[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.]
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 in Cizre denied access to ambulances. The ECHR, however, maintains that Turkish courts have precedence.
A Country on the Edge of Europe Increasingly Looks like War-Torn Syria Charlotte Alfred draws attention to how the fights between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants left the Southeastern cities in ruins.
Undoing Years of Progress in Turkey Abdullah Demirbaş` analysis of the ongoing military operations and curfew in Diyarbakır`s Sur district, of which he is a former mayor.
Security Problem Deepens with Ambulance Crisis in Turkey (1) - (2) Murat Yetkin examines how a number of parties, including President Erdoğan, members of the HDP, and international rights groups, have responded to claims that ambulances are being prevented from retrieving and treating injured and dying people in Cizre.
Turkey’s ‘Deep State’ Terror Squads: The ‘Spycops’ Licensed to Kill A blog correspondent visits the often-unknown history of JİTEM, a secret network of spycops operating as the main strand of Turkey`s "deep state," which has been involved in the extrajudicial killing, disappearance, arrest, and torture of Kurds, leftists, and anyone threatening the interests of the state.
Kurds in Turkey: Caught in the Crossfire David Lepeska profiles a number of Kurds living in the war-torn regions of the southeast who have lost family members to the protracted violence, and he meditates on the prospects for a return to peace talks.
It is OK to Make a Fool of Us… Markar Esayan writes that “the PKK and HDP betrayed the Kurds,” while the AKP has always offered and continues to offer peace to the Kurds.
The PYD and a Tangled Web Evaluating the degree to which the PYD can be considered part of the “opposition” to Assad, Ali Yurttagül suggests the organization is primarily self-interested but also wholly comfortable standing “elbow to elbow” with dictatorial regimes.
The PKK and PYD’s Kurdish Soviet Experiment in Syria and Turkey In addition to accusing the PKK and PYD of preventing parties other than the HDP of competing in some areas, Şener Aktürk points to reports byAmnesty International andAgos, accusing the PYD of removing non-Kurdish populations by force.
Under Pressure from Turkey, UN Excludes PYD from Syria Talks Cengiz Çandar reports that Turkey has won the battle over the Syrian Kurdish nationalist Democratic Union Party by blackmailing the United States into leaving the group out of the Geneva III talks.
Turkey Removes Israeli Concerns Lale Kemal points out that, even during their diplomatic spat, Turkish and Israeli economic relations continued—upwards of $5 billion in 2015.
Meeting with Joe Biden Sheepishly Ali Murat Yel uses a (rather lengthy) metaphor about anthropologists and the inclusion of “native voice” to criticize Joe Biden, Noam Chomsky, and Slavoj Zizek of having “little will to learn the facts” about Turkey.
How Biden Annoyed Ankara During His Recent Visit to Turkey Semih İdiz comments that Biden`s visit to Turkey did not bridge, but crystallized, the disagreements and divisions between Turkey and the United States.
Are We at War or Not? Discussing the recent deaths of Turkish nationalists fighting alongside Türkmen militants on the basis of “ethnic affinity,” Nuray Mert suggests that it is very strange for people of one country to fight in another country’s civil war.
Turkey’s Opposition is Not Up to the Task Suat Kınıklıoğlu laments the lack of “strategic thinking” on display in the CHP and MHP, pointing out that the MHP, for example, “prides itself” on not using polling.
Turkey Treats Muslims as Second-Class Refugees Joost Lagendijk criticizes the Turkish policy of “geographical limitation,” which limits refugee status to Europeans, treating others as “temporary guests” with limited rights.
Turkey Grants Syrians Right to Work, But Is It Too Little, Too Late? Mehmet Çetingülec writes about the limits of the new regulation that grants Syrian refugees work permit, but only in the provinces where they reside, and as long as the number of Syrians in a given workplace will be limited to 10% of the total staff.
A Dependent Central Bank and an Early Election Etyen Mahçupyan plays down talk that the government may hold even more early elections, arguing that forcing out smaller parties will “render Turkey unmanageable.”
Is Turkey at War With the “Islamic State”? Reviewing ISIS attacks in Turkey, Halil Karaveli concludes that the “ideological discourse of the Turkish regime has not changed” making it difficult for the government to effectively break up ISIS networks in the country.
The PKK and HDP`s Path Writing for Daily Sabah Markar Esayan argues that the AKP is “practically . . .the biggest pro-Kurdish party in Turkey,” which the PKK (and HDP) are unwilling to accept. Additionally, the CHP and the “secularist Turkish business elite” are “compatible with the PKK`s Stalinist ideology.”
Erdoğan Asks Davutoğlu to Go to Referendum Murat Yetkin explores rumors that the AKP might force the country into yet another election in order to secure the presidential system that Erdoğan has been trying to consolidate.
We Will Draw That Map, Get It through Your Head (1) - (2) According to Yeni Şafak editor-in-chief İbrahim Karagül, domestic and international parties are “trying to push Turkey outside the global system and declare it the enemy and turn it into a target” because of Turkey’s “miraculous” economic ascendancy.
Islam should Speak for the New Constitution Ergün Yıldırım encourages political leaders to imbue the new constitution with Islamic values and doctrines in order to perpetuate Turkey’s role as a beacon for other Islamic countries.
The New Constitution, the Presidency and the World`s Direction Addressing criticisms of Erdoğan for his advocacy for a presidential system, Yasin Aktay writes that “the presidential system gets a chance with Erdoğan, not for Erdoğan`s person but for a more powerful Turkey and Muslim world.”
Persecution of Journalists and Academics
Media`s Hypocrisy When Covering Terror After criticizing media outlets like Cumhuriyet and T24 for showing pictures of bombing victims and treating PKK and ISIS differentially, İbrahim Altay announces the formation of a group called “the Media Association” which will “aim to bring changes to digital media legislation.”
How Fake News Helps AKP Propaganda Mustafa Akyol writes about the pro-AKP narrative that powerful media outlets have promoted, and discusses how it helps the AKP keep its political domination intact.
Want to Call Erdogan a Dictator? Get Ready to Hire Some Lawyers Pınar Tremblay reports on two court cases launched against the media for allegedly offending President Erdoğan.
Academics Face Death Threats over Turkey Petition Jack Higgins describes the situation of academics who not only have fear of investigation and arrest by government over peace petition, but also receive hate emails/calls, physical and verbal attacks, and even death threats, and are further subject to lynching and defamation campaigns.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Viewing an Old World with Fresh Eyes: A Visit with Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul Der Spiegel interviews the author about his latest book and his thoughts on the “crippled” state of Turkish democracy.
Their Entire Fortune was a Pile of Paper, but They Have Lost It Melis Alphan addresses a recently passed ordinance criminalizing those who collect paper, which makes those who are already poor and marginalized in society even more vulnerable.
Cover Story Elif Batuman gives a personal history of her experience living in Turkey as a woman who does not wear a headscarf and the way in which wearing (or not wearing one) affected her social interactions.
Violence in the Southeast
Cenevre`de Suriye hendeği With Turkey aligned increasingly with Saudi Arabia and the anti-Assad groups, Oral Çalışlar suggests the PKK is considering how close it should move toward the Russia-Iran-Damascus alliance—and how far it can do so without angering the US.
Cizre’de devlet; Ya da işgal edilmiş eve asılan bayrak! Erdal İmrek describes how Turkish security forces hang Turkish flags on the walls of houses that they destroyed and dislocated their residents.
Cizre, bizi affetme! Nurcan Baysal writes about the ongoing "ambulance crisis" in Cizre, where injured Kurdish civilians are left to die in a demolished basement with no food, clean water, and medicine.
Vahşet bodrumu! Writing about the "barbarity basement" in Cizre, where injured civilians are trapped and denied ambulance services, Hasan Cemal accuses the AKP government and President Erdogan of suspending the rule of law, de facto invalidating the Constitution, and committing crimes against humanity.
HDP`de netlik ayarı Writing about the recent HDP Party Congress, İrfan Aktan asserts that the HDP and its leadership have buckled down on their commitments to a politics of peace and reconciliation in spite of the ruling party’s insistence on war.
Ruh üşümesi Bircan Değirmenci, an official who works for Diyarbakır Municipality, writes about the banality of death and dying in Sur district and elsewhere, concluding, “every day I contine to slowly die, just like everyone who was thought to live on these lands.”
"Anlayış" sağlıksız Dr. Eriş Bilaloğlu, founder of the Ankara Chamber of Medicine, compares the problems in medical treatment that Diyarbakır faced in 1998—when it was under emergency rule and martial law—with the problems facing Diyarbakır in the same domain in 2016.
Kentler yeni iskan politikası için mi hoyratça bombalanıyor? Yüksel Genç draws parallels between the violence and forced migration in Kurdistan today with the resettlement policies implemented in the 1920s and 1930s to forcibly assimilate Kurds.
AKP’nin Cenevre’deki Pirus zaferi Commenting on the exclusion of PYD from the Geneva talks due to Turkey`s efforts to leave the group out of the Talks, Erdogan Aydin comments that neither bringing peace to Syria nor strategizing against ISIS can be possible without PYD.
Türkiye Irak`a girecek mi? Will Turkey intervene in Iraq and Syria? asks Akdoğan Özkan.
10 soruda Türk-Rus krizi ve atalet içindeki iş dünyası, dernekler, aydınlar… Hakan Aksay examines the ongoing Turkey-Russia crisis.
Suriye`de `Kürtsüz çözüm` hayali Writing about Turkey’s stipulations for the Geneva talks about the fate of Syria, Yücel Özdemir marvels at the fact that the PYD was excluded while the Islamist & Salafist coalition Ahrar ash-Sham was included.
Kürt’süz Cenevre, Kürt’süz Lozan kadar kolay olamayacak! Ender İmrek argues that Geneva talks without the Kurds will not be as easy as the Lausanne talks that delineated borders in 1923, which also excluded the Kurds, making them the so-called stateless nation they are today.
CHP`li arkadaşımla hasbıhal...Oral Çalışlar accepts that the CHP has grown more democratic internally, but he questions whether the party has fully shed its nationalist, majoritarian traditions.
Arınç ve benzerlerinin şansı var mı? Ruşen Çakır observes that critics of Erdogan within the AKP today have far less room to maneuver than they did in their earlier, “reformist” years when their critiques were directed towards Necmettin Erbakan.
Persecution of Journalists and Academics
Rakamlarla otoriter Türkiye Umut Özkırımlı analyzes Turkey`s records on human rights, media rights and freedoms, free speech, social justice, and rule of law, which all dangerously bring Turkey very close to be an authoritarian state.
Oyun planı Seyfi Öngider argues that the government’s harsh line against Academics For Peace is part of its larger strategy to polarize Turkish society and push opposition parties below the 10% threshhold.
Suçlanan akademisyenler ve barışı kazanmak Comparing the persecution of Academics For Peace now with the persecutions of pacifist groups in past decades, Murat Özveri concludes that “people changed, times changed, but the antagonistic logic towards peace didn’t change.”
Rape and Violence Against Women
Nefret dolu bir birlik: Devlet şiddeti ve kadına yönelik şiddet Sevda Karaca argues that the systematized violence in the Kurdish regions of Turkey feeds off of violence against women and vice versa.
Tecavüzün kıymetli haber değeri Esra Arsan discusses the differential value judgments made in the Turkish media’s nonstop reporting on the rape of a girl in a posh neighborhood of Istanbul with the complete lack of reporting on the dozens of people being killed by the state in Cizre and other provinces in the southeast.
"Adalet" sayın hakim! LGBT activist Kemal Ördek, who survived being raped in their home only to be harassed by the police, writes an open letter to the judge who will rule in their case against their assailants, asking why trans people and sex workers never receive justice even in the courts.
Bir hastalık olarak erkeklik Writing in the wake of a rape in the posh Istanbul neighborhood around Bağdat Avenue, Burcu Karakaş argues that the disease that compels men to rape women is the disease of masculinity.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Tahir Elçi`nin öldürülmesinden 2 ay geçti; içimde bir taş!.. Derya Bozarslan laments how far the current situation in Turkey is today from those hopeful days in 2013 when a ceasefire was declared.
`Küçük Kara Balık` ve Leyla Zana Drawing on a thesis by Arzu Yılmaz, Ayşe Hür presents a long-form piece discussing the career of Leyla Zana, one of the most prominent campaigners for Kurdish rights of the past thirty years.
Cumhuriyet’in yurttaşı Kamer Genç Soner Yalçın provides an overview of the recently deceased Tunceli politician’s life and accomplishments.
Published on Jadaliyya
Call for Papers: Graduate Student Conference on Social and Political Change in MENA (April 8, New York)
Under Fire: Translating the Growing Crisis in the Kurdish Cities of Turkey’s Southeast
Statement of Concern by Professors of Turkish Studies and Ottoman History Regarding Diminishing Academic Freedoms in Turkey
Urgent Call for Action by Women’s Freedom Assembly in Turkey
Letter by American Anthropological Association Regarding Repression of Academics in Turkey
Letter by American Political Science Association Regarding Academic Freedom in Turkey
Joint Letter by Global Higher Education Networks in Support of Turkey`s Higher Education and Research Community
Third Annual Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon