Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’
The U.S. has promised India “very active” help to improve its counter-terrorism capabilities while asking Pakistan to act “urgently and transparently” to help catch the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror assaults and prevent future attacks.
The “terrible sophisticated” terror attack “raises questions about the importance of making certain that everything is done to bring the perpetrators to justice, but also to prevent follow-on attacks,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.
“And in that regard, Pakistan has a special responsibility to act,” she said in Copenhagen, after a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whom she briefed about her talks with Indian and Pakistani leaders
Even if Indian state has done very little to stop the persecution against Christians which took place last summer, I really consider that it’s necessary they are helped in these matters. That’s why I just don’t understand why Pakistan has agreed with Afghanistan and Turkey to cooperate in anti-terrorist matters,while they are not doing the same with India (apart from the three countries being Islamic and India being a non-Islamic country).
Apart from that, there is the inherent perils of having both India and Pakistan nuclear arsenals:
The Mumbai terrorist attacks and their potential to re-poison the relationship between India and Pakistan suggests that we should not be too sanguine about the stability of nuclear deterrence in a proliferated world. Even if nuclear weapons tend to encourage mutually-deterring relationships between possessor states (an assumption that, while plausible, is no more than an extrapolation from a single U.S.-Soviet case study and a mere decade of sometimes tension-filled Indo-Pakistani nuclear confrontation), there is no guarantee that any actual possessors’ relationship will be stable.
This is true particularly where bitter regional rivalries are susceptible to inflammation from other factors (e.g., cross-border terrorism and/or squabbles over contested frontiers). One would have to have a great deal of faith indeed in the conflict-moderating impact of nuclear weapons in order to be comfortable that the net result will be more stable and less dangerous than before. It is certainly possible that in such contexts the introduction of nuclear weapons would not increase stability. It would merely worsen the potential downside risks if troubled relationships deteriorate.
Ozdemir will the share the leadership of the Greens with Claudia Roth and if the party performs well in next year’s election, he could even be in the running for a cabinet post in a coalition government. Ozdemir says he wants to use his new position to improve cultural integration in Germany, where some 18 percent of the population are immigrants or children of immigrants.
Honor killings are amongst the most shocking crimes in Turkey today. When a girl’s behavior has been deemed to besmirch the family’s honor, she may be killed by a male relative.
Often this is not a heat-of-the-moment crime: the family members may gather together to form a family court, pass the death sentence on the young woman and nominate a young male relative to carry out the deed. He faces ostracism from his family unless he follows through.
These horrendous episodes are sadly not few and far between. The inside front page of many national newspapers — page three, the blood and death page — regularly tells the tale of a wife murdered by her husband, a mother killed by her son, a girl whose life is cut short by her older brother or uncle.
For those who come from the parts of the country where honor is a way of life, the code that dictates a life must be taken is not incomprehensible. But for most of the rest of Turkish society, such events are as horrific, and the mindset that leads to this barbarity is just as impenetrable, as it is to European and American observers.
Journalist Ayşe Önal set out to try to understand what led men to kill their own flesh and blood by interviewing men serving a prison sentence for this crime. As a controversial figure — having been variously blacklisted by governments and appearing on death lists — she experienced some difficulty in gaining the necessary permissions. But granted they were, and over the course of several years she interviewed 18 men.
(…) The strength of Önal’s book is that, purely and simply, she tells the stories. There is no detailed sociological or anthropological analysis of the situations. Just the stories of the families concerned, told by the men themselves. Hearing the crimes recounted first-hand is, as Önal says, spine-chilling. It makes your blood run cold. It is just harrowing.
(…) As to the question, who are the murderers? according to one prisoner, “the real murderers are the ones who tell our women to modernize and break with our ways.” One is left wondering how much it is the men themselves, and how much society. The gossips in the neighborhood, those who broke windows of a “house of a harlot,” those who applauded the gunshot, an uncle who incites his nephew to murder, a mother who gives her chilling approval with the words “my brave son” — all these played their part. Önal herself says, when interviewing one man, “I felt like an accessory to a crime.”
In a sign of his simmering anger about what he sees as baseless accusations against Islam in the West, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has called on the international community to declare the enmity against Islam a “crime against humanity”.
Addressing Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, his Spanish counterpart, and about 2,500 other guests in Istanbul at a celebratory iftar meal on Monday, Mr Erdogan said: “No culture, no civilisation should belittle the other, despise the other or see the other as an enemy.” [...]
In the Alliance of Civilisations, Mr Erdogan has emerged as a leading representative of the Islamic countries, said Semih Idiz, a foreign policy columnist with the daily Milliyet. As a politician with roots in political Islam and leader of a party that has many pious Muslims among its voters, Mr Erdogan is very sensitive to what he sees as western prejudices towards Muslims, Mr Idiz said.
(Zapatero) used his trip to Istambul to defend that EU needs Turks to achieve the “projection and the strategic leadership that today, in some cases, it does not have”. A vision that is not supported neither by French President, Sarkozy, nor German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
His insistence in the suitability of Turkish entry in the EU is related to his defense of the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative that is seen by Erdogan with the same enthusiam as Zapatero. And it explains fully why the Prime Minister and leader of moderate Islamist political party AKP (Development and Justice) has invited Zapatero to the banquet by which Muslims break Ramadam’s fast.
(…) Rodríguez Zapatero, a so committed laicist that he provoked uneasiness in the Vatican when he refused to attend the Pope’s Mass in Valencia in July 2007, thanked Erdogan because of his “hospitality” and stated before nearly 2.500 people attending the banquet his will to enjoy of the celebration not as a “foreigner, but with the attitude of someone who is President of Spain, a country which is proud of the influence of Islam in our history and of its rich legacy in our language and in our artistic heritage”.
The ceremony was very simple. A supper which began with a prayer and ended with two speeches. Zapatero was also given a rug, similar to the one which is used for praying.
What would happen if Don John of Austria and the rest of Spanish people who fought at Lepanto would rise from the dead? Perhaps they would die again out of emotion…
By the way, anyone seeing any contradiction between being a “convinced laicist” and attending an Islamic prayer?
(…) The Constitutional Tribunal must deliberate about the legitimacy of another party, the pro-Kurd DTP, which means that the Turkish political life is the hands of the Judicial power. The situation is similar to the one lived by Algeria when the Islamic Front was eliminated.
According to other analists the ban on both parties (the other is AKP, scroll down for updates) would take Turkey away from Europe.
Terrorism will be the legacy of the fight between Islamists and the far-right. It is not the first time that Erdogan has made a statement for the country’s unity. The “deep State”, linked to the military groups and the myth of Ataturk, has been decimated by the Islamic government. The greatest blow on secularism has been the arrest of the “Ergenekon”. Some days before the July 9th terrorist attacks, two ex-generals were arrested, accused of being leaders of a group labeled as terrorist and who inspired several political murders in last twenty years.
(…) But there is another link, geopolitical this time, of Erdogan’s strategy. On the one hand, he is the mediator between Israel and Syria. On the other hand, regarding energy, he has pointed to Turkey.
In Ceyhan, a Mediaterranean port which could be greater than Rotterdam, the Turkish government has made an economic revolution. Both pipelines from Baku and Tiblisi join there with the pipeline from Kirkuk, Iraqi city famous because of its richesses on oil. The third pipeline will be built by ENI, the Turkish Calik Group and Indian oil company.
In Ceyhan several facilities’ construction is planned for next years with a total value of 5 billion dollards: a refinery, Eolian towers and places of storage. Turkey wants to be the main energetic node for all Europe, but for that they are in agreements with Teheran, considered as a privilleged partner for the Kurdish revolt.
By the way, the AKP has escaped the constitutional ban but the Tribunal has imposed financial sanctions on it. So one of two things that was “taking Turkey away from Europe” is eliminated. A very interesting thing considered the energetical role Turkey is going to play for Europe.
The MSM have treated this in a different way but signs of relief are somewhat generalised:
- The Times: The AKP’s ruling is “a notable victory for a popular and capable government, an important judgment on the role of Islam in a modern, secular state and a triumph for Turkish democracy“. Yeah, what accuracy…
- Die Presse (Austria): It was a close decision, but also the right one. Following the ruling, Turkey’s ruling party the AKP is now free to continue its balancing act between Islam and Western reform. The judges have not blocked the loophole for the emergence of a modern Turkey. … It is to be hoped that in the future Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan … will desist from any attempt to strengthen religion. Yeah, of course, if his party wasn’t banned (and he himself was allowed to run for office when he had been banned because of his conviction on “religious hate” charges), he is going to stop his plans.
- Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany): Erdoğan never took seriously the fears of many Western-oriented Turks of a growing Islamicisation of the country, despite all his assertions that he wanted to be the ‘prime minister of all Turks’. He still does not know how to listen to his critics or include them in his plans. The Turkish prime minister should get back to reversing the considerable democratic deficit in his country instead of acting solely in the interests of devout Muslims. Religious freedoms and civil rights must be guaranteed for all Turks, including Christians and Kurds. Otherwise the country’s European prospects will come to nothing. Much more realistic as you see.
- La Reppublica (Italy): Despite the positive side of the judgement, “which dispels the climate of uncertainty, Erdoğan is clear that Turkey has lost precious time, above all concerning the attempt to enter the EU which it started in 2005.
- A plot against the Government and the process against the AKP continues.
- the procedure against the alleged pro-Kemalist coup proceeds in Turkey.
- the Islamist branch of the Ergenekon?
“There appears to be a link with the separatist organization. We are working on that. We hope to get a result at the first opportunity,” Guler told reporters.
A pro-Kurdish news agency, Firat, reported that a Kurdish rebel leader said the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, did not carry out the bombing.
“The Kurdish freedom movement has nothing to do with this event, this cannot be linked to the PKK,” Firat quoted the leader, Zubeyir Aydar, as saying. “We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Turkish people.
(…) now we even have reason to think that one does not have to be a secularist to join forces with Ergenekon. Last week, the “seventh wave” of arrests in the Ergenekon case took place, and among the detained were the editors of a marginal monthly called “Milli Çözüm” or, The National Solution. Based in the conservative city of Konya, this was clearly an Islamist magazine, but was also staunchly nationalist and militarist.
Few Turks would know that this magazine even exists, but I was among the privileged for a good reason: The print edition has been mailed to me for quite a while, although I never subscribed to and paid for it. If it were mailed to me, it was probably mailed to others as well. And that implies that somebody must have given some considerable amount of money to this publication. In Turkey, such magazines often hardly make ends meet. Having enough money to throw away for such a marginal periodical points out to some extra-journalistic source of finance.
The real gem is the content of Milli Çözüm. It is a very curious blend of anti-Western radical Islamism and Kemalist militarism. The cover of its current July issue presents a must-see cartoon: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a donkey and the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is riding him. There is also a quote from Olmert, who is called “the arch-terrorist of Zionist Israel”. “I am thankful to Erdoğan” Olmert reportedly said, “He helps me a lot.”
I wonder… this is interesting but could it be a way to discredit the Kemalists fighting against Erdogan’s AKP islamization?
German prosecutors said Thursday that they have filed murder and terrorism charges against a suspected member of a banned Turkish leftist group over his alleged role in a series of attacks in Turkey.
The 53-year-old of Turkish origin, identified only as Faruk E., is accused of being a co-founder of the outlawed DHKP-C group, which seeks to topple the Turkish government and replace it with a Marxist one. The defendant is not a citizen of any country, prosecutors said.
The charges, filed in a Duesseldorf court on June 24, include murder, attempted murder, explosives offenses and leadership in a foreign terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
They accused the man of ordering from Germany an April 1993 attack outside Istanbul, in which two Turkish police officers were killed, on behalf of the Devrimci Sol group.
Prosecutors said he co-founded DHKP-C, its successor, the following year, and was a member of its three-member central committee until his arrest in Germany last year.
So, Islamist, Kurds and also Marxists/Communists…
Three German climbers who were held hostage for 12 days after being abducted by Kurdish rebels in eastern Turkey arrived safely home in Germany on Monday on a scheduled airline flight.
Security sources at Munich airport said they arrived on a Lufthansa flight from Ankara.
Lars Holger Renne, 33, Martin Georg S., 47, and Helmut Johann H., 65, all from Bavaria, were abducted on July 8 by five Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas who raided a 3,200-meter camp on Mount Ararat.
The three were released on Sunday. After spending the night at a police guest house in Agri, the mountaineers flew to Ankara from the eastern city of Erzurum on Monday morning.
German Ambassador to Turkey Eckart Cuntz welcomed the three men at Ankara’s Esenboga airport: “Firstly I’m very happy and secondly I’m very thankful,” he told reporters in comments translated into Turkish. “Thirdly, long live Turkish-German friendship.”
These are good news indeed.
From The Independent:
“Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco last year, was shot leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus strait this week. Fatally wounded, the student tried to flee the attackers in his car, but lost control, crashed at the side of the road and died shortly afterwards in hospital. His friends believe Mr Yildiz was the victim of the country’s first gay honour killing. (…)
“From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents,” one close friend and near neighbour recounted. “They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.”
The family pressure increased, the friend explained. “They wanted him to go back home, see a doctor who could cure him, and get married.” Shortly after coming out this year, Mr Yildiz went to a prosecutor to complain that he was receiving death threats. The case was dropped. Five months later, he was dead. The police are now investigating his murder. For gay rights groups, the student’s inability to get protection was a typical by-product of the indifference, if not hostility, with which a broad swathe of Turkish society views homosexuality. The military, for example, sees it as an “illness”. Men applying for an exemption to obligatory military service on grounds of homosexuality must provide proof – either in the form of an anal examination, or photographs.
Will this be condemned by gay rights’ groups or just because “it’s another culture” no one is going to say anything about it?
A study being conducted by a team from Dicle University in the Southeast on honor killings has so far shown that little if any social stigma is attached to the act.
(…) Causes of honor killings vary. “It is not appropriate to associate honor killings with only one section of society. Some people think that it is related to a feudal structure, but this has proven to be false. There are also perpetrators who are well-educated university graduates. Of all those surveyed, 60 percent are either high school or university gradates or at the very least, literate. The victims of honor killing are not always women; males have also been targeted,” Bağlı says.
He also drew attention to a misperception in the society concerning the motive. “These murders are not motivated by rumors such as ‘she wore blue jeans,’ ‘she sent an SMS to her boyfriend’ or ‘she went to the park.’” Suggesting an illegitimate sexual relationship as the primary reason for the murders, Bağlı said cheating is an unforgivable act in the Southeast, even for a woman who “cheats” after divorcing her husband by remarrying.
“The ultimate punishment in such a situation is death. Both the groom’s and the bride’s families agree on this. Murder becomes inevitable when honor is at stake and turning to murder in such a situation is seen as a respectable act by the society,” he said.
The process against the alleged culprits of a coup d’état against the Government continues:
Aykut Cengiz Engin said the 86 — including at least one former general, journalists, academicians and businessmen — were charged either with forming or belonging to a terrorist organization, or of provoking an armed uprising with the aim of bringing down Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
A court must now decide within two weeks whether to open the case.
The suspects allegedly crafted plans to create chaos that would provoke a military coup and topple Erdogan, whom they accuse of eroding Turkey’s secular laws and making too many concessions to Christian and Kurdish minorities as part of the nation’s bid to join the European Union. (this does not have much sense: Erdogan is an Islamist, so why giving concessions to Christian and Kurdish minorities? Something that in the case of Christian minorities is not really true….).
The indictment is seen as the latest episode in an ongoing power struggle between the government and secular groups supported by the military and other state institutions. They include the judiciary and some trade groups, who accuse the government of attempting to raise Islam’s profile in Turkey.
How fortunate for Erdogan to find a coup d’etat against him, just now, when his party, the AKP could be illegalised for being an Islamist.
Several Turkish news outlets have speculated that Al Qaeda was involved in the attack, with claims that at least one of the gunmen received arms training in Afghanistan.
NTV, a private news television, said that Erkan Kargin, 26, one of the gunmen who was killed at the consulate, had been sentenced for his membership to IBDA-C, an illegal fundamentalist group here.
The two other assailants, Bulent Cinar, 23, and Raif Topcil, lived on the same street in Istanbul, and the police confiscated a number of publications and documents with unidentified religious content at their apartments, the same report said.
Video thanks to Vicki.
From Los Angeles Times:
Their profiles are similar to those of young men involved in Al Qaeda-inspired attacks: uneducated, poor, not known to be devout until they met a charismatic ‘elder brother.’
(…) Officials said they were looking at the possibility that Kargin, 26, the oldest of the three attackers, had recruited the younger two and organized the assault. But his distraught family said they doubted he had been the ringleader.
“He was mentally unbalanced — he was having treatment at the mental health clinic,” said a man who answered the door at the family home. He identified himself as an older brother but did not want his name used. “I don’t believe he was responsible for planning this.”
A non-practising Muslim, Ulukent has had his share of fanatics. He remembers one guest angered by music coming from the women’s bathing area. “He said it was a sin,” Ulukent says. “The tape turned out to be his wife’s. We told him to calm down – this is a hotel, not a morgue.”
(…)In the past there were women- only beaches in Turkey, used both by headscarf-wearing women who considered stripping off on shared beaches against their religion, and by uncovered women keen to avoid unwanted male attention.
They were closed down during an army-led crackdown on political Islam in 1997 on the grounds that the coast is a “public space”. Feminine modesty, Islamic or otherwise, now “constitutes an ‘anti-secular’ act in our country”, says Nihal Bengisu Karaca, a well-known columnist.
Ali Ercan’s world swarms with enemies. The gray-haired professor of nuclear physics and deputy chairman of the Kemalist Thought Association (ADD) has to worry about reactionary Islamists, separatist Kurds, suspicious Armenians and Greeks, capitalist Americans and of course the European Union, with its constant pressures to reform. A bodyguard stands in front of Ercan’s small office on Gazi Mustafa Kemal Boulevard, round the clock.
Inside, a brass plaque greets visitors: “Turkey will never belong to Europe! She will never give up her sacred sovereignty!” Ercan, 55, came up with the slogan himself. Now he wants the words etched on his gravestone, he says. The Europeans come in for particular blame in this “dark and dangerous time which our country is living through.” Who else have encouraged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Islamicize Turkey through “reactionary religious forces,” he says. Who else have pushed Erdogan to sell off Turkey economically and erode its national sovereignty?
The problem here is that the European Union prides itself of being secular, while here is supporting clearly the pro-Islamic AKP.
Three Germans have been abducted in Turkey by PKK, while they were climbing the Mount Ararat. All three are part of an expdition of 13 climbers, according to local authorities.
“The terrorists said they carried out this action because of the German government’s recent moves against PKK associations and sympathisers,” state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
There were unconfirmed reports that paramilitary troops were involved in an operation to rescue the kidnapped climbers, while the other members of the group were taken to the nearest town.
(…) The PKK, which is seeking autonomy for Kurds in south-eastern Turkey, is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.
More than 30,000 people have been killed since the group began its armed campaign in 1984.
And three Turkish policemen have been killed and two others injured after assailants opened fire in front of the US consulate in Istanbul. A US embassy spokeswoman in Ankara said there were no reports of casualties among American consulate employees.
According to Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, Turkish police has terminated a criminal gang which used to kidnap old non-Muslim people, submit them to torture, obtain by force their houses’ proprietor’s documents and then kill them all. They have already killed three persons.
Thirty people, among others two doctors and the Director of the office of proprietor documents have been detained as suspects.
The police department of Istambul have launched an investigation after the corpse of 93-year-old Armenian, Vanda Ayasli Esen was found. 20 days before she had given away her house.
(…) The new investigation has shown that the gang’s behaviour began by infiltrating the entourage of the victims appearing as a servant. The gang kidnapped their victims then and obliged them to sign a transfer of proprietor’s rights to the members of the gang. After they obtained the demanded signatures, the gang murdered the old people and buried their corpse. The total value of the stolen property is near $30 million.
The driver has confessed he and his brothers killed two of them, while the third was left in a shut room to die without water nor meals.