Jadaliyya is proud to announce the launch of its new Turkey Page. Similarly structured to our Egypt, Syria, Arabian Peninsula, and Maghreb Pages, the page will feature articles written by those on the ground in Turkey as well as outside observers, from a wide range of perspectives.
We are launching the page in the midst of ongoing violence unleashed by municipal and state authorities in Turkey against protesters in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and throughout the country. As of 17 June, the Turkish Medical Association reported that 7,822 protesters throughout the country had been injured, and four people have been killed. At the same time, in the past two days, new forms of resistance have begun to emerge following the bitter moment of "defeat" by the police, after protesters were removed from Gezi Park last Saturday and barred from returning. The slogan "everywhere is Taksim, resistance everywhere" has been taken up, as people’s forums have begun to be held in parks and neighborhoods throughout the country, continuing the experiments with direct participatory democracy begun in Gezi Park and other public spaces. On the other hand, Taksim Square itself was declared a no entry zone, so the performance artist Erdem Gündüz stood motionless and silent in the square on Monday evening, spontaneously attracting thousands who have started standing with him all over the country. The “standing people” have demonstrated that even if the state leaves you with no room to move or chokes your slogans with tear gas, you can still stand. And as the resistance has spread throughout Turkey, actions there have inspired protests in other parts of the world against police violence and in defense of public spaces.
Amidst all this, we should not lose sight of another crucial development that remains ongoing as we launch the Turkey Page: the peace process recently initiated between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the potential end to the thirty-year war that has been waged in Turkey. As Sebahat Tuncel has recently suggested, this peace process could not have been imagined without the ongoing public acts of resistance by the Kurdish people, including a sixty-eight day hunger strike initiated by incarcerated political prisoners in September 2012 that received broad support both in Kürdistan and in Turkey. Social media, which has played such a major role in the Gezi Park-inspired resistance, has also been key in breaking through the government censorship and official discourse that has surrounded the Kurdish question. While the process is an ongoing and delicate one, an opening has been created, and as Nazan Üstündağ has put it:
it is the people and not the state that have taken up that chance. Turks had for a long time accumulated anger, insecurity, and mourning in their abdomens, while resorting to racism, indifference, and fear to suppress these feelings. The gas of the police, while clouding their vision, has also caused them to face their truth: while they were being manipulated by a meaningless war against Kurds, an ever growing alliance of capitalism and state was denying them their life spaces, their past, their reality, as well as their freedom of expression and association.
The chance provided by the peace process, if it can be taken up, has the potential to transform, not just Turkey, but the whole region.
So at a moment when more and more readers throughout the world find themselves asking, “what is happening in Istanbul?” we note that much of what is written about Turkey, especially in English-language publications, tends to fall back on simplistic frameworks and predictable forms of analysis. We see the launch of this page, and Jadaliyya’s continuing analysis of Turkey more generally, as an opportunity to enrich the coverage of Turkey throughout the English-language media, to generate new critical conversations, and to translate work being published in Turkish for an English-language audience. Our coverage has already been attacked by a pro-government newspaper in Turkey, so we must be doing something right! Stay tuned for more.
We launch the page with a set of multimedia posts addressing a range of topics. Two articles discuss the ongoing resistance and larger political context in Ankara, which has received much less attention than Istanbul: Önder Güneş gives an eye-witness account of the resistance, in words and images, while Kansu Yıldırım and Ekrem Ekici provide an analysis of the larger political context of the Ankara resistance. In "Defining the Terrain of Struggle in Taksim," Cemal Burak Tansel responds to those (including those on the left) still determined to cling to the idea of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi [AKP] as “democratizers.” We are also pleased to feature a special episode of the Ottoman History Archive Podcast series, introduced by Chris Gratien, that provides historical background to the ongoing political contention around urban space in Istanbul by examining nineteenth-century development projects in the largely non-Muslim neighborhood of Pera. Finally, Turkey Page Co-Editor Nazan Üstündağ, in an interview with Democracy Now!, discusses the new forms of resistance emerging in Turkey. "People are finding new ways to protest," Üstündag says. "We’re coming together discussing what we’re going to do next, how we’re going to organize and voice our democratic demands." Check all of these posts out!
- `All of a Sudden!`: Gezi Park Resistance in Ankara
- Defining the Terrain of Struggle in Taksim
- Producing Pera: A Levantine Family and the Remaking of Istanbul
- Defiant Turkish Demonstrators `Finding New Ways to Protest`: Turkey Page Co-Editor Nazan Ustundag on Democracy Now!
- Occupy Angara: A Situation Assessment in a State of Emergency
Other Recently Published Articles
- #resistankara: Notes of a Woman Resisting
- It Is About the Park: A Struggle for Turkey’s Cities
- “Ottomanalgia” and the Protests in Turkey
More from Jadaliyya`s Turkey Page Co-Editors
- What Is Happening in Turkey? Reflections on an Uprising (London event featuring Turkey Page Co-Editor Ayça Çubukçu)
- The Season of Rebellion in Turkey: Interviews with Cihan Tugal and Erdem Yoruk
- Turkey Page Co-Editor Aslı Bâli and Boğazici University`s Edhem Eldem on Protests and Repression in Turkey
- Turkey`s Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East: An Interview with Aslı Bâli
We accept submissions in both Turkish and English.