New Wars and Autonomous Self-Defense

Nazan Üstündağ, 18 Nov. 2015

A number of scholars working in the fields of geography, sociology, and political science have developed the concept of “new wars” to talk about the state we are living in the last two decades.[1] These scholars claim that currently, we are going through a fourth world war—that is, of course, if we would call the cold war a third world war—and argue that after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the politics of controlled conflict and tension has been replaced by continuous, scattered, and extending small wars, whose sides are multiple and whose outcomes remain uncertain.

After Tahir Elçi

Nazan Üstündağ, December 14 2015

It is only possible to make sense of what is going on in Kurdistan today by way of its homology with the American occupation of Iraq. Because in Kurdistan, the state and resistance to the state do not share any legal or social foundations whatsoever. We are in fact discussing two entirely separate worlds that can only be related to one another through the field of violence and that otherwise function according to entirely different logics. Tahir Elçi’s death brings together the grief of losing someone we all loved dearly with the pain of bearing witness to this kind of disjuncture.

Quick Thoughts: Nazan Üstündağ on the Protests at Turkey’s Boğaziçi University

Nazan Üstündağ, 11 Feb 2021

[Academics and students at Boğaziçi University responded with protest when President Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu as the new rectorate. The protests of students were repressed violently and 11 students have been imprisoned. Still, since the 2016 coup attempt, this has been the largest and most influential popular protest in Turkey with gaining support from other universities, student bodies, and oppositional groups. We interviewed Nazan Üstündağ, a former member of the academic staff of Boğaziçi University, to gain a better understanding of the meaning of these protests and their popularity.]


Praise for the ‘Marginal Groups’

Nazan Üstündağ, 13 June 2013

All those recently labeled as “Marginal Groups” are legal. Precisely because they routinely come under attack by the state and are forcibly choked in gas despite being legal formations, they know state violence well and know even better how to resist it.

Today the odor of the gas does not leave my body. The scent of those who have tried to rot us from within is still on my body; it refuses to fade away. The gas my lungs collected yesterday still does not leave enough space for air.

Hasty Observations from the Gezi Park Resistance

Nazan Üstündağ, 8 Haziran 2013

[This article was translated from Turkish by Emrah Yildiz]


The tweet I circulated before I went to the Gezi park on Thursday read “Could this place turn into a Tinnamen or a Tahrir? Why not?”  Under certain conditions those things that we cannot fully grasp on the level of conscience, we simply sense subconsciously. I must have sensed without knowing it; what a full blown resistance would break out of a park which we were protecting against demolition under state’s renovation plan. Taksim where the park is located was after all, the only remaining public space in Istanbul for those in opposition. The government wanted to turn the park into a Shopping Mall.