From the Editors
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Turkey Media Roundup (March 15)
Crackdown on Journalism
After Seizing Zaman Newspaper, What's Next for Turkey? Mustafa Akyol argues that all of Turkish media, not just a few newspapers like Zaman, is under threat by the current regime in Turkey.
Tightening The Grip: Turkey's Media Takeover Al Jazeera’s “The Listening Post” examines the fallout from the government seizure of Zaman newspaper and interviews journalist Can Dündar on the state of media freedom in Turkey.
A Risky Acceleration in Turkish Politics Murat Yetkin suggests that the takeover of Zaman is the latest in Erdoğan’s plan to consolidate power and quash opposition.
Kurdish Reporter Faces Jail Time in Turkey for Twitter and Facebook Posts An editor for Jiyan describes how Hayri Tunç and other Kurdish journalists are facing prosecution by the Turkish government for their reporting.
Zaman Group Used Charity Money for Gains İlnur Çevik, current presidential advisor and former owner of Turkish Daily News, recalls how his “extremely objective and authoritative newspaper” was “pushed into financial disaster by the military in the 1990s” and sold off to the Doğan Group.
Kurdish Politics & Violence in Southeast Turkey
Turkey’s Kurdish Leader: We Will Struggle On in Parliament ‘Till the End’ Şükrü Küçükşahin from Al-Monitor interviews Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Kurdish politics, ongoing violence in the southeast Turkey, and the future of the peace process under the government's current policies.
With Spread of IS-Like Tactics, Urban Warfare in Turkey Grows Bloodier Mahmut Bozarslan writes that heavy clashes between Turkish security forces and groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) resulted in the destruction of cities and mass migration of residents.
Armenian Animosity Rekindled Through PKK Terror Pınar Tremblay points out that the AKP government's repeated insults that Kurds are considered Armenians are aimed at labeling the pro-Kurdish HDP as non-Muslim, and to justify the heavy attacks on border towns in the southeast of Turkey.
March 8th, International Women's Day
Why Is Erdogan Wary of Women? Pınar Tremblay reports that despite the bans on the celebration of March 8th, International Women's Day, women in Turkey found creative and cheerful methods to circumvent bans, promising to celebrate the day to the fullest in the streets.
Why Turkish Women Are Opting Out of the Workforce According to Riada Asimovic Akyol, a deeply patriarchal culture, work environments unfavorable to a healthy balance with family life, and internalized gender roles keep many women in Turkey uninterested in taking advantage of opportunities to work.
How One Sultan's Harem Is Another's School Pınar Tremblay writes that Turkey's First Lady Emine Erdoğan's praise of the Ottoman harem as a school has disturbed and baffled Turks.
If Turkey Sinks, We All Go with It Semih İdiz wonders how the AKP thinks it can inspire confidence in its authority with the utter chaos reigning throughout Turkey’s political and civil society.
HDP: Lift the Immunities, Build a Safer Future Daily Sabah columnist Yahya Bostan argues that the activities “certain” HDP members are supporting, such as allowing “an armed group to block roads, tax citizens or assault civilians and officials,” are grounds for lifting their parliamentary immunity.
The Rage against The Constitutional Court In the wake of Erdoğan’s denunciations of the Constitutional Court for freeing journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, Mustafa Akyol speculates about potential efforts to curb the autonomy of the court and the consequences that would have for democracy in Turkey.
Is Another Regime Crisis Awaiting Turkey? Daily Sabah writer Fahrettin Altun explains that, since the president is now elected by the public, there is a “crisis” between the executive and the bureaucracy. Yet the debate to solve this problem as the president has proposed has been “criminalized” by the opposition parties.
Davutoğlu on The Eve of Critical Decisions under Erdoğan Pressure Serkan Demirtaş writes about meetings among senior AKP officials, in which they discuss the security situation in the southeast, the prospect of lifting parliamentary immunity for HDP MPs, and the Constitutional Court controversy.
The Sound of Footsteps: Erdoğan’s New Enemies Within Gareth Jenkins discusses the growing tensions within the AKP but doubts that there is “any indication that [Gül] has yet formulated a detailed strategy for taking the offensive against Erdoğan.”
Davutoglu Attempts to Get Back to Zero Problems With Iran Semih İdiz notes that Prime Minister Davutoğlu's efforts to restore Turkey's relations with Iran, mostly due to economic reasons, could easily be undermined by an unpredictable harsh statement by President Erdoğan.
EU Fears Kurdish Flow Rather Than Turkish Flow Barçın Yinanç claims that EU countries are wary of coming to an agreement for visa-free travel with the Turkish government because they are afraid that Kurds will flee Turkey en masse due to the situation in the southeast.
Syria’s Dark Shadow Over US-Turkey Relations Henri Barkey argues that the distance between Turkish and American objectives in Syria had widened tremendously since the rise of ISIL.
Turkey's Plan on the Refugee Deal Leaves EU under stress The government is not “dehumanizing the refugee issue and using it as a bargaining chip,” as critics suggest, but rather “maintaining a principled but defensive position” given the EU’s minuscule contribution to solving the issue, argues Daily Sabah’s Sadık Ünay.
The Dark Side of The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Kenan Malik contends that the European Union has criminalized migrants and increased border security since the 1990s, and that the current deal struck with Turkey will only serve to amplify those measures.
EU-Turkey: Is Refugee Issue a New Membership Criterion? According to Cengiz Aktar, the current refugee deal shows that “Turkey is no more than a third party for the EU to deal with on project by project basis”
Turkey's Move Likely to Shift Balances within EU (1) - (2) Murat Yetkin describes the disagreement among various EU governments about the refugee plan struck between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Erdoğan.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Turkish Military Struggles to Find New Recruits Metin Gürcan points to serious structural problems, including inadequate recruitment, in the Turkish Armed Forces.
The 3rd Bridge Writing for Daily Sabah, Beril Dedeoğlu laments that “many people are looking at [the third bridge] only from the angle of it being a successful construction project” and are failing to see the symbolic role it can play in bringing East and West together where the first two bridges have failed.
Mystery 'Dude' Rattles Turkish Stock Traders With Massive Bets Bloomberg financial writers discuss the “Dude,” an investor (or group of investors) who has made giant investments in the Turkish stock market, single-handedly raising trading volume by 8% this year.
Ankara saldırısında hayatını kaybedenlerin hikayeleri The BBC provides some brief biographies for some of the victims from Sunday’s bombing in Ankara.
O Meydan Ertuğrul Özkök recalls meaningful moments that he has spent in Kızılay Square and calls on people to join together “end terror.”
Türkiye’nin önündeki son kavşak Expressing nostalgia for the op-eds written several years ago about Turkey’s potential descent into authoritarianism, Levent Gültekin describes the disjunction between Turkey’s constitution and the government’s political practices.
AYM'nin Dündar ve Gül kararı evrensel standartlara uygundur Tolga Şirin, professor of constitutional law at Marmara University, examines the Constitutional Court’s decision to release Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, finding it to be in keeping with universal human rights standards.
AK Parti demokratikleşmede geri adım atar mı? Karar columnist Mehmet Ocaktan points out that the AKP’s 2010 legal reforms were beneficial, but also created tools that pre-AKP elite-allies (i.e. Can Dündar) could misuse.
MHP bu kaos ortamından ancak Devlet Bey'le çıkar Ahmet Hakan interviews Deniz Bölükbaşı about the current leadership challenge within the MHP. He argues for the MHP to adopt a “new strategy and discourse.”
Devleti kim yönetiyor? Nami Temeltaş recalls the removal of parliamentary immunity for several Kurdish MPs in the 1990s and criticizes parliament for its utter refusal to investigate human rights violations and to apply the law.
Kürt siyasetçilere "dokunulmazlık" şantajı İbrahim Genç speculates on the possibility of HDP’s removal from parliament, arguing that it would not “give a positive message to the Kurds.”
‘Biz terörist miyiz?’ Yusuf Karataş draws attention to how the government's use of "terrorist" label forecloses the possibility of an alliance between working classes and the Kurdish movement.
MHP bu süreçten nasıl çıkacak? Prof. Recai Coşkun points out that Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) does not know how to organize itself as more participatory, inclusive and transparent party that can attract different segments of society.
Kurdish Politics & Violence in Southeast Turkey
İmralı Notları kitabından: Başbakan'ın yakasına yapış, "Savaş olacak, Apo daha fazla tutamaz" de! Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu continues his examination of the recently released book about the meetings between Abdullah Öcalan and the HDP, concluding that the book shows to what degree the opportunities for negotiation and reconciliation have been squandered.
Arife Doğan, kardeşi Mazlum Doğan'ı anlatıyor (1) - (2) In conjunction with the opening of an exhibition about women in Diyarbakır prison, Bircan Değirmenci speaks to Arife Doğan, sister to Mazlum Doğan, a Kurdish activist who hanged himself in Diyarbakır prison, and Delal Doğan, who died fighting against the Turkish military.
Çatışmaların otopsisi: Silopi örneği Metin Gürcan diagnoses the degree to which military operations in Silopi attained their goal, concluding that it is likely the government did not get rid of the PKK but simply made their presence “more foggy.”
HDP’lilerin dokunulmazlığı niçin kaldırılıyor? Levent Gültekin contends that the prospect that the AKP government might revoke parliamentary immunity for HDP MPs is proof that they are less interested in resolving the Kurdish question than in consolidating and strengthening its hold over power.
Cizre'den izlenimler: Cizîr mala me ye (1) - (2) Yüksel Genç writes about the destruction of the city of Cizre, the lack of food and water, and the efforts by individuals and families to patch their lives back together.
Yüz günün yalnızlığı! Şeyhmus Diken writes about the end of the twenty-four hour martial lockdown in Sur district of Diyarbakır just hours shy of one hundred days and on the forty-fifth anniversary of the 1971 military coup.
Evlerin dışından, evlerin içine bir algı (1) - (2) Bedri Adanır argues that the current mindset governing in Turkey is one in which Kurdish mothers can be accused of giving birth to terrorists and Kurdish children can be accused of eventual terrorism.
Cizre izlenimleri - Üç kısa belgesel Ümit Kıvanç provides links to three short documentaries about Cizre, two by Fatih Pınar and one by Kazım Kızıl.
March 8th, International Women's Day
Kadınlar Günü ve Cumhurbaşkanı'nın gözyaşları Yılmaz Murat Bilican draws attention to President Erdoğan's appeal to emotions, tears, and compassion whenever he talks about women issues, although his war policies continue to create suffering and pain in many women's lives.
Türk tipi başkanlıktan Türk tipi kadın haklarına Oya Baydar criticizes President Erdoğan's promotion of "Turkish-style women's rights."
Kadınların eşitlik talebi Erdoğan’ı neden geriyor? "Why does women's demand for equality bother President Erdoğan?" asks Mehveş Evin.
Zulme karşı öfkesi isyana dönüşen kadınlarla gelecek bahar… Summarizing the alarming situation of women's rights, freedom, and equality in contemporary Turkey, Hürrem Sönmez argues it is still women who will resist against and eventually break down this oppression.
Erkek devlet, bıyıklı anayasa ve bayanlar (!)… Murat Sevinç points to the gender disparity in government offices, and criticizes the lack of women's participation in decision-making and recent constitution-writing processes and debates.
8 Mart Dünya Emekçi Kadınlar Günü kutlu olsun! İhsan Çaralan reminds readers that the AKP government has attacked women’s movements and struggles through various means.
Kadınlara selam olsun Nilay Etiler argues that the government is attacking the increasing visibility and power of women, because it is women who are resisting the government's anti-environmentalist development projects, authoritarian measures, and war policies.
İki parça bez arasında şiddet coğrafyası Nuray Sancar emphasizes that while the AKP government presents itself as the savior of 'veiled women' oppressed by Kemalist-secularist obsessions, it doesn't shy away from attacking veiled women who don't comply with AKP's policies.
Tarihten Kara Fatma portreleri Ayşe Hür highlights the role a number of women have played in the military history of Turkey.
Türkiye-Rusya savaşı boş bir iddia değil, ciddi bir ihtimal Hakan Aksay argues that Turkey-Russia war is not unsubstantiated claim, but indeed a highly likely possibility.
Obama, Erdoğan’la görüşecek mi? Amberin Zaman writes about the US' shifting and not-so-clear stance on the possibility of Turkey's military intervention in Syria.
Suriye ateşkesinde Türkiye ve Kürtler Fehim Işık analyzes Turkey's Syrian policy in relation to the increasing power of Kurdish groups in Syria.
Türkiye-İran ilişkilerinde yeni bir ivme Bayram Sinkaya points out that Prime Minister Davutoğlu's visit to Iran has given a new twist to Turkey-Iran relationship.
Other Pertinent Pieces
Varsın bizi balıklar yesin Nurcan Baysal discusses the kinds of discrimination experienced by Yazidis who fled to Turkey as refugees, as well as the fear they feel living in Turkey, which they see as an ally to the terror of ISIS that they fled.
Bir direniş estetiği olarak hevallerin uçuşu Writing from Diyarbakır D-Type Prison, Özgür Amed praises six other prisoners who escaped on 5 March, asserting that their “fluid energies” were essential to keeping their drive for freedom alive.
Erdoğan kendisine niye Kanuni'yi değil, Fatih'i örnek alıyor? Reflecting on the president’s preference for Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror over Süleyman the Magnificent, Fuat Keyman observes that the latter was interested in “just administration” while the former began a new era—Erdoğan’s ambition of the moment.
Borç tuzağındaki ‘Yeni Türkiye’ Erinç Yeldan worries about Turkey’s economic prospects. Though debt has risen in the years since the economic crisis, incomes has not risen at nearly the same rate.
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