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 ..
In continuing the theme of the conflict between Russia and the West, which we discussed last week, now we turn to the broader issue of a leftist perspective on geopolitics. Even though most of the articles LeftEast publishes deal in one way or another with the transnational connectivities, we have been somewhat reticent about the whole issue of geopolitics. For two reasons. In the first place, because of our method of seeking authors based in or at least with deep knowledge of concrete societies, who would share that knowledge with our readers. If so much news analysis, even on the left, starts with some geopolit ..
Note from the editors: In the week following a non-violent demonstration on the campus of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul against a pro-government Islamist student group handing out sweets to celebrate the victory of the Turkish Army and its allied militias in the Syrian-Kurdish district of Afrin, Turkish police have repeatedly swept into the campus in pursuit of anyone suspected of involvement in the anti-war action. The ongoing wave of detentions on the Boğaziçi campus form part of a strategy familiar from earlier police action on university campuses in Turkey, and which intensified even before the Presiden ..
LeftEast interviewed sociologist and feminist Nazan Üstündağ on Afrin, Rojava and the social stakes of the resistance to Turkey’s current military intervention. First, we’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. These days, when the Turkish propaganda machine has gone into overdrive, and any voice for peace inside the country is automatically branded “a terrorist supporter” and treated accordingly, we all too often find even foreign journalists repeating the Turkish state’s talking points: the PYD = the Syrian branch of the PKK, “legitimate security concerns,̶ ..
This declaration by Sosyalist demokrasi icin Yeniyol, the Turkish branch of the Fourth International, was first published in International Viewpoint. After weeks of moral preparation, diplomatic pressure and massive disinformation, the Turkish state has finally attacked the predominantly Kurdish enclave of Afrin, located in north-western Syria. Skilfully playing on the cleavages between Washington and Moscow, the Turkish President has launched a major military operation involving air strikes, the deployment of Islamist militias and the incursion of Turkish troops on Syrian soil ready for the offensive. We strongl ..
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 ..