[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
Turkish-backed factions seize more than 75% of olive farms and receive the price of the first season in advance The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented numerous cases of theft and property seizure by Turkish-backed FSA factions in Afrin. These include the seizure of olive farms, raiding warehouses, raising false accusations against civilians in order to scare them into giving up their property, and kidnapping people for ransoms of up to ten million Syrian pounds. The SOHR reports that many of these abuses happen every day after midnight, which is when all security apparatuses retire from the city. The Turkish security forces have remained largely silent on the matter.
Turkey's Erdogan vows to impose secure zones east of Euphrates in Syria Erdoğan has threatened to establish “safe zones” east of the Euphrates, similar to what has already been done in Afrin and the surrounding regions. He has also warned of the possibility of military operations stretching into Northern Iraq.
Idlib buffer zone: Pro-Turkey Syrian rebels refuse to disarm The National Liberation Front has announced its "full cooperation with our Turkish ally" regarding the demilitarized zone surrounding Idlib that was brought about through negotiations between Turkey and Russia. However, a small militant faction has rejected the plan, urging rebels to launch new military action, while Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has not yet issued a statement.
Turkey extends flight ban to Sulaimaniyah Ankara has extended its flight ban to Sulaimaniyah in an apparent show of opposition to a politician from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's bid for the Iraqi presidency. Ankara has long been at odds with the PUK over suspicions of its support for the PKK, as well as its aid in cementing the partnership between American forces and the YPG. However, analysts say that Turkey has little influence over the Iraqi political process.
Think tank: Iraq blocks on-leave Turkish soldiers return to northern base In an effort to decrease the presence of Turkish soldiers in Iraq while keeping diplomatic tension with Ankara to a minimum, the Iraqi government has decided not to grant visas to Turkish soldiers returning on home leave from the Bashiqa base in northern Iraq, effectively barring them from re-entering the country.
Kurdistan Region and Turkey to open a new border crossing in Erbil A third border gate will be opened between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Turkey. The Zete border crossing will be situated between Hakkari and Erbil, in the town of Mergasor, and is expected to boost employment and trade in the region.
How Syrian artists are livening up Turkey’s art scene Artist collectives in Istanbul such as Arthere and Diyalog are aimed at bringing together Turkish and Syrian artists, and provide newcomers with the professional networks they may have lost upon fleeing their homeland. The also help in doing away with stereotypes of refugees as victims, highlighting their skills and ability to contribute to the production of culture within their host community.
Fleeing worsening war, Afghans find narrowing options in Turkey A profile of Afghan refugees in the city of Erzurum which highlights the precarity many face owing to a lack of options for regular employment, restrictions stemming from their asylum status, and drastically decreased resettlement options.
Turkish court bans three books on Kurdish history Turkey has banned three books on Kurdish history (The Kurdish National Movement by Chris Kutschera; Kurdistan and Kurd by Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou; and The uprising of the Kurds in 1880 by Jalil Jalile) which were published through Avesta Publishing House. The reason given for the ban was "“triggering hatred and hostility among the public with their content." A similar ban was issued for nine other Avesta books in May.
Turkey pushes ahead with plans for ‘world’s biggest airport’ despite arrests of workers protesting ‘prison’ conditions After several days of strikes and unrest over poor working conditions, which led to four hundred arrests, construction is continuing on Turkey's third airport, albeit under the supervision of security forces. At least thirty-eight workers have died since construction begun on the airport.
When Water Rises: A Journey Through Turkey’s Drowning Landscape A photo essay and article by Emin Özmen documenting the villages (and archaeological sites) in Turkey's southeast that were submerged after the implementation of the GAP project, which saw the construction of twenty-two dams across Southeastern Anatolia over the past forty-five years.
Turkey using 65 indigenous defense industry products: Erdoğan Speaking at Teknofest Istanbul, a four-day aerospace and technology festival, Erdogan said that Turkey was meeting sixty-five percent of its own defense needs, saying that Turkey would have faced enormous challenges in its military operations had it not reached this level.
Release of Berberoğlu and what Turkey really needs Murat Yetkin (in his final English article before his departure from the Hürriyet) writes on the release of CHP member of parliament Enis Berberoğlu from prison until the end of his term in parliament, after which he would serve out his five-year sentence. Berberoğlu was convicted for leaking material to the Cümhuriyet which showed evidence of MIT trucks delivering weapons to rebels in Syria. Yetkin says that judicial independence took a heavy blow after the 2016 coup attempt, and if Turkey wants to normalize its international relations, it should first normalize its judiciary.
Erdoğan: UNSC standing idle to oppressions in world An overview of Erdoğan's address to the seventy-third session of UN General Assembly, in which he called for reforms to the United Nations Security Council, repeating his mantra of "the world is bigger than five." He also touched on Palestine, Syrian refugees in Turkey, and Fetullah Gülen.
Turkey charges Austrian journalist Max Zirngast with terrorism Austrian journalist Max Zirngast was arrested at his home in Ankara and charged with being a member of the Turkish Communist Party, which is banned in Turkey. His arrest was related to his research on Marxist intellectual Hikmet Kivilcimli, which he said was for a university presentation, and previous articles that he had written which were critical of Erdoğan.
Pompeo Says U.S May Hold Talks With Turkey on Pastor This Week "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. may hold more talks with Turkey on a U.S. pastor the country is holding and he could be released this month."
Türkiye’de ders kitabı öğrenciye gönderilen şarbonlu mektuptur Ünal Özmen writes that the analysis of the Gezi Park protests found in one high school history text book, which portrays the participants as traitors revolting against the state, is an obvious proof that textbooks have become yet another branch of pro-government media. He writes that history textbooks are especially susceptible to this kind of revisionism, citing the United States as an example, adding that while teachers are unable to choose their textbooks, he at least hopes they will choose to explain the true versions of events.
‘Cumhur ittifakı’ sürecek mi? The AKP and MHP's deputy leaders reached an agreement to continue the alliance between the two parties. Abdulkadar Selvi writes that the alliance will likely stay in place until 2023, and for this reason, one should not assume that Erdoğan will write off the MHP's request for a prisoner amnesty.
Mega projede sessiz ölümler Banu Güven writes that despite the high number of worker deaths that occur during the construction of mega-projects such as the third Istanbul airport, it is difficult to find out exact information on how many deaths occurred, or even the causes or names of those that are recorded. Much of this is due to obfuscation by the authorities or airport management, alongside government pressure on unions and workers to remain silent about work-related deaths.
Berat ve Morî, kardeş ve kaderdaş The story of how a cat's life in Diyarbakir changed after the police started conducting regular raids on her owners' home. Beautifully written, the English summary does not really do it justice.
MHP af tekfinin detaylarını açıkladı The MHP has explained its request for a prison amnesty (or as they call it, "sentence reduction") to parliament. The proposed amnesty would bring a five-year reduction of prison sentences for crimes committed before 19 May 2018, with crimes against the state, terrorism charges, murder, sex crimes, and crimes against women and children excluded. If the proposal were to be accepted, almost 163,000 prisoners would benefit. However, it is widely presumed that one of the main goals of the amnesty is to secure Alaattin Çakıcı's release.
“Hükümet yerel seçim öncesi 80 bin kişiyi işe alacak” iddiası Allegations have surfaced that prior to the elections, Turkey's employment agency will hire up to eighty thousand temporary workers across sixteen provinces for positions primarily in cleaning and security jobs. While some of these provinces are AKP strongholds, others such as Tunceli are places where the AKP has never managed to attract votes. It is thought that promises of temporary public sector employment is a tactic similar to those used in previous elections, such as the distribution of aid packages before the 2007 elections, or the campaign of distributing domestic appliances to houses in Dersim before the 2009 elections.
Kırgızistan’daki fotoğrafın perde arkasını Odatv yazıyor During Erdoğan's visit to Kyrgyzstan, his son Bilal also accompanied him, and sat in on official meetings. The reason given for Bilal's presence was that he was the president of the World Ethnosport Confederation. However, the World Ethnosport Society has issued a strongly worded statement saying that they have no affiliation with such an organization, and that there is no evidence that it is even a legal entity,
Figen Yüksekdağ: Davutoğlu bize 'PYD ile ÖSO ittifak yapsın' dedi During her seventh hearing, former HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ alleged during her defense that in 2015, former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu proposed that the PYD work together with the FSA in order to topple Assad.
Culture and History
Türkiye'de emperyalizme direnen "Ada"yı biliyor musunuz Soner Yalçın traces the history of traditional Turkish music's struggle for survival. Traditional musicians, and the songs they created, were often associated with leftist political movements, and as a result, often found themselves in prison or their songs banned, with Western music being promoted at their expense. Yalçın cites exmples of this over the decades, from Ruhi Su being arrested in the 1950s for his association with the Turkish Communist Party; “Anadolu Pop” being banned by the TRT in the 1970s; and the arrests and exile of many “Anadolu Pop” musicians after the 1980 coup. Finally, the record company Ada Muzik (Island Music) was founded in 1986, aimed at providing an "island" for traditional musicians to take shelter.
Published on Jadaliyya
Turkey’s Nationalist Agenda for Seizing Cultural Hegemony
Başlangıç Kollektifinden Foti Benlisoy ile Seçimler Üzerine Bir Söyleşi
Jadaliyya's Turkey Page Co-Editor Ayça Çubukçu Discusses the Turkish Elections on BBC Arabic
Cyber Rallies and Google Ads: New Strategies of the Turkish Opposition Against Erdoğan
Turkey’s Back to the Future Opposition: Part One
Begüm Adalet, Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey (New Texts Out Now)
Solidarity with #SurHasankeyf2018
Call for International Academic Solidarity
Michael Provence, The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East (New Texts Out Now)