"Should I Shoot You?"

An Eyewitness Account of an Alevi Uprising in Gazi

by Aliza Marcus
published in MER199

The stark black letters on white stone in the cemetery are all that remain of rioting that left 17 dead last year in Istanbul’s Gazi neighborhood. The shattered glass has been replaced, the burned cars swept off the streets, the angry leftist slogans on walls painted over. What remains of those two days in March 1995 are memories, and the graves of those killed.

It was close to midnight on March 12. People had come to protest a drive-by shooting that killed two and wounded 15 in this run-down neighborhood on the outskirts of Istanbul. Hours earlier, unidentified gunmen had driven through Gazi and shot up four coffee shops and a pastry shop. The people of Gazi were convinced that ultra-rightists linked to the police had staged the attack.

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Turkey's Death Squads

by Martin Van Bruinessen
published in MER199

The emergence of legal Kurdish parties and the frequent occurrence of death squad-style political assassinations were two developments in Turkey’s political life during the 1990s. For the first time in Turkey’s history, there was a group in the parliament that represented -- if only implicitly -- Kurdish nationalist opinion and systematically protested humans rights violations against Kurds. At the same time, a number of influential Kurdish political and community leaders were killed, many of their deaths described as “murders by unknown actors” because the police usually failed to find the assassins.

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Turkey's Elections and the Kurds

by Hamit Bozarslan
published in MER199

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Turkish Islam and National Identity

by Sami Zubaida
published in MER199

Turkish Islam is tied up with Turkish nationalism in a unique fashion, the product of Turkish history and identity. Turkey’s brand of Islamist ideology challenges the secularist components and the European identification of Kemalism, historically the dominant form of Turkish nationalism, but retains the central core of Turkish nationalism and statism.

Forced Evictions and Destruction in Villages in Turkish Kurdistan

by
published in MER199

This document is excerpted from a longer report by the Netherlands Kurdistan Society, Forced Evictions and Destruction of Villages in Dersim (Tunceli) and the Western Part of Bingöl, Turkish Kurdistan, September-November 1994 (Amsterdam, 1995).

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The Crisis of the Turkish State

by Ertugrul Kurkcu
published in MER199

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From the Editors

published in MER199

From June 4-14, tens of thousands of officials and experts from around the globe will gather in Istanbul for the Second UN Conference for Human Settlement (Habitat II), the last of the global UN summits. The non-official NGO gatherings should take the occasion to scrutinize how the attending states have addressed the right of their citizens to adequate shelter.

Kurds, Turks and the Alevi Revival in Turkey

by Martin Van Bruinessen
published in MER200

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Making It on the Middle Eastern Margins of the Global Capitalist Economy

by Janet Bauer
published in MER202

Victoria Bernal, Cultivating Workers: Peasants and Capitalism in a Sudanese Village (Columbia, 1991).

Jenny White, Money Makes Us Relatives: Women’s Labor in Urban Turkey (Texas, 1994).

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Transsexuals and the Urban Landscape in Istanbul

by Deniz Kandiyoti
published in MER206

Few social groups can boast the visibility and media attention that male-to-female transsexuals have received in Turkey in recent years. At one point, hardly a month went by without some feature in a popular magazine or a television interview. The cartoonist Latif Demirci captured this frenzied interest with his depiction of an apartment block in a notorious back street of Istanbul. Through each window, a transsexual could be seen being interviewed, filmed or recorded, while building janitors implored a queue of journalists waiting in the street outside to be patient. A recent book offering vignettes on modern Turkey devoted an entire chapter to an interview with Sisi, a famous transsexual.

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