(Armedia.am) Last week, radical changes took placein Turkey’s foreign policy in the Middle East . If by that time Turkey was conducting the so-called moderate foreign policy and did not directly interfere in the chaos in neighboring countries, last week after telephone conversation between the presidents of Turkey and the United States, Erdogan agreed to open air bases in Incirlik and Diyarbakir, which would allow the NATO partners to conduct air strikes in the direction of IS militants in Syria.
At the same time Turkey organized two direct military actions on two fronts – air strikes in the direction of Syria against the “Islamic State”, as well as in the direction of Northern Iraq against PKK fighters.
(IndefenceofMarxism): While NATO throws its weight behind the reactionary Erdogan government, he continues his onslaught against Kurdish and left forces. Erdogan however, is acting from a position of weakness and he could provoke a mass movement against himself.
“The Kurds were born to be betrayed. Almost every would-be Middle East statelet was promised freedom after the First World War, and the Kurds even sent a delegation to Versailles to ask for a nation and safe borders.” – Robert Fisk
Turkish auto workers on strike in 2015
Yet again, today, the major western imperialist powers gathered to under-sign yet another betrayal of this tested people, whose fate has been traded between every major power of the region for a hundred years, as if it were just another item on their shopping list. Following the emergency meeting of NATO – a very rare event – General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg expressed “strong solidarity” with Turkey in its war on “terrorism”. The joint declaration by the NATO members stated that, “The security of the alliance is indivisible,” and condemned the recent terror attacks in Turkey, describing terrorism as “a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion — a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”
Erdoğan’s “New Turkey”: End of Pragmatism?
On June 7, 2015, Turkish constituents will be visiting the ballot box to elect a new leader. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has won seven consecutive elections (three general, three local and one Presidential) in the past 13 years, is once again the main contender of this election cycle.
This time, however, there are different dynamics shaping the political scene. For one, opposition parties wage a wiser election campaign this time. Rather than focusing on ideological divides (Turkish/Kurdish; laicite/Islam), and blaming the AKP for polarizing the nation (which has been a valid critique that surprisingly did not gain them much leverage in previous elections), they prioritize social policies pertaining to welfare and democratization. The constructive language that they adopt in their election programs and the concrete steps they lay out online, through social media, and on the ground, through political rallies, instil in the constituents greater confidence, and more importantly, relief that the AKP is no longer the sole contender for Turkey’s progressive and innovative political party slot.
THE (Turkish) HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION AND THE CENTER FOR TRUTH JUSTICE MEMORY TO BECOME INTERVENING PARTY IN THE PERİNÇEK CASE
On January 28, 2015, the lawsuit Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland will begin retrial in the Grand Chamber, which acts in the capacity of court of appeals for the European Court of Human Rights.
It is now common knowledge that in 2005, Doğu Perinçek traveled to Switzerland, which has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide and passed a law criminalizing its denial, in order to issue declarations in Bern and Lausanne where he impugned the Armenian Genocide as a fabrication. In 2007, Perinçek was found guilty of deliberately violating national law and convicted by the court of Lausanne. Upon Perinçek’s appeal, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in his favor in 2008 and found that the court of Lausanne had violated the freedom of expression principle enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights, article 10.
The Human Rights Association sent a letter to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice in 2014, demonstrating in detail how the denial of the Armenian Genocide incites hostility toward Armenians and imploring Switzerland to appeal the ECHR decision. Switzerland’s subsequent appeal and request for retrial were accepted in June 2014.
“In actuality, how Turks and Armenians, as the owners of this common history, can together, through dialogue and empathy, reach a just memory of the tragic events of 1915, which occurred during the great human sufferings of World War I, is already being examined thoroughly and in all its dimensions. In this context, our proposal to establish a Joint Historical Commission, also reflected in the Turkish-Armenian Protocols, remains on the agenda.”
The quotation is from the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s press release regarding the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s recent resolution on the Armenian genocide. In the wake of its centenary, this is the uttermost point reached by the Turkish state in the perception of the annihilation of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian citizens: A “just memory” and a “joint historical commission”. The just memory is a euphemism to recall revenge killings of Muslims in some areas by Armenian avengers once their people were decimated by the state and their neighbours. And the commission is a sort of face-saver to equate the pains.
The ruins of an Armenian church in the eastern village of Hozat in Tunceli province, Turkey [AFP]
The definition of justice for the Armenians in Turkey
Many Armenians around the world think in unison when it comes to their demands and goals in regard to the Armenian Genocide. It is often understood that recognition and reparations of the genocide have been the motto of many Armenian organizations throughout the world who have sought justice. This has provided the international community a suitable understanding of what justice means in regards to the Armenian Genocide and what it may entail.
However, as we will soon discover, justice for one community may not been the same for another. The diaspora has become an ever-changing entity with a mixture of different opinions and ideas regarding this issue.
NO MORE GAMES
When Armenians and Turks meet to talk of their differences, the attitude of the Turks, unless they are enlightened, is at best “we both suffered during the First World War. Let’s forget the past and become friends” or at worst “there was no Genocide. Armenians died because of war conditions. Besides, Armenians were also out to dismantle the Ottoman Empire with the help of the Russians.”
Being factual, the Armenian narrative of 1915-’23 differs from the Turkish version. As well, when Armenians think of the conflict, they inevitably recall the centuries of oppression they suffered under the Ottoman Turks. They remember the 1895 Hamidian massacres when more than 200,000 innocent Armenians were slain by Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s soldiers and the Hamidiyeh irregulars. Armenians also recall the 1909 massacre of 30,000 Armenians in Adana, when the so-called progressive Young Turks were at the helm of the Ottoman government. Armenians also remember a century of Turkish government Genocide denial, the wealth-tax imposed on Armenians during the Second World War and the September 1955 pogroms in Istanbul. Finally, Armenians sitting down with Turks are only too aware of Turkey’s blockade of Armenia and its support of the warmongering Baku regime.
Meet Turkey’s Youngest Mayor, A 25-Year-Old Female Former Political Prisoner
Rezan Zugurli, Turkey’s youngest mayor, at her office in the southeastern Turkish district of Lice. | Sophia Jones
LICE, Turkey — Rezan Zugurli is soft-spoken and unassuming, but she radiates charisma. You would never peg her as a fighter.
But a fighter she is. Born into a family of prominent Kurdish activists, Zugurli grew up in southeastern Turkey in the midst of an armed struggle for autonomy and political rights by the Kurds, a minority group making up one-fifth of the country’s population. The fight has claimed more than 40,000 lives since its start 30 years ago.
What is Happening in Turkey and Why?
In spite of the public disclosure of widespread graft allegations that were copiously documented through illegally attained tapes, the ruling Justice and Development Party (hereafter AKP) managed to maintain its political dominance after the 31 March 2014 elections. This came as a dispiriting shock to more than half of Turkey’s population opposing AKP. How could people vote for a party that had so evidently lost its moral compass, aggressed upon any opposition, closed down the social media and clearly violated citizens’ rights? I too have been thinking about this question and would like to share my thoughts, regarding AKP’s success, the opposition’s current failure, and the future course of Turkey.
In the 1990s, my colleague Yılmaz Esmer and I conducted a survey in Istanbul and Konya on the rise of the Islamist movement in Turkey. Two results struck us in particular. One was formal: Islamists did not at all feel marginalized by the militantly secular state and its governments, demonstrating they were ready to become politically active. The other result was more informal: we wanted to compare our results with the research conducted by political parties. Visits to all party headquarters in Istanbul revealed that among them, only a single party periodically and systematically conducted surveys: the Welfare Party (hereafter RP), that is, the predecessor of the AKP. And this is probably AKP’s most significant asset: it continuously monitors the pulse of the populace, and does so in accordance with the latest technology. And it is no accident that RP and later AKP had the best voter records in the country that they could then utilize to get out the vote. Many AKP researchers were educated and trained in the United States how to develop campaign strategies, reach the electorate, and raise funds.
The Gülen Movement and Turkish Soft Power
For more than a decade, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has enjoyed unwavering support from the religious and social movement of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar. Through a unique, transnational approach, Gülen and his followers have built up a global web of influence, creating schools, business associations, and cultural institutions on virtually every continent.
This vast network has allowed the Gülen movement to become a global representative of both conservative Islamic values and “Turkishness,” spreading the country’s language and culture abroad. It has benefitted Turkey by consolidating Turkish soft power and advancing Ankara’s interests around the world, all while increasing the Gülen movement’s popularity and prestige in both in Turkey and on the international stage.