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Authoritarian Rule

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

February 17, 2016 6:00-8:00 PM The Graduate Center, CUNY 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY Room C198 (Concourse Level) Reception to follow. Please bring ID to enter the building. More information can be found here. A panel discussion with David Harvey, Nazan Üstündağ, Aslı Iğsız and Kamal Soleimani, moderated by Anthony Alessandrini. Following the June 2015 general elections, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) renewed the state’s forty-year-long war against Kurds. This move ended the peace negotiations that had been taking place between the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and the government since 2013. The resurgence of the war has led to increasing ...

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Empty Tahrir

An Egyptian child with a police costume in Tahrir square. January 25, 2016 (Photo by Jonathan Rashad)

Five years ago, thousands of Egyptians called for protests on the 25th of January to demand "bread, freedom and social justice" and challenge the security apparatus' vast human rights violations. The protesters managed to topple thirty-year autocrat Hosni Mubarak after eighteen days of protests and clashes with the police. Before that day in 2011, January 25 was the national commemorative day of the police. What does that day mean to Egyptians today? Ahead of the anniversary of January 25, authorities arrested activists, shut down cultural spaces, and conducted mass searches of flats in downtown. I decided to cover the situation in the spot where more than 800 ...

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Phoenix Rising from the Ashes? The Internal State of Affairs of the Muslim Brotherhood at the Start of 2016

[Raba‘a al-‘Adawiyya sit-in, 30 June 2013. Photo from author's private archives]

Today, Egyptians are commemorating the fifth anniversary of the revolution of 2011. It is not yet clear what the outcome of these events will be, but the high level of repression against civil society indicates that the regime is nervous. And this is with good reason: after all, its old rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, while severely reduced in terms of its mobilizing and organizing capacity, is still in business. In anticipation of 25 January 2016 it is worth taking stock of the current state of the Muslim Brotherhood. The ouster of Morsi on July 3, 2013 came as a profound shock to the members of this eighty-eight year old Islamist movement, shattering its organizational ...

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

[Logo of Women's Freedom Assembly]

[The following statement was issued by Women's Freedom Assembly (KÖM) on 18 January 2016 as a call for international women's solidarity in regards to the ongoing war in the Kurdish region and growing repression of dissent in Turkey.] To Women’s Organizations: Urgent Call for Action Women’s Freedom Assembly (KÖM) is calling on your solidarity against the war and massacres that we have been living through for the past eight months. The AKP government and President Tayyip Erdoğan are repressing, through violence, all opposition forces who have been resisting the authoritarian regime that they have been trying to establish in Turkey and destroying all channels of political ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (January 19)

Cizre, September 2015. Image by Rebecca Harms.

[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 turkey@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] English Violence in the Southeast Violence Dominates Politics Mümtaz'er Türköne decries a recent PKK on a police family lodgings in Diyarbakır, comparing the organization's methods to ISIS and arguing its attempts to control urban areas will result in it dominating “nothing but ruins.” Indefinite 24-Hour Curfew, Over 200,000 In Danger ...

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آلة القتل في الدولة والموجة الثورية القادمة

يشكل سؤال إمكانيات أي نظام في قمع تمرد أو ثورة ضده هاجساً كبيراً لدى الباحثين في مجال دراسة الثورات والحركات الاجتماعية. وتدور حول هذا السؤال عدة إشكاليات وأسئلة أخرى مثل: مدى إمكانية أي حركة في النجاح، قدرة النظام على الصمود، إمكانية اندلاع حرب أهلية، مقدار العنف والدموية داخل التمرد، مدى تماسك أجهزة الدولة القمعية، مآلات الحركة.. حيث تحدد تلك الجوانب، وعلى الأخص منها مستوى العنف في سياق أي ثورة أو تمرد، ملامح المستقبل وشكل النظام والدولة المقبلين. الجيش و25 يناير حتى الآن لم يتبين ما إذا كان الجيش المصري قد تلقى أوامر بإطلاق الرصاص الحي أو قمع المتظاهرين أم لا. وظف الجيش إعلامياً وخطابياً عدم إطلاقه النار على الثوار، وبأنه من قام بحماية الثورة. كما تناول شرف ...

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2 اللااستثناء المغربي: حزب وجيش وقصر

[صورة من متحف جيش التحرير المغربي في الرباط. بعدسة الؤلفة]

 اللااستثناء المغربي: حزب وجيش وقصر (الجزء الثاني) [اضغط/ي هنا لقراءة الجزء الأول من المقال] إن تفاعل الذاكرة والنسيان في صياغة الدولة لتاريخ الخمسينيات في المغرب يأخذ شكلاً كليَّ الحضور في موقع متحف جيش التحرير المغربي. يقع المتحف في بناء المندوبية السامية لقدماء المقاومين وأعضاء جيش التحرير، المتوضع بعيداً في الرباط بين عدد من الفروع الوزارية في حي أكدال.ولا يثير موقع المتحف سؤال هذا المقال المعلن فحسب، بل يثيره أيضاً ما يكمن داخل جدران المتحف. ذلك أنّ المتحف المؤلف من أربعة طوابق، يحتوي على عدد من التذكارات من الأيام الأولى لعمليات جيش التحرير المغربي، بالإضافة إلى التعبيرات الفنية عن عمليات متنوعة، وكذلك دزينات من اللوحات والصور للعائلة الملكية. وبالرغم من ...

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1 اللااستثناء المغربي: حزب وجيش وقصر

[صورة من متحف جيش التحرير المغربي في سيدي إفني، المغرب، بعدسة المؤلفة]

 اللااستثناء المغربي: حزب وجيش وقصر (الجزء الأول) كان العام هو 1958، وكان المغرب قد دخل عامه الثاني من الاستقلال عن فرنسا، السلطان محمد الخامس يكتهل ووليّ العهد الحسن الثاني، قائد القوات الملكية المسلحة، بدأ بتأكيد سلطته سياسياً وعسكرياً. وكان الطرفان الشمالي والجنوبي من المغرب، وكلاهما معقل لجيش التحرير المغربي، خارج سيطرة القصر. حافظت أسبانيا، بقيادة فرانكو، على وجودها الاستعماري على طول حدود المغرب الشمالية والجنوبية. وأظهر المهدي بن بركة (الشخصية الوطنية المعروفة) براعة سياسية سببت نزاعاً بينه وبين أعضاء حزبه السياسي، الاستقلال، وبينه وبين القصر. وكان هذا عاماً أعادت فيه سلسلة من التحركات السياسية والعسكرية بناء ترتيبات وتحالفات القوة الموجودة، واضعة أسس ...

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‘New Turkey’: Toward an Authoritarian and Sectarian Police State

[Demonstration in Istanbul following the assassination of Tahir Elçi. Photo by Fatih Pinar.]

Tahir Elçi, the president of the bar association in southeastern Diyarbakır province and a determined Kurdish human rights lawyer, was shot dead on Saturday, 28 November, during a press statement he had delivered in Diyarbakır. Photos of Elçi’s dead body lying on the ground quickly overwhelmed social media accounts, symbolizing the deadly difficulty of talking about and fighting for peace at this critical juncture that Turkey, and the region at large, are going through. Despite the fact that Turkey is known for its long history of unsolved political crimes and political violence, Elçi’s assassination is an alarming turning point in the final phase, after the electoral ...

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New Texts Out Now: Safinaz El Tarouty, Businessmen, Clientelism, and Authoritarianism in Egypt

[Cover of Safinaz El Tarouty,

Safinaz El Tarouty, Businessmen, Clientelism, and Authoritarianism in Egypt. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Safinaz El Tarouty (SET): This book is based on my PhD dissertation that I completed in 2014 at the University of East Anglia. The topic I chose for my dissertation was authoritarian survival in Egypt. I decided to examine this topic by focusing on the role of Egyptian businessmen in politics and their relationship to authoritarian survival. Since 2000, the visibility of businessmen in politics has been growing. This was evident in their election to the parliament, appointment in the ruling party, and ...

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Disrupting the Chessboard: Perspectives on the Russian Intervention in Syria, with Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Bassam Haddad

[Image from Belfer Center Report]

Disrupting the Chessboard: Perspectives on the Russian Intervention in Syria Introduction: The Russian Intervention in Syria Payam Mohseni, Editor In late September 2015 at the request of the Syrian government, dozens of advanced Russian warplanes entered Syrian airspace and began conducting intensive airstrikes against enemy targets. With the support of the Russian Air Force, the Syrian government also launched an offensive ground campaign in conjunction with Hezbollah and Iranian forces to recapture key territories in Hama, Idlib, and Latakia provinces and has more recently set its objectives on regaining Aleppo. Moreover, Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Syria ...

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Rights Groups Outraged by Hossam Bahgat’s Detention, Demand his Immediate Release

[Hossam Bahgat. Photo from Free Hossam Bahgat Facebook Page]

Rights groups in Egypt and abroad have condemned the detention of Mada Masr contributor Hossam Bahgat in a series of statements released after military prosecutors took him into custody Sunday. They declared their solidarity with the imprisoned journalist and called on the Egyptian authorities to release him immediately. Bahgat has been charged with broadcasting false information that disturbs public security, and is currently being held under a four-day detention order issued by military prosecutors. His current whereabouts remain unknown.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern on Monday about Bahgat’s detention, describing him as a ...

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Emergencies of Peace: The Exceptional State of (Academic) Affairs in Contemporary Turkey

On 27 January 2016, the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Politica Science hosted a panel discussion titled “Emergencies of Peace: The Exceptional State of (Academic) Affairs in Contemporary Turkey.” This panel was organized by the Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity (ICPS) research group led by Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights at LSE, and a co-editor of Jadaliyya's Turkey Page. The panel addressed the ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (January 26)

[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 turkey@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] English Ninth Anniversary of Hrant Dink’s Assassination Justice, Peace Watch for Assassinated Journalist Hrant Dink Bianet covers the vigil in front of the Agos ...

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

[The following press release was issued by Scholars at Risk on 21 January 2016 to publicize the joint letter endorsed by 20 higher education networks and associations regarding concerns over widespread pressures on members of Turkey's higher education and research community.] Press Release: Global Higher Education Networks Stand with Turkish Scholars New York, January 21, 2016 – This afternoon, a coalition of 20 higher education networks and associations from around the world have issued a joint ...

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

[The following statement was issued by a group of scholars of Turkish Studies and Ottoman History on 20 January 2016 in regards to concerns over academic freedoms and freedom of expression in Turkey.] Statement For Academic Freedom In Turkey Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey We, the undersigned professors of Turkish Studies and Ottoman History working at various universities throughout the world, from the USA to Asia, declare that we are profoundly concerned about ...

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نمر النمر أكثر من رجل دين شيعي

الشيخ المعارض نمر النمر كرر على المنابر ضرورة الالتزام بسلمية التظاهر، وشدّد على نزع أي بُعدٍ مذهبي عن المطالب المحقة لسكان المناطق الشرقية في السعودية، وعلى ضرورة إعطائهم بعضاً من حقوقهم. ولم يتردد يوماً في القول بأن الظلم هو نفسه سواء مورس من قبل الشيعة أو السنة، ومن ناصر ظالماً فما هو إلا بظالم، ولعل خطبته الشهيرة الذي يضع فيها آل سعود وآل خليفة وآل الأسد ومن على شاكلتهم في الخانة نفسها أكبر مثال على ذلك. كل ذلك لم ينفع. فبعد اعتقاله منذ سنتين وبعد إطلاق النار عليه (مما تسبب له بإعاقة دائمة في ...

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Saddam Hussein’s Ba’th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime

Joseph Sassoon, Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. [This review was originally published in the most recent issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] Despite the attention that Iraq has commanded in the news media and among policymakers since 1990, the country’s history, politics, culture, and economy have remained remarkably understudied. This situation is beginning to ...

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After Tahir Elçi

It is only possible to make sense of what is going on in Kurdistan today by way of its homology with the American occupation of Iraq. Because in Kurdistan, the state and resistance to the state do not share any legal or social foundations whatsoever. We are in fact discussing two entirely separate worlds that can only be related to one another through the field of violence and that otherwise function according to entirely different logics. Tahir Elçi’s death brings together the grief of losing someone we ...

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Morocco: A Bipolarization under Royal Control

The Moroccan electoral race began in September with the local and regional elections, which culminated on Tuesday 13 October with the election of the President of the Chamber of Councillors, the Upper House of Parliament. [1] The 120 elected representatives (217 prior to the constitutional reform of 2011) have designated Hakim Benchemass, from the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) as the president of the Chamber of Councillors. It took two rounds and a margin of one vote to rule out Benchemass’ ...

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Investigate Killing of Kurdish Human Rights Activist and Lawyer

[This statement was released by Project 2015 on 29 November 2015.] Apparent Assassination Latest in Spate of Targeted Attacks against Kurdish Peace Activists Project 2015 today condemned the apparent assassination of Tahir Elci, a prominent lawyer and Kurdish human rights activist who headed the Diyarbakir Bar Association. An unknown assailant reportedly shot Elci with a bullet to the head while Elci was delivering remarks at a press conference in Diyarbakir calling for an end to the ongoing ...

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عصفورية إلى الأبد

عصفورية  "إلى الأبد"  سماء.. محض سماء محفوظة في علبة سردين، دون أن ينقطع نفسي وأنا أتفرج على الدلفين الخارج من المرآة التي أقف قبالتها. خذ المكان الى آخره، لن ينفع المكر لحظة تفسير الجمال الغريب للوحشة، أو حتى تلك الأحابيل التي يقتضيها التعبير البسيط لتلك الحدود الطفيفة بين الظل وصاحبه. ولطالما كنت طالباً فاشلاً في مادة الجغرافيا، وكثيراً ما كنت أضحك وأنا أتملى صورة ملتقطة من إحدى المركبات الفضائية لسطح الأرض، منسحراً بتلك الأخاديد المرسومة، حيث لا فواصل لخيط الألم الذي يرشح من قعرها ...

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Asad’s Officer Ghetto: Why the Syrian Army Remains Loyal

The Syrian army’s officer corps has remained intact despite the immense pressure of nearly four years of civil and military conflict, a fact that has prevented the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad’s regime. The military housing system is a crucial aspect of this cohesion: it reveals the world Syrian officers inhabit, their relations with the regime and wider Syrian society, and the reasons why so few have defected so far.  While there have been defections in the infantry, no major fighting ...

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Turkey: Nationalism and War Mongering Won the Election

The mood was tense as the election results came in to the local office of the progressive People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the town of Erzurum in eastern Turkey. This is a very conservative region on the invisible border between nationalist Turkish Anatolia and the Kurdish region. The HDP’s office was filled with leaflets and banners that party activists did not dare to distribute due to fear of reprisals and violence. The party lost its single deputy from the area and saw a small nationwide decrease ...

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