Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby gunjur » 17 Feb 2014 21:28

Why Turkey Still Loves Erdogan
Despite a massive corruption scandal, the Turkish prime minister is still popular. What gives?

In most Western countries, if a prime minister, his underlings and members of their families are caught up in a corruption scandal, it usually spells trouble. Even Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s notoriously slippery lothario-in-chief, had his comeuppance. But not in Turkey.

When a huge corruption scandal emerged here last December, some thought it would bring down Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s popular leader. Dozens of people—including Erdogan’s ministers and their family members—were swept up and detained on allegations of corruption, smuggling and bribery. The graft probe has set the country on a wild political roller coaster as Erdogan removed prosecutors from the case and tried to block further investigation.

Yet by some measures, the allegations against Erdogan and his party, known by its Turkish initials, AKP, have hardly put a dent in public opinion. Just a month before local elections—seen as a dress rehearsal for this summer’s national contest—polls show that the AKP commands somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of popular support, well ahead of its rivals. And while a vote for the AKP isn’t a guaranteed vote for Erdogan, it bodes well for the prime minister.

So why, after all this controversy, are Erdogan and his party still so formidable? To find out, I went to Fatih, a conservative district in Istanbul where many support the AKP. Many here see the prime minister as a hero who restored political Islam and helped improve the Turkish economy.

Take for example Ayse, a 65-year-old housewife who wears a black chador that hides everything except half of her face. (Like many people I spoke to, she didn’t want me to print her full name.) “I feel sorry for [Erdogan] because of all the slander,” she says quietly, as we stand in the courtyard of Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque. ”He is walking on Allah’s path. If I don’t vote for him, then Allah will hold me responsible.”

Abdurrahman Görece, 59, a merchant who sells religious accessories, doesn’t believe the corruption allegations either. He thinks the probe was a Mossad-led conspiracy, created by the Israeli intelligence agency to bring down the prime minister. “I’ve known him since he was 15 years old,” says Görece, who adds that the two went to high school together. “I will vote for him until I die.”

Younger AKP supporters, however, have a different view of the political landscape. Kübra, a 20-year-old student, likes Erdogan because she thinks he’s strong and charismatic. As for the corruption scandal? “There is no smoke without fire,” she says with a smile.

Nevertheless, Kübra won’t stop voting for the prime minister because she doesn’t see an alternative. “I think the other parties are corrupt as well,” she says. “I don’t think they would govern the country better.”

This chain of thought echoes the latest figures from KONDA Research and Consultancy Company, one of Turkey’s leading pollsters, about the upcoming local elections. The survey, conducted in January, shows that 77 percent of Turks believe that the sons of three government officials took bribes (two of the sons are still in pre-trial detention). Likewise, 62 percent of respondents believe that corruption occurred. But nearly 48 percent of people still back the AKP, a far greater percentage than those supporting its rivals.

“The operation did not affect the AKP vote dramatically,” says Adil Gür, the president of A&G Research Company, another leading Turkish polling firm.

“Like anywhere else in the world, people vote for their pockets,” he adds. “So far people are content with the way the Turkish economy is going.”


Taken as a whole, the past decade has been a good one for Turkey, especially for the politically connected contractors who built much of the country’s new infrastructure. Many belong to Erdogan’s socially conservative base, which was long marginalized by the secular elites who used to run the country. However, the economy has slowed since it’s turbocharged growth rate a few years ago: Inflation is up and the Turkish lira plunged against the dollar after the corruption scandal broke. Nevertheless, an interest rate hike last month seems to have stabilized things, and there are few alternatives in sight for the Turkish public to consider. That seems to be enough to keep Erdogan in power. At least for now.

“If the AKP leaves power, people are not sure the incoming party would be good at governing the country,” says Gür. “Most Turkish people have mortgages, credit card debts, so economic stability is imperative.”

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Mar 2014 16:46

Twitter is blocked in Turkey as Erdogan vows to 'wipe out' the social network
Turkey's courts have blocked access to Twitter days before elections as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan battles a corruption scandal that has seen social media platforms awash with alleged evidence of government wrongdoing.

The ban came hours after a defiant Mr Erdogan, on the campaign trail ahead of key March 30 local elections, vowed to "wipe out" Twitter and said he did not care what the international community had to say about it.

Mr Erdogan's ruling AK Party has already tightened Internet controls, handed government more influence over the courts, and reassigned thousands of police and hundreds of prosecutors and judges as it fights a corruption scandal he has cast as a plot by political enemies to oust him.

Telecoms watchdog BTK said the social media platform had been blocked by the courts after complaints were made by citizens that it was breaching privacy. It said Twitter had ignored previous requests to remove content.

San Francisco-based Twitter said it was looking into the matter but had not issued a formal statement. The company did publish a tweet addressed to Turkish users instructing them on how to continue tweeting via SMS text message.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby gunjur » 19 May 2014 21:05

Turkey's countdown to nuclear energy

Turkey is a country that relies heavily on foreign energy supplies. In 2013, energy products accounted for $55.9 billion among $251.6 billion in imports. With 2013’s current account deficit of $65 billion, the burden of energy imports on the economy becomes even more striking. Turkey has drawn up a long-term action plan to ease that burden. The Ministry of Economy’s latest projection lists the following objectives for 2023 for boosting energy production:

* All domestic energy sources, such as coal and hydro-energy, to be put into use;

* Rnewable energy sources to be maximized;

* Energy productivity to be increased at a fast and sustainable pace;

* Turkey to become become a transit country and an energy terminal in such projects as the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP); and,

* Nuclear energy sources to become operational

The objectives for 2023, the centenary of the Turkish republic, include the construction of two big nuclear power plants — one in Akkuyu, on the Mediterranean, to be built by Russia, and the other in Sinop, on the Black Sea, to be built by Japan. When the two plants become operational, Turkey’s 50-year nuclear energy dream will come true.

Post-Fukushima measures


In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, safety measures for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the one in Akkuyu, are being beefed up. The surveying and planning phase has been extended by one year to allow for extra studies and development of enhanced safety measures. That is one of the main reasons behind the delay in construction.

The safety measures will be maximized as much as possible at both plants to guard against natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, as well as accidents, such as plane crashes. The facilities will be resistent to quakes as strong as 9 on the Richter scale and will remain functional for 60 years.

Technology transfer

The construction of the nuclear power plants will introduce Turkey to an unfamiliar technology. More than 200 Turks have been sent to Russia for training in nuclear energy over the past three years, and their number will reach 600 in time. They will be employed at the Akkuyu plant.

The Sinop plant will be overseen jointly by Japanese and Turkish engineers. Services worth $18 billion will be bought from Turkish companies during construction, which is expected to largely enhance local industry’s capabilities. In 10 to 15 years, Turkish producers are expected to be able to manufacture 80-90% of the 515,000 components needed for a nuclear power plant. Turkey's two plants will require $42 billion in foreign investment — $20 billion at Akkuyu and $22 billion at Sinop. It will be the largest foreign investment that Turkey has ever received in a single sector.

Officials from the Nuclear Power Plant Electricity Production Co. told Al-Monitor that they are awaiting the legally required environmental assessment report so that they can start building the Akkuyu plant, which will have four power units of 1,200 megawatts each. The protracted report process has delayed the start of construction, which was originally scheduled for last year. The first power unit is planned to become operational in 2020, instead of 2019. Thereafter, a new unit will become operational each year, with the last one scheduled for 2023, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Republic.

The Japanese in the meantime will be building the Sinop power plant. When both facilities become fully operational, Turkey’s annual energy import bill will decrease by $7.2 billion, the estimated sum Turkey will have paid for the natural gas needed to generate the 80 billion kilowatt-hours per year that the Akkuyu and Sinop plants will produce together.

The Energy Ministry estimates Turkey’s power consumption will reach around 500 billion kilowatt-hours per year in 2023. At present, almost all the natural gas and liquid fuels as well as 30% of the coal used in power generation are supplied through imports. Even if Turkey activated all its energy potential — wind, solar, geothermal, biomass — by 2023, in addition to hydroelectric plants, it would produce only half of the 500 billion kilowatt-hours per year it will need. Hence, the argument goes, the construction of nuclear power plants is a necessity.

Site for a third plant

Planning is also underway for a third nuclear power plant. The site is expected to be chosen next year after Japanese analysts complete studies of several regions. The Japanese currently appear to be the strongest candidate for building the third plant, but Russia is also making efforts to secure a second project.

Istanbul and Artvin, the easternmost province on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, have been floated as the likely sites of the third plant, but it remains a matter of speculation. The site is expected to be close to production areas. In remarks last year, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the site for the third plant would be selected in about two years.

Search for partners

Al-Monitor has learned that Russia, the sole owner of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, is planning to sell 49% of the company to Turkish and foreign investors. Talks are underway with several major Turkish companies and some foreign ones. The Ankara Industry Chamber has applied on behalf of members of its industrial parks to operate one of the four power units. Russia says it is also willing to team up with local and foreign partners in other power plants it aspires to build in Turkey.

The Turkish state holds no stake in the Akkuyu plant. In the Sinop plant, on the other hand, the state-run Electricity Generation Co. (EUAS) will hold a 49% stake. Yet, it will keep only 25%-30% of the shares and transfer the rest to the private sector. The Japanese, who have the 51% majority stake, will team up with France, which, however, will have no stake in the 51% share. At a news conference last year, Yildiz said Turkey had no plans to transfer any of its shares to France.

Turkey wants to have Japan as its main interlocutor in the Sinop plant. The intergovernmental agreement on the project has been signed by Turkey and Japan. The French companies GDF and AREVA will cooperate with the Japanese in the investment and operation phases, a process Turkey will be closely monitoring.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Agnimitra » 22 May 2014 02:54

Pro-Erdogan paper blames mine disaster on the Jews
Focused on deflecting criticism of prime minister for his handling of the tragedy, column declares, 'All info on Soma incident leads us to Israel.'

Image

Another image: Yusuf Yerkel, left, adviser to Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, kicking a protestor as Special Forces police officers detain him during a protest against Erdogan's visit to Soma, May 14, 2014

Image

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Agnimitra » 11 Aug 2014 03:01

Turkey dismisses support for US airstrike on IS

http://mobile.todayszaman.com/diplomacy ... 55196.html

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby vijaykarthik » 11 Aug 2014 07:15

Recep Ergodan has won. President for life. Has secured 52% of the votes.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby gunjur » 22 Aug 2014 12:02

As per rediff.
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu named next prime minister: Turkey's ruling AK Party has chosen Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as its next prime minister.

The party's central committee announced its choice Thursday, fulfilling widely-held expectations that Davutoglu, President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan's first choice, would win the seat.

Erdogan has been prime minister for the past nine years and is scheduled to become president on August 28.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby gunjur » 17 Sep 2014 23:09

A Turkish Perspective on the Rise of the Islamic Caliphate - PDF file

-------------------------

Arabs: Turkey's new minority

Which is more important for Turkey: joining the coalition against the [Islamic State] or dealing with the new minority in its lap?

The question arises from the reality that Turkey today has a new minority, and this minority will raise certain demands in the future. The new minority is a community of Arabs, who, though from different countries, share sociological, linguistic and cultural similarities.

Besides its own ethnic Arab community, Turkey has been receiving Arab migrants for a century. During the two world wars, Turkey opened its doors to 1,118,000 people from the northern Levant (of Lebanese origin) and some 600,000 Arabs from northern Mesopotamia. Another 1.5 million arrived as a result of the Iran-Iraq war. This influx may have included people of Persian and Kurdish origin, but nevertheless, it was a populace that shared the same way of life and attitudes.

Minority rights

It did not stop there. More Arabs were driven to Turkey by the two Gulf wars, the Halabja massacre, Shiite oppression in post-Saddam Iraq and most recently the Arab Spring. Though some returned home later, the Arab populace that stayed in Turkey in the 1970-2000 period was close to 1.5 million, according to official figures.

Now, add to this the more than 1.5 million people who flowed in from Syria and the 60,000 babies born in the refugee camps alone. The total reaches 7 million, about 10% of Turkey’s population.

Not all of them have citizenship today, but past practices indicate they probably will.

Accordingly, this will mean new obligations for Turkey. The country will have to comply with Article 27 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even though it put a reservation on the issue of minorities when it signed the treaty in 2000. Turkey will be obliged to ensure that those people practice their traditions, use their language and perform their religious rites in their own way.

Influx to villages

Some migrants have concentrated en masse in certain regions, while others have spread across Anatolia, which poses the essential problem.

Since last week I have been touring the [central Anatolian] cities of Kirikkale, Corum, Amasya, Sivas, Malatya, Kayseri, Nevsehir and Kirsehir, as well as a number of towns in their environs. New migrant communities — people branded wholesale as “Syrians” — are present in almost all of those cities, coming together for small talk in the evenings, sometimes at a river bank and sometimes in the corner of an urban square.

In what comes as the gravest problem, migrants have occupied lodgings in villages, orchards and farms after their owners finished the harvesting and returned to urban centers at the end of the summer season.

Though Turkey was not presented with specific demands [for contribution to the anti-ISIS coalition] at the latest NATO summit and during US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit [to Ankara on Sept. 8], it was asked to take measures to curb the movement of foreign jihadists, who are considered to be the gravest problem. [Turkey was told] that the control of jihadists returning home was as crucial as their passage through Turkey en route to joining ISIS.

I started with a question and let me conclude with another: What if the “foreign jihadists” choose to stay in Turkey rather than going back to Western countries, whose modern life can no longer mesh with their living norms? Will the core coalition deal with this problem, too?


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Monitoring Turkey

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2014 02:27

Turkey is turning out to be a key state in West Asia imbroglio. Here is a backgrounder from NPR on 15 October 2014.

Turkey straddles Western Allegiances and Mid East Realities


Steve Inskeep talks to Charles King, Georgetown professor and author of —Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul — about how Turkey's geography defines it politically.


Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So the U.S. has been weaving the fabric of a coalition together, but let's tug on one of the threads for a moment. Turkey is so vital - a big country right on that ISIS-controlled border with Syria. Scott mentioned they do not see ISIS the same way the U.S. does. The U.S. wants Turkish help against ISIS, but this week instead of bombing ISIS, Turkey's powerful military conducted airstrikes against a group of ethnic Kurds within Turkey itself.

To understand why, it helps to learn how Turkish leaders see the world, especially the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We spoke with Charles King, author of "Midnight At The Pera Palace: The Birth Of Modern Istanbul." So if you're the leader of Turkey and you're looking south across your border into Syria at ISIS, what do you see?

CHARLES KING: Well, I think for the Turks, the threat of ISIS is not seen in the same way that we might see it in the West. That is it's one of a number of threats that Turkey might face. Keep in mind the Turks have their own domestic concerns, not only domestic political concerns, but also the problem of separatism.

INSKEEP: You have just reminded me of something about the map of Turkey; that jagged line that is the southern border cuts through the middle of a Kurdish region. There are ethnic Kurds south of that line in Syria and Iraq, and there are ethnic Kurds north of that line in Turkey.

KING: That's right. And one of the great obsessions of Turkish politics, really for the nearly 100 years that the Turkish Republic has existed, is what to do about Kurds. It's Turkey's largest ethnic minority, so a worry in Turkey has persistently been, how does it keep control of its own southeast? And what do you do in the event that Kurds across those borders in Syria, Iraq and Turkey should seek to unite?

INSKEEP: Now, this is amazing what you're saying, though, because you're saying that Turkey looks across the border at ISIS - this extremist group that is beheading people, that took Turkish diplomats hostage by the dozen for a while - and they don't even see that as the biggest threat they face.

KING: So Turkey is in a very difficult neighborhood. For most of the last 30 years, almost every country on Turkey's borders has been at war in one form or another. You have secessionist conflicts in Georgia and Armenia; you have the Iran-Iraq war, followed by the Gulf War, followed by the U.S. invasion of Iraq and then of course the current conflict in Syria. Farther afield you've had conflicts in Chechnya that produced refugees in Turkey; you had conflicts in the Balkans that produced refugees in Turkey. So while the Syrian refugee crisis is by far the largest of those, it's nothing new for Turkey.

INSKEEP: So we're standing in Turkey - you're standing on a map of Turkey - we've been looking south. What happens if you turn around and you're looking north and northwest across the Bosporus to the scrap of Turkey that's actually part of Europe? What do Turks see when they look in that direction right now?

KING: This was the real heartland of the Ottoman Empire. We think of the Ottomans as having been a Middle Eastern power, but they thought of themselves as a European power
.

INSKEEP: Istanbul is in Europe, we should note...

KING: And Istanbul is of course half in Europe, half in Asia. It takes a bridge or a boat ride or now a subway ride to get from one continent to the next. So Turks look at Europe not as something they want to join, but something that they were in fact once a part of.

INSKEEP: I suppose if you're an American policymaker, you want to cut through this and ask a bottom-line question - is Recep Erdogan going to help with this problem with ISIS or not?

KING: I think if the idea is that the Turks will send troops across the border on their own and somehow solve the problem, the answer is probably going to be no.

INSKEEP: Permanently no, you think?

KING: Permanently no. And so long as the NATO allies themselves are not committed to overthrowing Assad, changing the dynamic in Syria - why put a Band-Aid on the problem by simply attacking ISIS? Erdogan wants to hold out until there is much bigger commitment to changing the politics of Syria.

INSKEEP: So Erdogan is holding out for more Western help in that regard?

KING: That's right, some kind of buffer zone along the Turkish border that would be a permanently enforced no-fly zone, perhaps even some commitment to Western troops on the ground if Turkey is going to commit troops on the ground. So there's a kind of diplomatic game that's going on between Ankara and Washington and London and so on as well.

INSKEEP: Now, this is very interesting because the United States has a president who very much wants to make sure that allies are brought along and that people in the region that the U.S. is dealing with carry their weight. And you're saying here is a very significant player in that region waiting for the United States to carry its weight.

KING: That's right. I think waiting to see what the United States will do and again having different perceptions about the immediate threat of ISIS. I think everyone can agree that the actions in Syria have been barbaric from the Turkish perspective; however, this is only one of a number of issues that they're trying to weigh out.

INSKEEP: Charles King, thanks very much.

KING: Thank you.

INSKEEP: He's author of "Midnight At The Pera Palace: The Birth Of Modern Istanbul."



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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby brihaspati » 16 Oct 2014 08:09

Miss the folks who mocked me for projecting Turks as having slowly shifted over to jihadi/Islamist trends, and it pro-jihadi role. Turkey will descend into civil war if ISIS isnt stopped from reaching the border.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby shiv » 16 Oct 2014 09:01

Essential background information on Turkey
Rudradev wrote:Turkey, meanwhile, is the pakistan of Europe. Mirror image of Bakistan w.r.t. India.

1) Both represent themselves in international circles with Ingliss spikking suited-booted RAPE types who are rabid Islamists under the Armani wearing, single-malt-swilling personas. Both have two-faced “civilian politicians” who likewise pretend to be modern, reasonable leaders but are in fact frothing ghazis.

2) Both harbor grandiose delusions about having inherited the legacy of bissful, world-conquering, kufr-killing empires. The strategic design of both nations is to achieve Caliphate supremacy by empowering ghazi Islamist ideology with the tools of modern technology and the efficiency of modern systems.

3) Both are states where the army as an institution has (a) a lot of political power; (b) a superficial appearance of "modern, secular western outlook" bequeathed by the loins of Western military tradition that supposedly spawned them; (c) a deep-seated commitment to rancid Jihadi bigotry within.

4) Both have pathological complexes of feeling simultaneously superior and inferior to their neighbours. The Turks want desperately to be recognized as legitimately European, admitted into the EU, etc... but still consider themselves culturally superior to EU, and see themselves as descendants of the bissful conquerors of much of kufr Europe. Exactly the same sentiment as Bakis with respect to "South Asia" (a word they invented because they can't even bear to acknowledge that it is India they want acceptance from).

5) Both are key "al-lies" of the West against "terrorism"... Turkey a NATO al-lie, Bakistan a major non-NATO al-lie. Both have enlisted in the "war on terror" as a means to fulfilling their own pro-Islamist and pro-terrorist agendas. Bakistan gives safe haven to Taliban and Al Qaeda, Turkey winks at the oil-supply lifelines which are critical to the survival and enrichment of ISIS.

6) Both use their double-dealing "war on terror" roles as an opportunity to demand that their own interests be served at the expense of everyone else's. Turkey will not fight ISIS or Al-Nusra in Syria unless US also agrees to regime-change Assad. Pakistan will not do anything about the Taliban unless the US gives them Cashmere.

7) Both use their al-lie status as an excuse to perpetrate horrific war crimes against disenfranchised peoples whom they control only by imperial brute force. The Bakistanis can commit genocide in Baluchistan, the Turks in Kurdistan, without fear of international censure because they are key anti-terror al-lies.

8 ) Both Turkey and Bakistan have their economies fed and their military machines nurtured by US largesse. Meanwhile. the groups who REALLY did the fighting on the US' behalf while the Turkish and Baki armies sat on their asses are the ones who are left out in the cold, having received none of what they were promised. No homeland, no civilized nation to call their own, no resources, no protection. I refer to the Kurds in Iraq, and to the original anti-Soviet mujahedin resistance (Ahmad Shah Massood, Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, Burhanuddin Rabbani) in Afghanistan.

In each case, the fat-cat "al-lies" were given carte blanche by the US to undermine and destroy these groups who had done the real fighting. The Bakis did so via the Taliban. Currently, the Turks are doing so via ISIS.

Hence, Turkey is the Bakistan of Europe. Q.E.D.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Shreeman » 16 Oct 2014 09:22

brihaspati wrote:Miss the folks who mocked me for projecting Turks as having slowly shifted over to jihadi/Islamist trends, and it pro-jihadi role. Turkey will descend into civil war if ISIS isnt stopped from reaching the border.


I have no business meddling with people who actually know things, but with due respect, there is no scope for a civil war in turkey. The kurds are not capable and everyone else is neutered. Turks themselves openly admit this when lamenting the destruction of their civil society under erdogan.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby member_23692 » 16 Oct 2014 09:43

Turkey is another Pakistan plain and simple. Only difference is that while the unraveling of Pakistan as a civilized nation started even before its formation in the early 20th century with the initial calls for formation of Pakistan, Turkey's unraveling of a half-way civilized nation built by Ataturk started only about ten years or so ago, when the Islamists first came to power and started the process of neutering the Turkish armed forces, a process which by the way, is now complete. And the other minor difference is that while it is the Army in Pak which is a huge uncivilzing force, it is the politicians in Turkey and not the army, which is a great uncivilizing force there. But that is a small detail and a surface detail at that. In both cases, if you really go deep, it is clear that it is the general populations of Pakistan and Turkey, 99.9% Islamist of the worst variety, that drives the great march towards "uncivilization".

But let us not, actually, never make the mistake of conflating a march towards "uncivilization", with a march towards weakness, as measured in terms of brute strength. There is nothing to say that an uncivilized person or a society cannot be enormously powerful, as measured in brute force. In fact, it is generally true, that "uncivilzation" conflates with tremendous brutality. Therefore, as these two soul brothers, Pakistan and Turkey, march boldly towards becoming uncivilized people and nations, they make it much much more dangerous for us Hindus, as a civilized people, and we will do well to realize this increased danger early and prepare ourselves for this brutal onslaught, rather than staying complacent (a mistake we have committed often) and think that as far as Turkey goes, "Dilli abhi door hai". Dilli may be "door" for the Turks, but they have ready access to Islamabad, in order to assist their junior partner wholeheartedly in creating trouble for India.

Therefore, starting this thread now is very timely and very welcome, particularly in view of the fact that with Kobani now Turkey has completely come out now and exposed itself as being in the same corner as ISIS, their other soul brother.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Ardeshir » 16 Oct 2014 11:11

I just got back from Istanbul.
Almost no one speaks of the ISIS there, except for the odd Syrian guy you meet who is part of the Anyone But Assad squad.
Erdogan seemed extremely unpopular, both with the educated elite as well the Fenehrbace thugs (Taxi Drivers).

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vijaykarthik » 16 Oct 2014 15:38

Nice spanking new thread. Guess we need one for Bulgaria, Belarus, Albania and the rest too or will that be covered in the E Europe / Ukraine thread?

Just like Turkey is the ring master and the most important entity that matters in ISIS, per me [as with anyone else that I read / interact with in media] Bulgaria and the rest I have mentioned matter for the other side of the US / Russia fiasco news.

With turkey bombing the PKK wings [admittedly, PKK did bomb the IS regions in Kobane from Turkey border posts], things have become pretty serious. What will Ocalan do now that this event has happened? I think there is going to be a nice hot time in Turkey for a while.

In the meanwhile, Lebanon is getting readied near the Bekaa valley for more 'action' pre& during winter. Mmh.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2014 19:21

Albania might get dragged here but rest can be dealt with in Eastern Europe/Ukraine thread as the geopolitical dynamics are different.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby RajeshA » 17 Oct 2014 11:59

Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia all have some Eastern Europe Muslim DNA.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vijaykarthik » 20 Nov 2014 09:26

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30111043#

Turkey and how its isolated.

But I cant still understand how arming Kurds and allowing them to get an independent state works wonders though. I see a lot of people here talking about it. But not absolutely convinced.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Tuvaluan » 20 Nov 2014 10:29

Turkey is not isolated -- Saudi Arabia has given up its desire to remain in the islamist wahabbi limelight -- they want to fund wahabbism worldwide as they always have, but they would rather have Qatar and Turkey in the spotlight to provide the face for global islamism. Qatar is being heavily patronized by the US with its top private universities like CMU and MIT having a branch in Qatar to provide the knowledge base. Turkey is closer to KSA than Qatar and there are a lot of saudis who have pumped in their considerable economic assets into Turkey real estate and the turkish economy.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vijaykarthik » 20 Nov 2014 11:42

Turkey is close with KSA? Atleast not currently. They are at different ends of the spectrum lately. Egypt, KSA, UAE, Bahrain vs Turkey, Qatar. At least geo-strategically and geo-pol.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Tuvaluan » 21 Nov 2014 00:52

"Turkey is close with KSA? Atleast not currently. They are at different ends of the spectrum lately."

Ends of what spectrum? Saudis are investing and increasing people to people contacts at the ground level and investing in turkish real estate.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vishvak » 21 Nov 2014 01:15

Turkey already is about 10% Arap who are using Turkey as gate to Europe.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vijaykarthik » 21 Nov 2014 08:35

^^ that's why I said geo-pol and geo-strategically. I did say that. How / why does people to people contacts matter when the fundamental aims of the 2 countries are different?

Investing in real estate can be done by any person to make more money. doesn't necessarily mean they are promoting Turkeys political policies and aims, surely?

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Samudragupta » 26 Nov 2014 22:39

A turkish Perspective

[youtube]watch?v=ac1WWArcKVo[/youtube]

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Samudragupta » 03 Dec 2014 08:32

http://thediplomat.com/2014/11/turkey-i ... etherness/

In the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Turkey was one of the first states to initiate wide-ranging cooperation with the Central Asian states. Despite setbacks in promoting a Turkic Union in the region, Turkish soft power over the years has achieved a moderate level of success, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In a 2012 interview with an Egyptian outlet, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that Turkey’s primary objectives toward Central Asian countries have been concentrated on supporting “the efforts for a working democracy and free-market economy; political and economic reform process; political and economic stability and prosperity in the region; to contribute to the emergence of an environment conducive to regional cooperation; to support their vocation toward Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to assist them to benefit from their own energy resources.”

Turkish government-funded schools in the former Soviet republics have become popular choices among prospective students. In addition to cultural links, energy security remains one of the top priorities for Ankara’s strategy in Central Asia. But while Russia’s gas politics are pressing both Turkey and EU to diversify their imports – even more so after the Kremlin’s drive to confront the West in Ukraine – neither Turkey nor the EU can push forward with energy supply routes in Central Asia without resolving the interstate dispute over the status of the Caspian basin. This remains all the less likely after Russian adventurism in Ukraine.

Even before the crisis in Ukraine, Turkey’s influence in the Turkic republics was debatable, with uneven levels of success in each state. Ankara’s ties have been observably progressing in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while Uzbekistan and Tajikistan seem less responsive to Turkey’s initiatives – though Tajikistan, as a non-Turkic nation, lacks the prior links of other Central Asian nations. The shaky Uzbek-Turkish relations took a dramatic turn after the Andijan massacre in 2005, which has provoked an international outcry. The Turkish government backed the UN resolution condemning Uzbekistan’s human rights record over mass killings, resulting in a significant downturn in relations between Ankara and Tashkent. After almost a decade-long chill, Turkey’s diplomatic effort to reignite relations with Uzbekistan was rewarded in July when Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu visited Tashkent to jump-start relations. In Tajikistan, meanwhile, Ankara’s presence in the country remains largely limited. Generally, Tajikistan is tied to the AKP’s strategy regarding Turkey’s assisting role with facilitating peace and stability in neighboring Afghanistan, which has been reflected in providing development aid to the Tajik government.

Despite Turkey’s ill-matched political and economic capabilities – and as opposed to Beijing’s massive spending spree on the regional gas pipelines and infrastructure projects, or the Kremlin’s coercive actions in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – Turkish policymakers appear to maintain a low profile that is consistent with a strategy of non-interference. Turkey had high hopes of integrating the Turkic republics into Western-oriented political-economic structures in the 1990s, but due to host of complex issues with Central Asian post-Soviet regimes, Ankara abandoned the idea of promoting democratic reforms over a focus on regional security. Turkey’s political-economic power and military capabilities are not projected to support Central Asian republics as client-states – and will like continue that way, especially after China’s Silk Road initiatives and Russia’s revanchism in the former territories.

But relations haven’t been entirely without success, and could continue in some fashion moving forward. A growing economic and domestic political shift toward the Justice and Development Party (AKP in Turkish) paved the way for Turkey’s proactive foreign policy over the past decade. Turkish foreign aid to 121 countries skyrocketed from $85 million to $3.4 billion over the same period. The emergence of the AKP party has brought a pragmatic re-assessment of the Ankara’s strategy in Central Asia as well. In 2009, Turkey was a robust force behind the creation of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, an organization mainly designed to promote trade and investment among member states. And increasingly Turkish businesses have used this model of cooperation to promote Turkey to outside investors as a gateway to energy-rich, undeveloped Central Asian republics.

On the security front, hundreds of military personnel from Central Asian republics have been trained in Turkey through bilateral defense programs. The significance of Central Asia’s strategic geography is one of the main priorities for Turkish policymakers in Ankara, and has spurred their decision to support security education within both the police and military, including cooperation on military modernization with Kazakhstan, funding universities both in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and a continued military presence in Afghanistan. A military agreement worth $44 million signed between leading Turkish defense company (ASELSAN) and its Kazakh partner (Kazakhstan Engineering) in 2012 resulted in the launch of the joint Turkish-Kazakh defense manufacturing in 2013. Turkey also provided $13 million in military aid to a struggling Kyrgyzstan.

Turkey does not necessarily need to approach the region in isolation. In light of the geopolitical developments in Ukraine and dramatic slowdown of the Russian economy, Turkey’s balancing act in Central Asia can actually be beneficial for Moscow, which could find another partner in helping to stem some of China’s swelling influence in the region. Now that the Americans have all but departed from the region, Russia’s remains the only viable military hardware in Central Asia. But despite the possibilities of cooperation, Russia is unlikely to look to Ankara for aid – both due to a distrust of interacting with a NATO country, as well as general distaste of working with any third-party actors in what it perceives to be its backyard.

Still, even though progress can be seen in certain avenues, Turkish-Central Asian relations fall far short of their original promise. The relationship “is not really practical,” says Bakyt Beshimov, a former Kyrgyz politician and analyst of Turkish-Central Asian relations. “There’s been a weakness of Turkey in strengthening its influence in Central Asia, compared to big players,” he added. Unfortunately for Turkey, the state of current relations with the former Soviet Turkic republics pales in import to Russia’s military outreach or, especially, China’s financial presence. And according to Beshimov, this reality will not change any time soon. ”It’s about the past, not about the future,” he said. “[The relationship is] just very symbolic. It seems to me a mystification of the so-called Turkic togetherness. Even in the past, Turkic nations were happily fighting with each other.”

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Cosmo_R » 06 Dec 2014 21:39

In the context of the IN's purchase of S-70 Sikorsky Sea Hawks, I stumbled across the fact that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was also now a manufacturer. Looking at what all TAI does and has done, I start to get depressed at how much time and money we've wasted.

Look at their product set especially the new basic trainer Hurkus. https://www.tai.com.tr/en/project/hurkus

This dysfunctional relationship between the Services, HAL and MoD has to be fixed. This troika relationship will keep us 20 years behind everyone else.

https://www.tai.com.tr/en/about-us/company-profile

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vishvak » 26 Dec 2014 00:03

Students attacked and arrested after a demonstration in Turkey.
link1 , link2 .

This after Turkey recently arrested dozens of journalists.
link .

Turkey, for the record, is a member of NATO and European Human Rights orgs not able to straighten this out for a while now.

No Iraqi flag while meeting an Iraqi representative! link .

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby member_28911 » 26 Dec 2014 00:20

Cosmo_R wrote:In the context of the IN's purchase of S-70 Sikorsky Sea Hawks, I stumbled across the fact that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was also now a manufacturer. Looking at what all TAI does and has done, I start to get depressed at how much time and money we've wasted.

Look at their product set especially the new basic trainer Hurkus. https://www.tai.com.tr/en/project/hurkus

This dysfunctional relationship between the Services, HAL and MoD has to be fixed. This troika relationship will keep us 20 years behind everyone else.

https://www.tai.com.tr/en/about-us/company-profile


What TAI has done which HAL hasn't? Also can you please tell us all here how much money have been wasted and on what projects?
Here is what HAL has done:
(in house developed)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Aeronautics_Limited#In-house_developed_products
(licensed produced)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Aeronautics_Limited#Licenced_production

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Cosmo_R » 26 Dec 2014 06:29

Ankar wrote:
Cosmo_R wrote:In the context of the IN's purchase of S-70 Sikorsky Sea Hawks, I stumbled across the fact that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was also now a manufacturer. Looking at what all TAI does and has done, I start to get depressed at how much time and money we've wasted.

Look at their product set especially the new basic trainer Hurkus. https://www.tai.com.tr/en/project/hurkus

This dysfunctional relationship between the Services, HAL and MoD has to be fixed. This troika relationship will keep us 20 years behind everyone else.

https://www.tai.com.tr/en/about-us/company-profile


What TAI has done which HAL hasn't? Also can you please tell us all here how much money have been wasted and on what projects?
Here is what HAL has done:
(in house developed)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Aeronautics_Limited#In-house_developed_products
(licensed produced)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Aeronautics_Limited#Licenced_production


TAI assembles F-16s and is a partner in f-35 production and will service them.

For all the things TAI has done and HAL has not done here's a website for you to peruse. Tell me in your own words how HAL compares

https://www.tai.com.tr/en

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby member_28911 » 26 Dec 2014 16:41

Cosmo_R wrote:TAI assembles F-16s and is a partner in f-35 production and will service them.

For all the things TAI has done and HAL has not done here's a website for you to peruse. Tell me in your own words how HAL compares

https://www.tai.com.tr/en


I still don't get what you're trying to say.
Helicopter: There's no comparison. HAL has Dhruv, LCH and LUH (in near future); TAI has glorified/customized AW129.
Engine: Sukhoi, MiG engines roar desi way at HAL Koraput
Indigenous Aircraft (Trainer): HAL - HT-2, HPT-32, HJT-16, HJT-36 and in future HTT-40 (hopefully); TAI - HÜRKUŞ-B (this version is yet to make first flight ...also no estimated date for IOC and FOC?).
Indigenous Aircraft (Fighter Jet): Airforce LCA, Naval-LCA and Airforce LCA Trainer. HAL will also MLU M2k and Mig-29.
Licensed produced Aircraft: HAL - Su-30MKI, Jaguar, Dornier-228, etc., etc.,; TAI - F-16

More here: http://www.hal-india.com/Products/M__54
HAL is really underappreciate for all the work they do :|

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby vishvak » 26 Dec 2014 20:13

Not to mention, even Greece will buy F-35 if it comes to that. Will that make Greece, an economic basket case, a super power quickly?

Hellenic Air Force aircraft list

By the way, Greece and Trukey are not supporting each other's air force industries. In fact, Air Force of Greece is oriented entirely against Turkey Air Force and the Americans will sell either of them.

So any air force that is part of F-35 project has to be a direct competition to HAL now, is it?

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby pankajs » 07 Jan 2015 12:40

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/ ... EZ20150107

Turkish leftist group claims responsibility for attack on Istanbul police
(Reuters) - The Turkish far-left group DHKP-C has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack at a police station in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district on Tuesday that killed one officer and wounded another.

A female suicide bomber entered the police station saying in English that she had lost her purse before blowing herself up inside the three-storey building, across the square from the Aya Sofya museum and the Blue Mosque, which are among the main sites for millions of visitors to Istanbul each year.

In a statement posted on "The People's Cry" website hours after the attack, the group said the bombing was against the ruling AK Party over the killing of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died in March last year after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained during an anti-government protest.

"It is the same state which shot Berkin Elvan and which protects the thief ministers," the statement said, in an apparent reference to a Monday ruling of a parliamentary commission not to commit four ex-ministers to a higher court over graft allegations.

Turkey's Dec.17 graft probe swirled around the inner circle of then-prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and led to the resignation of the ministers of economy, interior and urbanization.

The commission, dominated by members of the ruling AK Party, voted on Monday not to send the four ex-ministers for trial, a decision that the opposition decried as a cover-up of one of Turkey's biggest ever corruption scandals.

DHKP-C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front) also claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on police near the Turkish prime minister's office in Istanbul last week.

The group, which had since then pledged further attacks, was also behind a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy last year as well as attacks on police stations.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby panduranghari » 08 Jan 2015 15:14

The worst still ahead for Turkey's bubble economy

Like many other emerging nations, Turkey’s economic boom since the financial crisis has been heavily predicated upon a combination of foreign “hot money” inflows, ultra-low interest rates across the yield curve, rapid credit growth, and soaring asset prices.

Turkey’s idiosyncratic monetary policy of the past half-decade was responsible for these unusually low interest rates: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, believes that a zero real interest rate policy is the best practical implementation of sharia law’s ban on usury, or lending for interest, for modern Islamic societies.


Even more worrisome is the fact that U.S. $129.1 billion, or just over a third, of Turkey’s external debt is short-term debt that will come due in the next year, exceeds 100 percent of its currency reserves, making it one of the highest risk emerging economies based on this metric


Turkey’s consumption boom has been abetted by a savings rate that has fallen to its lowest level in at least three decades, which places Turkey dead last among fourteen other developing countries for this metric.


Turkey’s property bubble was driven by mortgage interest rates that have plunged from nearly 50 percent in 2002 to under 10 percent in 2013, which led to a more than sixfold increase in the country’s total outstanding mortgage loans since 2005:


Turkey’s skyscraper mania is funded in large part by the risky short-term U.S. dollar-denominated loans. Shopping mall development is another important facet of Turkey’s construction bubble: Turkey had only 46 malls in 2000, but now has over 300, and there are plans to build at least 300 more in the next decade.


A third airport in Istanbul that is expected to be one of the world’s largest when it opens in 2019. Costing an estimated $29 billion, this is currently Turkey’s most expensive mega project
A 26-mile shipping canal to link the Marmara and the Black Sea, which is expected to cost $15 billion
A 24-tower public-private real estate development that will contain approximately 5,000 luxury apartments, at a cost of $8.4 billion
A $5 billion rail tunnel that will run under the Bosporus
A third bridge across the Bosporus that will cost $4.4 billion
A $2.6 billion financial center complex for the central bank, financial regulators, and private financial firms
A $2.5 billion luxury high-rise that includes a hotel, a new mall, office space, and a spacious performing arts center
A large new tunnel under the Bosporus that will cost $1.4 billion
A $1.35 billion development with two marinas, two five-star hotels, a massive mall, and a 1,000-capacity mosque
A $700 million ship port, along with luxury hotels and offices
A $180 million luxury hotel and office skyscraper called the Diamond of Istanbul that will replace the Istanbul Sapphire as Turkey’s tallest building when completed
Public construction projects are the primary reason why Turkey’s government spending has increased by nearly two-thirds in the past decade


Though traditionally an emerging market, Turkey’s frothy economic boom has recently led to its reclassification as a newly industrialized country by economists and is considered to be a developed country by the CIA.


to shore up Turkey’s currency after its sharp decline, Prime Minister Erdoğan was finally forced to give in to the demands of a group of Turkish leaders that he called the “interest rate lobby” that he had long battled against due to their calls for higher interest rates. On January 28th 2014, Turkish Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci – a member of the so-called “interest rate lobby” – surprised the world when he ordered dramatic hikes of the overnight lending rate from 7.75 to 12.5 percent, the overnight borrowing rate from 3.5 percent to 8 percent, and the benchmark one-week repurchase rate from 4.5 percent to 10 percent:


Here is what to expect when Turkey’s economic bubble truly pops:

The country’s runaway credit boom will turn into a bust
Countless construction and property development projects will turn sour
Many banks and property developers will go under
Many corporations that have large foreign currency debts will default
Over-leveraged consumers will default on their debts
Economic growth will go into reverse
Unemployment will surge
Government and corporate debt downgrades by rating agencies
Property, the lira currency, stock, and bond prices will fall significantly, leading to higher interest rates
Political backlash against the current leaders and more public protests

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Ravi Karumanchiri » 09 Jan 2015 22:49

I seem to remember an instance a few years ago; wherein some tidbit of Indian military intel came to be known by Israelis, who essentially bragged as much to their then-friends in Turkey (who promply passed it along to the Pakistanis).

Can we collect those hyperlinks here? Surely, this instance is a relevant data point for this thread.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Manny » 10 Jan 2015 04:42

Having lived in Turkey for over 4 years and speaking the language and having understood the people and culture and still having many friends there I am confident that Turkey will not go the ISIS way

The Erdogan phenomena was long time coming since the liberal left not unlike in India went too far. When a woman cannot even wear a scarf when she goes to college, or every day the main Turkish newspaper has naked women with big boobs like the London tabloids :rotfl: (the kind of stuff you can't get away in the US) , there is bound to be backlash. Erdogan came to power the way Modi has come to power in India. And when Erdogan as a PM or during his regime, the economy of Turkey flourished.. Inflation in Turkey used to be like 80% for over 20 years..imagine a Fixed Deposit in the bank gets you 80% return... LOL and the Lira was in shambles... Today its pretty stable and the economy is solid.

Although all my liberal friends bitch and moan about Erdogan, Turkey has been a success during his time... And compared to Greece at the same time with its socialism has bombed.

IMO, Turkey would reach a good balance and become a healtyh country without the leftists again taking it over... and no The Islamist don't stand a chance in Turkey. But I am sure they would try.

A lesson for the left in Turkey and elsewhere.. don't assume there is no liberal left tyranny. The left is as much responsible for empowering the far right.

JMO

Erdogan slams newspapers for publishing pictures of "naked women" photos

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/8224145.asp?gid=74&

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan rejected criticism from the secular establishment and media that women who did not cover their hair might come under pressure to do so after parliament voted Saturday to lift a decades-old ban on wearing head scarves on campus. "You are the ones who print pictures of totally naked women in newspapers against this societys moral values. Have we interfered with that?" he said.


Erdogan said secular women will remain free to dress in the way they like. "We guarantee their lifestyle," he said.


President Abdullah Gul, an observant Muslim, must still sign off the law lifting the campus head scarf ban, which he is expected to do within two weeks.


Erdogans government says the measure is aimed at expanding democracy and freedoms as part of Turkeys EU membership bid. But secularists are suspicious about the real agenda of Erdogan, who tried to criminalize adultery before being forced by the European Union to step back.


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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby chanakyaa » 14 Jan 2015 16:32


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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby deejay » 14 Jan 2015 17:10

^^^ More evidence of Turkey going the Baki way.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby UlanBatori » 14 Jan 2015 18:20

Some random observations:
1. Mushy claimed to be "AttaTurk -II". Now Erdogan seems to be "Musharraf II". Fomenting terrorism underneath, claiming to be civilized on the surface. Fooling only the American State Dept. Making baksheesh off American weapons sales as well.
2. Turkey has been going all-out in recent years projecting itself as the Conference Capital of the Duniya for technical conferences. That was b4 the ISIS came to the forefront.
3. Traditionally, Greece (at least under its military junta) used to be Turkey's enemy, esp. on Cyprus. What does the economic collapse of Greece do to the balance of power/ balance of hate there?
4. Rudradev's analogy is on the dot. So could one project that Turkey will go the way of Pakistan, as the just rewards for their efforts in building up the ISIS/Daeish come to roost? Vacuum implosions in Ankara?
5. Pesky journalists out in the rural area of Turkey have been getting "Daniel-Pearled" for some time now, while Ankara maintains a cosmopolitan aura. Like LaHore and Karachi. Wonder how long the street fighting can be held off.
6. Lebanon is closer to Turkey than Pakistan is. Maybe the history of Beirut offers a more likely scenario?
7. Note that the Kurds are now getting advanced weapons......
8. Doesn't Armenia have a long history of love towards the Turks?
9. The past two flareups in Gaza have seen exchanges of pleasantries between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Wonder when this turns into F-16 vs. F-16.

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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby Samudragupta » 16 Jan 2015 09:59

On the international scene Turkey is playing a high stakes game, trying to transform itself into an international energy hub as vividly illustrated by the recent rapprochement between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Domestically however, the current government seems more concerned with the spiritual well-being of the people under its care and the spread of Islam in the nation.

Yet, in spite of the Turkish government's apparent interest in cultivating a pious and even virtuous image, in 2013 the country's ruling elite was rocked by a graft and corruption scandal commonly referred to as #AKPgate.The scandal, initiated by two waves of arrests on the 17 and 25 December 2013, brought the ongoing power-struggle between the government led by Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (or AKP) and the so-called Hizmet Movement out into the open. As a political party based on a firm foundation of Islam and free enterprise, the AKP had previously enjoyed the support of the social networks affiliated with the figure of Fethullah Gulen (known as the Hocaefendi or ‘Master-Lord’) and his arguably shadowy movement, now called Hizmet.

This cozy relationship secured wide popular backing for Erdogan and his cohorts. But following the corruption charges, Erdogan and his associates started claiming that Gulen's acolytes had formed a secretive "parallel structure" within Turkey's state apparatus with the intent of undermining its very structure and workings - a charge echoing accusations made in 2000. At that time, the public prosecutor Nuh Mete Yuksel charged Fethullah Gulen with having perpetrated "activities to set up an organization for the purpose of founding a state based upon religious rules.” Turkish society throughout the nineties was very much concerned with what could be termed "religious reaction,” as expressed in the now largely forgotten archaic Turkish term irtica. The prosecutor Yuksel then even referred to Gulen as "the leader of a secret organization,” an outfit that aimed to establish a “theocratic Islamic dictatorship” in Turkey.


Intra-Islamic rivalry inside a "secular" system

The current power-struggle between the AKP-led government and the Hizmet Movement, or to bring the tussle down to the personal level, between the president and the Master-Lord, seems like an aberration in a Turkish context - after all, Turkey throughout the 20th century had been dominated by the long shadow of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his far-reaching reform movements that transformed Turkey into a paragon of modernity in the Middle East and a beacon of 'democracy and secularism' in a sea of 'reactionary Islam' or backward Muslim dictatorships.The common consensus was that, in Turkey, the issue of religion (meaning Islam) had been relegated to the private sphere and that public life was dominated by the various right- and left-wing strands of political discourse well-known in moderate and less moderate societies elsewhere. Nevertheless, the issue of irtica or "religious reaction" was a highly charged, even emotive, topic throughout 20th century Turkey.

The Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 as the successor to the Ottoman Empire, the self-proclaimed leader of the (Sunni) Muslim world as the home of the Caliphate. In contrast, the Republican base was firmly entrenched in the ideology of nationalism, Turkish nationalism, and this philosophical framework largely replaced the religion of Islam as a source of communal identity for the ethnically rather mixed population groups of Anatolia.

But rather than being the outcome of an organic personal experience, the religious life of Turkey's people was in reality largely controlled by the state by means of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (or Diyanet, in Turkish). At the same time, however, the authorities actively promoted a permissive attitude towards Islamic restrictions and regulations (such as the prohibition of alcohol and the obligation of five daily prayers). And as a shorthand, people at home as well as abroad referred to this Kemalist project advocating a lenient state of affairs as constituting "Turkish Secularism" (called laiklik, in Turkish after the French laicité), as vividly illustrated by the much-respected BBC announcing in 2007 that the "modern Turkish state was established on strict secular principles.” And the Constitution stipulated that the Turkish Army was supposed to act as the ‘guardian of Turkey’s secularism’, hence the numerous military coups and interventions in post-war Turkey. A salient and fairly recent example of such military meddling was the so-called "Eighteen Recommendations" issued by the National Security Council (SNC) on 28 February 1997 (known in Turkish simply as 28 Şubat). This military intervention has been characterized as a Post-modern coup and led to the resignation of Turkey's first Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

In early January 1998, Turkey's constitutional court even banned Erbakan's Welfare Party (or RP, Refah Partisi in Turkish). Following this successful military intervention against Turkey's creeping Islamization, Turkey's Armed Forces next issued a so-called E-memorandum (in Turkish, e-muhtıra), published on the internet on 27 April 2007, in an effort to influence the election of Turkey's president. This last "virtual" military intervention contained the following declaration of intent: "It should not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces are a[n] . . . absolute defender of secularism . . . Those who are opposed to Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk . . . are enemies of the Republic of Turkey and will remain so.”


Islamic re-awakening, 1982-2014: Piety through education

In spite of the Turkish Army's above-cited readiness to defend Ataturk's legacy (or the Turkish status quo, if you will), I would argue that the military coup of 12 September 1980 in many ways laid the groundwork for a re-emergence of Islam in Turkey's public life and a concomitant growth in displays of piety in the wider nation and its leadership.

As I wrote earlier: the 12 September coup leaders introduced "a new constitution in 1982 and in the present context, this legal document's 24th article appears particularly poignant. The article starts off with the phrase, “Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religious belief and conviction,” but then also contains this section: “Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under state supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral education shall be compulsory in the curricula of primary and secondary schools", and "it would [thus] appear that the military coup's indirect outcome was to challenge the very doctrine that General Evren and his henchmen set out to defend. In 1994, 12 years after the new constitution was introduced, Necmettin Erbakan's pro-Islamic Welfare Party came to national prominence and… today's AKP under Recep Tayyip Erdogan is but the apparent heir to the long-since-banned RP.”

In other words, I would argue that, in an effort to placate the wider population (or pacify the masses) and stem the rise of political violence that in the course of the 1970's had reached near-civil war proportions, the Turkish Armed Forces let the genie out of the bottle. It might even seem possible that in the then-current Cold War context, the Turkish Army acted in accordance with Zbigniew Brzezinski's scheme of utilizing Islam as a weapon against Communism. The above-quoted relatively recent military interventions - the 1997 28 Subat and the 2007 e-muhtıra - were belated attempts to reverse this trend, but by then the momentum had become irreversible and the current AKP-led government is now busy putting the Islamic cherry on top of the proverbial Turkish cake.

As persuasively illustrated by the 1982 Constitution, the best way to influence the future behavior of a population is through tampering with the education system. In December 2013, the 19th National Education Council (or Sura) took place in the coastal city of Antalya and during that meeting a momentous 179 "recommendatory decisions" were taken.

Those included the introduction of religious courses into the curriculum of primary schools. Whereas, middle school pupils undergoing training to memorize the Quran (known as hafızlık in Turkish) would be able to leave school for the duration of two years but will still be allowed to sit exams. At the same time religious instruction in high schools will be doubled, while the teaching of the history of Turkey's reforms and the principles of Kemalism in middle and high schools will be subjected to a critical revision more in line with a contemporary understanding and current needs. But the most spectacular "recommendation" or decision was arguably to turn the instruction of the Ottoman language (Osmanlıca, in Turkish) into a compulsory course for vocational religious high schools as well as social science high schools.


Turks turning Ottoman: 1994-2014

These "recommendations" will undoubtedly leave their mark on the children that will be attending school in the coming years. These pupils will learn about religion (Islam) all throughout their school-going years, which will arguably mean that they will become well-versed in Islamic doctrines, beliefs, and practices later on in life. But the fact that the instruction of the early history of the Republic of Turkey and the principles of its founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, will be reinterpreted and adapted to contemporary conditions probably means that the emphasis will now be laid on continuity rather than change - the continuity between the Ottoman period and the current Republican age.

Whereas traditionally, history education in Turkey was primarily aimed at highlighting the novel and progressive aspects of the Republic of Turkey, much to the detriment of the preceding Ottoman period, generally portrayed as a backward time when the people at large had been subject to the regressive influence of Islam and the arbitrary rule of despotic sultans. In reality though, over the past two decades (particularly following the RP's meteoric emergence in 1994), public opinion in Turkey has very much re-appropriated the Ottoman past. While the teaching of the history of Turkey's reforms and the principles of Kemalism was but an arguably somewhat outdated educational tradition symbolizing the continued westward orientation of the nation and its leadership. On the other hand, the introduction of classes in the Ottoman language seems like heavy-handed attempt to re-orient Turkey's population to its religious roots, but not necessarily to its past.


The introduction of the new Turkish Latin alphabet in November 1928 ensured that Turks would more readily look towards Europe and the West than to their Arab and Muslim neighbors in the East. Throughout Turkey's Kemalist period (1923-2002), the terms Ottoman and Islam were used interchangeably, and in the current post-Kemalist era, ushered in by the AKP, this attitude has not changed. But instead of a negative stigma, the current political leadership of the country presents the Ottomans' adherence to Islam as a positive trait meant to transform the Muslim creed into an even more attractive proposition for Turkey's wider population, arguably alienated from their pious roots by means of years of Kemalist indoctrination and a permissive attitude towards Islamic restrictions and regulations. As a result, it seems to me that these classes in the Ottoman language are more like a backdoor to learning the Arabic alphabet, which is a prerequisite for reading the Quran.

Rather than training pupils in learning a dead language comprised of three separate tongues (Turkish, Arabic, and Farsi) and ill-suited to the quick pace of modern life, these classes will guarantee that every pupil (and subsequent adult incarnation) will in future be able to go to the Holy Book and read its hallowed lines for him- or herself. And the end result of this exercise in educational engineering (for want of a better term) will arguably be that future citizens of the Republic of Turkey will identify themselves primary as Muslims (or Neo- or Pseudo-Ottomans, if you will) rather than Turks.

The Ministry of Education has sent 39-page fascicles to the Governors’ Offices in all 81 provinces across the country, containing an outline of a new moral education program to be taught in schools nationwide. The Turkish daily Milliyet reported that these documents contain such pious phrases like "death is a blessing according to our faith. It means salvations from the heavy burden of living," and that “patience protects moral chastity,” lines clearly meant to inculcate deep Muslim feelings of predestination and resignation into the hearts and minds of Turkey's malleable pupils.


Back to the future: Turkey 2023

"opponents of Erdogan and the AKP now fear that the government’s long-term goal (as arguably expressed in the AKP’s policy statement Hedef 2023) is to transform the nation state Turkey into an Anatolian federation of Muslim ethnicities, possibly linked to a revived caliphate. In this way, Turkey’s future (as a nation state) would arguably become subject to Anatolia’s past as a home to many different Muslims of divergent ethnic background. The fact that Erdogan’s oft-repeated reference point is the first assembly of what was to become Turkey’s parliament on 23 April, 1920, seems to render strength to such contentions. The first assembly consisted of representatives of Anatolia’s Muslim population, the then-Kemalist constituency, who had pledged allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan-Caliph, Mehmed VI – two years later, the transformation of Anatolia’s Muslims into Anatolian Turks begun in earnest.”

And now in 2015, the de-construction of the Anatolian Turks into Anatolia’s Muslims of different ethnic strip united under a Muslim and/or possible Neo- or Pseudo-Ottoman banner seems to have been put into motion by the President and his AKP state apparatus, and particularly, the Ministry of Education. The New Turkey now being built is clearly no longer looking towards Europe and the West, as vividly illustrated in last year's final SNC chaired by the ‘Prez’ Erdogan in his new White Palace, with the assembled military dignitaries sitting in a room where the traditional portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is only prominent by its absence.


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Re: Monitoring Turkey

Postby member_28911 » 17 Jan 2015 12:44

Turkish military says MIT shipped weapons to al-Qaeda

Secret official documents about the searching of three trucks belonging to Turkey's national intelligence service (MIT) have been leaked online, once again corroborating suspicions that Ankara has not been playing a clean game in Syria. According to the authenticated documents, the trucks were found to be transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition. The Gendarmerie General Command, which authored the reports, alleged, "The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization.” But Turkish readers could not see the documents in the news bulletins and newspapers that shared them, because the government immediately obtained a court injunction banning all reporting about the affair.


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