[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 Fight against the Coronavirus
Anatomy of Turkey’s COVID-19 curfew. “At the very end of the day (literally), just two hours before midnight the interior minister declared a curfew for the weekend. And, all hell broke loose (again literally),” writes Aydın Selcen.
Lockdown gives Turks a taste of life in Kurdish regions. “For the country’s 17 million Kurds, this new way of life is all too chillingly familiar. In 2015 and for years before, lockdowns and wholesale restrictions of movement were the norm for people throughout swathes of the Kurdish-majority southeast,” writes Stephen Starr.
The Political Consequences
Why didn’t Erdogan let Turkey’s interior minister resign over coronavirus curfew fiasco? “Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu's brief resignation seems to have been an attempt to take the fall for this weekend's surprise lockdown that sparked panic in Turkey,” writes Amberin Zaman.
Soylu’s resignation and power struggle within the AKP. “The past weekend’s power play induced much uncertainty and even panic about the government’s fight against the grave danger of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey. However, it also revealed that new power centers within the ruling establishment have been built over time,” writes Nevşin Mengü.
Coronavirus: the Political Angle
Coronavirus in Turkey: Erdogan's approval ratings surge to four-year high. Ankara-based polling company MetroPoll registers an increase by fourteen percent in President Erdoğan’s popularity, writes Ragip Soylu. It “indicates that citizens desire strong leadership during the pandemic.”
Turkey joins soft power race during COVID-19 crisis. Dimitar Bechev argues that the coronavirus crisis is also “an opportunity to project influence abroad.” Soft power has long been a foreign policy tool for Turkey, “but whether the country is able to capitalise internationally from this crisis ultimately depends on how it does domestically.”
Israel and Turkey, first signs of warming up? Rina Bassist argues that “the recent publication over Turkey selling Israel medical equipment to fight the coronavirus could signal a small, yet significant warming up of relations.”
Rights and Freedom
Turkish pandemic plan raises concerns over citizens' digital rights. “In effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, Ankara launched a mobile app that tracks patients, raising concern among digital privacy advocates,” Diego Cupolo reports for Al Monitor.
Hit by coronavirus, Turkey continues targeting critical journalists and social media. “Despite the alarming death toll and deepening economic crisis, there appears to be one field in which the Turkish government never slows down: clamping down on critical journalists and social media users,” writes Uzay Bulut.
Locking up dissidents, Turkish style: the saga of Osman Kavala. “The accusation that Osman Kavala supported both the Gülen movement and the Gezi movement was outlandish from the outset,” writes Merve Tahiroglu.
A year after local polls, Turkey’s Kurds left with only third of gains. Mahmut Bozarslan writes that “not even the coronavirus outbreak has slowed Ankara’s crackdown on local administrations held by Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party, which, many now fear, will continue until the last one is seized.”
The Syrian Crisis
Turkey’s Mission Impossible in Sustaining Idlib’s Unstable Equilibrium. “Without a major shift in the fundamentals that forged Turkish-Russian cooperation in the first place, the crisis ended up consolidating Ankara’s strategic dependence on Moscow and drawing it deeper into the Idlib quagmire,” writes Şaban Kardaş.
The West and terrorists in the Middle East. “Acts of terrorism around the world have also declined due to the pandemic. However, a report from Diyarbakır showed that some terrorist groups continue to wreak havoc,” writes Melih Altınok. Commenting on the coalitions’ supplies for hospitals in northern Syria, he argues that the “the U.S. and European Union countries are very generous to terrorists.”
The Fight against the Coronavirus
Şehir Hastaneleri ve ilk günahkar. Turkey’s Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca recently stated that Turkey is in a good position to fight the spread of the coronavirus, noting that this is also because of the “City Hospitals” model established by the AK Parti. Mahmut Övür condemns the opposition, which has often criticized the government on the City Hospitals.
Ne biçim kutlama! Emin Çölaşan criticizes the government, ready to build more hospitals at airports in Istanbul, to treat coronavirus patients. Before the outbreak, he argues, the government closed “unnecessary” medical structures in Ankara and Istanbul that now lie empty.
Coronavirus: The Lockdown
Siyasi Akıl Sokağa Döktü. Ahmet Gürsoy criticizes the government for deciding to declare a curfew during the weekend without taking into consideration the possible reaction of Turkish citizens.
Cuma gecesi dersleri. “Instead of complaining, we should learn a lesson from what happened,” writes Melih Altınok, commenting on the lockdown and its consequences, and arguing that it should have been announced earlier.
Bakan Süleyman Soylu: Yasağı, o saatte açıklama nedeni. Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu argues that announcing the weekend curfew earlier would have not been a good idea. Speaking to Muharrem Sarıkaya, he invited the journalist to consider when other countries announced similar measures.
Coronavirus: The Political Angle
Adını siz koyun! Emin Çölaşan comments on the (brief) resignation of Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu, arguing that “in a normal country it would not have been possible for him to sit in his office again” after what happened.
Milletin Soylu’ya mesajı. Hilal Kaplan criticizes Soylu’s decision. She argues that given Turkey’s circumstances, it would not have been right to leave his responsibilities now.
“İstifa edemezsin, ben getirdim, ben kovarım.” Orhan Uğuroğlu also writes on Soylu’s resignation, trying to reconstruct what happened on the backstage.
Coronavirus: What’s Next?
Şimdi ekonomiyi konuşma zamanı. Abdulkadir Selvi writes that while the world is fighting against the coronavirus, it is also making preparations for the aftermath. The economy, he argues, will be a crucial concern.
Uzun bir geçiş süreci. Burhanettin Duran argues that Turkey’s aid to other nations in fighting the coronavirus should be read as the country’s way to prepare for the world that will come.
Bütün silahları susturun, bütün çatışmaları durdurun! In the aftermath of a car bomb attack in the country's southeastern province of Diyarbakir, claimed by the PKK, Oya Baydar writes that all sides should drop the weapons, to focus on the global fight against the coronavirus.