Je continuerai à lutter

Incarcéré depuis novembre 2016, le leader du parti prokurde et candidat à l’élection présidentielle turque du 24 juin, appelle, dans un texte transmis en exclusivité au ” Monde “, à ne faire aucun compromis avec le régime autoritaire de Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

J’écris ces mots depuis le centre pénitentiaire de haute sécurité d’Edirne, tout près de la frontière avec la -Bulgarie. La prison est située à 7 kilomètres du centre-ville d’Edirne, dans une zone vierge de toute habitation, au milieu des champs de tournesols. Chaque année, au mois d’août, les alentours de la prison se parent de vert et de jaune, étouffant dans une immense orgie de couleurs ses murs gris et monotones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Todo o nada. Este es el espíritu con el que los principales candidatos y fuerzas políticas concurren a las elecciones turcas del 24 de junio. Una sensación que se agudizará si, dos semanas después, el 8 de julio hay segunda vuelta para elegir al Presidente. A mediados de abril, Erdoğan decidió dar un golpe de efecto anunciando la convocatoria de elecciones anticipadas. Pretendía coger por sorpresa a la oposición, aprovechar las ganancias electorales del éxito militar en el norte de Siria y acudir a las urnas antes de que la situación económica se deteriorase. Lo que no se imaginaban entonces ni Erdoğan ni sus asesores es que sus rivales tuviesen la agilidad suficiente para articular coaliciones en tan poco tiempo, ni que las perspectivas económicas se deteriorasen tanto en cuestión de semanas.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey faces a difficult election on June 24 as the opposition parties show surprising unity.CreditErdem Sahin/Epa-Efe, via Shutterstock.

On June 24, Turkey will vote to elect a president with immensely increased powers that will replace the country’s parliamentary democracy with a strongman. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan designed the position for himself, relying on the loyalty of the nearly 50 percent of voters who have sided with him in past elections.

The usually fractious opposition has come up with a unified strategy to stop his juggernaut. The governing Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P., uses the largely cowed and co-opted media to target new enemies and scapegoats for its failures.

What are the chances for political and social unity in a badly fractured nation?…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey. The Turkish leader faces stiff opposition for presidential and legislative elections on June 24. (Adem Altanadem Altan/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

In Turkey, politics means everything. But football is life. So it’s hard not to take seriously the internal elections of one the most important teams in the country, Fenerbahce.

Ali Koc, a Harvard-educated businessman, thrashed Aziz Yildirim, the club’s chairman of 20 years and an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a landslide.

Many Fenerbahce fans, especially secularists, saw this as a metaphor for Turkey’s elections on June 24. There is a peculiar reality about this upcoming vote. Even before the Fenerbahce defeat, Erdogan seemed more vulnerable than is usually understood outside of Turkey. Nearly everyone in the West thinks it’s a foregone conclusion that Erdogan, who had been running the country for 15 years, will win one way or the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Turkish police officer watches a political rally in Istanbul in front of posters of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, left, and the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Turkey recently called snap elections to be held June 24, even as it extended the state of emergency for a seventh time since a failed coup attempt in 2016. And in the wake of a 2017 constitutional referendum that vested extraordinary powers in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, observers warn that Turkey is on the fast track to authoritarianism.

While not part of the European Union, Turkey is member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The court retains the force of law over contracting states and has previously ruled on contentious issues from prisoners’ right to vote to the treatment of terrorism suspects in custody.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkish protesters shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration in Istanbul in 2013. (Georgi Licovski/European Pressphoto Agency)

On Tuesday, Twitter erupted with tweets using the hashtag #tamam. The Turkish word, in this case meaning “enough is enough,” quickly became the rallying cry of those opposed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian control over politics and society.

Nearly 1.5 million tweets in less than 12 hours made #tamam the top worldwide trending topic, deftly beating out competition from Trump’s #IranDeal announcement. Much of the shared content displayed the witty spirit of resistance seen in Turkey’s 2013 Gezi Park protests, in which hashtags like #OccupyGezi tagged clever memes and catchy pop culture references, simultaneously making fun of the government and attracting supporters to the cause.…  Seguir leyendo »

a Syrian man rests in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin on March 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nazeer al-Khatib (Photo credit should read NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

When Raqqa fell in 2017, after a long siege by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), it was generally thought that ISIS was defeated, save for some mopping up. But in January of this year, Turkey invaded Afrin—one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. This meant that scores of SDF fighters had to leave the battle against ISIS in order to defend their homes, families, and neighbors in Afrin. After extensive air strikes, the city of Afrin fell on March 18—confronting the already troubled region with yet another humanitarian crisis, as thousands fled to escape the Turkish army and its Syrian National Army allies (which include jihadist rebel groups and some fighters who are either openly aligned with al-Qaeda or even recent members of ISIS).…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugiados armenios en la cubierta de un buque francés, huidos del genocidio. UIG/Getty Images

El Archivo Histórico Nacional (AHN) guarda correspondencia de las legaciones diplomáticas y consulares de España en el Imperio Otomano que describen los crímenes de los turcos contra el pueblo armenio que arrancó en 1915. Como cada 24 de abril, miles de armenias y armenios se vuelcan en las calles de Buenos Aires, Moscú, Los Ángeles, París y Ereván para que la sociedad internacional reconozca el primer crimen de masas a gran escala del siglo XX. La aniquilación planificada y sistemática costó la vida a 1,5 millones de personas de la minoría cristiana armenia.

Los legajos incluyen telegramas cifrados, manuscritos, estadísticas, recortes de prensa y mapas enviados a Madrid.…  Seguir leyendo »

Let’s start with the question of sanity. Here is a letter from Turkey’s leading civil society leader, Osman Kavala, who spent months in prison for the following reasons: having dinner with a visiting American academic; for organizing the failed coup of 2016; and funding an urban uprising in Istanbul in 2013 or supporting Kurdish separatists, depending on which version of the official story you chose to believe:

“I have just completed the fifth month of my sojourn at Silivri [Prison]. My health is in good shape and I walk for almost two hours in my courtyard. I have no complaints about the food.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s portrait on a cigarette case and a lighter at an Istanbul souvenir shop.CreditOzan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has called for snap elections on June 24, almost a year and a half before the scheduled date in November 2019. He is expected to win because he has, once again, managed to stack the odds — militant nationalism, strong economic growth, a post-coup state of emergency that allows him to deploy security forces to crush his opposition and almost complete control of the Turkish media — in his favor.

The Turkish economy grew at 7.4 percent last year. Mr. Erdogan is seizing the moment to take credit for the strong economic performance before the economy shows signs of overheating.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army soldiers celebrate around a statue of Kawa, a mythology figure in Kurdish culture as they prepare to destroy it in city center of Afrin, northwestern Syria, early Sunday, March 18, 2018. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that allied Syrian forces have taken "total" control of the town center of Afrin, the target of a nearly two-month-old Turkish offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia, which said fighting was still underway. Erdogan said the Turkish flag and the flag of the Syrian opposition fighters have been raised in the town, previously controlled by the Kurdish militia known as the People's Defense Units, or YPG. (Hasan Kırmızitaş/DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

Mohammed is not his real name. He asked me not to share personal details, fearing retaliation from the fighters he passes when he walks around his city. I can say only that Mohammed is a Kurd living in Afrin, a city in northern Syria that was held for more than five years by Kurdish-led forces until it was, about three weeks ago, overrun and occupied by the Turkish army and its proxy forces fighting under the umbrella of the Syrian National Army (SNA), formerly known as the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

To be a Kurd in Afrin, once a majority Kurdish city, Mohammed says, is now to find oneself a member of a despised group, suspected of disloyalty, and liable to be robbed, beaten, put to flight, or worse.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 19, a student club at Turkey’s prestigious Bogazici University distributed Turkish delight to celebrate the Turkish military’s victory against Syrian Kurdish (YPG) forces in Afrin. Students opposed to the campaign protested, holding up a sign declaring “No delight in occupation and massacre.” A brief struggle between the groups not only upset boxes of the sweets, but would escalate into a political crisis provoking international outcry.

In days following the skirmish, police forces swept through campus to round up more than 20 students suspected of protesting, raids that state media broadcast live as the detaining of “provocateurs.” On March 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the group of antiwar demonstrators “terrorists” at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party during a protest against Turkey in Athens last month.CreditAlkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

In a rapidly intensifying war of words, government officials of the nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been exchanging insults and threats in the past few weeks, recalling conflicts from a shared and bloody history. Relations have rarely been rosy, but the speed with which they have worsened, and the level of vitriol, have raised fears that the two heavily armed neighbors may be trash-talking their way to new conflict.

Adding to those concerns is the awareness that the two most credible mediators between the two sides — the United States and the European Union — appear to have little leverage with Turkey.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students of Mehmet Akif College in Kosovo protest the arrest and deportation of their teachers in Kosovo’s capital Pristina on March 29. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

On Thursday morning, six Turkish men who were living in Kosovo suddenly disappeared.

That afternoon, a Turkish state news agency published photos of the six looking disheveled and standing next to Turkish flags; it wasn’t clear where the pictures were taken. The news story accompanying the images said the men were high-ranking members of the Gulen movement, a former ally of the Turkish government that officials now accuse of trying to overthrow the state since at least 2013. The report claimed that the men had been “arrested” in an operation between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Kosovo’s intelligence agency, and that they had already been brought back to Turkey on a private plane.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wearing masks of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern secular Turkey. A new online database of genealogy records in the country is testing a long-held idea of racially pure Turkishness.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

Earlier this year, Turkey opened its closely guarded population register, a monumental archive of lineages going back to Ottoman times. A website that gives access to all public services in Turkey now includes a genealogy tab. Users can download ancestry documents, with records going as far back as 1882.

Since the appearance of the new service, roots, migration, purity and hybridity have dominated the conversation in WhatsApp groups, offices and tea shops. In just two days, over 5 million Turks went looking for their heritage on the register. Interest was so intense that for a few hours the website collapsed. The government was forced to stop the service for several days.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on March 14 a diplomatic row with the Netherlands could not be dismissed with an apology and warned of further possible measures, after Ankara suspended high-level diplomatic ties with the Dutch. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Turkey’s relations with Europe took another strained turn. In early February, the Dutch government announced it had recalled its ambassador to Turkey and would not be receiving a new Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands. The Dutch government then halted diplomatic talks with Ankara and do not expect to normalize ties any time soon.

The diplomatic tit-for-tat continued. In late February, Turkey summoned the Netherlands’s chargé d’affaires to condemn a proposed bill that would see the Netherlands recognize the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as “genocide.”

An impasse with the Netherlands does not bode well for Turkey’s economic interests: 85 percent of Turkey’s foreign investments come from the West, with the Netherlands being the top foreign investor in Turkey.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis le coup d’Etat manqué du 15 juillet 2015, la Turquie n’est plus un pays démocratique, comme ses dirigeants le prétendent, à chaque occasion, surtout à l’égard des responsables de l’Union européenne. Avec ses écrivains et ses journalistes incarcérés, ses universitaires et ses artistes poursuivis en justice, ses opposants kurdes réprimés, elle dérive chaque jour davantage vers un autoritarisme qui la rapproche, sur le plan politique, de ses voisins russe et iranien. L’Etat de droit n’existe plus, la justice a perdu son indépendance, et les médias, à quelques exceptions près, ont perdu leur tête. Il faudrait désormais parler non pas de dérive autoritaire, comme on a l’habitude de le faire, mais de «péril totalitaire».…  Seguir leyendo »

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan places cloves during a ceremony at Canakkale Martyrs' Memorial in Gallipoli Peninsula to mark the 103rd anniversary of the Canakkale Land Battles in Canakkale, Turkey, on 18 March 2018. Source: Anadolu Agency/Kayhan Ozer

The streets of the Dardanelles port of Çanakkale were packed with people in a jubilant mood. Beyond the centuries-old forts guarding the strait, Turkish warships rode at anchor on the horizon. Turkish flags of every shape and size waved madly in a wind so strong that the naval manoeuvres and air force fly-bys had to be cancelled.

It was 18 March, Çanakkale Victory and Martyrs Day, when Turkey celebrates the anniversary of the British and French navies’ defeat in their 1915 attempt to force their way to Istanbul, then capital of the Ottoman Empire. On the same day, Turkey also honours the Ottoman soldiers who lost their lives as they beat back Allied forces in the Gallipoli campaign that began on 25 April 1915.…  Seguir leyendo »

A vigil honoring Anna Campbell in her hometown, Lewes, East Sussex, England. Ms. Campbell died fighting with a Kurdish armed unit in Syria. Credit Gareth Fuller/Press Association Images, via Getty Images

A few days before Anna Campbell was killed in Syria by a Turkish missile on March 15, she called my office in Raqqa. Anna, a 26-year-old British feminist who had come to my country in May 2017 to fight alongside Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria, was begging to go to Afrin, a Kurdish-controlled city that Turkish forces were on the verge of seizing after a brutal two-month offensive.

Her military commanders in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units — the all-female army known as the Y.P.J. — were not allowing her to go, arguing that a Western woman would be a particular target for Turkey and the radical jihadist groups it is backing.…  Seguir leyendo »

La lutte contre les organisations terroristes comme Daech (acronyme arabe de l’organisation Etat islamique) et la gestion des flux de l’émigration constituent les plus grands défis auxquels les pays européens doivent faire face aujourd’hui. La Turquie continue de jouer un rôle majeur dans l’action internationale pour les relever.

C’est la Turquie qui a permis à l’Union européenne (UE) de réguler le flux d’émigrés de Syrie. Elle a non seulement accueilli chez elle 3,5 millions de Syriens, mais également sauvé la vie de milliers d’entre eux, en leur épargnant une périlleuse traversée de la mer Egée pour rejoindre l’Europe occidentale.

C’est la Turquie qui a été parmi les premiers pays à reconnaître Daech comme une organisation terroriste.…  Seguir leyendo »