by Laura Lotte Laloire
Just a few days ago during a parliamentary session, a Kurdish deputy was violently attacked and injured by members of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). As if to support Charles Tilly’s statement that ‘political violence occurs when actors have few opportunities, yet enough resources to mobilize for violence’, many groups in Turkey are currently involved in a battle against Kurdish, Alevi or left Turkish citizens. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a political stalemate, uses military and police, but also the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) youth organization Grey Wolves as well as Islamist militias like Esedullah Timleri (Arabic for: Lions of Allah) have increasingly resorted to violence as tool of action.
Political violence has been a central characteristic of the Turkish far right, which largely resembles street-based mobilization in Western Europe. Despite the common ultra-nationalist ideology, the Gülen Movement (GM) stands out. AKP’s former “soft-power instrument” now appears to be the only reasonable and non-violent player among all of these self-named animal groups. Since the power struggle escalated between Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen in 2013, the GM has been seen as a victim of Erdoğan’s repressive measures, instead of making itself conspicuous by using violence. How can we explain this exception?
by Daniel Kaiser and Janne Rantala
Mozambique’s 16-year Civil War supposedly ended in 1992. However, since 2012, acrimonious political dialogue around the country’s natural resource wealth, a failed reconciliation and historical power struggles has given space to armed conflict. As a consequence, more than 10,000 civilians have fled fighting and sought shelter in neighboring Malawi.
At a recent press conference with the Mozambican president Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, German chancellor Angela Merkel demanded immediate action and a political solution for the resurgent armed conflict between state security forces and Renamo rebels. As a return to civil war seems not out of the question and profound information is scarce, we would like to shed some light on what is actually happening in Mozambique.
Though the country will celebrate the 24th anniversary of the General Peace Agreement in October, there is unlikely to be much festive spirit due to what is euphemistically called a ”political-military situation” by television news. In fact, it might be more adequate to call it a low-intensity armed conflict that is steadily escalating since last October.
While people are afraid to drive on the country’s main highways and more than 10000 refugees have fled to neighboring Malawi, the ruling party, Frelimo, and the main opposition party, Renamo, continuously accuse one another of armed attacks, perpetrating kidnappings, torture and murder. Fighting has been particularly intense in remote areas such as Sofala, Tete and Zambézia provinces in central Mozambique. However, attempted and de facto assassinations, probably linked to the conflict, have occurred in the cities of Maputo, Matola and Beira.
by Daniel Koehler
Terror from the extreme right has again gained a wider public attention in 2011 with the devastating attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway and the detection of the right-wing terrorist cell called “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which had committed ten murders, three bombings and a dozen bank robberies during more than a decade of time in Germany. In many Western countries violence motivated by racism, anti-government hate, anti-Semitism or other aspects of right-wing extremism, appears to be a regular part of criminal activities. Hate crime legislation and statistics vary strongly but show that next to high intense terrorist attacks such as 9/11, the attacks in London, Madrid or Paris, right-wing violence and terrorism is the most dangerous politically motivated threat. In the United States for example Perliger (2012) counted 4,420 right-wing terrorist incidents between 1990 and 2012 causing 670 fatalities and 3,053 injuries. In Germany official statistics counted 69 right-wing attacks between 1990 and 2015 causing 75 casualties, while civil society watchdogs count up to 184 deaths. In Russia some experts speak of approximately 450 right-wing motivated killings between 2004 and 2010. Nevertheless, this specific form of political violence remains largely under-researched and misunderstood as non-terroristic. In consequence the threat from the far right is continuously downplayed with severe consequences for victims and the internal security.
This is the twelfth article in our series on refugees. For more information on the series, please click here
by Joshua Kwesi Aikins and Daniel Bendix
The text reframes the current debate about refugees in Germany by contrasting Germany’s recent history of racist violence and limitations of asylum laws with the resistance and agency of refugee movements across Germany. Both provide an important lens to re-examine the simultaneous heralding of „welcome culture“, a sharp rise in arson attacks on asylum centres and the current legislative roll-back of refugee rights in Germany.
In bringing these perspectives together the text offers a corrective of both the current image of Germany as a welcoming champion of refugee rights and the problematic notion of refugees as objects of German policies and civil society „help“ rather than subjects with a long history of resistance in Germany.