Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute, and Lisel Hintz, assistant professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, discussed the upcoming Turkish election and the future of Turkey in Friday’s online event.
Following the terrible 7.8 magnitude quake on February 6th, there was another 6.3 magnitude shock on Monday. In the American media, these events have been covered with less attention than necessary, with the news of the most recent second quake six panels down on the New York Times online front page as of Tuesday morning and later disappeared entirely. With a death toll of over 42,000 affecting a major nation according to official numbers cited by the AP, it is unimaginable that the U.S. media is not devoting additional resources and time to coverage there.
Doom was a dominant theme in Myron Taylor Hall this past Friday. This was unsurprising, considering the subject of the event there — “Turkey: A State of Emergency.” The speaker panel, hosted jointly by the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa and the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative, aired out some of Turkey’s dirtiest political laundry. Each of the panelists zeroed in on one particular undemocratic facet of the Middle Eastern nation’s recent political tumult, from extrajudicial detainments to growing anti-intelligentsia sentiment to the increasingly precarious livelihoods of the four million Syrian refugees there living. Most generally, the talk was geared toward unpacking the political machinations of President Reccip Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of this summer’s failed coup attempt. The statistics are jarring.
With heads of dark, rich, slightly wild and uncontrollable hair, the five orphaned sisters of Turkish-French film director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang — Lale (Güneş Şensoy), Nur (Doğa Doğuşlu), Ece (Elit İşcan), Selma (Tuğba Sunguroğlu) and Sonay (İlayda Akdoğan) — seem to fly free in their rural Turkish village, independent, bright and happy. But this sense of freedom only remains during the brief beginning prelude before their conservative relatives lock the girls away from the world and try to mold them into perfect wives when the girls are (wrongly) accused of indecent play with male classmates on the beach. A story of female empowerment and of being jolted into adulthood, Mustang’s sisterhood is both beautiful and tragic. We’re guided through the story by Lale, who is the youngest, and in some ways the most visibly rebellious, sister — she seems too young to marry, she enjoys soccer and she sneaks out of her window like she was born to do it. Seeing the world of Mustang through Lale’s eyes is essential.
This Wednesday, representatives from the Democratic Union Party (also known as PYD) announced their intentions to declare a federal region in Northern Syria. This news came as the UN Peace Talks over Syria continued, and it is impactful because it may pose negative repercussions on the current ceasefire and diplomatic talks in Geneva. More specifically, it may bode more issues for an already embattled Turkey. Turkey has had high tensions with the Kurds ever since its establishment as a republic in 1923. There have been a variety of massacres or injustices committed against the Kurdish people in Turkey and this past, coupled with new problems arising from the Syrian Civil War, has led often to violence between the two groups in recent years.