[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.]
A New Agreement on Syria
Erdogan’s dance with Putin: Humiliating, but face-saving. “For anyone familiar with Putin’s penchant for symbolism in messaging his politics, the choreography of the Kremlin reception with Erdoğan looked very diligently planned to humiliate and impose on him a Syria deal on Russia’s terms,” writes Cengiz Çandar.
Turkey gets the results it wants. “Yesterday's meeting was a success for Turkish diplomacy, but the fact remains that Moscow and Ankara are pursuing rival interests in Syria,” argues Nagehan Alçı.
Erdoğan gov’t risks losing domestic support for Idlib. Can Selçuki observes that “the risk of losing Turkish soldiers is the chief concern by 47.1% among the Turkish public. If the heavy Turkish casualties continue to rise, the government might risk losing domestic support.”
How Turkey's soldiers and spies saved the day in Syria. “Turkey’s diplomatic position in Syria remains untenable, but its armed forces and spy agency did a pretty good job last week,” argues Barın Kayaoğlu.
Turkey, the Syrian Refugees, and the EU
What does Turkey's Erdoğan seek from the new migration crisis with Europe? Erdoğan’s aim in allowing refugees to mass at the border is threefold, writes Dimitar Bechev. “First, that would distract Turkish society’s attention away from the fighting in Idlib. Second, enlist support from major European states that would otherwise prefer to keep away from the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Syria. Third, and more long-term, extend the 2016 deal struck with EU for another period but tweak its terms to his maximum benefit.”
Traces of the Syrian war in Turkey. “We have been living with 4 million Syrians for five years and nothing is happening. Neither the political system has been overthrown nor has our country been weakened by their presence. Refugees should remind us of our responsibilities instead of reminding us of what we can lose in a selfish manner. This is the attitude we expect from the European public,” writes Meryem İlayda Atlas.
Erdogan’s refugee gambit. Aslı Aydıntaşbaş writes that “Ankara hopes that a new financial agreement with the European Union will promote a positive image of the economy and reverse the decline in support for the Justice and Development Party.”
The humanitarian crisis in Turkey shines a light on Europe’s failures. “Turkey was once on course to join the EU. The desperate refugees trapped on its border reflect a broken relationship,” writes Elif Shafak.
Turkey and the EU: The gap widens. “Turkey runs the risk of becoming a destination for illegal migration to Europe. These developments show that we need to coordinate our policies with the EU. The recent visits of Erdoğan show that it will not be easy,” Emre Gönen writes in the aftermath of Erdoğan’s visit to Brussels.
Why refugees are so desperate to leave Turkey. According to a report by the Turkish NGO İHD “unemployment, bad treatment and discrimination” are the main reason why refugees want to leave the country.
The Libyan Front
Libyan front looks bleak for Erdogan. “While struggling to achieve its objectives in Syria, Ankara has helped Damascus gain a new ally in the opponents of the forces Turkey is backing in Libya,” writes Fehim Taştekin.
A New Party: DEVA
Former Turkish minister establishes party to challenge Erdogan. Former economy czar Ali Babacan formally applied to set up a new political party, which has been on the make for a long time. Ayla Lean Yackley reports for al-Monitor.
Why women could not march on Women’s Day. “Taksim is the symbol of Istanbul. So the government wants to keep hold of the square. Both as a show of force and as a symbol,” writes Nevşin Mengü, explaining why—once again—women were stopped from reaching the heart of the city of Istanbul on Women’s Day.
Turkey’s women’s movement constitutes the main opposition. Despite attacks against it, “the women’s movement in Turkey continues to constitute the biggest barrier in front of the hegemony of both the main opposition and the government in the country,” writes İrfan Aktan.
Istanbul and Exiles
Exiles on the Bosphorus. “Cairo no longer is the Arab world’s cultural beacon, Istanbul is,” writes Mohanad Hage Ali, commenting that the city “has become a refuge for many Arab communities, but the city’s cosmopolitan ways are also changing them.”
A New Agreement on Syria
Moskova kararları: 4 harita 1 heykel. “The government has raised the bar so much in the eve of the Moscow summit that one cannot help but ask ‘What happened now?’,” writes Deniz Zeyrek, commenting on the outcomes of the meeting on Syria.
Mutabakat tamam, yeter ki uygulansın. Sami Kohen argues that the most important part of the deal between Russia and Turkey is the consensus on a ceasefire, adding that the reaction of radical groups on the ground is cause for concern.
Erdoğan’ın kritik Moskova seyahati. “Western countries should support Ankara’s policies for the future of Syria and the civilians in Idlib,” argues Burhanettin Duran.
Open Borders and Refugees
Suriyeli Sığınmacıların Trajedisi. “It is enough to look into the eyes of the child refugees struggling in the water, to the bodies washed up on the shores, to understand how this problem affects the whole humanity. What we feel is a test of our humanity,” argues Hüseyin Şengül.
Dün öyleydi bugün de böyle politikası. In her column on Karar, Elif Çakır highlights how different the “humanitarian open border policy” that Turkey announced in 2011 is from today’s decision to open the border for the refugees to cross.
The Opposition and Turkey’s Role in Syria
Ne istiyor bu muhalefet? Doubling down on a topic that lately has been widely discussed in pro-government media, Hasan Basri Yalçın criticize the Turkish opposition for its condemnation of the Turkish role in Syria. The columnist argues that the country is “exposed to ‘operations’” on all fronts and that if “it is normal to expect them from other actors, it is very sad to be hit from the inside.”
Suriye... Rusya, ABD... CHP’nin ‘davetkar tutumu!’ On a similar note, Okan Müderrisoğlu writes that the “Syrian Fatigue Virus” might “paralyse Turkish national immune system.”
Gelecek Partisi Sözcüsü Temurci: Yeni ittifaklar çıkabilir. Selim Temurci, spokesperson for the newly-founded Future Party, led by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, spoke to Duvar. He hinted at the possibility of new coalitions being formed in the case of early elections and added, “We should not demonize the [pro-Kurdish and leftist party] HDP.”
Krizden çözüm çıktı. According to columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, Erdoğan’s AK Parti is moving in the direction of lifting the immunity of opposition MP Engin Özkoç. The lawmaker recently expressed his criticism to the president in the Assembly hall. Interpreted by the majority as insulting, it led to a massive brawl.
A New Party: DEVA
Babacan’ın partisinde kim var, kim yok? Nevşin Mengü comments on the first confirmed names of the DEVA Party, the creation of which was long-announced and had been finally officialized by former economy czar Babacan.
Babacan partisi heyecan yarattı mı? Abdulkadir Selvi argues that political parties are successful if they answer “to a social demand,” and asks whether such a demand was behind Babacan’s decision to come back to politics.
Kurdu vallahi. Engin Ardıç points out that none of those who are close to former President Abdullah Gül decided to join the newly-formed party.
Türkiye’de kadın olmak zor. “We have to eliminate violence against women and stop bigots’ discriminatory attitude,” write Rahmi Turan,
Freedom of the Press
Karanlık Odatv ve MİT. Mahmut Övür defends the legal actions against OdaTV, under accusation for publishing news about the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officers reportedly killed in Libya, He argues that it was against the law and that even the Guardian was raided as a consequence of publishing leaked information coming from Edward Snowden.
Barış’lar ve afişenin afişesinin onun da afişesinin afişesi cezası. Orhan Bursalı argues on Cumhuriyet that there is no place in Turkey for those who want to be journalists, and are instead “declared as enemies, traitors, and spies.”
The Coronavirus and Turkey
Brüksel’deki gündem. The coronavirus is now the most talked topic in Ankara, writes columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, adding that the country “is a model” in the fight against the virus, and that “Health minister Fahrettin Koca has become a national hero” for the way he responded to the emergency.
Sağlık Bakanı Koca: Test sonucu pozitif çıktı (Türkiye'de ilk Corona virüsü vakası). Koca announced in a press conference that a first Turkish patient positive to the Coronavirus was identified.