The Commentaries 2022-09-04T09:08:32+00:00 Joost Jongerden Open Journal Systems <p>The Commentaries is a journal that publishes analysis, evaluations and assessments of contemporary developments in Turkey, Turkey’s role in the MENA region, and Turkey-EU relations. It does so for a broad audience of scholars, policy-makers, professionals and students. The aim of the commentaries is to draw attention to current advances, discuss policies and practices, and to stimulate critical discussion and theoretical reflection. The Commentaries is an initiative of the European Union Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC). However, views expressed in The Commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the EUTCC (EU-Turkey Civic Commission) nor its members.</p> <p>Submissions to The Commentaries are reviewed by the editorial board. Commentaries are published online. Print copies of The Commentaries are published on a yearly basis.</p> <p>Founded in 2021; launched in November 2021</p> <p>(Print) ISSN 2754-8791</p> <p>(Online) ISSN 2754-8805</p> Turkish Paramilitaries during the Conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK 2021-12-19T16:29:44+00:00 Ayhan Işık <p><em>This paper focuses on how the paramilitary organisations of the Turkish state have transformed and been used over time as a ‘useful’ tool against dissidents, especially the Kurds. Paramilitary groups have been one of the main actors in the war between the Turkish state and the PKK, which has been ongoing for nearly forty years. These groups have sometimes been used as auxiliary forces and at other times made into death squads operating alongside the official armed forces, and they have mainly been used against Kurdish civilians who allegedly support the PKK, especially at the height of the war in unsolved murders, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings since the 1980. In this article, I argue that the Turkish state elites use this apparatus not only in domestic politics but also in conflicts in the Middle East and the Caucasus and that this paramilitary tradition of the state even extends to western Europe.</em></p> 2022-01-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 The Commentaries Kurdish Allies and Kurdish Enemies: Turkey’s New War Against The PKK 2022-01-12T14:47:12+00:00 Kamal Chomani Dastan Jasim <p><em>This paper focuses on the post-2015 Turkish warfare against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and the long-running relationship between the Turkish state and the ruling Barzani family. The commentary presents an overview of the interests behind the Ankara-Erbil coalition and the wider stakes in the current conflict It is argued that the Turkish military operations not only have taken a great toll on the civilian population of the KRI and the ecology of the region, but destabilizes the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. A full-blown civil war in the KRI between the PKK and KDP provoked by Turkey could be the final straw removing the last of the post-Islamic State stability in Iraq.</em></p> 2022-02-14T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Delisting the PKK as a Terrorist Organization 2022-01-19T20:06:48+00:00 Michael Gunter <p><em>Delisting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization would be a bold, imaginative move by Turkey, the European Union (EU), and the United States (US), among others, that might contribute to the peace process and benefit all concerned parties. However, Turkey presently does not want to acknowledge collective rights for its ethnic Kurds, and is willing to grant merely limited and begrudgingly individual rights such as mother-tongue language in the schools and a Kurdish TV channel, among a few others. Thus, there remains a very long way still to go, but delisting the PKK is surely one important start along this necessary journey. </em></p> <p> </p> <p><a href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1"></a></p> 2022-03-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Environmental Racism and Resistance in Kurdistan 2022-02-21T15:25:22+00:00 Pinar Dinc <p><em>Environmental degradation is identified as a key factor that threatens the future of life on Earth, but such generalised reading entails that conceal the uneven effects of environmental degradation. When environmental degradation takes place on the lands of the marginalised groups, it is often overlooked or further justified by hegemonic powers that view these areas as natural resources or hideouts for insurgent groups that need to be drained. The embedded prejudice and discrimination against the internal others are often inflamed through the media and followed by the dominant society. This commentary addresses this issue of differential significance attributed to environmental degradation in Kurdistan and discusses how the concept of ecological racism may help uncovering this variance. In doing so, this piece covers the existing literature about conflict and environment nexus in Kurdistan, and suggests ways forward to advance knowledge and work towards political and ecological justice. </em></p> 2022-03-28T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Turkey’s Military Urbanism and Neocolonial Architecture in Kurdish Cities 2022-01-14T11:52:18+00:00 Diren Tas <p><em>This commentary focuses on how the Turkish state facilitates military urbanism as revanchist and racialized mechanisms of collective punishment to suppress grassroots mobilization, oppositional politics, and resistance in Kurdish cities. Based on an ethnographic case study in Sur, Diyarbakır, it shows how neocolonial urban policies are employed to annihilate, displace, and dispossess localities while replacing them with standardized, bordered, and financialized architectures of state security and control. Mass scale destructions, militarized policies, and coercive restructuring in Kurdish cities reveal the state’s emergent spatial strategy to recolonize the region at the urban level. The state dominates, frames, and reconfigures Kurdish urbanities so as to eliminate alternatives, opposition, and challenges to its existing and deepening hegemony. </em></p> 2022-03-28T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries The Kurds in Lebanon 2022-05-29T19:19:52+00:00 Guita Hourani <p><em>This article looks at how the Lebanese Kurds negotiate their political survival as a community in the post-naturalization era. Using two focus group sessions to generate qualitative data, it examines the ways in which these formerly “stateless” people, outside the official forms of state recognition, have utilized their newly acquired status (naturalization) for political survival. It presents their views regarding the Lebanese confessional system, which recognizes them as Sunni Muslims rather than as an ethnoreligious group, thus reducing their opportunities for political representation and public employment. Thus, in the post-naturalization era, the Kurds of Lebanon are “politically surviving,” but in order to liberate themselves from a painful and degrading dependence on non-Kurdish “bosses,” they need to produce an educated and concerned elite group, overcome their internal differences, and invest in the education of their children and the broader development of their community.</em></p> 2022-06-04T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Turkish Racism Against Kurds: Colonial Violence, Racist Slurs and Mob Attacks 2022-04-01T15:56:13+00:00 Güllistan Yarkın <p><em>Throughout the 20th century, the modern Turkish state has dealt with ethnically, socially, historically, and religiously defined groups living in the remaining Ottoman territory with different forms of integration and authoritarianism. It built a racialized social regime based on Turkish supremacy, and the state has ruled northern Kurdistan as a colony. This article focuses on Turkish racist slurs and racist mob attacks targeting Kurds in Turkish cities and analyzes them in relation to Turkish colonial domination in northern Kurdistan. It argues that the Turkish army has an important place in making the racialized social regime and producing and disseminating the racialized ideas, slurs and practices targeting Kurds. The article also identifies the year 2005 as a milestone in the history of Turkish-Kurdish relations and Turkish racism. In that year, following the flag-provocation event in Mersin, which was carried out by the Turkish deep-state forces, ‘respect the flag’ demonstrations were organized throughout Turkey. These demonstrations mobilized thousands of Turks around anti-Kurdish sentiments, and since then, the number of racist mob attacks against Kurds in Turkey has increased significantly.</em></p> 2022-07-04T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Some Implications of Sweden and Finland Joining NATO 2022-07-07T11:47:48+00:00 Michael Gunter <p><em>Sweden and Finland’s decision to abandon their longtime, famous neutrality and apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) indicates that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has disastrously backfired. These two new NATO members will bring tangible geostrategic benefits to the alliance, not just a token weight. NATO has suddenly gained a new and greater strength and legitimacy. As for the Kurds, they need to understand that NATO’s deal with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to approve Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership in return for their cracking down on supposed Kurdish terrorists sheltering within their borders is not as hostile to Kurdish interests as they claim. Sweden and Finland are not likely to extradite Kurds accused of political crimes to Turkey. The Kurds should comprehend their very secondary position in the existential power struggle involving NATO and Russia and not overreact against it. As explained below, this deal with Turkey, like earlier ones, is not likely to be as inimical to Kurdish interests as first meets the eye. </em></p> 2022-07-17T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries Promoting Terror by the Turkish State 2022-09-04T09:08:32+00:00 Seevan Seevan Saeed <p>When it comes to the issue of terror and terrorism, the Turkish State very comfortably labels whoever is not in line with Turkey’s interest and strategy. Moreover, almost all Western states are outspokenly suggesting that they do understand Turkish concern about its national security and its struggle for counter terrorism actions. However, the other side of the coin is very rarely looked at. This article argues that the Turkish State is promoting terror through supporting the Islamist fundamentalist organisations inside and outside Turkey. The aid and support of the Turkistan Islamic party is one of the cases that Turkey has its hand in it.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></p> 2022-09-26T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries