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Turkey Media Roundup (July 6)

[Turkish flag flies at half mast in the wake of the attack on Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Photo By Pivox, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.] [Turkish flag flies at half mast in the wake of the attack on Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Photo By Pivox, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.]

[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.]


Ataturk Airport Attack

Both the BBC and Bianet provide biographies of those murdered in the attack at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

Reports for The Economist and The Washington Post put the attack in the larger context of recent Turkish politics.

Reactions to the attacks from Kaya Genç in Pacific Standard, Daniel Byman and Steven Cook in Slate (1) (2), Kathy Gilsinan in The Atlantic, and Alev Scott in The Guardian.

Turkey Did Nothing About the Jihadists in Its Midst—Until It Was Too Late Writing in Foreign Policy, Aaron Stein gives a detailed account of the networks of recruiters and trainers that connect recent ISIS-organized terrorist attacks back to domestic Turkish Salafist organizations.

Home-Grown Radicals a Weak Spot in Turkey's Fight Hümeyra Pamuk reports for Reuters on the ease with which Turkish citizens sympathetic to ISIS can move back and forth into Syria and Iraq. This fluidity makes it more difficult for the government to disrupt ISIS networks. (A similar, excellent discussion of the issue by The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi can be seen HERE.)

How My City Washes Away the Blood Ece Temelkuran, reflecting on how Turkish politicians, media, and society have dealt with death ranging from the individual to the mass, wonders, “In a society where crowds boo a dead child, or simply dismiss death and go on as usual after the unimaginable, what can happen next?”

Reality Dawns on Erdoğan and the AKP Semih İdiz contends that the bombing on Atatürk Airport has made the AKP government belatedly realize that it's alienating and isolating foreign policy has been detrimental to the country’s stability.

Turkey Under Attack and Becoming Vulnerable Murat Yetkin writes about speculation that there may have been police intelligence presaging an ISIS attack on the airport twenty days before it happened. 

Carnage in Istanbul and the Point of No Return Suggesting that the government has prioritized cracking down on dissent over fighting against militant jihadism, Karabekir Akkoyunlu compares the current political juncture to that preceding the two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century.

Welcome to the Most Vulnerable Country to Terrorism Cengiz Çandar argues that as long as the Turkish government does not attach priority to the fight against IS, Turkey will remain the most vulnerable country in the world.

Will Airport Attack Push Ankara to Revive Peace Process With PKK?  Mustafa Akyol writes that if Turks had any delusion of seeing IS somehow less dangerous than the PKK, then they must have been woken by the ferocious attack on the Ataturk airport.

Who’s Behind Istanbul Airport Attack? Metin Gürcan explains that the attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on June 28 has triggered debate over whether Ankara is having problems deciding the priorities in its struggle against the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Islamic State.

What Airport Attack Means for Turkey's Syria Policy Until now, Ankara had sought to refocus the anger against IS on Kurdish groups, but does Tuesday’s attack mean this strategy will change, asks Fehim Taştekin.

Domestic Politics

Davutoğlu, A Lonely Man Nevşin Mengü looks back on the legacy of Ahmet Davutoğlu in Turkish history and politics, ultimately claiming that his worldview and political style fell out of fashion for the AKP government, which is currently trying to “go back to the basics.”

How Erdoğan Became Turkey’s Biggest Media Boss Ufuk Şanlı argues that a ferocious onslaught on critical media over the past year has left President Erdoğan as Turkey’s biggest media boss.

Erdoğan’s New Assault on Turkey’s Judiciary Aykan Erdemir writes describes how, following the passage of a new judicial bill designed to further empower the executive branch,  the president plans to replace judges quickly. In doing so, he can make the laws a fait accompli before the Constitutional Court can weigh in.

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of June 26 The Committee to Protect Journalists reports on a week in which the government temporarily banned social media and limited press coverage in the wake of the airport attack; detained reporters from Dicle News Agency; and released Erol Önderoğlu and Şebnem Korucu Fincancı pending trial.

Turkey-Israel Reconciliation

How Erdoğan’s Israeli Gambit May Cost Him Islamist Support  Pınar Tremblay writes that for the first time, the Islamist opposition is raising its voice loudly against Turkish President Erdoğan, decrying the normalization agreement with Israel.

How Erdoğan Will Spin His Deal With Israel  Fehim Taştekin writes that although Israel did not meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's top condition of lifting the Gaza blockade, Erdoğan is still hailing the reconciliation between the countries as a major win.

What's Really Driving Turkish-Israeli Reconciliation? Metin Gürcan argues that although Turkey has started what looks like a sharp turn in its relations with Israel in consideration of shared security and military priorities, it will take some time to rebuild ties to their former levels.

What's Behind Turkey's Rapprochement Towards Israel and Russia? David Barchard writes that securing natural gas supplies and transit routes (as well as tourism) from both Russia and Israel are the root causes of Turkey’s diplomatic about-face with both countries.

What's Behind the New Deal Between Turkey and Israel? Al Jazeera interviews Daniel Nisman and Sinan Ülgen regarding Turkey’s improved relations with Israel.

Ankara Rediscovers Pragmatism Mustafa Akyol argues that the Turkish-Israeli deal will not only help the two countries with new economic opportunities, it will also help Palestine thanks to broader access that Turkey will now have to bring in aid and build key facilities.

Will the Turkey-Israel Deal End Gaza's Siege? İbrahim Hamami and Ramy Baroud offer different perspectives on how the recent Turkey-Israel deal could affect the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Policy

Why Brexit Makes Life Harder for Turkey According to Kadri Gürsel, by voting to leave the European Union, Britons not only deepened Europe’s crisis, but dealt a blow to Turkey as well.

Erdoğan Gloats Over Brexit Semih İdiz reports that President Erdoğan reflected his anger at the EU with its own weapon a day before Britons went to vote, saying that Turkey might hold its own referendum to decide whether or not it should continue with its EU bid.

Why Turkey is Mending Ties With Old Foes Galip Dalay explains Turkey's new foreign policy discourse, recently adopted among political elites, emphasizing the necessity of gaining friends and placating foes.

Terror Campaign Forces Turkey to Abandon Syria Policy Daily Sabah columnist Merve Şebnem Oruç connects the recent airport attacks to her recent arguments that Ankara may change its Syria policy from one “mostly based on humanitarian principles” to one based on “security.”

Other Pertinent Pieces

The Future of Political Islam The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) host a discussion including FDD Fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht; Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Jenny White, Professor at Boston University.

Security Operations in South-East Turkey Risk Return to Widespread Human Rights Violations Seen in the 1990s Amnesty International cites recent detentions and disappearances to argue that, “Human rights violations during anti-terrorism operations are occurring with almost no oversight from outside observers,” and contrary to Turkey’s own constitution.


Ataturk Airport Attack

Havalimanı Saldırısında Hayatını Kaybedenlerin Hikayeleri Bianet continues to update its short biographies of those murdered at Atatürk Airport on Tuesday evening. (A less detailed post from Diken as well.)

Muhtar, teröristleri şikayeti 'biliyoruz' diyerek geri çevirmiş! Cumhuriyet reports from the house in Istanbul’s Fatih neighborhood where the Atatürk Airport attackers stayed; neighbors complained to local officials about strange noises and smells, but were ignored.

MİT hep uyarıyor! Soner Yalçın writes in Sözcü that the security officials responsible for intelligence collection in Istanbul have risen through the ranks due to their connections with President Erdoğan and his family and lack the knowledge and connections necessary to disrupt ISIS networks.

AKP’nin İnce(!) Politikası... The government is “becoming expert” at avoiding any discussion of terrorism, concludes Cumhuriyet columnist Orhan Erinç after describing how the AKP spent the day following the airport attacks voting down opposition requests for investigation and used its time to talk about less germane topics.

Atatürk Havalimanı saldırısı: IŞİD ne yapmaya çalışıyor? Metin Gürcan claims that Turkey is a “surrogate mother” whose “womb” ISIS needs in order to stay alive, and is using the existing sectarian and ethnic fault lines to mobilize “Salafizing Sunnis” against everyone else.

Şaka sandılar Ümit Kıvanç writes that Turkish Islamism, mired in corruption, hypocrisy, and oppression, is being mobilized in ISIS terror attacks and deepening Turkish racism against Kurds as well.

Domestic Politics

Yeni Türkiye'de hak savunucularına yer yok Burcu Karakaş claims that the murder of Tahir Elçi was the beginning of a new era of crackdowns and suppression of human rights advocacy, presaging the arrests and imprisonment of other lawyers and, most recently, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu, and Ahmet Nesin.

Dünün Sivas katliamcıları bugünün IŞİD’cileridir! Writing on the anniversary of the 1993 Sivas massacre, İhsan Çaralan connects the mentality behind the massacre—a mentality that saw the victims as having insulted Islam—with contemporary public support for ISIS among the Turkish public.

Foreign Policy

İflasın tescili Hüseyin Şengül contends that, while Erdoğan’s bankrupt foreign policy has sown rifts in Turkey’s relations with other countries, these tensions in fact “provide oxygen” to the hegemony of Erdoğan and the AKP.

Rusya ile ilişkiler normalleşirken The change in government has given Turkey and important chance to improve relations with Israel, Russia, and other countries, isolating the PKK and PYD writes Karar columnist Mensur Akgün.

Violence in the Southeast

Lice’de Yangını Söndürmeye Giden İki Kişi Öldürüldü Bianet reports from Lice, where the government continued “anti-drug dealer” operations over the past week using aerial bombing.

Yeni iller Abdülkadir Selvi (formerly of Yeni Şafak, now a Hürriyet columnist) discusses the government’s new anti-PKK measures which include creating new provinces in the southeast, destroying PKK-controlled marijuana fields, limiting bank transfers to municipal party organizations, and changing the State Personnel Law to punish doctors and teachers providing aid to anti-government forces.

Other Pertinent Pieces

Egzotik meyve muamelesi görüyoruz Zeynep Bilgehan profiles a number of Afro-Turks living in Istanbul who claim that the history of African slavery in the Ottoman Empire, and the enduring presence of their descendants in Turkey, has been entirely eliminated from the narrative of Turkish history.

Kürdi Literatürü Kurumsallaştırmak Şeyhmus Diken profiles a new initiative by Diyarbakır Arts Center that aims to promote Kurdish literature—rendered largely invisible in Turkey because of decades of government suppression and denial—to readers and publishers on an international stage.

Published on Jadaliyya

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Pro-AKP Media Figures Continue to Target Academics for Peace

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


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