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Analysis and Comment (31)

Turkish police use tear gas on Kurdish protesters. Turkish police use tear gas on Kurdish protesters. EPA/Sedat Suna

Everything’s at stake for the Kurds in the battle for Kobanê

In recent weeks, the Kurdish town of Kobanê on the Turkey-Syria border has become centre stage in the struggle against IS (Islamic State). The latest round of attacks on the town and its surrounding areas…
Islamic State flags flown by militants in the east of the Syrian city of Kobanê, within sight of the Turkish border. Islamic State flags flown by militants in the east of the Syrian city of Kobanê, within sight of the Turkish border. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Kobanê teeters on the brink in a fight to the end against ISIS

The black flag of ISIS has been sighted in the Syrian city of Kobanê. For three weeks, heavily armed ISIS gangs have advanced on Kobanê – also known as Ayn al-Arab – steadily pushing back the local YPG…
Known as White Rocks, this quartz outcrop was the site of a three-hour gun battle in 1915 between police and two Afghans, who had shot and killed picnickers leaving Broken Hill. Known as White Rocks, this quartz outcrop was the site of a three-hour gun battle in 1915 between police and two Afghans, who had shot and killed picnickers leaving Broken Hill. Amanda Slater/Flickr

History repeating: from the Battle of Broken Hill to the sands of Syria

It’s another hot Australian New Year’s Day, and 1200 people are aboard a train bound for a picnic when a burst of gunfire shatters the festive atmosphere. Police return fire, killing the attackers – but…
A Syrian boy sleeps on a blanket on the stony ground at a Turkish refugee camp. A Syrian boy sleeps on a blanket on the stony ground at a Turkish refugee camp. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Saving Kobanê: the town that the world can’t afford to lose to ISIS

Few people had heard of the Syrian town of Kobanê until recently. But since coming under sustained attack in the last fortnight by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the town has attracted international attention…
Syrians waiting to cross the border near Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey. Syrians waiting to cross the border near Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey. EPA

Turkey’s unique approach to the Syrian refugee crisis is creaking badly

The official Turkish policy is that it doesn’t accept asylum applications from outside Europe. The Syrian refugee crisis forced this to change. It led the Turkish authorities to implement, in their words…
Leading the way. Leading the way. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Erdoğan wins presidential vote after dominating Turkish media

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has swept to a landslide victory in the country’s first direct presidential election. His win follows three terms as the country’s prime minister and he has…
The Kurdish politician, Selahattin Demirtas, has run a great campaign. The Kurdish politician, Selahattin Demirtas, has run a great campaign. Sedat Suna/EPA

How Turkey’s Kurds can leverage third place in election

The prospect of the first direct presidential election in Turkey’s history – and the candidacy of pro-Kurdish Selahattin Demirtaş has generated much excitement among the country’s Kurds. Though Demirta…
Erdoğan, İhsanoğlu and Demirtaş contend for the Turkish presidency. Erdoğan, İhsanoğlu and Demirtaş contend for the Turkish presidency. How Hwee Young/EPA, EPA/STR, EPA/Sedat Suna

What you need to know about Turkey’s presidential elections

Turkey awaits a fateful election on August 10. The electorate will be heading back to the polls to elect, for the first time in the country’s Republican history, the president by popular vote. If no candidate…
A big win for Erdogan doesn’t bode well for Turkish democracy. A big win for Erdogan doesn’t bode well for Turkish democracy. Sedat Suna/EPA

Turkish elections mark a crucial moment for the country’s democratic future

Turkey’s presidential elections mark a crucial moment for the country, not only because it is the first time that a president will be elected directly by the people, but the future of the country’s political…
The rescue mission. The rescue mission. EPA

Grief turns to anger as Turkey watches mine disaster unfold

In the deadliest coal mine disaster in Turkish history, the tragedy seems to tear this already polarised society even further apart. It has already been confirmed that more than 200 workers have been killed…
Turkey is at risk of descending into violent disarray. Turkey is at risk of descending into violent disarray. EPA/Sedat Suna

Twitter ban: Erdogan bringing down democracy in Turkey

In an extraordinary move Turkey has banned Twitter, blocking access to the social networking site that has more than 10m users in the country. The ban has come just hours after the prime minister, Recep…
Turkey erupts in protest at the death of a 15-year-old boy. Turkey erupts in protest at the death of a 15-year-old boy. Depo photos/EPA

Turkish students and academics treated as state’s enemy within

Demonstrations have broken out across Turkey following the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy, who fell into a coma during last summer’s Gezi park protests after he was struck in the head by a teargas…
Erdogan has fallen out with his best political pal. Erdogan has fallen out with his best political pal. P Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

Rift with party fuels crisis at heart of Turkey’s government

The long-standing and, hitherto, powerful government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is under unprecedented pressure after one of the strangest fortnights in recent Turkish political history. Some key allies and…
Next year marks 100 years since the Gallipoli landings and the start of the genocide Armenians, Assyrians and Hellenes in Ottoman Turkey. Next year marks 100 years since the Gallipoli landings and the start of the genocide Armenians, Assyrians and Hellenes in Ottoman Turkey. AAP Image/Australian Government

Turkey, the Armenian genocide and the politics of memory

Victims of genocide die twice: first in the killing fields and then in the texts of denialists who insist that “nothing happened” or that what happened was something “different”. On the eve of two centennial…
Support for Turkish opposition - and concern about the press - has spread around the globe. Support for Turkish opposition - and concern about the press - has spread around the globe. Rubén Díaz

After Gezi, Turkey in media and campus clampdown

As autumn comes to Turkey, the spirit of Gezi Park can still be felt in the air. After months of mass anti-government demonstrations, the only common consensus is that political climate will never being…
Made in Brazil, used in Turkey: a teargas canister. Made in Brazil, used in Turkey: a teargas canister. Özlem Gürses

Popular protest: new media and the spread of inspiration

A protest against the destruction of green space in central Istanbul escalates to national protests against a remote, desecularising political leader; public transport fares in Brazil lead to a national…
The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be televised. Alan Hilditch via Creative Commons

Turkish mainstream media’s mask has finally slipped

While protesters were asleep, police stormed Istanbul’s Gezi Park using tear gas and water cannons. They set fire to the encampments. And yet pictures of bloodied protesters, or those blinded by plastic…
Growth will sort all this out, won’t it? Growth will sort all this out, won’t it? newsonline/Flickr

The fractures behind Turkey’s uprising carry a global warning

The events of the past week in Istanbul’s Taksim Square are already etched on our minds. Pepper spray, baton charges, perplexed youths lying battered and bruised, but still chanting for change. Of course…
Defenders of Taksim Square have sparked a nationwide mobilisation. Defenders of Taksim Square have sparked a nationwide mobilisation. Fotomovimiento

Turkish urban uprising has smashed national wall of fear

Why is it that with all the accumulated experience in the world and the dramatic ends of many political leaders, democratic or authoritarian, Lord Acton always turns out to be right? Yes indeed, “power…
With uprisings continuing to take place in Turkey, questions must now be asked over whether the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy is the way forward for the Arab world. With uprisings continuing to take place in Turkey, questions must now be asked over whether the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy is the way forward for the Arab world. EPA/Evrim Aydin

As uprisings continue, what happened to the ‘Turkish model’ for democracy?

The ongoing protests across Turkey, stretching from May 28, show there is ample evidence of a flourishing culture of democracy in the country. They also highlight a worrying counter trend. Last week, the…
Syrian government forces during an operation in Aleppo. Syrian government forces during an operation in Aleppo. SANA

Bombs across the border: will Turkey intervene in the Syrian war?

The exchange of artillery fire between Turkish and Syrian forces over the past few days has seen a renewed focus on the possibility of an escalating war between Damascus and Ankara. It seems that not since…
Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. EPA

The irresistible rise of Muslim democrats in the Middle East

Whatever the outcome of the Egyptian presidential runoff scheduled for 16-17 June, Middle Eastern electoral politics are now conforming to a remarkable rule. When elections are held in a free and fair…
Julia Gillard and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono both acknowledge the importance of a strong relationship between Australia and Indonesia. Julia Gillard and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono both acknowledge the importance of a strong relationship between Australia and Indonesia. AAP

Growth in our MIST: the economic bloc to watch

Trade liberalisation has pulled many developing countries into emerging markets in the last decade. Jim O’Neil, an economist and chairman of Goldman Sachs, who forecast global economic domination by certain…