[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 email@example.com by Sunday night of every week.]
Controversial Turkish Surgeon Odd Man Out in Ergenekon Trial Regarding the Ergenekon trial, Yasemin Çongar writes that “the banality of evil seems to have been very much at work” and that “several of the Ergenekon convicts are well-grounded citizens who, after having been subjected to decades of relentless indoctrination in the undemocratic traditions of the Kemalist statecraft, could very well have thought that conspiring to overthrow the government was their civic duty.”
Why Is Ergenekon a Political Case? Markar Esayan writes that the Ergenekon trials are “a political case because the guardianship regime has become prosecutable and a transition was made to the rule of law.”
The White, Black and Gray Of the Ergenekon Trial Mustafa Akyol shares the “gray view” about the Ergenekon trial: “the Ergenekon case was justified in its initial stages, and most of the initial suspects deserved to be tried in custody” but “that the case got inflated too much with too little evidence. The guilty and the innocent were put in the same basket, as prosecutors arrested more and more people with quite circumstantial and controversial evidence.”
Ergenekon as a Half Accomplishment Yavuz Baydar argues that the Ergenekon trial “failed in some key points” and now “delivers a picture of Turkey in which doubts cast a shadow over the justice half-done, with democratization half accomplished.”
Ambivalent Feelings on Ergenekon Joost Lagendijk writes that “court cases full of flaws and inaccuracies only damage the image of Turkey abroad and strengthen the opposition at home” and urges Turkey not to “give up the ambition of bringing before a court those who were responsible for heinous crimes in the past.”
Turkey’s Ergenekon Verdicts: Justice or Vengeance? Semih Idiz writes that, although “there was initial public satisfaction over many of the early arrests in connection with this case,” public opinion shifted while “the Ergenekon case was turned into a witch hunt, spearheaded by zealous prosecutors under government control, against opponents of Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).”
How Turks Misinterpret Ergenekon Barin Kayaoğlu argues that “the Aug. 5 verdicts in the Ergenekon case proved once again that Turkish society still has a long way to go before it develops a culture of democracy and rule of law.”
Former Chief of Staff Is a Convicted `Terrorist` Tülin Daloğlu elaborates on the verdict in the Ergenekon trial, writing that “one can’t help wondering what it would mean for Turkey to put one of its former chiefs of general staff and a goodly number of its military personnel behind bars as members of a ‘terrorist organization.’”
Turkey’s Summer of Discontent: Ergenekon Blues Steven A. Cook comments on the Ergenekon trial process: "Many in Turkey—including the media—and foreign analysts have either decided to look the other way or determined that Erdogan and the AKP were so entrenched that there was little to be done, but much of the evidence contained in the ludicrously long and incomprehensible indictments in both cases was clearly fabricated."
The Turkish Trial That Fell Far Short Emma Sinclair-Webb thinks that “the trial was a milestone in civilian control over the military,” but “it did not serve to promote a more democratic culture.”
Inside One of the Most Important Court Cases in Turkish History Howard Eissenstat argues "the Ergenekon trial had enormous potential to uncover the crimes of the past and set the tone for real justice in the new Turkey. It failed on both these accounts."
Mission Accomplished with Collateral Damage Murat Yetkin claims that "the Ergenekon trials indeed changed at least a part of Turkish society’s views on the abnormality of military involvement in politics" despite the "collateral damage."
Justice or Revenge? In a short reflection on the Ergenekon trial, The Economist speculates that “the public may well have been disposed to see the trial in a positive light, had it not been for Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian ways.”
Unfair Trial in Turkey Peter Diamond, who examined the cases of civilians in the Ergenekon trials as part of a human rights mission, writes that “this trial had little to do with prosecuting such real crimes and did not come close to the standards for a fair trial.”
Report Says Turkish Scientists Unjustly Accused; International Human Rights Science Network Calls for Exoneration of Eight Colleagues A report written for the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies “calls on the government of Turkey to release one scientist (serving a thirteen-year sentence) from prison and drop charges against three others who are in long-term detention and release them immediately and to also drop charges against four others.”
Between Fact and Fantasy: Turkey’s Ergenekon Investigation Gareth H. Jenkins’ 2009 report, which contextualizes the verdict in the Ergenekon trial: “in the short-term, a more pressing concern is not the wasted opportunity for Turkey to confront its past but what the Ergenekon investigation might be saying about its future, and the disturbing questions it raises about the prospects for democracy and the rule of law in the country.”
Union of Turkish Bar Associations Press Release About Ergenekon Case The statement, signed by the President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations Att. Prof. Metin Feyzioğlu, focuses on the legal flaws in the Ergenekon trial process.
TAF Releases Statement on Ergenekon Verdict Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) released a statement expressing their sympathy to current and former colleagues, and reassuring them that they are “keeping a close-eye on the aforementioned investigation and prosecution, while they are trying to avoid misunderstandings with extreme patience, vigilance and reason.”
Are We Witnessing a Kurdish Spring in Syria Following the hype surrounding Syrian Kurdistan’s unique “opportunity” for self-determination, Namo Abdulla interviews Harold Rhode and Velma Anna Ruth, who discuss the future of Kurds in Syria, considering the alliances being created during the conflict in and outside the country.
Washington’s Syria Policy: A Repeat of Afghanistan? Ardan Zenturk writes that “if Turkey allows a `radical legionnaire group` to have a say in Syria, it will face serious problems with the Kurdish identity in Turkey and in the entire Kurdish geography of the Middle East.”
PYD Leader To Turkey: Stop Arms to Jabhat al-Nusra Amberin Zaman interviews PYD leader Salih Muslim, who says that although Turkey did not yet keep its promises to “exert pressure on the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other opposition groups to isolate Jabhat al-Nusra” as discussed, he “still believe[s] in the Turkish government’s goodwill.”
Kurdish National Congress Seeks Unity Amid Divisions Speculating about the upcoming Kurdish National Congress conference to be held on August 24 in Erbil, Kamal Chomani writes that, though the congress “may dream to unite the Kurds and have a common Kurdish strategy in their struggle in the new Middle East, intra-Kurdish politics and conflicts in each part of Kurdistan may make this impossible.”
Between Assad and Erdogan, Syria’s Kurds Take Steps Toward Autonomy Zvi Bar`el stipulates that “the failure of its anti-Assad policy in Syria, and now the opening of its new front against Egypt, are eroding Turkey’s status in the Middle East. Thus if it wants to retain the ability to influence events in Iraq and Syria, it will have to take the Kurds’ demands into account.”
On The Concepts of War and Peace and How Relevant They Are to the Kurdish Question Aras Ahmed Mhamad interviews Wayne Lavender about war and peace in the context of the “Kurdish question,” who says that “the Kurdish people in Turkey, Syria and Iran have not been as fortunate in the past twenty years as the Kurds in Iraq. They are still trapped, oppressed and living under occupation by stronger and more powerful nations.”
US Remains "Uninterested" as Kurds Massacred by Syria’s Militant Opposition Reflecting on the massacres of Kurds in Northern Syria and the “strategic silence” of the US on the ongoing conflict, Patrick Henningsen predicts that “fighting in the region could be a long and violent affair—especially if Washington and Ankara continue to employ a policy of willful ignorance towards the bloodshed there.”
Border Clashes Confront Turkey With "Afghanistan of the Levant" Cengiz Çandar claims that in “turning a blind eye” to the “pro-al-Qaeda and Salafist groups fighting the Assad regime by using Turkish territory,” “Turkey was thus calculating to prevent a future independent or at least an autonomous Kurdistan in the area the Kurds call West Kurdistan, or Rojava in Kurdish.”
The Kurdish Spring in Turkey’s Backyard (I) In the first piece of a two-part series on Turkey and the Kurds, Melkulangara Bhadrakumar writes that “the challenge posed by the `Kurdish Spring` in northern Syria is of an existential character, but, ironically, the powers from far and near who encouraged Turkey to destabilize Syria are nowhere to be seen—incapable or unwilling to get involved in what could turn out to be a regional maelstrom."
The Kurdish Spring in Turkey’s Backyard (II) In Part 2 of his series, Melkulangara Bhadrakumar continues his analysis, asserting that “Erdogan’s `strategic defiance` of the western regional policies needs to be curbed.”
The Turkish Model and Egypt Ömer Taşpınar believes that “an erroneous understanding of the Turkish model” is used to justify “sloppy” US thinking on the role of the military in Egyptian politics.
How Erdogan Ruined the `Turkish Model` Jihad al-Zein writes that the “Turkish model” is being “threatened and harmed by a number of wrongheaded foreign policies completely associated with the era of Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party.”
Why Care About International Prestige? Oğuz Alyanak seeks to answer this question, while also asking if “the Prime Minister’s hard-earned fifty percent support [will] continue if the current Kurdish project ends in failure?”
Will Kidnapping of Turkish Pilot Drag Ankara Into a Sectarian Swamp? Mahir Zeynalov argues that the recent kidnappings of Turkish citizens in Lebanon is “illustrating frustration among the country’s Shiite groups with respect to Ankara’s policies in the region.”
Turkey’s Tentative Iranian Spring Fehim Taştekin claims that “Ankara hopes that with new the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there may be a new page in bilateral relations.”
The Search for an Alternative Suat Kınıklıoğlu writes that, “rather than using the opportunity of Ramadan and the summer season to calm things down,” PM Erdoğan “has chosen to pound on the Gezi protesters” and as a result “the country is more divided and polarized than ever.”
The Anti-Capitalist Muslims Reflecting on the Anti-Capitalist Muslims group’s role in the Gezi uprising, A. Z. writes that “the anti-capitalist Muslims have dented Mr Erdogan’s efforts to paint the protests as part of a long battle between coup-addicted, dissolute, secular `white Turks` and downtrodden pious `Black Turks.`”
Killing the Lernaen Hydra: The Core, Crust and Promise of Occupy Gezi Ahmet Özcan writes that the Gezi uprising is “more than an explosion of accumulated resentment against the present semi-democracy of Turkey” and adds that “it is a new collective and spontaneous act that attempts to re-conceptualize politics and power by performing freedom in public spaces.”
There Is No Such Thing as "The People" Mustafa Akyol reminds us that “there is really no such thing as `the people` although protesters everywhere claim to speak for them." Instead, “there are only individuals, communities and parties with very different, diverse and often conflicting views, values and interests.”
Notes from the Resistance In this two-part series which explores resistance from the fields of arts and culture during the Gezi uprising, curator Başak Şenova interviews Özgür Uçkan, a scholar and “a leading actor for the legal rights and freedoms on the Internet in Turkey” and Vasıf Kortun, Director of Research and Programs at SALT.
Anarchists in the Turkish Uprising An interview with members of the Revolutionary Anarchist Action group (DAF) by Doemela about the Gezi uprising.
Erdogan Takes Revenge Michael van der Galien focuses on the government’s crackdown on journalists, students, and football supporters in the aftermath of the Gezi uprising.
Turkey`s Lack of Democracy Is Storing Up Problems The Guardian’s Observer editorial also focuses on Turkey’s crackdown on journalists, interpreting the repression of media workers as a dent on “functioning democracy.”
Where is Turkey Headed? Gezi Park, Taksim Square, and the Future of the Turkish Model The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ hearing on 31 July: video stream and downloads of witness testimonies.
Amnesty International Calls For Cyber Protest Amnesty International called for a cyber protest and invited activists to join them on the Back on Taksim platform by “logging in from a social media account (Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus) as authorities blocked all physical access to organize demonstrations or protests in Taksim Square area.”
Other Pertinent Pieces
Ihbar, Haber, and Serendipity: Sliding Into A Police State Jenny White’s latest blog post examines the historical context of spying in an increasingly paranoid “police state,” saying “Ihbar is now being institutionalized in the service of the state, much as it was during the days of Sultan Abdul Hamid II who created a spy network with as many as 50,000 informants.”
An Anatolian Tiger Gives Fair Warning to Erdogan Yasemin Çongar contextualizes the critical comments of Kayseri Chamber of Industrialists chairman Mustafa Boydak regarding the AKP’s treatment of the Koç group post-Gezi: “here was an `Anatolian Tiger` speaking up against a government that he helped bring to power, on behalf of a star member of the old alliance that used to despise conservative businessmen like himself.”
A Warning from Conservative Businesses İhsan Dağı also reflects on chairman Boydak’s “friendly warning” to the AKP government and adds that “It is difficult to do business with a world that is depicted by the government as conspiring against Turkey.”
Muslim Democracy in Turkey: A Threat or an Opportunity? Talip Kucukcan’s article is yet another AKP apologist piece enumerating the party’s often tokenized achievements which crown Turkey’s “Muslim democracy.”
Political Islam’s Loss of Democratic Legitimacy Timur Kuran writes that “Turkey’s political institutions lack adequate safeguards” and warns that “Egypt’s recent experience offers a glimpse into Turkey’s potential future should it fail to establish effective political safeguards.”
AK Party`s Biggest Corruption Case Shows Stakes of Press Censorship, Transparency Woes Noah Blaser’s excellent report on TOKI (Public Housing Authority) corruption and the media silence around it.
Turkey’s Secret "Ancestry Codes" Track Non-Muslim Minorities Orhan Kemal Cengiz thinks that the exposure of the state’s usage of “ancestry codes” to mark non-Muslim citizens in the registries is “a scandal that should shake Turkey to its core, but the country is so busy with its own agenda.”
Erdogan’s Crisis With Pregnant Women Semih Idiz’s take on the debate that started in response to the comments of Omer Tugrul Inancer on national TV, who claimed that it was “shameful” for pregnant women to go out on the streets.
Murder, Menace Stalk Istanbul`s LGBT Community Yasemin Çongar reflects on the lives of transgender individuals in Turkey in the aftermath of the murder of Gaye, the latest victim of attacks against trans individuals, which have intensified in the last eighteen months.
Yedikule: An Istanbul Neighborhood’s Bitter Harvest Istanbul Eats reflects on the destruction of Yedikule Gardens, arguing that “auctioning off of major public lands, which are consistently snatched up by a small group of government-friendly conglomerates whose `development` projects—shopping malls, high-rises, clusters of ersatz `Ottoman-style` villas—are slowly sapping Istanbul of its soul.”
Turkish Town Has Hosted 12,000 Years of Human History & Stunning Biodiversity National Geographic Young Explorer Julia Harte writes about the lives and history she encountered in Hasankeyf, a town in Southeastern Turkey threatened by the ongoing construction of Ilısu Dam.
Facebook Censorship: Citizen Journalism Page Closed, Again! Facebook has been censoring the page of Ötekilerin Postası, “a citizen journalist platform, which also embraces digital activism and civil disobedience.”
Why do Facebook and Twitter Shut Down Accounts In Turkey? Elif Akgül interviews scholar Erkan Saka about social media censorship in Turkey and possible alternatives to profit-seeking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
120 Killed On the Job in July Bianet keeps track of workplace mortalities, citing the report by Worker Health and Work Security Assembly which declared that at least 120 workers were killed from work-related injuries in July, among them eight children.
Demokrasinin önünde artık ‘asker sorunu’ yok, ‘sivil sorunu’ var! After the Ergenekon verdict, Hasan Cemal says, Turkey no longer has “a military problem,” it has “a civil problem.”
Ergenekon doğruları, Ergenekon yanlışları Cengiz Çandar points out “the truths and mistakes of the Ergenekon trial.”
Türkiye, hukuki hesaplaşmayı başardı Yalçın Akdoğan, Erdoğan’s chief advisor, asserts that “Turkey has achieved juridical cleansing” in the Ergenekon trial.
Ergenekon var mı? Oya Baydar asks those who do not believe the Ergenekon case to reconsider this possibility, reminding them of the unidentified murders, disappearances, and massacres.
Ne demokrasinin düğünü, ne cumhuriyetin cenazesi Ruşen Çakır defines the Ergenekon verdict as “neither the birthday of democracy nor the funeral of the republic.”
Türkiye’de ordu, polis ve istihbarat teşkilatları: Yakın dönem gelişmeler ve reform ihtiyaçları A report prepared for TESEV points out that, in Turkey, military domination is not yet destroyed.
Ergenekon hayal ürünü mü? Oral Çalışlar justifies some criticisms about the Ergenekon verdict, but maintains that Ergenekon is not a fiction.
İlker Paşa’yı kim yaktı Abdülkadir Selvi argues that İlker Başbuğ, a former chief of general staff between August 2008 and August 2010, dug his own grave.
Bir ‘milli’ deneyim: Ergenekon Etyen Mahçupyan analyses the Ergenekon trial as “a ‘national’ experience.”
“Ergenekon Efsanesi”nin sonu Nuray Mert contends that the Ergenekon verdict is “the end of the Ergenekon Legend.”
Fişi çekilen rejimin çırpınışları… Mustafa Sönmez severely criticizes the Ergenekon verdict and names it as “the flutter of a regime whose plug is pulled out.”
Demokraside bencillikten fazilete In the Middle East, for Mücahit Bilici, we are witnessing the rise of the Muslim agent; he warns this agent that “democracy entails the cession of selfishness.”
Sosyolojimizin siyaseti According to Ali Bulaç, neither Egypt nor Turkey will calm down until “the relationship between religious groups and politics” is clarified.
Çözüm süreci güçlü sinyal iradeler sağlar Ragıp Zarakolu says all settlement processes necessitate powerful commitments from both sides engaged in a war.
Rojava`nın Suriye denklemindeki yeri Fehim Taştekin explores the role Rojava, West Kurdistan in Kurdish, plays in the Syrian equation.
Rojava`ya mecbur olmak Mete Çubukçu analyzes “Turkey’s dependence on Rojava.”
Rojava: Kürtler ve İslamcıların nüfuz mücadelesi Çağıl Kasapoğlu focuses on the struggle between Kurds and Islamists for influence over Rojava.
Rojava nedir, ne değildir, orada neler oluyor? Amed Dicle explains what Rojava is.
"Nusra`nın amacı devlet kurmaktı" According to Mutlu Çiviroğlu, al Nusra’s intention behind its wild and inhumane attacks was founding an Islamic state during Ramadan.
Orta Doğu’da 3 ayrı kavga var Aslı Aydıntaşbaş argues that there are three different struggles in the Middle East.
Yeni toplumsal hareketler Mümtaz`er Türköne examines new social movements in response to the question: Why was the Ergenekon verdict not echoed in the Gezi uprising?
Bir toplumsal hareket olarak Gezi - 1 Another piece exploring the Gezi uprising as a social movement is written by Umut Özkırımlı. He also explores “Gezi-phobia in academy” under the title: "Akademi ve `Gezi-fobi.`"
Gezi ertesinde düşünceler Murat Belge compares “anti-globalization” movements such as the Gezi, Occupy Wall Street, and the Indignados movements to the protests of 1968.
`Gezi`den sonra... Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Peace and Democracy Party deputy, analyzes the unsatisfactory participation of his party in the Gezi uprising.
Eski ve yeni düzenin bekçileri arasındaki kavgada yerimiz yok Gezi Radio interviews Our Commons (Müştereklerimiz).
“Mesele”yi anlama kılavuzu! Ya da Gezi’deki çevreci gençlere yapılanlar! Deniz Atam introduces a guide to understanding the Gezi “question.”
“Yeni”nin, “şaşkınlık”ın ve "bu `..O..` değil"in analizi! Kenan Güvenç analyzes the emergence of “the new” in the Gezi uprising and its surprising effects.
AKP Türkiyesi`nin yeni imajı Ergin Yıldızoğlu claims that Türkey can no longer present itself as a “model country,” “rising power,” and “global player” following the Gezi uprising.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Kürt Tarihi 8: Kürt Basını The current issue of the journal of Kurdish History (Kürt Tarihi) focuses on the Kurdish press in the Ottoman Empire.
“Ara” Gazı ve Bilişsel Kapitalizm Olcay Çelik responds to a press release of Erdoğan Bayraktar, the Minister of Environment and Urban Planning: “Turkey is not an inventory country due to its position.”
Published on Jadaliyya
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Understanding the Uprising in Turkey
Kids These Days: The Youth Politics Nobody Was Expecting
Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey (Video)
Dr. Timucin Koprulu, Dr. Meryem Kurtulmus, Yeditepe Assistants Are Not Alone!
New Texts Out Now: Derya Bayir, Minorities and Nationalism in Turkish Law
The Kurdish Music Industry: History and Politics