[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.]
The Situation in Idlib
Turkey grows erratic as clashes in Idlib escalate. According to columnist Cengiz Çandar, the casualties suffered by Turkey in Syria have led the country to act more and more irrationally. “Nowadays, panic is prevailing in Turkish leadership,” he argues.
Ankara shifts gears to cease-fire in Syria. Amberin Zaman writes that “Turkey's tone has softened on its military confrontation with Syria.”
Assad regime has become primary threat for Turkey. “Turkey acted toward other threats in Turkey and Syria, even though the other states, even the superpowers, were against it; it will do the same to protect Turkish soldiers and Syrian civilians as well as its interests,” argues Merve Şebnem Oruç.
‘It’s Like the End of the World.’ “Hidden behind the hills of the Turkish border crossing at Reyhanli, a humanitarian calamity is unfolding on the Syrian side,” writes New York Times’ Carlotta Gall, reporting from the border town.
Why is the European Parliament a mere spectator in the Idlib tragedy? “The European Parliament must end this double standard and stand by the people when it comes to human rights, no matter what ethnicity or religion they belong to,” writes Ozan Ceyhun, arguing that the European Union treats Kurds and Arabs differently.
Idlib: The Repercussions on Turkey’s Relations
What is behind the newfound love of the US for Erdoğan? “The U.S. support for Turkey amid attacks from the Syrian regime came as something of a surprise. The reason for this is that while Washington is unlikely to intervene further in the Syrian theatre, it is likely to use Turkey to carry out its objectives,” writes Fehim Taştekin.
Idlib marks last chance for the US. “The Idlib crisis may be the last chance for the U.S. to normalize its relations again with Turkey, which it has pushed toward Russia. That would mean Washington seriously losing its influence and claim not only in Syria but the Eastern Mediterranean in general,” argues Melih Altınok.
Turkish MPs make Washington charm offensive as Ankara-Moscow ties strain. A Turkish delegation is in Washington to find a way forward for US-Turkish relations, reports Laura Rozen.
U.S. chooses to fall into Erdoğan's trap in Syria's Idlib. “Statements by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, followed by a rapid visit to Ankara by US Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey, make it clear that international politics is sadly being overshadowed by folly. [This rhetoric is] based on the premise that the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil was legitimate, a ridiculous position,” argues Yavuz Baydar.
Turkey faces potential Russian blowback on Syria — and tomatoes are only the beginning. “Turkish soldiers in Idlib are ever more vulnerable to regime attacks, hundreds of thousands of people are camped out on Turkey’s border in subzero conditions, and tomato producers in Antalya are pushing for this all to be over, fast,” writes Gönül Tol.
Turkish court acquits dismissed Kurdish mayor Ahmet Türk Kurdish politicians Ahmet Türk, dismissed mayor of the southeastern Mardin province, and Necla Yıldırım, former mayor of Mardin’s Mazıdağı district, who faced charges of terrorist propaganda, have been acquitted.
Renowned Turkish novelist Asli Erdoğan acquitted in 'terror' trial. A Turkish court has acquitted renowned novelist Aslı Erdoğan on charges of membership of an armed terror organization.
Legal Cases: Gezi Trial
Courthouse Controversies in Turkey: The Gezi Trial Merve Tahiroğlu writes on the Gezi trial, just before its last hearing. “Besides the lack of any legal basis whatsoever for the prosecution, the trial itself has been a charade, tainted by myriad courthouse controversies.”
What happened in Gezi did not stay in Gezi. “Turkey is still divided by the Gezi protests,” writes Nevşin Mengü. “Some see the protests as a struggle for freedom that had never happened before in Turkey and remember it with pride, while others detest the memory of the protests.”
Turkey orders continued detention of philanthropist Kavala following acquittal. “A Turkish court has acquitted philanthropist Osman Kavala and eight others of seeking to overthrow the government, but Istanbul’s chief prosecutor has ordered his continued detention on charges stemming from a separate case also pertaining to his supposed involvement in the failed 2016 coup,” Amberin Zaman reports.
“Gülen’s Political Leg”
Debate over Gülenists’ infiltration leaves Erdoğan isolated. “I believe Kılıçdaroğlu’s speech relieved several members of the AKP that have taken critical positions on the matter. Amid falling approval ratings, that leaves Erdoğan all the more isolated,” writes Özlem Akarsu Çelik, commenting on the main opposition leader accusing President Erdoğan of having been the “political leg” of the Gülenist movement.
‘Mujahid’ Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. “The opposition in general and especially the CHP have to rethink the assumption that Islamism is the power that keeps AKP alive,” writes İrfan Aktan, arguing that the opposition should find a way to both reach out to the conservative camp and not alienate its base.
The Situation in Idlib
Suriye’de nereye? Taha Akyol evaluates the developments in Idlib, looking at the chances for an agreement and arguing that Idlib represents a long-term threat for Turkey due to the presence of thousands of members of “groups that also Turkey considers as terrorists.”
İdlib karmaşasını doğru anlamak. Looking back at Turkey’s Syrian strategy, “progressing successfully since August 2016,” Hasan Basri Yalçın argues that observers should “keep calm and understand the basics” of it.
Idlib: The Repercussions on Turkey’s Relations
Rusya ile de papaz olduk! “Those in power finally managed to fall off with Russia,” comments Emin Çölaşan, noting that “not a single country is on Turkey’s side when it comes to Syria.”
ABD heyetinin Türkiye temasları Hande Fırat spoke with US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey, who recently visited Ankara. “Cooperation with Moscow is not sustainable in the long run. Tension will increase further,” he told the journalist, commenting on Russia’s and Turkey’s position on Syria and Libya.
Süper güçlerin arasında sıkıştık! “On the one hand Russia, on the other hand, the U.S. We are squeezed in between superpowers,” argues Rahmi Turan, writing that both countries act as friends of Turkey, but they cannot be trusted.
The Gezi Trial
Hepimiz bugün neredeyiz? “Turkey is a very fertile ground for terrorist organizations,” writes Ayşenur Arslan, commenting on the charges against the defendants in the “Gezi trial,” accused of plotting to overthrow the government. “We will be all announced as a member of Turkey’s largest terrorist groups,” she argues, referring to solidarity messages that have been spreading on social media in the eve of the trial’s last hearing.
Türkiye’den geldiğimi duyunca Kavala’yı soruyorlar. “In these days, there are a few fixed question I am asked,” writes Murat Yetkin, arguing that if it is “quite normal” for people abroad to wonder about Turkey’s position on Syria and Libya, he is also often asked “about the situation of Osman Kavala, about human rights in Turkey, and the prosecution of the civil society and of journalist and writers.”
Osman Kavala ve adalete olan inanç. “If we want the rule of law for this country and the judicial system to be trusted, today all those accused should be declared not guilty,” argues Nagehan Alçı.
Türk yargısına bir soru. Hilal Kaplan criticizes the Turkish justice system for acquitting the defendants in the Gezi trial, and asks whether there is no legal consequence for “an event that paralysed the country for over two weeks, and caused damages for billions of lira together with its side effects.”
Tek yol hukuk. Taha Akyol writes that the case of Osman Kavala, acquitted but still detained on charges stemming from a separate case, is just an example of a bigger problem. “Let’s remember: ‘We’ came and crushed you, ‘you’ came and crushed us. This chain of lawlessness continues. It doesn’t matter if the name of the guardian is ‘revolution’ or ‘trial’.”
“Gülen’s Political Leg”
CHP'nin işi gücü FETÖ ile mücadeleyi sulandırmak. Commenting on the ongoing polemics about who is the “political leg” of the Gülenist movement, Hilal Kaplan writes on President Erdoğan’s answer to the opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu.
Rahmi Turan: Artık cılkı çıktı! “Saying that ‘Kılıçdaroğlu and his team are the political leg of the Gülenist movement’ is nothing more than an empty claim,” writes Rahmi Turan.
Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan’ın söyledikleri sonrasında FETÖ’nün siyasi ayağı kokmaya başladı. Mehmet Barlas writes that “the only thing to say is that ‘after President Erdoğan’s statement the Gülenist feet (FETÖ’nün siyasi ayağı) started to stink’”.
FETÖ ile mücadele için. Mustafa Balbay argues that, instead of attacking each other, all parties should stand side by side in the fight against the Gülenist movement.
Güme gitti siyasi ayak. Accusations exchanged between the members of the governing party and the main opposition “caused a lot of relief for the crypto-Gülenists in the political system,” writes Ahmet Akan.
Presidential System? Parliamentary System?
"Türkiye için değişim başlıyor, parlamenter sisteme dönüş için çalışılıyor" Murat Sabuncu writes that there is a certain degree of discontent in the AK Parti. The columnist also spoke to analysts in Ankara on the possibility for Turkey to revert to a parliamentary system.
Abdullah Gül: Parlamenter sisteme dönmek şart. “Returning to a parliamentary system is essential,” former president Abdullah Gül stated in a long interview he granted to the newspaper Karar.
Published on Jadaliyya
Ayşe Parla, Precarious Hope: Migration and the Limits of Belonging in Turkey (New Texts Out Now)
Camila Pastor, The Mexican Mahjar: Transnational Maronites, Jews, and Arabs under the French Mandate (New Texts Out Now)
Urban Transformation and Resistance in Tarlabaşı: The Politics of a Delayed Construction Project in Istanbul
Judith E. Tucker, ed., The Making of the Modern Mediterranean: Views from the South (New Texts Out Now)