[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 Pandemic
Turkey’s politicians spar over masks, bread in coronavirus response. “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists his government should spearhead the fight against the pandemic and has stymied relief efforts in opposition-held cities, forcing local officials to come up with creative ways to deliver aid,” writes Ayla Jean Jackley.
The Battle Over the Numbers: Turkey’s Low Case Fatality Rate. “Despite the prevalence of the virus among the population, what is striking is Turkey’s lower death rate. However, Turkey did not receive much appreciative feedback.” Evren Balta and Soli Özel argue that “there are factors other than transparency and assumed incompetence in the Global South that carry a lot of weight in determining outcomes.”
“A Motorcycle-Riding Leftist Feminist Is Coming for Erdogan.” Nick Ashdown profiles Canan Kaftancıoğlu, Istanbul provincial chairwoman of the Republican People's Party. She “has fueled the rise of Turkey’s increasingly effective opposition—and earned the president’s ire.”
Turkey’s Fallen Economy Czar Faults Erdogan’s Virus Response. Interviewed by Onur Ant and Fırat Kozok on Bloomberg, DEVA party leader and former economy czar Ali Babacan “weighs in on Turkey’s economic prospects” and “urges stimulus and not payment deferrals.”
Turkish Foreign Policy
Erdogan's cold war with Saudi Arabia and UAE. “Turkey's patience with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is running low. Ankara is watching to see whether the oil price collapse leads to declining influence for Abu Dhabi and Riyadh in the United States as well as the Middle East,” reports Pınar Tremblay.
Turkish-Emirati tensions continue to simmer. “The issues that strained relations are not only at the heart of regime survival for both countries, but from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s perspective, linking the UAE to two of his arch enemies, the Kurds and the Gulenists, serves as a nice distraction from the troubles he’s facing at home,” writes Gönül Tol.
Turkey’s Role in Libya
Turkey Wades into Libya’s Troubled Waters. A new report by the Crisis Group assesses Turkey’s intervention in Libya, which has “neither de-escalated the conflict nor yielded productive negotiations between rival political and military factions.”
Is political stability possible in Libya? “Turkey’s involvement in the Libyan crisis brings about political stability in Libya. Meanwhile, Turkey’s initiatives in the Mediterranean provide economic and political acquisitions both for Libya and Turkey. Undoubtedly, Turkey is a regional power that continues to increase its strength,” argues İhsan Aktaş in his column on Daily Sabah.
Turkey’s Role in Syria
Extremist Syrian rebel group tests Turkey's limits in Idlib. Fehim Taştekin evaluates the latest developments in the north of Syria and what they mean for Ankara. "If the onus eventually falls on Turkey to uproot the jihadis by force, the Turkish military might face greater risks in securing the areas it controls. A much-feared boomerang scenario might come true — that is, the factions that Ankara has backed or turned a blind eye to might turn against Turkey."
Society and Human Rights
Alleged Gulenists main target of forced disappearances in Turkey. “A new report from Human Rights Watch on forcible disappearances in Turkey called for an ‘effective investigation into credible testimony’ from one of the most recent men to go missing for months.” Amberin Zaman reports for al-Monitor.
Love 101, Netflix Turkey, and homophobia. “The teen drama Aşk 101 (Love 101), Netflix’s latest Turkish-language offering, is full of clichés but is not without a certain charm. Yet the intense controversy that preceded the show’s release on April 24 had little to do with the story,” writes Kenan Behzat Sharpe.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Salgın, modern kadının yaşadığı illüzyonu yıktı geçti. In conversation with Ezgi Başaran, Professor Deniz Kandiyoti addresses the impact of the coronavirus on gender equality, arguing that COVID-19 “has shattered the illusion of the modern woman.”
Merkez Bankasının son enflasyon tahmini ne anlatıyor? “Central Banks in emerging markets do not have the flexibility and the resources that are available to their counterparts in advanced economies. Neither do they have the credibility that is necessary to inject large sums of money without triggering inflationary expectations.” Selva Demiralp comments on the Turkish inflation outlook in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Her şekilde kepaze. Markar Esayan argues that the Turkish opposition bet on the fact that the government would mishandle the crisis. “Luckily their desires did not become reality,” he writes, adding that the CHP is now “panicking” as a consequence.
1 Mayıs, Taksim, İbrahim… Banu Güven writes on DW about 1 May 2012. It was in that year that for the last time the government allowed people to celebrate May Day in the iconic Taksim Square in Istanbul. “Because of the measures taken against COVID-19, this was a different Labour Day for the workers. Nothing changed for the government,” she writes.
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sistemi'nin meyveleri bunlar. Halime Kökce argues that losing the local elections in Ankara and Istanbul was good for the AK Parti and that under the presidential system the ministries have started to work in a more efficient way.
Yatıyorlar! Kalkıyorlar! Necati Doğru, on the other hand, writes about a recent opinion poll. According to the findings, the approval ratings of the mayors of eleven municipalities governed by the opposition have recently increased.
‘İhtilaf sahaları yeniden derinleşti,’ Taha Akyol comments on statements made by opposition leader Akşener, arguing that differences among Turkish political parties are getting deeper and deeper. “By this way we will not become a developed country,” writes Akyol, adding that all indexes—economy included—seem to confirm this.
HDP’deki parti içi bürokrasi statüko yarattı, parti hantallaştı. Ahmet Şık recently announced his resignation from the “pro-Kurdish” HDP party. The journalist and former lawmaker set the record straight on Artı Gerçek, explaining that the party has “structural problems.” “In other words—he said—it would not be wrong to say that the problem of the HDP is its CHP-ization.”