Turkey

Kino Eye: Turkey in the 80s

Yılmaz Güney (1937-1984) was a Kurdish actor and then director who dedicated himself to making films depicting the struggle of the poor and oppressed in Turkey. Persecuted by the authorities, he was sentenced to prison allegedly for sheltering anarchists in his flat. On his release he accidentally encountered the judge who had previously sentenced him; the details are obscure and disputed but a brawl of some kind ensued and the judge died. Güney always denied responsibility but was convicted of murder. He escaped from prison in 1981 and sought refuge in France. It was there that he made his...

Turkish government attacks LGBTI+ activists

The protests at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul have continued: at the beginning of this year, President Erdoğan appointed a puppet rector against the wishes of students and university workers. Much of the recent “culture war” around the protests has focused on LGBTI+ people. During an art show at the university, a piece of art showed the Kaaba (the large black cube in Mecca which is the final destination of the Hajj) alongside a rainbow flag. Students involved in this were arrested, and the Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu called them “four LGBT perverts” on Twitter. The state also...

Students challenge Erdoğan

Some 600 people have been detained in Turkey since 4 January after protests against the government’s appointment of Melih Bulu as head of Boğaziçi University spread in Istanbul and Ankara. Most have been released, despite repeated statements from officials that the protesters are “terrorists”. Boğaziçi University students have sent an open letter to Turkish President Erdoğan. Excerpts: “You are not a sultan and we are not your subjects. All our friends who have been arrested or detained in this period must be released immediately and rector Melih Bulu must resign! “You appointed a trustee...

Turkish university rejects stooge rector

Since 4 January, students and staff at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University have been protesting against the imposition of a new university rector. Traditionally university faculties in Turkey have the right to elect their own rectors, but Professor Melih Bulu was appointed to the position by President Erdoğan himself. Bulu was previously a parliamentary candidate for the AKP, Erdoğan’s ruling party, and is accused of plagiarising his doctoral thesis. According to a joint statement from students and staff, this is the first time a university rector has been externally chosen since the military junta...

Self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh

Around 70,000 people — nearly half the population of Nagorno-Karabakh — have been displaced in the war which broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan in late September this year, in spite of a shaky, Russian-brokered ceasefire signed on 10 October. The fighting is over the Nagorno-Karabakh region: a 95%-Armenian enclave of mountain territory inside Azerbaijan, with a population of about 150,000 until September 2020. The region set up its own parliament and declared itself independent in 1988. From 1988 to 1994, Azerbaijan fought a war to crush the self-governance of this region and return it...

Covid-19 strengthens case to welcome refugees

Right-wing governments and movements are using the C-19 crisis to demand refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere are kept or driven out of Europe. In fact the crisis only strengthens to the case they must be let in, welcomed and integrated. The Syrian government says the country has no confirmed C-19 cases, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports outbreaks in several provinces. It says the regime has issued a gag order to stop medical personnel discussing the issue. Meanwhile Syria is one of very few countries in the region not to have stopped air travel with Iran — the...

Uneasy lull in Idlib

Since Friday morning 6 March, a tentative ceasefire has been in place in Idlib. Russian president Putin and Turkey’s president Erdoğan came to this agreement at their meeting in Moscow on Thursday 5th. The deal makes provisions for a security corridor covering the area around the M4 motorway which goes through Idlib from Aleppo to Latakia, and Russia-Turkey patrols starting in mid-March. It did not secure any withdrawals by Assad from any of his recent gains in Idlib province, or a safe zone for the million people who have been displaced by the latest round of fighting. Despite being a member...

Open the borders for Syrian refugees!

For a long time, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been "threatening" to open Turkey’s western borders, and allow the millions of refugees to travel to Europe. Now he is upping the threats and raising the stakes. His aim is not to get better conditions for the refugees. It is to force Europe into greater support of Turkey. Yet, with the renewed attacks on migrants, it is the responsibility of socialists all across Europe to challenge the racist anti-immigration laws being put forward by our governments. In Britain the losses have far outnumbered the victories as Home Secretary Priti...

The Crimean Tatars, Crimea, and Turkey

Conditions are bad for the Crimean Tatar community in Crimea, under Russian rule since Putin annexed Crimea in 2014. No Crimean Tatar organisations are able to operate. The sixteen Crimean Tatar language schools have all been closed. The Crimean Tatar library has been shut down. The Crimean Tatar university (Tavriva) has had to move to Kiev. The Crimean Tatar TV channel has been taken over by the Russian authorities. Of the three Crimean Tatar newspapers, two have been shut down, and one is now run by the Russian authorities. There have been lots of kidnappings and disappearances of activists...

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