Neoliberal Wars and Violent Gentrification

Violent gentrification and neoliberal wars: Expelling the Kurds from Diyarbakir’s Old City Sur, destroying the buildings, then expropriating and gentrifying. Is Turkish-Kurdish war a screen for sanitized urban renewal?

What is Huda-Par?

Armed fighting has broken out again in southeast Turkey between the Kurdish PKK and Huda-Par, resulting in two deaths. Given that the AKP government is supposed to be negotiating peace with the PKK, we may well ask who or what is Huda-Par, which appears to be a far-right Islamist organization, one of many armed factions of various stripes that make up the Turkish fringe. But they’re more than that and evidence of another dangerous game being played blind in Ankara.

Analysis and Summary: Turkey at a Tipping Point

The December 2014 edition of Current History has a collection of articles on the Middle East by prominent scholars that give excellent analyses and updates for different countries in the region. Here’s my take on Turkey.

Defining Hate Crimes and Other Goodies in the Democracy Gift Box

Sexual orientation was missing in the original draft, but ‘ethnicity’ seems to have been replaced by “language, race, nationality”, which could include some ethnic others, but has no place for people who are culturally different, like the Roma, but who speak Turkish and are citizens.

Turkish Hizbullah Is Back In New Sheep’s Clothing

Turkish Hizbullah is back — in a new guise as a political party, Huda-Par. Hizbullah (not related to Lebanon’s Hezbullah) has been around for a few decades, wreaking havoc of one kind or another.

You Will Not Be Assimilated

A historic meeting and rally yesterday in Diyarbakir brought together PM Erdogan and the leader of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (aka Kurdistan), Masoud Barzani, amid a boisterous show of unity between Turkish Kurds and the Turkish government.

The Stork Brings A Democracy Package

At long last, the democracy package has arrived, the nation breathlessly examining it in its crib and arguing about whether it resembles the AKP or whether, as the prime minister claims, it was engendered by “international human rights, the European Union acquis and the works of the Wise People” (a group of public figures nominated to advise the peace process between AKP and the PKK). Whatever the parentage, the package, which will take form through legal amendments or even simply administrative adjustments, offers some important changes.

The Gezi Snowball: What A Difference A Week Makes

Like a snowball rolling down a hill, state violence has managed to unite groups that in the past believed they had very little in common, or were at odds with one another.

Gezi and the Kurds

And here is an update on the Turkish situation from The Economist. During the protests, The Economist writes, the PKK-AKP peace process slipped from sight and now seems to be in danger. Jake Hess reports in Foreign Policy on his interview with PKK military leader Murat Karayilan, chairman of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the umbrella formation that encompasses the PKK. He is the man on the PKK side of implementing the peace agreement.

Turkish Births 2012: By the Numbers

The Turkish Statistical Institute has published its newest 2012 data on births. Women are giving birth later, the fertility rate has risen to just below the rate required for replacement of the existing population, and women in parts of Turkey’s impoverished largely Kurdish east are giving birth to twice as many children as those in the developed western part of the country.