The Commentaries <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> Transnational Press London en-US The Commentaries 2754-8791 <p>All rights reserved.</p> Turkish Paramilitaries during the Conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK <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> Ayhan Işık Copyright (c) 2021 The Commentaries 2022-01-10 2022-01-10 2 1 1 11 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2062 Kurdish Allies and Kurdish Enemies: Turkey’s New War Against The PKK <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> Kamal Chomani Dastan Jasim Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries 2022-02-14 2022-02-14 2 1 13 23 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2101 Delisting the PKK as a Terrorist Organization <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> Michael Gunter Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries 2022-03-01 2022-03-01 2 1 25 38 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2122 Environmental Racism and Resistance in Kurdistan <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> Pinar Dinc Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries 2022-03-28 2022-03-28 2 1 39 48 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2189 Turkey’s Military Urbanism and Neocolonial Architecture in Kurdish Cities <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> Diren Tas Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries 2022-03-28 2022-03-28 2 1 49 62 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2100 The Kurds in Lebanon <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> Guita Hourani Copyright (c) 2022 The Commentaries 2022-06-04 2022-06-04 2 1 63 76 10.33182/tc.v2i1.2354