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 ..
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 ..
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 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 ..
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 ..
The full version was published in Serbian on Masina. The attempted coup of July 15th caught me in Istanbul. What that night of adrenaline, shocking and confusing news, the sounds of machine-gun fire and low-flying military aircraft left me with was a desire to better understand what happened. Being so close to the Bosphorus bridges—a site of much of the action on that night–and witnessing first hand the masses responding to Erdogan’s call did not by itself help. What shed more light on the moment were three conversations I had with Turkish participants in our summer school: with Saygun Gökarıksel, w ..
On August 16, 2016, Erdoğan regime’s attack on the media and press since the July 15 abortive coup took a different turn by the closure of the daily Özgür Gündem on court orders, and the storming of its Istanbul headquarters by special operations police. The quarter-of-a-century-long history of Özgür Gündem represents all there is to know about the militant censorship of information and press under the state of emergency lawnessness in the context of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. It also represents a venerable and dedicated press tradition of struggle and solidarity for the right to information and fre ..
The Realness of the Coup “İçimiz dışımız darbe oldu.” From toes to head the coup absorbed us. The coup has produced many pedestrian-experts, trying to gauge the coup’s hidden internal and external dynamics. This hermeneutics of the secret owes much of its power to a monumental failure… The failure of what could have turned out to be a horrible coup has exposed what it takes to engage in such a level of coordinated military and civic action leading to a coup. There are so many speculative theories and analyses, often bordering on conspiracy theories: rumors, unfinished scenarios, newly reveale ..