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Can a Massacre Help win an Election?

The night after the massacre of one hundred peace activists in Ankara on October 10, protestors crowded the streets leading to Taksim Square in Istanbul carrying signs reading, “We know the killers” (Katilleri tanıyoruz). Mourning and rage mingled in a beautifully concise statement that nonetheless leaves ample room for explanation of how it happened, with […]

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Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context

At 9:30 yesterday morning Turkish citizens opposed to their government’s war policies gathered at the Ankara Train Station for a demonstration organized by a broad alliance of organizations: the country’s two main oppositional labor unions (DISK and KESK), the national Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), the Medical Association (Tabipler Birliği) and the June Movement […]

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“You are all Armenians!”—The Place of Cizre in the Terror Wars

This past weekend a stroll through a middle-class section of Turkey’s capital revealed nothing out of the ordinary besides a somewhat unusually high number of flags in store windows. Beneath the crescent and star against a blood-red background there appeared occasionally messages of grief for fallen soldiers and condemnations of “terror.” Terror is a good […]

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Days of Promise and Danger: an in-depth look at the recent Turkish election

By the time you read this you will have no doubt already absorbed initial reactions—from euphoria to guarded optimism—of the international Left to the June 7 parliamentary elections in Turkey, the first ever in which the neoliberal Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power since 2002 has fallen out with its much touted “national […]

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The Market and the Minaret: Turkey in 2014

Whether on the road from Istanbul or from Esenboğa Airport, a strange sight welcomes visitors to the capital of Turkey: an opulent city gate, dressed up in neo-Ottoman designs, spans the highway through which vehicles pass on their way to the central city.  Reminiscent of Türkmenbaşı’s gates of Ashkabad, these new monuments testify to the […]

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Islamists, Kemalists, and Kurds: will the Kobani crisis force a realignment?

Over the last two days in Turkey, twenty-two people have died protesting the “Islamic State’s” assault on the predominantly Kurdish Syrian city of Kobani.  One died of a wound to the head from a tear gas canister, the others from bullet wounds.  Some shots were fired by police, others by members of far-right organizations.  In […]

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The Soma tragedy: Kadere karşı / Against Fate

Note from the LeftEast editors: this text is also published by the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle Eastern Conflict. My class yesterday began with something close to an apology from me for holding the class at all.  Times like this can make anyone engaged in intellectual work feel inadequate.  To some it seems […]

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Shrouds and Power, or what does the corruption scandal mean for Turkey? (part 2)

A note from the editors of LeftEast: This is the second of a number of articles on Turkey we will be publishing over the next two weeks. With this series, we wish to introduce our readers to the dynamics of the Turkish society beyond the Gezi protests. We will do that through the discussion of […]

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Shrouds and Power, or what does the corruption scandal mean for Turkey? (part 1)

A note from the editors of LeftEast: This is the first of a number of articles on Turkey we will be publishing over the next two weeks. With this series, we wish to introduce our readers to the dynamics of the Turkish society beyond the Gezi protests. We will do that through the discussion of […]

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Syria and the Glass Bead Game

As the civil war in Syria has unfolded over the last two and half years while I’ve been teaching general humanities courses in Ankara, the one question I’ve heard most often from students cued into the conflict is, “what business does America have in Syria?”  It is an interesting question that, oddly, has not gotten […]