On Turks marching for justice and freedom


“ Our walk indicates our determination to defend freedom of expression and our right to peaceful demonstration in Turkey. We are walking to remind those who choose to rule by decree and intimidation that ours is a social contract: we, as citizens, submit to the authority of the state in exchange for the protection of our rights. We are walking to restore that contract; we are walking to restore democracy, justice and our hard-earned fundamental freedoms. We are walking to lift the deceptive veil of democracy from what is in fact a harsh authoritarian regime ”

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, ‘We are marching to halt Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism’, The Guardian


On the sad story of the brave Turkish protester Veli Saçılık


“ Saçılık lost his arm in 2000, three years after being arrested in a workers’ union demonstration, when the government cracked down on hunger strikers in prisons around the country. His arm was severed and he came round handcuffed to a hospital bed. The lost limb was later was found in bin outside the jail. ‘I was not an armed terrorist, but even if I were, that’s not what I deserve,’ he said. ‘I don’t usually cry, but I cried then, out of anger rather than sadness.’ (…) ‘I’m a one-armed person, and there’s a teacher with a pacemaker, but our argument is strong and these people are obviously normal and innocent when the government tries to portray us as terrorists,’ he said. ‘We are right, our argument is right, and they know that. Whenever we try to demand our rights, it ends in detentions, beatings, torture or death. But I’m hopeful, that’s why I’m protesting ”

Kareem Shaheen & Gözde Hatunoğlu, ‘One-armed Turkish protester denounces investigation against him’, The Guardian

On the small coverage of Turkey’s human rights violations


“ Violation of the freedom of the press would attract more attention if a Western government blocked Wikipedia for two weeks and held more than 120 journalists. It seems, however, that such measures appear to be normal for a country like Turkey, that they are little to be scandalized for. On the one hand there are those for which Turkey has always been and will always be a country fundamentally different from European countries. On the other, there are those who hoped for Turkey’s accession to the European Union and read Pamuk’s novels, but who have now resigned to the idea that modern Turkey no longer exists ”

Translated from Italian.

Lorenzo Ferrari, ‘Turkey, human rights, and us’, Il Post

On Trump’s new approach to the US-Turkey relationship


“ By way of compensation, the US is expected to offer deeper intelligence cooperation with Ankara against Kurdish militants in Turkey and in Iraq. And Trump has already made clear he will not let Obama-era opposition to Erdoğan’s creeping authoritarianism become a hindrance in the bilateral relationship. He formally congratulated the Turkish president on winning a referendum amending the constitution to give him more power ”

Julian Borger, ‘Trump relying on charisma to bridge old divides on first foreign trip’, The Guardian

On how Erdogan used the coup d’etat to justify the oppression of opposition


“ What has transpired since is well known: an unending ‘state of emergency’ and a massive purge within all state apparatuses, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP presenting themselves as strongmen all the while. At last count, around 134,000 people had been dismissed from public service; upwards of 100,000 had been detained; roughly 2,100 schools, dormitories and universities had been shuttered; more than 7,300 academics had lost their jobs; 149 media outlets had been shut down; and well over 200 journalists had been arrested. While initially the purges were mostly directed at real or alleged Gülenists, the attacks quickly broadened to include all oppositional elements, including the Left in the broadest sense: i.e. persons even loosely associated with the Kurdish movement, leftist Kemalists, and Turkish socialists ”

Guney Isikara & Alp Kayserilioglu & Max Zirngast, ‘Voting on Dictatorship’, Jacobin Magazine

On the polarization of the factions voting in the Turkish referendum


“ The vote will cap two months of campaigning that has further polarised a divided country still reeling from a coup attempt in which 265 people were killed and hundreds injured, frequent terror attacks and the impact of the ongoing civil war in neighbouring Syria. The run-up to the vote has been marred by divisive rhetoric and accusations on both sides that have amplified the splits within society. Supporters of the government have equated those who will vote no on the constitutional amendments with terrorist groups, and opposition campaigners have accused those who will vote yes of abetting fascism and dictatorship ”

Kareem Shaheen, ‘Turkey prepares for tight vote that could strengthen Erdogan’s grip on power, The Guardian

On Erdogan’s oppressive rule


“ This is not rule of law. This is undermining the law. The government is saying if you oppose the regime we are planning to plant in Turkey, you will find yourself in prison and we will isolate you from the outside world (…) Democracy means plurality. The concept of plurality is being abolished with these actions against newspapers, and Turkey is being put in a position where there is only one voice ”

Baris Yarkadas, member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP)