[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
Voices from the Middle East: On the Frontlines of Inequality in Turkey During COVID-19. Looking into how the coronavirus is affecting different segments of the Turkish population, “Berra Can” writes that "the disease is accentuating and exacerbating inequalities. In Istanbul, working class neighborhoods are disproportionately affected. Measures are more easily observed by those in the middle and upper classes."
From Trump to Erdoğan, men who behave badly make the worst leaders in a pandemic. In a broad-ranging opinion piece published by the Guardian, Simon Tisdall argues that “around the world, authoritarian leaders are exploiting, exacerbating or grossly mishandling the response to the pandemic.” His criticism also touches Turkey’s response to Covid-19.
Turkey's Syrian refugees among hardest hit amid coronavirus pandemic. “Some 4 million Syrians scattered across Turkey are among the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout as most of them are unable to work due to restrictions and also cannot benefit from relief assistance,” Mahmut Bozarslan reports.
Turkey, the Coronavirus, and the Economy
Turkey’s looming economic crisis. A recent poll conducted by TurkiyeRaporu.com shows that “getting laid off and unpaid leave are the two most essential problems that individuals [in Turkey] are struggling with” while dealing with COVID-19 crisis.
The Parliament at 100 Years, and the Future
The dream of a great Turkey reborn. Commenting on the centenary of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly, celebrated on 23 April, İhsan Aktaş draws a parallel with the fight against coronavirus, arguing that “a century earlier, Turkey was struggling for survival. Today, the dream of a ‘great Turkey’ is already coming true.”
No disaster in history has ever been this globalized [...]. İbrahim Karagül, editor-in-chief of Yeni Şafak, argues that when the pandemic is over “the West’s (Atlantic) global hegemony will never be established again,” and the world is “going to witness a ‘Turkey miracle’.”
The Armenian Genocide
Siruni: The Witness to the Great Calamity. Vicken Cheterian writes on the legacy of Siruni, an Armenian writer who escaped arrest on 24 April 1915, when 250 intellectuals were rounded up in Istanbul. “He has left us a heritage to continue: to rethink the Armenian experience in the larger history of the Middle East, so that the Calamity the Armenians witnessed and its lessons do not remain hidden nor ignored.”
Power and Protest
Mustafa Koçak Dies on 297th Day of Death Fast. Koçak was serving a life sentence over charges related to the killing of a Turkish prosecutor. He died after 297 days on hunger strike.
Against the death cult. Writing on the death of Helin Bolek, a member of the band Grup Yorum who also died recently after a long hunger strike, Tayfun Guttstadt argues that the activist and musician fell victim not just of state oppression, but also of “a hostile cult of martyrdom present on the Turkish and Kurdish left.”
Turkish Foreign Policy
The coronavirus-immune Greek-Turkish conflict. The one thing that was apparently not affected by the coronavirus was the conflict between Turkey and Greece, writes Sezin Öney. “So far, casting Greece as the usual suspect has proven to be costless for Ankara. It is lucrative to demonize Athens: there is a lot of fertile ground for that in Turkey’s psyche.”
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Yabancı düşmanlığı artar mı? Hasan Basri Yalçın reflects on the world that the pandemic will leave, and on whether xenophobia will increase as a consequence of it. The future, he argues, might in fact confront us with a reality where countries will resort to protectionist measures and competition will increase.
Salgında göçmen olmak. Among the things we seem to have forgotten because of the coronavirus, writes L. Doğan Tılıç, is the condition refugees are living in nowadays. Right before the virus hijacked the newscycle, the conditions of Syrian refugees at the border with Greece were daily on the news agenda.
Yanıt verebilseler! Commenting on the campaign launched by the government to raise funds against the coronavirus crisis in Turkey, Emin Çölaşan cast doubts on how the money will be managed. “Will they be used to produce and distribute masks, or go to the cohort of contractors building city hospitals, palaces, and highways?”
April 23 - The Parliament at 100 Years Old
Olmayan Meclis’in kutlaması yapılır mı? Arguing that the switch to a presidential system in Turkey rendered the parliament useless, Enver Aysever addresses those who celebrated the hundred years of the National Assembly in his column on Cumhuriyet. “Even if well-meaning—he writes—they have to understand that there is essentially nothing left to celebrate.”
The Beginning of the Month of Ramadan
Tarihin en buruk, en zor ve en düşündürücü Ramazan’ı… Yusuf Kaplan argues that humankind has rarely witnessed a moment as hard as the present one, and that this year’s Ramadan will be “the most challenging in history.”
Koronavirüs günlerinde Ramazan pidesinin sofralara yolculuğu. The coronavirus also affected customs particular to the month of Ramadan. A reportage realized by BBC News Türkçe shows how bakeries adapted to the new conditions—to keep working and providing their customers with the traditional “Ramazan pidesi” for their iftar table.
“Durma haykır, eşcinsellik günahtır.” Ali Erbaş, head of the Diyanet, recently denounced homosexuality in a sermon, claiming it causes diseases and corrupts people. President Erdoğan defended his words. “Homophobia—argues Mine Söğüt—is a psychological disorder, and it can be cured.”
Durma haykır, eşcinsellik günahtır! “If we truly were a secular state, believers would be free to say what they believe in, but we are not. We are face to face with a herd that considers Muslims as reactionaries and second-class citizens,” argued Hilal Kaplan..
Babacan, Davutoğlu, Karamollaoğlu ve laiklik. Levent Gültekin writes that “a man of religion has the right to express his opinion on any topic, within the context of his own belief.” The issue—he argues—is “that he is a bureaucrat.” Gültekin also comments on what party leaders coming from a religious-conservative background said (or did not say) on the matter.