[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.]
Peace Rally Bombings in Ankara
Sirin`s Story: A Voice Raised and Silenced On the morning of October 10, the most deadly bombing in Turkey’s history killed 102 and injured more than five hundred demonstrators who gathered for a peace rally in Ankara.
Is Ankara Putting Out False Information About Peace Rally Bombings? Fehim Taştekin argues that the bombers of the Ankara peace rally were able to accomplish their mission due to Turkish authorities’ negligence and security failures, and the AKP government tried to hide its responsibility by imposing a media blackout on the probe into bombings.
Turkey`s Missed Opportunity According to David Lepeska, rather than pushing Turkey for unity, accountability, and security, the Ankara bombings highlighted the deep divisions among politicians, as well as the fissures among general citizenry.
Stand Against Terrorism Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın condemns those who argue that the AKP government is behind the Ankara bombings and calls everyone to stand against terrorism, whether coming from the ISIS or the PKK.
Impact of the 1 November Election
Erdogan Gobbles Up Power in New Turkish Government Cengiz Çandar argues that Turkey’s new cabinet is stacked with loyal allies of President Erdoğan, making it clear that this is the "government of Erdoğan," with some minor concessions given to Prime Minister Davutoğlu for face-saving purposes.
Analyzing Turkey`s Election "Earthquake" According to Kürşat Akyol, Turkey’s election results surprised even the top brass of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which won the election as the single ruling party for the fourth successive term, while the MHP and HDP lost considerable ground.
Women Were Big Losers in Turkey`s Elections “The number of women elected to parliament reached a new high in Turkey`s June elections, but dropped in the 1 November snap elections, especially in the victorious Justice and Development Party,” writes Pınar Tremblay.
Erdogan’s March to One-Man Power According to Kadri Gürsel, after the AKP’s unexpectedly big victory margin in the 1 November 2015, elections, President Erdoğan, using all his power and doing whatever it takes, has emerged as "the man” charting the country’s course.
Turkey`s Path to Dictatorship “Erdoğan’s renewed ambitions to install an authoritarian presidential system in Turkey are raising concerns he might further restrict freedom of the press and open a path for a dictatorship,” writes Orhan Kemal Cengiz.
Kurds in Postelection Turkey: Silver Lining or Tough Times? Since the strategy that brought an astounding victory to Erdoğan and the AKP in the 1 November elections was based on resuming the war against the PKK and demonizing the pro-peace Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the peace and reconciliation process has been brought to an end for an indefinite period of time.
How Will Erdogan Solve `Terror Problem` That Brought Him Victory? Kadri Gürsel emphasizes that after nearly three years of non-hostility—coupled with settlement talks between the PKK and Ankara—Turkey had abruptly descended into a spiral of violence, and coffins of soldiers and policemen arrived almost daily to provinces across the country.
Who is the Winner of Turkey`s Elections? Richard Falk and Bülent Aras point to the the dual leadership question between President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.
More of the Same Foreign Policy Under AK Party? Birce Bora analyzes the possible implications of the AKP’s electoral victory for Turkey’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East.
Erdogan`s Second Chance According to Sinan Ülgen, the message of the 1 November election is that Turkey`s voters want a strong, stable government, but not one that runs roughshod over its opponents.
Codes of the New Era (1)- (2) Writing immediately after the 1 November election, Abdülkadir Selvi argues that the AKP would focus on two major areas: constitutional reforms and a strong economic package.
Why the Election Result was a Surprise Even to the AKP (1) - (2) Murat Yetkin describes the disconnect between pre-election public opinion polls and the actual results, and he contends that another election is in the near future as Erdoğan pushes for constitutional changes to establish a presidential system.
Great Country, Marvelous Victory! Celebrating the AKP’s success in election, İbrahim Karagül writes: “You lost and will forever lose. You will lose like those who have been losing for a thousand years.”
Losers of November 1: HDP and PKK According to Markar Esayan, the HDP and the PKK deceived the Kurds and Turks who believed in them and they are the biggest losers of the 1 November election.
Assassination of Tahir Elçi
Turkey’s Kurds Shaken by Killing of Human Rights Lawyer The killing of Tahir Elçi, the head of the local bar association and a greatly respected human rights lawyer as well as an influential voice of peace process, created a deep collective grief and shock in the Kurdish community.
What Killing of Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Means for Turkey Hande Yalnızoğlu points out that Elçi’s assassination reflects a new political episode in Turkey that is defined by violence, confrontation, and the silencing of such such voices of peace and moderation.
Bloodshed Stokes Kurdish Separatist Sentiment “Ankara’s draconian security crackdowns, marked by dozens of civilian deaths, have left many Kurds wondering whether they should give up their struggle for rights and seek independence,” writes İrfan Aktan.
Tahir Elçi`yi Kim Öldürür? Ezgi Başaran emphasizes that Elçi’s murderers are those whose interests are threatened by Elçi’s endless advocacy for the victims of forced displacement and political disappearances in the 1990s, as well as his heroic struggle for human rights and Kurdish question and peace process.
After Tahir Elçi Mümtazer Türköne describes the way in which Elçi tried to navigate the competing pressures of the Turkish state and the PKK in order to protect “a kind of courtesy and delicateness” in Turkish political culture.
Tahir Elçi and presumption of guilt for the state Orhan Kemal Cengiz criticizes the investigation into Elçi’s death and concludes that, barring a more thorough investigative process, there must be “a very strong presumption that he was deliberately killed by the state.”
[Image by Fatih Pinar]
Curfews and the Occupation of Kurdistan
FACT SHEET on Declared Curfews Between 11-25 December and Violations of Right to Life Against Civilians The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey reports that since 16 August 2015, there has been fifty-six officially confirmed curfews in seventeen districts of seven predominantly Kurdish cities, which left forty-one civilians dead in two weeks.
Turkish Military Brutality in Diyarbakır “An ethnic cleansing is being committed against our people. What is being done here is quite a massacre. The Turkish state is attacking civilians with heavy arms as if it confronted the military force of another state," states Ferhat Encü, a deputy from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
Human Rights Violations Throughout the Cizre Curfew The “Observation Report” on the curfew declared in Cizre district of Şırnak states that twenty-two civilian citizens were killed by security forces in eight days.
Why Are So Many Staying Silent on the Kurdish Conflict? Pınar Tremblay asks why both Kurds and Turks in the western provinces staying silent about the suffering of the Kurds and whether this silence is a harbinger of deeper resentment or an approval of the government’s violent policies.
Öcalan Silent as Kurds` Fight for Self-Rule Rages On “The Kurds fighting in Diyarbakır may end their revolt if ordered to do so by Abdullah Ocalan, but the Turkish government has not allowed the imprisoned Kurdish leader any visitors since April, perhaps calculating that the endless self-sacrifice being demanded of ordinary Kurds will turn them against the PKK,” writes Amberin Zaman.
Turkish Kurds Flee `Self-Rule` Neighborhoods Mahmut Bozarslan writes that thousands of Kurdish residents are fleeing Diyarbakır since their neighborhoods were devastated from clashes between the security forces and Kurdish militants as the curfew turned the city into a war zone.
Who Are `Allah`s Lions`? Orhan Kemal Cengiz draws attention to a “mysterious security force” carrying out special operations in predominantly Kurdish cities with brutal methods and seemingly religious motivations, clad in black and wearing balackavas, chanting “Allahu akbar" (God is great), and calling themselves “Esedullah team” (team of Allah’s lions).
In Pictures: Destruction in Kurdish Town Under Curfew After nine days of clashes between Turkish police and local militant youths, the situation in Sur, a historical neighborhood in Turkey’s largest Kurdish city, resembles a war zone.
Who Is Talking (And Who’s Not) About Turkey’s Silent And Bloody Civil War? Dağhan Irak maps the media networks that covers (or hides) what has been happening during the curfews.
Is the Reconciliation Process Possible Again? (1)-(2) According to Abdülkadir Selvi, the PKK started an urban war by digging trenches and burning down mosques, and thus it was the PKK who ended the reconciliation process.
Trenches as PKK`s Political Graveyards Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın argues that the Turkish state tries to improve the living conditions of its Kurdish citizens and establish public order within rule of law, while the PKK is blocking the peace with its new urban fight.
Separating Turks and Kurds from Each Other… (1)- (2) According to Markar Esayan, the PKK and the HPD have no agenda in favor of the Kurds, whereas the AKP government has always given priority to the rightful claims of Kurdish citizens.
HDP and the Death of Politics Ali Bayramoğlu argues that the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is gradually turning from a “medium for reconciliation and interaction” in the Kurdish question to a tool for “imposition and confrontation.”
A Sisyphean Task? Resuming Turkey-PKK Peace Talks After detailing the breakdown in negotiations between the government and the PKK over the course of 2015, the International Crisis Group lays out steps that must be taken to reduce the ongoing violence. In particular, “reviving the monitoring committee to which the government agreed but the president objected may be the key to reconfiguring a more solid process.”
The Back Streets of Suriçi and Diyarbakır’s "No Cost Kids" Hasan Kanbolat argues that the PKK, via the YDG-H youth organization, is attempting to establish a degree of autonomy resembling Kobani, but that its methods are “undermining of daily life in the eastern reaches of Anatolia” and have “driven Kurdish conservatives there firmly into the arms of the AKP.”
Why Does the AKP Accuse the HDP of Treason? Although he argues that HDP leaders should not have met with the Russian foreign minister, Cafer Solgun concludes that the government’s charges against the HDP are “baseless” and part of the government’s larger campaign against the party.
The Kurdish Self-Governance Movement in Turkey’s South East: An Interview with Haydar Darıcı Anthropologist Haydar Darıcı, who is now under judicial control and banned from leaving Turkey, explains what self-governance and autonomy look like, as the Turkish state in the last weeks has been violently suppressing as part of its war with the PKK.
ISIS in Turkey
Terror in Turkey Cengiz Çandar writes that the fury of the AKP government toward Kurds is apparently greater than its anger against IS, and argues that unless the AKP changes priorities, Turkey will be more vulnerable to Islamic State attacks.
Why Do Some Turks Approve of Islamic State Terrorism? Kadri Gürsel contextualizes several recent instances in which moments of silence honoring the Ankara and Paris attacks have been disrupted, citing Marshall Fund statistics that “6.6 percent of Turks believe IS is not a terrorist organization, and another 15.6 percent said IS does not constitute a threat to Turkey.”
After IS Threat, Turkey’s Alevi Community on Alert Sibel Hürtaş describes how a threat against the Alevi community by ISIS fits into a larger history of marginalization and violence against Alevis in Turkey.
Unraveling Islamic State’s Turkish Recruitment Scheme (1) - (2) Summarizing investigations by the CHP, the Human Rights Association, and Russian journalists, Mahmut Bozarslan describes how ISIS is recruiting in Turkey through a number of local contacts, such as Mustafa Dokumacı in Adıyaman.
Slavoj Žižek: We Need to Talk about Turkey (1) - (2) Slavoj Žižek argues that developments in Turkish politics over the past few months show that “the so-called ‘war on terror’ has become a clash within each civilization, in which every side pretends to fight ISIS in order to hit its true enemy.”
Shooting Down of Russian Jet
Turkey Goes from Zero Problems to Nothing but Problems in the Region Semih İdiz suggests that the collapse of Turkish foreign policy in the wider Middle East, coupled with the shooting down of a Russian jet, is fomenting an anti-Turkish alliance in the region that takes its support from Russia.
Will Turkey End up Being Stuck between Kurds, Russia? (1) - (2) According to Kadri Gürsel, there is a possibility that the Russian government might provide support to the PKK as a means of retribution against the Turkish state.
Will Russia`s Economic Restrictions on Turkey Backfire? Mehmet Çetingüleç contends that economic fallout from the strains on Turkey-Russia relations could be as high as $20 billion, resulting from economic embargoes and other restrictions on business between the countries.
Turkey Takes a Hit from the Russian Hammer Cengiz Çandar examines the barbs traded between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the wake of the shooting down of the Russian jet, including Putin’s claims that Erdoğan and the AKP are profiting from oil trade with ISIS.
Downed Russian Jet is just a Mirage over Syria Martin Jay asserts that the downing of the Russian jet is an attempt by Erdoğan to generate “more smoke and mirrors for the press to occupy themselves with.”
Syria War and Turkish-Russian Relations Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın argues that those who criticize Turkey for shooting down the Russian jet are attempting to diminish Turkey’s critical role in intervening in Syria.
Russian Crisis Wasn’t Enough; Now We’ve Got Baghdad on Our Hands Cafer Solgun discusses the dispute between the Turkish and Iraqi governments over Turkish forces stationed near Mosul, questioning the purpose of the troops given that they have yet to be used against ISIS.
Interventions in Syria and Iraq
Turkey Sticks Its Neck out, This Time in Iraq Metin Gürcan suggests that the bombastic rhetoric with which Turkish military exercises in Iraq were framed is evidence that the Turkish government is trying to expand its territory.
Ankara`s Mosul Miscalculation (1) - (2) - (3) - (4) According to Fehim Taştekin, there was a total lack of coordination on the part of the Turkish government in its decision to send troops into Iraq.
Why is Turkey Stirring the Iraqi Cauldron? Semih İdiz writes about the “unanswered questions” regarding the Turkish government’s ability to put together a reasonable policy on Iraq and Syria, as well as its true intentions behind its intervention in Iraq.
Rapprochement with Israel
Are Mutual Feelings of Isolation Pushing Turkey, Israel Closer? Semih İdiz interviews a number of current and former diplomats about what the normalization of Turkey-Israel relations might mean for Turkish foreign policy more broadly.
Did Erdoğan Give up Gaza in Return for Israeli Gas? Kadri Gürsel examines how the stipulations for normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel are rooted in Erdoğan’s domestic concerns.
A New Era in Turkish-Israeli Relations Burhanettin Duran argues that the US, by “turning a blind eye to Russian and Iranian expansionism,” has forced countries like Turkey and Israel to look past their disputes and form stronger ties against a common foe—Iran.
Turkey- EU Refugee Deal
Some in Turkey Still Balk at EU`s `Indecent Proposal` Zülfikar Doğan examines how the prospect of accession to the EU is being used to goad the Turkish government into agreeing to the EU’s proposition to continue housing refugees.
Can Turkey Stem the Refugee Tide? David Lepeska frames the Turkey-EU refugee deal in relation to the response and geopolitical fallout caused by the Paris attacks in November.
Analysis: Is Turkey`s `Open Door Policy` an Illusion? Birce Bora examines a Human Rights Watch report that contains the testimonies of many Syrians who tried to enter Turkey, only to be rejected at the border or returned to Syria, sometimes violently.
The Refugee "Crisis" of Europe and Its Causes Özlem Albayrak contends that European racism and xenophobia are behind the refugee deal struck between Turkey and the EU.
Syrian Refugees No Longer Welcome in Turkey? According to Joost Lagendijk, Turkish authorities have “replaced their welcoming attitude with the kind of repressive approach for which they love to bash the EU.”
“When I Picture My Future, I See Nothing”: Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey This Human Rights Watch report interviews Syrian children now residing in Turkey, describing the daily hardships they face—ranging from bullying to lack of teachers to language barriers—and suggests concrete steps that Turkish authorities can take to improve conditions.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Citizenship in Turkey and in the World: 2014 ISSP Research Report A recently published report from the Istanbul Policy Center, which concludes that Turkish citizens usually stay away from politics except when it comes to voting.
Turks Equally Pleased with First Communist Mayor Pınar Tremblay profiles Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, Mayor of Ovacık and a member of the Communist Party, describing his wide public popularity and strong reputation that transcends ideological and party lines.
Turkey`s Armenian Community Gets back Children`s Camp Barın Kayaoğlu describes Camp Armen, a former Armenian orphanage and children’s camp in Istanbul, which is now officially owned by the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church after decades of strife and uncertainty about the camp.
Time for a Reset in Turkish Foreign Policy According to Murat Yetkin, the wide array of foreign policy blunders made by the Turkish government with Iraq, Syria, and Russia in the latter part of 2015 call for significant and fundamental changes to the way the government is thinking and planning its foreign policy.
Turkey`s Embargo on YPG Funerals İrfan Aktan examines how and why the Turkish government is restricting efforts by families to repatriate loved ones who died fighting with the Kurdish YPG forces against ISIS in Northern Syria.
Peace Rally Bombings in Ankara
Ankara katliamının üzerinden iki ay geçti: hâlâ iyi değiliz Burcu Karakaş writes about the survivors of the Ankara attacks on its second month anniversary.
Cumhuriyet tarihinin en kanlı terör saldırısı T24 offers a comprehensive overview of what has happened, and what has been said and written, in the wake of the Turkey’s deadliest terror attack.
Impact of the 1 November Election
Yüksel Taşkın: AK Parti düşmansız yapamayan bir kültürel popülizm inşa etti In an interview, Yüksel Taşkın states that Prime Minister Davutoğlu is threatening Turkey with the fear of instability and the AKP has created a cultural populism that would not survive without an enemy.
1 Kasım: 2 seçmenden biri yeniden AKP`de T24’s coverage of what has happened before and after elections.
Evet, Türkiye kuşatma altında, başmimar da Erdoğan! Analyzing the aftermath of the 1 November election, Hasan Cemal complaints about Erdoğan’s despotism, which silences all dissident voices and suspends the rule of law.
Halkın yarısı neden AK Parti’yi tercih etti? Oral Çalışlar cautions against post-election analyses that blame the people for re-electing an AKP-led government and suggests it would be better to ask why there is such distance between the opposition and the majority of voters.
Death of Tahir Elçi
Diyarbakır Baro Başkanı Tahir Elçi öldürüldü! The head of the Diyarbakır bar association and human rights and peace advocate Tahir Elçi was gunned down in broad daylight during a press release.
İnsan haklarına adanmış bir ömür: Tahir Elçi Burcu Karakaş writes that Tahir Elçi devoted his life to various human rights struggles in Turkey.
Tahir Elçi’nin eşi Türkan Elçi: öfkeli değilim kırgınım Amberin Zaman interviews Tahir Elçi’s wife Turkan Elçi ten days after his assassination.
Curfews and the Occupation of Kurdistan
Nusaybin`de sokağa çıkma yasağı 5 gün sürdü T24 provides of its updates relating to the October curfew in Nusaybin.
Diyarbakırlı çocuklar öfkeli: Batı’dakiler yılbaşı derdinde, biz yaşam Reporting from Diyarbakır, Semra Pelek depicts a situation in which belief in dialogue is diminishing; especially since the 2 December death of sixteen-year old Çekvar Çubuk, the young YDG-H members she interviews have grown firmer in their desire to resist.
Erdoğan’la asker elele… Hasan Cemal discusses the new book Türkiye’de Değişim Yapmak Neden Bu Kadar Zor? (Why is it So Hard to Make Change in Turkey?), in which the author describes how the AKP’s (and previous government’s) efforts to decentralize power were blocked by the army and, in any event, have now given way to the opposite ambition.
Roboski, Tahir Elçi, Taybet ana, Miray bebek… Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu laments the death of civilians killed during anti-PKK operations by the government. In recent weeks these have come to include Miray, a three-month-old shot by a stray bullet, and Taybet İnan, a fifty-seven-year-old mother of eleven, shot visiting a neighbor during curfew--her brother-in-law was shot trying to retrieve her body.
"Bu savaşı istemiyoruz" demek için, şimdi değilse, ne zaman? (1)- (2) - (3) - (4) Describing the conditions in Diyarbakır, Cizre, and Silopi, Nurcan Baysal calls on conscientious AKP, CHP, and HDP members to call for peace, against the government’s and the mainstream media’s calls for war.
10 günlük sokağa çıkma yasağının ardından Nusaybin… Photographs taken in Nusaybin after a curfew was lifted.
Sur`dan devam eden operasyonlara ait fotoğraflar basınla paylaşıldı T24 showcases photographs from Diyarbakır’s Sur neighborhood, the site of clashes between the government and YDG-H militias.
Yasağa 17 saat ara verilen Sur`dan yıkımın fotoğrafları Photographs from Diyarbakır’s Sur neighborhood, the site of clashes between the government and YDG-H militias.
Hendekten müzakereye Mesut Yeğen analyzes the death of peace negotiations, the digging of trenches and construction of barricades by Kurdish militants as a part of self-governance movement, and the government’s violent methods to suppress them.
ISIS in Turkey
IŞİD’le mücadelede adem-i merkeziyetçilik Türkiye’nin güvenlik önceliğine dönüşüyor Aydın Selcen explains that the Turkish government is prioritizing its fight with Kurdish groups in Syria and Turkey over that threat of ISIS and argues that the government should support decentralization efforts instead.
15 yıldır takip edilen adam nasıl Diyarbakır-Suruç-Ankara`yı planladı? Ezgi Başaran questions how authorities have done such a poor job of tracking the ISIS members directly connected with major attacks on Turkish soldiers and civilians.
Shooting Down of Russian Jet
Ankara-Moskova hattında Soğuk Savaş’tan beri görülmemiş gerginlik; ilişkiler bıçak sırtı Discusses the deteriorating relations between Russia and Turkey after Turkey shot down a Russian jet.
Türkiye ile Rusya arasında asıl ‘hesaplaşma’ Suriye’de olacak Mete Çubukçu discusses the factors contributing to Turkey’s decision to fire on a Russian jet, including Russia’s bombing of the government’s Turkmen allies and its increasingly close relations with Syrian Kurds.
Dış politikamız: trajik, vahim, içler acısı... Former ambassador Ünal Ünsal attributes the downing of the Russian jet to Erdoğan’s practices and policies “which are carried out through narrow-mindedness, thoughtlessness, irresponsibility, religion/faith/sectarianism and fearlessness, and which never surpass the mentality of the neighborhood coffeehouse.”
Other Pertinent Pieces
Polis Son Beş Ayda Ev Baskınlarında Üç Kadını Öldürdü Burak Şahin notes that the police killed three women revolutionaries in house raids in the last five months (and it should be noted that it has become five women as this blurb is written).
İsrail-Türkiye-Hamas ve hayatın gerçekleri Ezgi Başaran considers the recent rapprochement between the Turkish and Israeli governments and argues that the explanation for these diplomatic moves requires “a one word answer: gas.” As relations with Russia sour, the Turkish government is looking elsewhere for its energy needs.
Gazetecilik Tutuklandı! Journalists Erdem Gül and Can Dündar are arrested for exposing the Turkish state’s transportation of weaponry into Syria under the name of humanitarian aid.
Published on Jadaliyya
‘New Turkey’: Toward an Authoritarian and Sectarian Police State
Can Total War in the Middle East Be Prevented?
After Tahir Elçi
Ankara Bombings: Democracy Now! Interview with HDP’s Hisyar Ozsoy and Turkey Page Co-Editor Asli Bali
The Ankara Massacre and the State as a Serial Killer in Erdogan’s Turkey
Turkey Could Cut Off the Islamic State’s Supply Lines. So Why Doesn’t It?
New Wars and Autonomous Self-Defense
Turkey: Nationalism and War Mongering Won the Election
Eastern Promises Squandered
Ankara`s Black Saturday: An Interview with Osman Sahin
Continuing the Struggle
Dersimli Serdar’in Hikayesi
Selahattin Demirtas of HDP Responds to Ankara Bombings (Video)
New Texts Out Now: Anthony Gorman and Sossie Kasbarian, Diasporas of the Modern Middle East: Contextualizing Community
Investigate Killing of Kurdish Human Rights Activist and Lawyer
Call by Academics for International Solidarity after the Ankara Bombing
Urgent Call for Solidarity and Action from the Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities
Petition Protesting Comments Made by Celal Sengor Concerning Torture and the 1980 Coup in Turkey