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Turkey Media Roundup (February 9)

[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 turkey@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] English Violence in the Southeast/Kurdish Politics Turkish Government Determined not to Withdraw from PKK Fight Murat Yetkin discusses the reasons why the Turkish government will not back down from its protracted military operations in Kurdish regions: namely, because it does not want to allow the PKK the opportunity to make “victory propaganda” and ...

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

  [The following letter was issued by the American Sociological Association on 29 January 2016 regarding ongoing threats to academic freedom in Turkey.] Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu Office of the Prime Minister Başbakanlık 06573 Ankara, Turkey Via Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr We write on behalf of more than 12,000 members of the American Sociological Association to express our grave concern about the actions that the Turkish government has taken against signatories to the Academics for Peace statement. The American Sociological Association has a long-standing position of supporting the free exchange of ideas across national, state, cultural, ...

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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 legal and extra-legal persecution of more than 1000 academics in Turkey for having signed a peace petition. The various panelists situated this attack on academics within ...

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

Scene of destruction after a curfew in Nusaybin, 26 November 2015. Image provided by the author.

Turkey’s sokağa çıkma yasağı is being mistranslated, with serious consequences. Turkey’s decades-long conflict with Kurdish militants and its unresolved inclusion of Kurds into greater Turkish society has in recent months reached a new and violent phase. The current encounter, largely between Turkish state forces and a new urban youth group, the YDG-H (Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement; Tevgera Ciwanen Welatparêz Yên Şoreşger) affiliated with the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party; Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê), is taking place in the streets of the Kurdish cities of Turkey’s southeast. Pressure on the civilians caught between these two forces has gotten worse ...

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Acts and Omissions: Framing Settler Colonialism in Palestine Studies

[Participants in an Idle No More solidarity action in Los Angeles in December 2013. (WNV/©Paulo Freire Lopez)]

Columbus was free to look for a language he couldn't find here, to look for gold in the skulls of our ancestors. He took his fill from the flesh of our living and our dead. So why is he bent on carrying out his deadly war even from the grave? (Mahmoud Darwish)   Over the past several years, there has been renewed interest in the use of the settler colonial analytic to study the ongoing occupation of Palestine. While the Oslo accords are continuously pronounced dead, their impact on Palestinian life lingers, fragmenting the Palestinian people, land and economy. Understanding Israel as a settler colonial state is one means of opposing this fragmentation. It ...

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After Tahir Elçi

[Still image from the video capturing the assassination of Tahir Elçi on 28 November 2015. Via YouTube.]

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 all loved dearly with the pain of bearing witness to this kind of disjuncture. It is not easy to get over any death. But the death of Tahir Elçi became a death that ...

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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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Containing the Narrative: Portrait of a Killing in the West Bank

[The closed Container checkpoint with Sadeq Ziad Gharbiyeh’s body visible on the ground, on 10 November 2015. Image by author.]

Each day after work I ride back to Bethlehem in a rickety public taxi van known in Palestine as a sirvis. On Tuesday, 10 November around 3:00 pm we reached “The Container,” an Israeli checkpoint that stands between the town of Abu Dis and the valley of Wadi Nar to find large steel gates blocking our way. Normally the checkpoint is open for vehicles to pass through, many of which soldiers will force to pull over for a security check. Often the young Palestinian men commuting home from university and work will be subject to questioning and their IDs will be taken and scanned. When I pass by each afternoon there is usually a line of men sitting at gunpoint on the metal ...

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The Early Plight of Humanitarianism

[Cover of Keith David Watenpaugh,

Keith David Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015 America is a comfortable and rich country. We have safe homes….Their homes are in ruins….The moan of a race moves out across the heart of a stricken world. This emotive call from a Near East Relief (NER) pamphlet to assist destitute Armenians, entitled The Cry of a Million: Exiled Destitute Dying, was published in 1916, but its words resonate across Europe a century later. The mass deportation and genocide of the Armenian community in 1915 helped trigger new ways of thinking about “human rights” and ...

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We Have Lost Too Much

[Bodies covered with flags in the aftermath of the explosions at a peace rally in Ankara on October 10. Image by Fatih Pınar.]

According to the official figures, 97 civilians died in a deadly blast in Ankara on Saturday although the death toll is contested.[1] They were there to participate in the peace rally organized by leftist associations, syndicates, and unions. Many NGOs and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) representatives and supporters were among the participants. Photos of dead bodies lying on the ground covered by the flags prepared for the rally overwhelmed social media accounts, reminding one of the irony of death at a rally organized to call for an end to the accelerating violence since the 7 June elections. It is heartbreakingly unfortunate that hopes for peace were once again ...

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Netanyahu at the UN: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Interview by Al-Jazeera America

On 1 October 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu addressed the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly. His speech came one day after Palestine President’s Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the Assembly where he indicated that a lack of adherence to the Oslo Accords would render them null and would revert the Occupied Territories to complete Israeli control. In his address, Netanyahu dedicated most of his time to decrying the Iran Deal and highlighting the threat Iran poses to Israel and the rest of the world relying on Islamphobic tropes, such as sleeper cells in the United States. Netanyahu attributed the demise of the peace process to the lack of ...

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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 ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (February 2)

[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 Ambulances Halted as Turkey Besieges Kurdish Town Frederike Geerdink describes the efforts by lawyers to secure ECHR support for Turkish citizens ...

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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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Turkey Media Roundup (January 19)

[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 ...

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New Texts Out Now: Ilana Feldman, Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule

Ilana Feldman, Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ilana Feldman (IF): Police Encounters is a study of policing and security practices in Gaza during the period of Egyptian rule (1948-67). It explores the range of matters that occupied police personnel, the mechanisms through which Gazans came to participate in the police project, and the avenues for influence and ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kermit Roosevelt, Allegiance

Kermit Roosevelt, Allegiance. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What led you to write this novel? Kermit Roosevelt (KR): In 2007, two years after the publication of my first novel (In the Shadow of the Law), my editor said to me that he wanted my next one to be set in the Supreme Court. I told him I wasn’t sure I could do it. I would love to write about the Court, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was revealing secrets from my time working there. (I clerked for Justice David ...

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Alternative Strategies for Realizing Justice in Palestine

Between 13-15 December, the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Mada al Carmel, the Birzeit University Institute of Law, the Stop the Wall Campaign, the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI), and the Arab Studies Institute (ASI) will be convening a conference under the banner: Alternative Strategies for Realizing Justice in Palestine. The conference will take place in Jerusalem, Birzeit, and Nazareth to highlight, and attempt to rehabilitate, national fragmentation and explore strategies ...

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Affirming the Rights of Students to Organize, Protest, and Resist (City University of New York)

[This statement was released on 23 November 2015.] In light of recent events and revelations, we, as faculty and graduate student members of CUNY for Palestine, reiterate our unequivocal support for students to organize for social justice, and to protest against injustices, without having their rights to free speech and free assembly infringed upon or violated by members of the university administration or law enforcement. We have noted with great concern recent revelations regarding spying and ...

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Navigating the Law and Misuse of Title VI: A STATUS/الوضع Special Segment

In this second episode of "Reclaiming Academic Freedom," host Tareq Radi speaks to Omar Shakir, Yaman Salahi, and Nadia Ben Youssef, three lawyers who discuss the legalities of academic freedom and the legal challenges they face both in the United States and the Palestinian 1948 territories.    The special segment below includes four parts that you can click on separately. Please find the transcript below the player. Listen to the first episode of Reclaiming Academic ...

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Roundtable On Refugee Crisis: Historical Legacies, Political Context, and Legal Mechanisms

Seemingly overnight Europe is confronted with a phenomenon already being experienced in Amman, Damascus, Beirut, Gaziantep and other cities in the Middle East: large numbers of desperate refugees fleeing war, destruction and economic destitution. The policy response of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to this influx has come under deserved scrutiny. Still, whatever their faults these countries have hosted millions of refugees despite, in the cases of Lebanon and Jordan, strained resources and weak ...

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In Jerusalem, “Religious War” Claims Cloak Old-Fashioned Colonialism

al-shabaka policy brief Overview  The escalating clashes between Israeli settlers and Jerusalemite Palestinians are the harbingers of a major eruption with incalculable consequences. Immediately billed as a “religious war” by the media and Israeli right wingers, they are in fact the outcome of longstanding Israeli plans to Judaize the city and empty it of its Palestinian inhabitants. Al-Shabaka Policy Member Nur Arafeh analyzes the major changes that Israel has illegally imposed on Jerusalem and ...

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