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Turkey Media Roundup (March 9)

[Cizre, 2 March 2016. Image by Fatih Pinar.] [Cizre, 2 March 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.]



Crackdown on Journalists

Fear of Seeing the Law is Alive Today’s Zaman columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz voices his support for the Constitutional Court ruling releasing journalists from the CHP-linked paper Cumhuriyet, but observes that the court has not intervened in cases against journalists close to the Gülen community.

Lawlessness Par Excellence Writing for Today’s Zaman on the eve of its seizure by the government, Suat Kınıklıoğlu suggests that “Turkey has transformed from developing democracy to corrupt autocracy.”

Why Did Erdoğan Criticize the Constitutional Court? Daily Sabah columnist Fahrettin Altun explains that President Erdoğan “thinks that the Constitutional Court is adding to a structure that unfairly wants to paint Turkey as a country that gives aid to terrorists.”

Turkey Builds Large Prisons for Mass Crackdown Writing for Today’s Zaman, Abdullah Bozkurt suggests that the government is planning to arrest people on charges “ranging from being a member of fictitious terrorist groups to espionage, from coup plotting to smearing public officials.”

The Death Blow to Turkey’s Media Writing for Foreign Policy, Nick Schenkkan describes how  the government seizure of Feza Gazetecilik will “ripple” through the media and presage further attacks on government critics.

Turkey Newspaper Defiant After Raid as Police Disperse Protests The Associated Foreign Press provides details and photos from the police raid/ government seizure of Zaman. Additional reporting from The New York Times , The Guardian, and Bloomberg.


Has Erdogan Confused Freedom of Expression With Spying? Cengiz Çandar argues that the uncertainty surrounding the president’s recent criticism of the Constitutional Court illustrates how Turkey has become a “quasi-democracy.” In normal times, a president’s displeasure with a court should be irrelevant.

A Bad Omen For Efforts to Draft a New Constitution Semih İdiz discusses the AKP government’s claim that the Constitutional Court violated its constitutional mandate in releasing journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül from prison.

The 'Parallel Structure' Is Getting Bigger and Bigger Özgür Korkmaz examines how the AKP has been using the concept of the “parallel structure,” originally associated with the Gülenists, to discredit and crack down on more and more forms of dissent and criticism.

More Disturbing Moves on the Turkish Media Murat Yetkin argues that “the latest measures against the media in Turkey are likely to create even more psychological pressure on those media groups that are not yet fully in line with the government.”

Something New Under The AKP Sun Mustafa Akyol describes the emergence of a new newspaper in Turkey, Karar, which is pro-AKP but not pro-Erdoğan, and whose columnists are composed of the old guard of the AKP who have been disenchanted by the direction the party has taken.   

Kurdish Politics & Violence in the Southeast 


After Ankara Bombing, Questions Over PKK-TAK Ties Resurface Frederike Geerdink interviews experts on Kurdish politics who suggest that there is more coordination between the PKK and TAK (which claimed responsibility for the Ankara bombing) than the groups publicly admit.


In Turkey, a Kurdish City Confronts Its Ruins Ayla Albayrak reports from Cizre, describing a ruined landscape and a populace furious at both the government and the anti-government youth militias.


Will Turkey Oust Kurdish Deputies From Parliament? Irfan Aktan places HDP member Tuğba Hezer in a larger context of Kurdish politics. Hezer has come under intense criticism and may lose parliamentary immunity for having attended the funeral of Ankara bomber Abdülbaki Sömer.


Video: Cizre After 79 Days of Curfew Fatih Pinar's photo-interview with the residents of Cizre after the curfew in Cizre was partially lifted on its 79th day.


Families Return to Shattered Kurdish Town of Cizre – 'A Second Kobani' A photo-series pointing to the staggering level of destruction in Cizre.


War in Syria


The Moment of Truth for Turkey and the EU Joost Lagendijk discusses Turkey-EU negotiations over refugee policy, observing that the government will need to crack-down on human trafficking if it is to gain the visa-free travel concessions it desires.


For Turkey Which is the Lesser Evil: ISIS or the Kurds? In discussing the government campaign against the PKK and PYD that has killed “at least 224 civilians” in six months, Amberin Zaman wonders if “the AKP may feel more comfortable co-habiting with ISIS than with the people best equipped to beat them.” (Interview VIDEO)


How Much Support Did Turkey Provide to Syrian Opposition? Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian civil war is leaving it increasingly isolated as Russia makes overtures to Turkish allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, explains Semih Idiz.


Who is TAK and Why Did It Attack Ankara? To learn more about whether TAK, the organization that has claimed responsibility for the recent Ankara bombing, is tied to the PKK, Mahmut Bozarslan asks sources close to the PKK. They suggest it is organizationally separate but ideologically linked.


How Syria's Earliest Refugees Are About to Become Turkish Citizens Mehmet Çetingüleç considers the political implications of the 1.9 million Syrians who might be eligible for citizenship by 2019 when elections will be held. He suggests their votes may go to the AKP.


Domestic Politics


The MHP's Potential Return to Radicalism Mahmut Övür discusses the increasingly fractious MHP, in which more radical members are challenging Devlet Bahçeli’s leadership.


Veiled Women Still Suffer From Feb 28 Measures Meryem İlayda Atlas observes that, despite government efforts to expand their rights since 2003, “Turkey's largest companies, including Koç and Sabancı Holdings along with multinationals such as Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble notably refuse to hire women who wear headscarves for executive positions.”


Economics of Feb 28: Turkey's Post-Modern Coup Sadık Ünay, writing for Daily Sabah, criticizes the days—i.e. circa 1997—when powerful elites allied with the military were able to use the state to seize banks and corporations and then sell them off to their friends.


Turkey's AKP Forms Plans for Stronger Presidency Reporting for Reuters, Orhan Coskun and Ercan Gurses describe AKP proposals for a presidential system.


The Narrowing Scope for Democratic Politics in Turkey Nuray Mert criticizes both the AKP and the HDP for being hostile toward criticism and, in so doing, limiting the domain for democratic debate in Turkey.


Foreign Policy


Erdogan's Conquest of Africa Focusing on Turkey’s increased military cooperation with African countries, Metin Gürcan observes that the Turkish military is gaining valuable training opportunities through these missions.


Will Africa Cheer up Turkey’s Troubled Exporters? Mehmet Çetingüleç discusses Turkish efforts to develop new trade opportunities in Africa, but casts doubt on the possibility that these will make up for losses in other markets like Russia.


Why The Natural Gas Trade Is Good for Turkey-Israel Ties Volkan Emre and Barın Kayaoğlu assert that the development of a natural gas trade between Turkey and Israel could be a useful tool to achieve diplomatic rapprochement as well as to achieve greater regional stability.


The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal and The Kurdish Issue According to Ebubekir Işık, the European Union’s anxieties over the refugee crisis, which led them to sign an agreement with the Turkish government on containing refugees, has made European governments turn a blind eye to the egregious human rights violations against the Kurds.  


Turkey Is The Sick - but Still Strong - Man of Europe Menelaos Tzafalias asserts that the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees is a necessary element of preserving balance and stability in the Middle East as well in south and southeastern Europe.


Other Pertinent Pieces


Elif Shafak on Turkey’s Turmoil: ‘Intimidation and Paranoia Dominates the Land’ The famous author pens a scathing critique of the situation in Turkey, describing a “depressed” society—perhaps worse than in the 1990s, since this “despair comes in the wake of years of optimism.”


Don’t Sacrifice Turkey to Save Syria Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the president of the International Crisis Group, argues that “western governments must get their own policies in tune with one another” lest the confusion exacerbate problems in Turkey.


Green Activists, and Their Livestock, Send Turkish Miners Packing Şükrü Küçükşahin details the standoff in Artvin between environmental activists and Cengiz Holding, a mining company close to the president, which hopes to operate in Cerattepe.


“A Dream of Utopia in ISIS’ Backyard” - Cihan Tuğal on Turkey's Neo-Fascism A summary of two new articles by Berkely sociology professor and Jadaliyya editor (!) CihanTuğal. The first discussing how both Europe and Turkey are exploiting refugees; the second dealing with the government’s increasing authoritarianism.




Crackdown on Journalists


Son yazı? Ahmet Turan Alkan pens a last-minute column before the police arrive at the office of his newspaper, Zaman. [Article originally posted on Zaman, but since Saturday, the link, like all Zaman links, leads to “Could Not Find Page”]


Fethullah Gülen: Bir 28 Şubat hikayesi Recalling how Fethullah Gülen refrained from criticizing the crackdown on pious politicians and Islamic movements in 1997, Oral Çalışlar suggest that all of us—including the current government—can learn lessons from past coups.


Zaman'a kayyum ve yakında yaşanacak süreç Star columnist Cem Küçük accuses Feza Gazetecilik of being part of a sprawling terrorist organization run by Fethullah Gülen, responsible crimes including the murder of Hrant Dink, and of which journalists like Can Dündar are “soul-selling agents.”


Şimdi bizim patron kim? Cumhuriyet columnist Aydın Engin questions whether the “terrorist” epithet tossed at the Gülen movement is warranted. He also mocks commentators, like Halil Berktay, who suggest that his paper is a tool of Hizmet.

Şu Zaman Meselesi After pointing out Zaman’s past manipulations of the news, Cumhuriyet columnist Güray Öz points out that papers like Taraf were also at fault and then suggests readers see the paper’s seizure as “part of a larger fight” the government is waging against the media.


Dili geçmiş Zaman In the wake of the government seizure of Zaman, İrfan Aktan examines the newspaper’s previous approach to opposition politics—such as the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party—and wonders whether solidarity with Zaman is really appropriate.


Kurdish Politics & Violence in the Southeast


Hesap sorulmayacak mı? Emin Çölaşan accuses the government of provoking violence in the southeast by even talking with the PKK in the first place.


Devlet yeterince hukuk dışına çıkmadı mı, hâlâ daha ne istiyorsunuz? Discussing a draft law that would only allow soldiers to be prosecuted for excessive use of force or for torture if the President gave permission, Hasan Cemal draws parallels with the human rights violations against the Kurds over the 1990s.


İmralı Notları: Masa son olaylarla değil, sürecin başındaki pürüzler yüzünden devrildi (1) - (2) Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu discusses a recent book that contains the proceedings of meetings of a HDP delegation with Abdullah Öcalan, including the tensions, disagreements, and expectations in those meetings.


Sur izlenimleri: Bakır tele ismini yazan çocuklar Leyla Alp laments the fact that children in the Sur district of Diyarbakır are wearing necklaces with wires in the shape of their names, in case they are killed and their bodies are not recognizable.


Cizre'nin resimleri Nurcan Baysal uses three photographs from the destroyed city of Cizre to plead for more attention and more outcry from people outside of Cizre who don’t understand the on-the-ground conditions.


Acil bir yazı: Demirtaş’ın Sur’a yürüme çağrısı Addressing her readers “urgently,” Oya Baydar calls for people to march to Sur district and to support the march from afar.


79 gün sonra Cizre In this photo-essay from the streets of Cizre, Vecdi Erbay accompanies a group of MPs and activists to see how people are trying to make sense of the chaos and destruction wrought by the Turkish military.


Bir "skandal" analizi Bedri Adanır describes how the pro-government media reported a Kurdish mother’s anger against the government for the death of her child as a “scandal,” claiming that the real scandal lies in the government’s unabashed admission that it killed her daughter.


Duvar yazılarındaki faşizm Mehmet Yeşiltepe compares the discourse in the graffiti spraypainted by police and gendarmerie special forces on walls throughout Kurdish cities with historical instances of fascist discourse in Franco Spain and Nazi Germany.  


Domestic Politics


Erdoğan-Gül çatlağı… Hasan Cemal suggests that the differences between the president and other AKP founders may be growing.


Yeni anayasa yapacaklar öyle mi? Aman Allah korusun… Murat Sevinç argues that what Turkey needs is not a “new” constitution, but a “democratic” constitution. That the government does not make this distinction is merely another sign of its authoritarian tendencies.


Bir memlekete ‘hukuk’ ile zulmetmek Murat Sevinç defends the Constitutional Court decision to release Dündar and Gül, and he wonders how a president can not just dislike but say he will not comply with a court decision.




"Her ölüm erken ölümdür" Füsun Erdoğan writes a eulogy for activist Sultan Seçik, a woman whom she knew while they were political prisoners together, and describes the legacy she left behind for other revolutionary feminists.


Published on Jadaliyya


Humanism and Its Others

Sevan Nisanyan icin izan talep ediyoruz! / The Sevan Nisanyan Question

Can the Kurdish Question Be Settled by Killing People in Sur?

In Turkey, the Regime Slides from Soft to Hard Totalitarianism

Letter to Turkish PM Davutoglu Expressing Serious Concern Over Investigation and Prosecution of Scholars Who Are Signatories of the Peace Petition

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