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Turkey Media Roundup (March 29)

[Diyarbakir, March 15. Image by Mahmut Bozarslan] [Diyarbakir, March 15. Image by Mahmut Bozarslan]


Violence in Turkey

Bosporus 'Bulls' Defy Terrorist Threat Kerim Karakaya reports that investors remain positive about Turkey as an investment prospect, having factored the country’s instability into their calculations over the course of 2015.

The Wrong Mindset to Fight Terrorism Yasin Aktay, member of parliament for the AKP, claims that the differential mourning for terrorist attacks in Turkish cities versus those in Europe is rooted in the fact that Europeans are “nonchalant towards PKK terrorism.”

Mathematics of Terrorism Hatice Karahan calls for more scientific approaches to the question of terrorism, particularly the use of computer modeling that, according to her, can prevent acts of terrorism before they happen.

What Europe Does Not Understand, How Does The Ecosystem of Terror Work? Kemal Öztürk compares the global circulation of terror to processes of evolution and adaptation in nature, concluding that ISIS, the PKK, and the DHKP-C are all working together.

Don't Be #Ankara! Following an ISIS-linked suicide-bombing in Istanbul, Daily Sabah columnist Hilal Kaplan criticizes the EU for differentiating between ISIS (which it condemns) and the PKK (which it permits). She points in particular to the anti-war march in London (see HERE and HERE) where a few protesters held posters of the Ankara bomber Abdulbaki Sömer (see HERE).

PKK Follows in DAESH's Footsteps Following the ISIS-linked suicide bombing in Istanbul, Daily Sabah columnist Burhanettin Duran argues not only that the PKK and ISIS are equivalent due to their acceptance of violent methods, but that the PKK is the greater problem for Turkey since its leaders are increasingly articulating a discourse of separatism.

A New Collective Terror Concept  Writing for Yeni Şafak, Abdülkadir Selvi claims that “PKK leader Cemil Bayık and parallel structure head Fetullah Gülen are arm-in-arm” in a war of terror against Turkey.

Government Crackdown on Dissent: General

Turkey Drafts ‘Academic Terrorism’ Regulation The blog Radikal Demokrat discusses new government-designed legislation that will give the Higher Education Authority more latitude to punish academics for speech with which the government disagrees. 

In Erdoğan’s Turkey, Everyone Is a Terrorist Writing for Foreign Policy, Zia Weise argues that the Turkish government is using the term “terrorist” too broadly, applying it to any group in society with which it does not agree. 

In Turkey, Freedom of Expression Early Casualty of “Anti-Terror” Campaign Howard Eissenstat reviews recent abuses of human rights in Turkey including the trials of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül and the detentions—reportedly in solitary confinement—of academics Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya and Kivanc Ersoy.

Do You Really Have to Celebrate Nevruz? Presidential advisor and Daily Sabah columnist İlnur Çevik argues that the HDP and other Kurdish groups are using the annual holiday as an opportunity to incite violence.

Government Crackdown on Dissent: Journalists

Journalists in Turkey's Courts Murat Yetkin follows the shifting dynamics of the court case against Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, in which the court most recently ruled to close hearings to the public.

Holding a Wake for the Turkish Press Emma Daly gives a concise overview of the Turkish government’s recent efforts to limit the range of media coverage relating to ongoing government activities in the southeast.

Turkey Abruptly Closes Espionage Trial of 2 Journalists to Public New York Times writer Ceylan Yeginsu gives a detailed account from the trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

Journalism on Trial Human Rights Watch reviews the Can Dündar and Erdem Gül case, concluding that it is part of a larger effort by the government to “prevent any legal or journalistic scrutiny of Turkish intelligence operations.”

Coup D’état against The Turkish Press Barçın Yinanç contends that the contemporary crackdown on journalists is far different from the crackdown in the wake of the 1980 coup, when according to her, journalists were only pressured by their bosses.

Churches of Diyarbakır also Expropriated Uygar Gültekin discusses the government expropriation of Surp Giragos Church, the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, which leaves Armenians in Diyarbakır with nowhere else to worship.

Foreign Affairs

Is Turkey Ready to Become Europe’s Border Guard? Semih Idiz questions the recent EU-Turkey deal on refugees. Aside from its failings on basic moral grounds (allowing the EU to cherry pick among human beings based on education and other criteria), the deal will be hard to implement due to issues like Turkish recognition of Cyprus, which may be necessary.

EU Deal With Turkey to Send Back Refugees Already on Thin Ice Given Turkey’s unwillingness to recognize refugees as more than temporary “guests,” Kerim Karakaya suggests the country may not meet EU criteria for a “safe third country” as required by the Geneva Conventions. 

Turkey and Israel Closer to Normalizing Ties after Istanbul ISIL Attack Serkan Demirtaş claims that the terrorist attack in downtown Istanbul that claimed the lives of several Israeli citizens is paving the way for a diplomatic detente between the two countries.  

The Question of Federalism in Syria Writing for Daily Sabah, Burhanettin Duran discusses the reaction of Ankara, Damascus and rebel groups to the PYD’s call for a federal system to be introduced in Syria. Although all are hostile, they may change if Moscow and Washington firmly support it. 

Massoud Barzani Vows to Fight Corruption with Same Dedication as KRG has Fought IS  In an interview with Amberin Zaman, KRG President Barzani criticizes the PKK, PYD, and HDP; supports corruption investigations of his own family; and promises to leave office once an independent Kurdistan has been established.


Esmeray: The Untold Story of an Afro-Turk Music Star Kornelia Binicewicz recalls the life and works of the Turkish singer Esmeray, known for such songs as Unutama beni and Gel Teskere.

U.S. Indictment Draws Notice in Turkey The U.S. government’s arrest of Reza Zarrab in Miami for transferring and laundering money for the Iranian government is unlikely to implicate the Turkish government or—given the culling of judges and prosecutors in Turkey—restart investigations in Turkey, writes Emre Peker for the Wall Street Journal.

Let's Call Turkey's New İzmit Bridge the 'Evliya Çelebi Bridge' Caroline Finkel laments the lack of attention in Turkey to the seventeenth century travel writer Evliya Çelebi and argues that the new Gulf of İzmit bridge should be named after him—after all, he once made the trip across.

Turkey Has Two-Headed Government, One Central Bank Chief to Pick Onur Ant discusses the disagreement between the prime minister and president over economic policy: President Erdoğan favors cutting interest rates, but the prime minister’s advisors favor continued “fiscal discipline.”


Domestic Politics

AKP iktidarının yasama dokunulmazlığıyla sorunu Neval Oğan Balkız asserts that the possibility of revoking parliamentary immunity for opposition members of parliament is an “instrumentalization of fear” that will have dire consequences for democratic politics in Turkey.

Akademisyen tecritte, avukatlar hapiste, bombacılar nerede? Pointing to the imprisonment of academics and lawyers while those behind the bombing roam free, Mehveş Evin contends that the Turkish government is waging a “psychological campaign” against academics and lawyers.

Can Dündar'dan tarihi savunma... Yargının bağımsızlık davası The text of journalist Can Dündar’s most recent statement to the court and to the press regarding the case against him and the value of press freedom in a democratic society.

#jesuisankara üzerine Discussing the social media debates about differentially allocated grief and solidarity in the wake of terrorist attacks in Turkey and in Belgium, Erdem Ceydilek claims that a “universal sensitivity” is not only practically impossible, but emotionally impossible in a world that faces such horror so regularly.

Savaşa alışmak: ‘Savaş, barıştır’ Foti Benlisoy argues that the warmongering that has taken place since the June elections of last year is not just an attempt to polarize society, but more importantly, it is an attempt “to paralyze society through a state of perpetual crisis, through a form of collective therapy that traumatizes society, rendering it unthinking and unacting.”

Gerçekler karartılamayacak Ahmet Yaşaroğlu connects a rise in state violence with an increase in global capital’s attacks on the working classes and laboring masses in Turkey.

İç ve dış politika ‘terörle mücadele’ye indirgenirse! İhsan Çaralan claims that the AKP government has collapsed foreign and domestic policy into the “fight against terror,” which only serves to exacerbate the polarizing rhetoric guiding Turkish politics today.

Esra Mungan: Yeter ki barış olsun! Ümit Altaş interviews Esra Mungan, a professor of psychology at Boğaziçi University who was imprisoned for signing the peace petition. At the end of the interview, Mungan says, “I gladly give up every day I spend in prison, that there be peace.

Üniversite memlekettir Meltem Gürle discusses Carlos Quijano, a Uruguayan intellectual who argued that universities are the most important aspect of a country’s existence, and argues that academics must stand up for democracy in the face of government oppression. 

Ensar Vakfı Rape Scandal

Bakan, Ensar Vakfı’nın PR’cısı mı? Mehveş Evin examines the utter indifference of the AKP over the revelation that an instructor in a religious education course at an Ensar Foundation school raped forty-five underage students staying in a dorm, asking what the AKP’s response would be if such events had taken place in a Gülenist school and concluding that the AKP is acting as the Foundation’s public relations firm.

Karaman’daki tecavüzde Ensar’ı ve AKP’yi tartışmak suç mu? Sevda Karaca excoriates the AKP and its supporters, who claim that critics of the Ensar Foundation are not trying to condemn the rape of children, but to delegitimize a religiously-oriented foundation on the basis of its religiosity.

Bir ‘hainlik’ biçimi olarak tecavüzü lanetlemek! Nilgün Tunçcan Ongan claims that the Ensar Foundation scandal, and the support the AKP is receiving in its refusal to disavow the Ensar Foundation, illustrates the psychic and moral deformations inherent in the AKP’s campaign for unconditional support among its base.

AKP, Ensar Vakfını neden korumak zorunda? Ünal Özmen criticizes the way in which pro-government media has downplayed the child abuse which took place at Ensar Foundation. 

Dindar nesil dedikleri nedir? Discussing the accusations that the Ensar Foundation allowed widespread child abuse and rape, Birgün columnist Enver Aysever argues that religious education has produced people like Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu who passively accept the unacceptable.

Kurdish Politics and Violence in the Southeast

Diyarbakır Newrozunun mesajı Reporting from Diyarbakır’s Newroz celebrations last weekend, Vecdi Erbay claims that the Newroz message from the Kurds of Diyarbakır was a call for the reinitiation of peace talks and for the right to self-governance.

Asıl 'güvenlik sorunu', 'terörle mücadele!' Vedat İlbeyoğlu suggests that we can only answer the question of how to end the war when we first ask the question of how and why the war started in the first place.

Hafriyat kamyonlarında taşınan Sur Bedri Adanır describes the government expropriation of Sur district in Diyarbakır, as a part of which the government has ordered bulldozers to remove the rubble of homes, belongings left behind, and the other detritus of the siege on Sur, dumping it all into a pit on the outskirts of Diyarbakır.

Sur yeni hikâyeler biriktiriyor Vecdi Albay narrates his experience returning to Sur district in the days following the end of the twenty-four hour martial curfews, profiling tradesmen and residents and attesting to their tenacity and resolve.

TAK nedir ve kimlerden oluşur? Amed Dicle discusses the “Kurdistan Freedom Hawks” (Teyrêbazên Azadiya Kurdistan, or TAK), who took responsibility for bombings in Ankara in February and March. Dicle shows that TAK has animosity towards the PKK and Abdullah Öcalan and that the PKK has no ability to control TAK’s tactics, its targets, or its attacks.

On örgüt birleşmiş Hüseyin Şengül problematizes the formation of a new coalition of ten leftist, communist, socialist, and radical political groups, including the PKK, claiming that the political change these groups want to see needs to be waged through the HDP as an existing and democratically legitimate organization.

“Birlik ve beraberliğimiz”i kimler yok ediyor? Oya Baydar decries the violence that is consuming the the lives of all people in Turkey and calls for a cessation of violence.

Cizre ve Sur için sekiz şiddetindeki deprem bile utandı! Aysel Sağır surveys the damage wrought--both to buildings and, more importantly, to human lives--in Cizre in Sur after military operations have been declared over and curfews lifted. Even now, six Sur neighborhoods remain off limits to reporters.

Sur’da kamulaştırma kararına isyan: ‘Kültürel ve sosyal soykırım uygulanıyor’ Burcu Karakaş describes the dissatisfaction with and resistance against the “rush expropriation” of seventy percent of Sur district by the government, of which municipal politicians had no prior knowledge and which constitutes a “civil coup against the people’s will” in Diyarbakır.

Newroz’un “iyileştirici” hâli! Şeyhmus Diken describes the risks associated with attending Diyarbakır’s Newroz celebrations this year—including the possibility of further suicide bombing—and claims that the gathering worked like a salve to heal collective wounds and trauma.

Barbarları beklerken Though the damage to Sur district’s famous Sülüklü Han, a centuries-old gathering space for leftists, dissidents, and intellectuals, can be repaired, according to Bircan Değirmenci, its inclusion within the list of properties that the government will expropriate will destroy its place within the culture of the city.

Refugee Deal

AB-Türkiye anlaşması ve mültecilerin unutulan insan hakları Rıza Türmen evaluates the recent EU-Turkey agreement to allow the return of refugees to Turkey according to international human rights law and argues that Turkey provide sufficient guarantees protection for those returned.

AB-Türkiye anlaşması mülteci hukuku açısından ne anlama geliyor? Cavidan Soykan argues that the EU-Turkey agreement frames Turkey as a safe and secure gatekeeper for the EU, which will have long-term deleterious effects on EU countries.


Paralel'in Zarrab tuzağı (1) (2) Sabah columnist Mahmut Övür suggests various explanations for the US attorney’s arrest of Reza Zarrab, including the influence of the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization,” and US-Iranian power struggles.

Zarrab bağlantıları Tolga Tanış discusses the connections between Reza Zarrab and firms linked to the Iranian military. He also suggests that the American investigation may find more incriminating connections as it continues to untangle his web of associates.

Suriye Kürtleri ve federalizm açıklaması (I) Karar columnist Galip Dalay discusses the efforts of Syrian Kurds to gain greater autonomy in the face of Arab nationalists in both the Asad regime and the opposition movements.

Belçika’ya sevinecek miyiz? Karar columnist Mehmet Ocaktan cautions against the “shameful” notion that Europeans are somehow getting their comeuppance for years of humoring groups like the PKK.

Türkiye, Suriye politikasında U-dönüşüne mi hazırlanıyor? Akdoğan Özkan suggests that Turkey’s relations with Russia and Iran may be softening as shared economic (natural gas) and security (Kurdish autonomy) bring the government’s closer together.


Yeni Şafak'ın Facebook sayfasının kapatılmasının nedeni sahte beğenilermiş Füsun Sarp Nebil discusses Facebook’s accusations that the pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak is manipulating its “Like” statistics.

Published on Jadaliyya

“Cleaning out the Ghettos” - Urban Governance and the Remaking of Kurdistan

Urgent Call for Solidarity with Academics in Turkey (Letter to the US Department of State)

New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

Entertainment and Consumption: The Impending Destruction of the Armenian Memorial Trchnotz Puyn

On a Day of a March…

Humanism and Its Others

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