Europe

The teaching of the putsch attempt of July 2016 in the Turkish schools: towards a new representation of the social in Turkey?

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The title page of the school prospectus 2017-2018 of the Turkish Ministry of Education
The title page of the school prospectus 2017-2018 of the Turkish Ministry of Education

By Camille de Felice

Translated by Anis Arioua

After few weeks of the event of July 15, 2016 during which a section of the Turkish army had sought to seize power by force, During the school year 2016-2017, students of high and elementary schools noticed that a special commemoration program has seen include in their curriculum a special commemoration program consisting of reviewing the putsch attempt and the popular mobilizations that followed. [1].

While the first week was almost exclusively devoted to activities about the « 15-July »[2] – often referred to as the « Legend of 15-July » or even « Victory of Democracy of 15-July »[3] in the speeches of the government and in the press, the first day of classes has nonetheless had the particularity, like A theater play, of being entirely determined by the Ministry of National Education. With a relatively small margin of maneuver, the teachers had to respect the precise directives that the ceremony dedicated to the 15-July held in all schools of Turkey must be almost identical : the discourse, written by Ankara, the theater plays reproducing the events of the putsch, exhibition with photos of the « heroes » of July-15, recitation of poems, and, finally, distribution of a brochure detailing the official version, validated by the regime, of this unavoidable event of the Turkish socio-political life today.

This first day of school set the tone for a whole year of celebrations that was extended until October 29, 2017. Among the organized activities, I can mention the writing of letters in which students could freely express their emotions and impressions, the visits the « places » of 15-July or namely squares and streets, occupied by the population who were mobilized by the government’s calls to defend and claim democracy, the visits to families of heroes and local « martyrs », making boards with citations, drawings and pictures of those who « made 15-July by sacrificing themselves for their country and to preserve democracy » as well as the production of short films, available on the internet site of the schools, including the Ministry of National Education.

During this year of activities, organized in the schools, the government produced a new brochure to be distributed in schools for the beginning of the 2017-2018 scholar year featuring schoolchildren’s works. In parallel with the publication of this special fascicle, the events of the 15th of July have begun to be integrated into the regular curriculum, since sub-chapters are devoted to this subject in the textbooks, in particular in social sciences, but also of Turkish and religion. Nevertheless, the integration of this subject in the schoolbooks has not been carried out homogeneously; only books, published after 2016 included it in the program. However, it is to be expected that gradually the 15-July will be included in other manuals, including those of history, in the coming years.

Eda Saygi 15-7 panosu (1)

In addition to the teaching in the schools, of this attempted putsch, certainly elevated to almost the rank of new year zero by several personalities close to or members of AKP, it is a new representation of the society that is promoted by this way. Indeed the school remains the ideal place, which each authority seeks to seize for ideological purposes in order to impose a representation of the social legitimizing the domination of a group on another one or even by others.

In this case, this involves writing a new history of contemporary Turkey. In fact, when writing history which is an inevitable process during the construction of historical facts, some elements are silenced, the forgetfulness, which is necessary to the foundation of the nationalist discourse according to the sociologist Anthony D. Smith. [4]

The historian Francois Audigier emphasizes the fact that through the disciplines of the social sciences, especially the triad history-geography-civic education- there is a will of the authority to achieve ideological objectives by not only seeking to communicate concepts and values to the next generation but also to transmit, in an underlying way, a shared representation of the given world, to place a consensual referent, acceptable for all. Because of the compulsory nature of the school for the entire population of a state, it remains a privileged place for the fight for symbolic power and the enforcement of a certain representation of the social. The lessons taught are de facto the dominant and orthodox theories of a society at a given epoch.

Eskisehir Burcu Ekinci 28.09.2017 ilk ders 15 temmuz

The introduction of references to July 15 in some schoolbooks is a part of a larger range of school reforms that can be traced back to 2012 and to many notable changes that were approved at that time. When changes occur at the program level, there are also variations in the selection paradigm of what will be taught which are taken into consideration. While retaining a majority of the essentials of the Turkish school traditions, there is a desire to establish the 15th of July as a fundamental date, constitutive not only of Turkish history but in a more transcendent way of its destiny and identity ; being comparable – and in fact compared – to the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, to the victory of Canakkale during the Great War or to the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Education represents for all governments a space to invest in order to establish a certain representation of the social and so, in this case, some idea of Turkey. In this, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, the actual Turkish president, poses himself as a competitor of Mustafa Kemal, by looking to establish his own vision of Turkey but also the national and civic identities. His ambitious aim to overcome and supplant the legendary figure of Ataturk and to reconnect with the Ottoman tradition, that assigned to the territory of Anatolia and to Turkish people, a status of a regional leadership even of the Muslim world.

[1] DE FELICE Camille, L’enseignement du 15-Juillet dans les écoles turques : rupture ou continuité dans le processus de fabrique du citoyen républicain ? Observatoire de la Vie Politique Turque, décembre 2017

[2] 15 Temmuz Destanı

[3] 15 Temmuz Demokrasi Zaferi

[4] SMITH Anthony D., Nations and nationalisms in a Global Era, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1995

The impossible mission of infiltrating the Spanish border in four days.

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By Valentina San Martin, translated by Cécile Guiraud

A successful arrival

Amid tensions between Brussels and Rabat[1], it is within a few days that more than 850 African migrants succeeded to reach the Spanish enclave Ceuta from Morocco, pushing through the border fences to do so.

On February 20th, 2017, by 3:30 am, around 600 sub-Saharan migrants tried to enter in Ceuta and “359 succeeded”, claimed the enclave prefecture in a statement.

After breaking the doorways with shears and hammers, they reached the European Union. According to a prefecture spokesperson, these events had already taken place “in the same area, which is difficult to monitor, on February 17th, 2017, where 498 migrants succeeded to enter in the territory at the same spot”.

Rabat-Brussels dispute.

Since Rabat and Brussels have loosened their ties, the country hinted that they could relax the control they have on migrants who, once on the Spanish soil, can seek asylum and get settled in the EU. A dispute does exist between Morocco and the EU regarding the interpretation given to a free-trade agreement on farm and fishing products. In an arbitration given at the end of January, the European Court of Justice stated that the agreement did not apply to Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that is now controlled by Rabat. The trade exchanges between Morocco and some European countries are therefore being subject to postponement[2].

On February 6th, 2017, the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture had warned Europe that it was getting exposed to “real risk of spate in the migratory tides”[3].

The good relationship between Spain and Morocco have not been altered

The head of the Spanish government, Mariano Rajoy, has however considered that Morocco had done everything possible to restrain this new wave of refugees. After long journeys, they are thousands to wait in Morocco for the opportunity to push through the fences and to enter in Ceuta or Melilla.

“The Moroccan security officials have put all their efforts together et and I am grateful to them” he said in a press conference in Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain. “What happens is that there are difficult battles” he followed, describing as “wonderful” the collaboration with Morocco and claiming that the relationship between the two countries had never been better[4].

What next?

During the night, the local news El Faro de Ceuta was able to film dozens of young Africans in the streets of Ceuta. They danced with joy and kissed the ground of the Spanish enclave crying “Thank you, God” or “I am in Europe!”.

According to Isabel Brasero, spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ceuta, there haven’t been any serious casualties among them. “We have transferred eleven people to the hospital, eight needed stitches and three had to get a scan”, she said. According to the authorities, two civil guards and one immigrant were attended for more serious wounds.

The temporary accommodation centre for migrants is overflowed by asylum applications: “we have around 1400 people in the centre for a reception capacity of 512”, explained the prefecture’s spokesperson.

To offer them a shelter, the spokesperson has asked for lots of tents and a field kitchen, which should be installed on the parking of the neighbouring horse-riding centre. The NGO has also given to each migrant a kit with new clothes, shoes, and blankets while it was rainy and windy.

Nevertheless, it could then be more complicated. The Ceuta enclave is, with Melilla, the only land border between the African continent and the European Union. In these difficult times where nationalist right-wing European party is gaining popularity, a more thorough monitoring could soon be implemented.

While the migratory flux is often assimilated with long and dangerous journeys and a difficult arrival, the disembarkation of February was rather surprising. The international relations remained intact, no one died or was seriously wounded. The event was followed by some singing once arrived on the European land: the crossing went extraordinary well. But what about the international community? Could this sudden arrival frighten a few Europeans? We’ll see. In the meantime, the migratory mission that some wish it were impossible may have a breach, and it is Ceuta.

[1] Claimed by Morocco, the enclave is, with Melilla, the only land border existing between the African continent and the EU. It is a transit point for illegal migratory flux coming from sub‑Saharan Africa and going to Maghreb.  Since the mid-2000s, eight km long of barred double-fencing.

[2] Learn more on this issue on https://www.letemps.ch/monde/2017/02/20/pres-300-migrants-ont-force-frontiere-ceuta; http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2017/02/06/maroc-union-europeenne_n_14631432.html (both in French)

[3] http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2017/02/06/maroc-union-europeenne_n_14631432.html (in French)

[4] https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1036261/plus-de-850-clandestins-forcent-la-frontiere-de-ceuta-en-4-jours.html (in French)

Our world simply needs humanity.

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GIMUN 17 (1)
The 18th Geneva International Model United Nations Annual Conference.

By Mawuli Affognon.

This is my last blog post for the 18th Geneva International Model United Nations Annual Conference. I would just like to let you know. I hate writing in the first person. I don’t like talking much about my life not because I don’t think it’s that interesting, but that’s how it is. From 25th to 31st March 2017, I watched young people from all around the world debate a variety of topics. I saw conviction, emotions and bursts of laughter. I worked with ambitious young people; worried about their image and under pressure to be successful in life. It was the first time that I’d spent a few days in Geneva. It’s often just a transit city for other destinations around the world. This Swiss city is beautiful, particularly because of its buildings, but above all these people that come from all seven continents. Over the course of the week, the gaze of the woman who was serving the NATURA menu at the restaurant has intrigued me. I would have liked to have asked her opinion on the issues that our delegates have been discussing over the last six days. Does she have an opinion on international politics?

GIMUN 17 (2)

Within these beautiful institutions with its impressive walls, sometimes it is easy to forget about the little cogs in the big wheel. The woman who wakes up early in the morning to clean, the gardener who looks after the flowers or the cook behind stoves that light up to the appetite of the undeterred men and women. I drank a lot of coffee to keep up. I arrived in Geneva on the evening of 24 March from Paris, where I had participated in UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week on behalf of KEKELI LAB based in Togo. In other words, I was tired when I arrived in the city of the Jet d’Eau. But I wanted to do this. I have to admit that I didn’t drink just coffee; vanilla chocolate and vanilla milk were also favourites of mine. I confess. I had the honour of meeting the lady who was in charge of the big coffee machine. Yes, it was an immense honour to meet the person that made magic possible. I think that our world would be more peaceful if we had the humility to observe and to give a voice to those who often do not have one. I’m going to stop there so I don’t miss my train to Lausanne.

In a few years’ time, I hope the young people who had simulated UN negotiations will not lose their innocence, their faith in humanity and their desire for a better world. Many of them will represent governments, multi-nations, powerful lobbyist groups over the coming years, and I hope they don’t succumb to the animal face of humanity. I hope that they don’t succumb to the desire for destruction and the greed that lives in each one of us. As for me, I’ll be heading back to my life as an African student in Europe. Like our world, I think I need love and to smile.

GIMUN 17

Long live GIMUN! May peace reign over our families in the regions of the world where the greed for surplus value and the murderous madness of trigger-happy madmen reside.

Economic Empowerment of Women & Girls in a Sustainable Development Perspective. Act, advance and achieve women’s rights!

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Capture 5
Source: NGOCSWGva.

By Nataliya Borys.

capture 1NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW Geneva) with the generous support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), organized a forum dedicated to the economic empowerment of women & girls in a sustainable development perspective, the 10th of October 2016 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.[1] Our editor-in-chief, Nataliya Borys, a feminist and an active supporter of women’s rights, was quite enthusiastic to know about practical solutions to economic empowerment of women & girls by taking some notes. So what do participants offer as tools of economic empowerment of women & girls? What practically can be done? Read the rest of this entry »

Switzerland supports professional training for nursing staff in Kosovo

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Source: http://www.rtklive.com/sq/news-single.php?ID=96153

By  Valentina San Martin, translated by Lori Favier.

In Autumn 2016, Deputy Minister of Health Mevludin Krasniqi called upon the Swiss Chamber of Commerce to offer training for his country’s nursing staff.
Read the rest of this entry »

European Socialism: An Identity Crisis?

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By Frederick Brock

Photo by permission from Socialist Party, USA
Photo by permission from Socialist Party, USA

In recent years the socialist movements of Western Europe have been relatively quiet. Europe has experienced a significant economic crisis leading to unrest, uncertainty and usurpation by pre-crisis minority parties. Historically, turbulence such as this has acted as a catalyst for the emergence of radical movements and innovative ideas. This article focuses upon the apparent absence of these movements and ideas in contemporary socialism, considering three countries in detail: France, the United Kingdom and Spain.

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The European Asylum Policy – Failure of the Dublin III Regulation?

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 by Jan Alexander Linxweiler

It is already hard to imagine what it must feel like to be displaced, to be forced to leave home, to be persecuted and not welcomed anywhere. Even harder to imagine is the horror and despair of those who die while trying to come to a presumed secure and just system – to the EU. On the 30th of September 2013 more then 300 refugees experienced this ordeal off the Italian island of Lampedusa and died in the cause. Since then reports of tragic deaths at the European boarders are becoming more and more frequent, as the number of refugees are increasing. Subsequently the influx of refugees into the EU is increasing as well. At the same time the Common European Asylum System seams to fail in providing adequate protection and reception conditions; resulting in inhuman treatment and deaths.

This paper wants to offer a reasonable and possible solution within the existing Asylum System. Therefore it presents the Refuge Protection within the two dimensions: the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Common European Asylum System. Within the Common European Asylum System the paper focuses upon the definition of the refugee status and the Dublin System. After presenting and discussing the weaknesses of this exact System the paper will present (in short) a possible solution to the raised problems and weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry »

France is alone in the Central African Republic

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By Juliette Darrousez and Julie Seemann-Ricard, translated by Charlotte Grey

From the very beginning, France has made international mobilisation in the Central African Republic a priority. In November 2013, Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced that “France will be there” and “it will act so that the Central African Republic can hope again”. Operation Sangaris’ goal was to break the cycle of violence in the Central African Republic, and then give humanitarian aid to victims. The “anti-balakas” militia, created to defend the Séléka, have effectively lost sight of their initial goal and started targeting civilians. Read the rest of this entry »

The US, Ukraine’s biggest fan

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by Regina Oladipo

taken from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/06/congress-obama-russia-sanctions/6118199/
taken from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/06/congress-obama-russia-sanctions/6118199/

It would seem that the United States are struggling to maintain a strong hand over the situation in Ukraine. Whilst other European countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom are taking a rather wimpy and weak approach to the issues with Russia. America has made active gestures to attempt a unification of Europe against the federation of Russia. Read the rest of this entry »

Correa and his European campaign

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By Claire Gossart and Simon Rousseau, translated by Charlotte Grey

2014-04-03-at-5-23-16-am

On 6 November 2013 at the University of Paris, Ecuador president Rafael Correa delivered his views on resolving the European crisis, by drawing upon past Latin-American lessons.

The Latin America of the 1980s would have fallen victim to an imperialist plot, led by the United States, who were hoping to once again take control of the sub-continent through treacherous means. Following the 1970s crisis, the majority of Latin American countries were insolvent. They were denied international loans, but were also suffering from the sharp increase in interest rates from places such as the Federal Reserve in the United States. The IMF “kindly” offered aid by granting loans to pay off their debts, but while eventually imposing conditions as underhand as they were drastic. International institutions have hidden their economic ideology in science. Correa had a mission in going to France, and it was partly to enlighten ill-advised Europeans. At last, Latin America is the one giving advice. Read the rest of this entry »

Iranian nuclear power – Germany’s impact

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By Pauline Mettan, translated by Charlotte Grey

angela_merkel_2008

In his celebrated poem, West-ostlicher Divan, Goethe’s dedication to the Iranian poet Hafez begins “My intention is to link East and West, past and present, Persian and German, and to have the mores and modes of thought of both sides overlap one another.” And so our friendship with Iran was formed. Read the rest of this entry »

No solutions to the machete in the Central African Republic

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by Simon Rousseau, translated by Charlotte Grey

Central African Republic support

The storm blowing across the Central African Republic is nothing new. Indeed, since its independence in 1960, the country has been in the grip of serious political and humanitarian crises which are hardly suitable conditions for sorting out the incredibly bad economy. The storm became a hurricane in March 2013 when Séléka rebels – predominantly Muslims – ousted President Bozizé, leading to a period of unprecedented violence. Christians, initially persecuted by militant ex-Séléka fighters, have seen Christian anti-balakas respond to the abuse with their own acts of violence. This has resulted in hostile attitudes towards predominantly Muslim Chadian Central Africans. Read the rest of this entry »

What do the next 50 years hold for Europe?

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by Ahmed Ben Abdallah, translated by Lucy Cumming

Manuel José Barroso (photo by Cornelia Iatu)
Manuel José Barroso (photo by Cornelia Iatu)

Nowadays, the future of Europe is subject to a fairly bleak prognosis, with the financial recession continuing to put the institutions of the European Union to the test. Yet over and above this economic slump, the number of hopeful prospects and initiatives is growing and keeping alive the dream of a Europe capable of captivating the rest of the world by setting not merely a contemporary example worthy of observation, but one to follow and from which much can be learnt. Read the rest of this entry »

Swiss Courts Prosecute International Crimes

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by Alexandra Ilic; translated into English by Claudia Bragman

(Conference-debate on Thursday 15 November 2012)

This debate was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) together with the Academy of Humanitarian Law. Participants included Dr. Sévane Garibian, doctor of law, Professor Marco Sassoli, also a former delegate of the ICRC, Maître Philip Grant, lawyer and TRIAL director, and Maitre Philippe Currat, lawyer and doctor of law.

As Maitre Philip Grant underlined, such an event could never have taken place or, at least, never have brought together so many people 20 years ago. Therefore, the very existence of this conference does indeed prove that a new culture, fighting against impunity, is emerging. Read the rest of this entry »

Switzerland’s Commitments as a Neutral State within the United Nations

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by Jacqueline Douniama ; translatetd into English by Claudia Bragman

The UN is the most well-known organisation across the globe. It has a strong presence in the media, where it is mentioned almost daily. It strives to maintain peace and guarantee international security. It is interesting to try and understand how Switzerland contributes to UN projects. The Swiss Foreign Policy Forum (« Foraus ») organised an conference on 17 October 2012 and this provided us with more information on the topic. Read the rest of this entry »

Switzerland’s 10 Year Membership to the UN

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Joachim Leger; translated into English by Claudia Bragman

On 24 October, the “Decade” jubilee took place at the Palais des Nations. The event was held to celebrate Switzerland’s 10 year membership to the UN. It was centred around several main topics (human rights, security council reform, disarmament, peacebuilding, the environment and ethnic minorities). These reflect various issues that Switzerland has highlighted as a Member State. GIMUN worked with the SAJV, JUNES and Youth Rep to organise the festivities. (For more information, go to http://decade2012.webs.com/organizers.) Read the rest of this entry »