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


Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Ukraine Crisis Shows Urgency of Green Energy: Russian Nat'l Gas Blackmail
    • talk about burying the lede ... Final graf:

      Russia Today said the clip was uploaded by officers of Security Service of Ukraine, who remain loyal to Yanukovich. They claimed the officers hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones to obtain the audio.

      What was that about propaganda?

    • Well, it sounds like it was taken down because german Yahoo left out some details or released too quickly. See this Guardian article

      link to

    • What is so paradoxical about countries previously visited by Russian tanks and troops being concerned about Russian adventurism? Frau Merkel understands that in the unified Germany she's safe in a way those other states are nos sure that they are.

  • The Crimean Crisis and the Middle East: Will Syria & Iran be the Winners?
    • As Juan notes, Turkey has a lot of concern in the region, both for "historic langs" and current friends (Bosnia, Kosovo), but it has been notably silent about Russia's plays in the Middle East, even spending the summer talking up the SCO as an alternative to an EU that keeps talking about democratic measures. I'll be curious to see if Erdogan moves beyond admiration for "Putin the Model" to public critique of "Putin the Policies."

    • Turkey, transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, South Ossetia, Republika Srpska, Kosovo, the Kurdish regions of Turkey .... In other words, it's not an isolated effect. The Serbs would love that logic.
      Beyond that, a lot of warm water parts and a developed area.
      Also, while Juan offered the 100-year view over the weekend, a shorter Ukrainian view of the population make-up focuses on the mass-starvation of Ukrainians in the 30s and the subsequent repopulation by a couple million Russians. Then, as Juan notes today, Crimea only became Russian after the removal of the Tartars.

  • Turkey’s election board bans TV program for ‘one-sided’ opinions
    • Penguins' revenge, I see. I'd love to hear the inevitable, "ho, this is just like the US ..." comments.

  • Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" video Decried as Blasphemous by Some Muslims
    • Well, it was second most-downloaded vid in Turkey earlier this week, second only to the Tayyip-Bilal conversations. make of that what you will.

  • The Decline and Fall of the Turkish Model
    • And today, on the scuzzy, slimy, side of the AKP's definition of democracy, from Hurriyet Daily News (filed under "It's OK if you're not a 'Kemalist'"):

      Preventing the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) posters from being hung up in Ankara’s streets is not a crime but an “honor,” Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek has said after the release of an audio recording on the matter.

      “What have I done? What’s my crime? I have prevented the CHP’s posters from being hung up. Look at that crime. You will decide whether this is a crime or an honor,” Gökçek said on Feb. 26 during an opening ceremony in Ankara after being asked over phone call recordings in which it was alleged Gökçek had blocked the CHP’s posters.

      “I have prevented the CHP’s posters, and the CHP has filed complaint against me. It is an honor for me if the CHP sues me,” Gökçek said during the opening of an election coordination center for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Mamak.

    • & today, doing what anyone but a fool knew he would do, President Gul signed the law that turns the supreme board of Judges and Prosecutors over to the Prime Ministry.

    • By and large excellent analysis, however:

      1. He's seriously undersold the "irregularities' in the Ergenekon/Balyoz trials and the extent to which they were used to imprison journalists who opposed either the government or the Hizmet movement,

      2. Gul has a long track record, still intact, of saying reasonable-sounding things and, in the end, doing whatever Erdogan desires. In this case, he signed the Internet bill and I expect him to sign whatever HSYK bill comes out of Parliament. (Oh, sure, he says he asks for changes -- lipstick on the proverbial pig -- but you'd think that after the Cyprus-EU accession that sort of arrangement would have been thought irreparably tainted.)

      3. The reference to the PKK talks need a a lot more discussion of whether there is any actual policy intent or, as it seems so far, only a vote-getting mechanism; the negotiations actually slowed to a crawl once it was clear that the BDP was not going to support Erdogan's plans for a Putinesque presidency.

      4. "The year of the EU" really came to an end in late May with the beginning of the Gezi protests and the government's response. Curiously, the "year of the EU" seems to have coincided with the year of The Magnificent Century and an eastward turn in the reconstruction of the built and ideological landscapes.

      What's beyond doubt is that Erdogan, having neutered the army with the EU's blessing is, as he says, Goknar says, "fusing party and state." A decade ago, AKP opponents warned about this and were damned as white Turks, Kemalists, and crypto-fascists. Perhaps they were, but they now also appear prescient.

  • Not to Reason Why: A New Crimean "War"?
    • sorry about that; obviously, it should have been a response to
      Turkey: Legislating the End of Democracy – 3 Laws for One-Party Rule

    • Coupled with the author's post about the Diyanet, written after this one, it reminds us of the extent to which there's also a intra-faith squabble built into this war. The next couple of weeks will be interesting in this regard, ad Tayyip has reintroduced the bill to shut down the dersaneler and as of 2 March the lists for the election will be set beyond change. the AKP state today released its finding on wiretapping, but Murat Yetkin speculates that after the lists are set there may be another release of conversations revealing more about corruption within AKP.

      What's clear, anyway, is that reports of emergent democracy in turkey under AKP have been greatly exaggerated; the doubters in the EU were, in retrospect, quite wise not to trust Erdogan's early pronouncements. Particularly as we remember that the Cemaat was for most of his years in power Erdogan's partner in establishing a new Deep State and the battle now is over who holds the keys.

      What's still unclear to me is why Erdogan chose last November to move against the Cemaat with the dersaneler bill.

    • Nice historical parallel, and surely no reason in Great Game theory for considering the interests of a handful of little people -- the Ukrainians.

  • As Ukraine's President Flees in Overthrow, Lessons for Kyiv from the Arab Upheavals
    • "Given the sad economic state of Spain, Greece and other EU members, including persistent unemployment of a quarter or more of the youth, this conviction is a little difficult to understand."

      much less so if you consider actual standards of living in those countries; less so, too, if you look at former east-bloc countries now part of the EU, which the Ukrainians likely are. Also less hard to understand if you don't like the idea of it being proper for another country to place you under an 'influence" that dominates your political and economic life.. .

  • The other Face of Putin's Olympics: Pussy Riot Whipped, Beaten for Protest Song at Sochi
  • Tens of Thousands on Twitter Drop Turkey's President over Internet Censorship Law
    • and where is the Turkish Yacov Smirnov to remind us that in Tayyip's Turkey, President follows you! well, prime minister, actually. And today Hurriyet carries the news of a coming open season on Ankara in which police will be able to search anything, anyone, anywhere in order to look for prospective crimes or -- I'm not making this up, potential violations of rights and freedoms.

      Twitter/ the draconian charges have been dropped, but 29 people face 3 years each for use of Twitter during Gezi. the sole cited "victim" in the case is Erdogan.

      @ RD Sultan: Yes. It's whatever the ministry or the PM likes. And as far as old media go, the PM just calls the editor/producer and says stop -- thus the lack of news about CHP Istanbul Mayor candidate Sarigul.

  • Putinism in Cairo? The Rise of the Russian Model
    • Hardly. Putinism is not accidentally named for the fact that it describes the rule of a single actual person . I'm simply pointing out that if words have meanings, and Juan helpfully quoted the meaning of this one and provided a link that further reinforces the fact that it names a species of rule by s SINGLE INDIVIDUAL not a vaguely constituted class.
      Let's also talk about the likelihood of Bill de Blasiovich, Mayor of Moscow, shall we?

    • so, let's see, the election in 2012 was managed to prevent Romney from winning; the WSJ and FoxNews are small media outlets; Obama calls opposition politicians foreign agents or throws them in jail; Occupy Wall Street was a CIA-sponsored plot, but we don't have undue policy influence from the oil industry.

      thanks for pointing that out.

    • get the genealogy right: Erdogan has been practicing Putinism, tho he's hit a snag. Egypt, as part of the Neo-Ottoman political sphere, is emulating the mothership (only with the wrong commander).

      You might also want to look a little closer at the shifting economic base in Turkey. Putin had it easy, coming at a time of flux after state ownership; it was easier to install his people. Watch the shifts in media ownership, its ties to new3 construction interests profiting from state contracts and massive privatization of state assets, all going to a group of interlocking interests.
      In particular, see the work and the graphic representation of it, at Networks of dispossession, link to Then reconsider.

  • Turkey's Ruling Party enacts "Orwellian" Web Censorship
    • and then this addendum to media freedom:

      "A formal deportation procedure took place after Zeynalov arrived at İstanbul's Atatürk Airport to board a 9:15 a.m. flight to Baku, after which he and his wife were accompanied by police to their flight.

      Today's Zaman journalist @MahirZeynalov is being escorted by Turkish police for deportation.
      — Sevda Nur Arslan (@svdarslan) February 7, 2014"

    • I won't claim to be educated or literate, but I'll say both that your note of Rovean resentment is correct and there is a larger mass to tap into than there is in the US. Also that, oddly, these voters have been the darlings of the academic left who have -- many still do -- believe in Tayyip as the great liberator even as he now uses the first-person possessive when describing state institutions: my ministers, my army, my police, my courts.

      and let's face it, despite the (idiotic) argument that it all starts with Ataturk's authoritarianism, there was this little thing called the Ottoman empire for nearly half a millennium, and it was not noted for its democratic proclivities.

      This morning's news includes systematic manipulation of polls under demands from the PM's office, specifically, transfer of support from his old ally, the MHP (with whom he bonded when demanding to know why the CHP didn't execute Ocalan when they arrested him) to the BDP, the party of the Kurds and his new buddy Ocalan, who insists that the whole corruption plot is being fomented by Jews in Chicago and vague agent in Utah.

      MHP is hard-line nationalist with, generally, an investment in the "Turkish-Islamic synthesis" ideology; its buildings have been attacked twice in the past couple of weeks. My bet is you can't blame that on the secularists ... probably not the Kurds acting alone, either.

    • Indeed, George Hoffman1 Years of listening to people dismiss Tayyip's critics as reactionary militarist "Kemalists" were difficult to endure (especially when, mea culpa, one done it oneself a decade ago), but it's not like they weren't warned and things will only get worse with the bills behind this one.

      Academic freedom took another beating recently, as Pinar Tremblay discussed on Al Monitor yesterday.

      An Azeri-national columnist for Zaman (yes, it's Gulen, yes, he's also evil, but what's one's point?) is facing deportation for tweeting corruption stories -- links to articles!

      Meanwhile the miscreants go free and over a thousand police and a few hundred prosecutors have been "reassigned."

      The coordinators of the Taksim Platform (the ad hoc group that sort of represented the Gezi protests) face 29 years in jail as now charged, but don't expect the killers of protesters to do a day!

  • The Death of God in Iraq: 32% of Iraqis not Sure God Exists, 11% think Not
  • Turkish Gov't Compares Internet Freedom to Battered Spouses
    • let me guess, Internet freedom and protection of women from spousal abuse are two items of concern only to Westernized elites?
      Of course, the freedom of AKP-aligned dailies to make up quotations and baselessly accuse journalists is all part of true Internet freedom,
      and the PKK now has the AKP's back in all of this.
      Sırrı Süreyya Önder has been regrettably silent as the PKP/BDP goes farther and farther out on the ledge with the AKP.

      What are we up to now, 5000 police and a couple hundred prosecutors fired or relocated? Nixon's deeply envious from his corner of hell.

  • The 18th Brumaire of Gen. al-Sisi in Egypt
    • sure, but that works only for the length of existing contracts negotiated in foreign currency. The likely larger benefit comes because the cost of items decreases making them ore attractive

  • Turkish PM Erdoğan: Turkey rejects false prophets
    • Let us hope that claim is borne out with significant AKP losses in upcoming elections!

  • Why Tunisia's Transition to Democracy is Succeeding while Egypt Falters
    • It may be a little unfair to make Erdogan alone the "rooster." Davutoglu's the chief theorist of neo-Ottomanism and imagines the day not far off that not a leaf will quake in the region but Ankara will authorize it. EU Minister Bagis was an unintentional comedy show, including tossing an EU interim progress report in the trash (on TV) and promising to write one back to the EU [It's worth noting that Erdogan has scorn for the diplomatic corps and has been uprooting "the monsoors"] and the Communications Minister promised "Ottoman slaps" on any media that were critical during Gezi.

      I don't claim to understand it as anything other than, oh, I dunno, GWB off the wagon and letting it all hang out, I guess.

    • There's a Turkish economic commentator, Emre Deliveli, who has a blog (Kapili Carsi) on the and writes for Hurriyet Daily News whom I've been following for a while, and who has been analyzing the weaknesses in the economy. Certainly the consensus since the summer is that Turkey has been overdue for an interest rate rise, which has been essentially deferred twice, but perhaps not tomorrow.

      Two things about the economy (leaving out corruption questions) is that a fair bit of the boom is construction that's government driven, and that the plan that took Turkey back to solvency was drawn up by Kemal Dervis of the CHP. (It's also not all that clear how much control Babacan has of economic policy anymore.) I suppose a third point is that a lot of funding has been coming from the sale of government assets to developers, whether it be green space or government industrial assets.

      I'm curious to see what comes out of tomorrow's Central Bank meeting.

      As for Tayyip and roosters, just the wall-size posters of himself that he plasters all over the place, and not the 30-foot tall holographic Erdogan appearances, if today's "appearance" in Izmir marks a trend (god forbid!)

    • the phrase isn't original with me, but one used by several Turkish commentators to describe the accumulation of power to RTE. It would at present appear that his gambit for an all-powerful presidency has failed, unless he can get Apo and the BDP behind it, which I don't at this point expect -- not that my track record is anything to run on. But, yes, he's appointed the generals and taken control over promotions. He's pretty much entirely remade YOK (higher ed, including a couple of brutal persecutions, e.g., rector of Ataturk U in Van), his proposal for the justice academy will put it entirely under the command of the justice minister, and even without the now "frozen' restructuring of HSYK has been having his way with the police (a national force) and prosecutors. The national school system has been used to take revenge on students and teachers who protested in June. The media is rather tightly controlled, journalists fired at his insistence (it can be economically costly not to obey; the tax and regulatory agencies have been used for payback in several recent cases including Koc, TUPRAS, and Bank Asya), the government has not been audited in the past few years (and the center of graft, TOKI is run out of the PM's office anyway). New laws have been passed to allow more Internet blocking.

      Oh yeah, after Gezi it is now illegal for doctors to give aid without permission!

      I suppose the question is whether a coup is necessarily an act against a person or may be an act against a(n admittedly still fragile) system of governance. For those who use the term, it's obviously the latter, though I suppose, too, that in a symbolic sense it's a coup against Ataturk, and I've absolutely NO doubt that Erdogan sees himself in those terms (again, for what my insights are worth ;)).

    • Good luck to Tunisia. Let's hope it succeeds better than what's been a slow-motion coup in Turkey over the past few years.

  • AKP winning perception war
    • which, it seems, is bad news for Turkey on two fronts -- stuck with an authoritarian who's unable to convince the markets, which have been in free fall for the better part of a year now.

  • Syria Conference Roiled by Shouting Matches, Insults
  • Can Syria lecture Turkey on terrorism?
    • If Turkey can supply arms clandestinely to jihadis in Syria, of course Syria can. But of course it's only top-secret humanitarian aid being delivered by MIT, wink wink.

  • Draft to mandate TurkishPM’s consent for prosecution of top commanders
    • the lockdown of the state, the press, the schools, the universities, the courts spreads. RTE showing that there's no sense in letting a good crisis go to waste.

      Well, at least the 13 year-old boy didn't get sixteen years for spray painting an anti-government slogan during the Gezi protest. my bet, however, is that he'll never get into university in turkey.

  • The Economist Pulls 'Anti-Semitic' Cartoon on Barack Obama and Iran
  • Massive War Crimes: Syrian Regime Tortured, Starved, Murdered 11,000 Prisoners
    • I saw this movie when it was first released. It should have ended with "Mission Accomplished." (Or is it OK if you're a Sunni?)

  • Turkey Purges Officials in Bid to Quash Corruption Probes
    • Although all voices must be part of the discussion, I have little respect for a large sector. Your problem, not you blindness but your active hatred in a nutshell.

    • And your point is what? Are all those sites every one of them gulen? Did I not preface my comments by conceding the problems with TZ? Are you poerhaps Bilal Erdogan?

    • PS: Not that TOKI is subject to audit; it's now run out of the PM's office.

      "So, while AKP needed Gulen, it worked with the Gulen network." Nice story and I suppose it excuses anything, right? & Just to be responsible, you should note that Wikileaks on the cemaat is conjectural and some of it I frankly don't believe, as much as I'd love to.

      Not that I needed Wikileaks to know any of that stuff. Helps to have Turkish friends.

    • Oh, good grief. Do you know that there has been no audit of turkish government accounts for over two years, and that's a choice out of Ankara, not Pennsylvania? Have you read anything at all on TOKI? Have you read anything at all at the use of punitive audits against companies that are NOT Gulenists, and those undertaken at the government's direction?
      Do you know anything about the government's relation to Sunni Jihadis in Syria? About the PM's deep animosity toward the Alevis and his choice to name the new bridge after a Sultan who massacred them?

      Have you read the PM's crackdowns on lifestyles that he does not like? Have you indeed read the Wikileaks cables on him? Have your read Hurriyet Daily News? the website Human Rights Practice in Turkey, Erkan's Field Diary, The Istanbullian, Al Monitor's Turkey page, Open democracy's Turkey page? Even Jenny White's Kamil Pasha site (she now admits she was "seduced" by Tayyip's charisma (gaahh!)). It's not like there's not a large amounn of information not written by Gulen or the crap out of Yeni Safak and Sabah about the US-Israel-Telekinesis conspiracy. (And to be fair, Yavuz Baydar and Ihsan Dagi write for Zaman and are highly respected journalists. (A few others I've not made up my mind on yet, others I'd take with a grain of salt.)

      Do some reading, and if you come across anything else reliable, share it!

    • Ihsan Dagi's... take, today, is spot on:

      EU membership required democratic reforms that were supposed to weaken the position of the military, thus opening up breathing space for the AKP. Moreover, through the EU membership objective, the party was able to reach out to secular but liberal democratic social segments of society, increasing its legitimacy both at home and abroad.

      So, for the AKP, the EU was an instrument to protect itself from the military, to form a broader social coalition with pro-EU secular groups and to legitimize the transfer of power from the military to the government in the name of democratization, as required by the accession process.

      And this instrument worked. Yet its very success rendered the objectives obsolete. When the AKP felt strong enough after eliminating its archenemies, it no longer needed the EU as a shelter, legitimizer and coalition builder.

      It was in this context that the old formula resurfaced: Whoever controls Ankara and is enjoying ruling the country singlehandedly does not want EU membership. This was valid 10 years ago for the Kemalist military and bureaucracy, and it is true now for the AKP.

      EU membership is the demand of the people who seek democracy and social welfare. But for those who walk Ankara's corridors of power, neither democracy nor the welfare of the people matters. For previous pro-status quo forces, EU membership was not desirable, as it requires change. This is what has happened to the AKP, too. The formerly reformist party captured the state, installed its own order in Ankara and now does not want a change in the new status quo. To hold on to the status quo, the ruling party seems prepared to reverse the reforms that it had introduced on the way.

      Moreover the AKP's Islamist roots were revived as the core party leadership gained confidence in consecutive electoral successes and faced challenges in the realms of social opposition at home and the crisis of Islamism in the Middle East. In response, anti-Westernism inherited from the Islamist past of the AKP leadership has made a comeback in recent years; Islam is increasingly referred to as the “civilizational property” of the “new Turkey.”

    • Oh, come on. It was no issue at all when they were targeting CHP. it was no issue at all during the Ergenekon/Balyoz trials. it was no issue at all when it was about throwing journalists in jail. Erdogan cheered it on. He's also supported th purges of the education sector, both YOK and the public school system, going after even teachers who participated in Gezi. And he's happily let the Cemaat infiltrate the education system because it's of a piece with his Islamizing project.

      In November, AKP deputies were mocking those very claims that you cite. And then they tried to hit Gulen where it hurts.

      Now, suddenly when the very real corruption of AKP is the issue this aggression won't stand, man? Tell me, it was known that the Democrats had a longstanding animosity toward Nixon, so was Watergate a coup? . . .

    • What's wrong with Turkey in one quote from its chief theorist of Neo-Ottomania:

      Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the executive branch represents the national will and is not accountable to anyone except at the ballot box, and if there is a dispute over the function of the executive, then the judiciary will step in.

      “The executive branch does not have to be accountable to anyone. Of course if there is a lawsuit filed, as Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said previously, everyone is accountable before the law,” Davutoğlu said, speaking at the 6th Ambassadors Conference in Adana on Saturday.

      So, yes, the executive is the nation al will and thus unstoppable. Lawsuits, you ask? That's why the new proposal to stack HSYK.
      Can't see why Brussels would have any problem with that!

    • Let's not call it "the purge," let's call it the latest wave in something ongoing for the last 6-7 years and now branching into civil war withing the religious parties instead of against the secularists.

      People who said that Tayyip's democratization was insincere, that he was at heart a pious dictator who was (in words attributed to him) simply riding the democracy tram to where he wanted to get were mocked as elitist, fascistic "Whites."

      Of course, when opposition candidates have their campaign funds impounded, when companies that oppose the ruling party are fined hundreds of millions of dollars, when journalists who write against the PM are sued or fired on the PM's command, when the state construction sector is a hive of corruption and no-bid contracts won by the PM's cronies, when protests are met with police violence, when the government claims the authority of moral police (none of which is to say that a word out of the Gulen camp is to be believed without verification elsewhere!),

      the "Whites" may be right, but they're not enjoying a last laugh.

      Brussels will be interesting this week.

  • Fear is Driving Diplomacy on Syria, not Humanitarianism
    • thank Turkey and the US odd deference to Ankara and cultivation of Barzani (by both Washington and Ankara) for that. On grounds of justice, it's inexcusable.

  • Turkish police break up Internet protest
    • OK, right. Yes, this is, we've seen many times this year, the Turkish response to dissenters that cannot be fired ... though any teachers among the protesters will be hunted down and dismissed. But the headline had me wondering if the Daily star had gone all Onion and there'd be Toma avatars coursing the Intertubes. Perhaps the government could use such an icon on the thousands of pages they'll be blocking?

  • Gül keeps pressing for a way out
    • HA. This is the guy who just approved a law making the administration of emergency care by doctors without prior government authorization A CRIME. This is all because doctors administered first aid to Gezi protesters instead of letting them die or suffer serious illness.

      But, hey, they're not Kemalists, so it's all good, right?

  • Beware of self-destructive Turkish propaganda
    • nice of Akyol to warn against himself.

      there were at least two such writers, and Burak Bekdil is not a Fethullaci. I'm interested that a Muslim is now telling me that jihadi means scary people. Always. And that mucahid, despite the images that come up when you type it into google, or the etymology that it carries, is something other.

      but, yeah, this advocate of Intelligent Design -- testified to it in Kansas (like he knows something, former buddy of Adnan Oktar and head of Gulen's Writers Union but seemingly willing to sell anyone out for advancement, is not one of the people to trust on Turkey. He's right about that.

  • The BDP’s difficult choices over Dec 17
    • It seems, at least, that Onder's kept his wits about him. demirtas is a fool if he thinks the AKP clean, and given both how little he's gotten from the AKP, how recent that conversion's been (It's not all that long ago that Tayyip was berating the CHP for not having executed Apo), and how RTE has played this process, I could almost wonder what Selahattin's getting out of it, but hope springs infernal.

  • Israel should reach out to separatist Syrian Kurds
    • So should the US. Amberin Zaman has an excellent analysis of the problem from the Turkish angle, which of course revolves around Erdogan's manipulation of the Turkish Kurds, which has left the BDP rather inexcusably his vocal defenders against claims of graft ... but will they also agree that the Generals have done nothing bad? Heh.

  • No parallel organization within state can be tolerated, particularly inside judiciary: President Gül
    • Yep, so now the Prez has his marching orders from Tayyip and there's no more need for Chapter 138 and an independent judiciary. Compassionate conservatism in action

  • Turkey's Secretive Gulen Movement Challenges its Prime Minister as Religious Right Splits
    • At what point does reading the present CHP of KK become like pointing out that racist southerners were Democrats as if it discredited the contemporary party?

    • Yes, but you see, the western academic must undo the sins of colonialism, which created generals and Kemalists, by defending the masses and their beliefs (even if, at home, the same sort of folks give us the willies and have us screaming about the denial of rights and the dismantling of the education system) and insisting that, no, Erdogan wasn't just riding A Streetcar Named Democracy to the Autocratic Rule station, and that his secular opponents, however right they may seem to be, are still just a bunch of elitist White Turkish western wanna-bes.

      After all, as Mustafa Akyol never tires of reminding us, any sins of the AKP are behaviors learned from the Kemalists. But it starts with them. The Ottoman Empire was a libertarian land of milk and honey.

      Nuray Mert had a nice column on this phenomenon in Hurriyet Daily News a few days ago.

    • So far, the split is less than impressive. Whatever its power within the police and in the courts, it has been unable to sustain the investigation in the face of Tayyip's personality-cult onslaught. (Today's claim: The investigation is an assassination attempt!) And though FG's boy Hakan Sukur insists to TZ that many deputies are on the same page as him, there have been few defections. The rest, from Gul on down, have by their silence enabled the cover-up, which now includes lifting the freeze on assets of the accused, which will of course be transferred out of the country post haste. I've no love for Gulen's operation, but it begins to seem like they've simply ensured that Tayyip remains the state, as PM if nothing else, for years to come.

  • Turkey hopeful of ties with EU during Greek presidency
    • Hilarious! They look for an opening of the justice, freedom and administration chapters in the wake of Gezi, the corruption scandal that led to hundreds of firings and an attack on a court that Erdogan had previously packed (adding 17 members to the original 5) and now he plans another 32 member court because a court not under control of the most powerful political figure is not democratic, the stream of journalists fired or sent to jail, and the scores more sued by the PM or other AKP figures for reporting on them, using licensing and audits to damage companies that do not support AKP, awarding of media conglomerates to companies close to AKP?

      Amazing that there remain nouveau orientalists who imagine that Erdogan is/even has been a positive force.

  • Top Ten Middle East Stories 2013: How the Region has Changed
    • ... Don, ... You might start by reading work by and about Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik; you might consider how much of the Gulen puff pieces are written by people recruited by him and by Americans whose conference participation ifs funded by him and whose articles/books are either published by his presses or with subventions. You might read about the writers canned by Zaman for being too critical of the movement, not only Turks but foreigners. You might consider that the claims that Erdogan is now making are not of his invention but claims that have been made for decades and that he used to deny when he and the Hocaefendi had a pact...

  • The mother of all wars
    • Mustafa Aykyol exhibiting the stupidity that has made him a darling of the American press. Like a child caught in an ugly divorce he, too, strains to blame a third party. the new police-judiciary tutelage state? The same one you praised for Ergenekon, Mustafa? Run by Gulen your hoca, FG? No, I don't think you want to say that, but you haven't yet figured out a way to tie the Judiciary/police to the Kemalists, have you, poor boy, even though your previous column blamed this whole clusterf*ck on them.

  • EU welcomes annulation of controversial regulation lifting investigation secrecy
    • Yes, but Tayyip the Grim has taken this ruling as further evidence of the need for a new constitution with the Putinesque presidential powers he so craves: "Now I ask: who will judge the HSYK? Do you know who will do it? ...I would like to judge them, if I would have adequate authority."

      Lest you've forgotten what real Fascism sounds like:

      “Turkey is at a junction: Either the old Turkey will continue or the new Turkey will prevail. The resistance is against the building of the new Turkey. But I tell you that this is the last resistance. They are offending for the last time. They are using all their means for the last time. With God’s help, we will demolish this resistance and we will close the doors to the old Turkey,” [Erdogan] said. “They will be not able to stop the building of the new Turkey.”

  • Calls for Turkey PM to resign as 3 scandal-ridden ministers quit, forcing new Cabinet
    • Don't be so sure. He's pulled the lead prosecutor off the graft case and assembled a new cabinet of dead-enders: not competent except for his own Minister of Deep State at Interior, but all ready to die with or for him.

      He's got quite the role model for crony capitalist elective autocracy in Vlad the Impaler Putin.

  • Assyrian Christian Revival in Turkey
    • The Syriacs have applied to the ECHR for the return of their patriarchate (EU Minister Bagis has mocked their claims in the past).

      Tayyip is magnanimous in his promises ... and yet;
      the Constitution stalled when he couldn't get a Putinesque presidency, the Kurds kept getting strung along, freedom of dissent and protest and judicial protection keep disappearing.

      these are some magnificent and terribly neglected buildings; I would hope for their return .. and Halki Seminary to the Greek Patriarchate.

      I think, alas, there's a better chance that the Aya Sofya follows its Trabzon and Iznik little sisters back to becoming a mosque. lest we think there's any ecumenical spirit in the AKP ranks.

      Of course, if you're in Istanbul on the 26th, you can watch the IU Young Muslims punch Santa.

  • The End of the Turkish Model? Erdogan's Paranoia and Authoritarian Streak Threaten his Legacy
    • Oh, I don't fool myself about "liberal Islam" but I do see that author's work on occasion and have liked what I've seen.

    • That's a question I've often wondered about: What is the US interest in supporting him. I'll say that he's making a hell of a lot of money IN the US from his network of schools and cultivating large donors for his "outreach," and spending quite well on university professors and state legislators.

    • [url=]This recent essay[/url] has a rather sophisticated (imo) take on the stakes and the lead up

    • My fear/guess remains choice 3, Recep Tayyip Putin, at great cost to the country; stocks already down 30% from their April peak, lira trading near a record even as the treasury emptied $1 Billion of foreign exchange in two days.
      If Gul wins, Gulen more or less has his party.
      Gezi Partisi? I'm not that much of a utopian, either in it ability to function or its ability to get votes outside parts of Istanbul, Izmir, and a couple other cities like Eskisehir. HDP may be as close as you get in a lot of ways, though Onder's already attacked Sarigul for his use of religious rhetoric.
      As someone reminded me a couple of days ago on another site, it wasn't the generals that took Menderes down, so there's always that wild card, too.

    • Such a party has been founded, HDP, but it is weak and many will not like it because of the number of influential BDP who joined it. Unfortunately, Surri Sureyya Onder, former BDP leader who was active in the Gezi protests, will be facing Mustafa Sarigul, who has returned to the CHP that he left while criticizing Baykal's program, in the race to unseat Kadir Topbas, the AKPli mayor of Istanbul metropolitan municipality, who cheered the police all summer.

    • Don't have the text handy, but if you've ever visited Anitkabir and read the statements on display from during the War of Independence, you can see them. You may say that it was only because of the situation, but that's exactly my point.

    • Any praise for the economic policy might also try to explain this late-action FOREX dump to rescue the Lira. Basci "guaranteed" 1.92/1USD by years end, and now they're dumping billions to keep it under 2.1/1 delaying the inevitable and trying to massage the EOY numbers for the election. Pity whoever has to inherit this mess and get the first clean audit in years.

    • Only if the falling out about the dersaneler happened two years ago (when the investigation began) rather than last month, and only if TOKI just became a den of corruption run off the books out of the PM's office in the last three weeks. Facts should have some bearing on the discussion.

      & while I rather detest FG, "a kind of a cult" is cute. Yes, rather like that guy in Rome who also has a large donor base and a lot of academics at conferences about his little religion. If the Nursiler are a cult, what about the Naksibendiler?

    • The alcohol laws are like some EU as far as hours, but shall we also discuss the laws about location that can and cannot sell, or the licensing restrictions on shops and on streetside tables, neither of which have anything to do with EU norms?

    • Crazy like a fox. Ataturk himself was expert in rallying the nation against imagined treachery and not above invoking Islamist identity when it helped his cause. It's not an accident that Tayyip heads to the Karadeniz, to make his most inflammatory speeches; he's playing to the nationalists at these points, just as she was over the summer. (Yes, his father is from the Karadeniz, but RTE's an Istanbullu.)

    • Ahh, yes, those shadowy Gulen forces whom Tayyip was happily defending while they were filling the prisons with huundreds of "Ergenekon" plotters, many of whom were journalists.

      And just two weeks ago, when the 2004 memo was leaked, AKP members were openly ridiculing the idea that the police was Cemaat-infested.

      But apparently, it's always either "Kemalists," tIsrael, the CIA, Gulen, or the all-purpose interest rate lobby, but never the White Party

    • He's reached an informal limit set by the AKP. But we in the States know how firmly politicians hold to their term-limit pledges, don't we?

    • He didn't invent it. Menderes was, if not an Islamist, certainly very Islam-friendly. Erbekan, Tayyip's mentor, was an Islamist. Menderes was toppled and executed; Erbekan's Virtue Party taken out in the "postmodern coup."

      Tayyip did famously describe democracy as a streetcar that one rides to where one wants to get off. Apparently, he reached his stop.

    • jeez, dis you really say Erdogan's stewardship of the economy in this essay? You mean the blueprint that Kemal Dervis (CHP) devised and that Ali Babacan, since marginalized, stayed with? Or the splendid 12% yer-to-daye drop of the XU100, which has shed ~30% from its April high?

      Interesting to see, though, that you admire his neoliberal selling off of government assets for private development by his cronies. You must miss Bush.

    • Oh, yeah, and an indictment against BBC, CNN, and Reuters for the Gezi protests being pushed in Antalya. Wheeee!

    • Been going on for years while you've apologized for and excused him, hailed him as the bringer of democracy, not as the man who was replacing one deep state with another. The Cemaat is now hoist on that same petard, decrying the same things they cheered in Ergenekon./Balyoz.

      Over 120 police chiefs sacked, prosecutors replaced, dsirectives now say that the government must be informed of any probes into corruption by ministers, the usual conspiracies -- it's the CIA! it's the Jews! -- being floated.

      To anyone following the redistribution of media outlets or what little decent attempts there have been to dig into TOKI, anyone noticing that the government accounts have not been audited for years, this is no surprise.

      But of course critics were just culturally insensitive White Turks who wanted their Raki and were offended by the behaviors of these villagers, not people to be taken seriously.

      Enjoy the monster.

  • Gov’t lost its legitimacy: Turkey's main opposition leader
    • Wait, just because you fire 100 police bureau chiefs, ban journalists from police stations, dissolve and reconfigure the courts, demand that all corruption investigations of government ministers be reported to the Prime Minister and blame the exposure of corruption on the CIA and Mossad means that the government has lost legitimacy?

  • Erdogan expected to bounce back from corruption probe blow
    • Curious that the offenses charged matter not at all. would that be because no one actually expects honesty and integrity from the AKP? Good reason, certainly, from the lack of audits of the government books to the secrecy of TOKI to the rather naked statements by the government and some in the press that there's no point in becoming a democracy unless they get something for it.
      So can we please stop pretend that defanging the military was aimed at anything but installing a new deep state, for crying out loud? A little occasional consistency in argument and analysis would be welcome.

  • Saudi Arabia in Unprecedented Withdrawal from UN Security Council over Syria, Palestine
  • The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars
    • Yes, it's certainly wrong, and I really don't understand the need to use it when not only do the numbers speak for themselves, but the poster rightly criticizes others who do the same.

  • Rep. Van Hollen on House Rule Change on Shutdown Vote: "Democracy has been Suspended!"
    • Well, thank god the Senate didn't use the nuclear option because unlike this highly democratic activity, it would just not be fair if the Democrats did it.

  • Iran's Leader "Optimistic" about Rowhani's US Diplomacy, but Skeptical of Washington, Israel
    • When Ms Sherman said, "The fundamental large sanctions that we have in place should not disappear anytime soon, unless all of our concerns are addressed by the Iranians," was she also speaking of the entire people? Or has the perfesser misconstrued a common figure of speech? Ima bet the latter.

  • Militant Secularism in the Middle East?
  • Why US Clout in the Middle East is Gone (Hiro)
    • As opposed to a decade ago when France and Germany lined up with the US to invade Iraq, only to be called off when Saddam stepped down? Or when Karzai saluted smartly whenever GWB issued a command and even said, "No, no gratuities accepted?" Or when Iran and North Korea wouldn't dare to risk US censure?

      What world is this again?

  • Taliban on the Euphrates: Syria fighters Dump Moderate SNC, Aim for Fundamentalist State
    • That's a hatched in hell (with all respect, sir). The group that failed and failed and had its lunch repeatedly eaten by the jihadis will now, if armed magically be able to defeat the jihadis? How much NATO personnel and materiel are you willing to commit to this project?

      And who gets to play the Chris Stevens role?

    • Gulf Arabs, AKP-allied Islamists within Turkey. IOW, the usual suspects. Why US policy pretends that it's still 2007 in Ankara is beyond me.

    • It will make Ankara happy. But it's not in the least surprising, merely the official announcement of what had been obvious for months and months.

  • Top Ten Solar Power good news Stories Today
    • Turkey, which spans many fault lines, has also very recently signed contracts to build several nuclear plants. Tempered celebration at best. AKP recognizes the lack of oil and lack of stable relationships with foreign nations) and is taking on a wide portfolio of alternatives including increasing the number of coal-fired plants on line as well as nuclear, hydroelectric, and thermal.

  • The World after the Kerry-Lavrov accord on Syria
    • Turkey certainly added to its new foreign policy of "precious loneliness" (which replaces the old "zero problems" policy). At the height of the Gezi protests, Erdogan was threatening to leave behind the west for the Shanghai 5, with whom Turkey shares centuries of cultural tradition (his words), and yet once he thought he could widen the war his focus has been exclusively on Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin.

      Meanwhile, the Turkish papers report that Zawahiri has directed that the Salafists not cooperate at all with the secular (FSA, SNC) forces and interests.

  • 7 Million Displaced Syrians, Bayda Massacre, & other Reports you Didn't see on American TV
    • Also no reports on the extent to which Turkey is supporting the Islamist groups with arms and money carried across supposedly closed borders, or the problems faced by Alawite and Alevi refugees who cannot stay in the refugge camps among Sunnis.

  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
    • why is it assumed that only the US was capable of having ideas a year ago? What's Europe? a bunch of Nobodies?

    • Yeah, but Davutoglu is already throwing tantrums and Tayyip's convened his war cabinet. So not everyone's happy. Killing another 22 year-old antiwar protester overnight in Hatay likely isn't enough satisfaction for the AKP.

  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
    • re Turkey: Well, that and the general Sunni distaste for the Shia.

    • Of course it has. It's been arming the "good rebels" (Not the PYD, the hopeless FSA that gets their lunches eaten by the AQ crowd) through the CIA, whether or not the WH has gotten around to admitting it.

    • The optimism about choking off supplies to al Nusra as long as Turkey is protecting them is foolish. Not even the Reyhanli explosions have caused Ankara to adjust their willingness to let them operate freely (if observed).

  • Obama Isolated at G20 on Syria, No 'Coalition of the Willing'
    • well, the three ... Turkey won't be in the EU for a while, though it is increasingly isolated.

  • A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War
    • Fallows has been looking at the scenarios of mission creep for a couple of days. Wouldn't at all surprise me if it happened.

  • Israeli Press on Syria Delay: History will Mock Obama (OSC)
  • Iraqi Government Rejects US Strike on Syria, Fears Civil War
    • So when do the Iraqiya party and the Turkish AKP merge to wreak further havoc in the region?

  • Invoking International Law Against Obama: Old Europe, New Europe and NeoCon Fail
    • C'mon, Juan. Turkey is not an "ally" on this. Tayyip has been arguing for full scale war for his Sunni buddies since forever. Remember when the TC F-16 got shot down and he tried to invoke the NATO Charter to gin up a war? He's in the McCain Graham camp; he's already objected that what Obama proposes is not enough to satisfy him, and unlike Gul he has no interest in Geneva talks. (Tayyip seems to think that since the West broke the Ottoman Empire, it's also responsible for rebuilding it!)

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