By Gareth Porter for Truthout – In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.
By Staff of RSF – The witchhunt launched in the wake of the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey continues to take a heavy toll on journalists. In the draconian state of emergency imposed after the abortive coup, the authorities have closed more than 100 media outlets critical of the government, placed 42 journalists in provisional detention and banned many others from travelling abroad.
By Staff of RT – Introduction: The protest occurred the day before US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford was due to arrive in Turkey for an inspection of the base. Common Dreams reported: Thousands of Turkish troops, citizens and police ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States Saturday night — blocking all entrances to the air base with heavy vehicles and security forces sent to secure its perimeter.
By Staff of RSF – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores the growing persecution of critical media in the week since the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey. With the government’s response seeming more and more like a witchhunt, journalists have been subjected to arrests, seizures of entire newspaper issues and a menacing state of emergency. “No one disputes the Turkish government’s legitimate right to defend constitutional order after this abortive coup but democracy, for which hundreds of civilians gave their lives, cannot be protected by trampling on fundamental freedoms,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
By Staff of Sputnik – Due to its unique geostrategic position, Turkey has long been important to the US as a NATO ally and a “bridge” between the West and the Arab world. However, clouds are gathering on the horizon of US-Turkish relations after Friday’s coup attempt. “US Secretary of State [John] Kerry has not been able to take a firm stance against the failed Gulenist coup attempt, drawing heavy criticism in Turkey.
By Isil Sariyuce and Angela Dewan for CNN – Istanbul (CNN)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the nation is imposing a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of last week’s bloody coup attempt. Erdogan met Wednesday with his national security council and council of ministers, the latter of which approved the state of emergency recommendation “The purpose of the declaration of the state of emergency is, in fact, to be able to take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible, which is a threat to democracy…
By Juan Cole for RSN – The poorly planned junior officers’ coup in Turkey on Friday appears to have failed as I write late Friday night, though rebel military elements still hold positions in some parts of the country, including Ankara, the capital. Their allegiances and motives are still unclear. Remarkably, among the reasons for the failure was the determined stance of the Turkish people who stood up for their democracy, even if about half of them deeply dislike President Erdogan.
By Julian Sayarer for New Statesman – Turkish politics is seldom what it seems and so a coup late at night, backed with the imposing presence of military hardware, unravels to become an attempted coup come morning. Turkey will now face the prospect of yet another of its paradoxes, in which a public show of support for democracy, with people pouring onto the streets to protect an elected government, could well become the basis by which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, expands his power over the Turkish state and justifies still more of his disdain for democracy.
By Staff of RSF – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is stunned to learn that an Istanbul court today ordered the pre-trial detention of its Turkey representative, Erol Önderoglu, and two other journalists on a terrorism charge. RSF reiterates its unconditional support for its representative and calls on the Turkish authorities to drop all charges and release them. “This is another dark day for media freedom in Turkey,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Washington, DC – Members of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s security detail assaulted several journalists at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC on Thursday. Erdogan was scheduled to give a speech about the state of Turkey in the early afternoon, when his security detail grabbed, struck, and forcibly removed journalists from the Institute. DC Metropolitan Police officers broke up several scuffles which ensued outside.
By Debbie Bookchin for The Nation. Turkey – Right now, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is undertaking a massive assault on Kurdish communities in southeastern Turkey in an effort to wipe out the only truly democratic movement in the Middle East. In December, he unleashed a force of 10,000 soldiers, armed with tanks and mortars, who have cut water and electricity supplies, imposed draconian curfews, and razed buildings; they are following shoot-to-kill orders against local residents who venture from their homes to seek food, first aid, or alternative shelter. Already more than 200 Kurdish defenders, and 198 civilians, including children, teenagers, and the elderly, have been murdered. In photos, the areas under siege look like war zones, comparable in destruction to Syria and Bosnia.
Reuters in Diyarbakır for The Guardian – Seven people have been killed in clashes with security forces in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south-east, officials have said, as authorities declared curfews across the region. The clashes are the latest in months of violence following the collapse of a ceasefire between the government and the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) in July. Since then, Ankara has imposed round-the-clock curfews in many areas. Two people were killed as police clashed with crowds protesting against a security crackdown in the city of Diyarbakır, a hospital official and witnesses said.
By Staff of Reporters Without Borders – This year, the Istanbul-based daily Cumhuriyet has distinguished itself by its defence of media freedom in Turkey but has paid a high price. As the government kept stepping up its harassment of its critics, Cumhuriyet’s independent and courageous journalism triggered one prosecution after the other, a smear campaign and the repeated blocking of its website. “The person who committed this crime will pay dearly, he won’t get away with it so easily,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in June when announcing on TV that he was bringing a formal charge of “spying” against Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar.
By Staff of The Christian Science Monitor – ANTALYA, TURKEY — Police in the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya detained dozens of people Sunday during a series of protests denouncing a G-20 summit that is underway in a nearby seaside resort, although the demonstrations were mostly peaceful. Security is tight during two-day meeting that was expected to be dominated by discussions about how the G-20 nations will respond to the deadly Paris attacks, claimed by the Islamic State group. Demonstrators were being kept miles away from the venue at a secluded seaside resort some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Antalya city.
By Joris Leverink for Telesur. The results of Turkey’s snap elections came as a shock to many, but especially to those who had bore the brunt of the AKP’s anger after the party had lost its majority in parliament for the first time in thirteen years. The five months between the two elections were marred by violence in which hundreds of people lost their lives; guerrillas and soldiers, policemen and citizens. Two of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Turkey’s history killed almost 140 people, and dozens of people were reportedly killed when security forces attacked neighborhoods and towns were militant youths had picked up arms to protect themselves from the state’s violence. Hope turned to anger; euphoria to disappointment. “How can the people reward them for all the corruption, the killings and the repression?” was an often-heard credo on the streets of the de-facto capital of Turkey’s Kurdish region. But, after a brief night of mourning and a few isolated clashes between excited youths and the police, Diyarbakir woke up the next morning to a bright blue sky and the warmth of the Mesopotamian sun. People were still angry, disappointed, sad and indignant, of course, but this is something the people of Kurdistan have dealt with all their lives. And they weren’t about to give up hope just yet.