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Total number of comments: 390 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:46)


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  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • If we're playing that angle, I nominate Turkey. major weapons supplier/transshipment point for the rebels and has wanted this war for years.

  • Obama's Limited Options: Bombing Syria unlikely to be Effective
    • Get ready for the slow tilt to George W. Obama. Erdogan's got to be thrilled to see his dream of a Sunni Islamist Syria to complement the new Turkey.

  • Syria: Will Killing of Hundreds with Sarin Gas force Obama's Hand?
    • Simple way of looking at it: what's the point of being the guy who got OBL if you turn around and arm his organization?

    • since I always believe everything I see on Youtube, especially from partisans, thanks!

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
    • Oh, Richard, you missed the point: Western liberals are always and everywhere to blame. QED.

    • Those redistricting plans can be and often are subject to review by courts and so far no governor or president in the US has revoked the power of the courts to rule.

      Have to agree with Richard, one can explain away anything, so what's the point?

    • Question for you Juan:

      ElBaradei had been put forward for PM, but he was rejected by the Salafist Al Nour party. Would his position as PM have made any difference?

  • Putin as America's Frenemy: The Snowden Paradox
    • Cats get bad press, but they're wonderful friends. Besides, if you get one that lives up to that press, you'll be better prepared for foreign affairs.

  • Egypt's Revocouption Part Deux: Dueling Crowds leave 30 Dead
  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • You mean Tayyip's three child policy won't work for Turkey (or Germany)?

    • Thanks for the link to the Tom Sugrue Q&A. foremost historian of the C20 American city, period, I'd say.

  • Top Ten Ways Egypt Actually Does deeply Matter to the United States
    • I strongly disagree. First, Turkey has been far more active for far longer than any other force. It has been clamoring for NATO action since one of its planes violated Syrian airspace and was shot down and it attempted to invoke the mutual defense provisions claiming that the plane was in international airspace. It got Patriot missiles in return. Second, it has been hosting the FSA meetings in hopes of restarting its neo-Ottoman dreams even as the FSA descends into infighting each time it meets. Third, in that vacuum Turkey has claimed a role as spokesman. Fourth the choice was not an isolated choice but part of Davutoglu's noe-0Colonial foreign policy toward his backyard ... though one must note that the newly discovered love of democrats comes after it wass one of Qaddafi's last supporters (after all, Tayyip was a past winner of the Qaddafi Human Rights Prize)
      So, the question is whether Turkey could have handled the suituation without making a hash of something on its own doorstep. Talk about reckless!

    • Turkey's foreign policy is, to date under Davutoglu, an absolute comedy of bluster, wrong bets, and a transition from the historical "no problems" policy to a no friends policy. If they're the region's democratic beacon, the region is sailing in the dark. Need I list the ways?

  • New Egyptian gov't on being sworn in, Complains of Turkish Interference in Egyptian Affairs
  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • What Juan identified as average is actually median for 2010. (Apparently before the crasg, Asians were ahead of whites.) But the numbers didn't come crashing down from those medians of the following chart, which are not national medians at all, but statistics derived from a longitudinal study of selected families.

    • I'm interested in the 1984 v. 2009 numbers and what happens to the wealth gap in constant dollars vs what it means that over the same period African American wealth went from 20 percent of whites' to 34 percent (African American rise in nominal dollars of slightly more than 15 times vs white rise of slightly more than 9 times).

  • Egypt: Prosecutor Comes after Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, as Divided Mass Protests Continue
  • Remembering Syria: Homs 'Ghost Town' Under heavy Regime Bombardment
  • In Chilling Ruling, Chevron is Granted Access to Amazon Activists' Private Emails
  • Aljazeera's Conspiracy Theory about Obama and Egypt is Brainless Mush
    • one predictable result of this sort of conspiracy theory: open season on Egyptian Christians.

      link to

    • Gee, Juan, it sounds to me like the Turkish model at work! Same sort of brain dead it's the Americans/the Jews paranoia. How many generations does it take for the mind to decolonize?

      It puts me in mind of this from the Turkish commentator Burak Bekdil:

      “'Luckily, the first 18 tumultuous months of the Arab Spring have passed. Once we deal with the next 180 tumultuous months, then the final 1,800 tumultuous months will be very easy to tackle,' ('Enjoy your Arab Spring,' this column, June 20, 2012)."

  • Middle East Regional Contention over Egypt's New Government
    • You're not paying enough day-to-day attention to the AKP, Juan. Your comments are accurate for a few years ago, not today.

  • The Gezi Park Protests: Is Turkey becoming Egypt? (Schubel)
    • or at least note the Fethullaci funding this group receives.

    • Easily the best American take I've read. The only thing I could add would be instance that I'm sure the professor already knows or that came down since he wrote the essay. I'm really, really impressed!

  • Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Calls for 'Uprising' as Plan for Elections is Announced
    • Oh, Richard, he took the WRONG side. It goes without saying, whichever side he took. He didn't even have to do anything; that's the beauty of it.

    • Well, of course there was provocation. MB spent the weekend readying people to die, and the people preparing for the honor were interviewed in the western media. So why should we be surprised?

      And now that the obvious has been established, Nour is quickly back in the fold. There will still be people braying that what happened couldn't have because it conflicts with their plans for Egypt (see above), but the result at this point seems to be that MB has marginalized itself even further and only its dead-end apologists and the people who confuse ballotization with democracy have anything to complain about.

  • Egypt: Over 50 dead in Brotherhood-Army Clash; Baha-al-Din proposed PM; Thousands support Gov't
    • It's an attitude I read a lot and don't understand:

      1. The US/EU needs to stay out of internal situations in other countries.
      2. Where's the US/EU to stop this horrid situation!?!?!
      3. Why did the US/EU come in and make this terrible situation?!?

      It's a sad and slowly dying colonialism.

  • Brotherhood, Army risk Civil War: 30 Dead, Hundreds Wounded
    • I don't see anything in that article saying MM was open to compromise. NYTimes says he changed his tune a day or two before the end but by that time the oppo was no longer interested. The Guardian article does say, "In recent months, Morsi had been at odds with virtually every institution in the country, including leading Muslim and Christian clerics, the judiciary, the armed forces, the police and intelligence agencies." That sounds positive..

    • Very interesting essay on Jjadaliyya by Khaled Shaalan, a PhD student at SOAS, on why Western Media are getting the story wrong.

      link to

  • Egypt's "Revocouption" and the future of Democracy on the Nile
    • Yes. Many do. California recalled its governor in the early 2000s.

    • Given that Morsi won 25% in the first round and in the second round many people held their noses and voted for Morsi over the candidate with regime ties, trusting his pledges of democracy, I'd not expect them to do so well.

  • No Atheists in Foxholes, no Climate Change Deniers at front Lines of Wildfires
  • Fourth of July Comes a Day Early to Cairo after Fundamentalist President is Removed (video)
    • Who's cheering a dictator? The army has facilitated the transfer of power to another agent who will attempt to write a constitution that's a sound foundation.

      Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty will be borne by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going, it is not to be wondered that they should then rouse themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected, and without which, ancient names and specious forms are so far from being better, that they are much worse than the state of Nature or pure anarchy; the inconveniencies being all as great and as near, but the remedy farther off and more difficult.

    • To which the only reply is, Yes, it does.

    • Right, and the fundamental one, the constitution, was foul from its institution because of the profoundly undemocratic process by which it was written and run through. That's your democratic insitution.

    • Legitimately elected, yes, but he lost that legitimacy with his suspension of democratic process to run through a seriously flawed constitution. He's been on borrowed time since.

  • Egypt's Countdown to Meltdown: Morsi Refuses to Deal
    • I rather think the rebels have an unassailable point about who abrogated democracy. Morsi used an administrative coup to establish the framework he and his party wanted and then declared democracy back in business under his rules. Nice if you can get away with it, but perhaps he can't.

  • Snowden: US now using deprivation of Citizenship as a Weapon
    • I hadn't realized before this that there is a right of asylum for anyone who commits a crime, or, come to think of it, that when judges require passports to be surrendered at arraignment they're violating international law. Or is it that Snowden/Assange is making it up as he/they go along?

  • How Egypt's Michelle Bachmann became President and Plunged the Country into Chaos (Cole at Truthdig)
    • I noticed that you wrote, "Last month, Morsi suddenly appointed 17 provincial governors (governors are appointed, not elected, in Egypt, which is one of the things wrong with Egyptian politics)." It's also one of the things wrong with Turkish politics, and what recently allowed Erdogan to move governors around (e.g., to swap governors of Izmir and Diyarbakir).

  • Biggest Demonstrations in Egyptian History: Millions Demand President Morsi Step Down
    • Constitution? Didn't we see that movie and it ended badly? What is there in Morsi's behavior since to make one imagine he is more open to compromise and collaboration. Calls like this for resignation are what one gets with a vigorous, wide-spectrum of opposition movements, even of some of them are normally quite small. It's odd to complain about both the general quietism of the US and much of W. Europe and also about the activism of groups protesting against more drastic cuts to individual liberty in Egypt and Turkey.

    • I suppose it's reasonable to assume that the converse is also true, that the US is certainly blamed in certain sectors of Turkey for calling the generals and ordering them to stand down against the AKP in 2007. Damned if it do, damned if it don't.

    • Anything that fits into a coherent column is by definition an oversimplification. But there's a lot to agree with in Turkey's case. the fact that the regime is Islamist and moving the country away from laicite and freedoms that the young have assumed to be a birthright in no way means that it is not old style in terms of being autocratic, authoritarian, controlling and threatening the press enriching insiders (the PM most of all) and controlling a deep state that imprisons opponents for long periods without trial when other forms of harassment and intimidation do not work.

      I don't think there's any doubt that Erdogan is locked into old-style thinking as much as old-style rhetoric and old-style conspiracy theorizations.

      Seems to me that Morsi did about the same with the constitution and dismissal of judicial authority.

  • 'The 19th Day of the Egyptian Revolution': What the Egyptian Press is Saying about Today's Mass Protest
    • It's an excellent question in Turkey. Michael Ferguson has a very interesting article up on Erdogan's recent move beyond the White Turk/Black Turk axis to the use of a term he translates as Negro but probably ought to be something less polite; see:

      link to

      And charges of "racism" have made their way into the English-language press as unspecified "racists" are among those who supposedly "derailed" the Gezi protests; see para. 5 of

      link to

      And then there's the Kurds, who gained the resentment of some sectors of the protesters for sitting out the protests as a group because of the then-ongoing peace negotiations(although certainly they were a large number of striking public sector workers). Now those negotiations appear more stalled than the EU negotiations (speaking of Turkish perceptions of racism!) and racist language toward the Kurds from sectors of both CHP and AKP (it's always there in MHP) is seeping into the air.

  • Duelling Demonstrations Divide Egypt over Morsi and Fundamentalism
    • I know my Turkish friend are firm believers that RTE is a US plant, of course, he's been heavily supported by the US and trumpeted as the moderate Islamist brand until that was all exposed this month. But the US has been remarkably silent on events in Turkey, as compared to even the milquetoast EU.
      The belief appears confirmed by the US willingnwess to support the Sunnis in Syria after what looks from TC like much browbeating by the neo-Ottoman regime in Ankara.
      Short answer as to why it is held to be a us desire:
      1. Isolate Iran, taken to be the primary US/Israeli enemy in the region, and
      2. Willingness of the Islamists (witness Turkey) to participate wholeheartedly in the neo-liberal order.
      It's a argument on which I'm agnostic. because while I'd like to think someone in DC is smart enough not to want a large swath of Salafist regimes in power, 1 and 2 seem to me to be unassailable claims.

  • Under European Pressure, Tunisia suspends Sentence of 3 Protesters who Bared Breasts
  • Millennials take over Qatar, but Real Change has Yet to be Accomplished
    • In fairness: I believe that Sami's final two sentences in his second paragraph anticipate your point: "But then again the reason they import outsiders is because they specifically don’t want to add new citizens. It’s obvious: They want the labor, not the people."

  • Egypt's Morsi Provokes Anger, Astonishment with appointment of Governor from former Terrorist Group
    • Well, watching Tayyip's openly sectarian, irredentist Ottomanism, another week of whipping up angry crowds, calls for the Ministry of Information to get to the bottom of the foreign (European, Iranian, Kurdish) plotters of the protest and the rumors that tear gas was used, I'm not surprised. After all, Morsi was supposed to be the sketchy one, and he proved that with his constution-writing exercise.

  • 60% of Free Syria Army fighting for Islamic State: Channel 4 News
    • Not surprised. I believe I heard a figure of 40,000 volunteers from Europe. Raises again the question of what in god's name the US is doing supporting it. Ne.Kevin Mcedless to say, this will not end well with or without us

      New York Times notes that "Egypt’s prosecutors have been flooded with blasphemy complaints since 2011 as Islamists exercising their new societal clout have pushed for prosecutions and courts have handed down steep fines and prison terms for insulting religion." (Apparently Egypt is taking Turkey for a model after all.)

  • Egypt's Morsi Calls for No-Fly Zone over Syria: A step toward regional Sunni-Shiite War?
    • Just read the same news and had the same thought. It's a wonderful thing we've gotten into, supporting opposition so internally opposed that it couldn't even get up a set of representatives for negotiations.

      If there's to be a no-fly zone, Turkey has had practice patrolling the skies over Syria. I believe they even found their plane.

  • Erdogan Clears Gezi Park Protesters, sets Stage for Polarization
    • tonight, people were arrested for the crime of standing silently in Taksim Park. What else is there to say?

      link to

      link to

    • And a very unsurprising addendum: The CHP's main offices in Istanbul were attacked.

      link to

      “We were told that the building was being attacked by a group of around 35 to 40 people who had sticks. The young people who were sheltered inside the CHP building rushed to the entrance. They later told me that the group attacked the building with stones and chanted ‘Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.’ But I did not witness this as I was on the upper floors. I heard that this group dispersed after they saw the young people inside our building,” Toprak told the Hürriyet Daily News immediately after the incident.

    • We draw closer to learning what the advantages of civil control of the Armed Forces of Turkey means as Bulent Arinc, deputy prime minister, speaks of calling out the Army.

      link to

      This is consistent with EU Minister Bagis's earlier notice that protesters would be regarded as terrorists.

      link to

      Members of the five unions participating in the general strike today have also been threatened with retributive action.

      link to

      To all who thought (as I once did) that this recalibration of power was to the good, remember that the government -- but that, too, is inaccurate -- that one man has from the beginning escalated this crisis.

      Erdogan called for excessive force against protesters.

      He claimed that the project had been voted on, and yet if your read the statements of the Prime Minister, the Istanbul Governor, and the Istanbul Mayor between 31 May and 5 June or so, you will read conflicting accounts of what the project was to be, and you will never find any plans or drawings.

      He escalated the violence at two points, most recently on Saturday when he gave the protesters a day to vacate but unleashed the most vicious attacks in years in perhaps thirty years or more in Istanbul and Ankara. aunties and children were in the park. He stormed hotels and arrested doctors who treating the injured.

      He held two party-funded, party-organized rallies to inflame tensions. The NY Times reports, "By Sunday, Mr. Erdogan sought to thoroughly delegitimize any opposition to his governance, linking the effort to save the park to a recent terrorist attack in Reyhanli, in southern Turkey, which was connected to the Syrian civil war and killed dozens," and “'We know very well the ones that sheltered in their hotels those who cooperated with terror,' he said at the rally. 'Will they not be held accountable?'”

      As Ali Alper Riza, a turkish Cypriot practicing at Goldsmith Chambers in London wrote yesterday, Turkey is now an "elective dictatorship."

      link to

      Anyone thinking this too will pass because Erdogan is term-limited should stop to recall that there is no such provision in the Turkish Constitution, it is an AK Party policy easily reversed by a megalomaniac whom no one in his own party dare resist.

    • Police tear-gassed the Divan Hotel, which was being used as a field clinic. They have also arrested doctors for treating the injured.

      Enough photos exist of Jenix pepper spray being added to the TOMA reservoirs, and enough visual evidence exists on people's skin that we can safely say that the police did indeed use 'chemically enhanced' water.

      Four more journalists were arrested.

      Today, Erdogan claimed no need to recognize opponents because he "take[s] instructions and orders only from God." Instead, the AKP pays transit and other fees to bring supporters/government workers to a party rally whose aesthetics would make Riefenstahl proud.

      Tomorrow five major unions including doctors and dentists are striking. The Turkish Bar Association has declared a state of emergency.

      Meanwhile the press has been enjoined from reporting on the intelligence ministry's snooping in the lives of opposition figures and gathering profiles on people who use such government services as the schools and the state airline.

      One can, no doubt, find analogues for most elements of this response in the annals of the west. Of course, that excuses none of it, any more than reversing the polarities would.

      And one could take the Mustafa Akyol line and blame it all on the Kemalists, but that presumes what, that the Ottoman Empire was democratic and supportive of dissent?

  • An Outbreak of Reasonableness in Tehran: Top Ten Conclusions from Iran's Early Election Returns
    • from all I've been reading for hours from my friends in Turkey, I suppose I should comment Iran for being the more democratic, rule-of-law regime.

      Police storming a hotel used as a field clinic and filling it with tear gas, using solvents of some sort in the water cannons.

      Gassing of Divan hotel: link to

      Egemen Bagis announced that protesters will be treated as terrorists.

    • a) Considering that Khamenei was able to decide who could and who could not run for president, I'd not be so quick to say that the election was not fixed.

      b) Given your insistence in previous columns that Khamenei, not Ahmadinejad, was the ultimate authority in Iran -- a claim I do not dispute -- I'll wait to see how much the nuclear negotiation policy changes, given that his opponent was the country's nuclear negotiator.

  • Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria
    • I'm not speaking for Juan but putting a point in the bluntest possible manner: Lebaanon, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Israel are all what the US considers vital interests for one or another reason. Two or three of them are disintegrating, AQ spillover in Turkey would be worse for US interests than the PKK ever was. Did the US for a second think of doing anything about Mali? How long would it take the US to get more deeply involved and escalate a clusterf--- in this region?

    • "This is because if you avoid a quagmire as president, no one holds that against you."

      Yep. And even though Libya was not a quagmire at all, the blow back is the most recent example of the US's inability to read the region. the idea that Sunni hegemony is going to lead to stability and peace, even at the cost of freedoms and protections for minorities and the secular (which we seem prepared magnanimously to sacrifice) is a pipe dream.

  • The Emir of Kuwait's War on Twitter
    • Criticize Sultan in Turkey and find yourself sued; express atheism and go to jail.

      But now it gets worse as the Government sets its sights on curtailing or closing Twitter, which Erdogan called worse than car bombs!

      link to

  • Sunni-Shiite Conflict Spikes as al-Qaeda Massacres 60 Shiites, Gulf States Sanction Hizbullah
    • Well, good to know we're upping our support for the slaughtering Sunnis. I suspect the timing of this announcement is related to Tayyip's keeping the dogs kenneled tonight -- not that Americans or Turks want this escalation that I doubt will end well or quickly.

    • Have to agree with Kizilbash in that while religious rhetoric may be used just as a handle to grasp (Ataturk did so even as he built the secular Republic), these differences are lived very deeply by a lot of people. Fethullah Gulen'smost recent pronouncement, ecumenical as usual, didn't resist a jab at the Shiites (at least as Today's Zaman interpreted it, and they should know).

      Meanwhile, the scene in Turkey, where Erdogan has promised to use TERRORISM prosecutions:

      "We are scared now

      This morning they arrested 43 people leaving the park because they had helmets and gas masks -- which protesters use to protect themselves from the police.

      If the streets are 'quiet' it's simple repression."

  • Learning the Wrong Lessons from Tahrir Square: Erdogan Assaults Taksim in bid to break up Protests
    • Subordinating the military is in itself neither a good nor a bad thing. What is positive about subordination of the military to an authoritarian leader, regardless of how he was elected. (The Czech Communists were freely elected and that didn't work out so well.)

    • tend to agree w/ the Guardian story, as do mt friends in Turkey, many of whom have been posting images of the cocktail throwers and the surprisingly weak response to them. Also the fact that they made their appearance WITH the police clearance action. They had not been out doing this for any length of time to bring this on.

      It would appear that Erdogan has brought Gul to heel. He signed the alcohol law, he rejected the idea of a meeting of the parties about the protests and the violence. (In truth, figuring out what the Hoca from Pennsylvania is thinking is advanced Kremlinology, especially as his public pronouncements tend toward mush.)

      Erdogan, as anyone who's followed his career knows, is acting as he always acts. He is a Kasimpasa punk, a brawler and a man of considerable venom.

      He has also chosen to make this about him at a time when he is pushing not only for the presidency but a new constitution that would concentrate all state power in the president. If the protests derail that, they may be scored a success.

      While I understand Juan's comparisons to Morsi because of the street protests, to understand Erdogan, I would suggest a 180-degree turn to look at Putin's career.

  • Great Moments in Police Clearing of Protesters: Zucotti Park, Nov. 15, 2011 (Democracy Now! Video)
    • From a Friend in Turkey:

      Dear friends all over the world,
      Please share! The government in collaboration with the police and the media staged a theater play (with terrible actors) at Taksim square early this morning. After announcing that there will be no attacks on the people at Gezi park and Taksim, hundreds of policemen came to collect the banners, at the same time chocking people with tear gas. The media, who has ignored the protests so far was there from the beginning broadcasting (from extremely good shooting points) a play between hundreds of cops and about 30 protesters (still a mystery who they were) who were throwing molotov cocktails to the police at the square. This act went on for more than an hour. The police, who is capable of breaking up thousand of people (without provocation )within minutes with tear gas and water cannons, only circled around them, gently spraying a little water. In the mean time, on the back streets and around Gezi park, where the media was not broadcasting, the attacks were as usual brutal. The protests until this morning have been peaceful and it is not clear whether these people were extremists from some political groups or some others(??). What is clear is that they do not reflect the spirit of this uprising. Couple of hours ago, police attacked the biggest court house in Istanbul and arrested around 70 lawyers, who were only protesting against the morning attacks, probably as a response to their help with protecting the rights of the people arrested and injured during last weeks protests. In response to today's events, people of Istanbul are going back to Taksim square this evening at 19:00 possibly with larger numbers than the protests on May 31. Please share this information. The Turkish media has failed miserably and it is very important that the world knows what is really going on in Turkey.

    • Not defending it, but it looks like a church picnic compared to the past 15 hours in Istanbul.

  • Police Clear Taksim Square: Turkey's Protests and the Neoliberal Market (Cole interview)
    • The clearing goes on this evening. The government sent provocateurs with SDP (socialist party) shields and banners out to throw Molotov cocktails. SDP immediately responded that it was not involved. Indeed, the only party protests have been the AKP-funded counter-demonstrations.

      The provocateurs are clearly the cover under which Istanbul Governor Mutlu will justify targeting people rather than "banners." (Really, anyone who has traveled through Turkey knows that no one loves banners more than the government. They're everywhere!)

      Things were worse last night at Kurtulus and Kizilay in Ankara.

      The government seeks to curtail or expunge twitter. Lawyers are being arrested in Istanbul at Taksim.

      RTE may have been democratically elected (if swapping coal for votes counts), but he is not captaining an authoritarian regime.

  • Its the Corporations, Stupid: Why we are 2nd Amendment Fundamentalists but the 4th Amendment doesn't Count
    • Far as I know, people in the US are not arrested for Tweeting. They are now in Turkey. Now this from Hurriyet Daily News

      Social media, the supreme arsenal of the demonstrators at the Gezi Park protests, is now being targeted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for working against society’s “serenity and peace,” and the government is now seeking ways to restrict it.

      After Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Twitter a “plague,” the government has moved to bring certain legal regulations to the use of social media. Following the snowballing impact it engendered in organizing the Gezi Park protests, Erdoğan is reportedly considering precautions to take, as discussed during an emergency meeting of the Central Decision and Executive Council (MKYK) of the AKP on June 8.

      The AKP’s vice chairman of media and public relations responsible for social media, Ali Şahin, hinted at a “legal regulation” to “set social media in order.” “Social media must be brought under order and regularity ... A legal regulation could be made. People must be held responsible for the content they write. If as a result of a tweet they write, people loot shops and burn vehicles, the one who wrote it must bear its costs,” Şahin told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

  • Istanbul Rising: VICE Explains the Turkish Protests (Video)
    • - In recent days, the violence has been much worse in Ankara, a more conservative city, out of range of most of the TV cameras. Film from Adana shows people among the police throwing rocks at protesters.
      - AKP has been blaming an international conspiracy of "the interest rate lobby" which Kadri Gursel usefully translates as the "Chapul-Jews" thus serving up red meat to their base.
      - Yusuf Kanli reports that AKP, through the government treasury, offered released time to on-duty workers, overtime to those not on duty and a 100TL reimbursement per car for government workers to attend Erdogan's Esenboga Airport rally.
      - HalkTV puckishly ran split-screen coverage: live view of Taksim on the left, on the right, over the tag "Esenboga" were frolicking penguins.
      - Gulserin Onanc, former deputy leader within CHP made some very good points in an interview appearing in English in Today's Zaman.

  • Turkey: Erdogan's Blindness to People Power will Diminish Him (IslamiCommentary)
    • Following up on the above, Turkish journalist Karti Gursel surveys the paranoia swirling through AKP-supporting press, the mood at the airport, and concludes:

      "At the moment, Erdogan seems inclined toward the worst option, both for his image in the world and social peace in Turkey. That would be to attack with a major security force without losing time to recover the square from the protesters at the cost of possible fatalities.

      That would be followed by a witch hunt against the protesters, the media, various business owners, civil society and against anyone empathizing with the protests."

      excellent article at link to

    • I am hearing from numerous friends in Turkey their fear that Erdogan is going to look the other way as his supporters unleash violence, based on (1) his willingness to let his airport supporters chant "Let us crush Taksim!" without silencing them and (2) his comment that he would "give protesters until Monday."

      I hope they are wrong, but anyone who knows Turkish history will immediately know the scenario.

    • How Erdogan's supporters think (from Hurriyet Daily News):

      “God is Great,” his supporters chanted, and soon moved on to slogans referring specifically to the protesters in Taksim Square. “Let us go, let us crush them,” they shouted. “Istanbul is here, where are the looters?”

    • Erdogan's airport speech was as combative and tone deaf as all he has said. The protests continue as an overwhelmingly peaceful in the face of violent provocation, creative, often humorous and empathic response to mounting provocations.

      While the President has said the right thing, at least on occasion, he has not acted in any significant way. Erdogan, meanwhile, seems prepared to tank the economy in a fit of pique.

      RTE airport remarks link to

  • Turkey: It's about the Right to be Different (Soysal)
    • TZ has a limited "balance"; it's owned by Fethullah Gulen. I'd also recommend Hurriyet English, more aligned with the CHP, but home to Turkey's best-known (to the US) spokesman for liberal Islam, Mustafa Akyol, and also the Turkey Pulse from al-Monitor, which has a range of authors and also translates opinion pieces from a range of papers -- Taraf and Radikal to Sabah.

      Hurriyet link to

      Turkey Pulse link to

    • I can't imagine what you think they're calling for. TC is, as many have noted., already a democracy.

      As much as it's true that no one body is the entire movement, a platform has been released:

      Taksim Solidarity press release 05-06-13

      To The Government of The Republic of Turkey and The Public

      Citizens have been expressing their democratic outrage in Taksim Istanbul and all around the country against the insensitivity of the government for the public concern about the de-facto destruction of the Taksim Gezi Park that took place around 10 PM on May 27th.
      We share the pain of Abdullah Comert’s and Mehmet Ayvalitas’ families and wish to extend our get-well wishes to thousands of wounded citizens.
      Unfortunately, the government insists on its violent, repressive and prohibitionist policies against the public’s wish to express its democratic and human rights based demands. We would like it to be known that we are making an extreme effort to reach a social climate where no one is hurt, tensions are resolved and democratic demands can be expressed.
      For these reasons, as Taksim Resistance, we are waiting for the government to take substantive steps towards the realization of the demands below.
      • Gezi Park should remain a park. There should be no construction on the park under the name of TopcuKislasi or under any other name. An official statement should be made announcing the cancellation of the project. The attempts at the demolition of Ataturk KulturMerkezi should be stopped.

      • Starting with the Governors and Chief of Police of Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay, all responsible persons who have stood in the way of people’s right of expression in the resistance at Taksim and other places; persons who ordered the use of violence; and persons who supervised and carried out these orders should be removed from office. The use of tear gas bombs and similar devices should be banned.

      • The citizens who have been detained all around the country for supporting the resistance should be freed immediately. There should be a statement announcing that no further investigation will be pursued against these individuals.

      • The prohibition and de-facto obstruction of meetings, protests and demonstrations in our squares and public places should end, starting with Taksim and Kiziliay Squares, the sights of May 1st celebrations. Barriers to freedom of expression should be lifted.

      Furthermore, we think that the authorities should understand the content, spirit, hopes and demands of the reaction that came from the streets and all kinds of public places since May 27th, 10 PM. Trying to explain away what happened by referring to “marginality” would be the same as ignoring these events. We can see that citizens interpret the intervention in Gezi Park, which symbolizes the government’s general thinking, as “an intervention in their beliefs and lifestyles and a sign of condescension,” eliciting a cry of “we are here and we have demands“ and a public outrage from all kinds of people, whether they be women, men, young or old.

      We would like the ruling authorities to realize that the reaction of the citizens is also about the Proposed Law on The Protection of Nature and Biodiversity that came into National Assembly’s agenda and the projects that plunder our ecological riches, starting with the third airport in Istanbul, the third bridge over The Bosporus, the construction on AOC, and the hydro-electric power plants (HEPP). The reaction is also an expression of “the wish for peace, and resistance to the war politics being played in our country and in the region; the sensitivities of Alevi citizens; the rightful demands of the victims of urban transformation projects; the voices raised against the conservative male politics that control women’s bodies; the resistance to the coercion against universities, the judicial branch and artists; the demands of all workers, starting with the employees of Turkish Airlines, against the appropriation of their rights; the struggle against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and the demands for the clearing of the way for citizen’s right of access to education and healthcare.”


    • Turkisn FM (and clown) Ahmet Davatoglu weighs in:

      “These sorts of incidents happen everywhere and they are considered unexceptional. Then why are they regarded extraordinary when happening in Turkey?”

    • thank you, Ayşe Hoca, for writing this and Juan for publishing it at a time when, predictably, AKP supporters (e.g. Zaman Today editor and many on his staff) are fanning out trying to distinguish a "legitimate" initial protest from a bunch of chapullers in the streets and squares from Friday onward. those chapullers are the diverse Turkish public that Professor Soysal describes.

  • Police Brutality and Turkish Protests (Compilation Video)
    • Yavuz Baydar on the current media situation in Turkey:

      Behind the recent reshuffling of media ownership was this quest for power (such as ShowTV, Star TV, Skyturk360). Whoever takes over the government first wants to control the media by using public contracts as a “carrot.”

      Media bosses are after ever-expanding Istanbul projects that mean millions of dollars. These bosses cannot, therefore, allow true journalism: Angering the government is a major risk.

      That is why you never hear in the major media any of the corruption stories we all know about. There is no investigative journalism. That no big media boss appears on the list of taxpayers despite the big money they make leads us to ask one question: How can a media that grows with corrupt capital cover the raging corruption in a country?

    • the section beginning at 4:30 is AKP supporters taking the street along with the cops. You can see that some of them are carrying sticks -- they're the people really chapulling.
      I think I've seen all of the clips -- and worse -- before this. There's nothing nearly extreme enough to doubt.

  • Defiant Erdogan Risks Turkish Economy, as Unions enter the Fray
    • Note: DISK, another trade union, has jioned the strike.

    • As a number of wise on the ground commentators have observed (e.g.barcin Yinanc in her column in Hurriyet English) a generation raised apolitical in the wake of the coup 30+ years ago has become active. As my own friends there tell me, they are surprised to find themselves in the streets, but they are there, uncertain what comes next, but unwilling to go home.

      Seyla Ben Habib's essay in today's NY Times is valuable because she seems to have been watching and knows how Erdogan works. She made the connection (as few do) between the timing of the PKK negotiations and Erdogan's scheme for an imperial presidency. (two years ago, he had said that unlike CHP, he would have hanged Ocalan immediately!)

      A lot of the western left has been late to the party, still believing in RTE's "moderate Islam" pledge and willing ot overlook his neoliberalism because identity trumps class. I, too, had been optimistic, but I'm also been watching and listening.

      It's a two-day strike for now, but the action needs to be ongoing when RTE returns.

  • Binary Signaling & Turkish Protests (Izmir Video)
    • Link to (mostly) citizen journalists with their smart phones recording police violence. link to

      Erdogan is right about twitter and tumblr to the extent that even if the revolution is not being televised at home the images get out and people are able to warn each other of traps set by police and violent AKP supporters.

  • Turkish Opinion Poll Finds Majorities Slam Erdogan policies on Alcohol, Syria
    • Well, he's right that things are fluid. It's important to note that some police in plain clothes and AKP are acting as provocateurs as well; that was the scene last night in Besiktas. it's also quite understandable that even though Taksim proved the final straw that the months of accelerating provocation by the PM would also flow into the protests. it's their nature, of course.

      Certainly one of the changes I witness is that the apolitical have joined the protest, people I couldn't have imagined would be in the streets are.

      Yes, KK's comment on RTE as Assad was foolish, but not so treacherous as Erdogan accusing him of complicity in the Reyhanli bombing.

    • you would prefer, prehaps, ANA, the "official" source whose reporting is so corrupt that Zaman has dropped its service:

      Zaman daily editor-in-chief and Media Group CEO, Ekrem Dumanlı, explained the reasons behind the group's decision to part ways with Anatolia in a column published in both Zaman and Today's Zaman on Monday. The following is an excerpt from his column:

      "For a long time, the Anatolia news agency has been having problems with the Turkish media. However, for some reason, no one wanted to raise their voice against the agency. Everybody has complained about some of the improper practices of the agency, but people were waiting in hopes of some improvement. For instance, the agency requests extra money from papers for reports that it considers exclusive. But they are mostly not exclusive; a report delivered to all would not be considered exclusive. But when we point this out, Anatolia gets upset. Besides, the reports they consider exclusive are related to public institutions or events using public funds. It is impossible to tolerate such injustice.”

      In his question, Oran accused Anatolia of not abiding by media ethics and asked: “By employing censorship on the opposition, don't you make the service received by media institutions that only subscribe to AA [the Anatolia news agency] but not the ANKA, CİHAN, DHA and İHA [other news agencies] flawed?”

    • Public Sector (KESK)strike set for Tuesday.

    • None of this is a surprise to anyone who's been following the news from Turkey. RTE has relied on support from the urban secular middle class and had gotten it in the past -- even in 07 and 11 because of the economy.

      at this point, he's ridden them as he's ridden various opposition parties and discarded them when he thought they were no longer necessary -- in this case thinking the Kurdish opening would deliver BDP support for his presidency.

      But it's Syria, it's alcohol, it's the THY (Turkish Airlines) rules on stewardesses and proposed new outfits, it's the increasingly not only Islamist but specifically Sunni politics, the corruption, the sense that growth is stalling but enrichment of AKP cronies is unabated, and a foreign policy in total disarray.

      Are you following the recriminations and lies about Reyhanli? Do you really believe that a car-load of explosives was oh-so-conveniently found yesterday at the al-Hawa border gate? or Anadolu news Service's <60 protesters injured, twice as many cops?

      The Turks, like the rest of us, don't like being lied to.

  • Dear US Government: Your 'Terror' map of the Muslim World is from the Time of Shakespeare (Kurzman))
    • Interesting. Until this post, I'd had no idea that FARC and Greek Domestic Terrorism were both Islamic.

      or maybe the interpretation of the map is a tad off?

  • Taksim Square Protests in Turkey Spread to other Cities, Police accused of Brutality
    • a few thousand, Juan? that's the number of the wounded and arrested. Multiple sites in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, protests in bursa, Samsun, Antalya, Adana, Alanya, Sivas, on and on. Friends and former students I never expected to be in the streets have been and their videos/photos of police riots have been chilling.

      Meanwhile, between vowing to rip down the Ataturk Cultural Center and to build a Mosque on Taksim (which under the new law would wipe out all alcohol-serving restos) is just waving red banners in front of the crowds.

      He's showing that he earned the Gaddafi Human Rights Award he collected in Tripoli in 2010.

    • Yes, Evren started the imam hatiplar in a foolish attempt to counter the left. Safe to say he never intended where the AKP has taken it.

      Yes the economy is presently good. but they're building a damned mall; did you see how many of them are closing in TC each year? The TOKI construction boom is enriching for some friends of Tayyip, but not sustainable.

      Emre Deliveli has been writing some very solid and critical analyses of the country's economic state.

    • I think you're wrong about that, Juan. There IS a lot of resistance to involvement from the same groups, notably CHP to involvement in Syria. that's why Erdogan has tried to blame the Reyhanli bombing on CHP. Nrote, too, that Redhack released documents showing Syrian opposition involvement. AKP is prosecuting an army private for a leak while not denying the truth of the document but only continuing to blame Assad/CHP.

      Meanwhile, he is most definitely showing interest in at least picking off the Kurdish/Sunni sectors of Syria and Iraq, supporting opposition in one case, trying to deal direct with KRG in the other.

      The treatment of the Alevi, the damning of them as outsiders, the refusal to recognize cem eviler as houses of worship, naming the new bridge after Selim the Alevi killer all suggest a sectarian politics and foreign policy.

      Moreover, what we've seen with religious legislation is just an acceleration of trends that includes the conversion of lisesiler into imam hatiplar and enrollment of students without parental consent.

      How closely have you been following TC internal politics?

    • Well, it does have more journos in jail!

    • excellent BBC coverage -- though reporter hasn't heard RTE's comments.

      link to

    • AKP is now showing who it always was. It has cleared out the army, gulenized the police, arrested journalists, clamped sown on free speech, even on twitter.

      Its own people speak openly of desire to "annihilate" atheists, compare autistics to atheists as both missing a faith gene in their brain.

      (from Hurriyet English)

      Erdogan now threatening political dissenters: From Hurriyet English:

      Erdoğan ended his speech with an ominous warning to main opposition Republican People's Party (AKP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is set to deliver a speech in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district before moving to Taksim. “If you use provocative words, our people will never forgive you. If it comes down to making a meeting, if you gather 100,000 people, I can gather a million,” he said.

      It is beyond time for responsible people around the world to quit pretending this is 'moderate and democratic.'

      The tram has arrived!

  • Egyptian-Ethiopian Conflict Spikes as Addis Ababa dams Blue Nile
    • denial of access to the Suez for Chinese shipments is a great way to lose Egypt any sympathy it might have, as well as the income the ships generate. More importantly, this is just the beginning of damming issues throughout the Middle East.

      (By the way, Mexico's not been releasing enough water out of the Rio Bravo. You wouldn't support more border controls there, I don't imagine. ;) )

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • Nick Nolan,

      How does the geographic hypothesis work with the report that by mid month cities west of Tripoli were rebel-controlled and remained that way until Qaddafi's tanks retook them?

    • Thanks Professor. This note ought to be required reading.

  • Libyan Liberation Movement Strikes Back as NATO Comes to the Rescue
    • and the poverty and disease rates in Libya, for instance, have nothing to do with the administration of the autocrat-in-chief? Negotiate with him? Right; we've seen how that worked.

  • How the No Fly Zone Can Succeed
    • Yes, it was crafty of the Arab League to assent to the NFZ only at that point, when the West could have the oil and they could cry "Imperialism!"

      That is the curious timing you are talking about, right?

    • 818 US troops in Kosovo and we'll need a draft? Really? Greece, with 711 troops, must not have any menfolk left at home. KFOR was never primarily US troops. US was not the major contributing member, despite population size. it's been primarily regional.

    • "less sectarian but still regionalized" sounds a lot like the US in 2009 v. 2008. But it's not a bad outcome unless you introduce weapons fire. The question is how the regions interact.

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