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Turkey Media Roundup (June 28)

[Photo by Mahmut Bozarslan, Sur district, Diyarbakır, May 2016] [Photo by Mahmut Bozarslan, Sur district, Diyarbakır, May 2016]

[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.]


Violence in Southeast & Kurdish Politics

How Erdoğan’s Personal Ambitions Impact War in Turkey’s Southeast Jasper Mortimer reports that analysts say the time is ripe for the Turkish government and the PKK to talk peace, but such a move could get in the way of President Erdoğan's political ambitions.

In Turkey's Judicial Overhaul, Erdoğan’s Critics See Payback Time Hümeyra Pamuk writes for Reuters on how pending legislation will replace hundreds of judges and allow the president greater power in appointing their replacements. Allies of the government claim the move will remove Gülenist influence, but the move comes at a time where courts are also reviewing issues such as criticism of the press freedom. 

Après moi: Turkey After Erdoğan Gareth Jenkins argues that “what Erdoğan is pushing for is not a presidential system but an Erdoğan system… But there will come a time when Erdoğan is no longer in office.” That transition, however, will be chaotic.

The HDP Municipalities Face Investigation Daily Sabah columnist (and presidential spokesman) İlnur Çevik argues that municipalities run by the HDP have put the money given to them by the state at the disposal of the PKK and suggests that these municipalities be put into receiverships [just as the government has done to Güleni-linked banks and newspapers].

Turkey Boosts Military Powers in Fight Against Kurdish Militants  Emre Peker of The Wall Street Journal reports on new legislation making prosecution of top-generals dependent on the prime minister’s approval and prosecution of lower-ranking soldiers subject to approval of the defense ministry—retroactive over the past year.

Domestic Politics

Have Turkey's Human Rights Violations Reached Point of no Return? Cengiz Çandar writes about Şebnem Korur Fincancı, prominent Turkish academic who lands in solitary confinement for writing about the devastation and human rights violations conducted by the Turkish state in southeast Turkey.

Turkish Students Up in Arms Over Islamization of Education  Şükrü Küçükşahin reports that students in Turkey’s leading high schools have rebelled against government efforts at an Islamist makeover of the education system.

Ramadan No Longer a Month of Peace, Serenity in Turkey According to Pınar Tremblay, hate speech and aggression against those who do not observe the fast during Ramadan in Turkey spike as the government and state authorities look the other way.

Family, Human Rights Workers in Turkey Fear Man's Disappearance is Tied to the Government Glen Johnson of the Los Angeles Times reports on the disappearance  of Hurşit Külter whom the human rights organization Hafıza Merkezi believes may be the first instance of an “enforced disappearance” in fifteen years.

Weakening the Job by Describing All As ‘Terrorists’ Melis Alphan criticizes the imprisonment of academics and journalists for terror propaganda.

In Turkey, It’s Not a Crime to be Gay. But LGBT Activists See a Rising Threat Erin Cunningham of The Washington Post (with contribution from Zeynep Karatas) reports that while homosexual activity is legal in Turkey, “local rights groups documented more than 40 “hate murders” against LGBT individuals between 2010 and 2014.”

EU: Don’t Send Syrians Back to Turkey Summarizing a number of its recent reports, Human Rights Watch argues that, regardless of Turkey’s positive efforts to help refugees, the country is still failing to provide them with adequate medical and educational services and cannot, therefore, be considered an acceptable place to which European government can return refugees.

Radiohead and Ramadan The Economist reports on recent attacks on a music-listening party in Istanbul’s Cihangir neighborhood, a sign that government rhetoric may be encouraging anti-secular violence.

Foreign Relations

Turkish-EU Ties in Throes of a Slow Death Semih İdiz argues that the EU’s demand for a revision of Turkey’s anti-terrorism law as a precondition for allowing Turks visa-free travel in Europe has turned into the Achilles’ heel of ties between Ankara and Brussels.

Why Turkey is Striking out on the Diplomatic Field  According to Cengiz Çandar, despite some diplomatic gestures by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his new prime minister, it appears Turkey's isolation and desperation in foreign policy will continue.

From London to Ankara, Europe is in Trouble Daily Sabah writer Burhanettin Duran explains that Europe is in crisis and its leaders are trying to blame their problems on Erdoğan and “on what they like to pretend is the Turkish president's authoritarian tendencies.”

With Brexit Turkey Loses Its Biggest Champion in Europe Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Emre Peker reports that stoking fears of Turkish integration and immigration into the EU was an essential of part of the Leave campaign’s strategy in the recent UK referendum.

Turkey’s Rift with Moscow Frays Ties with Turkic Kin Russia’s Turkic allies are attempting to balance Turkish business and cultural connections with Russian pressure to penalize Ankara via visa and investment restrictions, reports Yaroslav Trofimav for The Wall Street Journal. 

Is Turkey Changing Its Syria Policy or Shifting Its Priorities? Merve Şebnem Oruç writes in Daily Sabah that, faced with the PKK-ISIS-Asad “labyrinth” in which the US has placed placed them, Turkish leaders may change their Syria policy—which, she emphasizes is strategic wisdom no retreat from principle. (Other Daily Sabah writers make similar arguments for improved relations with Israel and Russia).

The Real Reason Why Turkey’s EU Membership is ‘Unthinkable’ Semih İdiz analyzes Erdoğan's warning to the EU that if the EU keeps insisting on demanding things from Turkey it will not do, then Turkey would go its own way.

Brexit, the Politics of Fear, and Turkey the Boogeyman Kemal Kirişçi and Sinan Ekim analyze Brexit under the politics of fear created by the image of "terrible Turk."

What's behind the New Deal between Turkey and Israel? In this episode of Al-Jazeera’s Inside Story, the host and guests debate what is at stake in the announcement that diplomatic relations are being restored between the Turkish and Israeli governments after six years of being suspended in the wake of the Gaza flotilla raid, in which nine Turkish activists were killed by the Israeli military.


Violence in the Southeast & Kurdish Politics

Surlular kentiyle iyileşecek! Yüksel Genç examines the overwhelming public opposition in Diyarbakır to the government expropriation of the Sur district, claiming that the district will heal when its inhabitants are able to return.

Lice’de ‘esrarlı’ bombardıman Ayşe Yıldırım reports for Cumhuriyet on the government’s on-going “anti-drug dealers” operations in the region around Lice. Unlike previous operations, the government is using aerial strikes, leading locals to fear for their lives.

Domestic Politics

Gemi batıyor, farkında mısınız? Mehveş Evin discusses the arrest of three journalists—Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin—as the most recent human rights violation in a long line of such violations, attesting to Turkey’s decline in the world.

"Tutuklanmaya mani bir hal" durumu Nami Temeltaş declares that the recent arrest of three journalists will not be the last arrests nor the end of the crackdown on the free press, but that they demonstrate the need, now more than ever, for solidarity and struggle.

Kasap bıçağı ile MHP’nin genlerine müdahale Karar columnist Mehmet Ocaktan laments that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli is going against party traditions and his own better instincts in order to maintain power by denying a party congress.

Cezaevinden! Şebnem Korur Fincancı, journalist and president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye İnsan Hakları Vakfı, TİHV), writes about her experience in solitary confinement since her recent imprisonment, with particular attention to her experience as a woman in this kind of cell.

Susturmak, korkutmak, sindirmek Ahmet Yaşaroğlu describes the recent spate of fascist, religiously motivated attacks, concluding that while these attacks may seem to be contiguous with the authoritarian discourse and policies of Erdoğan and the AKP, in fact, they reveal the internal contradictions of these discourses and policies.

Cihangir'den 2. Gezi çıkmaz Recently-appointed Zaman General Editor (and, previously, News Editor for Yeni Akit) Kenan Kıran explains that the recent attack on a record store in Istanbul’s Cihangir neighborhood resulted from a “husband not being able to stand” the insults hurled at his wife. Moreover, according to Kıran, ensuing protests were put-down quickly by police who—unlike during the Gezi Park protests—are no longer controlled by Gülenists.

Nestle grevi ve esnek çalışmaya karşı mücadele İhsan Çaralan describes the protests by Nestle water workers as a mode of resisting the precarity inherent in flexible labor practices.

"26 Haziran'da yürümüyoruz, İstiklal Caddesi’nin her köşesine dağılıyoruz" The full text of the LGBT Pride Week Committee’s press release in the wake of the Istanbul governor’s prohibition on the LGBT Pride Parade. The committee declares that, while the march will not take place as planned, LGBT people will “disperse to every corner of İstiklal Avenue, [they] will converge on every street and every avenue in all of Beyoğlu.”

Kendine müslüman Zeynep Miraç recalls the life and struggles of famous trans singer Bülent Ersoy, which serve as a “litmus paper” for Turkey’s “double standards.” Even as Pride Day parades and press conferences are banned, a figure like Ersoy is being invited to presidential iftar dinners.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Tüccar gazetecilik! Sözcü columnist Emin Çölaşan argues that presidential advisor and columnist İlnur Çevik is a “merchant journalist” willing to sell his services to anyone with power—“Barzani, Talabani, Erbakan, Çiller, Özal, Demirel, the Diyanet, Fethullah, and now also Recep Tayyip!”

Tarihi Hazzopulo Pasajı’nda Dükkanlara Kapatma Tehdidi Gözde Naz Uysal and Emre Haçan report on the potential closure of Istanbul’s historic café-filled side-street passage.

Published on Jadaliyya

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