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Between Slow and Sudden Death in Turkey

On 25 February 2017, the picture of a young male academic who committed suicide in Turkey went viral on the social media. The photo was hashtagged with #MehmetFatihTras and the line underneath the hashtag reads: “This is a murder. Try the murderers!” Wearing hipster eyeglasses, a hooded jacket, and a bag pack, Mehmet Fatih Tras has recently completed his doctorate degree in Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Cukurova University in Turkey. Upon the receipt of his PhD, he was made multiple job offers from universities in Turkey. However, university presidents interrupted the recruitment process and terminated his contract without any justification. His ...

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تأملات في صناعة صورة الموت؛ اغتيال السفير

[قاتل السفير الروسي في انقرة.]

فكرة "الذات" الفلسفيّة، هي فكرة حديثة، جاءت مع عصر التنوير الأوروبي والنزعة الإنسانيّة، فالذات المفكرة والواعيّة تجد تعبيرها الوجودي الميلادي الأول في بيان ديكارت الشهير: "أنا أفكر، إذن أنا موجود"، أو ماعُرف بـ"الكوجيطو"، وبالتالي فوجودية الذات تتحدد بكونها "ذاتًا" ذات تصور ابستمولوجي، أي بوصفها ذاتًا "مفكرة عارفة"، في مقابل "موضوع" معروف ومحكوم، فيما نسميه ازدواجيّة/ثنائيّة "الذات والموضوع". وإذا كان النقد ما بعد البنيويّ وما بعد الحداثيّ يقول بأن نهايّة "الذات" دلالة على نهايّة العصر الحديث أو دلالة على خاتمته، فثمة حاجة إلى تأمل الذات وعمليّة التفكير (الكوجيطو)، والموضوع المفكّر فيه. أيّ ...

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Media on Media Roundup (December 20)

[A protest against the Turkish government's crackdown against opposition newspaper Zaman. Photo from Turkey Purge]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup deals with a number of issues that occupied the media scene in the region, from the end of the battle over Aleppo to the state of journalism during 2016 and the cultural misrepresentation of Muslims on the BBC. After a four-year battle over the Syrian city of Aleppo, government-led forces have been described as "somewhat victorious" as they hold control over the entire city, initiating an evacuation process for the remaining civilians in the city. The events were met with major waves of criticism over social media, specifically with the international community’s impotence in light of news reporting on a major ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 17)

[Trump following his election victory on 9 November 2016. Photo from Wikimedia Commons]

In this week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup: The United States has elected Donald Trump. As the dust settles from last Tuesday’s elections, global media outlets have reacted differently to Trump’s victory, including Arab media outlets, whose reactions varied according to their respective political affiliations. Many have criticized the Arab media’s coverage of the US presidential race, claiming that they have adopted the American liberal media’s narrative. Moreover, criticism has also been directed towards pro-Sisi media outlets in Egypt, after they joyfully cheered Trump’s victory. Turkey’s representative for Reporters Without Borders will be placed on trial ...

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الجدل حول سوريا يصل إلى طريق مسدود

[المصدر: موقع حركة المجتمع التعددي]

[اضغط/ي هنا للنسخة الإنجليزية من المقال] روايتان متصارعتان تهيمنان على النقاشات، وكلتاهما لا تقدمان حلا  يشعر كل المتتبعين لأخبار سوريا المؤلمة الآن بحالة من التشبع بالمعلومات والأرقام والتحليلات والمعلومات المضللة التي ظهرت منذ عام 2011 وحتى وقتنا الحالي. الكثير منا تبنى روايته الخاصة للأحداث وهذا هو الحال سواء كنا من المتابعين لسوريا خلال العقدين الماضيين أو بدأنا فجأة بمتابعتها منذ 2011. وللأسف، ففي ضوء الطبيعة المثيرة للجدل للمعلومات التي تصلنا عن هذا البلد، وخصوصا في الظروف الراهنة، فإن بلورة هذه الروايات قابلة بالتأكيد للشكوك أو لرأي منطقي مضاد. أما الأسوأ من هذا فهو هذا الانجذاب المتزايد نحو روايتين محددتين : أ) تلك التي تتحدث عن "ثورة ...

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An Emergent Political Icon on the Landscape of Istanbul: The Palace of (In)Justice

[A protest outside the Palace of Justice. Photograph by Ayşe Öncü.]

[A protest outside the Palace of Justice. Photograph by Ayşe Öncü] All the anomalies of authoritarianism in contemporary Turkey seem telescoped, or short circuited in Istanbul’s “Palaces of Justice” (Adalet Sarayı). One of these “palaces” is on the Anatolian side in Kartal, and two in Europe, in Çağlayan and Bakırköy. These are all brand new buildings, inaugurated one after another by the incumbent AKP (Justice and Development Party) during its ten-year tenure in office. Monumental in scale, they have been designed to centralize all thirty-five district courts dispersed in different parts of the city under one roof. And, akin to many attention-grabbing construction ...

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Media on Media Roundup (October 12)

[Bombing of Sanaa dating back to 11 May 2015. Photo by Ibrahem Qasim, Wikimedia Commons]

This week, Jadaliyya's "Media on Media" roundup takes a closer look at the media industry in the Middle East.  In the shadow of Syria’s inconsistent media coverage, an entrepreneurial journalist has developed a platform which uses geo-tracking to collect social media from and on conflict zones. The platform can directly benefit investigative journalists in areas where conflict-zones are too dangerous to monitor physically. Zawya has released an updated report on Arab reality television released in 2015-2016, an indicator of the popularity of reality TV shows in the Arab world. At the same time, the demand for more Islamic-themed media content has led to ...

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Neo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque: An Interview with Kishwar Rizvi

[Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara. Image by Kishwar Rizvi]

Mosques are enduring architectural and institutional features of Muslim communities throughout the world, and thus it is natural to encounter large mosque complexes that occupy prominent positions within the cityscapes of the Middle East and beyond. Yet among the many historical mosques and buildings in the region’s oldest cities, there are also buildings of surprisingly recent provenance and many old sites with newly renovated interiors and facades, such as the Blue Mosque in downtown Beirut or the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara. These buildings are examples of what Kishwar Rizvi calls “the transnational mosque,” a particular place of worship constructed by nation states of ...

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Commemorating the Failed Coup in Turkey

[Statue of Honor, also known as the Ataturk Monument, Samsun, Turkey. Image by Cobija via Wikimedia Commons.]

The coup attempt of 15 July 2016 was a major surprise to political actors in Turkey and observers outside Turkey alike. In the days before 15 July there was a surprising rapprochement between the AKP government and the Turkish army in the face of renewed war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Observers were focused on Turkey’s strained relations with the European Union on the one hand, and the United States on the other; worried about human rights violations and freedom of expression; concerned about the increasingly aggressive presence of the Islamic State in Turkey. No one expected that the Turkish army, taken seemingly under control in the last decade, would ...

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Media On Media Roundup (July)

[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on media and communication in the Middle East and North Africa and reflects a wide variety of opinions.] The month of July has seen a great deal of media-related discussion. News of the ​coup attempt in Turkey and its fallout, the release of ​Pokemon GO, ​celebrations of Ramadan and ​the Syrian civil war have all been topics of significant debate and deliberation throughout the month. This month's roundup features some compelling pieces with subjects ranging from an insightful discussion about the differences between Egyptian and Colombian comic ...

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The ‘Pelican Brief,’ the ‘Coup’, and the Matter of Parliamentary Immunity: The End of the End of Turkish Democracy

[Ahmet Davutoglu. Image by Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr]

Recent Turkish parliamentary scandals—the "resignation" of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the appointment of Binali Yıldırım, and the question of legal immunity for serving MPs—might seem rather inconsequential in the context of the violence, corruption, and increasingly brazen anti-democratic measures instigated, encouraged, tacitly supported or at least ignored by the ruling AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They might seem even less consequential in the context of the coup attempted on 15 July 2016. But together with other relentless and increasingly unabashed assaults on democracy in Turkey, they betray what one observer has called a ...

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In Turkey: A Question of Emergency

[Pro-AKP rally on the evening of 23 July 2016. Image by Ayca Cubukcu]

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,” Vladimir Lenin once said. Turkey is going through some of those weeks. Given the failed coup d’état on 15 July 2016, and the state of emergency declared on 20 July, not much is how it appears. What may eventually become clear is that Turkey is experiencing a constitutional moment under a state of emergency. In fact, with much charisma and appeal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is mobilizing “the people” to turn the suspension of the constitution into the foundation of a new body politic. What is now at stake, if Erdoğan is to be believed, is the type of state and society Turkey will ...

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Call for Action: Solidarity with Purged Academics for Peace in Turkey

[The following call for action and fundraising appeal was issued by the Research Institute for Turkey, Bostonbul, GIT North America, and concerned academics from the United States and Candada.] There have been several crackdowns on academics in Turkey. Many have been detained, jailed, and even dismissed from their posts through statutory decrees. Among them are the “Academics for Peace,” who signed a declaration for ceasing human rights violations in the Kurdish provinces. Signed by 2,212 academics in ...

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The Turkish State of Emergency and LGBT+ Kurds

After the end of the peace negotiations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) in July 2015, Kurdish cities witnessed massive destruction. The destruction was accompanied by racist and sexist graffiti messages by Turkish government forces in many of the wrecked areas. Then, following the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, a three-month state of emergency was declared by the Erdoğan government, extended again for another three months, blurring the boundaries of ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 22)

In this week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup: The battle between the Turkish government and Turkish media continues. Hezbollah flexes its muscles in Syria, and the moon is ready for its close up. According to a recent report published by Freedom House, Turkey has been downgraded to "not free" status as a result of the increasing government clampdown on media. In a counter-offensive, Turkish opposition outlets have begun courting international support, while TRT, a pro-Erdoğan state ...

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Letter to Turkish Prime Minister Concerning Emergency Decrees Targeting Academia in Turkey

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 7 November 2016 in response to the onging emergency decrees that have targeted academia in Turkey.] Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım Office of the Prime Minister Başbakanlık 06573 Ankara Turkey Dear Prime Minister Yıldırım: We write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our increasing concern and ...

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HDP Statement: The End of Democracy in Turkey

[The following statement was issued on 4 November 2016 by Turkey's People's Democratic Party (HDP) in response to the latest escalation in the Turkish government's repression of any and all political movements it deems threatening to its rule.] The End of Democracy in Turkey Last night the purge of President Erdogan against our party has reached another peak: our Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, along with 11 further Members of Parliament of our party have been detained across Turkey ...

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United in Nationalism: Notes on the Aftermath of the Failed Coup Attempt in Turkey

As is by now well known, on 15 July 2015 some segments of Turkey’s military forces attempted a coup against the country’s elected Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. On the night of the coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of the founders of the ruling party, called on the people to defend democracy against the coup organizers. That night, thousands risked their lives and took to the streets, which were occupied by military tanks, to side with the elected government. In a world ...

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Media on Media Roundup (October 4)

This week, Jadaliyya's "Media on Media" roundup highlights media response to the death of Israeli leader Shimon Peres. Mainstream western media eulogized Peres by leaving out a key population affected by his policies; meanwhile, Israeli media took the liberty of summarizing Arab media’s reaction to his death. In a critical look at foreign correspondence, this Ahram article dissects a recently published, critically-hailed article in The New York Times Magazine entitled “Fractured ...

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Turkey’s Cyclical Coups

Turkey has faced an unprecedented number of crises in the last year. The spillover from the war in Syria has undermined a peace process between the government and the country’s Kurdish community, with the success of Syrian Kurdish militias on the border with Turkey producing fears of separatism among Turkey’s Kurds and prompting the government to relaunch a counter-insurgency campaign (read: war) in the largely Kurdish southeastern provinces. Nationwide, the country has experienced at least five major ...

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Between 'Sultanism' and Liberal Democracy: The Peculiarities of a Failed Coup in Turkey

The dominant mainstream Western media narrative regarding the failed military coup in Turkey revolves around the theme of a democratically-elected leader going mad and suddenly becoming an autocrat. It reminds one of the good old themes of “sultanism” or “oriental despotism.” Of course, the massive purges that are currently taking place give credit to that narrative. This narrative seems to be very popular even among some Western leftist publications and analysts. However, one needs a more nuanced ...

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Media on Media Roundup (July 28)

This week's "Media on Media Roundup" features an array of articles ranging from discussion of the aftermath of the attempted military coup in Turkey and hostility towards the LGBTQ community in Israel to how the Middle East is reacting to Pokemon GO. One of the earliest consequences of the coup was the throttling and restriction of Internet access. ​Turkish authorities took it a step further by blocking access to WikiLeaks after the release of over 300,000 ruling party ...

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With Blood They Consecrate a New Order: Erdogan’s ‘Revolution’

On the evening of 15 July 2016, in the midst of the attempted coup d’etat, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan landed in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport after flying in from the holiday resort of Marmaris. His flight across the country may well have been a tense one as the Associated Press (AP) reported that his jet had been tailed by rogue F-16 jets. However, once on the ground, Erdoğan was met, not by putschist soldiers ready to lead him away in handcuffs, but throngs of supporters whom he addressed in ...

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Statement by Middle East Studies Association and Other Academic Organizations Concerning Turkey

[The following statement was issued by the below-listed organizations. Organizations wishing to be included as signatories on the above statement should contact Amy Newhall at] July 21, 2016 The Middle East Studies Association, American Anthropological Association, Executive Committee of the American Comparative Literature Association, American Studies Association, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, German Studies Association, International Center for ...

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