[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.]
Turkey and the World
Why is France a useful adversary for Turkey? “Although France has the means to hamper Turkey, both in the European Union and Africa, its current strategy often plays into Turkey’s hands, as evidenced by its recent failure to squeeze Turkey through a NATO probe,” writes Fehim Taştekin.
EU-Turkey relations are strained but we have common ground to build on. “Strong rhetoric and maximalist positions are narrowing the scope for meaningful cooperation,” Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu argues in an op-ed on Politico. “Let us look ahead and build an inclusive framework to capitalize on the genuine transformative power of Turkey-EU cooperation in our common neighborhood,” he writes.
Hagia Sophia breaks free of its chains, and Turkey saves its soul. “The reason behind Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a museum was the crucifixion of this nation’s historical awareness, the destruction of its historical awareness, the destruction of this nation’s mental independence, and the great blow sustained by their political independence,” writes Şafak columnist Yusuf Kaplan, celebrating the recent decision to re-convert the museum into a mosque.
Turkey’s test of civilization. “This is what’s being done. Here, now, in the 21st century, the Hagia Sophia, one of the most significant monuments of human culture will again be ‘conquered’ and turned into a mosque, just like in 1453. What’s being performed here is an act of cultural vandalism,” argues Taner Akçam on Ahval.
Turkey’s Islamist Dream Finally Becomes a Reality. “The first prayer at the Hagia Sophia mosque will take place on July 24, the anniversary of the Treaty of Laussane. Mr. Erdogan will want the Western world especially to watch closely. What comes out of the Hagia Sophia’s gates today is a spirit that sees itself as inherently good and its chosen enemies as inherently evil,” writes Selim Koru in an op-ed on The New York Times.
Turkish opposition finds it hard to generate new politics. “The opposition’s dependency on anti-Erdoğan sentiment, no matter which version they exercise, is really a black hole that deprives their leaders of the very means to develop their own policy alternatives,” argues Sabah columnist Burhanettin Duran.
The Turkish Government Closed a University Because It Fears Free Speech. “This is not my first encounter with authoritarian governments that seek to intervene in the higher education sector,” writes Hasan Kösebalaban, an associate professor of political science at Istanbul Şehir University. The private university, considered a beacon for Turkey’s conservatives, has recently been shot down.
Rainbows, unicorns, and ‘national values’ in Turkey. Commenting on a recent memo circulated by a beloved Turkish clothing chain, Kenan Behzat Sharpe writes that, “as LGBTQI+ issues grow more visible, the reaction is ever more vehement. These days, it is not even necessary for something to be explicitly pro-LGBTQI+, the mere suggestion of the topic is enough to spur an outburst of hate.”
Istanbul Convention not a sacrifice to internal politics. AKP deputy chair Numan Kurtulmuş recently hinted that Turkey might withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. “For the last time, every camp should understand that the Istanbul Convention cannot be sacrificed to internal politics. We won’t let it happen,” writes Canan Güllü, chairwoman of the Turkish Federation of Women Associations.
Once an Istanbul Soup Kitchen, Now One of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries. “With rare volumes stored alongside stone ovens, and students reading where horses were once stabled, the Beyazıt Library has a story to rival any of the books in its collection.” Jennifer Hattam tells it on the Daily Beast.
Ayasofya erken seçim sinyalidir. Yeni Çağ columnist Orhan Uğuroğlu writes that the decision to turn the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque is a clear signal that Turkey will go to early elections, instead of waiting until 2023.
Seçim için değil…Habertürk columnist Muharrem Sarıkaya argues that more than a way to prevent “the realignment of the party base towards two newly-formed parties,” the decision is rather a way to reinforce the idea that Erdoğan can succeed at ‘solving’ issues considered untreatable.
“Adam” Kazanıyor! Birgün columnist Ayşenur Arslan argues that the CHP remained at best silent after the decision on Hagia Sophia. Commenting on the challenges Turkish media face daily, she adds that it is hardly surprising that the voice of the independent media—which tried to avoid accusations and consequences—is getting more feeble day by day.
Gişeden 400 milyon lira kazanan Ayasofya’nın geliri nasıl kapanacak? Dünya columnist Kerim Ülker looks into the economic consequences of the decision, asking what would happen of the contract under which a Swedish company operates—among other museums—Hagia Sophia.
Kaçakçılıkla insan kaçakçılığı arasındaki çizgi ne kadar kalın? Evrensel columnist Ercüment Akdeniz argues that “the Hagia Sophia move will be instrumental in strengthening far-right parties, Islamophobic religious and racist movements in Europe and the Western countries. The pressure on the Turkish and Muslim immigrants will increase even more.”
Demokratik sistemin kurtuluş günü… “When the state mechanism stopped, paralyzed by cancer cells, the nation stepped in and saved both democracy, the homeland and the state,” writes Yalçın Akdoğan on Posta, on the fourth anniversary of the 2016 attempted coup.
Bu millet darbecilere boyun eğmez. Hasan Basri Yalçın recalls the night of the attempted coup in his column on Sabah. “I personally came to roughly two conclusions from this dramatic experience. Putschists will never stop existing. You have to be ready to fight. Fortunately our nation is a great nation. Although putschists are still around, they cannot subjugate this nation.”
15 Temmuz Raporu kaybolursa… In his column on Cumhuriyet, Mustafa Balbay focused on the work of a parliamentary commission that prepared a report on the 15 July attempted coup. “What are you hiding, why are you hiding it, and from whom are you hiding?” he asks, reminding the government that the results were never made public.
Rights & Society
Kadın hakları vizyonu. “It is a fact that the enactment of laws that prevent discrimination against women, promote equal rights, and regulate every field, from sexual harassment to honor killings, pregnancy, and the recruitment of civil servants, accelerated during the AK Party rule,” argues Yeni Şafak columnist Ayşe Böhürler, following recent debates on Turkey's possible withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
Türk edebiyatı nitelikli bir yazarını kaybetti, bense sağlam bir dostumu. "I had learned a lot while reading her short stories, novels, essays, and recording them on the brightest parts of my mind, no doubt, but the experience of working together was something else.” Sefa Kaplan remembers Turkish novelist Adalet Ağaoğlu, who died at ninety-one.