Tag Archives: turkey

The Wounds of Afrin, the Promise of Rojava: an Interview with Nazan Üstündağ

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,̶ ..

DECLARATION: In the face of nationalist consensus and militaristic unreason, we condemn Erdogan’s war on Afrin!

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 ..

Hunger for Justice: Nuriye Gülmen against the Turkish State (an Interview)

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 ..

First Reactions to the Constitutional Referendum in Turkey: No, It’s Not Over Yet

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 ..

The Freedom to Say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin

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 ..

Turkey’s fragile Bonapartism

Turkey may hold a referendum on the transition to an authoritarian presidential system as soon as late March; however, Erdoğan’s Bonapartist shift does not herald stability for the ruling class, nor a solution to the crisis of neoliberalism. The argument that the contemporary world panorama resembles that of the 1930’s has almost become a cliché. A severe economic depression unseen since that period was likewise followed by a wave of uprisings (2011-14), which, for the moment, seems to be defeated, as we witness a sharp turn towards the right among the working masses. The capitalist system’s current crisi ..

HDP: Urgent Call for Solidarity

Note from LeftEast Editors: We publish this Call for Solidarity, written by a member of the HDP ( (Halkların Demokratik Partisi -The Peoples’ Democratic Party) following the arrests of the joint leaders of the HDP along with at least nine other MPs, in what has become the latest stage of an ongoing offensive by President Erdogan to eliminate every single oppositional voice in the country, under the excuse of the coup attempt on July 15th.  More than 80,000 people have been detained since July 15, and about half of them are in prison now.  Dear friends, I hope this message will find you all good a ..

Turkey’s Attack on Rojava – A Threat to Radical Democracy in Mesopotamia

Note from the LeftEast editors: we publish this statement by Rojava Solidarity NYC, a solidarity committee dedicated to supporting the revolution in Rojava, written in response to the recent Turkish operation in Syria, Euphrates Shield.  RS-NYC seeks to publicize Rojava’s ongoing struggle in the English-speaking world, to promote the revolution’s radical communalist politics, and to provide direct, humanitarian aid to the people of Rojava.  Past aid campaigns have included the provision of vital medical supplies and the collection of books for the Mesopotamian Academy. The committee has also published one ..

The Putsch in Turkey: A Tangled Situation Full of Ironies

The rise and fall of the coup d’état in Turkey has disclosed a number of situational ironies, each of which indicates a difference between appearance and reality. A brief analysis of the two separate and contrasting levels of meaning embedded in at least six situations reveals some uncomfortable truths about Turkish politics and may also give a couple of hints about the prospects of democracy in Turkey. To begin with, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leading figures of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who declared their distrust in social media and blocked Twitter and Facebook several times, had ..

Turkey: Academics for Peace: Urgent Call for Solidarity

Urgent Call for Solidarity! Members of “Academics for Peace” and Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim-SEN) have been removed from their positions in public higher education institutions permanently! In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. Since then the signatories (“Academics for Peace”) have been subject to heavy pressure and persecution. Hundreds of them have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or ..