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Let Us Now Praise Murderous Men; Lebanese Presidential Candidates, Considered

[Left to Right: Gemayel, Geagea, Maronite Patriarch Rai, Michel Aoun, Suleiman Frangieh. Image from]

Lebanon is slated to hold presidential elections next week, despite the fact that the parliamentary elections have yet to be held and it is the Lebanese parliament that elects the Lebanese President. Last year elections were postponed for the first time in the state’s history, and parliament illegitimately extended its own term in the absence of elections. This further throws into doubt the legitimacy of the looming presidential contest. Thus far, several potential presidential candidates have expressed their interest in running, all Maronite Christians as per Lebanon’s constitutional system of power sharing between sects. Three of the most prominent ...

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Devletlesen AKP, Degismeyen Devlet?

[Istanbul, 17 March 2014. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)]

Devletleşen AKP, Değişmeyen Devlet? Türkiye’yi Anlama Uğraşında Devlet-Toplum İkiliğinin Ötesine Geçebilmek Zor zamanlardan geçiyoruz. Sadece sosyal medyada değil, anaakım medyada da bir telaş, belirsizlik ve şaşkınlık var. Sokak, zaten, alabildiğine hareketli, karmaşık ve kafa karıştırıcı. Takvim yapraklarında çeşitli tarihleri belirleyip kilitleniyoruz: Berkin Elvan’ın içimizi titreten cenazesi, Başbakan Erdoğan’ın nefret saçtığı konuşmaları, Fethullah Gülen’in bedduaları, art arda sökün eden “tape”ler ve tabii ki 30 Mart seçimleri…Hayatımız, ki izin verirseniz buna Türkiye gündemine kilitlenip kalmış bizim gibi diaspora sakinlerini de ekleyelim, daimî bir ...

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Digital Platforms, Analog Elections: How Civic Groups Are Trying to Bring Back Democracy in Turkey

[Members of Journos at work on election night. Image by Oğulcan Ekiz.]

When Gezi protesters occupied the park last summer and took their frustration with the government to the streets, Prime Minister Erdoğan told them to “be patient and face off at the ballot box.” It was exactly Erdoğan’s reductive framing of democracy, which limits political legitimacy to elections and takes an uncompromising, polarizing stance against opposition, that Gezi protesters stood against. Nonetheless, unlike similar political movements in the United States and Western Europe that have abandoned electoral politics, Gezi protesters took Erdoğan’s call seriously and owned up to their votes on 30 March. Their movement could not grow into a political party that ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 1)

[Poster of Prime Minister Erdoğan on an election billboard in Istanbul, 27 March. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)]

[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.] English Graft Crisis, Ban on Twitter/YouTube, and Local Elections The Battle for Turkey’s Future (1)-(2) The Economist writes that “An increasingly autocratic prime minister is losing touch with voters and damaging his country.” Turkey’s Prime Minister Acts Desperately to Hold onto his Power The Washington Post, in its editorial, argues that ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part Three)

[Sarıgül in the thick of it. Image via]

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part Three) [Part one of this article can be found here; part two can be found here.] Even before the campaign had started, there had been whispers that Sarıgül would make a better CHP General President than Deniz Baykal. At the time, he had dismissed such suggestions, saying, “I am bound to the problems of Şişli for another five years. We already have a President.”[1] Now, however, his tone was changing: asked how he had won, he explained, “We have brought back the spirit and the conviction of the 1974 CHP.”[2] That was an era before Baykal’s faction had formed. The implication was clear: the time had come ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part One)

[Mustafa Sarıgül. Image via]

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part One) [People ask,] “Why are you always beating up on Sarıgül?” Let’s start the matter from here. I ask you: in this country has there ever been a party like the Republican People’s Party, which—without having done a bit of work—turns to the left for its votes? There’s never been such a freeloading party…I don’t know how many hundred suits [Sarıgül] has—he’s changing them twice a day. He doesn’t even know how many stylists he has. Can benefits come to the workers from all this? Can we approve of such a thing?...A social democrat can’t be like this. - Sırrı Süreyya Önder To many of its detractors, the ...

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The Turkish Political Map in the Run-Up to Local Elections

[Image via the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies]

[This report was published by the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies on 13 March 2014.] Introduction The upcoming local elections in Turkey are the most significant in decades, with the intensifying contest between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition parties making this set of elections critical. Turkey’s opposition parties, in particular, are mobilizing all their efforts to take advantage of the AKP’s troubles to end its monopoly of power, which has lasted for three electoral cycles. Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council has announced twenty-five political parties eligible to compete in the forthcoming local elections scheduled ...

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Buradan bir cikis var mi? Ya da neden HDP’deyim?

[Image via T24.]

Buradan bir çıkış var mı? Ya da neden HDP’deyim? Yolsuzluk krizi başladığından beri aklımda Haydar Darıcı’nın Sabancı Üniversitesi’nde Leyla Neyzi danışmanlığında yazmış olduğu tezden bir bölüm var. Tez 2006’dan itibaren Terörle Mücadele Yasası kapsamında yargılanan, nam-ı diğer taş atan çocuklar hakkında. Çocuklar Darıcı’nın Adana’da yaptığı mülakatlarda göçü, baskıyı, yoksulluğu, kentteki ve okuldaki ayrımcılığı ve daha binbir dertlerini anlatırken, bir noktada “Büyükler siyasetin ne kadar ciddi bir iş olduğunu anlamıyorlar” diyorlar. Kulağıma küpedir. Yolsuzluk karşısında sevinen, AKP iktidarının felaketi afişe olduğu diye tebessüm edenlerden değilim. Tam tersine. ...

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Le quatrième mandat de Bouteflika : Un pari du cartel

[Le Président algérien Abdelaziz Bouteflika dépose son bulletin dans l'urne lors des élections législatives du 10 mai. Image par Magharebia/Flickr.]

Le régime algérien peut être compris comme un cartel économique. Il s'agit d'une réunion d'acteurs qui contrôlent un champ (l'Etat), et s'accordent afin de garantir leurs bénéfices, que ceux-ci soient matériels ou symboliques. Ces acteurs d'horizons divers (militaires, technocrates, politiciens) n'ont pas besoin d'être d'accords sur toutes les orientations du gouvernement. Bien au contraire, ils sont souvent en désaccord voir en concurrence, ce qui se traduit par des querelles qui s'expriment parfois par voie de presse. Cela a été récemment le cas avec la polémique opposant le Secrétaire Général du FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) Amar Saidani et le DRS (Département ...

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Letting Go of Revolutionary Purity

Three years have passed since the outset of the January 25 Revolution. Egypt remains a nation wrongfully imprisoned. The year 2013 in particular has brought the believers in January 25’s promise even more disappointments than the previous year. An authoritarian military regime reasserted its openly harsh rule first by ousting President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, and then by publicly massacring the deposed president’s supporters in the aftermath. Sectarian violence against Copts has proliferated and intensified. Prior to and after the coup, state security forces stepped up their use of deadly violence against expressions of political dissent across the political spectrum. ...

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On the Margins Roundup (December)

[Image of the Volo Volo Market in the northern district of Moroni, Comoros Islands, the city's second largest market. Image by David Stanley/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to]  Somalia Kenya airstrike "destroys al-Shabaab camp linked to Westgate" Kenya says it has devastated a rebel camp in Somalia used to train militants who attacked the Nairobi mall. Briton arrested for "spying" in Somalia Authorities in the African country say they have arrested a British ...

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Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s “City for All” – Is There Emancipatory Potential in Israeli Municipal Politics?: An Interview with Matan Kaminer

[Aharon Maduel (right, in black v-neck) and Ir LeKulanu activists in HaCarmel Market, Tel Aviv, October 15th, 2013. Image by Eyal Eithcowich]

Max Ajl (MA): Start by telling us a little about the Ir LeKulanu campaign. Matan Kaminer (MK): Ir LeKulanu, “city for all of us” in Hebrew, is a municipal political party in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It was founded six years ago by a number of activists who had been involved in different local struggles. Among the groups represented at the founding conference were the Palestinian community in Jaffa and the working-class Mizrahi Jewish community in Kfar Shalem–formerly Salameh–both of which were facing eviction from homes they had been settled in after 1948, residents in the center of town who were fighting for a public lot to be turned into a park rather than residential ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 15)

[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.] English Elections’ Aftershocks and Constitutional Court’s Judgements Erdoğan's Missed Opportunity to Mix Islam and Democracy in Turkey “By winning the elections, Erdoğan appears to ...

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Notes on Turkey's Local Elections

After weeks of tension and uncertainty, there was an almost carnival atmosphere at polling stations in Istanbul on 30 March—at least during the daytime. The sun shone from a crisp, blue sky, and there was a sense among government supporters and detractors alike that Turkey’s long spiral into political crisis since the outbreak of anti-government protests last summer could somehow be arrested or reversed by the one thing the country has long prided itself on doing well: elections. News channels carried ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 8)

[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.] English Local Elections Who Won and Who Lost in Figures Sedat Ergin analyzes the election statistics. Turkish PM Erdoğan's Post-Election "Balcony Speech" Erdoğan’s ...

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الجزائر : لماذا رُشِّح بوتفليقة لعهدة رابعة؟

لم يكن ترشيح الرئيس بوتفليقة لانتخابات نيسان/ أبريل 2014 الرئاسية لِيُحدث كلَّ هذه الضجة لو كان في صحة جيدة، يتوجه إلى الجزائريين بالحديث من حين لآخر مباشرة، لا عبر وزراءَ يرتّلون رسائله الروتينية على مسامعهم دون كثير من الاقتناع. والحال أن مجلس الوزراء، منذ مدة ليست بالقصيرة، لم يعد ينعقد بسبب مرضه، وأنه لم يعد يمثل الجزائرَ في المحافل الدولية، وهو هاوي السفر والتجوال، ولا يستقبل الوفود الأجنبية إلا نادرا، وربما أساسا بغرض تمكين وسائل الإعلام الحكومية من تصويره لمدة دقائق وإقناع الشعب بأنه في عداد ...

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All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarigul and the CHP (Part Two)

All Politics Is Local: Mustafa Sarıgül and the CHP (Part Two) [Part one of this article can be found here.] By 1987, Turkish politics was returning to its old patterns. Though the new constitution remained in effect and General Evren still presided over the state as president, the five-year ban from politics for leaders like Ecevit and Baykal was at an end and they had begun to plot their returns. Sarıgül too was busy positioning himself for the upcoming elections by recruiting large numbers of new ...

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Is There a Way Out of Here? or, Why I Am With the HDP

Since the first days of the graft and corruption crisis, I have found myself thinking about a section from Haydar Darıcı’s masters thesis, completed under Leyla Neyzi’s supervision at Sabancı University. The thesis concerns itself with Kurdish kids incarcerated under the anti-terrorism regulations of 2006, otherwise known as stone-throwing kids (taş atan çocuklar). In interviews conducted in Adana, children between ages of ten to eighteen talked to Darıcı about their politicization, along with ...

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'Seni bilen hayran, bilmeyen dusman' or, Why Erdogan Remains so Popular

“Seni bilen hayran, bilmeyen düşman” or, Why Erdoğan Remains so Popular At a rally in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district last Saturday, members of the all-female audience were whipped up like teenagers at a pop concert long before the main speaker arrived. “Who are we waiting for?” teased the compere. “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan!” they roared in reply. When I asked some of the women what they liked about Turkey’s Prime Minister, most struggled at first to respond, as if his qualities were so numerous that ...

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Bouteflika’s Fourth Mandate: The Cartel’s Gamble

The Algerian regime can be understood as an economic cartel. It is, in other words, an assemblage of actors that controls a field (the State), and must agree on certain things in order to assure its benefits – whether they are material or symbolic. These actors are of different stripes (military, technocrats, politicians) and do not need to agree on all of the actions or decisions taken by the government. Instead, they often find themselves in disaccord or in competition, which explains the infighting ...

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القانون الانتخابي في تونس بين فخّ المال السياسي والصعوبات القانونية واللوجستية

استخدام المال السياسي في الانتخابات التشريعية والرئاسية هي جريمة استفحلت في جميع الدول ولكن بمستويات مختلفة. وتتباين خطورة هذه الجريمة بين دول العالم بمدى التزام كل منها بتطبيق قانون انتخابي ذي معايير دولية يراعي في كل فصوله ضرورة غلق الأبواب أمام أية محاولات لشراء أصوات الناخبين خصوصا من طرف الأحزاب الكبرى. ففي تونس مثلا سجّل المراقبون خلال انتخابات المجلس التأسيسي التي جرت يوم 23 أكتوبر من سنة 2011 آلاف التجاوزات التي تصب أغلبها في استغلال أصوات الناخبين من ذوي الدخل المحدود بمقابل مادي أو من خلال عدم ...

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Tunisia: A New Prime Minister for Old Politics?

The weeks-long negotiations over the appointment of a new Prime Minister who will be charged with forming a transitional government that will guide Tunisia to the next election has finally produced a result. On Sunday, the political forces and the so-called quartet lead by the influential Tunisian labor union, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) as a mediating force between the parties, has announced the name of the person in charge of forming a new government. Mehdi Jomaa has been named Prime ...

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After Mauritania’s Elections: Toward Reform or a Political Charade?

The first round of legislative and municipal elections held in Mauritania on 23 November signified the end of a two-year period of a parliamentary limbo. The country has been mired in a sustained constitutional crisis since 2011, when elections that were due to take place in September of that year were indefinitely postponed, leaving the National Assembly without a legislative mandate. Over two years later, these legislative and local elections have just now finally transpired. Around ...

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Dissent and Citizens' Rights in Kuwait (Part Two): Ghost Parliaments and the "Abyss of Autocracy"

[Click here for Part One: The Limits of Electoral Democracy] The first part of this article examined the parallel constriction of citizens’ rights and parliamentary authority in the decades leading up to the 2011 confrontation between Kuwait’s rulers and its citizens and their representatives. While coinciding with and overshadowed by the media’s concentration on the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, this struggle emerged from a historically particular set of conditions in Kuwait that ...

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