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Total number of comments: 367 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:46)


Showing comments 367 - 301

  • Does this Change Everything? Russia's first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases
    • So, what you're saying is that Erdogan's not getting much in return for the $9bn in new incentives he handed Trump to build the Akkuyu nuke plant? Bummer

  • Trump threatens Sec. Clinton with Gun Nuts, imitates Tinpot 3rd World Regimes
  • Turkey Is Shutting Down over 130 Media Outlets; Can Democracy Survive?
    • In the spirit of Truth, how many media sites have been shut by the government for voicing anti-Israel sentiments. How many years did Cornel West get for his comments at the DNC platform meeting?

    • Even paranoids have enemies, Richard. Particularly if they're authoritarians attempting to subvert an admittedly imperfect secular democracy and replace it with an Islamist, nationalist party state for fun and profit.

      But let's not pretend this is something new. Most of the national media have already been seized and sold to Erdogan's allies and Hurriyet is kept on a very short leash by threats of tax levies against its owner.

  • Purge of teachers and academics bulldozes through Turkish education
    • Turkey has a history of problematic relations with freedom of speech. Over the past five years, it has been at a very low point. The president routinely sues journalists, politicians, and HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS for saying things he dislikes. Teenagers are arrested for the crime. So, too, anyone who dares to speak poorly of Islam -- but not of Christianity, Judaism, or atheism.

      Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention knows that this was a victory for authoritarianism over the coup. Anyone with friends and colleagues in Turkey, or who listens to NPR knows t hat the crowds in the street are called out by Erdogan. He is their voice, as our native version said this evening in his acceptance speech.

      And the number of fired/suspended teachers is north of 40,000. The 21,000 number is teachers at private schools, not those under the MEB, who were the majority of the original 15,000 and have since been added to.

  • Arab nationalist press Reacts to Erdogan's Crackdown with cries of "Dictator!"
    • It's substantially over 80,000 counting the private school teachers.
      By decree, no one suspended or sacked in the wake of the coup will ever work in a government job again.
      Updated closures include:
      - 35 hospitals
      - 1,043 private schools and dormitories
      - 15 private universities
      - 1,229 associations and foundations
      - 19 trade unions for links to Fethullah Gülen.
      Also, the police are now authorized to detain suspects for a month before taking them to court.

    • Gulen went into exile in 99 after the "postmodern coup." they were allies because they both aimed at undermining the secular state and its bureaucracy. They disagreed on who was to rule afterward and once they ran out of common enemies, they had only each other left. It's been open warfare since the 17/25 December affair in 2013, Gulen's preemptive strike as AKP prepared to shut down Gulen's schools and cram schools in Turkey, through which he recruits.

      I find this read more convincing than any Naksibendi/Sufi splits.

    • Well, the Gulenists are "an armed terrorist organization," as a Turkish (AKPli) judge said today. Armed, indeed, the ones in the army and the police anyway. This is the level of honesty one expects from AKP. Twas ever thus.

    • Well over 60,000 now, professor, and that's only government sector. Doesn't count the 21,000 private school teachers whose licenses were suspended and the 600 schools shut down.
      Ashish Kumar Jena struggles to keep an updated list at
      link to

      We should also bear in mind that these purges have been ongoing since 2013, along with packing the Constitutional Court and shredding the constitution with a "de facto presidential system" that the government and its institutions haven't yet caught up with (much to His consternation.)

      "Hitler" is over the top, Reichstag Fire analogies are not.

  • WikiLeaks Release 300K Emails Related to Turkey's ruling Party
    • And now, the three month state of emergency as sackings and suspensions cross 60,000 and 600 private schools are slated for closure ... and reincarnation as imam hatipler?

    • answering my own question, via Hurriyet
      link to
      YÖK also suspended all assignments of academics abroad and asked for the academics currently assigned abroad to return to Turkey.
      In a written statement sent to both state and private universities, YÖK requested the suspension of the assignments of academics to foreign countries until further notice. It also demanded examinations of the situations of academics working abroad and said they should be called back if there was no immediate necessity for them to remain in the foreign country.

    • Over 50,000 government employees (plus 21,000 private school teachers) suspended or sacked, and the numbers continue to rise.
      Military judges and prosecutors suspended just in time for the Koup trials. Long-time Istanbul Governor Topbas promises a "Graveyard for Traitors" in the city and sets aside land for it.
      Erdogan has gone full NRA: wants citizens armed to prevent an actual coup (this one, the government was informed of and began reacting against six hours before it started).

      This is a win for democracy if Tayyip still has the support of 50%+1. But it also reminds us why Stathis Gourgouris writes that "democracy is a tragic regime." The will of the people -- the national will as Erdogan calls it and claims to embody it -- is lawless. Turkey has a constitution but Erdogan has systematically disregarded it since becoming president. Most of his actions violate the constitution (and, with regard to the 2015 election, the will of the people).

  • The Turkish Coup -- Real or Imagined?
    • If this is the best coup the Turkish Army can put together it's an utterly worthless force.

      Remember when Tayyip mocked the CHP for raising questions about his good friend Gulen? 103 flag officers detained; nearly 9,000 interior officials suspended including 7,899 police officers, 614 gendarmerie officers, 30 provincial governors and 47 district governors. Given the Ergenekon and post-Ergenekon purges, the Gezi purges and the 25 December purges, it would appear that AKP has no competent followers and so continues to hire its frenemy's agents.

      Perhaps I should stop reading Erdag Hoca's fine translation of The Clock Setting Institute as anything but a description of ongoing fact?

      Yes, they bombed the Meclis -- never been done before in a coup -- but they missed the Saray, an easier target, and they bombed the President's hotel hours after he left.

  • Long Knives in Ankara: Victorious Erdogan begins Purge of Judiciary, Army
    • This is the secon major purge of Gulenist elements. It's entirely possible that more of them have been purged than actually exist. Prosecutors, judges, and police were all subject to massive purges in response to the graft allegations of December 2013 against government ministers.

      Those allegations never came to trial. Davutoglu wanted to place AKP in favor of anti-corruption (one of the planks AKP ran on back in the day) but Erdogan rejected it saying you'd never get people into government.
      Regardless of what may or may not be true about Gulen -- people suspected him for years but were alleged to be Islamophobes, even by Erdogan himself, this is an extremely corrupt government with massive benefits accruing to the Erdogans and his inside circle.

    • After the quashed coup, as furious crowds demanded the return of the death penalty for captured soldiers, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım assured them he “heard their message”. On Sunday Erdoğan added his own voice, saying: “We are not vengeful, but in democracies you cannot put the wishes of the people to one side.”

      -- Not when they're saying what you want to hear, certainly. Otherwise, just sue them or arrest them.

      Smart take on the consequences from Alev Scott in the Guardian
      link to

      We now have a situation where violent mobs are sanctioned as “protecting democracy” by the president, whose prestige and power is now cemented more firmly than ever. This coup was the equivalent of an unhappy wife being kidnapped by a misguided and incompetent lover – a botched coup-nap. She – the 50% of Turks who would like to see Erdoğan voted out of power – never asked for such a rescue. After all, a civilised divorce is one thing, but no one actually wants a return to such medieval methods as the coup of 1980.

      This will never happen again, at least in Erdoğan’s time. The wife will be “safely” locked away, and the lover will be disposed of – perhaps humanely, perhaps not.

    • Yes, he is, but on the very small chance that this coup drives him toward democracy, this coup will have to be called a success. After all, he was not headed in that direction

    • as the highly respected Cengis Candar notes -- indeed, as anyone paying attention would realize -- there are lots of questions.
      link to

      Why do you bomb the hotel two hours after Erdogan has left, roughly six hours into the coup? it's a a much shorter run, even by chopper
      Why bomb the Meclis, which Candar notes is a first. And if you can do that, how the hell do you miss the Saray?

    • Sketches of democracy-loving people power
      “Most of the people who went out in the streets to oppose the coup d’état did not use democratic language,” said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the director of the Ankara office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a research organization.
      On Sunday, Turkey’s nearly 85,000 mosques, in unison, blared from their loudspeakers a prayer traditionally recited for martyrs who have died in war and called for people to continue to rally against the plotters of the coup.

      Erdogan Emerges Strong After Coup Attempt, but Turkey Awaits Next Steps

  • Turkish People Power foils attempted Coup
    • 2,745 judges have been replaced by the government (a.k.a. Tayyip) in the wake of the coup.

      Democracy in action, eh?

    • Expect an immediate claim of more powers and a snap election to ram through a new constitution.
      Then let's talk about democracy preserved, shall we?

  • Turkish airport massacre will further imperil a nation on the verge of crisis
    • Much prefer Ece Temelkuran's piece in today's NY Times as far as a glimpse into the mood in Turkey. This essay takes great pains to make Erdogan seem like both a non-problem and a non-factor. Neither is true; perhaps it's the level at which security studies analysis works?

  • The Greater Middle East Reacts to British Exit from EU
    • Well, not so fast on Turkey. The great Islamic Democrat Tayyip Erdogan has suggested a vote on a Trexit from application. That was reported by HDN in its Thursday issue.
      The question, you may bet, would be, "Should I stay or should I go?"
      It will not include the question, "Should I democratize so that the candidacy might progress."
      The idea that Turkey will be a desirable alternative after it returned yet another progress report unopened is the sort of thing that thinking people cannot take seriously.

  • Did Trump-Style Islamophobia break up the European Union?
    • Certainly helped on Rabin, incorrect on "the Kennedys," and Jo Cox ... really? That's what won the leave vote? Come on!

    • Unlikely. As you note, UK has a long history of concerns about influx from the east, dating back to Poland's accession. What we're seeing is a working class frustrated by the same sort of economic malaise that has affected most of the west post-2008 an heightened by a growing resentment of institutional politics. Immigration deals are part of that equation but not enough to have driven the result. (That's the sort of logic that led to "African Americans were responsible for the defeat of Proposition 8" a few years ago.)
      When the masses revolt, everyone who disapproves has his own hobbyhorse; here it's Islamophobia.
      Or perhaps we didn't recognize Slavophobia when we looked right at it?

  • Erdogan loses appeal against German media re: Comedian who Satirized him
    • Yep, and so he'll build the barracks at Gezi and fill it with a display of German, French and US atrocities because he's such a fan of justice and knows that Turkey is incapable of bad behavior. (Except for those people who listened to Radiohead during Ramadan, of course.)

  • Other Acts of Terror get Media Anniversaries, but not White Terrorists like Dylann Roof
    • It most certainly did. Perhaps not in the world of TeleSur, but on every tv and radio news show I watched/listened to last week. This is like news from an alternate planet.

  • The rise and fall of Turkey's progressive opposition
    • Given Turkish racism and its increasingly intolerant religious majority -- see the attack on listeners to Radiohead's new album who were set upon by Islamist punks -- HDP was always going to have trouble expanding beyond a small sliver of worldly Turks that are themselves marginalized inside the country.

      Meanwhile the Prime Minister has announced his own non-existence and Erdogan is dismantling and reassembling the Constitutional Court.

  • Did the FBI Tell Orlando Shooter's ex-Wife Not to reveal He Was Gay to Media?
    • No, it was reported by Telesur, the Venezuela-based news service sponsored by Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and a few others. Unimpeachable, I'd say.

    • I certainly never heard anything about his "homosexual tendencies" except on the morning of the attack and every day thereafter.

      What she did forget to say for quite a while is that she was texting with him while he was shooting the place up. my guess is that the FBI didn't suggest that.

  • Turkish President: Muslims who use Birth Control are Traitors
    • Thank god he's a Moderate Muslim Islamic Democrat who believes in secularism. If he weren't things could be like ... well ... this.

  • Let's Fight ISIL, but Without Help of Any Kurds: Turkey to US
    • From the 1 June Hurriyet Daily News:
      U.S. officials demanded that Turkey stop the shelling for a while to allow drones to do reconnaissance flights over the region. Such demands happen during operations and a short break was taken. However, a drone reconnaissance flight which takes an hour-and-a-half on average took more than five hours that day. This situation disturbed Turkey. It was assessed that the U.S. protected the YPG during the break and provided them with the time they needed to safely withdraw without any losses.

      Despite this, we did not disregard the fact that the U.S. was the top country which understood us in our fight against the PKK. But we have come to the point, as President Erdoğan has said, when we take matters into our own hands. These words are not a complaint or a threat. On the contrary, they are an expression of preparation.

      There is a two-phase preparation. The first stage is to destroy YPG and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets inside Syria if suicide bomb attacks continue, paying no mind to what the international coalition says.

      -- Abdulkadir Selvi, "New Codes in the Fight Against Terror"

    • He's right. The US does see the terrorist group controlling Turkey as an ally. Quite inexplicably, and support for its projects of extending Sunni hegemony and a neo-Ottoman order needs to end.

  • In Fight against ISIL, does US have to Choose between Turkey & YPG Kurds?
    • Is there really a choice between the PYD/YPG, and a fackless "ally" that supports Al-Aqeda affiliates, has at best a sketchy record with ISIS, and drifts farther everyday into authoritarianism and Islamism?
      I don't think so, and I'm pleased that the WH seems to have wised up.

  • US Spec Ops Troops on Front Line in Syria with Leftist Kurdish Insignia: AFP
    • Nice to see the US Administration declaring at least partial independence from the worthless crew in Ankara.
      Last time I checked, Turkey was backing ANF with no intent of laying off.

  • New Turkish PM Firmly Behind Erdogan on Executive Presidency
    • You forgot the quotation marks around selected unanimously by the ruling party. Those forms were already filled in.

  • What Next for Turkey After President's Power Play?
    • And indeed, today Yildirim, not Bozdag, was named PM, which I suppose these days stands for Practically Meaningless.

    • While I have no brief whatever for Davutoglu, I don't see why it makes sense to speak of these things as having happened on his watch. He was chosen as a lapdog PM at a party meeting called to specifically freeze out President Gul (who had done a splendid impression of a corpse for moist of his time in office). The message was clearly communicated when after ascending to the White Castle Erdogan convened the cabinet, not Davutoglu. Binali Yildirim, the puppet-in-waiting deliveded that message on TV.

      As for Erdogan, Muray Yetkin's latest (19 May Hurriyet Daily News) gets it right:

      "There is increasing criticism - inside and outside Turkey - that the political system is heading for one-man rule. This criticism upsets Erdoğan. Actually, he has a point here, because in fact he has never hidden his intentions about wanting to shift to a strong presidential system with centralized executive powers and fewer checks and balances. That has been an open policy, especially after the presidential elections in 2007.
      But Turkey’s friends and allies in the West, the U.S. and the European Union, preferred not to see it - just like those describing themselves as “liberals” in business, academia and the media."

      He goes on to suggest that Erdogan played to the west's "orientalist" habits of thought, which imagined the Army as the only obstacle to democracy, although now the army is in the barracks and democracy is dormant.

  • Surprise! Despite Syria-Iraq Turmoil, Major Mideast Economies growing 3-4%
    • Turkey is benefiting from low oil prices. On the other hand, unemployment is rising (crossed 11% in January), as are bankruptcies. Munitions and construction continue to be strong industries (both close to the palace, both benefiting from government contracts), but for all the neo-liberalism what one has increasingly is crony capitalism -- look at who gets the big contracts, owns the media, has access to the palace -- as well as development only in the Marmara region and out to Ankara. The rest of the country is collapsing, as population figures attest.
      But no doubt DiyarbakirWorld (I shudder to imagine it) will be a local boon once/if it is undertaken.)

  • Is Turkish PM's forced exit a Harbinger of greater Authoritarianism?
    • I'd have to say, No, it's only about the penultimate, or ante-penultimate nail in the coffin of Turkish imperfect democracy. Davutoglu had hardly any power to begin with; he was at best a speed bump on the road to a Putin-style regime. More importantly, the removal of Parliamentary immunities, along with a wholly compliant (because packed) Judiciary all but ensures the removal of the HDP and a majority for constitutional change.
      That said, as Erdogan himself proclaims, changes to the constitution simply legitimize a fait accompli. They will not bestow powers he does not already exercise.

  • Turkey's Erdogan ousts PM in Search of Imperial Presidency
    • It's only a surprise if one really believed Erdogan was once really a democrat, even an "Islamic democrat."

  • Fall of Iraq, Rise of Sunnistan? Sunni Politicians In Washington Promote Idea of Partition and a Sunni Region
    • Turkey Saudi and its American servants to help. Hadn't realized OIC is a Sunni club.

  • Turkey's Erdogan exports Press crackdown to US as his guards manhandle Journalists in DC
    • Although the PKK is guilty of horrific acts of terrorism

      And just as you argue with Daesh, they didn't grow from nothing, but from Turkish state policy. Erdogan's overtures were revoked once he realized that too many Kurds preferred HDP to him.

    • Eric Edelman nailed Erdogan's trajectory in a 2004 cable released by Wikileaks. Worth returning to against the myth that something changed and he really was the "Moderate Muslim" ideal in which so many invested so much faith.

  • Is Saudi Arabia's 'Islamic' Coalition against Terrorism a Paper Tiger?
    • We can add Turkey's contribution of a fourfold strategy:
      Blame it on the Kurds,
      Suggest that Kurds are really Armenians
      Insist that an all-powerful presidency will solve all problems
      Make deals with IS if anyone is taken hostage.

  • Turkey's Erdogan: Democracy Has 'Absolutely No Value Any Longer' given war on PKK Terrorism
    • This story is like George W. Bush and the tax cut. Whatever had happened, it would have been a reason to suspend democracy ... as if he hadn't done so long ago.

  • More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews
  • Syria's Kurds to declare Federal Province
    • a portionof that border, yes, but not a lot of that remains and many areas have shifted among nations. The falling apart of the Ottoman Empire often had ethnic underpinnings, as did the slaughters of Assyrians, Armenians, etc. Arabs often fared better. People in the region who invoke Sykes Picot often do so not for ethnic borders but for empire, as with our Neo-Ottoman friends..

    • Do people (other than Erdogan) really think that the ME's current boundaries were drawn by Messrs Sykes and Picot?

    • But is it acceptable to Putin?

    • Good old Tayyip. Years of whining about "Sykes-Picot, Sykes-Picot," and now that someone contemplates redrawing borders he has a tantrum. I suppose, tho, it's nice to see he can multitask while being so preoocupied with slaughtering large numbers of his own citizens and declaring most of the rest "terrorists."

  • Forgetting Tahrir: The Man on Horseback and the fate of Egypt's Revolution
    • Erdogan told the MB to play the long game, like he did; seduce everyone looking for a moderate Muslim and hollow out all opposition from inside. But they weren't patient.

  • Can Turkish Democracy survive Bombings, Ethnic Polarization?
    • Odd question to ask unless by Turkish democracy the author means something less than actual democracy. Better to ask if democracy in Turkey can survive Erdogan, who disowned the peace process, returned to the demonization of Kurds, turned the ISIS attacks on Kurds to nationalist purposes, and has now declared dissent terrorism. The answer to that question appears to be No.

  • Why did Ted Cruz win Saturday? Is this a Turning point against Trump?
  • Russia open to "Federal" Syria, but opposition worries about Partition
  • Iran Election Results Show that when US rewards Pragmatists, they Win
    • Let's hope these pragmatists are more pragmatic than the pragmatists we rewarded in Turkey, yeah?

  • Will Syrian Kurds defeat ISIL , helping Democrats win White House in 2016?
    • "The only thing we expect from our US ally is to support Turkey with no ifs or buts," Davutoğlu told a news conference following a five-hour security meeting with members of his cabinet and other officials.

      -- as reported in Today's Zaman

    • Rather a shame that they won't wake up the Turkish voters.
      State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that the US continues to view the YPG constructively after Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu announced to the Turkish press (what's left of it) how happy he was that the US said it shares Turkey's distrust of YPG.

      But defeat ISIS? Very tall order, and unless the US stops its triangulation with salafist Turkey and more plainly backs the YPG, the credit is likely to go to Russia, the blame for whatever vengeance Assad and Russian bombs wreak elsewhere to Obama.

  • France: Turkish-Russian 'War' Possible over Syria
    • Erdogan’s son-in-law, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, said the war is not only a “defensive" one waged by Turkey’s Islamist power-holders against the alleged international conspiracy. This fight also has a missionary connotation on behalf of all Muslims — on behalf of the "ummah," or community.

      “Today, Turkey is waging an existential war, a war for the future. And this war is not only for this country and this region; it is a war for the independence of the ummah,” Albayrak said in a recent speech in Trabzon province.

      Cengiz Kandar reports here

  • Syria: 500 Turkey-backed Sunni Arab Fighters Cross to defend Azaz from Kurds
    • Fehim Tastekin, 17 Feb:

      Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, when asked last week if Turkey would do anything to reopen the corridor, aroused curiosity by replying, “Wait for a few days; you will get your answer.” Naturally, his cryptic response fanned the debate over whether a military intervention is in the making.

    • Reyhanli (the point of entry into Turkey for those forces) has been open country for years. Remember the bomb that exploded in 2013? Likely compliments of al Nusra.

  • Turkey's New Normal?: Bombing in Ankara kills Dozens
    • & whereas Ankara 1 and Suruc went through a slow process before finally (not to sat reluctantly) being put on ISIL, , this one was put on the usual suspects despite Salih Muslim's statement denying YPG responsibility.
      Many groups it could be, including, certainly, PKK. But this seems all too conveniently out of the GWB Iraq playbook at a time when Ankara is explicitly invoking its 2003 vote and vowing not to make the same mistake twice -- they voted against joining the coalition; that is now seen by AKP as a mistake.

  • Turkey: Erdogan's Domestic War for a Presidential System
    • Today's bombing in Ankara, whoever eventually claims responsibility (otherwise it will be placed on the Kurds) will only increase his power. The MHP and Deniz Baykal (who should never have been permitted to run on the CHP ticket will give Tayyip any power he wants if it supports a war.

  • Has the Turkish-Saudi direct Military Intervention in Syria Begun?
    • Unfortunately, as the article makes clear, Obama has zero influence in Turkey; that's been evident at least since Gezi.
      The author says that the "hands off" attitude will have to change if Turkey and KSA are serious about an invasion as opposed to shelling the Kurds, as Turkey did in October as well (and exposing YPG to more deaths by refusing to let Turkish Kurds cross to support the YPG even as it leaves an open corridor for al Nusra to cross back and forth). But what will it do? Ask for more peace and be once more ignored or -- god forbid -- join the fight?

  • Is Iran the most Stable Country in the Mideast 37 Years after its Revolution?
    • Everything after reason #1 is window dressing. When the fashion police is a significant RSA, we can stop the analysis at state oppression.

  • Despite Syria Cease Fire, Belligerents Plot military Victory
    • No, he did not. Biden did. But he's been out front on many things where Obama doesn't follow.

    • one base, which it will now share with the Saudis, whom I expect to inflame the sectarian war because that's what the Saudis do.

    • Second day of Turkish attacks on YPG forces. YPG has consistently fought ISIS and other Islamists.
      Turkey has consistently supported both yet Obama is silent on the whole situation, which also has not risen to recognition on this site for some reason.

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