Turkey and the Kurds

Editorial board, “The Guardian view on the Turkish elections: a victory with a price.” November 1 2015, Guardian. 

Erdogan’s actions since his losses in the last election: call for another election to undo the results of the first, censor the media, purge political parties, and restart the war with the Kurds. 


Andre Gardner, “At the funeral of Tahir Elçi, a giant in Turkey’s human rights movement, the sense of loss is deafening.” November 30, 2015.

The courageous life and funeral of Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi in the wake of his untimely murder, which suggests state involvement.


Yahya M. Madra. „Democratic Economy Conference: An Introductory Note.“ January 2016. The South Atlantic Quarterly 115:1.

Madra outlines the program of economic democratization of the Kurdish movement in Turkey based on the final declaration of the Democratic Economy Conference 2014, which was to serve as a practical policy guidelines for the democratically organized economic bodies (coops, communes, etc) and for municipalities under control of the Kurdish party. Additionally, the author brings attention to antagonistic relations among three major economic blocs in North Kurdistan: a capitalist developmentalist bloc with ties to Turkish and international capital, a democratic economy bloc and small-scale capitalist formations in the middle.


Debbie Bookchin, “The Feminist, Democratic Leftists Our Military is Obliterating,” Feb. 1, 2016, The Nation.

Erdogan’s assault on Kurdish cities in Northeastern Turkey is an attempt to wipe out the most feminist, democratic movement in the Middle East. Turkey’s NATO allies are enabling this assault because of the airbase at Incirlike and fear of refugees.


Behlul Ozkan, “The West must stop giving Turkey a free pass.” February 2, 2016. New York Times.

International failure to oppose Turkey’s invasion of Afrin stems from a longer history of complicity with Erdogan’s war on Turkey’s Kurdish population, which illustrate U.S., German, and British reasons for tolerating Turkey’s behavior.


Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret, “Turkey Wages War on its Kurdish Population.” February 16 2016, Red Pepper.

Brutal details about the state-imposed curfews upon predominantly Kurdish cities across Turkey, as well as about the mass-displacement and razing of entire villages. The Turkish state must be held accountable.


Anna-Sara Malmgren & Robert Hockett: “Turkey is murdering its own Kurdish civilians. Will America speak out?’ February 18 2016, Haaretz.

Malmgren and Hockett put together the details of Erdogan’s targeting of Kurdish cities and prove his massacres go beyond his claims of merely responding to the PKK.


Saladdin Ahmed, “from Hitler to Erdogan: liberal passivity in the face of another rising fascist empire.” February 19, 2016, Jerusalem Post.

Ahmed compares the ongoing Kurdish genocide at the hands of Erdogan, as well as his support of the Islamic State, to Hitler’s attacks on Spain from 1936-1938 and predicts a future in which Erdogan takes his Neo-Ottoman project outside the Middle East.


Selahattin Demirtas, “Free speech isn’t the only casualty of Erdogan’s repression.” April 13 2016, New York Times.

As Erdogan pays a violent visit to Washington D.C., Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish  HDP, explains the Turkish state’s genocidal crackdown on Kurdish cities as a response to the HDP’s electoral success and calls for an end to U.S. silence.


Meredith Tax, “Turkey is Supporting the Syrian Jihadis Washington Says It Wants to Fight,” Sept. 16, 2016, The Nation.

Turkey’s recent “battle” to evict ISIS from Jarabulus was a fake; article documents consistent Turkish enabling of ISIS and direct support to other jihadi militias including those associated with al Qaeda.



Francis O’Connor, “The Kurdish Movement in Turkey: Between Political Differentiation and Violent Confrontation,” Peace Research Institute Frankfort, 2017.

Argues that the relationship between the PKK and the HDP/DBP is one of constructive ambiguity; the HDP has demonstrated its commitment to institutional politics in challenging conditions but maintains the sympathy of the PKK and is thus in a good position to revive the moribund peace process.


Eva Jones, “Chaos and fear: governmental strategies to hinder national and international humanitarian responses to internal displacement in Turkey.” February 2018, LSE.

Turkey’s ‘state of exception,’ declared after the attempted coup in July 2016, allows police and military forces to harass, pressure, and detain members of CSOs and INGOs without regard for the law, on the basis of a perceived “threat” to the state.


Henri J. Barkey, “The Making of a Kurdish Mandela,” May 10, 2018, Foreign Policy.


The next election in Turkey pits Erdogan, increasingly a dictator, against Selahattin Demirtas, who is running his campaign from jail, along with at least 12,000 other HDP party members, parliamentarians, and elected officials.


Harun Ercan, “Is Hope More Precious than Victory? The Failed Peace Process and Urban Warfare in the Kurdish Region of Turkey,” January 2019, South Atlantic Quarterly.

After an academic introduction, the author dissects the decisions of the PKK and its youth arm, the PKK-H, in the towns of Southeastern Turkey that led to the state’s disastrous assault on these towns.


Anya Briy, “Interview: People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) in Turkey: A New Model for Organizing?” February 2019, Jadaliyya.

The People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) is a country-wide coalition platform of left-wing forces in Turkey that contains around thirty organizations, including political parties and trade unions, out of which came out the pro-Kurdish party HDP, the second opposition party in Turkey.



TATORT Kurdistan. Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan: The Council Movement, Gender Liberation and Ecology. Transl. by Janet Biehl. New Compass Press, 2013.