Under normal circumstances we don’t respond to conspiracy theories, but when a conspiracy theory is published in the Guardian, it becomes a story. As we scan the international press’ Turkish coverage, a constant source of amusement is noting who has comprehended their errors, and taken steps to remedy them, and who remains dead set on promoting a distorted narrative that ensures their readers will not obtain objective or accurate information on Turkey.
At this point, because of websites such as Kebab and Camel and Serbestiyet, even those who do not know Turkish have no excuse for maintaining a purely anti-Turkish government interpretation.
Among those committed to the status quo is the Guardian and its reporters, namely David Lepeska. Recently Lepeska penned another feature on Turkey featuring the same old, same old. Even the piece’s title elicits groans because using “gentrification” in the context of Sur, an underclass neighborhood in Diyarbakır, stretches the meaning and usage of the word “gentrification” implausibly.
In his article Lepeska claims a connection between the destruction of Sur and goverment’s gentrification policies, which are generally relevant to İstanbul.This is possibly one of the most unreal claims ever published about Turkey. Firstly, the PKK unilaterally ended the recent ceasefire and started attacks against Turkish security forces last summer. In March 2015, KCK co-presidents Cemil Bayık and Bese Hozat told the IMC TV channel that “PKK militants laying down arms and leaving Turkey is a just election propaganda.” The KCK (Group of Communities in Kurdistan), an organization founded by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), declared the end of the peace process multiple times before the Turkish airstrikes in Northern Iraq against PKK targets in late July. After the ISIS bombings in Suruç, they then turned their statements into actions, which was the direct cause for the current violence in Turkey’s SE. During that fighting, dozens of Turkish security personnel have been killed by the PKK. So, according to Lepeska’s insinuations, the AKP government sacrificed dozens of people just for a gentrification project? Does Lepeska really expect us to believe this theory?
We also would like to remind our readers that Turkish Security Forces did not carry out operations against the PKK during the peace process. But during this process, the PKK took advantage of the situation to establish weapons and explosives depots in southeastern Turkey. So, since Lepeska feels able to expand the meaning of “gentrification” so dramatically, couldn’t we just as easily argue that the PKK had its own “gentrification” project? The only difference was that, instead of museums and apartment buildings, the PKK’s project was to construct barricades, trenches, and tunnels for their utopia!
Lastly, we noticed that a number of foreign journalists shared Lepeska’s article on their Twitter accounts. This provides nice evidence of exactly why international observers have difficulty understanding Turkey through what these journalists and reporters write:
— Erik Meyersson (@emeyersson) February 9, 2016
— Louis Fishman (@Istanbultelaviv) February 10, 2016
Is the government destroying Sur so its buddies can rebuild it for rich AKP supporters and displace anti-gov locals?https://t.co/M6KcrW4u55
— Nick Ashdown (@Nick_Ashdown) February 9, 2016