Archive for August, 2009

INTERIOR MINISTER CLAIMS HUGE SUCCESS; DTP CLAIMS HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2009 by Mizgîn
“[T]o solve the Kurdish question, Öcalan must be contacted, must be talked with. There is no one in Turkey, with the exception of him [Öcalan] to solve this problem. There is no one with the exception of him that can contribute as much as him to solve this problem.”
~ Avni Özgürel.

If you stayed up until almost 0300 hours Pacific Daylight Time to listen to the comments of Turkish Interior Minister Beşir Atalay’s news conference on the Kurdish “initiative”, you were probably as angry as I was. Or as Ahmet Türk was, from Hürriyet:

DTP leader Türk, accompanied by DTP deputies Selahattin Demirtaş, Osman Özçelik, Hasip Kaplan, Gültan Kışanak, Akın Birdal, İbrahim Binici, Nezir Karabaş and Nuri Yaman, watched the minister’s remarks on TV carefully, with often taking notes. Türk was reluctant to comment on Atalay”s words, citing the rally on Tuesday organized by his party in Diyarbakır.

“The minister did not announce any solid plans, and we will tell the public our thoughts at [Tuesday’s] rally,” Türk told reporters, but he was hopeful about the current situation.

“The people expect the Kurdish issue to be solved in a peaceful, democratic way,” he said. “As politicians, we must carry hope. We must lead the people; it is our duty to do so.”

[ . . . ]

Later in the day, DTP leader and deputies joined hundreds of party members in Diyarbakır”s Sümer Park, who were to spend the night at the park for the “Sept. 1 Peace Watch.”

Having spent some time to think over the minister’s remarks, and buoyed by the support at the park, the DTP leader was much harsher.

The remarks of the minister have created surprise and despair,” Türk told his audience. “The remarks did not include the democratic initiative and completely ignored the Kurds.”

According to Türk, the government did not take the opinions of the NGOs and Kurds into account, but instead “valued the opinions of those it could not even meet.”

Everybody should know that this is not the way to solve the Kurdish issue,” he said.

One of the Kurdish demands mentioned specifically was a rewriting of the Turkish constitution, something which Atalay said is “not currently on the table”. This is a point on which the DTP has insisted. Neither has there been any indication that Öcalan’s perspective for a political solution have been included in this Kurdish “initiative”.

Last week, Öcalan conveyed his long-awaited road map to the Ankara regime through prison officials. Over the weekend, not a word was spoken or written about the contents of Öcalan’s road map. Perhaps that’s because the Ankara regime nixed the road map even before it had been given to the regime.

During Atalay’s press conference, not a word was mentioned about the contents of Öcalan’s statement. Another Hürriyet article referenced “abundant common points” and declared the government initiative a huge success:

After meeting with political leaders, NGOs and vocational groups, Interior Minister Atalay says the government’s “Kurdish move” is a success. ‘The common points we heard were abundant, which shows that we have reached our goal. Everybody wants to put a stop to the terror. Everybody wants better democratic standards. No one is against these points,” Atalay says.

The government’s Kurdish move has proved to be a success with clear public support and a will for a resolution to the country’s terror problem, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said Monday. Atalay also called on the opposition to get passed their fear that the move might divide the country.

Well, perhaps some day, Sayın Atalay will be so kind as to let the Kurdish people know exactly what those abundant “common points” are now that the regime has achieved an incomparably stunning success in solving the Kurdish question.

Meanwhile, Ahmet Türk and the rest of DTP, and I are not the only ones awaiting the details of the stunning success of AKP’s Kurdish “initiative”; Avni Özgürel, featured last October on Rastî, is also waiting:

What do you think is not going to happen according to the messages coming from the top level?

We understand from these messages that the official language of Turkey, which is Turkish, cannot be changed, and the unitary structure of Turkey cannot be changed. The opposition’s reactions have mellowed since these points have been clearly voiced. But we still do not know the content of the project which will be prepared by the end of the year, as the prime minister said.

What do you think it will consist of?

It will probably consist of granting cultural rights — like establishing Kurdology departments at universities, expanding opportunities for Kurdish broadcasting, providing Kurdish translations at courts and official places if there is a need — also demanded by international agreements approved by Turkey. There is also another issue, which is addressing the terrorism dimension of the problem.

Özgürel knows that cultural rights are not enough, but a discussion of establishing Kurdology departments or increasing Kurdish broadcasts a la TRT 6 are already failed attempts and, after the results of the 29 March elections, have been rejected by the Kurdish people.

But here’s a talking point from Özgürel that ought to be all over the Turkish media:

What do you see when you look at the issue from Turkey’s point of view? Why is Turkey at the end of the road to solve the Kurdish problem?

Turkey has seen that terrorism will never end. Several chiefs of general staff said several times that the terrorism problem in Turkey was finished. However, it never ended, and it does not seem likely to end. Each dead person is a loss for Turkey even if they are from the PKK. They are citizens of Turkey. And they are people who should normally be carrying the hopes for their future on Turkey.

It’s too bad no one in the AKP has half the brains of this guy.

We shall see what DTP’s official response is tomorrow, at the Peace Day rally in Amed, at which one million Kurds are expected to gather. Hürriyet seems to believe that this is going to be a rally by the Kurdish people to thank the regime. But, given Ahmet Türk’s reaction–and I completely empathize with him because the Atalay press conference was so . . . lame–I think there’s going to be a lot more said tomorrow than a nice, meek “Thank you”.

Expect a statement from HPG tomorrow, too, since it will be the expiration date of the current ceasefire.

LOW MORALE FOR THE TORTURE BOYS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 31, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Demotivation – Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.”
~ Larry Kersten.

I just started listening to the new podcast at Sibel Edmonds place, an interview with investigative journalist Joe Trento, and I almost choked on my pastırma from laughing so hard at Trento’s description of what happened after Jimmy Carter tried to rein in the CIA back in 1977.

Apparently, Carter wanted to clean up the CIA and link US foreign policy to human rights. In 1977 there was a purge of the “clandestine services” which Trento characterized as the “old boy club” of the CIA. Trento also referenced the investigation by the Church Committee, which was a congressional investigation into illegal activities of the CIA and FBI, and took place shortly before the 1977 purge. From that point on, the CIA became very political and came up with what has become it’s usual response to any investigation into it’s failures or wrongdoing: “It’ll ruin our morale!”

Why is that so funny? Because I had just come across this earlier:

Morale has sagged at the CIA following the release of additional portions of an inspector general’s review of the agency’s interrogation program and the announcement that the Justice Department would investigate possible abuses by interrogators, according to former intelligence officials, especially those associated with the program.

A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, the third-ranking CIA official at the time of the use of harsh interrogation practices, said that although vigorous oversight is crucial, the public airing of once-classified internal assessments and the prospect of further investigation are damaging the agency. “Morale at the agency is down to minus 50,” he said.

BOOO-HOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Does that become even more hilarious if I mention that the author of the piece, Walter Pincus, was one of those journalists who helped to expose Valerie Plame in the old “Saddam has yellowcake from Niger” scam?

But wait, there’s more! The son of Walter Pincus, Andrew Pincus, is one of the lawyers defending Blackwater’s (now Xe’s) Erik Prince in at least one of the lawsuits brought against Blackwater for murder of Iraqi nationals? Thanks to the little bird who dropped that in my email inbox.

Whoever has problems understanding why CIA morale is so low right now, let me direct you to Glenn Greenwald’s blog:

To those blithely dismissing all of this as things that don’t seem particularly bothersome, I’d say two things:

(1) The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle — all things that we have always condemend as “torture” and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies (“torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .”) — reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.

(2) As I wrote rather clearly, numerous detainees died in U.S. custody, often as a direct result of our “interrogation methods.” Those who doubt that can read the details here and here. Those claiming there was no physical harm are simply lying — death qualifies as “physical harm” — and those who oppose prosecutions are advocating that the people responsible literally be allowed to get away with murder.

Finally, as for the title of this post: it was just a way of expressing the view that Americans who want to justify or endorse the torture we engaged in should be required to know what was actually done — not hide behind the comforting myth that “all we did was pour some water down the noses of 3 bad guys”; I wasn’t trying to propose a new law compelling that every citizen read the IG Report.

UPDATE III: Torture defenders: please see here.

Anyway, go listen to the Trento interview. It sounds like it’s got a lot of good information.

TURKISH ESPIONAGE OPERATIONS IN THE US: THE DEPOSITION

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by Mizgîn
“There is no place where espionage is not possible.”
~ Sun Tzu.

The video of Sibel Edmonds’ deposition has been released and can be viewed here. The entire deposition is broken down into a series of five videos of about 10 minutes each.

A transcript of the deposition is available here in .pdf.

There’s some information on the Krikorian-Schmidt case from a local Ohio newspaper, which is carrying links to the video and transcript, as well as an explanation of Sibel’s role in the deposition:

In preparation for the Sept. 3 hearing, Krikorian’s lawyer requested a subpoena for well known whistleblower and former interpreter for the FBI, Sibel Edmonds. The OEC declined to enforce the subpoena, however Edmonds agreed to speak to Krikorian and Schmidt’s lawyers on a voluntary basis.

The video deposition was brought forward by Krikorian’s counsel to provide background on the alleged involvement of the Turkish government in Congressional affairs through blackmail, bribery, and campaign contributions filtered through various organizations. Edmonds also describes Turkish infiltration of the Pentagon and Air Force.

Edmonds’ deposition is significant because she has twice been “gagged” by a State Secrets exemption from testifying for a 9/11 investigation and a Congressional hearing.

By various Internet bloggers she has been called the most gagged woman in the U.S.

[ . . . ]

Edmonds (who is Turkish-American) called as a witness for Krikorian (who is Armenian-American) testified to infiltration, bribery, corruption, and blackmail within the U.S. Government, by current and former members of the U.S. House and other high ranking officials, on behalf of Turkish interests.

Take a look at the Ohio paper link and note the comments. There you’ll see one by the ATAA’s president-elect, Ergün Kirlikovalı, whose racism was mentioned previously on Rastî.

For more on the deposition, see the links at “Turkish Espionage Operations Target Congress”.

THE MARMARIS INCIDENT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 18, 2009 by Mizgîn
“I don’t know why I did it.”
~ Thomas Strong.

Uh-oh:

Thomas Strong, 19, from Carlisle in Cumbria, approached the quayside statue while on holiday in Marmaris on Sunday and dropped his shorts, before launching into a tirade of abuse.

Local boat men were so furious at the insult that they called the police to arrest Strong.

The offence of insulting Ataturk, the former Army Officer who led the Turkish national movement and established the Republic of Turkey in 1923, is punishable by imprisonment for Turks.

Ayhan Hatay, who watched Strong’s actions in horror, said: “We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Lots of tourists come and look at the Ataturk statue and take pictures. But this lad was something else – he stripped his clothes off and started waving his manhood and swearing at Ataturk.

I’m trying to keep a straight face. Really . . . I’m trying.

Hehehe . . .

SOUR GRAPES FOR THE TURKISH LOBBY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by Mizgîn
“I am sure the grapes are sour.”
~ Aesop.

There’s an update on the Krikorian-Schmidt case, for which Sibel Edmonds was deposed last weekend, at The Bradblog. First of all, a number of charges against David Krikorian have been dropped by Jean Schmidt (OH-R) and her legal counsel, the Turkish American Defense Legal Fund (TALDF) in the wake of Sibel’s deposition.

Secondly, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) issued a rant against Sibel Edmonds. Brad Friedman of The Bradblog, has all the news on that and does a fine job of rebutting TCA hysterics. As a result, I don’t have anything to add, except to note something with which Kurds are well acquainted and that is that the moment the Turks begin to shriek any form of the word “DESPERATE”, it means that they’ve stepped on their own weinies big time and are, themselves, “DESPERATE”.

Enough said.

GERİLALARIMIZA SELAMLAR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 15, 2009 by Mizgîn

PKK’nin 25. yıl dönümü dolayısıyla Kürdistan’ın siz kutsal ruhu olan koruyucu cesaret abidesi gerilalarımızı kutlar ve Kürdistan’ın özgürlüğü uğruna bedel ödemiş herkesi saygı ve hürmetle anıyorum.


(On the 25th anniversary of the PKK’s emergence as the defender of Kurdistan’s sacred honor, I greet all our courageous guerrillas and remember all those who have made the greatest sacrifice for Kurdistan’s freedom.)


15 Ağustos Kutlu Olsun!

THE FETHULLAHÇI AND SOUTH KURDISTAN

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2009 by Mizgîn
“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.”
~ Nurettin Veren.

A little over a week ago, I wrote about the activities of the Gülen movement in Central Asia–among other regional actors. In order to “infect” a region, the Fethullahçı take over education, particularly the education of the children of a society’s elites. Cadres of Fethullahçı businessmen permeate the economy, spreading Gülen’s version of Islam, which is inseparably intwined with Turkish nationalism, and serve as conduits to funnel money into the movement.

Now it would appear that the same tactics are being used in South Kurdistan, from Özgür Gündem:

The Federal Region of Kurdistan Wrapped Up in the Movement

Since the beginning of the 1990s, universities, associations, foundations, hospitals, and language centers, which belong to the Fethullah Gülen movement, have been opened in Central Asia. Such schools must fall under the National Education Ministry and must be evaluated by it. Instead, they are being evaluated by the National Security Council (MGK) and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). In addition, MİT is one of the primary organizations that supports this movement.

Additionally, it is very well known by everyone that the Gülen movement’s schools in Uzbekistan were shut down in 1999-2000. The reason for the shutting down of these schools was that the people who were working in them became directly involved with the assassination attempt against Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Kerimov.

The Russian Security Service revealed the relationship of the movement, which founded schools and foundations in this country, with MİT. They [the movement] were implementing ideological work as well as trying to form a Turkish lobby in the regions in which they were located. Thus the movement’s schools, foundations, associations, and business in Russia were shut down and their employees were deported by the Russian Security Service.

The Gülen movement started to open “education” associations in the Federal Kurdistan Region since 1994, and it is still conducting its activities there. It is obvious that these foundations and associations ideologically conduct Turanism and Pan-Turkism in the Federal Kurdistan Region. Despite the fact that the movement’s racial, imperialist, and invasive activities were banned by several states, who are allowing it to conduct its activities in the Federal Kurdistan Region? Who is turning a blind eye? Again, additionally, who is getting an advantage out of it and of what kind, are the questions that must be answered.

Teaching in English language in Gülen’s schools causes an increase their demand. In addition, there are increasing demands for lessons to be taught in Arabic and Kurdish Sorani dialect in elementary and middle schools. However, the reality of these schools is different. Although in the schools’ records English is indicated as the official language, in reality lessons are being conducted in Turkish. To see this reality, it is enough to check the weekly lesson schedules. Turkish, Turkish grammar, and Turkish history lessons make up the greatest amount of the existing lessons in high schools, in addition to elementary and middle schools.

The movement finalized work to open a school in Kerkuk in 2006. However, the movement’s members met PUK’s high administrators and the Federal Kurdistan Region Vice*President, Kosrat Rasul, to open new schools in the city. After conveying their thanks to each other, the representatıve of Gülen’s schools (responsible for all Gulen schools), Muammer Turk, and [Kurdish] officials agreed on the new projects for Kerkuk.

The Gülen Movement’s Schools Opened in the Federal Kurdistan Region:

Hewler:

1- Fezalar Eğitim Kurumu
2- Işık Dil Merkezi
3- Işık İlköğretim Okulu
4- Nilüfer Kız Koleji
5- Işık Erkek Koleji
6- Işık Üniversitesi

Süleymaniye:

1- Süleymaniye Kız Koleji
2- Selahattin Eyyubi Erkek Koleji
3- Selahattin Eyyubi Dil Merkezi

In Kerkuk also there is one school and one language center.

In the movement’s schools, [there are] celebrations like 23 April (Children’s Day and Republic Day) and 19 May (Youth and Sport Day), and the [Turkish] national anthem is memorized. Celebrations are held in the schools’ yards and the students’ guardians are also invited. However, neither the Kurdish national anthem “Ey Reqib” is sung nor are official holidays of federal Kurdistan celebrated.

Meanwhile Atatürk’s pictures are put in the schools. It disturbs Kurdish students and their guardians to make students memorize Turkish history and Atatürk’s life. However, the students’ guardians want the regional government to take precautions about these issues.

These schools also have activities about Turkey. Some of the students of these schools are taken to Turkey for sightseeing once a year wıth the goal of “introducing Turkey and improving sympathy for Turkey”; however the real goal is known by the students’ guardians. The chosen students are taken to vacation resorts and camps. It is not a secret that ideological education is given to them under the name of “vacation”.

The movement’s activities are not limited to these, of course. Every Thursday, “reading” and “regional conversations” are held with some students and their guardians. Through such activities, that aim to form a mass movement, the Fethullahçıs made a remarkable improvement. Despite all these activities, the turning of a blind eye by the KRG creates several questions.

Hewler is one of the cities on which the Fethullahçıs are most focused. In addition to school activities, an important improvement is just as much the case in the field of health. For this goal, Sema Hospital was opened in “Doctors’ Street” in Hewler in 2006. This hospital, in addition to being a laser eye center, treats people with internal diseases. The hospital has a 50% off promotion for people who are close to Gülen’s movement. For teachers, officials, and students who are working in the movement’s associations, treatment is free.

Another movement “organization” in Hewler is Atasay Jewelry. Opened late due to not getting permission from the government, it was officially opened in recent months. The function of Atasay Jewelry for the Gülen movement is to conduct money transfers between Iraq and Turkey. It transfers the revenue received by the movement, specifically from the federal Kurdistan area, to Turkey or to other countries.

The majority of the students who attend Gülen movement schools are either Turkmen children and the children of high-level KRG officials. Some of the students who graduate from these schools are sent to Turkey to “continue their education”. These students are placed in the universities under the quota such universities dedicate to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) [i.e these students are counted in TSK’s quota]. They [the students] are admitted to universities especially in Ankara and Kayseri. The number of the TSK quota that is being spared for Gülen’s movement changes every year. Students sent from the Federal Kurdistan Region receive “other education” in addition to their university education. Students receive their education through TSK’s and MİT’s scholarships; whenever they finish their university education and go back to federal Kurdistan, they start working in the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Turkmen TV, radio, or cultural associations.

Another group of students who attend such schools are the children of high officials of the KRG. The existence of these students is important for the movement in order to get their [official] work done more easily.

Another group that is used by the movement is businessmen from Turkey. Gülen’s schools are the first schools applied for by some of these businessmen, for their children’s educations. In their internal discussions, officials in the movement consult with businessmen coming from Turkey for implementing their new projects. That is, having their children in Gülen’s schools for their education is not the only reason to make contact with the movement. For getting their children’s education in these schools, these businessmen contribute great help both in the Federal Kurdistan Region and in Turkey.

What kind of money are we talking about, with regard to Turkish businessmen who support the movement? Ten to seventy percent:

We asked the group of a dozen businessmen in Ankara whether each of them contributes financially to Gülen-inspired projects and, if so, approximately how much they give each year. Each of the 12 men said that they contribute as they can to the movement projects. Amounts of contributions varied from 10%-70% of their annual income, ranging from $20,000-$300,000 per year. One man, in particular, said he gives 40% of his income every year which is about $100,000; however, he said he would like to give 95% but is not able to do so and still maintain himself and his family.

[ . . . ]

Another very successful businessman in Istanbul whom we interviewed provided insight into the sums of money being contributed by the supporters of the Gülen Movement to local projects. He is 48 years old and is in the textile business. He contributes 20% of his 4-5 million dollar yearly income to movement-related projects. 80% of his good friends are also members of the movement and contribute as they can to projects.

We’re talking some serious coin here, and this is in addition to the problematic issue of spreading Turkish nationalist ideology.

The questions that Goran Akreyi raises in the article most definitely need answers. Sooner rather than later.