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Central Asia

How Erdogan Lost the Referendum by Winning

By narrowly supporting Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential power referendum, Turks this month voted away their own democracy: that was the consensus of opinion on April 16. But International Boulevard’s Baris Altintas finds paradoxical hope in how excruciatingly close was Erdogan’s victory, in the many violent and authoritarian measures he took to achieve even that, and in the hypothesis that accounting for widespread fraud, Erdogan actually lost the referendum.

Inside Turkey and abroad, many are describing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s slim referendum victory on April 16, 2017 as a “Pyrrhic victory,”

Turkey: Stop Worrying and Just Learn to Love ISIS

Is there a method to the bloody madness of ISIS attacks in Turkey? As International Boulevard’s Baris Altintas points out in this column, the group’s bloodbaths in Turkey seem carefully calibrated to avoid the full weight of the Islamist governing party’s wrath, targeting leftists, Kurds, and most recently the westernized elite: always minorities.

Thirty-nine people were massacred for celebrating the New Year at a nightclub in Istanbul in an attack which has since claimed by the Islamic State.

God Alone Can Fix Turkey’s Schools, Apparently

Like a lot of the Turkish ruling party’s initiatives, it sounds like something ripped straight out of the Christian Coalition’s playbook: with the country’s schools in lamentable shape, Turkey’s Islamist AK Party has launched a school reform program that seems largely to consist of propping up religious schools and injecting as much religion as the constitution will allow into public schools.

Progressive segments in Turkey have been going through trying times.

Rule of Law in Turkey Becomes Rule by Decree and Denunciation

After the failed coup attempt of July 15, Turkey increasingly looks like a dystopian state; suspects have already died in prison and most of the country’s independent media, including a Kurdish-language TV network for children, have been shut down.

The government’s initial response to the coup attempt was to declare a State of Emergency on July 20

The Gulenists Are Everywhere!

A month after the Turkish army failed to overthrow the country’s democratically elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an enormous and unprecedented witch-hunt against all potential dissenters is overrunning the country. A general atmosphere of hysteria has seized the Turkish press where most recently accounts of shady secret witnesses -called “confessionists”- are flourishing.

In the past month since the coup attempt of July 15 against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by a massive crackdown

This Quiet Dust Was a Boy

They came singly or in groups from menial jobs or university classrooms or offices to a peace rally in Turkey’s capital on Oct. 10; one hundred ordinary people who were abruptly murdered by a pair of ISIS-linked suicide bombers, victims of a campaign of violence against Turkey’s leftist opposition by the jihadi group based in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

I am about to fall asleep between heavy wool blankets and a thin but dense mattress spread around an area previously occupied by a floor table.

To the Barricades? In Turkish Kurdistan, Perhaps Not.

Why has the situation in Turkey’s ethnically Kurdish eastern region abruptly degenerated into civil strife, insurrection and savage state crackdowns, after a long period of relative peace and negotiated progress? In this essay, Vahap Coşkun casts much of the blame on the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its new strategy of erecting barricades and digging trenches in the region’s cities: provoking clashes .

In a meeting with the PKK committee in Ankara, the leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party Masoud Barzani reportedly said that the trenches should be shut down as soon as possible

Diyarbakir: Barricades, Assassinations and Shadowy Special Police Units

In Eastern Turkey, home to a long-running leftist Kurdish insurgency and more recently to spillover from the extremist jihad in Syria, there are signs that the situation is spiralling out of control. In this troubling report from Diken, locals in Diyarbakir’s embattled Sur district report violent incursions by squads of enigmatic ‘special police’: masked, sporting long beards and sowing terror.

The four-day curfew imposed by the Turkish state in the Sur district of Diyarbakır province has left behind scenes that are no different than those one witnesses in a war.

I Am Not a Turk, But In Public I Play One

In this account of a bizarre mob attack against a Kurdish resident of western Turkey (most Kurds live hundreds of miles away, in the mountainous east), the writer Baris Unlu finds a troubling barometer of ethnic and nationalist attitudes in Turkey, a country whose political map displays sharp fault lines of ethnicity, social class and religious attitudes.

First, he was beaten by an angry crowd and then forced to kiss a bust of Atatürk in the Western Anatolian city of Muğla

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