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Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP): Systemic oppression as the basis for Erdoğan's 'New Turkey'

 

 

Report by Peoples' Democratic Party Representation in Europe

July 1, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 'New Turkey' is defined by intimidation of the democratic opposition, prosecution of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), and extermination of any remnants of civil society. Overseas, it manifests itself as blackmailing the European Union, intervening in neighboring countries, and employing ruthless military aggression. Another aspect of `New Turkey ́ is that Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has built a coalition with the ultra-nationalist right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to stay in power.

Lack of democracy in Turkey is by no means a new or recent issue. It has deep-rooted causes that date back to the foundation of the state. Yet, throughout the course of Turkish history, the struggle for a democratic Turkey has never stopped – and it is still going on. When the AKP came into power in 2002, Erdogan, as party chairman, declared to both the “nation” and the “international community” that the AKP would pursue a policy geered towards a stable and democratic Turkey.

A century of oppression: The Kurds and the Turkish state

 

 

By John Tully

April 20, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In recent weeks, the autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved to ban the pro-Kurdish left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and jailed the 14th member of the party’s 56-strong parliamentary caucus. Erdogan’s attack is the latest iteration of repressive, and at times genocidal, anti-Kurdish policies that go back to the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The banning of the HDP will mark the transition of Turkey to outright dictatorship.

Not coincidentally, Turkey has also just quit the Istanbul Convention on violence against women — this, as the writer Elif Shafak warns “in a country where three women are killed daily and femicide is a huge crisis." The HDP’s strong pro-feminism contrasts starkly with Erdogan’s crude misogynism.

Turkey at the crossroads?

 

 

By Cihan Tuğal

April 20, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Left Review — Ten years ago, Erdoğan’s Turkey was hailed in Washington as an example to the Muslim world—a free-market, pro-American Islamic democracy with high growth rates, renowned cultural monuments and beautiful beaches. ‘A model partner’, Obama affirmed in 2009, as he congratulated the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).1 Today, with perhaps 50,000 oppositionists in jail, including scores of journalists, politicians, lawyers and civil servants, Turkey is exporting radical Islamist mercenaries from its Syrian enclaves to Libya and Azerbaijan, clashing with France, Greece, Israel and Cyprus over gas-drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and imposing a brutal occupation regime on swathes of what was once the autonomous Kurdish zone of Rojava. Predictably, the cry of ‘Who lost Turkey?’ has gone up within the American foreign-policy establishment, where the main concern is Ankara’s purchase of Russian missiles.2

Stop Erdogan's crackdown: Global solidarity statements with the HDP & democratic forces in Turkey

 

 

HDP faces closure after the appeal of the Chief Public Prosecutor to the Constitutional Court

By Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy, HDP’s Co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is under a ferocious attack by the AKP government, which was squeezed out of key cities in the local elections and faces immense economic problems exacerbated by the pandemic. On 17 March 2021, the final ruling against HDP parliamentarian Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was read out at the plenary session of the Parliament and he was stripped of his status as a deputy. A few hours later, it came out that the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation has filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court to ban the HDP altogether. These attacks against the HDP have come briefly after President Erdoğan declared a new Human Rights Action Plan, which was promoted as including reforms on law and human rights.

For Boğaziçi and freedom: a report from Turkey’s new student opposition

 

 

By LeftEast

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast — This year the Turkish government’s campaign to stamp out dissent has broken new ground, but a new spirit of resistance is there to meet it, particularly at one of the country’s landmark public universities. In what follows, two participants in the oppositional student movement at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul tell us about their struggle against the imposition of a new rector aiming to put the university securely under the command of the ruling party.

Turkish attacks on PKK meet fierce resistance

 

 

By Dave Holmes

July 5, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Arguing for Socialism — In mid-June Turkey launched yet another large-scale air and ground operation in northern Iraq aimed at crippling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Turkish planes bombed the Makhmur refugee camp, home to 12,000 Kurds from Turkey. The camp near Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, is a stronghold of support for the PKK. Also bombed was Shengal (Sinjar), home of the much-persecuted Yazedi Kurds. Following the devastating Islamic State attack on Shengal in August 2014, the PKK played a key role in helping to establish the Yazedi self-defence forces.

Turkish planes also hit targets across the rugged PKK-controlled border region between Iraq, Turkey and Iran (the Medya Defence Zones). Following these attacks Turkey has ramped up its efforts, which began last year, to establish bases in the Heftanin region.

Syria: Turkey launches genocidal invasion to crush Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Tony Iltis

 

October 14, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The horrific violence that has been devastating Syria for the past eight years is intensifying.

 

On October 9, NATO’s second largest army, that of Turkey, launched a full-scale invasion of the territory under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AA), three days after US President Donald Trump gave the green light in a phone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The invasion began with shelling and aerial bombardment of civilian populations.

 

The aim of the invasion is to annihilate the AA’s revolutionary, democratic and feminist experiment. Solidarity between different ethnic and religious communities has been at the forefront of this experiment.

 

The US-Turkey standoff in context: Global capitalism and the crisis of hegemony

 

 

By Vassilis K. Fouskas and Bülent Gökay

 

September 3, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Turkey was thrust into a full-blown currency crisis when United States President Donald Trump hoisted tariffs on Turkey’s steel and aluminium exports to the US — the country’s most serious crisis since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power 16 years ago. The Turkish lira lost more than 40% of its value in the first two weeks of August, albeit its most recent humble recovery. The pretext for Trump’s punishing attack on Turkey, the seventeenth largest economy in the world, is the continued detention of the evangelical US Presbyterian missionary Andrew Brunson who was arrested in October 2016 on charges of espionage and accused of involvement in the attempted coup of July that same year.

 

At first sight, the US-Turkey standoff appears to be a uniquely Turkish problem triggered by a very public confrontation between two leading members of the “ring of autocrats” of the 21st century and worsened by the idiosyncratic and often misguided economic approach of both leaders. This is not the case. One cannot look at the Trump-Erdogan conflict in isolation from the global situation.

 

Turkish elections, looming fascism and left politics

 

 

By Baris Karaagac

 

July 12, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist ProjectThe elections on 24 June in Turkey for a new president and parliament, which took place under a state of emergency, constitute an historic moment in Turkish republican history with important consequences.

 

Turkey: After Afrîn, the Ottoman dreaming of Sultan Erdoğan

 

 

By John Tully

 

May 9, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tasmanian Times  — On March 18, Turkish troops supported by a 10,000-strong horde of Islamist militiamen stormed into the city of Afrîn in northern Syria. After an unequal eight-week struggle against the Middle East’s most powerful military force, the city’s lightly armed Kurdish defenders had little choice but to melt away and fight another day.

 

The city’s fall was inevitable. Afrîn is isolated from Kobanê and Jazira, the other predominantly Kurdish cantons to the east, and the Kurds had gambled unsuccessfully on international support against the illegal invasion. This was not unreasonable. The invasion was patently illegal, and the world also owes the Syrian Kurds a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices in ridding it of the cancer of ISIS.

 

Sadly, almost all of the world’s governments turned a blind eye to the aggression. Some of them directly or indirectly aided the Turkish aggressor.

 

The Kurdish movement for radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State
By Meredith Tax
Bellevue Literary Press
New York 2016

 

April 3, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Meredith Tax saw pictures of gun-toting Kurdish women defending the northern Syrian town of Kobane against Daesh (so-called "Islamic State") in 2014, she was inspired to find out more. This book is the eventual outcome of her research.

 

The female fighters of the YPJ (Women's Protection Units) are part of a movement aimed at radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East. Tax explores the history of this movement in the context of the history of the Kurdish people.

 

Amedspor: resistance is everywhere

 

 

By Steve Sweeney

 

February 8, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The RegionAmedspor football club was little known outside of Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora until its captain and star player Deniz Naki was shot at on a German autobahn in January 2018.

 

Afrin between the claws of the major powers

 

 

By Cihad Hammy

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region In an article I wrote a day before the Turkish state's invasion of Afrin, I intended to scrutinize the underlying ideological structures of the Turkish ruling party (AKP) and the driving force behind the invasion of Afrin. This article will focus more on the role of major powers, mainly US and Russia, in the recent invasion of Afrin and the stances held by the Assad regime and Iran.

 

Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’. The irony could not be more obvious.

 

The threat of wider wars in the Middle East and the responsibilities of socialists

 

 

By Frieda Afary

 

June 24, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle East Socialists — On June fifth, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt suddenly cut off diplomatic and trade ties  with Qatar and closed their borders to it. The reason stated for this decision was Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood  movement as well as Qatar’s friendly relations with the Iranian government. Donald Trump subsequently sent out a tweet in which he took credit for this move: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the king and 50 countries already paying off.”

 

Turkey immediately announced its support for Qatar and accelerated legislation to send more troops  to its military base in that country. It also called on Saudi Arabia to end this crisis. The Iranian government announced that its air space and land borders were open to Qatar in order to prevent a blockade against it.  Subsequently, on June 11, the Iranian navy sent two battleships to the coast of Oman.

 

‘No racism here’: Modern Turkey and the question of race and national identity

 

 

Fenerbahçe fans pointing bananas to Galatasaray players, 
Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue

 

By Bulent Gokay[1] and Darrell Whitman[2]

 

ABSTRACT: Many in Turkey, including its political leaders, don’t accept there is racism in Turkey. They will say they are proud of their traditional hospitality and generosity towards foreigners. Similarly, academic accounts also generally assume Turkish nationalism is neither ethnic nor cultural nationalism, but rather an inclusive civic nationalism. We directly challenge this conviction by arguing there is a dark side of Turkish nationalism, based on clear evidence there is an ethnic and racial discourse that shaped Turkish nationalism from the early years of the republic, and that this discourse plays a significant role in defining modern 21st Century Turkish nationalism. Thus, this modern Turkish nationalism includes, rather than excludes, an ethnic and racially defined narrative, which is a central tenet in defining modern Turkish identity.

 

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

 
 

Introductory note by LeftEast editors

 

March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – 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.

Fake news about the Rojava revolution

 
 

By Nick Fredman

 

March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

 

I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.

 

The Kurdish struggle – An interview with Dilar Dirik

 
 

Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage

 

George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?

 

Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.

 

US policy in Syria: Confused or just confusing?

 
 

By Tony Iltis

 

February 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the US has been involved, at first, through arming and supporting groups opposing the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, and supporting allies in the region doing likewise; and since 2014, through its direct involvement in leading an international coalition in an air war against ISIS.

 

Small numbers of US Special Forces and CIA operatives are also in Syria, supporting different, mutually antagonistic groups in the multi-sided conflict.

 

The US role in Syria often appears confused and contradictory. This seems set to increase under the new US administration.

 

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