it clarifies where the governing party actually stands.

Laiklikle hesaplaşmak, Türkiye'yi zıvanadan çıkarır! Hasan Cemal argues that the government's plans to build a mosque in Taksim, the ban on LGBTI Parade, and threats and violent attacks against those who don't observe Ramadan are imposing non-secular laws and an Islamic lifestyle on society.

‘Yeni Türkiye’ yazılır, ‘faşizm’ okunur… Murat Sevinç points out that new constitution is dragging Turkey into fascism.

Hikmet Çetinkaya- Ceyda Karan: Gazeteciliğin yüz akları! Nazım Alpman, writing in Birgün, argues that the Cumhuriyet columnists convicted of blasphemy were simply supporting the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre—no different than Prime Minister Davutoğlu when he appeared at memorial services in Paris.

Laik devletten dindar devlete... (1) - (2) Hikmet Çetinkaya, one of two Cumhuriyet columnists sentenced to two years in prison for insulting religious values, writes that laicism is the basis for democracy.

Foreign Policy

Türkiye'nin insani yardım politikası Hasan Öztürk claims that Turkey’s humanitarian aid efforts exceed those of Western countries—particularly on the issue of Syrian refugees—insofar as humanitarian aid from Turkey does not come with political strings attached.

Türkiye, kendi ayağına kurşun sıkmaya devam ediyor İhsan Çaralan appraises Turkey’s foreign policy, particularly relating to Syria and ISIS, as one that is making Turkey “alone.”

Other Pertinent Pieces

#101015Ankara This site includes extensive biographies of and reflections on those murdered in the October bombing in Ankara.

Alkol ve Onur Yürüyüşü saldırıları: Ramazan bahane Mehveş Evin reports the government's recent ban on Pride Parade, as well as verbal and physical attacks against those who consume alchol during Ramadan.

Tek Adam'ın ayrılık kararı Naci Cem Öncel looks back to 1937, when President Mustafa Kemal and Prime Minister İsmet İnönü parted ways and wonders when Turkey will escape the endless dynamic of power struggles.

Published on Jadaliyya

أهلاً بكم في ليسبوس

New Texts Out Now: Fatma Muge Gocek, Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and the Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789-2009

Pro-AKP Media Figures Continue to Target Academics for Peace

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


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