Note from the LeftEast editors: We reprint here with the producers’ permission the first episode of a new CEU podcast series on Attacks on Academic Freedom in Turkey and around the World. It is dedicated to Academics for Peace in Turkey, who have been facing trials for saying “We will not be a party to this crime”. In this episode, we will first give context to the movement. Then we will read sections of defense speeches from the academics who have stood trial. By translating them to English, we hope to make the powerful content of their speeches that calls for peace, freedom of expression and academic ..
This article was originally published in CrimetheInc. on Dec. 28, 2018. Following Donald Trump’s surprise announcement that he is withdrawing US troops from Syria, we’ve received the following message from an anarchist in Rojava, spelling out what this means for the region and what the stakes are on a global scale. For background, consult our earlier articles, “Understanding the Kurdish Resistance” and “The Struggle Is not for Martyrdom but for Life.” I’m writing from Rojava. Full disclosure: I didn’t grow up here and I don’t have access to all the information I would need to tell you what is go ..
In Turkey, the government of the nationalist-religious Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi—AKP) called early presidential and parliamentary elections for the 24 June. It was aware that its electoral base is gradually eroding, particularly in the big metropolitan areas like Istanbul. Therefore, it did everything in order to enhance the chances of being declared the winner of the forthcoming elections. By anticipating the elections, both president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP hoped to increase their chances. However, not everything is going according to their plans. The ruling party had ob ..
This article originally appeared on N+1mag and was penned by an anonymous author. SUAVE AND SYMPATHETIC, Beyazıt Öztürk is known for making even his most troublesome guests feel at home. The veteran comedian was in the middle of his call-in talk show, the most popular program on Turkish TV, when he received an unexpected call. A woman’s voice, trembling but persistent, admonished him and his guests to remember the children. Are they aware that children are dying? Do they know what is happening in Diyarbakır as the armed forces hunt Kurdish insurgents and the civilians who failed to leave have become fair ga ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: In one of the most dramatic cases of resistance against the Turkish state’s massive purges of the educational sector, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have been on hunger strike for 110 days (as of Tuesday, June 27th), ingesting only small sugar cubes and drinking water and herbal tea. On the seventy-sixth day of their hunger strike the Turkish government had them arrested for alleged membership in a public-servants’ organization with ties to the armed militant group Revolutionary People’s Salvation Party-Front (DHKPC), in what many saw as an excuse to obtain the le ..
Last Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finally got the main item that has been driving his political agenda for the last several years: a majority (51.4%) in a popular referendum to legitimate his de facto executive presidency. Or did he? LeftEast asked Zeynep Serinkaya, Onur Bakiner, and Işık Sarıhan about how this victory was “achieved,” what its consequences will be, and what lies ahead for the forces that opposed it and for Turkey itself. Işık Sarıhan: On winning and losing I come across news articles saying that Erdoğan is the winner of the constitutional referendum of April 1 ..
Note from the LeftEast editors: For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition. The former will culminate in the constitutional referendum of April 16 this year, which will, if successful, transform Turkey from a parliamentary into a presidential republic, further strengthening Erdogan’s personal rule and making it nearly impossible to electorally challenge AKP hegemony in the foreseeable future. Whole cities are plastered with giant “Evet!” (Yes!) posters, w ..
Donald Trump’s election has rightly been acknowledged as a milestone in the political history of the 21st century. He joins an illustrious group of world leaders with a shared distrust towards ideals of liberty, equality and fairness who subscribe to the political ethos of authoritarianism and who are not afraid to use fear mongering, popular prejudices against various groups of people, threats and violence to gain and retain power. This increasingly powerful company, whose membership includes Vladimir Putin, Tayyip Erdoğan, and many others, can rightly be called the force of 21st century illiberalism – to u ..
The marriage between capitalism and democracy was one of convenience or interest, the product of a very specific period. A temporary reconciliation between capitalism and democracy seemed possible under conditions created by a capital accumulation regime that rested on the specific balance of power between social classes following the two world wars. The “logical contradiction” between capitalism and democracy that Lenin famously underscored appeared suppressed for a while, in a very specific time period. However, the bliss did not last long. This marriage, which was qualified as “the end of his ..