Archive for January, 2009

THE NEOCONS AND FETHULLAH GÜLEN

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Turkey, a country of about 70 million Muslims, most of whom are religious, is ruled today by a conservative party with an Islamic pedigree and a humane, tolerant, and democratic track record.”
~ Thomas Patrick Carroll.

The neocons are upset with Turkey again and particularly with Fethullah Gülen’s AKP. This month’s edition of The Middle East Quarterly, a publication of the neoconservative Middle East Forum and whose editor is the extremely anti-Kurdish Michael Rubin–also of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)–has an article on Gülen that was most likely dictated by the paşas. The author is the director of the Turkish Media Project at MEMRI.

Here’s something on MEMRI from Sourcewatch:

According to its website, founded in February 1998 “to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. MEMRI’s headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem, where MEMRI also maintains its Media Center. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian.”

MEMRI’s stance is that it is opposed to Islamic fundamentalism, not Islam itself, although the integrity of this position may be questioned because of links on MEMRI’s website to certain evangelical Christian organizations who take a harder line on Islam. Yigal Carmon, MEMRI’s founder, is a former advisor on terrorism to the Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, so he actually worked for both Labor and Likud governments. Praise for MEMRI should be taken with a grain of salt since it is almost always motivated by politics, not the quantity or quality of MEMRI’s work.

MEMRI has gained currency with most pro-Israel writers, as well as right-wing publications. For example, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman, a influential foreign affairs columnist, has used MEMRI translations a number of times in his columns. MEMRI is cited in several publications, such as The Times, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, The Jerusalem Post, The National Review, The Toronto Sun, Wall Street Journal, Libertad, FrontPageMagazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Associated Press, etc.

Also, from Rightweb:

According to MEMRI—which maintains offices in Washington, Berlin, London, Tokyo, and Jerusalem—its main subjects of interest include jihad and terrorism, U.S. and Mideast politics, reform in the Arab and Muslim world, Arab-Israeli conflict, inter-Arab relations, economic studies, and Arab antisemitism. MEMRI’s slogan, “Bridging the Language Gap Between the Middle East and the West,” does not convey the institute’s stridently pro-Israel and anti-Arab political bias. MEMRI was previously more forthcoming about its political orientation in its self-description and in staff profiles on its website. But its website now offers no information about its staff, board of directors, or funding.

[ . . . ]

The background of MEMRI’s founders illuminates its political orientation. Yigal Carmon is a reserve colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), having served in the IDF/Intelligence Branch from 1968 to 1988. In that capacity, Carmon, who was born in Romania, was acting head of the civil administration in the West Bank from 1977 to 1982. He served as counterterrorism adviser to premiers Shamir and Menachem Begin from 1988 to 1993. In 1991 and 1992 Carmon was a senior member of the Israeli delegation to peace negotiations with Syria in Madrid and Washington.

Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born analyst of Mideast affairs, received her doctorate from George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she wrote on Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement. According to Arab Media Watch , Jabotinsky “brokered the marriage between Zionism and fascism.” Wurmser, who has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Naval Academy, is a central figure in the right-wing’s web of Middle East policy institutes, as is her husband, David Wurmser. According to the Hudson Institute, “Through her work at MEMRI [she] helped to educate policymakers about the Palestinian Authority two-track approach to ‘negotiating peace’ with Israel: calling for peace in the English press and with Western policymakers while inciting hatred and violence through official Arab language media.” Before joining the George W. Bush administration as a State Department policy adviser under John Bolton, her husband was an American Enterprise Institute scholar and associate of the Middle East Forum.

Just as during the last few years Michael Rubin has written paşa-inspired anti-AKP articles at The Middle East Forum and the AEI, so the current anti-Fethullahçı piece at The Middle East Forum is an interesting work of propaganda and, like all good propaganda, it uses truth to weave together a number of whoppers. For example, on the number of mosques and imams in Turkey:

Today, Turkey has over 85,000 active mosques, one for every 350 citizens—compared to one hospital for every 60,000 citizens—the highest number per capita in the world and, with 90,000 imams, more imams than doctors or teachers. It has thousands of madrasa-like Imam-Hatip schools and about four thousand more official state-run Qur’an courses, not counting the unofficial Qur’an schools, which may expand the total number tenfold.

On Fethullahçı education:

Nurettin Veren, Gülen’s right-hand man for thirty-five years, estimated that some 75 percent of Turkey’s two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions.[12] He controls thousands of top-tier secondary schools, colleges, and student dormitories throughout Turkey, as well as private universities, the largest being Fatih University in Istanbul. Outside Turkey, his movement runs hundreds of secondary schools and dozens of universities in 110 countries worldwide. Gülen’s aim is not altruistic: His followers target youth in the eighth through twelfth grades, mentor and indoctrinate them in the ışıkevi, educate them in the Fethullah schools, and prepare them for future careers in legal, political, and educational professions in order to create the ruling classes of the future Islamist, Turkish state. Taking their orders from Fethullah Gülen, wealthy followers continue to open schools and ışıkevi in what Sabah columnist Emre Aköz called “the education jihad.”[13]

The overt network of schools is only one part of a larger strategy. In a 2006 interview, Veren said, “These schools are like shop windows. Recruitment and Islamization activities are carried out through night classes … Children whom we educated in Turkey are now in the highest positions. There are governors, judges, military officers. There are ministers in the government. They consult Gülen before doing anything.”[14]

Just remember that whenever you think about the new Fethullahçı university that’s recently opened in Hewlêr and don’t be shocked when the next generation of Southern Kurdish leaders “consult Gülen before doing anything.”

On the Turkish police, no surprise here:

Fethullahists have also made inroads into Turkey’s 200,000-strong police force. Their infiltration has had a compounding effect, as Fethullahist officials have purged officials more loyal to the republic than the hocaefendi. According to Veren, “There are imam security directors; imams wearing police uniforms. Many police commissioners get their orders from imams.”[21] Adil Serdar Saçan, former director of the organized crimes unit within the Istanbul Directorate of Security, confirmed these statements in reports he prepared on the Fethullahist organization within the security apparatus. In a 2006 interview, he said . . . At present, over 80 percent of the officers at supervisory level in the general security organization are members of the [Gülen] cemaat.[22]

Now you know why the police were beating the shit out of Kurdish women and children last Newroz and why I blamed it on AKP–the Fethullahçı.

On the TSK and its Islamists:

According to Veren, Gülen has argued that the military expels no more than one in forty Islamist officers; the rest remain in undercover cells. While such allegations may seem the stuff of conspiracy theory, recent leaks to pro-AKP media suggest a number of Islamist sources within the military ranks, creating speculation that followers of Gülen now populate the senior infrastructure of the Turkish General Staff. Such speculation gained additional credence after the August 2008 Supreme Military Council (Yüksek Askeri Şura, YAŞ), which, for the first time, declined to expel suspected Islamists from military ranks.

Just like you read here in August.

There’s much more at the article, here, at The Middle East Quarterly.

Of course, I have a really difficult time believing the paşas propaganda which says, as it does in the article, that Taraf is a Fethullahçı paper. If that’s true, then why has Taraf had trouble getting advertising revenue? Why couldn’t Taraf just get funding from a Fethullahçı bank? Simple answer: Taraf is not Fethullahçı. Why is this neoconservative author complaining about the severe police crackdown against Turkish leftists at Taksim Square last May Day? Since when have neoconservatives ever cared about Leftists or trade unions? Where were the neoconservatives or the extreme right-wing fascist Americans when Leftists were massacred in Taksim Square on May Day in 1977? Well, they don’t bitch about that because at the time the paşas were in full control.

The fact also remains that Gülen is a resident of the US, recognized as an educator of “extraordinary ability” even though his only formal education consists of five years of elementary school.

But this article is an expression of frustration between the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby against the Fethullahçı government’s anti-Israel statements over Gaza. They needn’t be alarmed, however; in spite of Vecdi Gonul’s lie that the AKP government has never signed an arms deal with Israel, Cemil Çiçek, and others, assures everyone to the contrary. In fact, the AKP government did sign a deal with Israel in 2005 for Israeli Heron UAVs, with a pricetag of at least $150 million.

At one time the neoconservatives did support the AKP, with Bush giving his blessing for Erdoğan’s takeover of the Prime Ministry, when he was not in any position to take that job due to his conviction for crimes against laiklik.

The US thought it could control the Islamists it backed in Afghanistan and it thought it could control the Islamists it imported into Bosnia. That’s just like both the US and Israel thought they could control HAMAS and the paşas thought they could control Turkish Hezbollah. These idiots have always thought this way and they’ve always been dead wrong.

Well, there’s one thing the neoconservatives, the Israel lobby, Gülen, and the paşas all have in common–none of them have ever shed a tear over the Ankara regime’s severe repression of the Kurdish people.

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FAMILY CONVICTED IN HONOR MURDER

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2009 by Mizgîn
“If society will not admit of woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.”
~ Elizabeth Blackwell.

WOW! I am stupefied. A Turkish court finally did something right:

Full family jailed for honor killing act

DİYARBAKIR – A court has sentenced five members of the same family to life imprisonment for the honor killing of Naile Erdaş, 16, who fell pregnant as a result of rape, activists said Monday.

In its verdict Friday, a court in the eastern city of Van sentenced the murder victim’s brother to life in jail for the 2006 murder said to have been committed to cleanse the family honor, the Van Women’s Association said.

The girl’s father, mother and two uncles were also given life sentences for instigating the murder, while a third uncle was jailed for 16 years and eight months for failing to report the murder in one of the heaviest sentences handed down in Turkey for such a killing.

“We can say this verdict is a first in terms of the harshness of the sentences and the fact that the entire family was convicted,” Mazlum Bağlı, a researcher into honor killings at Dicle University in Diyarbakır, told AFP.

Zelal Özgökçe of the Van Women’s Association welcomed the sentence as an appropriate deterrent. “It is very good that the entire family was punished for the crime,” she said. “It will serve as a deterrent. People will become aware that they will face the consequences of an honor killing.

Erdaş fell pregnant as a result of rape but concealed her condition until she was hospitalized for a severe headache during which time doctors discovered she was pregnant.

When the family made threats and offered bribes to get the girl back, doctors decided to keep her in the hospital and informed police and the prosecutor’s office. One week after Erdaş gave birth, the prosecutor agreed to send her home after the girl’s father promised she would not be harmed. But she was shot dead by her brother a few hours after returning home.

In honor killings, generally prevalent among Turkey’s Kurdish community, a so-called family council names a member to murder a female relative who is considered to have sullied the family’s honor. In most cases this is because of an extra-marital affair. In recent years, the government has stepped up efforts to stamp out honor killings.

I have never heard of such a severe sentence before and it comes non too soon. I agree with spokesperson for the Wan Women’s Association, Zelal Özgökçe, and hope, too, that this punishment will serve as a deterrent to honor murder.

Now if they’d find a way to go after those who order “honor” suicides:

Among the hundreds of honor killings in Turkey, it is impossible to quantify the forced suicides. A special U.N. rapporteur, Yakin Erturk, was dispatched to the country’s south last year to investigate a rash of suicides. She concluded that some probably had been “instigated” and cited a host of contributing factors: forced and early marriages, denial of reproductive rights, poverty, migration and displacement, among others.

Victims say they’ve been ordered by relatives to kill themselves, locked in rooms with a gun or rope, watched over while they were expected to slit their wrists. The infraction can be as slight as a desire to work or the wearing of jeans, the sentence often decided in a family council.

Handan Coskun, a former journalist, started a women’s center in Diyarbakir in response to suicides she began investigating several years ago, when the rate in southeastern Turkey was two to three times the national rate. There were dozens of cases, many not related to honor issues. One consistency was that far more females committed or attempted suicide than males, which is the opposite of the worldwide pattern.

Those families who do save their daughters from conditions that would be considered “dishonorable” are often ostracized by their own communities, as in this case:

When a Turkish man rescued his daughter after she was abducted by a gang that forced her into prostitution, he was hailed a hero by many in the country. But people in his own home region of south-eastern Anatolia turned against him, because he refused to do what traditional laws of family honour say must be done in a case like this: kill the girl.

My daughter did not go voluntarily,” the man, who did not want to be identified in order to protect his 18-year-old daughter, told Turkish newspapers last month. “Why should I kill her?”

The idea that a girl or a woman has to pay with her life if she sullies her family’s honour by her conduct is still powerful in some areas of Turkey, especially in the poor Kurdish region in the south-east. In some cases, it is enough if a woman talks to a stranger to seal her fate. Underage boys of the family are often selected to commit so-called honour killings because they can expect lighter prison sentences if convicted.

Almost 300 women have been murdered by family members in Turkey since 2001, according to a new study based on court cases that was published this month.

Osman Celbis, a researcher from the Inonu University in the eastern city of Malatya, told the Anatolian news agency that 288 women and 56 men were killed. Male victims of honour crimes are often killed after cases of rape.

It is a problem of mentality,” said Remziye Tanrikulu, a lawyer in Diyarbakir, the main city of Turkey’s Kurdish area, and an expert on honour killings.

Yeah, it’s a problem of mentality, a mentality that must change. I hope that the court system will continue to crack down on this disgraceful mentality so that change is forced. And if the force necessary to make change happen is harsh, so be it.

KURDISH INFANT DENIED MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF HIS NAME

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham.

More Kurdish language repression in Turkey, from Özgür Gündem:

3-month-old Welat Is Not Being Admitted to the Hospital

In Diyarbakır the three-month-old baby Welat cannot take advantage of medical services because he cannot receive an identity card in order to receive services, due to the first initial of his name, “W”, which is in the banned Kurdish alphabet.

The couple, Muhsin and Laima Başer, who reside in Diyarbakır, wanted to name their newborn baby “Welat”, which means “Homeland”. However the Diyarbakır Registration Department refused the name because the letter “W” does not exist in the Turkish alphabet. Based on the Başer couple’s legal demand to the IHD, IHD made a petition to the Interior Ministry to stop banning Kurdish names. After the petition submitted on 21 August 2008 received no response, the father Muhsin Başer said they sued the [Diyarbakır] registration department through the Diyarbakır Civil Court. The case is still ongoing.

Welat is not being admitted to the hospital

Saying that their child was not treated in the hospital because of the lack of his identity card, Başer pointed out that if he [Welat] were treated, a large amount of money would be asked from him. Mentioning that it is discrimination not to have his son’s treatment due to a lack of an identity card, Başer said: “For this reason we are being wronged by this matter. I have insurance from my workplace, however they are not taking care of my child because he doesn’t have an identity card. This is unlawful.” For resolving the problem, Başer said he applied to Diyarbakır Social Security Department and he asked for a temporary health card. Başer said, “In my application to the Social Security Department I asked for a temporary health card to be issued and the health costs to be compensated by them. However, I received a negative response.”

“Kurdish is banned for the Kurds”

Pointing out the government’s hypocrisy, Başer underscored that Kurdish was free for PM Erdoğan whereas it is banned for Kurds. Condemning with hatred the government’s approach, Başer said that this is a contradiction that the government, on the one hand, says it freed Kurdish; on the other hand, it has such restrictions [on Kurdish]. Pointing out that the government wants to create its own Kurds through TRT 6, Başer said,”This action is a great injustice, hypocrisy, and contradiction. It is free for the state but is banned for us, the Kurds. I will do whatever I can in order to remove this unlawfulness.”

Social Security Department: There is nothing we can do

The Social Security Department, which had a negative response to Başer’s application, mentioned that without having a Turkish Republic identity number (similar to a social security number in the US), there is nothing much that they can do. Saying that if the registration takes place the required processes will be done, the official said, “There is no action that our department can take. For this reason the demand that you made for obtaining a temporary health card is impossible to fulfill.”

This article from Bloomberg was published on the same day as the news about little Welat:

State broadcaster TRT on Dec. 31 started its first channel in Kurdish, a language once banned outright and still forbidden in schools and government offices. The new channel, TRT6, shows films, news, chat shows and soap operas via satellite. Pitt’s “Spy Game,” among the foreign movies dubbed into Kurdish, will be aired in coming weeks.

“I got home last night and my mom, who doesn’t speak Turkish, was watching TRT6 and laughing,” said Osman Ciftci, who sells satellite dishes and digital receivers in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast. “She said, ‘Look, son, now I have a channel too.’”

Well, that’s a patent lie because Roj TV is viewed all over Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. The article continues:

Until now, Turkey refused to grant cultural rights to its 15 million Kurds, even after the European Union backed their demands to broadcast and teach in Kurdish. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to convince Kurds that he’s willing to break those taboos, and also trying to counter EU criticism that his bid to join the bloc is losing direction.

Turkey may also soon loosen the ban on Kurdish-language teaching. The Higher Education Board said this month that departments of Kurdish studies may be permitted in Istanbul and the capital Ankara, although not at universities in Kurdish regions.

The only problem with loosening “the ban on Kurdish-language teaching” is that only Turks will be allowed to teach it and only Turks will be allowed to study it because Kurdish is banned for Kurds. Well, maybe the fake Kurds like Diyarbakir’s AKP parliamentarian, Abdurrahman Kurt, will also be allowed to teach or learn Kurdish; but for everyone else, including adorable baby Welat, it’s forbidden!

The Bloomberg article also notes the hypocrisy of the AKP’s use of Kurdish for election purposes:

Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, for example, faces more than 30 lawsuits from Justice Ministry prosecutors, almost half sparked by use of Kurdish in brochures, posters or municipal services, according to his office.

Diyarbakir’s top lawyers are due in court next month as defendants. Their alleged crime: distributing the local bar association’s calendar, which names the days, months and holidays in Kurdish as well as Turkish. Prosecutors say that’s abuse of office, an offense carrying a three-year jail sentence.

It’s good that a state TV channel is using Kurdish, “but let other people do it too,” said Mehmet Emin Aktar, head of the bar association. “The problem is that in Turkey the law works differently depending on who you are.

No shit.

GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF KURDISHNESS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Every time they asked me about my ethnicity, I answered, “Kurdish,” and they beat me with a whip that looked like some kind of a hose.”
~ Farhad Kamangar, Kurdish prisoner of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Last Friday, HRW issued its recent report on repression in East Kurdistan by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not that I agree with HRW’s pacifist stance on everything particularly since, if you’re a Kurd, the political avenue in the Islamic Republic is identical to that in Turkey–closed. But at least this is more documentation, more fuel for the fire. You can read the entire 42-page report here and here’s something from the press release:

“Iranian authorities show little tolerance of political dissent anywhere in the country, but they are particularly hostile to dissent in minority areas where there has been any history of separatist activities,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.

Kurds account for 4.5 million of the 69 million people in Iran, and live mainly in the country’s northwest regions. Political movements there have frequently campaigned for greater regional autonomy. The main Iranian Kurdish parties with a long history of activism deny that they engage in armed activity and the government has not accused these groups of any such activity since the early 1990s.

“No one would contest a government’s right to suppress violence,” Stork said. “But this is not the case here. What is going on in the Kurdish areas of Iran is the routine suppression of legitimate peaceful opposition.”

The new report documents how the government has closed Persian- and Kurdish-language newspapers and journals, banned books, and punished publishers, journalists, and writers for opposing and criticizing government policies. Authorities also suppress legitimate activities of nongovernmental organizations by denying registration permits or charging individuals working with such organizations with spurious security offenses.

One victim of the government’s repression is Farazad Kamangar, a superintendent of high schools in the city of Kamayaran and an activist with the Organization for the Defense of Human Rights in Kurdistan. He has been in detention since his arrest in July 2006. The new report reproduces a letter Kamangar smuggled out of prison describing how officials subjected him to torture during interrogation.

On February 25, 2008, Branch 30 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on charges of “endangering national security.” Prosecutors charged that he was a member of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but provided no evidence to support the allegation. In July, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Kamangar’s lawyer has appealed to the head of the judiciary to intervene, the only remaining option for challenging the sentence.

The report notes that the recent round of repression began in August 2005 with the murder of Kurdish activist Şîrvan Qaderî, who was shot by the mullah’s flying monkey security forces and then tied to the back of their vehicle and dragged through the streets until dead in the venerable Kurdish city of Mahabad.

What is also interesting in the report is the discussion of the Islamic Republic’s constitution and that it is interpreted in ways similar to that in Turkey:

Iranian laws ostensibly protect freedom of expression and thought . . .

Article 15 of Iran’s Constitution designates Persian as the “official and shared language of Iran” but allows for the “use of local and ethnic languages in groups’ press and media and teaching of their literature in schools alongside Persian.”[96] Article 19 of the Constitution states that “the people of Iran, no matter what ethnicity or tribe, have equal rights, and attributes such as color or race or language will not be a reason for privilege.”[97] Despite these provisions, the cases covered in this report show that the editors and writers of Kurdish publications face violations of rights guaranteed by Iran’s constitution and Press Law.

Article 9 of the constitution contains two seemingly contradictory provisions. On the one hand, it endorses prima facie violations of international human rights law and allows no option for balancing individual rights of freedom of expression or association with legitimate security considerations when it states, “No individual, group, or authority, has the right to infringe in the slightest way upon the political, cultural, economic, and military independence or the territorial integrity of Iran under the pretext of exercising freedom.” The article goes on to state that “no authority has the right to abrogate legitimate freedoms, not even by enacting laws and regulations for that purpose, under the pretext of preserving the independence and territorial integrity of the country.”[98] The authorities often rely on the first part of Article 9 to justify restricting freedom of speech in the Kurdish regions, while disregarding the same article’s prohibition on undue restrictions.

[ . . . ]

The scope of Article 6 gives authorities broad legal cover to suppress freedom of expression. Section 1 prohibits publication of material that is “atheistic or contrary to Islamic codes, or promote subjects which might damage the foundation of the Islamic Republic.”[101] Section 4 outlaws material that “creates discord between and among social walks of life, especially by raising racial issues.”[102] Section 9 outlaws “quoting articles from the deviant press, parties, and groups which oppose Islam (inside and outside the country) in such a manner as to propagate such ideas.”[103] Section 12 prohibits publishing anything critical of the constitution.

The Islamic Republic’s constitution is also supposed to protect minority rights but, as in Turkey, this is merely cosmetics. Take this, for example and notice how Turkish it sounds:

Article 15 states that Persian is the official language of the country but stipulates that “the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian.”[124]

Article 19 states that “all people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege.” [125] Article 20 confirms equal protection under the law by stating that “all citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria.”

Yeah, right everybody’s equal! Well, we know very well that “Islamic criteria” don’t count for a damn when the Muslims in question are Kurds.

The discussion includes “freedom of association” or the de facto lack thereof in the Islamic Republic’s constitution, a lack which is justified by “security laws”. All of these laws are interpreted broadly, as pointed out by the HRW report, so that they are virtually meaningless and a meaningless constitution is a hallmark of all fascist regimes. Such constitutions are nothing more than pieces of paper designed for show, to allow ugly regimes like those of Turkey or Iran a place at the table of so-called civilized nations.

A few years ago, a study published in the academic Journal of Religion and Society reported, “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.”

I wonder if higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator also correlate with higher rates of repression, human rights violations, and atrocities?

JUDGING THE HYPOCRITES

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up to prayer they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little.”
~ Quran, The Women 4.142.

Here’s something you won’t see in the corporate lapdog media–Israeli intelligence has been targeting Israelis protesting against the Gaza attacks:

Transcript here.

Remember this? With that in mind, here’s something else you’re not going to see much of in the corporate lapdog media, from Reuters via Cryptogon:

The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tonnes of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.

“Shipping 3,000-odd tonnes of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.

The U.S. Defense Department, contacted by Reuters on Friday in Washington, had no immediate comment.

The MSC transports armour and military supplies for the U.S. armed forces aboard its own fleet, but regularly hires merchant ships if logistics so require.

The request for the ship was made on Dec. 31, with the first leg of the charter to arrive no later than January 25 and the second at the end of the month.

The tender for the vessel follows the hiring of a commercial ship to carry a much larger consignment of ordnance in December from the United States to Israel ahead of air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

A German shipping firm which won that tender confirmed the order when contacted by Reuters but declined to comment further.

And here’s something you’re never going to see–Emine Erdoğan crying her eyes out for Kurdish repression like she did this weekend for Palestinian repression:


Now this bitch is an ethnic Arab from Siirt, so she knows exactly what the repression is in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and what kind of atrocities are committed, but I guess she’s been taking crocodile-tear crying lessons from Gülen. Speaking of Gülen, Aland Mizell asks how history is going to judge Turkey:

“History will be the judge of Israel,” Prime Minister Erdogan said in a damning speech over the ongoing Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip while addressing his Justice and Development Party’s (AK) parliamentary group. I wonder how history will judge Turkey. When the Turkish government denied the Kurdish people the most basic right, freedom to speak, when Turkish airplanes pounded bombs onto the mountains killing many innocent Kurdish children; when Erdogan refused to talk to the Democratic Society Party’s (DTP) democratically elected parliamentarians, but he agreed to meet with the Hamas leader in spite of Hamas being on the terrorist list; what will history say? The DTP is also democratically elected by the Kurdish people unlike the Hamas, that has determined to wipe Turkey off of the map and to condemn Israel for not wanting to talk to Hamas. Also, the Hamas does not want to negotiate with Israel because they see negotiation as a sign of weakness, much like the Turkish military does not want to talk to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) because they see bargaining as a sign of weakness.

[ . . . ]

We ask how history will judge Turkey because Turkey killed Ahmet Kaymaz and his twelve-year-old son, Ugur, calling him a terrorist when Ugur was only helping his dad work. But most importantly, Turkey hides, denies, or distorts the historical facts regarding the case. Is this an apparent crime itself when they conceal the truth? The first law of historical writing is telling the truth. When will this administration admit the truth? Not such a long time ago the Turkish government called Kurds “Mountain Turks.” Will they ever apologize for what they did to the Kurds and to the Armenians? Prime Minister Erdogan and Mr. Fethullah Gülen, his mentor, may think their sin may be forgotten; they may believe that they do not need to teach their students the details of history because of their shameful atrocities, but they should know that what is more shameful is not to admit their guilt and to cause others to be ignorant about it.

[ . . . ]

How will history judge Turkey? Still the Kurdish people live in an open-air prison because every step a traveler takes in the Kurdish region of the country he encounters a military checkpoint. Prime Minister Erdogan and Mr. Gülen have conveniently forgotten that Israel tells Hamas either to stop killing innocent Israelis, or we will come after you to make you stop. If Palestinian lives have value, and they do, then Kurdish and Israeli lives are also worthy to live; they are also human beings; they also have feelings. Can Erdogan and Mr. Gülen not see? How many times has the PKK asked for the destruction of the Turkish people? Never has this been its objective. Instead, what the PKK is asking for is justice and equal treatment for all Kurdish people. What Israel is doing in Gaza, Turkey has been doing for many years in Southeastern Turkey and in Northern Kurdistan.

And I’m going to leave it at that because I could go on and on and on about the Ankara regime’s hypocrisy towards the repression it implements against the Kurdish people. Let’s make no mistake: No matter what kind of show the AKP or their wives put on about their huge concern for atrocities and human rights abuses in Gaza, they’re not going to end the relationships that makes them complicit in Gaza atrocities or Kurdistani atrocities.

After all, the MIC is making money hand-over-fist as the recent Turkish-Israeli military hardware deals and the Reuters article linked above prove.

TRT 6 LOGO

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2009 by Mizgîn

Looks like there’s been a change in the TRT 6 logo:

bobiler.org.

A MATTER OF TIMING

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Since the Ergenekon case represents the advanced level of classical Turkish chaos, this is not a good time to start learning about Turkey unless you are experienced in this ‘lonely and beloved country’.”
~ Ece Temelkuran.

Some weird shit–more weird than usual for Turkey–is going down with these recent detentions in the Ergenekon fiasco. They’re going deeper into the Susurluk Affair, to include the “soft coup” of 1997:

In fact, the apprehension of former Special Police Operations Deputy Chief İbrahim Şahin, who served six years in jail for links to Susurluk, in the latest wave of detentions signaled that the Susurluk case will also be included in the Ergenekon investigation.

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, the fact that 10 active officers — five colonels, two majors and three captains — were detained over their alleged links to the Ergenekon terrorist organization in this latest wave has served to strengthen the previous indictment, which established links between the group and some active officers within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The indictment in question, which an İstanbul court accepted prior to opening the ongoing trial, read: “It has been understood both from the attached documents as well as from tapped telephone conversations that the Ergenekon terrorist organization has been engaged in secret organizational work within the TSK and that there have been members of this organization who come from the TSK, from the lowest to the highest ranking (officers).”

ARABASLIK Generals linked to Feb. 28 postmodern coup

The detention of three former generals and a number of civilians, including former Higher Education Board (YÖK) President Kemal Güriz, in the 10th wave of operations on Wednesday brought to the agenda their links with the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup.

Several papers established the links of those detained on Wednesday with the Feb. 28 coup that resulted in the overthrow of an Islamic-oriented coalition government under then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

This was the fourth military coup staged in Turkey since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The fifth, and last, military intervention in Turkish politics came in 2007 in the form of an e-memo posted on the TSK’s Web site.

What made the Feb. 28 intervention a postmodern one was the mobilization of an army of civilian allies who voluntarily defended the military over “fundamentalism” by evoking the reactions of the press and many nongovernmental organizations as well as YÖK and the judiciary.

The TSK carried out the aforementioned coups based on Article 35 of the Internal Service Law. The problem with Article 35 is that the authority designated to appoint the duty of protection and supervision is the TSK and not a civilian political authority.

There’s more on the characters involved in this latest round of detentions at Zaman with information gleaned from Taraf. Check also another article at Zaman, in which it looks like AKP is going to go after the Kemalists under Article 288 of the Turkish penal code (TCK), which reads:

A person who explicitly makes a verbal or written declaration for the purpose of influencing the public prosecutor, judge, the court, expert witness or witnesses until the final judgment is given about an investigation or prosecution will be imprisoned for a term from six months to three years.

If this offence is committed through press or media, the penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one half.

The article has a small discussion of Büyükanıt’s influence in the media over the Şemdinli bombing as an example. There’s also a discussion of what legal experts are saying about Ergenekon at Hürriyet. Of note, also, is the meeting that the paşas held among themselves late Wednesday and Turkish chief of general staff Başbuğ met with Erdoğan for an hour and a half before his weekly meeting with Gül. Details, such as they are, from Reuters and the Guardian.

Reuters remarks:

Critics of the ruling AK Party say Erdogan’s government is using the case as revenge for court moves by the secular establishment last year to outlaw the party for anti-secular activities. The AK Party denies any link.

And the Guardian quotes Gareth Jenkins:

Some analysts believe that yesterday’s response shows its patience may be wearing thin. Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based expert on Turkish security affairs, said: “The army will have issued a stern warning to the government to back off and that this has to be the last of such arrests. Most of those arrested on Wednesday were not involved in the Ergenekon plot.

It was just a political move, and has destroyed any hope that the probe will find the real culprits. The question is what happens next. What we are going to see is a power struggle between two fundamentally undemocratic forces using their influence in the judicial system.”

Another interesting thing about these recent detentions is the timing, which takes place as the Turkish media has stirred up a frenzy over the crisis in Gaza. Olmert visited Erdoğan and Gül on December 21. My money says Olmert told them about Israel’s upcoming operations in Gaza. Here’s a hint:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is visiting Turkey in order to discuss the latter’s mediation in the indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria, but Monday’s meeting with President Abdullah Gul also focused on the ongoing fire from Gaza.

Israel cannot refrain from responding to the criminal fire on its citizens,” Omert told Gul during their meeting in Ankara.

More:

Olmert met President Abdullah Gul before holding talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over dinner.

“What you don’t do today in the Middle East – you may not be able to do tomorrow,” Olmert said to Erdogan regarding the progression of the negotiations, adding that efforts must be focused on promoting direct talks with Syria.

The two leaders met in private for nearly an hour, and were then joined by their respective entourages for further discussion. After dinner the two resumed their tête-à-tête.

Earlier in the day Olmert met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. “Israel cannot refrain from responding to the criminal fire on its citizens,” Omert told Gul.

There’s no reason to believe that the Israelis did not inform their only military ally in the region of their plans for Gaza, so Erdoğan knew. And the AKP decided to use this timing to make another Ergenekon sweep. What AKP’s exact intentions are with these recent detentions and where they’ll go from here, I haven’t figured out yet. Is the US involved, as another Zaman article suggests? It’s possible. Are Turkey, Israel, and the US working together? It wouldn’t be the first time. Will the paşas allow it to continue? We’ll definitely know when the troops leave the barracks.

I have to echo Jenkins: “The question is what happens next”?

One thing is for certain: The Ergenekon investigation has not gone east of the Fırat (Euphrates), so this certainly isn’t about cleaning out and dismantling the Deep State.

One last item . . . the editor of Taraf, Adnan Demir, faces five years’ imprisonmnent for Taraf’s reporting of the Bezele (Aktütün) operation and TSK’s major FAIL at the time. From Reporters Without Borders:

Reporters Without Borders today voiced support for Adnan Demir, editor of the liberal daily Taraf, who is facing trial for publishing confidential military information.

The worldwide press freedom organisation said it hoped the Turkish justice system would prove itself capable of resolving a case which involved a journalist who had done his job with professionalism.

“Adnan Demir has revealed information that is telling about the actions of the Turkish Army and raises several questions about possible mismanagement. The people have the right to be informed about the circumstances in which its citizens risk their lives.”

[ . . . ]

The prosecutor at the Istanbul higher court yesterday called for a sentence of three to five years against Demir.

Isn’t democracy wonderful?!