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Turkey

Pro-AKP Media Figures Continue to Target Academics for Peace

[Protest against the imprisonment of four Academics for Peace, Bogazici University, Istanbul, 18 March 2016.]

On 22 March 2016, Yıldıray Oğur, a pro-government media figure, wrote a column targeting the Academics for Peace, Bosphorus/Boğaziçi University, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), and Jadaliyya, among others.  The piece problematically conflates terrorism with Academics for Peace, and blatantly asserts that signatory academics manipulate facts. At the same time, the author appears to obscure the fact that after the Suruç bombing on 20 July 2015, the ruling party AKP, together with Turkish nationalist party MHP, blocked a parliamentary investigation on the ISIS-led suicide bombing in Suruç. And in fact, only one month before the Suruç bombing, on 16 June ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 19)

[Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Skala Sykamias, Lesbos island, Greece. Image by Georgios Giannopoulos.]

[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 Refugees' Deportation So The Greece Deportations Are Going ‘Smoothly’? Take A Closer Look Apostolis Fotiadis expresses concerns about coercion and force being used during the first flow of refugees deported to Turkey under the new EU-Turkey deal.   Is The Migrants' Deportation from Greece Legal? In this segment of Al Jazeera’s ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 5)

[U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2016. State Department photo/ Public Domain]

[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 Erdogan's US Visit Erdoğan's Uncomfortable US Visit Semih İdiz writes of the US' displeasure over anti-democratic developments in Turkey, mainly the oppression of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Erdogan Uses Closed-Door Meeting to Blast Obama Administration John Hudson reports on President Erdogan’s off-the-record dinner ...

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

[Image via change.org]

[This letter was written by a group of US-based scholars and educators and was released on 22 March 2016.] Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights US Department of State Email: tmalinowski@state.gov Dear Mr. Malinowski: We are a group of US-based scholars and educators who have grown deeply alarmed and shocked by the blatant violations of human rights to which our academic colleagues and counterparts in Turkey have been subjected under an increasingly authoritarian Turkish government. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government, supported by some university and other high-level officials, continue to use violent and illegal methods to ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (March 22)

[Cizre, 3 March 2016. Image by Mahmut Bozarslan.]

English Bombings in Ankara and Istanbul Reporting on March 13 Ankara bombing from Reuters, and The Economist PKK Taking a Page From DAESH’s Playbook The Daily Sabah editorial board accuses the HDP leadership of “radicalizing” Kurdish youth and calls on the intelligence services to take “necessary measures” to prevent further terrorist acts.  Are Deserted Streets, Shops the New Normal in Ankara? Şükrü Küçükşahin writes that gripped by fear and panic after an unprecedented string of bombings, Ankara’s residents are shying from streets and shopping malls, hurting the local economy. How Terror Attacks Drive Politics in Ankara Metin Gürcan writes about the the ...

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

[Sur district in Diyarbakır, 14 March 2016. Image by Mahmut Bozarslan.]

Over the last couple of weeks, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the ruling AKP government have started to lay out the details of the government’s master plan for urban renewal in Turkey’s conflict-ridden Kurdish region in Southeast Anatolia. Though the government announced on 9 March that military operations in Sur had been completed, many of the aspects of the plans remain ambiguous. Nonetheless, it is evident that the government’s aim is to achieve a dramatic spatial and socio-economic reconfiguration of the region. For example, Davutoğlu announced a ten-point “master plan” for Kurdish cities in Turkey that ties notions of terrorism to economic underdevelopment and ...

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On a Day of a March…

[Yasar Kemal. Image via Radikal Gazetesi.]

“In his eyes was the sorrow of an Arab horse that has lost the race.” Yaşar Kemal On a day of a March… The three of us are sitting in a hotel garden right above a park. A jovial giant, a cheerful exile, a lucky me... Beneath a sky full of birds… The wind is blowing like a forgotten whisper; the smell of moss is arriving from distant seas. The jovial giant’s phone rings. “Only three people know my phone number: Mehmed, Selim, and the other is…” says the giant as he answers his phone and lends his voice to his dear wife. The month of March, the year is 2006… I have a cold. Brother Mehmed is healthy. The giant is happy. The words he utters ...

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Humanism and Its Others

[Banksy's Armoured Peace Dove, West Bank, Palestine, 2007. Image by eddiedangerous on Flickr.]

Who could possibly be against humanism? Wouldn’t this be tantamount to being against humanity—that is, being against oneself? This all depends, of course, on whether you have had the chance to count among those who are considered to be “human” in the first place—or, to put it in the terms of contemporary protests in the United States and elsewhere, whether you are one whose life is seen to matter. The critique of humanism that has emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century is first and foremost an attack upon the dehumanization of certain populations, an attack that has all too often been carried out in the name of humanism itself. One way to begin to ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (March 1)

[Diyarbakır Suriçi district under curfew, 26 February. Image by Mahmut Bozarslan.]

[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 Domestic Politics Identification of Ankara Bomber Muddled by Faulty Communication  Metin Gürcan argues that the debate over the identity of the February suicide bomber in Ankara reveals flaws in Turkey's crisis-management and communication mechanisms, and that this weakness contributes to political, ethnic, and sectarian polarization ...

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Can the Kurdish Question Be Settled by Killing People in Sur?

[Diyarbakır, January 2016. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

23 February 2016, Diyarbakır I am in Suriçi district with Lale Mansur, Zeynep Tanbay, Ferhat Tunç, Ayşegül Devecioğlu, Bahri Belen, and Dilek Gökçin, who came from Istanbul today. We are meeting Sibel Yiğitalp, the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) Diyarbakır deputy who is on constant watch in Sur. Ms. Yiğitalp is able to talk with the families inside from time to time. A heavy bombardment is going on. Small particles are falling where we stand.   We listen to phone conversations with the people in the basements. Remziye talks: “Here, we are in Hell. We got out of our house and reached Savaş neighborhood, I assume it is Savaş neighborhood. There is no water. We ...

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Letter to Turkish PM Davutoglu Expressing Serious Concern Over Investigation and Prosecution of Scholars Who Are Signatories of the Peace Petition

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 22 February 2016 in response to the disciplinary and criminal investigations of scholars in Turkey who are signatories of the "Peace Petition." For the Appendix accompanying this letter which lists these investigations as well as retaliatory job terminations and threats to signatory academics in detail, please see the original version.] February 22, 2016 Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu Office of the Prime Minister Başbakanlık 06573 Ankara, Turkey Via facsimile +90 312 417 0476 Dear Prime Minister Davutoğlu: We write on behalf of the Middle East ...

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Something Is Rotten in the State

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[This is the introduction to a special supplement of Theory & Event, entitled Something Is Rotten in the State, devoted to the contemporary political context in Turkey. The table of contents and complete issue can be accessed here.] The political everyday never ceases to be eventful for those who live in Turkey or who follow it closely: the consolation of a smooth veneer disguising the wretched operations of structural violence is a luxury rarely exported to the global south. But what has been unfolding in Turkey since the early summer of 2015 has gone far beyond the usual state of agitation. The violence that has been unleashed onto the political scene after the ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 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 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 ...

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

A century and a decade ago, an Istanbul court sentenced a Belgian named Edouard Joris to death for his part in a bomb attack on the Ottoman sultan. Joris was involved with two of the terrorisms of the turn of the century: anarchism and Armenian nationalism. The young man had moved from Antwerp to Istanbul in 1901. He found a job at the Singer sewing machine factory and struck up a friendship with the man at the next workbench, an Armenian. Joris accompanied this friend to meetings of the activist cell ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (March 29)

English Violence in Turkey Bosporus 'Bulls' Defy Terrorist Threat Kerim Karakaya reports that investors remain positive about Turkey as an investment prospect, having factored the country’s instability into their calculations over the course of 2015. The Wrong Mindset to Fight Terrorism Yasin Aktay, member of parliament for the AKP, claims that the differential mourning for terrorist attacks in Turkish cities versus those in Europe is rooted in the fact that Europeans are “nonchalant towards PKK ...

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

Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kishwar Rizvi (KR): The idea for this book emerged through my research travels in Europe and the Middle East, where I would encounter monumental mosques that looked historical in design but were built in the past thirty years. I wondered why a community of immigrant Turks in Germany, for example, chose to ...

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

I attended Armenian grade school in the suburbs of Philadelphia until I was thirteen years old. As we grew older, the extent of Armenian language classes within the curricula decreased, and by seventh and eighth grade it had been relegated to the realm of the “cultural.” We still had Armenian language and history lessons, and bible class was often taught in Armenian, but by and large we engaged with the language mostly through theatrical and musical school performances that reenacted significant ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (March 15)

English Crackdown on Journalism After Seizing Zaman Newspaper, What's Next for Turkey? Mustafa Akyol argues that all of Turkish media, not just a few newspapers like Zaman, is under threat by the current regime in Turkey. Tightening The Grip: Turkey's Media Takeover Al Jazeera’s “The Listening Post” examines the fallout from the government seizure of Zaman newspaper and interviews journalist Can Dündar on the state of media freedom in Turkey. A Risky Acceleration in Turkish Politics Murat Yetkin ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (March 9)

[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 Crackdown on Journalists Keep Reading »

Sevan Nisanyan icin izan talep ediyoruz! / The Sevan Nisanyan Question

Sevan Nişanyan için izan talep ediyoruz! / The Sevan Nişanyan Question [This petition was first published on 28 February 2016. For more information, or to sign the petition, click here. More information about Sevan Nişanyan’s court case can also be found here. The English text has been lightly edited for stylistic purposes.] Sevan Nişanyan iki yılı aşkın bir süredir cezaevinde. Kesinleşmiş toplam cezası 11,5 yılı aştı. Henüz sonuçlanmamış diğer davalarla birlikte bu sürenin yakın zamanda 25 yılı aşma ...

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New York Event--The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism (March 1 @ 12.30pm)

The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism New Book by Cihan Tuğal (Verso, 2016) Date and Time: Tuesday, March 1, 12:30 pm - 1:30pm Location: The Hagop Kevorkian Center, 255 Sullivan Street, New York University Tuğal's masterful explication of the demise of Islamic liberalism brings in Egypt and Tunisia, once seen as the most likely followers of the Turkish model, and provides a path-breaking examination of their regimes and Islamist movements, as well as ...

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In Turkey, the Regime Slides from Soft to Hard Totalitarianism

“Humanitarian aid to [civilians] must be allowed immediately. ‘Surrender or starve’ tactics are directly contrary to the law of war.” Any western leader might easily use these words to scold the Turkish state, and its starvation of Kurdish towns to the south-east of the country. But it would be highly unlikely. In fact, John Kerry’s tweet was aimed at the Syrian regime, not the Turkish one. Why do American leaders describe Assad’s strategy of ‘surrender or starve’ as a war crime, while they ignore ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (February 23)

[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 Ankara Bombing Too Bad For Turkey Cafer Solgun argues that, regardless of which group is ultimately found responsible for the Ankara bombing, the attack “has exposed the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tugal, Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society

Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tuğal, editors, Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Cihan Tuğal (CT): Why did “moderate” Islamists fail so miserably throughout the Arab Spring? Why did the Turkish Islamists first stumble, but then re-emerge even more powerful (even if, in the way, they dropped their “moderation”)? Our edited volume allows us to answer these questions by drawing ...

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