RSS

Tag Archives: Turkey

Fethullah Gulen is facing extradition to Turkey by Donald Trump – so he should read up about his country

Fethullah Gulen says he has no intention of fleeing America if Donald Trump is going to extradite him to Turkey. But the Muslim cleric might like to read a new book before he obliges the Turkish President by climbing aboard a plane for Ankara or Istanbul. Accused of fomenting the attempted coup almost exactly a year ago, he has a touching faith in Turkish justice which has organised the arrest of 50,000 Turks for involvement in the “terrorist” crime. For Ezgi Başaran’s Frontline Turkey: The Conflict at the Heart of the Middle East – published by that ever loyal imprint of IB Tauris, a true friend of the region – reveals a shocking story of police brutality, torture and Turkish secret police crime and involvement with Isis.

It’s also not very nice about Fethullah Gulen himself. Born in Erzerum in 1942, he became a cleric, one of the founders of the “association for fighting communism” – which might appeal to Donald Trump – but Gulenist schools, attended at first by poor children, prepared their pupils to occupy as many posts as possible in the country’s judiciary, police and military. This is Başaran’s contention, and she backs it up with a revealing quotation from Gulen used in an indictment that accuses him of trying to topple the secular state in 1999 and which doesn’t sound very democratic.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/robert-fisk-gulan-turkey-erdogan-isis-extradition-middle-east-terrorist-raqqa-kurdish-america-a7838861.html?amp

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 26, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

Will Donald Trump have the guts to call the Armenian genocide what it was?

Well, it’s now Trump’s moment of masculinity. Will he – or will he not – have the guts to call the 1915 Armenian genocide a genocide? A small matter for a guy who’s shooting from the hip across the Muslim world, you may say. But he congratulated the Caliph Erdogan on winning his dictatorial referendum and I doubt that Trump has the courage to offend him this month by telling the truth about the slaughter of one and a half million Armenian Christians during the First World War.

After all, Bill Clinton didn’t call it a genocide. Nor did George Bush. Nor did Obama. They all promised they would before they were elected. But my guess is that Donald Trump will be as cowardly as them, bowing towards the sensitivities of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wretched generals, those of them who still have jobs after Erdogan’s post-attempted-coup purge of the last nine months.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

Tags: , ,

Turkey’s Vote Makes Erdoğan Effectively a Dictator

Fifteen years ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the hope of the Islamic world. He was an Islamist, of course, but that was part of his appeal. As the mayor of Istanbul, one of the world’s great cities, Erdoğan had governed as a charismatic and smart technocrat. He’d served time in prison, in 1999—for reading a poem that seemed to celebrate militant Islam—but his jailers had been the country’s rigid, military-backed secular leaders who, by then, seemed as suited to the present day as dinosaurs. When Erdoğan became Prime Minister, in 2003, every leader in the West wanted him to succeed. In a world still trying to make sense of the 9/11 attacks, he seemed like a bridge between cultures.

Source: Turkey’s Vote Makes Erdoğan Effectively a Dictator – The New Yorker

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani

The mysterious case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman facing federal charges in New York, has grown even stranger over the past couple of weeks.Zarrab, who is thirty-three, was arrested by F.B.I. agents, in Miami, last March. At the time, he was one of the flashiest and wealthiest businessmen in Turkey. He sported a pouf of black hair; owned twenty houses, seven yachts, and a private jet; was married to one of Turkey’s biggest pop stars; and counted among his friends Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s strongman President.The U.S. government, however, believes that Zarrab masterminded a sprawling operation to help the Iranian government evade economic sanctions that were put in place to hinder the country’s nuclear-weapons program. Zarrab’s operation—which relied on what the Turkish government claimed was a legal loophole in the sanctions—involved shipping gold to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas, which Zarrab then sold. The scheme, according to prosecutors in New York’s Southern District, involved moving enormous amounts of cash, gas, and gold; at the operation’s peak—around 2012—Zarrab was buying a metric ton of gold and shipping it to Iran every day. The Obama Administration protested Zarrab’s operation, which the media dubbed “gas for gold,’’ but he carried on anyway. For the Iranians, the gold was as good as American cash, and it helped shore up the rial, Iran’s currency, whose value was collapsing.

Source: A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, and Rudy Giuliani – The New Yorker

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

Tags: , ,

Erdogan’s referendum on absolute power means the European dream is over for Turkey

Ak Saray, the residence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a complex of around 1,100 rooms in acres of hillside over Ankara. It is not garish or tasteless, like some of Saddam Hussein’s architectural monstrosities were, but then Turkey’s President sees himself not as just another Kalashnikov-wielding strongman, but heir to the legacy of Ottoman sultans.

A few colleagues and I were given a conducted tour of Ak Saray, “White Palace” in English, soon after last summer’s attempted coup, when Erdogan was being presented as a defender of democracy against the perfidy of a treacherous exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen, and a renegade military faction. But the White Palace definitely seemed a home more befitting a potentate than that of a champion of the people and Turkey’s referendum has now confirmed Erdogan in that position. And, at the same time, any effective international backing for attempts to dethrone him is now relatively meaningless after Donald Trump called him from the White House to congratulate him on his victory.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-referendum-erdogan-wins-absolute-power-european-union-dream-is-over-a7689416.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

Erdogan’s referendum victory will make Turkey prey for the country’s many enemies

What critics claim is the openly fraudulent Turkish referendum ends parliamentary democracy in the country and gives President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dictatorial powers. The most unexpected aspect of the poll on Sunday was not the declared outcome, but that the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) allegedly found it necessary to fix the vote quite so blatantly.

The tightness of the final outcome of the referendum – 51.4 per cent “yes” to the constitutional changes and 48.59 per cent voting “no” – shows that the “no” voters would have been in the majority in any fairly conducted election.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkish-referendum-erdogan-prey-for-enemies-a7687246.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

The upcoming Turkish referendum could end what little democracy is left in the country

In the final days before Turks vote in a referendum on 16 April on whether or not to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dictatorial powers and effectively end parliamentary government, the mood in Turkey is prone to conspiracy theories and suspicion of foreign plots.

A sign of this is the reception given to a tweet that might have seemed to the sender to be exceptionally benign and non-controversial. It was sent in Turkish and English by the British ambassador to Ankara, Richard Moore, and read: “Tulips in Istanbul heralding spring. Hooray!” Accompanying it was a picture of a bank of tulips blooming outside the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-erdogan-referendum-democracy-europe-middle-east-a7673691.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

Erdoğan’s widening presidential aims

The 1982 constitution that followed the military coup of 1980 was always challenged in Turkey for it made the army the real players. But the nature of this challenge, demonstrated by numerous revisions and plans to replace it, has changed with the rise to power of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party).In the early 2000s, Turkey’s fundamental law was reformed to meet European standards regarding respect for fundamental freedoms and thereby pave the way for EU accession talks. The army’s grip on politics also had to be reduced — especially on the National Security Council, whose composition and role were revamped in October 2001. The AKP continued this direction of travel when it came to power in 2002, facilitating the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into Turkish law and formalising gender equality and the abolition of the death penalty in a 2004 reform. In addition, there were civil and criminal law reforms and a demilitarisation of judicial processes (limiting the powers of military justice and making military personnel subject to the common law in appropriate circumstances). Given its origins as an Islamist movement, the AKP government’s liberalisation of Turkey’s political system came as a surprise.

Source: Erdoğan’s widening presidential aims, by Jean Marcou (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, April 2017)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags:

Turkey has never been in this position before 

The tension between Turkey and European countries over allowing propaganda speeches for the April 16 referendum campaign reached a dangerous peak when the Dutch authorities barred a Turkish minister from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam on the evening of March 11.More than that, the Dutch police not only barred Turkish Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, but also detained her bodyguards, seized escort cars and forced her to leave the country for Germany in the early hours of March 12.

Source: Turkey has never been in this position before – MURAT YETKİN

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 2, 2017 in European Union, Middle East

 

Tags: ,

A Last Chance for Turkish Democracy 

The first time I met Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, known as the H.D.P., he arrived at a restaurant in Istanbul with a single assistant accompanying him. Demirtaş is warm and funny. Among other things, he is an accomplished player of the saz, a string instrument that resembles the oud. At the time—it was 2011—Demirtaş was trying to lead his party and people away from a history of confrontation with the country’s central government. It wasn’t easy. Like other Kurdish leaders in Turkey, Demirtaş had spent time in prison and seen many of his comrades killed. I remember him telling me how, in the nineteen-nineties, when civil unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas was hitting its bloody peak, a particular make of car—a white Renault—had been notorious in Kurdish towns. The cars were used by Turkish intelligence officers, who had developed a terrifying reputation for torturing and executing Kurds. “I’ve been inside the Renaults,’’ Demirtaş told me. “A lot of people I know never made it out of them.”
http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-last-chance-for-turkish-democracy/amp#

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Middle East

 

Tags: