[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.]
Turkey's Syria Policies
Turkey connecting Syria's al-Bab to its power supply The city council of al-Bab has accepted an offer from the State Electricity Generating Company, affiliated with Turkey's ministry of energy, for the latter to provide electricity to the city and surrounding areas. Fees would be paid directly to Turkey's state electric company, at the same rate as Turkish citizens. The city of Azaz has also signed a contract with Turkish firm Akenerji to build a power plant there.
Turkey concerned of spillover effects of large-scale Idlib operation Serkan Demirtaş writes that the impending military operation in Idlib is Turkey's second biggest priority, after the economy. Turkey's concerns are twofold: one is the risk of a humanitarian disaster that would not only cause a massive loss of life, but also drive a new wave of refugees into Turkey. The other is spillover from the operation, which may throw the entire region into conflict.
Turkey designates Syria's Tahrir al-Sham as terrorist group Turkey has designated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist group by presidential decree. The group contained members of the group formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, which had already been designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara.
White Helmets return to Afrin to mixed reception Afrin residents have mixed feelings about the White Helmet's returning to Afrin with the goal of rebuilding the city, with some viewing it as legitimizing Turkey's occupation of the area. The group had been banned from the city under YPG rule due to its alleged links with a rebel group that had kidnapped three hundred Kurds. A representative of the Syrian Demographic Council has also said that the approximately 140 White Helmet members who moved into Afrin with their families contribute to demographic change in the city, and that the White Helmets should limit their focus to humanitarian issues, rather than involve themselves in politics.
Campaigners slam Turkey's 'shameless' ban on decades-old mothers' vigil The ban and subsequent dispersal by riot police of the seven hundredth week of the Saturday Mother's vigil has been condemned by opposition politicians and rights groups, with Human Right's Watch's Turkey representative describing it as "shameless and provocative." The weekly vigil, which began in 1995, was stopped between 1999 and 2009 as part of a government crackdown, but had continued uninterrupted since then.
The Saturday Mothers: An “example of unity in Turkey” The primary aims of the Saturday Mother's vigil is to recover the bodies of those who disappeared during the 80s and 90s, and to hold those responsible to account, including in cases where bodies have been found. There are eight hundred confirmed missing persons cases in Turkey, according to the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD). Ahmet Külsoy writes that the Saturday Mothers is a platform that gives a voice to the families of the missing, quoting an IHD representative who says that the Saturday Mother's message is one of humanity, that should bring people together despite political differences.
Turkish riot police again stop 'Saturday Mothers' vigil for disappeared activists Police once again intervened to stop the 701st week of the Saturday Mother's vigil, after having already done so the previous week.
At least 30 taken to hospitals over suspicions of anthrax in İstanbul Following reports of anthrax in Ankara and Sivas, thirty people were reported to have been infected in Istanbul. The outbreak is linked to contaminated cattle that were sold by a farm in Silivri for the Eid sacrifice.
Turkey’s last Armenian village honors long-ago stand Vakifli, located in Hatay province, is the last Armenian village remaining in Turkey. Each August, the village celebrates the Assumption of Mary, which is both a religious ceremony as well as a commemoration of their ancestors' exile on Mount Moses to escape the violence of the Armenian genocide, during which a small group of Armenians managed to fend off four thousand Turkish troops for fifty-three days.
Vigil held for trans woman killed outside her front door in Istanbul Vigils have been held across Turkey for Esra Ateş, a transwoman living in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, who was robbed and murdered outside her house. While her murdered has been arrested, the killer of another transwoman in Bursa who was burnt to death a few days earlier has not been found.
Turkey: Paid military service attracts 450,000 people "By paying 15,000 Turkish liras ($2,290) Turkish citizens will complete military service in just 21 days"
Rethinking Erdogan’s “Hostage Diplomacy” Nicholas Danforth writes that many of the foreign prisoners in Turkey whose detention is now being used to extract concessions from their home governments were likely not arrested for that purpose originally. Rather, the Turkish government may have been sincere in arresting them for involvement in perceived foreign plots, and then later used them as leverage. However, Danforth writes that "in taking and holding prisoners to combat the West’s presumed hostility, Ankara ends up creating the kind of hostility it imagines".
Turkey, Netherlands to appoint ambassadors soon: Turkish FM "Turkey and the Netherlands have decided to reinstate ambassadors as soon as possible as part of a decision to normalize relations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Aug. 31."
The Myth of Erdogan’s Power Halil Karaveli writes that right-wing political elites in Turkey, including the MHP, are likely to oppose Ankara's turning away from the United States towards Russia. This is due to a long-standing hostility towards Russia stemming from the historical animosity between the Russian and Ottoman empires. Alongside having formed an alliance with the AKP that has allowed the latter to retain its parliamentary majority, the MHP is deeply entrenched in the government structure, meaning that Erdoğan is beholden to nationalists' interests if he wishes to remain in power.
Turkish businessman accused of ‘building villa on top of another building’ The former president of Diyarbakırspor football club is under scrutiny after building an entire villa on top of the roof of an office building. Although the structure has been standing since 2002, it only recently gained attention on social media after he began adding extensions to villa.
Bir zamanlar Anadolu’da… Ilhan Cihaner writes of the moment during an investigation that he launched twenty years ago as Idil's public prosecutor, when the relatives of Ramazan Yazıcı were finally able to identify his body, which had been buried as unidentified after his murder. The same gun that had been used to kill Yazıcı had also been used in the murder of two other people, Fahriye and Mahmut Mordeniz, who had also originally been buried as unidentified without a formal investigation. Cihaner writes that there are many other cases such as these, some with bodies that have still not even had the chance to be identified, whose relatives have been seeking justice for the past seven hundred weeks.
Emine Ocak, Hrant Dink, Tahir Elçi, buradayız! Ülkü Doğanay presents a series of photographs intended to counter the state's narrative that the relatives of the Saturday Mothers are "not lost, but terrorist supporters." The first shows Emine Ocak as she was taken into custody for the first time in 1997, while she was protesting for justice for her son Hasan Ocak, who had been strangled while in police custody. The second is a photo of Emine Ocak being arrested once again, this time taken last week during the police intervention into the seven hundredth week of the Saturday Mothers' sit-in. The third is a photo of Members of Parliament Huda Kaya, Garo Paylan, and Ahmet Şık, as they attempted to prevent Arat Dink from being taken into custody.
Siyasal yangın Ayşe Yıldırım writes that in normal circumstances, a week-long forest fire would attract attention both all over Turkey and worldwide. However, the forest fires in Dersim attracted very little, because no one wanted to get involved with an issue seen as overly "political." This includes Greenpeace, who has not made a statement on the fires despite requests for them to do so. After the fires began again after being put out by volunteers, the HDP attempted to send a delegation to investigate, which was refused by the government on the grounds of "disturbing the peace."
Bir vatana ihanet hikâyesi: Telekom soygunu Three years ago, fifty-five percent of Turk Telekom's shares were sold to Oger Telecom, owned by Saudi Arabia and the Hariri family, for two million dollars in cash and 6.5 million as debt. An agreement was signed that for twenty-one years, Oger would own Turk Telekom's telecommunication's networks and equipment, after which these would be returned to the Turkish state. However, in the name of "paying dividends," Oger sold off most of Turk Telekom's infrastructure, alongside firing almost half its staff. Moreover, it only paid two million of the 6.5 million dollar loan, leaving the rest as bad credit. Fatih Yaşlı cites this as one of the biggest robberies in history, and says it serves as a good example of the dangers of privatization.
115 çocuğa cinsel istismarı ortaya çıkaran Nergiz’den başhekim yardımcısına mobbing davası İclal Nergiz, a whistleblower who alerted the public to the 115 pregnant minors who had been treated at an Istanbul hospital without hospital authorities reporting their presence, has opened a harassment case against the head of the hospital. Although the harassment began before she reported the pregnant minors, she says it increased in intensity afterwards, leading her to take legal action.
Ardı Ardına Yaşanan Zehirlenmelerin Nedeni İthal Et Mi? Nazlı Eda Pıyade spoke with animal rights activist Zülal Kalkandelen on the outbreak of anthrax in Ankara originating in cows imported from Brazil. Brazilian activists had already protested the filthy and inhumane conditions in which cows were shipped from Brazil to Turkey, leading to a 460,000 dollar fine on the exporter. However, the exporter still set out for Turkey, and court orders to stop it went unheeded by politicians, thus allowing the shipment to reach Turkey. Turkey's imports of meat have risen sharply in recent years, with a 142 percent increase in the first three months of 2018. However, policies aimed at cheap, rather than healthy, meat are harmful to animals and people alike, and could be behind recent large-scale cases of food poisoning.
Üniversite yerleştirme sonuçları: En başarılı sosyal bilimler, en başarısız imam hatipler Students at social science high schools were most successful in their university placement exams, with a sixty-four percent success rate, while Imam Hatip high schools were the least successful, with a 15.8 percent success rate.
MHP, Çakıcı'ya da af getirecek teklif için nabız yokluyor; siyasi partiler ne düşünüyor? T24 examines political parties' positions on the MHP's request to grant amnesty to Alaattin Çakıcı. Hülya Karabağlı writes that despite the MHP's promises to do so, it remains a red line for many opposition parties. The CHP, HDP, IYI Party, Saadet Party, and Democrat Party all released statements saying that they could not say anything for sure as long as there was not a concrete request, but hinting that they would oppose it.
İçişleri Bakanlığı, Lisa Çalan'a tazminat ödeyecek Lisa Çalan has won a lawsuit against the Interior Ministry lawsuit for 1.356 million, after a Diyarbakir district court ruled in her favor despite the Interior Ministry's request that it be dismissed on the grounds of "unjustified enrichment". The lawsuit stated that the ministry was at fault for the insufficient security measures taken at the 7 June 2015 HDP meeting, which led to Lisa losing both legs after ISIS bombed the meeting.
Mülteci Yolculuklar (1) Aynı Yerdeydik Ama Aynı Gemide Değildik Fidan Kanlıbaş writes the saga of her transition from working with refugees in Hakkari, to having to flee Turkey on a smuggler's boat as a refugee herself. She describes the strangeness of being in the same boat as a group of Gulenists who had also fled, saying that the people who had been in part responsible for her own persecution were now fleeing themselves; her encounter with a child staying at the same Greek camp as her who recognized her from her days as a refugee support worker in Hakkari; and the fact that in her new country of refuge, Northern European pretensions to equality and democracy only apply to citizens.
Yalancı bahar mı ikinci bahar mı? Aslı Aydıntaşbaş writes that the crisis between Turkey and the United States has led to a renewed warming up to the European Union in Ankara. She says that while it is likely this is happening only due to a desire to show Trump that Turkey has other options, it is still a positive development. However, she cautions against being overly optimistic, citing the need for serious democratic reforms if the EU accession process is to be reopened. She also underlines the fact that while there are still reasonable officials in government who want to support this rapprochement, there are others who may try to prevent it in the name of a more isolationist foreign policy.
27 saat boyunca İdlib'de rehin tutulan TRT World ekibi Türkiye'ye döndü Three TRT World reporters were held hostage by an armed group for twenty-seven hours after they arrived in Idlib to do a report on civilians there.
Culture and History
Kağıt sıkıntısının tarihi: Sağ siyasetin sansür aracı Can Kaya writes that the rising price of paper caused by this year's currency crisis is putting particular pressure on opposition or left-wing publishers. However, he says that this is not a new phenomenon, and that paper monopolies have been used as a form of censorship for years, citıng the examples of Prime Ministers Menderes and Özal. Menderes' rather liberal stance towards the press began to change in the mid-1950s, with newspapers being banned from reporting on several topics. One tactic used by Menderes was the state's hold on paper monopolies. The paper that was distributed to opposition newspapers was often decreased, or sold at higher prices, forcing several to shut down or decrease operations. Turgut Özal also used paper prices to control the press, ordering price hikes on paper whenever relations with the press were rocky. State advertisements were also used by both prime ministers to punish opposition newspapers, through increasing the share of advertisements in newspapers with favorable coverage, or preventing state-run companies from advertising in certain newspapers.
Lezbiyenliğin tiyatrodaki yeri ve Çıkmaz Sokak Emre Yüksel writes that in late Ottoman Turkey, lesbianism was seen as fairly "harmless" by mainstream society, making it easier for writers to include it in their works. Çıkmaz Sokak ("Dead End" in English), written in 1911 by Şahabeddin Süleyman, was the first piece of theatre written about a female same-sex relationship. It tells the story of two neighbors who fall in love with each other after not being satisfied by their relations with their husbands. Yüksel says that this work is an accurate reflection of Ottoman attitudes towards sexuality at the time, which saw sex as something that could only be experienced with a male organ. Thus, lesbianism did not have the ability to stain ones' honor, and was seen as a refuge for those who could not experience sexuality with a men. However, while in this sense Çıkmaz Sokak was not a feminist work, it was still so negatively received that it was never actually performed. Yüksel concludes by saying that the lack of pieces about lesbians in modern theater means that it might be time to take another look at Çıkmaz Sokak.