[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.]
15-member Saudi 'intel squad' sent to target WP's Khashoggi identified The Daily Sabah has published the names, ages, images, and arrival/departures details of the fifteen-man squad presumed to have been sent to target Khashoggi.
Apple Watch 'at heart of investigation' on missing Saudi journalist Khashoggi The Apple watch that Khashoggi was wearing when he entered the consulate may provide important clues regarding his disappearance, such as his location and heart rate, provided that it was close enough to the phone that he left outside to synchronize.
Saudis are said to have lain in wait for Jamal Khashoggi Before his disappearance, US intelligence officials had intercepted Saudi communications discussing the capture of Khashoggi. However, it is not clear what they intended to do with Khashoggi, or whether the United States had warned him.
Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Is Even Stranger Than It Seems Steven A. Cook writes that, while the version of events presented by Turkish officials may be true, they should still be taken with a grain of salt considering Turkey's bad track record with using disinformation for political ends. However, he adds that the Saudis should ask themselves why they often have even less credibility than Turkey does.
Missing Jamal Khashoggi no ordinary journalist - BBC Turkish A translated summary of a BBC Turkish article, in which interviews with friends and associates suggest that Khashoggi may have been targeted for more than his journalistic activities. Some cited Khashoggi's problems as beginning when Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal, who was later arrested by Saudi authorities during a “corruption” purge, appointed him as editor-in-chief of his news station. Friends say that had Khashoggi not already left the country, he too would have been arrested in the purge. Others cite his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood as arousing ire of the Saudi government, while still others point to his possible relationship with Saudi intelligence.
A brewing crisis with the Saudis Yusuf Kanlı writes that the fact that Turkish officials and a presidential advisor are leaking details that they consider evidence of Khashoggi's murder, and the fact that Erdoğan has hinted that he knows what happened, but refrained from speaking out until investigation is concluded, are all signs of a possible crisis between Riyadh and Ankara.
Please, President Trump, shed light on my fiance’s disappearance An open letter by Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi's fiancé, reminding readers of the human aspect of his disappearance, as well as imploring US officials to help the investigation.
Statement by Saudi Arabia About ‘Missing Journalist’ Saudi Arabia's initial statement on Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance: "The İstanbul General Consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia informs the public that it has been following the news about the citizen of Saudi Arabia Jamal Khashoggi, who got missing after leaving the consulate general building in İstanbul, and has been working in cooperation with the local Turkish authorities to discover the truths as to how Khashoggi got missing after leaving the building of the consulate."
Erdogan on Khashoggi vanishing: Upsetting this happens in Turkey Erdoğan's initial statement on Khashoggi's disappearance: "I am following the [issue] and we will inform the world whatever the outcome [of the official probe]...Godwilling, we will not be faced with a situation we do not want. I still am hopeful...it is very, very upsetting for us that it happened in our country."
Ankara Train Station Bombing Commemoration
Turkey marks third anniversary of deadly ISIL attack on Ankara train station "The ceremony was attended by the Confederation of Public Laborer’s Unions (KESK), Union of Architects and Engineers of Turkey (TMMOB), the Oct. 10 Peace and Solidarity Association and thousands of civilians. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers also attended the commemoration."
Those Who Lost Their Lives in October 10 Massacre Commemorated Overview of the commemoration at Ankara; at first, police would only allow those directly affected by the bombing to enter the commemoration, but relented after angry reactions from the crowd.
Turkey's Syria Policies
Diyanet flexes its muscles to back Erdogan’s soft power in Syria Pinar Tremblay writes that Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has evolved into an institution on par with Turkey's intelligence service, with whom it has close links, and is being used by Ankara for post-conflict stabilization in Syria. One aspect of this effort is Islamic education and training imams in the region. However, Ahmed Dicle, a native journalist, says that these teachings are "centered on a Sunni-Turkish synthesis with a heavy dose of anti-Kurdish teachings."
Afrin After the Turkish Invasion A report by Loubna Mrie outlining the ongoing human rights abuses in Afrin by the Free Syrian Army, which local sources say could not happen with the tacit consent of the Turkish government, as almost every FSA brigade has a Turkish supervisor. Sources suspect that the intention behind these human rights abuses is to push out the remaining Kurdish population of Afrin in order to enact demographic change in the region.
U.S. troops arrive Turkey for Syria joint patrol training "Turkey’s Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday the arrival of the first batch of U.S. military personnel who will take part in training for joint patrols in the northern Syrian town of Manbij."
Kurdish forces prepare for major showdown with Turkish troops in northeast Aleppo "According to local activists, the YPG was seen raising trenches and building new fortifications around western Manbij amid reports of a possible military operation by the Turkish Army."
Turkish troop convoy enters Syria rebel zone as Idlib agreement deadline nears A Turkish convoy of at least forty vehicles was seen entering northwestern Syria, carrying troops that are expected to be deployed at "observation posts" in parts of Idlib and Aleppo provinces as the deadline for establishing a demilitarized zone between rebel and government forces draws closer.
President Erdoğan instructs Turkish ministers to not receive advice from US firm McKinsey Ten days after the Treasury and Finance Ministry announced a deal with US consultancy firm McKinsey, President Erdoğan canceled the deal, saying "I've told all my minister friends. 'You will not receive consultancy service from them,' I said. There is no need for it. We are enough for ourselves."
Who prompted Erdoğan to cancel the McKinsey deal? Zülfikar Doğan writes speculates on the possible reasons behind Erdoğan's canceling of the McKinsey deal. Although Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli attempted to defend the deal, it was met with harsh criticism both from opposition parties and from officials inside the government, including the chief economic adviser. Doğan speculates that Erdoğan's realization that involving an American firm in Turkey's economy would be bad for his recently cultivated nationalist image caused him to cancel the deal.
Turkish gov’t launches plan against surging inflation The government's new plan for battling inflation, which reached twenty-five percent in September, involves the private sector cutting prices by ten percent across the board, a freeze on energy prices, a ten-percent discount on high-interest loans, and an acceleration of VAT rebates.
Erdoğan in Germany
Erdogan Gets Something for Nothing in Germany Bobby Ghosh writes that, while Erdoğan may not have gotten all that he wanted out of the meeting with Merkel, such as extraditions of Turkish citizens or visa-free travel, he did manage to secure several German diplomatic visits to Turkey in the future, as well as avoid overly harsh admonitions for his positions on human rights or economic reform. Ghosh writes that this is an indication that Germany needs Turkey, both for its role in stemming migration to Europe as well as creating a buffer zone near Idlib, more than Turkey needs Germany.
Turkey learns its limits in Germany Taking an opposite viewpoint to the above article, Yaşar Yakış writes that Erdoğan encountered several obstacles to his ambitions in Germany, including questions from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier over Turkey's human rights record during a dinner organized in Erdoğan's honor; the city of Cologne refusing to allow him to hold a major outdoor rally; and noncomittal answers from Merkel in regards to Gulenists, PKK supporters in Germany, and updating the Free Trade Agreement.
Erdoğan: If Those Involved in Terror Win in March Election, We Will Appoint Trustees Highlights from Erdoğan's speech in which he said that trustees will be appointed to municipalities who elect officials "who have gotten involved in terror" in the upcoming local elections. This has largely been interpreted as a threat to municipalities who elect HDP mayors.
Kurds Mount Deadliest Attack in Turkey in More Than a Year A roadside bomb attack in Batman launched by the PKK which killed seven Turkish soldiers is the deadliest attack launched by Kurdish militants in over a year.
Court rejects appeals against life sentences in Altans case The Second Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice has rejected the appeals against the aggravated life sentences given to Nazlı Ilıcak and the Altan brothers. The case will now go to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Curfew Declared for 332 Times in 3 Years "The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Documentation Center has determined that curfew was declared for at least 332 times in 11 provinces and at least 50 districts from August 16, 2015 to October 1, 2018."
Journalists, Politicians Taken into Custody Over one hundred people have been arrested in raids primarily based in Diyarbakir, including journalist Abdurrahman Gök, who took the photo of the moment student Kemal Kurkut was shot to death by police during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakir.
The intentions behind Turkey’s use of ‘mosque diplomacy’ Sinem Cengiz writes that Turkey's strategy of establishing mosques across a wide range of countries is a soft power instrument focused on strengthening ties with the Turkish diaspora, which numbers around six million people, and other Muslim communities. Cengiz says that backlash to this strategy by European countries will unnecessarily inflame tensions, and adds that using religion as a soft power tactic is common to many countries.
Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values The European Parliament has decided to cut seventy million euros in pre-accession funds to Turkey, citing a failure to make improvements in rule of law and fundamental rights. It has been proposed that the seventy million euros be transferred to the reinforcement of the European Neighbourhood Instrument.
Turkey, Netherlands agree to turn ‘new page’ in ties After two years of disputes, the Netherlands and Turkey have agreed to re-establish ties and increase cooperation in the economy and intelligence sharing.
Lockheed’s F-35 Has a Turkey Problem Robert Levinson writes that if the United States blocks the sale of F-35s to Turkey, Erdoğan could cut the flow of parts needed to manufacture the aircraft, many of which are only manufactured in Turkey. This could cause an extended production break, as it would take eighteen to twenty-four months to resource parts.
Germany seeks to ban Turkish 'Gray Wolves' far-right symbols Politicians in Germany and Austria are preparing legislation to ban symbols related to the Turkish ultranationalist “Grey Wolves,” include the wolf hand salute that is perhaps their most recognizable symbol.
Culture and History
Sinan Yıldırmaz on urban migration and the peasantry in Turkish politics Turkey Book Talk's podcast featuring Sinan Yıldırmaz of Istanbul University talking about the importance of urban migration in shaping Turkish politics, from the past up to today.
The Surprising Story of Eartha Kitt in Istanbul An essay by Hilal Iser on Eartha Kitt's visit to Istanbul as part of a traveling dance troupe when she was sixteen, where she learned the lyrics to “Üsküdar’a Gider İken” and recorded it as her first record, receiving abundant play on Ankara-based radio, and topping American charts after she recorded it for RCA.
Cemal Kaşıkçı ve Türkiye’nin itibarı Amberin Zaman writes that when considering the context of Turkey's recent activities (ordering security forces to attack protestors in Washington DC; arresting Gulenists abroad; being the location of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov's assassination in 2016), one can better understand why Saudi Arabia would consider Istanbul an ideal place to carry out an operation against Khashoggi. She writes that Erdoğan must now take action to prove that it is not the case that Turkey can be used as an arena for foreign despots to settle scores, as well as to save his prestige in the Muslim world.
Gazeteci cinayetinde yüzde 90 kesin bilgiler Ertegrul Özkök writes that there is a 99.5 percent chance that Khashoggi was murdered. He cites as evidence the fact that Khashoggi himself suspected a trap was being prepared after his appointment was rescheduled; the Saudis' excuse that security cameras were broken at the consulate and thus could not show him leaving; and the team of fifteen men that came from Saudi Arabia on the day of Khashoggi's appointment, which left that same night.
Kaşıkçı ve kan imparatorluğu Musa Özuğurlu writes that what happened to Khashoggi is the continuation of the brutality by which the Saudi dynasty has retained power since its inception.
Hedef Erdoğan Hüsnu Mahalli writes that Khashoggi was not Saudi Arabia's only target: they were also targeting Erdoğan and Arab expatriates in Turkey. Khashoggi's disappearance was a way for Saudi Arabia to exact revenge for Erdoğan's support for Qatar; to create an environment of fear amongst Muslim Brotherhood members in Istanbul; and demonstrate to Gulf Arabs in general that Istanbul is unsafe, thus potentially decreasing their desire to buy houses there or apply for Turkish citizenship. He also says that the same Wahhabist ideologies held by those who beheaded soldiers in Syria, which Khashoggi had voiced his support for, lead to the death of Khashoggi himself. Mahalli concludes by saying that while he often found Khashoggi's views repugnant, journalists should be free to write what they wish, and unequivocally condemned his murder.
Ankara Train Station Bombing Commemoration
10 Ekim anmaları: Adalet mücadelesi vereceğiz An overview of gatherings across Turkey to commemorate the third anniversary of the Ankara bombing. The commemoration in Ankara, which had been banned in previous years, encountered various obstacles but was finally allowed to go forward.
Kanlı iktidar oyunu: Türkiye tarihini değiştiren 10 Ekim katliamının anatomisi Kemal Göktaş outlines the various errors (and outright deceptions) committed by the government before and after the 10 October bombing. This includes ignoring several warnings of a possible attack, including one on 14 September that warned that ISIS was planning to set off a bomb in a crowded place or meeting area; the minimal police presence at the train station and the lack of body and automobile searches; the prosecution presenting various technical errors as excuses for why they could not examine 147 GB worth of digital evidence; and attempts to by state officials to implicate the PKK, DHKP-C, and/or HDP in the bombing, despite all evidence pointing to ISIS alone.
10 Ekim: Kurban yakınları adalet bekliyor An account of the Doğan family's search for justice after their son Güney was killed in the Ankara bombing. They say that court process has killed them a second time, owing to the fact that the nine officials who are suspected of negligence will not be prosecuted, nor will the police who sprayed pepper gas on the victims after the bombing.
Komiser Kinzi! Necatı Doğru compares the McKinsey decision with Abdülhamit II's 1881 creation of the Düyunu Umumiye, or Public Debt Administration, in order to monitor the Ottoman state's mass of foreign debts. Doğru asserts that in handing over control of the Empire's economy to foreign powers, the Düyunu Umumiye contributed to its fall. He says that after the 1950s, Turkey's foreign debts began ballooning once again, including during the past sixteen years of Erdoğan's administration. Doğru concludes by saying that the partnership with McKinsey will be Turkey's new economic "commissar," and will transmit demands from foreign powers to the state, who will carry them out in order for Turkey to receive foreign credit again,
Selin Sayek Böke 5 maddede McKinsey kararını değerlendirdi On Twitter, economist and CHP Member of Parliament Selin Sayek Böke shared a quick analysis of the McKinsey deal. She said it was a means of implementing an IMF program without mentioned the IMF's name, that state economic secrets would be delivered to an American company, that it marked a high point in the state's administration becoming cooperatized, and that an American company would be paid in dollars to manage the Turkish state.
Ekonomiye ‘şaibeli’ kayyum: McKinsey M. Ender Öndaş writes on McKinsey's long history of scandal, both in the West and in the developing world, starting with its involvement with Enron in 2000 (and its subsequent abandonment of the company after the latter was implicated in fraud) and its partnership with Eskom Holding, which was involved in a corruption scandal in South Africa, causing several multinational companies such as Coca-Cola to sever their ties with Mckinsey. Öndaş also points out that McKinsey is no stranger to Turkey—it has served as a consultant during various privatization initiatives in the past, including the privatization of energy firms and of Ziraat Bank and Halkbank, both in 2004.
CHP'den ittifak açıklaması: İYİ Parti ve HDP ile görüşeceğiz The CHP has explained that in the local elections, it would not be involved in a formal alliance. Rather, it said that an informal alliance made up of all opposition parties' bases was necessary, and that the CHP's base would do whatever possible to support the opposition parties that are powerful in a given region. Towards this end, the CHP says it is ready for meetings with both İYİ Party and HDP representatives.
Ermeni mezarlığı üzerine yapılan tuvaletler '60 gün içerisinde kaldırılacak' denmişti 1 yıl geçti kaldırılmadı One year ago, the trustee of Van's Edremit municipality had toilets, changing rooms, and a parking lot constructed over an Armenian cemetary. In response to international and domestic outcry, the Culture and Tourism minister at the time made a statement saying that the toilets and other construction would be removed from the area within sixty days. However, one year on, the toilets have not been removed from the area.
AKP'li Başkan'dan anket rüşveti: 475 bin liralık kahve aldı It has been revealed that at the same time as he was talking about a need for austerity in public spending, Çorum Mayor Zeki Gül spent 475,000 lira on boxes of coffee to be distributed to participants in a social demographic survey, which also happened to ask what participants thought of his performance.
Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu: Modelimiz Ovacık’la sınırlı kalmayacak Ovacık's "communist mayor" Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu spoke on the concrete benefits that his agricultural collective model has provided to the region, citing two hundred producers in Ovacık alone (up from around twenty in previous years), and the fact that money was now coming into the municipality rather than leaving it, with exports from Ovacık bringing in 2.5 million liras in surplus value last year. He adds that while he will not be campaigning to be the Mayor of Istanbul (an allegation which had been put forward previously), he aims to spread his collective model to other regions.
İş cinayetleri için de af istiyorlar The MHP's amnesty proposal will also include those convicted of workplace negligence resulting in death or injury. This includes the son of the Soma mine's CEO, who was sentenced to fifteen years for negligence leading to the death of 301 people, and would be released immediately if the amnesty was implemented. Several other ongoing court cases involving negligence could lead to those convicted receiving probation instead of prison time under the amnesty.
Kürt belediyelerine ya ‘itirafçı’ başkan ya da kayyım! Koray Düzgören writes that Devlet Bahçeli and President Erdoğan have no intention of letting go of the Kurdish municipalities in which they have replaced the elected officials with trustees. He writes that their plan to ensure that any new HDP mayors are replaced by trustees was clearly enunciated by Bahçeli, who said that large Kurdish tribes who are seen to be sympathetic to the government would be offered the opportunity to run the municipality, which is a similar tactic that was used in Ottoman times. However, it has also been implied that if these measures do not succeed in preventing an HDP win, trustees will once again be appointed to Kurdish municipalities.
Akşener'in evinin önündeki toplanmaya 15 gözaltı Fifteen members of a large group of MHP supporters who chanted slogans in front of Meral Akşener's house in the middle of the night have been arrested on charges of illegal protesting and making threats.
OHAL Komisyonu 36 bin başvurunun 33 binini reddetti Out of the thirty-six thousand applicants who had applied to the State of Emergency Commission to appeal their dismissals from work, organizations' closure, or other decisions made by emergency decree, thirty three thousand have been rejected. The majority of the appeals that were accepted (two thousand) were for public sector employees to return to their posts.
Alternatif kültürel alana müdahale An interview with Ramazan Subaşı on the draft regulations for the implementation of the Radio and Television Supreme Council's (RTÜK) regulation of internet-based radio and television programs, which was accepted into law in March. The draft regulation stipulates that internet based radio broadcasters (including podcast channels, such as those on Spotify) would have to pay a ten thousand lira licensing fee every ten years, while television broadcasters would have to purchase a one hundred thousand lira license every ten years. Video service providers, such as Netflix, would have to purchase a yearly license of one hundred thousand lira, as well as pay RTÜK .05 percent of their net sales. Subaşı says that this is likely to create a monopoly on internet broadcasting, similar to that which already exists for conventional media. It also encourages channels to auto-censor, as sanctions for violating broadcasting rules can include loss of license. It is not yet clear how individual Youtubers will be categorized.
İkiz gibi: Erdoğan ve Orban Mithat Fabian Sözmen writes on the similarities between Erdoğan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, with whom Erdoğan recently held a press conference. Some examples he cites are the fact that both have their political origins in right-wing, anti-communist movements; are skilled in playing to both Western liberals' and nationalists' sentiments when needed; both give financial favors to friends; and both have initiated constitutional changes which removed checks on their power.
'Türkiye, Pakistan'ın Afganistan'daki rolünü üstlendi' A summary of the proceedings of a symposium on ISIS's massacres and human rights violations. Academic Dr. İlhan Uzgel said that after the 1990s, with both Leftism and Arab nationalism on their last legs in the Middle East, the road was opened for political Islam, namely, a brand of political Islam dubbed "moderate", but which in reality was that which was friendly to the West, participated in elections, and approved of capitalism. Uzgel says that the project of moderate political Islam finished after 2013 with the arrival of ISIS and that ISIS's arrival legitimized other state's interventions in Syria, both from the West and the East. Journalist Fehim Taştekin compared Turkey's involvement with ISIS and other extremist groups with Pakistans' support for extremism in Afghanistan, citing the fact that both countries cannot control the extremist groups that they funded on the other side of the border.
Irak ve Suriye tezkeresi Meclis’te kabul edildi The AKP, MHP, IYI Party, and CHP have all voted in favor of extending the government's authority to carry out cross border operations in Iraq and Syria for another year, while the HDP voted against.
‘Kürtler o şansı kaybetti’ Ali Ergin Demirhan writes that in rejecting Russia's offer of negotiating with Syria for an autonomous Kurdish area and pinning their hopes for independence on an alliance with the United States, Syrian Kurds united Russia, Syria, and Turkey in the fear of an American-aligned Kurdish state, causing them to act together to prevent this from happening. As a result, he writes that this reduced Kurds to being a bargaining chip in the struggle between bigger powers, and that in the contradictions between the many imperialist rivalries in Syria, there is no one side for revolutionary forces.
Culture and History
Akademisyenler yanıtlıyor: Türkiye dışındaki Türkoloji çalışmaları ne durumda? As part of a T24 series on the state of Turkish Studies in universities outside of Turkey, several academics responded to T24's questions. Regarding the place of translated Turkish literature in Turkish studies, one Standford academic considered the past ten years to have witnessed a blossoming of excellent translations, while others considered some areas to still be lacking, such as biographies or literary criticism. In terms of the differences between Turkish Studies departments in Turkey and abroad, a Sabanci University academic said that departments in Turkey were more knowledgeable in terms of language and sources, while those abroad were better at comparative methods. As to the composition of their departments, American academics spoke to a sizeable population of non-Turkish students, while a German academic said that ninety-nine percent of his students were of Turkish origin.