Battle for Diyarbakır continues, AKP expects another victory, Kurdish and Turkish dialogue in Arbil, CHP's election tactics and more…

PM Erdoğan’s Davos reaction is appropriated in popular culture artifacts. This is the latest one. "One minute" tshirts are sold here… 


Erdoğan’s latest appearance was less eventful than his visit in last November. 

AKP Expects Big Win In March 29 Local Elections

By Jenny White on March 29

Polls show that the AKP is expected to win between 40 and 50 percent of the vote in the March 29 local elections, through which voters will determine more than 200,000 mayors and hundreds of provincial and local administrators. The party had been weakened by lack of progress on unemployment and loosening the headscarf ban, and perceived corruption, and had been expected to do less well on March 29. However, PM Erdogan’s outburst at Davos and his perceived support for Gaza and criticism of Israel subsequently made him appear heroic to many (although the outburst had as much to do with wounded pride at being asked to stop speaking by the moderator). His approval ratings went up 19%.

If I were from Diyarbakır

By NAZLI ILICAK on Turkish Press Review

If I were a Turkish citizen living in Diyarbakır, well, I wouldn’t forget about the torture in the city’s prison, the unsolved murders or the ban on Kurdish, but I would certainly also not focus only on the past; instead I would try to take steps that would overcome the region’s less than fortunate history up until now.

Diyarbakır’s choice and the DTP stance

By ADEM YAVUZ ARSLAN on Turkish Press Review

The DTP sees Diyarbakır as a kind of fortress. But it must not forget that every fortress has a doorway.

Election time in İstanbul

In Columnists

I have mentioned "Auntie" in this column before, my neighbor who lives in the apartment block across the street and whose political commentaries on the latest news, broadcast to the neighborhood while leaning out her upper story living room window, have been a reliable weathervane, these many years, in the direction of common sense.

Hitting Baykal via Sevigen

In Columnists

The intra-party conflict that was initially expected to occur after the upcoming elections has already started in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Before delving into an analysis of this early eruption of civil war in the CHP, it would be best to sum up the run-up incidents.

The children of Cizre

Heading to the district of Cizre, located in the southeasternmost corner of Turkey, always gives me the same unbearable feeling, caused by a very serious concern for the future.

Kurdish-Turkish Dialog In Erbil, Iraq

A dialogue began yesterday, February 15, in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region in Iraq. Participants include hundreds of Kurdish and Turkish intellgecuals and historian. The dialogue is aimed at finding ways to develop relations between …

Kurdish -Turkish conference on Kurdish problem

Friendship between Turkey and Iraq’s Kurds | An unusual new friendship | The Economist

Is it so difficult to set up a consulate in Arbil?

By MEHMET YILMAZ on Turkish Press Review

While Turkey has been hesitant about opening a Turkish consulate in Arbil, other countries are setting up consulates one after another as part of their strategic plans.

Crossing the border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan

In Columnists

The birth pangs of a new human geography and geographic imagination are being felt across the Middle East. As the ethnic and sectarian models of cultural and political identities are being questioned, new patterns of cultural affinity and association are emerging with a new sense of shared history and common geography.

The Turkey-Russia rapprochement and its implications

In Columnists

Setting aside uneasy political issues of the past, Turkey and Russia are exploring further rapprochement to improve sociopolitical and commercial ties, to enhance the prospects for regional energy development projects and to have a broad stabilizing effect, especially around their borders; however, this positive move has been read by some as a shift from the West to the East or, exaggeratedly, as witnessing the "imminent" rise of Turkey as a "regional superpower."

The Kurdish moon landing

In Columnists

The subtext of much of the reporting from the recent Abant Platform in Arbil in the Kurdish north of Iraq (including my own previous column) has been of the man-lands-on-moon variety.

The struggle against the PKK during 2009

By MURAT YETKIN on Turkish Press Review

Ankara predicts that 2009 will be a turning point in the fight against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ came together at a meeting on security from which this vision of 2009 emerged.

Abant Platform’s Arbil meeting: future of peace by MÜMTAZ’ER TÜRKÖNE

In Op-Ed

One week has passed since a meeting was held by the Abant Platform in Arbil, northern Iraq, yet its effects continue. I was a member of the executive board of the Abant Platform and the spokesman of the Arbil meeting.

Turkish court sentences Kurdish lawmaker to jail | Reuters

Carnegie Preventing Conflict Over Kurdistan Full TextHenri Barkey For the United States, the Kurdish issue touches on many vital concerns—the future unity and stability of Iraq and the ability of U.S. combat forces to disengage responsibly; its relations with Turkey, a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally and aspirant for European Union (EU) membership; and more generally, the stability of an oil-rich region during a period of considerable uncertainty over energy security.

Courting the Conservative Kurdish Vote

By Yigal Schleifer

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has, for the last few years, been making serious inroads among voters in the predominantly-Kurdish southeast region. With its strong Islamic credentials and a more progressive approach to the Kurdish issue than previous governments (at least until recent months), the AKP presents a very appealing package for Kurdish voters, a large segment of whom tend to be socially and religiously conservative.

Village guards

By GÜLAY GÖKTÜRK on Turkish Press Review

For years we have been expecting the complete abolition of the village guard system. But reports are now indicating that 10,000 additional guards are being recruited. It is impossible to remain optimistic.

From Ban On Kurdish To Kurdish TV

[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] In 1982, a very bizarre punishment was given to a Turkish politician Serafettin Elci by "Turkish justice." He was sentenced to serve four years and seven months in prison for a single sentence that he uttered. His crime was not to insult Turkishness, the Turkish military, or even Ataturk. His only crime was to say, "there are Kurds in Turkey and I am a Kurd." It sounds insane, right? Well, it did not sound so to the Turkish Republic since its founding in 1923. It was created from the ashes of the multireligious, multiethnic Ottoman Empire, which had fallen victim to national uprisings. Thus, the Republic’s founders thought, ethnic identities other than those of the dominant Turks had to be suppressed and even erased. "Our job is to Turkify the Kurds," said Ismet Inonu, Ataturk’s second man, "right away, with no delay." Soon, gendarme would appear in the bazaars of Diyarbakir and other predominantly Kurdish cities in order to force the locals to speak Turkish. And almost every eye-catching spot in eastern cities were covered with Ataturk’™s famous motto: "How happy is the one who says, I am a Turk."

‘Belonging’ to Diyarbakır

By MUHARREM SARIKAYA on Turkish Press Review

The most important point of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks in Diyarbakır was his words on the issue of "belonging" — the actual problem of the region.

Erdoğan works hard to win Diyarbakır

By MURAT YETKIN on Turkish Press Review

Despite protest campaigns sponsored by the DTP as well as heavy rain in the city, more than 30,000 Diyarbakır residents gathered at İstasyon Square to welcome the prime minister.

The Kurdish issue may enter a new phase after local polls in Diyarbakır

In Columnists

The main competition in the municipal elections to be held on March 29 is, as in the general elections of July 22, 2007, between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the central and western Anatolian provinces, and between the AK Party and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) in the eastern and southeastern provinces.

Will the AK Party win in Diyarbakır?

In Columnists

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit on Saturday to the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, which is seen as the stronghold of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), has led everyone to ask whether it is possible for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to beat the DTP in the upcoming local elections on March 29.

Turkish Elections: Fortress Diyarbakır; Kurdish DTP stands firm against AK Party inroads.

By Mick Hall

One of the key battleground regions in the upcoming March 28 Turkish mayoral, municipal and local elections, will be in the mainly Kurdish southeastern part of the country, especially in the city of Diyarbakır, a traditional stronghold of the Kurdish Democratic Society Party. (DTP) Recent opinion polls taken in the region show the DTP being slightly ahead of the ruling Justice and Development Party. (AK Party)

Şahin’s remarks spark reaction in opposition

ANKARA – In their parliamentary motions, CHP and MHP deputies say Şahin’s remarks were not democratic and ethic. They say pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has turned into a tradition in the country and the voters who support the opposition were pressures to support the AKP, as evidenced by Şahin’s comments

CHP and AKP web sites…Oh this is soo unfair

By M.A.M

When it comes to comparing the official web sites of the ruling AKP and opposition CHP one can easily find out why one party will be forever in opposition. CHP web site is not only unattractive but still lacks an English version. The banner has a clickable English b
utton that takes you to a page that says ‘under construction’ in Turkish of all things. It is shameful that CHP can not even prepare a decent web site. Let’s wait for the results of the upcoming local elections. it is obvious that a party that structures its political platform on sheer criticism has no alternative to offer to the country.

CHP gets a taste of its own medicine

In Columnists

Because the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has based its local election strategy on corruption allegations against members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the alleged involvement of one of its members in a fraud case has placed the party in a difficult situation ahead of the upcoming elections.

The AK Party and local elections

In Columnists

Political parties have focused all their attention on the local elections, which will be held on March 29, and there is already a very competitive environment among mayoral candidates, who act as though they were running in general elections.

City squares and the CHP strategy

By MUSTAFA ÜNAL on Turkish Press Review

The election strategy being employed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) this time around is interesting. It differs from the strategy they used for the July 22, 2007 general elections in that it doesn’t contain any of the old rhetoric about the regime, secularism and reactionaryism.

Erdoğan’s election goals

By AVNI ÖZGÜREL on Turkish Press Review

Beyond seeing these coming elections as a struggle for power in local administrations, I suppose Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also sees them as critically important in terms of both national and international politics with regard both to questions about a new constitution and EU harmonization reforms.

Love an honest man but vote for one who gets things done

By EMRE AKÖZ on Turkish Press Review

I have written previously about the error made by CHP mayoral candidate Kılıçdaroğlu in putting his allegations about corruption at the center of his campaign.

CHP’s Tekin’s near-resignation raises questions

In Columnists

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İstanbul provincial chairman, Gürsel Tekin, who retreated from the verge of resignation on Tuesday, raised questions in everyone’s minds about the likelihood of success if the CHP wins in İstanbul.


In Columnists

The general public is in a confused state. Who nominated Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as a mayoral candidate for İstanbul: the Republican People’s Party (CHP) or a certain media group?

Best Baykal can do for his party and country

In Columnists

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prime minister and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, last month and last week, respectively, visited Brussels and attended talks with European Union representatives.

Local elections to shape new political framework

In Columnists

As the local elections of March 29 draw nearer, political parties are shifting their election campaigns into high gear and trying various strategies in an attempt to win more votes in the elections.

Poll shows opposition candidate leads election race in Turkish capital

The candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) slightly leads the election race against the leading party’s nominee in the Turkish capital Ankara, a poll showed on Saturday.

Work on charter to start post elections

ANKARA – The AKP attempted to rewrite the constitution after the elections in 2007 but suspended it due to methodological conflicts with the opposition. Prime Minister Erdoğan tells a crowd in Sivas that work will resume soon

Corruption charges and election campaign

By HASAN CELAL GÜZEL on Turkish Press Review

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is a friend of mine. He is a hard-working and capable deputy. And for him to be working on corruption-related matters is, I believe, an advantageous thing as far as political discipline is concerned.

Pursuing political ends via children

In Columnists

A strategy developed by certain media organizations ahead of the municipal elections has become apparent: to wage a campaign which targets the children of the ministers and deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Social relief campaigns: an election investment?

In Columnists

The recent distribution of free white goods by the Tunceli Governor’s Office to poor families in the eastern province of Tunceli has sparked a flurry of debates in Turkey over whether social relief campaigns, which frequently come into the spotlight in the form of distribution of coal or food products to needy families, aim to bring more votes to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) ahead of the local e

lections on March 29.

Is the CHP developing into a real opposition?

In Columnists

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) continues to surprise with its latest moves, such as accepting covered women into the party’s ranks and supporting Quran courses.

The horses and carriages of the CHP

By HASAN BÜLENT KAHRAMAN on Turkish Press Review

The debate sparked by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in its moves on the headscarf and neighborhood Quran courses is the main target of severe criticism by Kemalists, who are now saying that they won’t vote for this party.

Religious exploitation and politics

By MUSTAFA ERDOĞAN on Turkish Press Review

First through its well-known “headscarf initiative,” which it started up a few months ago, and now through its “Quran course initiative,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has once again triggered the ancient debate over the “exploitation of religion.”

Being the opposition in Turkey…

By YASIN DOĞAN on Turkish Press Review

Let’s say, for a moment, that you are an ethnically Kurdish deputy from the CHP. You can only gulp silently when your government starts up a Kurdish language TV station at the same time that your party leader intones, “The state must be blind to personal ethnic identities.”

Who will influence the İstanbulites?

By MAHMUT ÖVÜR on Turkish Press Review

The AK Party’s Kadir Topbaş, the incumbent candidate for the mayoral office of İstanbul, is on defense.

Erdoğan’s election promise: civilian constitution in April

By MUSTAFA ÜNAL on Turkish Press Review

On his way to Sivas, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had to answer a question from a college student at the airport: “When will you abolish the coup constitution?”

’Consensus needed for new charter’

ANKARA – After failed attempts to amend the Constitution following the 2007 elections, the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is once again preparing to seek a consensus among political parties for a rewritten draft.

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