Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Turkey

Stop War on Kurds: Thousands March in London.

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Photos from G.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Britain’s capital to express their indignation with the Ankara’s military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which heaps suffering on the Kurdish minority both in Turkey and beyond its borders.

The protest, organized by an activist group known as Stop War on Kurds, took place in central London on Sunday. People gathered at BBC Broadcasting House and then left for Trafalgar Square to start the rally.

Leeds Banner.

The protest action was triggered by the Turkish crackdown on the Kurdish minority which participants said goes “unreported in the UK press.” The group is “demanding the UK govt puts pressure on Turkey to stop these attacks,” a statement on the Stop War on Kurds Facebook page said.

Hundreds gather at Trafalgar Square protest calling to #StopWaronKurds in Turkey.

The Tendance feels this of great importance and only the fact that the train service from Ipswich to London was undergoing ‘works’ over the weekend which would turn a 1 hour journey into a 2 hour plus nightmare, stopped our  attendance.

Congratulations to the organisers!

Written by Andrew Coates

March 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Zaman Newspaper, Turkey: Erdoğan Takes Control of Critical Media.

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Police fired tear gas at protesters outside Zaman's offices on Friday night (4 March)

Saturday Protests at Erdoğan’s Islamist Government’s Takeover of Zaman.

Turkish police have raided the offices of Zaman, the country’s biggest newspaper, hours after a court ruling placed it under state control.

Police entered the building in Istanbul late on Friday, firing tear gas at protesters who had gathered outside.

Zaman is closely linked to the Hizmet movement of influential US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey says Hizmet is a “terrorist” group aiming to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Mr Gulen was once an ally of Mr Erdogan but the two fell out.

Many Hizmet supporters have been arrested.

The government in Ankara has come under increasing international criticism over its treatment of journalists.

The court ruled on Friday that Zaman, that has a circulation of some 650,000, should now be run by administrators. No explanation was given.

Later, hundreds of Zaman supporters gathered outside the newspaper’s offices to protest at the state takeover. One held a placard saying, “We will fight for a free press.”

Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

BBC

Police using tear gas and water cannon raided the headquarters of Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper, hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees.

Police set up barricades on Saturday to keep out Zaman readers arriving at the building in a show of support.

The English-language Today’s Zaman Saturday edition, published before the forced take-over, printed its entire front page in black with the headline: “Shameful day for free press in Turkey.”

Prosecutors accused Zaman and its affiliates of praising and helping what they called a “terrorist organisation”.

“It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government,” said Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of Zaman.

“This is a dark period for our country, our democracy.”

Al Jazeera.

Before this seizure Zaman’s English language site published this:

Reactions have mounted in Turkey against a government-orchestrated move to seize the nation’s best-selling newspaper Zaman and its affiliate publications including Today’s Zaman as part of a crackdown on critical and independent media.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir spoke on Friday morning when the takeover of Zaman was still a rumor circulating on social media. Emir said that he saw the move as the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) trying to silence free and independent media.

Expressing that the media in Turkey faces new attacks every day, Emir said that the majority of these assaults were being done under the guise of the law. “We [CHP] condemn all attempts to subdue the free media. We are against all attacks [against the media] and believe these attacks must come to an end.”

Speaking to Zaman daily on Friday morning, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Ümit Özdağ, who recently resigned from his position as deputy chairman of the MHP said he cannot believe the government is going to take over the Zaman daily and its subsidiaries.

CHP deputy Akif Ekici said of the takeover that he believes the current government in Turkey has the potential to take over newspapers, appoint trustees to media organizations, and file people into jails. “I don’t know where this oppression will end though,” he said.

Several staunchly pro-government journalists have claimed that two critical journalists who were recently released from prison will be re-arrested and that the government will silence a major critical media outlet, while a Twitter whistleblower claimed that trustees had already been appointed to take over the media group.

Dündar and Gül were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, espionage and revealing confidential documents. The charges stem from a terrorism investigation launched after Cumhuriyet published photos in May 2015 of weapons it said were being transferred to Syria in trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak from the pro-government Yeni Akit daily argued in a column on Thursday that Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül may be re-arrested at any time.

“The release of Can [Dündar] and his colleague from prison may be the start of a new series of unfortunate things for them. At least, they may be arrested again. They may face graver accusations with new information and documents,” Dilipak wrote.

Star Daily columnist Cem Küçük, who is known for his open threats against media moguls and journalists critical of the government, also voiced similar claims on Tuesday, arguing that “Dündar will face new and more solid indictments.”

Cumhuriyet’s Dündar and Gül were freed after a Constitutional Court ruling on Feb. 25, which said their imprisonment amounted to a violation of their rights.

Küçük also said, “according to information he obtained,” Feza Media Group, which also includes Today’s Zaman, will be seized by the government. He argued that trustees will be appointed to the group soon.

Also on Thursday, Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who “has no tolerance for any media group that would criticize his plans for a presidential switch,” ordered the seizure of Zaman daily, the main newspaper under the Feza Media Group.”

“He told off those who told him that there is no legal infrastructure to seize Zaman,” Avni claimed.

“He is taking the revenge for the Constitutional Court’s decision favoring the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. The order [to seize Zaman] has been sent to [his] men at the judiciary,” he further claimed.

“They arranged Prosecutor Fuzuli Aydoğdu and the 6th Penal Court of Peace. They made the court to appoint trustees to the Zaman daily,” Avni wrote on Twitter. Avni also argued that any resistance to the seizure of Zaman Media Group will be brutally supressed by the police.

President Erdoğan openly said on Sunday he does not obey or respect the decision by the Constitutional Court that declared that the imprisonment of the journalists amounted to a violation of their rights.

“The Constitutional Court may have reached such a verdict. I will remain silent. I am not in a position to accept it,” Erdoğan told reporters before departing for a visit to some West African countries. “I do not obey it nor do I respect it.”

Dündar and Gül were arrested on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization in November after the publication of video footage purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) helping to send weapons to Syria when they were intercepted in 2014 by gendarmerie forces. The arrest drew international condemnation and revived concern about media freedom in Turkey.

Erdoğan, who had described the interception of the MİT trucks as an act of espionage aimed at undermining Turkey internationally, vowed that Dündar and the newspaper would pay a “heavy price” for reporting on the incident. “I will not let him go [unpunished],” he said back in November.

Commenting on claims on more pressure on the critical media, Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Abdülhamit Bilici said it does not befit a country ruled by democracy and the law to discuss such attempts in 2016. “Such demands and illegal attempts [to silence critical media] are not allowed in countries where democracy and the laws are functioning. We regret to see such comments and claims,” he added.

Bilici further said on Twitter that he hopes these claims are not true. “If these disgusting claims are true, I am calling on all democrats to stand by press freedom,” he said.

This is the second time the Zaman daily has become the target of government-orchestrated raids, as on Dec. 14 along police raided the İstanbul headquarters of the daily detaining total of 31 suspects, including Zaman’s former Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı as part of a crackdown on dissenting media by the AK Party.

The Index on Censorship has launched a petition calling on an İstanbul court to reverse its decision to appoint trustees to Turkey’s largest daily, also urging President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop crackdown on free media.

Petition calls on court to reverse decision on Zaman, urges Erdoğan to end crackdown on free press

“Join Index on Censorship, writers, journalists and artists from around the world to condemn the shocking seizure of Turkish independent media group, Zaman,” the change.orgpetition said.

“Today Turkey seized one of the country’s leading newspapers. In so doing, Turkey has confirmed that it is no longer committed to a free press, which is the bedrock of any democratic society. We, the undersigned, ask the court to reverse its decision to seize Zaman and urge the international community to speak out against Turkey’s repeated attempts to stifle a free and independent media,” it added.

Sign the Petition here: Petitioning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: End Turkey’s crackdown on press freedom.

This crack down on critical media comes as the Erdoğan government wages war on the Kurds.

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Written by Andrew Coates

March 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

UK Apologises to Turkey for Kurdish Protest at Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Visit

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London protest against Turkish PM Davutoglu invited by David Cameron

UK apologizes to PM Davutoğlu over pro-PKK protests in London: Anadolu Agency

Reports the Turkish English language site The Daily News.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has reported that U.K. authorities apologized to visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu for protests staged in London while he was holding an official meeting with his British counterpart, David Cameron, on Jan. 18.

Sajid Javid, the British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, visited Davutoğlu at the hotel where he was staying during his two-day visit to London to apologize about the protests, Anadolu Agency quoted anonymous prime ministerial sources as saying.

A group of supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had chanted slogans in favor of the group in front of Downing Street while Davutoğlu and Cameron were holding scheduled talks.

Anadolu Agency claimed that Javid said the protests were “unacceptable” and the U.K. would take “all necessary measures” to prevent such a situation from taking place again.

The Turkish authorities had earlier informed their British counterparts that not enough security measures were taken during the meeting.

Turkey, the European Union, and the United States officially consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, Anadolu Agency reported that Javid said Davutoğlu’s visit, together with a large retinue of businessmen, would contribute to a deepening of cooperation between the two countries on the subjects of innovation, research and trade.

Fracas (from Here)

The Kurdish Question has a different report.

Hundreds of Kurds gathered outside 10 Downing Street under heavy police presence today to protest at the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to London.

People began convening in front of the UK Prime Minister’s offices in the afternoon to protest the Turkish state’s recent atrocities against Kurdish civilians, which has left over 200 people dead, and whole neighbourhoods in ruins.

Protestors shouted, “Terrorist Turkish state,” “War criminal Davutoglu,” and “Shame on you Cameron.” Placards and banners at the demonstration read, “Murderer Davutoglu,” “Davutoglu=War Criminal ISIS Supporter,” and “Stop The Genocide.”

According to Turkish media Davutoglu met with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss strengthening business ties between the two states and Turkey’s accession to the EU.

As Davutoglu’s convoy appeared at the gates of 10 Downing St many protestors broke the police cordon to vent their anger at the Turkish Prime Minister. Five demonstrators including our columnist Kurdish activist Mark Campbell were arrested in the ensuing fracas.

Demonstrators were very critical of the police’s approach from the beginning of the demonstration, as officers used heavy-handed tactics against protestors, physically abusing many people.

The five people, including two minors, who were arrested were taken to Charing Cross police station. One of the protestors has been released on bail while the others are still being held.

More pictures:at Demotix.

Update:  MARK CAMPBELL AND OTHER PROTESTORS RELEASED ON BAIL

demotix logo

Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Protests at Crimes Against the Kurds as Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu Visits London.

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PM Davutoğlu flies off to London to promote Turkey’s huge investment potential.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu started his one-week “investment tour” on Sunday which will include visits to London, Davos and Berlin. The first visit will be to London, where Davutoğlu will meet with 350 leading investors, who collectively manage around $10 trillion. Davutoğlu will give the opening speech at the 16th Turkish Investment Conference organized by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a leading investment bank, and will address various business circles as well as invite international investors to Turkey, at various events organized by Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs and the Foreign Economic Affairs Board. He will inform the investors regarding Turkey’s legislative reforms as well as Turkey’s plans for accession to the European Union and will give out the message that Turkey is worthy of investment and has an economic atmosphere which minimizes risks. Davutoğlu will announce the Middle-Term Economic Program and will explain Turkey’s road map until 2018 to investors. Davutoğlu will also attend a lunch with CEOs and other executive managers of 18 of the most crucial global investment funds at Goldman Sach’s European Headquarters. During the round-table meeting scheduled for Chatham House in London, Davutoğlu will be providing insight and express his views regarding regional and international events and developments.

Daily Sabah.

The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is in London to meet UK PM David Cameron. The visit comes at a time when the Turkish state is killing innocent Kurdish civilians, imprisoning dozens of journalists, politicians, human rights activists and academics.

We condemn the Conservative government’s collusion with the Turkish state and its silence in the face of Kurdish massacre.

• We demand that the UK government criticise and pressure Turkey to stop its human rights abuses against Kurds.
• We demand that the UK government impose sanctions on Turkey.
• We ask that you write to your local MP about this issue and pressure them to bring it up in Parliament.
• We request that you boycott Turkish tourism and products.

Support us in our struggle for the recognition, right to self-determination and freedom of Kurds!

Support us in our struggle for a democratic, secular and gender-equal society!

Support us in our struggle for a peaceful and political solution to the Kurdish question!

Protest at 14.30 today Downing Street.

Facebook.

 

Kurdish Question

Support for academics who demanded that the Turkish state stop its atrocities against the Kurdish people with the declaration, ‘We will not be a party to this crime,” is growing.

RELATED: More Than 1000 Academics Call For Peace Talks To Resume Between Turkey And PKK

565 academics, as of date, across UK universities and higher education institutions have signed an open letter supporting Turkish and non-Turkish academics who released the initial declaration calling for the Turkish state to stop violence against Kurds and resume peace talks.

The open letter, undersigned by 565 academics, to the Turkish government is below:

Open Letter of support for academics being victimised in Turkey

As scholars associated with universities and higher education institutions in the UK and internationally, we are extremely disturbed by Turkey’s recent treatment of academics that have spoken out against atrocities being committed by the Turkish state against Kurds.

1,128 Turkish and Kurdish ‘Academics for Peace’ originally signed the statement “We will not be a party to this crime”, calling on the Turkish government to cease hostilities against its Kurdish population. Since the publication of this statement, these academics have been subject to a sustained campaign of abuse and violence from both the Turkish state and its supporters.

In recent speeches, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has publicly denounced these academics. Subsequently, prosecutors have begun proceedings to charge all 1,128 of the original signatories with “propagandising for a terrorist organization” and “overtly insulting the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Government of Republic of Turkey and the judicial organs of the state”.

This has resulted in 22 academics having been taken into custody (at the time of writing).  If convicted of these charges they could face 1-5 years imprisonment. The legitimacy of arrests has already been questioned by prominent legal experts and described as “extra-legal” decisions. Signatories have also been publicly exposed in the press and social media by government supporters and nationalists, leading to fears of reprisals from fascists that have declared they will ‘spill the blood’ of the signatories. Many of the signatories also face disciplinary proceedings and possible sackings from their institutions.

These unjust acts are unfolding in a context of continuing state violence against Kurds- in December 2015 alone 100 Kurds were killed as a result of military operations conducted by the Turkish state. Since August 2015 there have been 52 open-ended and round-the-clock curfews imposed on over one million inhabitants in south east Turkey.  In such a context, the clamp down on academic freedom constitutes another moment in the deepening authoritarianism of the Turkish state. This includes not attacks on not only academics but also the continuing imprisonment and deaths of journalists, lawyers and activists.

We call on the Turkish government to withdraw its prosecutions, immediately release all those imprisoned and commit to the principles of academic freedom and free speech. We moreover reaffirm the Academics for Peace call on the Turkish government to cease their hostilities against Kurds.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Turkey Bombing Targets Tourists.

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Police have sealed off the area

 

Turkey blast: Ten dead and 15 wounded after ‘suicide bomb attack on tourists’ in Istanbul – latest.

Reports the Telegraph.

Explosion reported at the major tourist attraction of Sultanahmet square

“Likely” that attack was caused by suicide bomber

State-run Turkish broadcaster TRT says it is “likely” that a suicide bomber was behind the blast in Istanbul’s central square.

And the Istanbul governor’s office has confimed reports that ten people have died and 15 were injured in today’s attack, which has been described as a suicide bombing targeted at tourists.

“Likely” that attack was caused by suicide bomber

State-run Turkish broadcaster TRT says it is “likely” that a suicide bomber was behind the blast in Istanbul’s central square.

And the Istanbul governor’s office has confimed reports that ten people have died and 15 were injured in today’s attack, which has been described as a suicide bombing targeted at tourists.

Au moins dix morts dans une explosion dans une zone touristique d’Istanbul. Libération.

Türkei: Explosion in Touristenviertel Istanbuls – zehn Tote

Bei einer Explosion im Istanbuler Touristenviertel Sultanahmet sind mindestens zehn Menschen ums Leben gekommen. Die türkische Regierung geht von einem Terrorakt aus, mehrere Deutsche wurden verletzt.

Der Spiegel. noting that Germans were amongst the wounded.

Turkey: Indefinite 24-hour curfew, over 200,000 in danger

By Amnesty International, 11 January 2016.

Twenty four-hour curfews have been declared since 11 December in the Sur district of the city of Diyarbakır, and since 14 December in the towns of Cizre and Silopi, in Şırnak province, south eastern Turkey. The curfews have been put in place as the police and army conduct operations against the armed Revolutionary Patriotic Youth Movement. More than 200,000 people live in the affected areas and some are unable to access food, medical care and face severe electricity and water shortages. More than 70 residents and at least seven soldiers and police officers have been reported killed.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2016 at 11:27 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism, Fascism, Kurds

Tagged with , ,

Turkish General Election Approaches: Erdoğan Inspires More And More Fears.

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Another Try for the Caliphate? 

Uncertainty abound as Turkey election approaches

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The streets of Ankara are quiet as Turkey’s general election on Sunday approaches, says Rudaw’s Hejar Berenji, reporting from the capital.

Berenji, the agency’s chief technical officer, is working with a team of reporters to deliver comprehensive coverage of the upcoming elections from Ankara and Diyarbakir.

Coverage will focus on the participation of Bakur (a Kurdish term used to describe Turkish Kurdistan) in the elections.

The Turkish general parliamentary election on June 7 did not give any party, including the ruling AKP, a majority, which would have enabled it to form a government alone. In June’s elections, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, made it into parliament for the first time with more than 13 percent of the vote.

The special coverage started on October 23 and will continue until November 3.

“Inside Turkey, Rudaw media network has a massive audience and for that audience it is important to be aware of every step of the election, and the debate of the political parties,” Berenji said.

Rudaw is here.

Demirtaş denounces ’mafia-like’ actions against media

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş paid a visit to the İpek Media Group’s offices in İstanbul to show solidarity with the group, which was stormed by police early on Wednesday, denouncing the police forces acting like a mafia in their actions against members of the media.

Turkish riot police stormed the headquarters of İpek’s media outlets in İstanbul on Wednesday morning, after authorities appointed several trustees to replace the management of the İpek Koza Holding business, which houses media outlets that include Bugün TV, the flagship station that has emerged as a main platform for opposition politicians over recent months.

In his remarks from the group’s broadcasting room, Demirtaş said he is not surprised by the seizure of the companies and media outlets under Koza İpek Holding as these incidents took place many times under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“It is unbelievable that a state; a government’s acting rudely, like a mafia, like an illegal organization… right in the public eye, during a live broadcast…The appointment of a board of trustees turning into seizure, police forces’ cutting the cables of [broadcasting cameras] is not stated in any law. You may appoint the board of trustees for a temporary period… Spraying pepper gas, using batons, cutting the cables are mafia-like, gang-like practices,” Demirtaş stated.

Demirtaş called Wednesday’s raid “a serious attack against people’s right to information.”

“This is a show of force being made, made via police force; it is a reflection of a government’s mindset based on forced power. It also raises suspicions [as it comes] just a couple of days before the election. It raises questions about their having a plan or some hesitation about the broadcast that would have been made during election day,” Demirtaş stated.

President Erdoğan justifies appointment of a board of trustees to Koza-İpek group

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has seemingly justified the appointment of a trustee board to manage the Koza-İpek group, 23 companies of which have been seized by a local court as part of a crackdown on followers of the government’s ally-turned-nemesis Fethullah Gülen.

“There are different things behind the support lent [to the group],” Erdoğan said late on Oct. 28. “The reason for appointment of a trustee should be thoroughly deliberated because its number one is on the run,” he said in a live interview with Kanal 24 news channel.

As Akın İpek, CEO of the Koza-İpek group, suggested there was no irregular transfer of money abroad, Erdoğan asked why he was on the run.

October/29/2015

Now there is this:

Turkey will “do what is necessary” to prevent US-allied Syrian Kurds from declaring autonomy in the town of Tel Abyad near the Turkish border, which includes conducting further military operations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday.

NATO member Turkey is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria, but it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as a threat to its own national security, fearing they could stoke separatism among Turkish Kurds.

Turkish jets recently hit the Syrian Kurds’ armed People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets twice after they defied Ankara and crossed west of the Euphrates River.

“This was a warning. ‘Pull yourself together. If you try to do this elsewhere — Turkey doesn’t need permission from anyone — we will do what is necessary,'” Erdoğan said, signaling that he could defy Washington’s demand that Ankara avoid hitting Syrian Kurds and focus his military might on ISIL targets.

Zaman.

More background: The battle for Turkey: can Selahattin Demirtas pull the country back from the brink of civil war?

An excellent article on the Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP), by . (Guardian today).

And this French report: Turquie : l’irrésistible ascension du Kurde Selahattin Demirtas, cauchemar d’Erdogan.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 29, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Is this the end of the Turkish Republic? Davutoğlu Blames Ankara Bombings on Islamic State and Resumes Bombing Kurds.

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Downing Street Protest at Ankara Peace Rally Bombing.

Turkey blames Ankara bombings on Islamic State

Guardian.

Prime minister says authorities close to identifying one of suicide attackers who killed at least 128 at peace rally

Turkey is focusing on Islamic State in its investigation into a twin bombing that killed at least 128 people in Ankara, and are close to identifying one of the bombers, the prime minister has said.

Speaking on the Turkish broadcaster NTV, Ahmet Davutoglu said the attack was an attempt to influence the outcome of the country’s general election, due to take place on 1 November, and that necessary steps would be taken if security failures were found to have contributed to the bombing.

“It was definitely a suicide bombing,” he said. “DNA tests are being conducted. It was determined how the suicide bombers got there. We’re close to a name, which points to one group.”

At least 128 people were killed and more than 200 wounded on Saturday when two explosions hit a peace rally organised by several leftist groups, including labour unions and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party, to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).

The attack is the deadliest in the country’s recent history and was labelled a terrorist act by the government, which declared three days of national mourning.

Then there is,

Turkish air strikes on Kurdish PKK rebels as mourning continues

The Turkish air force has pounded Kurdish militants a day after a deadly bomb attack on a rally for peace in the capital Ankara.

Planes hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in both the south-east and over the border in northern Iraq.

Saturday’s twin bombing in Ankara killed at least 95 people, making it the deadliest such attack ever.

Security sources say they suspect the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was behind the attack.

The air force struck after the government rejected a new ceasefire announced by the PKK on Saturday.

Tensions in Turkey were already high, with a general election looming on 1 November.

The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its overall majority in June after gains by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which was involved in Saturday’s rally.

PKK positions were destroyed in the Metina and Zap areas of northern Iraq in Sunday’s air strikes, the Turkish military said.On Saturday, the air force targeted the PKK in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province. Forty-nine people were reported killed in the strikes, but these figures could not be verified independently.

“The PKK ceasefire means nothing for us,” one senior Turkish security official told Reuters news agency. “The operations will continue without a break.”

Whether there was Turkish state complicity in the Ankara atrocity – which continues to sear the hearts of millions throughout the world – is not clear.

Islamism, in all its shapes and forms, is the enemy of the left and all people of good will.

*******

This is well worth reading:

Ankara bombing and the end of the Turkish Republic

What we have witnessed in the last two years, culminating in the horrible scenes of 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it.

..the last of these moments was experienced during the rule of none other than Erdogan when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on a peace process with the Kurds, the so-called “democratic opening” process which lasted in fits and starts until the beginning of 2015. True, the reforms the state undertook were more cosmetic than concrete; the process itself was top-down, opaque and subject to the whims of two “men”, Erdogan and Abdullah Öcalan, the incarcerated leader of the PKK. Yet the ceasefire between Turkish armed forces and the PKK lasted more than two years, and many believed that the process was irreversible, whatever the (real) intentions of the actors involved.

In the long-run, it probably is irreversible. That it was not in the short-run has been proven by the events that have unfolded since the collapse of the ceasefire in the wake of the now defunct June 7 elections.

What is more, it is not only the Kurds that the AKP and its unquestioned leader Erdogan have alienated. Trampling on every faultline that divides the society, the AKP has managed to turn the liberals, leftists, ultra-nationalists (of all hues), Alevis, secularists, other political Islamists (including its one-time ally, the Gulen community) against itself, running the country relying only on a loyal constituency which is still enough to give it a majority in the parliament.

But the country it runs is not the country it took over in 2002. “The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in” (be it the army, or common ideals, common symbols – you name it), to borrow from the lyrics of a famous Pink Floyd song, is no longer there. The armageddon, if it has not already happened at Gezi or Suruc, or indeed Ankara, is nearby.

The bottom line may not be pleasant to hear for some, but it needs to said out loud: what we have been witnessing in the last couple of years, the culmination of which were the horrible scenes we were exposed to on 10 October in Ankara, is the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it. This does not mean that the territorial integrity of the country will be forfeited. But the anger that pits half of the society against the other is too intense, the divisions that run through various ethnic, religious or ideological groups are too deep to paper over. Moreover, as I have alluded to above, the quest of the Kurds for the full recognition of their identity and rights, especially in the context of the developments in Iraq and Syria, is in the long-run irreversible. Whatever the results of the forthcoming November 1 elections (assuming that they will be held), Turkey will embark on a long and possibly painful journey to a “less unitary”, less centralized system.

On 10 October, Simon Tisdall observes in the article I have mentioned earlier, “Turkey, suffering the impact of the worst ever terror outrage on its soil, is a nation in shock. But it is also a nation living in fear.” Unfortunately, Tisdall is wrong, for Turkey is not a nation in the conventional sense of the term any more.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 12, 2015 at 11:52 am