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Turkey Media Roundup (April 19)

[Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Skala Sykamias, Lesbos island, Greece. Image by Georgios Giannopoulos.] [Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Skala Sykamias, Lesbos island, Greece. Image by Georgios Giannopoulos.]

[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.]


Refugees' Deportation

So The Greece Deportations Are Going ‘Smoothly’? Take A Closer Look Apostolis Fotiadis expresses concerns about coercion and force being used during the first flow of refugees deported to Turkey under the new EU-Turkey deal.  

Is The Migrants' Deportation from Greece Legal? In this segment of Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story,” Başak Kale, Yves Pascouau, and Bill Frelick discuss the concerns being raised by the UN and other international legal bodies about the EU-Turkey refugee deal.

Desperate Refugees Still Struggling to Reach Greece Zeina Khodr reports that since the EU-Turkey deal came into force, EU statistics show more than 6,000 refugees made dangerous journeys to Greece across the Aegean Sea.

Thousands of Afghan Migrants Have Hit a Dead End in Turkey The Economist reports on how Afghan refugees often find themselves stuck in Turkey, given lower priority than nationals of other countries for asylum.

EU-Turkey Readmission Deal: How All Sides Have Lost Halil Gürhanlı expresses disgust over the refugee deal, arguing, “The deal with Turkey does not stop at undermining the Europe’s normative power; it also blatantly violates the EU’s own legislation.”

Refugees arrive in Turkish ports to find no more smugglers Zia Weise reports for The Telegraph that Turkey’s crackdown on smugglers has merely driven them further underground and led to dramatically different prices for transit (ranging from $400 to $2000).

Domestic Politics

Seeking ‘His President’s Opposition’ in Turkey Murat Yetkin argues that the AKP is not only trying to increase its vote base by pursuing aggressive policies on the strong presidential system that Erdoğan wants, but is also trying to put wedges between the opposition parties to weaken them.

Is Erdoğan Turkey’s Only Problem? Halil Karaveli critiques the notion that Turkey’s woes are caused solely by Erdoğan’s ambitions for a strong presidency, pointing out the military’s role in stalemating the Erdoğan’s Kurdish initiatives in early 2015 and the opposition party’s similar rejection of any real compromise.

The Islamic State in Turkey: A Deep Dive into a Dark Place Aaron Stein details the way ISIS has expanded its organization in Turkey, developing in an environment where similar groups had been tolerated prior to 2011 and playing off long-standing tensions between groups like Hüda-Par and the PKK.

Turkey Picks New Central Bank Governor The Wall Street Journal reports that investors are welcoming the appointment of “insider” Murat Çetinkaya as the new head of Turkey’s Central Bank. As always, questions remain how he will respond to the president’s demands for lower interest rates.

Downfall of Pro-West Intelligentsia in Turkey This week from Daily Sabah: Fahrettin Altun accuses those Turkish citizens who criticize the government of being “a pro-Western intelligentsia” or, as he prefers it, “a non-national opposition.”

'Imamization' Raising Eyebrows in Turkey Pınar Tremblay reports that the Religious Affairs Directorate has begun subcontracting imams to other government agencies, raising questions about their ultimate purpose.

Nationalist Party May Hold Key to Turkey's Political Future Mustafa Akyol argues that a possible tectonic shift in Turkish politics may come via the MHP's inner-party struggle.

Violence in the Southeast & Peace Process

April Showers Bring … Growing Violence in Southeast Turkey? Metin Gürcan points out that both the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party are feverishly preparing for expected heavy clashes in the spring.

A Prolonged Period of Uncertainty According to Steven Cook, the violence in the Southeast and a prolonged period of uncertainty regarding the peace process will likely contribute to the further institutionalization of the AKP’s power and help Erdoğan establish his much coveted “executive presidency.”

Turkey Needs a Wiser Approach to the PKK Problem Semih İdiz criticizes the government's militaristic solutions to the conflicts with the PKK, and argues that the government will have to return to the peace process eventually if this problem is to have a lasting solution which brings social peace and ethnic amity.

Terrorism Consolidates the Anti-Democratic Climate in Turkey Barçın Yinanç analyzes how the escalating violence in Turkey leads Turkey into an ever-increasing authoritarian state.

Will the Reconciliation Process Resume? Aydın Ünal argues that the peace and reconciliation process "has unarguably ended" and the Turkish state will never take People’s Democratic Party (HDP), "a party under tutelage and threat," as the point of contact again.

Kurdish Lawyers in Turkey: ‘It’s a Reality That My Life is in Danger’ Frederike Geerdink interviews lawyers in Turkey facing arrest and harassment from the state for their willingness to even represent clients accused of terrorism.

Human Rights Abuses

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 10 The Committee to Protect Journalists reports on beatings, detentions, prosecutions, and arrests—in one case for the crime of crossing one’s legs during a government official’s press conference.

2015 Human Rights Report In its annual report on Turkey, the US State Department concludes that “government interference with freedom of expression,” “impunity and weak administration of justice,” and “inadequate protection of civilians” were “the most significant human rights problems during the year.”

Turkish Court Orders 860 Tweets Censored After ISP Boycott Sparked by Child-Rape Scandal Efe Kerem Sözeri reports on Turkish citizens’ efforts to boycott Turkcell—a sponsor of the Ensar Foundation—and the telecom giant’s efforts to block their communications on Twitter.

Free Speech Isn’t the Only Casualty of Erdogan’s Repression “Mr. Erdoğan is targeting our party precisely because we stand in the way of the authoritarian order he is trying to establish,” argues HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş in an op-ed for The New York Times.

Turkey Witnesses 'Unprecedented Onslaught on Critical Media' Zülfikar Doğan writes that since coming to power in 2002, Turkey’s ruling party has employed unprecedented means to expand pro-government media and curb critical media, acting in cooperation with crony businessmen and using public funds.

Academic Freedom Under Threat in Turkey The international scholarly community must take meaningful steps to support Academics for Peace, says Mehmet Uğur.

Foreign Policy

Coverage of the prosecution of Jan Böhmermann—a German comedian who produced a controversial video mocking President Erdoğan— from Human Rights Watch, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal.

The PKK Attacks Turks in Europe Writing for Daily Sabah, Ozan Ceyhun argues that Europeans are angry at President Erdogan for revealing their own failures. He compares German comedian Jan Böhmermann’s recent slander of Erdoğan to Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda and criticizes Germany for letting the PKK attack a recent Grey Wolves rally.

Steps Toward Stabilising Syria’s Northern Border A new report from the International Crisis Group argues that “Turkish, PKK and YPG officials all believe worsening violence could lift their side’s fortunes, at least in the intermediate term.”

Mission Impossible? Triangulating U.S.-Turkish Relations with Syria’s Kurds  Amberin Zaman reports on the failure of Turkish backed rebels to defeat ISIS in border areas where the Turkish government (and the US government) are refusing to support Kurdish action.

First Turkey-Backed Operation Against IS Becomes a Fiasco Fehim Taştekin writes that just days after Turkey-backed groups claimed victory against IS in Syria’s al-Rai, the area has fallen back under the extremist group’s control, supporting claims that cooperation with Kurdish forces is needed to defeat IS.

Erdogan Courts King Salman as New BFF According to Cengiz Çandar, even if Saudi King Salman Abdul-Aziz Al Saud fails to broker a rapprochement between Egypt and Turkey, he still shares many commonalities with Turkey's President Erdoğan, not least their irritation with the US leadership.

Turkey Plays Both Sides in Iran, Saudi Conflict Semih İdiz asks, “does Turkey courting Iran and Saudi Arabia simultaneously mean Ankara is moving away from Sunni-based policies?”

Other Pertinent Pieces

$688 Million Deal Still Leaves Turkey No Country for Small Films Isobel Finkel reports on the current state of the Turkish film industry where independent filmmakers are forced to compete against large studio/theater groups churning out films like “Unconventional Circumcision.”

On the “Demonic Energy & Radiance” of “Mustang” In response to many who see the film Mustang as pure Orientalism, Kaya Genç argues it is unfair to judge the film and its gripping narrative “solely through the perspective of what [it] may or may not represent in the political sphere of Turkey."

Springtime in Istanbul Kaya Genç describes the way fear of terror attacks has gripped the public spaces of Istanbul, leaving once-crowded shopping centers, cinemas, and clubs empty.

Turkey's 'Campus Witches' Take on Sexual Harassers Tülay Çetingüleç introduces Campus Witches, a growing group of feminist university students in Turkey, taking direct and aggressive action to confront men accused of harassment and sexual assault.


Refugees’ Deportation

Sorun Mülteciler Değil Iktidarın Zihniyetidir! Yusuf Karataş points out that the Turkish President Erdogan is planning to use Syrian refugees as a "buffer zone" between the Kurds in Turkey and Rojava.

Mülteciler; ne yapmalı, ne yapmamalı? İbrahim Varlı argues that as much as the government should be criticized for using refugees as a bargaining chip with European states, we must be careful to not let our criticisms become criticisms of refugees themselves.

Domestic Politics

CHP Yılmaz Özdil contrasts the MHP with his own party, arguing real Idealists are challenging the MHP’s failed leadership. The CHP by contrast sticks with electorally unsuccessful leaders and compromises its Kemalist essence.

MHP’nin derin krizi Ruşen Çakır discusses the ongoing split within the MHP as the party heads towards a congress and a highly contested leadership vote. Should there be another snap election, he doubts it will pass the 10% threshold.

CHP ağır yanlış yapıyor Çiğdem Toker cannot believe that opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has come out in favor of lifting parliamentary immunity for deputies—both because he himself says it is not constitutional and because it may allow the AKP to further dominate the parliament.

Aleviler ve AKP’nin yeni asimilasyon araçları Turan Eser criticizes government proposals to support Alevi religious institutions via the Diyanet as a means of coopting and controlling Alevi practices, rather than truly supporting them.

Paralel Yapı'yla mücadelede iki yeni mekanizma For those who feel that the newspaper Hürriyet lacks sufficient mentions of the Pennsylvania-based “parallel structure,” relief is on the way as Yeni Safak columnist Abdülkadir Selvi joins the newspaper.

AK Parti bu değil... Mehmet Ocaktan, the editor of Karar, worries that some supporters of the government are calling for it to use the very sort of tactics that the ruling AKP was—as he fondly remembers it—founded to oppose.

Human Rights Abuses

Avukatların Cizre raporundan: Envanter dışı silahlar, memesi kesilenler, ezilerek öldürülenler… Lawyers' Cizre report after months of curfew reveal the intensity of Turkish military's violence, including the use of unregistered weapons, cutting women's breasts, and smashing people with tanks.

Sur'un Kamulaştırılması: Kültürel Bir Saldırı İbrahim Genç views the government's decree for the expropriation of some 7,000 plots in Sur district after curfews as a cultural attack on the Kurdish people and their history and heritage.

“Son Terörist” Nami Temeltaş provides a glimpse into the Turkish state's militaristic solution to the "terror problem," which end up in the evacuation and burning down of some 3,000 villages, forced displacement of their residents, and unlawful disappearance and killing of more than 20 thousand people in 35 years.

Bu savaşın kimseye zararı yok mu? İrfan Aktan criticizes the main opposition party CHP for simply watching the war between the AKP and the PKK instead of taking an action to stop it.

Gazetecilik ve Ödüller  Nazım Alpman observes that two recent awards ceremonies for journalists underline the fact that doing good work results in losing one’s job (Istanbul) or losing one’s life (Diyarbakır).

Foreign Policy

Dizi ihracatı düşüşe mi geçti? Metin Celal argues that television programs are one of Turkey’s most important cultural exports, but worries that increasingly censorship is lowering the quality and appeal of the industry’s output.


“Yüzsüzler”in İslam Zirvesi İstanbul’da With the Organization of Muslim Cooperation holding its 13th Summit in Turkey, Mustafa Erdemol points out the organization lacks any concrete plans for dealing with the problems facing its member countries—in part due to dominant Saudi influence

İsrail, Türkiye’nin boşluğunu Azerbaycan ile doldurdu Mustafa Erdemol discusses the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, which offer Israel a potential base of operations for strikes on Iran and offer Azerbaijan technology—including, perhaps, drones.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Çilem Doğan: Kadınların ‘Çilem’e beraat’ sesi gücüm oldu An interview with Çilem Doğan, who killed her husband for forcing her into sex work and subjecting her to violence.

Radikal'e veda Ezgi Başaran says thank you and goodbye to readers and co-workers as the newspaper Radikal shuts down its online site—the print version having already halted printing in 2014.

Atatürk siroza alkol nedeniyle yakalanmadı!.. (1) - (2) Uğur Dündar focuses on alcohol with one article suggesting Atatürk died from parasite-induced (rather than alcohol-induced) cirrhosis and another disputing the president’s recent claim that Atatürk gave children alcohol.

Published on Jadaliyya

A Belgian Bombing in Istanbul: How Small States Manage Terrorist Moments

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

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

On a Day of a March…

Humanism and Its Others


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