“In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” ~ George Orwell.

“Old soldiers never die; they only fade away,” was a line made famous by the American general, Douglas MacArthur. Unfortunately, some old soldiers don’t fade away quickly enough.

Former general and national security advisor Brent Scowcroft is still around to take a check or two from the Turkish lobby in the US, as chairman of the American Turkish Council board of directors. He was in Turkey recently, ostensibly to check on the status of the Turkish business community, but he also visited with a few old friends of his, the Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and the army Chief of General Staff, Hilmi Ozkok. It would appear that Chairman Scowcroft had more to say about Kemalist issues than he did about business in this article from The New Anatolian.

I suspect Scowcroft really made the trip to reinforce the recent visits of CIA and FBI officials because he reiterates the purpose of those meetings in Ankara and the steps Turkey wants the US to take against PKK: assisting with the tracking and freezing of PKK financial assets and delivering the intelligence Ankara has been begging for, among other things. That information, plus Scowcroft’s comment that he isn’t at liberty to discuss anything in detail, should be more than enough circumstantial evidence to prove that he isn’t so concerned with the Turkish business community.

(As a point of clarification, let me say that whenever a Kemalist or their supporters, in this case, Scowcroft, speak of PKK, they mean “Kurds,” and when they speak of Kurds, they mean “PKK.” To them, all Kurds are terrorists. After all, Erdogan doesn’t have a Kurdish problem . . . he only has a “terrorist” problem and it is this “terrorist” problem that the US will help him solve.)

In fact, given that Turkey’s purchases of US weapon systems have dropped since AKP took power, and since Scowcroft laments the loss of coziness the Turkish and US military enjoyed for so long, we could say that here is another piece of circumstantial evidence that Scowcroft’s mission has little to do with business and everything to do with renewing an old romance. In other words, the US is looking for common objectives with Turkey.

Speaking of weapons, Scowcroft expresses his concern that the types of weapons that HPG uses in the “Southeast” against the TSK are the same kinds of weapons being used against American troops in Iraq. He makes no mention of the fact that the same weapons and weapons systems used by the American army in Iraq are the same ones the TSK has been using against the civilian Kurdish population of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan for many years.

He acknowledges an “upsurge” in HPG activity in the “Southeast,” after a relatively calm period–that would be the PKK-initiated unilateral ceasefire–but he fails to mention that the Ankara regime did nothing to improve the “Southeast” during that time. Related to the “upsurge” of “terrorist” activity in the “Southeast,” Scowcroft also fails to mention the Ankara regime’s terrorist activity that began in the region in the early 1920s.

Another indication of Scowcroft’s quasi-official visit (remember, he spoke with his old buddies, Gul and Ozkok) is the fact that he was against Operation Iraqi Freedom, just like his Turkish buddies were, but he’s now pressing the fact that the war is a done deal and everyone must move on and make the best of things. Scowcroft pleads that case that Turkey and the US must work together to see that the kind of Iraq that emerges is the kind of Iraq that Turkey and the US want. What will happen if the people of Iraq have a different vision of their own future? We’ll have to wait to see about that, since Scowcroft dodged the question about the Kurds in South Kurdistan.

After all this, it should come as no surprise that Scowcroft pushes the Kemalist party line on Armenians, Cyprus and GAP, and while the number of American students applying to study in Turkey has dropped 12% in the last year (a reaction to that rising anti-Americanism in Turkey?), Scowcroft believes the atmosphere in Turkey is perfect for American investors.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Ibrahim Parlak’s attorneys have filed their motion for stay of removal and the reply memorandum to the motion can be found here. It is short, as far as legal documents go, and is worth a read as a great summation of Ibrahim’s case. The point that the legal battle seems to boil down to is the following:

At its most fundamental level, Mr. Parlak’s petition presents the following question: can an immigrant like Mr. Parlak, who made forthright disclosures about his past association with the PKK on his asylum application in 1991 and was granted asylum with INS knowledge of these disclosures, be later deported under INA §237(a)(4)(B) on the basis of a retroactive recharacterization in 2004 of these 1980s events as “terrorist activity”?

Apparently, this issue has not been definitely decided by any US federal court, which, I believe, means that Ibrahim’s case may have the potential to set a legal precedent on the question of retroactive application of law. . . at least US immigration law. The interesting thing is that the US Circuit Courts of Appeal seem to be slamming the Board of Immigration Appeals, criticizing the Board for various incompetencies such as not being familiar with the basic information of petitioners’ cases, making factual conclusions that are completely unsupported by evidence, the use of disparagement and sarcasm by BIA judges toward petitioners or the display of hostility and extraordinary abuse toward petitioners. . . Some of the legal documents on FreeIbrahim are quite revealing about the way in which immigration issues are handled within the federal government. It is a great thing to have separate, federal courts to which one may appeal.

In addition, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) and Representative Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) have introduced a bill in both houses of Congress to obtain permanent residency for Ibrahim so that he cannot be deported.


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