[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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday night of every week.]
Framing Turkey’s Financial Vulnerabilites: Some Rhymes with the Asian Crisis, but Not a Repeat Brad Stetzer writes that in framing Turkey's economic worries, the emphasis should be on its banks and their large external debts. He draws some comparisons to the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, but cites one major difference as being Turkey's ability to use foreign currency borrowing to fund domestic loans in liras.
Here's Who Might Save Turkey From Trump Kenneth Rapoza lists some options for Turkey to withstand US tariffs: support and investments from Qatar, with whom the Turkey has a close relationship; demanding more aid from the European Union in exchange for controlling irregular migration, alongside the ECB pressuring the Fed to conduct operations that will reflate the dollar; assistance from China (which is likely to come with strings attached, such as the sale of Turkish real estate at a discount) and assistance from Russia, which is the least likely to come through.
Turkey: A crossroads of risk and opportunities Berat Faruk Onur writes that despite its financial and geopolitical risks, Turkey also holds good investment opportunities tied to devaluation, such as low stock and real estate prices. He also mentions that the population has been able to weather other times of financial turmoil thanks to high rates of home ownership and family solidarity, as well as a large diaspora that is willing to invest in Turkey.
S&P, Moody's Lower Turkey’s Credit Rating Moody's has downgraded Turkey's credit rating to Ba3 from Ba2, and changed its rating outlook to negative. Standard and Poor's has also lowered Turkey's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating down one notch to B+.
EU and Turkey on same side against US EU leaders have sided with Turkey against the US administration's trade policies, with the European Parliament calling US tariffs against Turkey illegitimate and EU leaders emphasizing the importance of an economically stable Turkey. Bugra Susler writes that this is due to Turkey and Europe's economic interdependence, Europe's reliance on Turkey in curbing irregular migration, and Europe's desire to stand up to the United States's economic bullying.
Turkey does not need the EU: Really? Serkan Demirtaş writes that the support offered by European governments to Turkey is only tied to economic concerns at the moment, since a financial crisis in Turkey will hit Europe as well. He says that if Turkey wants a genuine partnership with the European Union, it should be prepared to make improvements to its democracy as well as its economy.
Oettinger: It’s not Germany’s job to help Turkey financially "EU budget chief Günther Oettinger rejected the idea of Germany helping Turkey out of its economic troubles, saying Monday that this is the responsibility of the International Monetary Fund."
Opinion: Germany should help Turkey stay tied to the West Seda Serdar writes that with recent releases of Taner Kilic and Mesale Tolu, Turkey is sending small signals that it would be willing to normalize relations with Germany (and the European Union as a whole). She writes that Turkey's economic situation could push Erdoğan into making further reforms, and that Germany should encourage Turkey in this regard.
American pastor more excuse than reason for US-Turkey staredown Amberin Zaman writes that the Trump administration's interest in Pastor Brunson's detention may stem largely from a desire to rack up votes amongst the Republican's evangelical base during the midterm elections. However, it may also be a convenient excuse to pursue a more realist policy towards a country whose interests are no longer considered in line with those of the United States.
EXCLUSIVE: US tip-off helped Turkey target PKK leader in Sinjar Ece Goksedef writes that an anonymous Turkish diplomat told Middle East Eye that the US military shared information which enabled Turkey to target Ismail Ozden, a high-ranking PKK member, in an air raid last week.
Turkish Suspect Says Attacked US Embassy in Ankara Over Trump’s Rhetoric One of the men suspected of shooting at the US embassy in Ankara said that his actions were driven by a combination of alcohol and anger at the lira's decline against the dollar, as well as Trump's rhetoric against Turkey.
Turkey's Syria Policy
Turkey amasses force of Syrian rebel factions at Idlib Fehim Tastekin writes that Turkey's desire to bring together all opposition groups in Syria while distinguishing moderate rebels from radicals will be no easy task. He also adds that Turkey's motives in doing so are unclear.
Turkey is banking on summit diplomacy to head off Idlib battle Thomas Seibert writes that Turkey is hoping to use diplomacy in order to convince Russia to restrain the Syrian army from decimating Idlib. However, he adds that since Turkey needs Russian support in its trade war with the United States, it may end up being more flexible on Idlib in order to maintain good relations with Russia.
Afrin loot is legitimate spoils of war, leaked transit document shows A leaked transit document (that could not be fully verified) issued by a Turkish-backed rebel group in Afrin says that local authorities of Raju must “allow a truck driver carrying metal from inside Raju [to pass through its checkpoints] as they are the spoils of war achieved by battalion 9.”
Four years after genocide, thousands of Yazidis languish in Turkey Ayla Jean Yackley describes the living conditions for an estimated five thousand Yazidi refugees still living in Turkey. Neither wanting to return to Iraq nor stay in Turkey, Yazidis must instead face long waits for resettlement, sometimes up to seven years.
Syrian refugees find Turkey more welcoming than western Europe Some Syrian refugees are preferring to leave Western Europe for Turkey, or to never leave Turkey in the first place. Some reasons for this are the proximity and cultural similarities of towns in southern Turkey such as Gaziantep and the ease with which they can work informally.
250,000 Syrians may flee to Turkey from Idlib: Turkish intelligence "At least 250,000 Syrians may flee to Turkey from Idlib if Damascus launches a military operation into its northwestern province, Turkish government sources said, citing new intelligence reports."
How Turkey Dumbed Itself Down Durmus" Yilmaz and Selim Sazak write that political insecurity (the AKP came to power with only a third of the vote in 2002) was the reason behind the AKP's economically skilled personnel and sound financial policies during its early days. However, as both Turkey's economy and the AKP's hold on power grew bigger, loyalists began to replace the technocrats in the administration. They write that this prioritization of loyalty over skills has extended to all levels of society.
How Did Things Get So Bad for Turkey’s Journalists? Zia Weise writes that while the press in Turkey was never completely free, the tide truly shifted after the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer trials, which saw many journalists and academics convicted on spurious charges alongside military members. These trials were cheered on by journalists at Gulen-linked newspapers, until they too became targets of the government. Pressure on the media further increased after the AKP lost its majority in the June 2015 elections, and again after the 2016 coup attempt. Journalists that Weise spoke to name two factors contributing to decline in press freedom: government repression and Turkey's journalists not defending each other.
Turkey: a permanent state of emergency by any name is no substitute for respecting human rights Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement saying that recently passed legislation mirrors the restrictions on rights that were in place during the state of emergency; examples include laws allowing provincial governors to ban public assemblies at their discretion and the governments' ability to dismiss public employees and confiscate their passports.
Forest Fire in Dersim Taken Under Control "Forest fires that broke out in Aliboğazı, Dersim and lasted two weeks has been put down by efforts of volunteers."
Will Turkey delay the Canal Istanbul project? Serkan Demirtas theorizes that Finance Minister Albayrak's announcement that the government could delay some major projects in order to cut spending may have been directed at the Canal Istanbul project, which is estimated to cost a minimum of fifteen billion dollars. He says that considering the extreme environmental risks this project entails, cancelling it would be the most rational move.
Turkey: No country for Kurdish newspapers The difficulties of publishing Kurdish language media in Turkey are examined through the story of the country's first Kurdish language newspaper, Welat, which was founded in 1992 and shut down by emergency decree in July of this year.
Turks feel the brunt of Islamophobia in Austria With laws and rhetoric targeting Muslims, the far-right coalition government in Austria has created an environment of Islamophobia that has been particularly harsh on the country's Turkish residents. Turks in Austria have difficulty finding jobs regardless of their qualifications, are often refused housing, and are subjected to racist attacks. The Austrian government has also demanded that citizens of Turkish origin prove that they do not hold Turkish citizenship, or risk losing their Austrian citizenship.
Turkey removes travel ban for German journalist Mesale Tolu German journalist Mesale Tolu is now free to leave the country, although the trial against her on terrorism related charges will continue. The travel ban on her husband, Suat Corlu, remains in place.
Turkey to receive Russian S-400 missiles in 2019 Russia's S-400 anti-ballistic missile defense systems will be delivered to Turkey in 2019, the purchase of which will be paid for in local currencies.
Is it OK for the West if there is a coup in Turkey? Writing on the Greek Council of State's granting of asylum to one of the eight Turkish officers accused of participating in the coup attempt, Murat Yetkin writes that the West has turned a blind eye to Turkey's previous coups as well, suggesting that it is OK with coups in Turkey as long as they serve its military interests.
'UK committed to reaching free trade deal with Turkey' ""There are clearly opportunities to continue and strengthen our trading relationship as we look to the future, once the U.K. has left the EU and established an independent trade policy," Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, told Anadolu Agency."
Culture and History
Turkey’s Colorful Carpet Fields Bask in Summer Sun An essay on traditional carpet making in Antalya, in which rugs are placed out in the sun so that their vivid dyes fade to the more muted tones that are preferred by most customers.
Gazoz, Turkey's eclectic national drink, recaptures its old fizz A history of Gazoz-a drink that vies with Raki or Ayran in terms of cultural significance. First produced during Ottoman times, the drink has a different flavor for every city in which it is produced, and has experienced a recent surge in popularity.
Borçlarını ödeyemeyecek şirket sayısı 400’e ulaştı Economy writer Bahadır Özgür has said that the number of companies in Turkey that are unable to pay their debts has reached four hundred, with several more in line. Özgür adds that the coming US sanctions on Iran will have further negative effects on Turkey's economy, and warns that while China may offer assistance in terms of credit, its primary goal is always to open up new markets for its own products.
Eski Dünya Bankası Baş Ekonomisti Prof. van Winjbergen: Türkiye en sonunda IMF'ye gidecek Economist Dr. Sweder van Wijnbergen predicts that Turkey will be forced to turn to the IMF as a last resort out of economic crisis, comparing its situation to that of populist Latin American countries during the 80s.
Beyaz Başörtüsü ve Ötesi: Kayıp Yakınlarının Gücü The protest methods of mothers and relatives whose loved ones disappeared at the hands of the state in Argentina and Chile diffused to Turkey in the 1990s. Since 27 May 1995, the "Saturday Mothers" have held a weekly sit-in in front of Galatasaray Highschool, in Istanbul, demanding to know the whereabouts of family members who disappeared during Turkey's campaign against the PKK.
Kokular, fotoğraflar, sesler ve mezarlarımız For the Saturday Mothers, all that remains of their lost sons are memories of their smell and voices, along with their photographs. Some have died before ever learning what happened to their loved ones.
Katliama 'kan parası' gölgesi Two years have passed since the ISIS bombing of a wedding party in Gaziantep that killed fifty-six. In the name of security, the trial of the accused bombers has been moved to Kayseri, making it difficult for victims and/or their families to attend. Moreover, government payments to victims, officially referred to as compensation for terrorism but perceived by some as "blood money," has further dampened some families' resolve to pursue the case.
Şehir Sineması AVM’lere direniyor The growing presence of malls with large movie theatres in Diyarbakir has meant that an independent theatre called Şehir Sineması is the only one left showing films that reflect the local culture.
Sağlıkçılar İsyanda! Derya Meryem interviewed Dr. Mehmet Şerif Demir on the prevalence of violence against healthcare workers in Turkish hospitals. Citing statistics that every day thirty healthcare workers in Turkey are subjected to abuse (with one third of these cases involving physical violence), Dr. Şerif Demir says that one reason behind this is the customer-employee relationship that has been created between patients and staff, which can lead to patients attacking healthcare workers if their expectations are not met.
Makam aracı yok, maaşı işçiden az Ovacik district's communist mayor, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, told Sözcü's Saygı Öztürk that alongside the district's current agricultural cooperatives, he would like to increase tourism, which has already reached one hundred thousand visitors a year.
Erdoğan anti-emperyalistse Perinçek mehdidir! Mahmut Üstün writes that Turkey became integrated into an America-centered foreign policy after the Second World War, even becoming the "most-connected" country to imperialism. However, he says that this does not mean Turkey's relations with the United States were always tranquil, noting that even the most pro-American prime minister, Menderes, clashed with the United States during the end of his term. He notes that while Turkey may have some red lines in terms of foreign policy, such as Cyprus or the Kurdish issue, that does not make it any less compatible with the United States or imperialism overall. This conclusion applies to the current government as well, despite the AKP cloaking their current spat with the United States in anti-imperialist rhetoric.
Gazeteci Özuğurlu: Türkiye Afrin’den çıkacak, Kürtler geri gelecek Journalist Musa Özuğurlu says that the rebels currently living in Idlib have three options after Assad takes back control of the city: flee to Turkey, surrender, or die. He weighs the first option as being the most likely. He also predicts that the Kurds will sign an agreement with the Syrian government, which will eventually lead to Turkey's withdrawal from Afrin.
Culture and History
Mem Ararat’tan bir şehrin hayaline serenat: ‘Söz bitmedi An interview with Kurdish musician Mem Ararat, in which he speaks on his migratory youth and having to change schools four times; the publication of his first Kurdish language poem, Wenda, at the age of fifteen; and the politicization (and attempted elimination) of the Kurdish language, which he believes only served to strengthen people's attachment to it.