[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 Coronavirus Pandemy
Istanbul Death Toll Hints Turkey Is Hiding a Wider Coronavirus Calamity. “Istanbul recorded 2,100 more deaths over recent years between March and April, suggesting a hidden toll,” Istanbul bureau chief Carlotta Gall reports for the New York Times on the ongoing coronavirus emergency in Turkey.
Turkey forgets Kurds as it tackles pandemic” Journalist Nurcan Baysal argues that the forty-eight-hour lockdown imposed by the government last week had a very different impact on the country’s eastern region, and that even these days most media outlets are ignoring what goes on in Kurdish-majority cities.
Turkey’s parole law and COVID-19 opportunism. Turkey recently pushed forward a law aiming to release tens of thousands of prisoners, presented as a measure against the pandemic. Duvar’s Mehveş Evin denounced the move as one of “the partisan policies” of the AKP-MHP alliance, drawing attention to the shortcomings of the law.
How politics derailed Turkey’s pandemic response. Beril Eski writes that “Erdoğan is trying to balance combating the outbreak with reining in the popularity of political rivals.”
Turkey, the Coronavirus, and the Economy
Fighting the virus the Turkish way. İlhan Uzgel comments on the government’s attempt to turn the coronavirus epidemic into a success story, noting that “without strict measures it seems unlikely that the number of new cases will decrease. The longer the crisis continues, the more profound the economic consequences and its impact on the government will be.”
The Ripple Effects of the Coronavirus in Turkey. While writing that Turkey has the opportunity to genuinely improve the country’s situation in two areas—the early liberation of prisoners of opinion and the special coronavirus-related financial facilities offered by the IMF—Marc Pierini argues that “the likelihood of Turkey’s leadership adopting either of these measures is slim.”
Turkish Foreign Policy
Turkey plays extra time in Idlib game with new ‘army’ plan. “The Syrian war has seen myriad attempts to unite armed factions, either in umbrella groups or joint operation rooms,” writes Fehim Taştekin, reporting on how Turkey is now trying to unite armed groups active in the Idlib area under the command of a new “army.”
Coronavirus Has Opposite Effects on Turkish Policy in Syria and Libya. Soner Çağaptay and Deniz Yüksel evaluate how the coronavirus impacted on Turkey’s policy in Syria and Libya, arguing that, while “the prospect of imminent escalation in Syria recedes, the opposite could happen in Libya. One factor behind this difference is that Syria lies next door to Turkey, raising fears about potential contagion effects. This is not the case in Libya.”
Change of balance in Libya. “The Turkish government understands that there is no military solution in Libya. All parties and stakeholders must throw their weight behind a political transition process. Since we are still talking about violent clashes amid a global pandemic, however, it seems that the road to peace remains long,” argues Burhanettin Duran.
Turkey’s Dangerous New Exports: Pan-Islamist, Neo-Ottoman Visions and Regional Instability. Marwa Maziad and Jake Sotiriadis argue that “the consequences of Turkey’s precarious ideological model endanger not only Ankara’s immediate periphery, but also create global dilemmas.”
Human Rights and Freedom
How Istanbul won back its crown as heart of the Muslim world. “While Turkey stands accused of domestic repression, its largest city is increasingly seen as a beacon for the persecuted,” reports Bethan McKernan.
The Coronavirus Pandemy
Erdoğan belediyelere asıl neden taktı, biliyor musunuz? The Interior ministry recently opened investigations against the mayors of Ankara and Istanbul, for launching COVID-19 aid campaigns at the local level. Murat Yetkin argues that the reason why Erdoğan was so concerned about it is that “for the first time the opposition has the opportunity to reach the urban poor masses,” which for years showed their gratitude towards the AK Parti in the polls.
Van'da yardım dağıtan AKP'li belediyeler neydi peki? Fatih Polat comments on the ongoing struggle between the government and the municipalities controlled by the opposition. He recalls that in 2011, when the city of Van was hit by an earthquake, AK Parti municipalities sent aid. He argues that what the opposition was trying to do now, to fight the coronavirus, is hardly different.
Koronavirüs: Gerçekler, kafa karıştıranlar… Using a trope often repeated by pro-government media in these weeks, Okan Müderrisoğlu argues that—when the coronavirus crisis is over—“the world will look at Turkey’s experience.” The Sabah columnist argues that Ankara dealt with the problem in ways that are radically different from the “failure of the developed countries.”
Fahrettin Koca. Hasan Basri Yalçın argues that, up until now, Turkey has dealt admirably with the coronavirus, and that people will “remember with gratitude” Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca and all Turkish health workers.
Kriz dönemlerinde iktidara güvenmek. Taking into consideration both the political discussions that came along with the spread of coronavirus in Turkey and the public trust for Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca, Taha Akyol argues that it is now the time to leave political differences aside. “Ahead of us is an economic crisis that is worse than the virus, let’s not forget that.”
Propaganda savaşları ve Altun’u hedefe koymak. Burhanettin Duran writes that the coronavirus emergency has led to “propaganda operations” against the government “similar to those seen when Turkey went to the polls.”
Turkey, the Coronavirus, and the Economy
Tam karantina geciktikçe ekonomik maliyeti artıyor. Selva Demiralp, professor of economics at Koç University, shares the first results of an ongoing research on the effects of the coronavirus on Turkey’s economy.
Mega proje! Necati Doğru argues that it is again the time for a megaproject in Turkey. The project the country needs this time—writes the columnist on Sözcü—is a plan to rescue those who will suffer economic consequences for the spread of the coronavirus.
Bahçeli: seçimden Çakıcı’ya her istediği olan lider. Drawing on a series of examples from recent years, and elaborating also on the recent release of organized crime boss Alaattin Çakıcı, Murat Yetkin argues that the leader of Turkey’s ultranationalist party somehow “always gets what he wants.”
Koronavirüste tünelin ucunda ışık göründü mü? Abdulkadir Selvi evaluates the performance of opposition figures Mansur Yavaş and İkrem İmamoğlu, elected mayors of Ankara and Istanbul. After the elections, Selvi argues, Yavaş has focused on concrete actions, while İmamoğlu has rather made the news for controversies.
On Barak, Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization (New Texts Out Now)
في تركيا، استيلاء أردوغان على تراث الأقليات
Sean Yom, ed., The Societies of the Middle East and North Africa: Structures, Vulnerabilities, and Forces (New Texts Out Now)