Category Archives: Turkey

Obama BFF Erdogan says freedom and democracy have no value in Turkey

ERDOGAN-no-moderate-islam-2-750x350-e1453681991282
Dozens of activists, politicians and academics have been detained in Turkey as discussions continue over the refugee crisis

The President of Turkey has said democracy and freedom have “absolutely no value” in the country after calling for journalists, lawyers and politicians to be prosecuted as terrorists.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on Wednesday as almost 50 people, including activists and academics, were detained in a wave of police raids.

In a speech to local politicians in Ankara, he criticised critics raising concern over Turkey’s record on “democracy, freedom and rule of law” as discussions over a landmark deal on the refugee crisis continue.

Zaman-GETTY.jpg
Turkish riot police use water cannon and tear gas to disperse supporters at Zaman daily newspaper headquarters

“For us, these phrases have absolutely no value any longer,” he said in the televised address, according to a translation by DPA.

“Those who stand on our side in the fight against terrorism are our friend. Those on the opposite side, are our enemy.”

On Monday, the President had vowed to extend the legal definition of “terrorists” to include MPs, activists and journalists.

“It is not only the person who pulls the trigger, but those who made that possible who should also be defined as terrorists, regardless of their title,” Mr Erdogan said.

Police operations claim to be targeting the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) following a bombing claimed by one of its splinter groups that killed 37 people in Ankara on Sunday.

But friends of those detained have said they include academics who signed a declaration calling for peace and a British man arrested over leaflets found at his home.

Kurdish groups are suspected of orchestrating several recent attacks across Turkey as government forces continue a crackdown in south-eastern parts of the country where the minority has been demanding greater autonomy for decades.

A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed in July and military operations intensified in December, seeing hundreds killed including civilians, the destruction of several districts and more than 350,000 people displaced.

The violence has been accompanied by restrictions on press freedom and civil rights, seeing the Zaman newspaper taken over by the government, journalists arrested and protests crushed by riot police with tear gas and water cannons.

pg-26-cizre-1-getty.jpg
A woman inspects her belongings in her ruined home in Cizre. Turkish authorities have scaled down a 24-hour curfew imposed on the mainly Kurdish town

European leaders have been criticised for failing to censure Turkish politicians over the alleged abuses as they attempt to secure a controversial deal that could help stem the flow of refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea.

An agreement could be reached at a summit in Brussels today, where the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will continue negotiations after EU leaders agreed a common stance on Thursday.

The accord would see Turkey agree to take back asylum seekers picked up off the Greek coast in exchange for Syrian refugees being directly relocated to European nations from camps in Turkey and a series of concessions to speed up the EU membership process.

It’s time to turn our backs on Erdogan’s Turkey

Canada and its allies are relying on Turkey. Our military campaign in northern Iraq and Syria, to which Ottawa is contributing more than 800 trainers and special forces, would not function without the active co-operation, including access to military bases and border openings, provided by Turkey, a long-time fellow NATO member. And Turkey, which has received and is housing close to three million Syrian refugees, is seen as being vital in preventing the refugee flood into Europe from becoming less manageable – so vital that the European Union this week struck a deal in which the Turks, in exchange for reducing the refugee flow, will be given visa-free travel in Europe, billions in financing and a more direct pathway toward eventual EU membership.

Turkey, however, has become a problem. A really big problem. A week ago Friday, Turkish soldiers and police surrounded the offices of Zaman, the country’s largest and by some measures best newspaper, fired tear gas, broke down the doors and seized control of the paper and its media empire with authorization from courts appointed by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party. By Sunday morning, the paper, known for its independent-minded columnists, was publishing the most anodyne form of government propaganda.

This is bad enough in itself, but it is part of an unprecedented campaign to shut down or seize control of all forms of political, bureaucratic and media opposition – officially in the name of shutting down the Islamist and Kurdish movements. Mr. Erdogan claims they are security threats, but in practice, these crackdowns give him absolute executive power by eliminating all institutions of democratic and popular dissent.

That campaign went into high gear hours late last year after Mr. Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) won a majority in the Nov. 1 national election. The editors of the important moderate news magazine Nokta were imprisoned for “fomenting armed rebellion” – that is, for criticizing Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian approach. The most outspoken columnists in the newspaper Milliyet were fired or silenced. TV stations have been shut down.

More than 1,800 people have been arrested in the past year on charges of “insulting the president” – a law whose very existence is contradictory to democracy. Those imprisoned under it include the editor of the newspaper Birgun, who was found guilty of insulting Mr. Erdogan in an acrostic puzzle. And hundreds of government officials have been arrested or sacked on accusations that they are associated with the Islamist Gulen movement, which had brought Mr. Erdogan to power a decade and a half ago, but which he now opposes as a threat to his power.

Mr. Erdogan won November’s election on a fear campaign aimed at Turkey’s Kurds, who make up about a fifth of the country’s population. The Kurdish-Turkish violence that drove those fears is entirely the creation of Mr. Erdogan, who abandoned his long and successful unity-building efforts in 2013 after Kurdish-led moderate political parties became popular with non-Kurdish Turks seeking a modern and European-minded alternative. They therefore became threats to his goal of gaining an absolute majority he could use to rewrite the Turkish constitution and make himself president for life.

Mr. Erdogan is now bombing his own citizens aggressively: The Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir has become a deadly place of bomb craters, house-to-house searches and seizures and late-night disappearances. Little of it has anything to do with actual threats to the Turkish state. As the British writer Christopher de Bellaigue recently observed of the Nov. 1 election: “Erdogan pulled off the classic politician’s trick of successfully selling the panacea for an ailment largely of his own making.”

Kurds in Syria and Iraq are our most important allies in Syria’s civil war, and are key to finding a peaceful settlement to that conflict. By turning them into enemies strictly because they threatened his own grandiose political ambitions, Mr. Erdogan has destroyed the unified and open Turkey he earlier helped to create. And he has done so using the tools not just of authoritarianism but now, by silencing the media, of totalitarianism. It is time to stop treating Turkey as an ally, but as a country that has stepped beyond the pale.

Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire: The Forgotten Genocide

April 24 marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the Armenian genocide that took place under Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire, during and after WWI.  Out of an approximate population of two million, some 1.5 million Armenians died. If early 20th century Turkey had the apparatuses and technology to execute in mass—such as 1940s Germany’s gas chambers—the entire Armenian population may well have been annihilated.  Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:

Armenian Genocide

More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey”] lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century.  At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

folder

Indeed, evidence has been overwhelming.  U.S. Senate Resolution 359 from 1920 heard testimony that included evidence of “[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death [which] have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”  In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs….Continue reading to see how the Armenian genocide may be the tragic culmination of the current persecution of Christians under Islam, some of which has indeed reached genocidal proportions.

history_2_20