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Destruction and Construction, Resistance and Solidarity: Diyarbakir/Surici Observations Part II

[Mass iftar held to protest destruction in the İçkale valley.All photographs by the author.]

[To read the previous article in this series, “Diyarbakir: The Heart of this City Beats in Suriçi,” click here.] Things won’t calm down in Suriçi. The destruction and construction of İçkale Valley has come to a close, and the neighborhood has been transformed into a park. While the closed-off areas have been entirely demolished, the demolition of the Alipaşa and Lalebey neighborhoods—which started under an urban renewal project in 2012, but stopped due to resistance—has resumed. This widening, expanding operation suggests that the entirety of Suriçi will be demolished. On a sunny day in May, I am making my way through Saraykapı to İçkale to visit the İçkale Valley ...

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Fear and Loathing in Turkish Academia: A Tale of Appeasement and Complicity

[Turkish riot police detained demonstrators who gather at Besiktas to support detained teachers Semih Ozakca and Nuriye Gulmen, in Istanbul on 23 May 2017. Image by Depo Photos/Press Association via openDemocracy.]

It was a “call for papers” like all others. “On behalf of the Turkish Political Economy Society (TPES),” said the organizers of the Fifth TPES Interdisciplinary Workshop on Turkey and Latin America in Comparative Perspective, “we would be happy if you would consider submitting an abstract and help us spread the word by forwarding the CfP to other scholars who may be interested.” Many probably did, among them Yasemin Yılmaz and Orçun Selçuk, two PhD candidates from The City University of New York and Florida International University respectively, who saw this as an opportunity to share their work with and get feedback from their peers and senior academics in Turkey and ...

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New Texts Out Now: Michèle Jolé, Histoire turque de l’Institut d’urbanisme de Paris. Des étudiants de 1919 à 1969

A propos de : Michèle Jolé, Histoire turque de l’Institut d’urbanisme de Paris. Des étudiants de 1919 à 1969 (Institut français d’études anatoliennes/ Openeditionbook: Istanbul, 2017) Jadaliyya (J.) : Qu’est-ce qui vous a fait écrire ce livre? Michèle Jolé (M.J.): La question est particulièrement pertinente. Je m’y suis d’ailleurs, longuement  et sans doute avec complaisance, arrêtée dans le premier chapitre de ce livre. On peut y voir un besoin de légitimer cette aventure, hors de mes champs de recherche. Je ne suis en effet ni historienne, ni turcophone, ni spécialiste de la Turquie, ni tourmentée par le passé d’un Institut où j’ai sévi pourtant pendant ...

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Call for Targeted Academic Boycott of Turkey

[Image via https://academicboycottofturkey.wordpress.com/]

[This call was released by Academics for Peace on 7 June 2017. The statement is also available in Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish (Sorani), Kurdish (Kurmanji), Norwegian, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. For more information, click here; to sign on to this petition, click here.] CALL FOR TARGETED ACADEMIC BOYCOTT OF TURKEY DO NOT BE A PARTY TO CRIMES IN TURKISH HIGHER EDUCATION Background In January 2016, 2,212 academics working in or researching on Turkey signed a declaration calling on the Turkish government to end the war in the Kurdish region, seek a peaceful ...

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Paradoxes of ‘New Turkey’

[AKP supporters at a rally following the July 2016 coup attempt. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

“New Turkey” has become since 2014 a popular slogan employed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to express its political project of remaking the nation. However, it has been in a political abyss since the parliamentary elections on 7 June 2015, when the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) gained around thirteen percent of the votes, thereby becoming the first pro-Kurdish party to exceed the electoral threshold in the history of Turkey’s parliamentary democracy. One of the slogans that marked the HDP election campaign was: “We are not going to allow you to become President,” referring to the AKP’s oft-threatened plan to pass constitutional amendments that would grant ...

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Diyarbakir: The Heart of this City Beats in Suriçi

[Suriçi. Image via the author.]

One day in Suriçi, 1 March 2017: from Melik Ahmet Avenue to Balıkçılar, from there to Dağkapı, we follow the destruction and reconstruction. From Melik Ahmet Avenue, we are moving on to Balıkçılar. There are several police and task forces ahead on one of the narrow streets to the right. Mostly female police, wearing bulletproof jackets, are waiting with long black batons in their hands. The street entrance is closed. Thinking that he might be a journalist, I approach someone holding a camera in his hand and wearing ordinary clothing to ask what is going on. He says it is a women’s meeting. In the evening, I learn from the newspaper Şûjin: women met to make a call for ...

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Turkey After the Referendum: A Roundtable

[Istanbul, 15 April 2017. Photo by Ayça Çubukçu.]

Turkey Page Editors’ Introduction On 16 April 2017, amidst widespread reports of electoral fraud, a slim majority of those casting votes in Turkey voted to approve a referendum, which has as its main goal the overhaul of the executive branch. Most significantly, it does away with the position of prime minister, thereby transforming the presidency from being a ceremonial position as head of state into the sole leadership position of the executive branch. Opposition politicians and dissident journalists have described the referendum as an effort to create one-man rule for current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma ...

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Turkiye'nin Anayasa Referandumu: Elestirel Bir Forum

[Pazar günkü referandumunun içerdiği Anayasa değişiklikleri TBMM'de oylanırken, Ocak 2017, Yıldız Yazıcıoğlu.]

Foruma Giriş Büyük gün yakın. Önümüzdeki Pazar günü Türkiye hükümetinin yapısını baştan aşağı değiştirecek olan anayasa referandumu oylanacak. Önerilen 18 maddeden oluşan bu referandumun esas hedefi yürütme erkini elden geçirmek olup, en dikkat çeken değişim hedefi ise Başbakanlığı tamamıyla yok etmektir. Dolayısıyla Cumhurbaşkanlığı sadece sembolik bir pozisyonda kalmayıp, tam aksine yürütme erkinin tek liderine dönüşecek. Önerilen maddeler kapsamında, Cumhurbaşkanı tek başına bakan, yargıç ve diğer hükümet yetkililerini seçme ve çıkarma hakkı kazanacak. Muhalif siyasetçiler ve gazetecilere göre bu referandum Erdoğan’ın tek adam iktidarını pekiştirmeyi hedefliyor. ...

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Why a Turkish Woman Artist Must Dare to Disappoint - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Ozge Samanci

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Julie Hakim Azzam speaks with Ozge Samanci about her difficult journey to actualize her dream to be an artist in her debut graphic novel, Dare to Disappoint: Growing up in Turkey. Ozge Samanci is author of the debut graphic novel, Dare to Disappoint: Growing up in Turkey (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015) and Assistant Professor in the Radio/Television/ Film department at Northwestern University's School of Communications. She has an extensive background in comics and media arts and is a published comics artist. Her interactive-digital media installations and other collaborative works have been exhibited in numerous ...

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Call for Action: Solidarity with Purged Academics for Peace in Turkey

[The following call for action and fundraising appeal was issued by the Research Institute for Turkey, Bostonbul, GIT North America, and concerned academics from the United States and Candada.] There have been several crackdowns on academics in Turkey. Many have been detained, jailed, and even dismissed from their posts through statutory decrees. Among them are the “Academics for Peace,” who signed a declaration for ceasing human rights violations in the Kurdish provinces. Signed by 2,212 academics in Turkey, the declaration is supported by 355 international scholars. As of March 2017, at least 383 signatories have been purged from their jobs, banned from traveling ...

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The Turkish State of Emergency and LGBT+ Kurds

LGBT+ Kurds raise rainbow flags at Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır in 2011. Photograph by Damla Gülmez.

After the end of the peace negotiations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) in July 2015, Kurdish cities witnessed massive destruction. The destruction was accompanied by racist and sexist graffiti messages by Turkish government forces in many of the wrecked areas. Then, following the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, a three-month state of emergency was declared by the Erdoğan government, extended again for another three months, blurring the boundaries of Erdoğan’s authority over state power. Empowered by the narrative of defeating the 15 July coup attempt, the government expanded its targeting of the Gülen movement, the ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 22)

[Crowds gather outside the offices of Turkish opposition newspaper Zaman to protest a police raid of the publication in March 2016. Photo from Democracy Now!

In this week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup: The battle between the Turkish government and Turkish media continues. Hezbollah flexes its muscles in Syria, and the moon is ready for its close up. According to a recent report published by Freedom House, Turkey has been downgraded to "not free" status as a result of the increasing government clampdown on media. In a counter-offensive, Turkish opposition outlets have begun courting international support, while TRT, a pro-Erdoğan state outlet, has announced plans for expansion to an English base in order to appeal to a global audience. Also in Turkey, the debut of the Iranian film Muhammad: The Messenger of ...

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The Referendum in Turkey-A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Sinan Birdal

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Shahram Aghamir speaks with Sinan Birdal, who unpacks Turkey's constitutional referendum that passed on April 16. In a turbulent political environment where the soft and hard executive power of the Turkish presidency is expanding rapidly, the referendum has proven the mechanism by which Erdogan can expand his control over the legislature and the judiciary. Following that, this podcast asks these questions: what did the referendum reveal about the nature ...

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حقوق المثليين والمثليات محكّ لحقوق الإنسان

[كتبتُ المقال أدناه في إطار سلسلة المقالات القصيرة التي بدأت أكتبها منذ مدة لجريدة «القدس العربي» وتصدر كل يوم أربعاء. غير أن الجريدة اعتذرت عن نشره، وهي المرة الثانية التي يحدث لها أن تعتذر عن نشر أحد مقالاتي. جاء المقال تعليقاً على أحداث القمع التي وقعت في إسطنبول يوم الأحد في 25 حزيران/يونيو الماضي. وهو تعليق سريع بحكم حدود هذا النوع من الكتابة، دفعني إليه ليس الحدث بذاته فحسب بل أيضاً سكوت الصحافة العربية عنه. ولم يتناول المقال بالطبع جملة أمور متصلة، من تحليل الانزلاق السلطوي في تركيا (الذي ...

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جزيرة اللجوء المؤجل: قبرص

مزّق محمد، اللاجئ السوري، ورقة قبول العمل التي مُنحت له بعد مقابلات عدة في مهن أرسل إليها من قبل "مكتب التشغيل والتأمين" في مدينة لارنكا القبرصية، كانت الفرصة الممنوحة له "عاملاً لفرز المعادن في معمل خردوات وقمامة يبعد عن بيته أكثر من 25 كيلومتراً" يقول محمد.ح (25 عاماً)، المتخرج من كلية الإعلام – جامعة دمشق، والذي وصل إلى قبرص منذ عامين على متن باخرة تركيا أوصلته مقابل (50 دولاراَ) إلى القسم التركي المحتل من الجزيرة، وهناك دفع مبلغ الدخول قرب ميناء " كيرينيا" شمال ...

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Letter to the President and Prime Minister of Turkey in Response to the Infringement of Academic Freedoms

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 19 May 2017, in response to the memo released by the Turkish Council for Scientific and Technical Research on 17 March 2017.] Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım Office of the Prime Minister Başbakanlık 06573 Ankara Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan President of the Republic of Turkey T.C. Cumhurbaşkanlığı Genel Sekreterliği 06689 Çankaya, ...

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Media on Media Roundup (May 9)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup tackles several important themes influencing the MENA mediascape. On the eve of the second round of France’s elections, ISIS-operated An-Nur Media Center published posters urging members of the organization to target voters, candidates, and polling stations. A court in Ankara rejected Wikimedia Foundation’s appeal after the Turkish government banned Wikipedia for a site entry that accused Turkey of having links with ISIS. Europol began investigations into an ...

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‘Optimism of the Intellect’? How to Stay Hopeful in the Wake of Turkey’s Referendum Results

Following the constitutional referendum in Turkey, which resulted in a narrow victory for the “Yes” camp (with fifty-one percent of the voters approving the constitutional changes that grant President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unprecedented powers), pundits rushed to portray a grim picture, mourning “the death of Turkish democracy.” In an op-ed for Foreign Policy, titled “RIP Turkey, 1921-2017,” Steven Cook claimed that with this victory, Erdoğan not only “permanently closed a chapter of his country’s modern ...

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Media on Media Roundup (April 19)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers important stories affecting the MENA mediascape. In Turkey, a historic referendum resulted in the expansion of President Erdogan’s powers, which many journalists and professionals fear will increase authoritarianism in the country. In an exclusive interview with AFP, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad stated that allegations of chemical attacks in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, are false and fabricated by Western media to justify US attacks on a Syrian ...

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Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum: A Roundtable

Roundtable Introduction The day is near. This coming Sunday, 16 April 2017, citizens of Turkey will make their way to the polls to vote on a constitutional referendum that will inexorably alter the Turkish government. The referendum, which consists of eighteen proposed amendments to the Constitution of Turkey, has as its main goal the overhaul of the executive branch; perhaps most drastically, it would do away with the position of prime minister, thereby transforming the presidency from being a ...

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Between Slow and Sudden Death in Turkey

On 25 February 2017, the picture of a young male academic who committed suicide in Turkey went viral on the social media. The photo was hashtagged with #MehmetFatihTras and the line underneath the hashtag reads: “This is a murder. Try the murderers!” Wearing hipster eyeglasses, a hooded jacket, and a bag pack, Mehmet Fatih Tras has recently completed his doctorate degree in Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Cukurova University in Turkey. Upon the receipt of his PhD, he was made multiple ...

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تأملات في صناعة صورة الموت؛ اغتيال السفير

فكرة "الذات" الفلسفيّة، هي فكرة حديثة، جاءت مع عصر التنوير الأوروبي والنزعة الإنسانيّة، فالذات المفكرة والواعيّة تجد تعبيرها الوجودي الميلادي الأول في بيان ديكارت الشهير: "أنا أفكر، إذن أنا موجود"، أو ماعُرف بـ"الكوجيطو"، وبالتالي فوجودية الذات تتحدد بكونها "ذاتًا" ذات تصور ابستمولوجي، أي بوصفها ذاتًا "مفكرة عارفة"، في مقابل "موضوع" معروف ومحكوم، فيما نسميه ازدواجيّة/ثنائيّة "الذات والموضوع". وإذا كان النقد ما بعد البنيويّ وما بعد ...

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Media on Media Roundup (December 20)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup deals with a number of issues that occupied the media scene in the region, from the end of the battle over Aleppo to the state of journalism during 2016 and the cultural misrepresentation of Muslims on the BBC. After a four-year battle over the Syrian city of Aleppo, government-led forces have been described as "somewhat victorious" as they hold control over the entire city, initiating an evacuation process for the remaining civilians in the city. ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 17)

In this week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup: The United States has elected Donald Trump. As the dust settles from last Tuesday’s elections, global media outlets have reacted differently to Trump’s victory, including Arab media outlets, whose reactions varied according to their respective political affiliations. Many have criticized the Arab media’s coverage of the US presidential race, claiming that they have adopted the American liberal media’s narrative. Moreover, criticism has also been ...

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