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Turkey Media Roundup (January 26)

[Silopi, 19 January 2016. Image by Fatih Pinar] [Silopi, 19 January 2016. Image by Fatih Pinar]

[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. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Sunday night of every week.]


Ninth Anniversary of Hrant Dink’s Assassination

Justice, Peace Watch for Assassinated Journalist Hrant Dink Bianet covers the vigil in front of the Agos newspaper headquarters to memorialize the ninth anniversary of the assassination of its chief editor Hrant Dink. The vigil also mourned Tahir Elçi, Maritsa Küçük, Sevag Balıkçı, Dilek Doğan, Berkin Elvan, and others, who were killed in similar instances of state and state-sanctioned violence.

Nine Years on: No Solid Steps Taken in Hrant Dink Assassination İsmail Saymaz describes the Dink family’s difficulties in pursuing justice against those responsible for Hrant Dink’s murder, in part because many of those people are employed by the government and the police.

Who is Covering up the Dink Murder? According to Murat Aksoy, the Turkish government originally scapegoated gunman Ogün Samast in the Dink murder in order to obscure its own role in facilitating the murder. But, he says, “the state now wants it to blame the Dink case on the people it considers enemies and, in this way, save itself from being implicated.”

Kurdish Politics and the Violence in Southeast Turkey

Nine Questions and Answers to Shed a Light on the Violence in Southeast Turkey Frederike Geerdink analyzes the violence in Southeast Turkey in nine questions, including why the dead bodies have been left on the street for weeks and can't be buried by their families, why the PKK wants self rule, and why the European press is silent.

Turkey Breaks New Ground in Southeast Reconstruction Metin Gürcan points out that the government intends to pursue a policy of total annihilation of the PKK and its supporters and that major urban transformation projects will be undertaken in places where clashes had ended.

Kurdish Leader Warns of Civil War in Turkey  Turkey’s security crackdown in the Kurdish-majority southeast could spill over to the country’s west and eventually become a civil war, warns Kurdish politician Kamuran Yüksek in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Behind Turkish Checkpoints Mahmut Bozarslan notes that local residents in southeastern Turkey are angry with both the government and the PKK for monthlong clashes that have been devastating their livelihoods. 

HDP and the PKK Have Missed the Boat... Daily Sabah columnist İlnur Çevik argues that “the HDP and the PKK have disqualified themselves as interlocutors [by] opting for violence,” which is problematic because Turkey is currently “in hands of able people who understand the value of Turkish-Kurdish reconciliation and are prepared to go to the extremes to achieve this.”

Turkey’s War on the Kurds: Futile Repression The editorial board of The Economist argues that, while President Erdoğan “may never have peddled the myth that the Kurds do not exist... he has succumbed to a different fantasy: that he can end Kurdish nationalism by force,” and calls for renewed peace talks.

Back to Security Politics in the Kurdish Issue Murat Yetkin examines the recent move by the government to relocate the administrative centers of Şırnak and Hakkari, two Kurdish provinces in the southeast that have been subject to intense violence over the past several months, and its historical precedence.

Does the Kurdish Movement Want Reconciliation and Peace? Ayşe Böhürler contends that the Kurdish movement in Turkey, inspired by the PYD’s success in Northern Syria, is not interested in compromise, reconciliation, or peace.

Domestic Politics

Can Davutoğlu Make Peace with Human Rights? In discussing President Erdoğan’s latest defamation suit against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (this time for using the term “tin-pot dictator”), Günal Kurşun laments that the president is “hopeless” and suggests that much depends, therefore, on the prime minister.

Erdoğan Wants to Push MHP Under 10 Percent Ömer Taşpınar suggests that the government may be intending more early elections and that its activities in the southeast are attempts by Erdoğan to “leave no daylight between himself and the MHP,” thereby knocking the MHP below the 10% threshold.

Erdoğan-Feyzioğlu Meeting Today’s Zaman columnist Ali Yurttagül is unsurprised that Turkish Bar Association President Feyzioğlu would criticize Academics for Peace given that he had earlier met with Erdoğan to organize the release of Ergenekon’s (nationalist) suspects.

The CHP and İş Bank Mümtaz'er Türköne questions the value of nationalizing CHP-linked İş Bank, since the profits from the party’s shares go directly to institutions like the Turkish Language Foundation rather than the party itself.

A stronger CHP After its Congress? Or… Examines the state of the CHP in the wake of its recent party congress; Murat Yetkin contends that the party made no significant changes to its political program or its goals.

CHP Bracing for Post-Kılıçdaroğlu Era According to Özgür Korkmaz, “a storm is brewing over the CHP” given the lackluster party congress and growing apathy over party chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Why are They Enemies of Erdoğan? Abdülkadir Selvi contends that all opposition politicians and parties are opposed to Erdoğan not for who he is, but rather, “they oppose the mission Erdoğan represents… they oppose the people who support Erdoğan… [and] they oppose the Muslim world that sees Erdoğan as their leader.”

Investigations of Academics For Peace

Statement for Academic Freedom in Turkey A statement from several hundred leading scholars of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire from around the world inviting the Turkish government to uphold both the academic freedom guaranteed by the Turkish constitution but also by the international agreements to which Turkey is a signatory.

No European Money for Universities that Fire Academics Asking, “Why should European money be spent on research at universities that have shown no respect for academic independence and the freedom of speech of their staff?,” Joost Lagendijk argues that EU funds to universities firing signatories should be cut.

The PKK's New 'Reconciliation Table' Strategy Fahrettin Altun argues the Academics for Peace petition is part of wider PKK efforts to develop soft power, gaining support in the international area to secure US support in any eventual peace negotiations.

Signatories! That Answer was Given on November 1 and Can be Given Again! İbrahim Karagül criticizes the academics who signed the peace petition for being a part of a larger effort to damage Turkey and for rejecting the election results, thereby contravening the values of democracy.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Looking to Snitch on Your Neighbors? Turkey Will Pay You for the Info "The Turkish government has hiked the pay of some elected leaders for providing intelligence about people in their neighborhoods," writes Mehmet Çetingüleç.

Why Did Turkey Ban a Brazilian Cartoonist? Pınar Tremblay interviews Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, whose cartoons depicting President Erdoğan are now banned in Turkey.

Turkish PM Tries to Frame Syrian Kurds for Istanbul Bombing Joris Leverink argues that the fact that Syrian Kurds are being blamed for the bombing shows that the government is using the Sultanahmet suicide attack as a useful opportunity to frame public perception and pursue a very specific political agenda against Kurds.

Refugee Intake 'Should Give Turkey Major Influence over Syria peace talks' Guardian editor Patrick Wintour describes Turkish maneuverings on the eve of the UN Syria talks in Geneva; these include demands that the PYD be excluded because of its ties with Assad and the lifting of “medieval sieges” on towns [in Syria].

Pakistan University Assault: A Warning for Turkey as Islamists Turn on Their Old Allies in Peshawar Robert Fisk suggests that Taliban attacks in Pakistan are the consequence of years of intelligence service collusion with militant groups—a concern for Turkey as well since “Isis now appears to have some infiltrators within the Turkish state apparatus.”


Ninth Anniversary of Hrant Dink’s Assassination

Ez Hrant’ım Axparig Şeyhmus Diken writes a letter to Hrant Dink, who was assassinated on 19 January 2007, and promises him that his murderer will be identified and punished.

Türkan Elçi: Tetikçiler Birbirine Benzer, Katledilenlerin Birbirine Benzediği Gibi Türkan Elçi, the wife of assassinated Diyarbakır Bar Association President Tahir Elçi, spoke on the anniversary of Hrant Dink’s assassination.

İnsan ve kamusal figür olarak Hrant Dink Alper Görmüş examines a number of interviews with Hrant Dink’s friends and colleagues to paint a more complex picture of Dink’s views on Turkish-Armenian relations, the Armenian genocide, and more.

Dokuz yılda Hrant Dink’ten Tahir Elçi’ye geldik Fatih Polat writes about the commemoration of Hrant Dink on the ninth anniversary of his assassination, connecting his death to the murder of Tahir Elçi in November 2015.

Hrant Dink’in Avukatı Hakan Bakırcıoğlu: Yargılanan sadece Cemaat değil Cansu Pişkin interviews Hakan Bakırcıoğlu, lawyer for the family of Hrant Dink, about the legal battles that he has waged over the past nine years and the obstacles still preventing justice for Dink and his family.

Kurdish Politics and the Violence in Southeast Turkey

‘Feryat ediyorum, başaramadık Türkiye’ye yazık, hepimize yazık...’ The co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), Hatip Dicle, cries out: "Shame on Turkey. Shame on all of us. We failed. We couldn't bring peace to our people." referring to the death of the peace process and increasing violence in the Southeastern Turkey. 

Hatip Dicle’nin feryadı… Hasan Cemal argues that Turkey should pay attention to Hatip Dicle's “scream” and that the government should restart peace negotiations.

Cizre’nin Nusaybin Caddesi'nden... Hasan Cemal condemns the Turkish military's recent attacks on civilians in Cizre, which left two people dead and twelve civilians injured, among them was IMC TV cameraman Refik Tekin, who was also shot in the leg while also recording the whole attack.

Dicle’nin mübârek gözyaşları Oya Baydar points out that the government's war under the pretext of 'national unity' is in fact separating the homeland and polarizing people. 

Kadın, siyasetin başat aktörü Şeyhmus Diken examines the internal dynamics of the Kurdish freedom movement, particularly women’s roles in determining the course of the movement, and concludes that, women are the “principal actor in politics.”

30 yıldır aynı politika According to İhsan Çaralan, the forced migration of so many people from the Kurdish southeast as the result of Turkish state violence is the continuation of a thirty-year government policy that has proven unsuccessful time and time again.

Yıl 2016, Türkiye, bir cenaze hikâyesi Drawing attention to tortured dead bodies of Kurdish militants and civilians, Nurcan Baysal asks: "Where had been these bodies for a month? Who did turn these bodies into this? Will those who torture these bodies be punished?"

Çözüm süreci ve 'o MGK toplantısı'  (1) (2) (3) Using details from the Firat News Agency, Ezgi Başaran considers when the peace process finally broke down. Evidence suggests that Prime Minister Davutoğlu remained interested in pursuing it in early 2015, but that the president and the military were already prepared for military engagement by late 2014.

Öcalan için koşullar uygun mu, değil mi? Though he views Öcalan as key to calming tensions, Oral Çalışlar is unsure whether the imprisoned PKK leader is ready to step in—or whether the government will permit him the space to participate.

Türkler özgür mü? Ahmet Yaşaroğlu contends that the systems of power that benefit from the oppression of Kurds in Turkey also results in a completely bankrupt democracy for Turks.

“Er geç hesap vereceksiniz” umudu Kemal Göktaş describes the significance of a recent statement released by the Judges and Prosecutors Union (YARSAV), which condemns the judiciary and the administrative wings of the government for their complicity in the violence in Turkish Kurdistan, and calls upon them to stop adhering to “unlawful commands” that amount to crimes against humanity.

Tarihin üzerinde tepinirseniz Sezin Öney examines the long history of Kurdish rebellions in the cities of southeast Turkey back to the Ottoman Empire, and concludes that the kinds of massacres currently taking place in Diyarbakır, Cizre, Silopi, and elsewhere have their historical precedence in the Middle Ages.

Hüsna ablayı nefessiz bırakmayın Bircan Değirmenci profiles a woman in the Sur district of Diyarbakır who was forced out of her house by state violence and who laments the news that she may be relocated to a public housing project by saying, “those concrete buildings will be our graves.”

Görünmezleşen Türkiye’de Ayşe Öğretmen’in çığlığı Duygu Karataş examines the fallout of the phone call made by a woman identified as Teacher Ayşe to a popular nighttime talk show, and contends that Turkish society is “face to face” with a rising tide of fascism.

Zorla göç ettirilenler destek bekliyor According to Yüksel Genç, over 200,000 people have been the victims of forced migration resulting from the Turkish military occupation of Kurdish regions. Because of this, the conditions of marginality and violence that they face will not just disappear even if the occupation comes to an end.

Academics for Peace Petition

Akademisyenlere 10 Günde Gelen Tüm Destekler Bianet provides links to numerous statements issued in support of Academics for Peace from groups throughout Turkey and the world including lawyers, publishers, politicians, actors, and filmmakers.

İfade özgürlüğü barışı sağlayacak Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu argues for the importance of free speech and criticizes those who would silence and demonize such speech.

Bizde ‘ihanet’ ve ‘alçaklık’ hiç sona ermiyor ki Sayın Başbakan… Murat Sevinç defends academics who consistently speak up against injustice and reminds the president how they were willing to criticize things (like the Ergenekon trials), which the president now criticizes but did not at the time.

Aklınız varsa kafanıza sokun! Nuray Mert writes that the government is blaming others for its failure to realize its promises and laments the increasingly authoritarian nature of the government.

Barış için Akademisyenler bildirisinin ortaya döktükleri Murat Paker accuses the government of using Academics for Peace as scapegoats for its own failure to improve relations with the country’s Kurdish population.

Akademisyenler Teröre Karşı A petition signed by nearly 6,000 academics (promoted by Sabah) criticizes the “terrorist methods” of groups “with international backing” and the use of terms like “Peace” while simultaneously “spreading the seeds of enmity.”

Devlet'in "parasını yemek" ve kamu yararı Umut Kocagöz argues that we should see the Academics for Peace petition first and foremost as a petition demanding autonomy and liberation, because it attempts to intervene in the state’s relationship with the populations it administers.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Yeni Bir Yılın Başında: İstikrar mı, İstikrarsızlıkta İstikrar mı?  Özlem Çelik, Ali Rıza Güngen, Elif Karaçimen and Ümit Akçay discuss the financial situation in Turkey, in particular the the growth in personal debt.

Dış politikadan, içimize propaganda Tarhan Erdem criticizes the government for using US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit as propaganda material for its domestic audience rather than as an opportunity for real diplomacy.

Mustafa Koç'un 4 saatlik yaşam mücadelesi A timeline covering the heart attack, attempts at treatment, and ultimate death of Mustafa Koç, one of the most powerful figures in the (economic) lives of Turkish citizens.

Böyle kardeşlik olur mu? İhsan Çaralan writes about Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s recent statements at Davos regarding Kurdish politics and wonders why Turkey is the only country in the world that sees the PYD in Rojava as a terrorist group.

Alamet ve Kıyamet Murat Belge contends that President Erdoğan is trying to prove that there are two incompatible peoples living within the borders of Turkey: those who support him and those who do not.

Yine yeni seçim Sezin Öney argues that AKP politicians and MPs are behaving as if the November election never happened, and wonders whether the AKP will hold another early election to consolidate even more power.

Published on Jadaliyya

Under Fire: Translating the Growing Crisis in the Kurdish Cities of Turkey’s Southeast

Statement of Concern by Professors of Turkish Studies and Ottoman History Regarding Diminishing Academic Freedoms in Turkey

Urgent Call for Action by Women’s Freedom Assembly in Turkey

Letter by American Anthropological Association Regarding Repression of Academics in Turkey

Letter by American Political Science Association Regarding Academic Freedom in Turkey

Joint Letter by Global Higher Education Networks in Support of Turkey's Higher Education and Research Community

Third Annual Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon

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