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Turkey Media Roundup (April 5)

[U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2016. State Department photo/ Public Domain] [U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2016. State Department photo/ Public Domain]

[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.]


Erdogan's US Visit

Erdoğan's Uncomfortable US Visit Semih İdiz writes of the US' displeasure over anti-democratic developments in Turkey, mainly the oppression of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Erdogan Uses Closed-Door Meeting to Blast Obama Administration John Hudson reports on President Erdogan’s off-the-record dinner with the Washington think-tank-crowd and his efforts to emphasize the importance of Turkey to the US government. No White House representatives attended the event.

Coverage of President Erdoğan’s visit (and his body-guards’ aggressive behavior) in The Guardian and the Washington Post.

Turkish Bodyguards Take Washington by Force Fehim Taştekin reports that after assaulting a deputy in Ecuador, Turkish President Erdoğan’s bodyguards this time terrorized the media and protesters in Washington.

Representative accounts of Erdoğan’s trip from Daily Sabah include Erdoğan's US Visit Rejuvenates Turkey's Middle-Power Politics (by Sadık Ünay) and Erdoğan's Washington Visit Enlightens US on Fables (by Hilal Kaplan).

Thank you Mr. President! Aydin Ünal argues that Erdoğan was received in much love and enthusiasm in the US.  

Erdogan's March to Dictatorship in Turkey Dexter Filkins hopes that "President Obama skips the diplomatic language and goes straight to the point: that any leader who jails journalists—and arms Al Qaeda and bombs the Kurds and jails his opponents—is no friend of the United States."

Ensar Vakfı Rape Scandal

Abusing Turkey’s Children Sexually and Mentally Özgür Korkmaz blames the education system that has been changed to the core by the AKP for producing predators disguised as teachers and imams who sexually abuse children.

‘If You Lost Your Virginity, Then You Cannot Marry’ Melis Alphan touches upon the obstacles and neglect in the struggle against violence and sexual abuse against women and children.

Kurdish Politics

New Turkey-PKK Peace Talks: An Inevitability Postponed Nigar Göksel and Berkay Mandıracı call on both the Turkish state and the PKK to return to the negotiation table in order to put an end to violence and offer suggestions for a successful negotiation process.

Turkey: No to Terrorism, No to Double Standards AKP Member of Parliament Kani Torun calls the US and European countries that support PYD to act in principle against all kinds of terrorism, and warns them that if they collaborate with a terror group for whatever reason, it will eventually harm them.

Turkey’s Crackdown Swells the Ranks of Kurdish Militants Piotr Zalewski reports from Cizre as civilians try to return to their daily lives in the aftermath of government operations. Neighborhoods like Cudi have “been reduced to a wasteland of buildings torn apart by artillery fire and overturned cars.”

Is Turkey's Lax Oversight Keeping PKK Flush with Funds? According to Pınar Tremblay, while the Turkish public is asked to mobilize against PKK terror, the government’s efforts to curtail PKK financing and money laundering remain mediocre.

Why PKK Shifted to Urban Warfare Mahmut Bozarslan points out that many people couldn’t understand why the PKK resorted to trench-barricade warfare in cities, and that some say the PKK was misled by reports of its militias who claimed people were ready to join an uprising.

Domestic Politics

Turkey to See More Ballot Boxes This Year Ali Sökmen argues that the government has a great deal to gain from even more elections this year; not only are “opposition parties are at their weakest state in a decade and are beset by internal leadership struggles,” but the government has also significantly raised the minimum wage.

What is the news like on Turkish TV? The blog James in Turkey look at the largely undifferentiated message coming from Turkey’s nightly news programs, concluding only Fox’s Fatih Portakal interjects a bit of useful commentary. The fact that “more viewers watch his bulletin than any other” suggests “there is an audience for his style.”

Mechanisms of Control: How Turkey is Criminalizing Dissent and Muzzling the Press A detailed report from the Bipartisan Policy Center argues that the Turkish government’s “attacks on the media are part of a larger strategy of dismantling any institutions . . .capable of acting as a check on the AKP’s power.” Full report HERE.

Military Wipes Its Hands of Turkish Politics Metin Gürcan notes that rumors and denials of a possible coup by the Turkish military are a symptom of the malignant political atmosphere in the country.

Turkey’s Deteriorating Security-Freedom Balance Serkan Demirtaş notes that Turkey has lost its security-freedom balance in the wake of terrorist attacks.

Ambiguity in Women’s Policies Gila Benmayor writes that the government's way of dealing with the women’s issues, such as women’s employment, violence against women, and gender justice, is highly ambiguous.

Turkey's Erdoğan Openly Embraces His Naked Ambition Metin Gürcan reports that President Erdogan tells potential military leaders about his goal of becoming a functioning — not symbolic — commander-in-chief.

The Last Hope of Turkey’s Lazy Democrats Nuray Mert calls on everyone to take action against the government's authoritarian measures before all aspects of social and political life will deteriorate. 

Foreign Policy

Why the West Must Embrace Turkey, Not Push It Away Luke Coffey argues that in the face of Russian aggression and ISIS terrorism, NATO needs Turkey.

Reza Zarrab Paying Price of Challenging US Financial Hegemony Daily Sabah columnist Mahmut Övür argues that the US indictment of Reza Zarrab has “little to do with Turkey—except the fact that Turkey had actively contributed to a global rebellion against U.S. financial hegemony in 2010.”

Illegal Mass Returns of Syrian Refugees Expose Fatal Flaws in Europe-Turkey Deal Amnesty reports the Turkish government is sending hundreds of refugees back to Syria—generally (but not always) unregistered Syrians. Simultaneously, the government is scaling back registrations.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Today’s Zaman: “Newspaper Not Found” Zeynep Karataş reports on her experience as an editor at Today’s Zaman at the time of its seizure by the government.

In Istanbul, A Major Gentrification Project is Hyped Via Its Own Museum Exhibition Paul Osterland reports on the gentrification of Hacıhüsrev, a historically-Roman neighborhood in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, which is being demolished by Polat Holding to make room for new apartments and offices.

The $31 Luxury-Hotel Rooms That Are Spooking Turkish Banks Isobel Finkel reports on the decline in Turkey’s tourism industry over the past year. With the number of Russian tourists in sharp decline, the industry is expected to shrink by $10 billion compared with last year.

Should They Stay or Should They Go? Turkey Leaves Foreign Investors at Odds  Mehmet Çetingüleç writes that short-term foreign investors staged their biggest flight from Turkey last year, while foreign direct investments shot up to a seven-year high.


Crackdown on Academics

Figen Yüksekdağ'dan Esra Mungan'a mektup A letter written by HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ to imprisoned academic Esra Mungan, reminding her that “we are all strengthened by your commitment, and the commitment of all those dignified academics calling for peace.”

Bir akademisyenin tutukluluk izlenimleri Imprisoned signatory of the peace petition and professor of history Muzaffer Kaya writes a letter from prison in which he discusses his living conditions and time behind bars so far.

Başbakan’a alkış Cumhuriyet columnist Ali Sirmen compliments Prime Minister Davutoğlu’s willingness to disagree with the prosecution of Esra Mungan.

Ensar Vakfı Rape Scandal

Çocuğa cinsel istismar suçuna ortak olmayalım Seda Akço and Bürge Akbulut present a comprehensive analysis of children's sexual abuse in Turkey, including institutional and personal responsibilities as well as legal loopholes in the juridical system.

Karaman vakası: bir vakfın sorumluluğu nasıl örtbas edilmek istendi? Burcu Karakaş criticizes the government's attempts to whitewash Ensar Foudantion’s responsibility in the rape scandal.  

Kurdish Politics

Her yer orta sınıf, her yer izleyiş Filiz Gazi discusses the tensions between the desire to romanticize resistance in Kurdistan from afar and the difficulties of continuing everyday life that are rampant across Kurdish cities in Turkey.

Kalbinin her yerinden kanar Amed Özlem Durmaz Mungan writes, “For some people, Diyarbakır is an Armenian city; for others, it’s Kurdish. For some people it’s Diyarbakır; for others it’s Diyâru Bekr/Diyarbekir; and for still others it’s Amed. For some, it’s a cultural mosaic; for others, it’s an assemblage of pain. The Diyarbakır I know? I don’t really know anymore.”

Sur, Metropoldür… Şeyhmus Diken laments the government’s decision for an “emergency expropriation” of two thirds of the land in Diyarbakır for the sake of producing “new life” in the city, highlighting the fact that it is a well-established “dissident metropolitan political city.”

Suriçi'nde yarı-ablukada yaşam Elif İnce presents a photo-essay of “life under half-blockade in Suriçi,” showing that people are trying to get back to living their lives.

Nusaybin’de vali-asker uyumsuzluğu Sözcü columnist Saygı Öztürk looks at the high number of soldiers who have died during operations in Nusaybin and concludes that it stems from a lack of coordination between the governor’s office and the military.

Domestic Politics

Yeni anayasada egemenliğin çerçevesi ne olmalı? Kürşad Zorlu analyzes the question of national sovereignty in new constitution writing debates.

Üst akıl savunması ve yeni kırılma noktası Murat Somer writes that the government has been responding to all criticisms against its anti-democratic and unlawful practices by invoking a "superior mind" that allegedly tries to organize a coup and overthrow the AKP government.

AKP iktidarı değerlendirmelerinde es geçilen nokta Hüseyin Şengül argues that “a government’s network of economic relations are the most important grounds of defining its political attitudes.”

Çocuklara cinsel istismarın arkasında da AKP’nin Meclis diktatörlüğü var Nasuh Mahruki lists off the staggering number of investigation requests that the government has rejected. These range from the recent child abuse at the Ensar Foundation to the deaths of miners in Soma, chemicals used against Gezi protesters, various bombings, female labor force participation, the hostage crisis at the Iraq embassy, and so on.

Darbe lafı AKP’ye yarar! Emre Kongar argues against talk of military intervention—even if elected officials are effectively carrying out a coup—pointing out how the 1960 coup “poisoned” Turkish politics. Rather than the military, universal law and the Constitutional Court are the nation’s protection.

Foreign Policy

ABD Tek Taraflılığı ve Türk-Amerikan İlişkileri Kılıç Buğra Kanat argues that Turkey-US relations entered a serious crisis as a result of conflicts around Turkey's Syrian policy and the US' support for YPG.

Muhaliflere ve iktidarcılara hafif sert bir sesleniş Following a fifty-minute meeting between Erdoğan and Obama, Ahmet Hakan mocks government critics who hoped that Obama would not meet with Erdoğan and government supporters who accused Obama of being a terrorist “mastermind.”

Other Pertinent Pieces

Silahlar sussa da savaşın kiri kalıcı According to Bülent Şık, the destruction of the natural and built environments in Turkey, Kurdistan, and Syria will have drastic environmental and public health consequences that will far outlast the current wars and political regimes.

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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