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


Showing comments 300 - 201

  • Despite Syria Cease Fire, Belligerents Plot military Victory
    • It seems I didn't even have time to predict that once again Turkey would attack the Syrian Kurds while claiming to go after ISIS before they actually did, per CNN Turk as reported at Hurriyet Daily News and Today's Zaman.
      Now the question is whether Obama will defend the only force that the US can work with our continue a US tradition of sacrificing them.

  • Do Latinos really view Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as their Leaders?
    • of course not; Cubanos and Chicanos/Centro-Americanos are at odds on many if not most issues.

  • Erdogan Threatened Europe with Refugees, now Demanding US abandon Syrian Kurds
    • 1. Economic miracle was not his. Designed by CHP's Kemal Dervis and overseen then by Ali Babacan until Tayyip broke with him.
      2. Good relations with the Kurds? Started after he broke his alliance MHP and the idiot Bahceli, who gave him what he wanted. Tayyip in mid 2000s was complaining that CHP didn't kill Ocalan (who since ca. 2013 has been reportred as on board with the new Presidency Tayyip wants.
      2a. The break did not have to come. Erdogan was comfortable when His words (with small, symbolic actions) were rewarded with votes for AKP in the southeast. When HDP decided to run as a party and it began to seem probably that they'd clear 10%, that was the end of the "Kurdish initiative." Didn't help that Turkey was happy to let Syrian Kurds get slaughtered by ISIS and closed the border to Turkish Kurds, but now wants to intervene for the Sunni Islamists it has supported (including al Nusra) and gains nationalist support by protecting the Turkmens.
      So, yes, hiding it until he consolidated power, with US/EU cheering on as he "cleansed" the army with the help of the Gulenists, on whom he then turned and who almost certainly did deserve it.
      Democracy is a streetcar you ride until you get where you want to go. Then you get off" --Erdogan ca. 20 years ago.

    • If the report is accurate? He's shown entirely what he is, and how many lives he'll take (to say nothing of freedoms) in his thirst for power. Also: He. Never. Was. A. Democrat.
      Now we can expect him to attempt small strikes (or larger!) against the YPG on the pretense that they're aiding the PKK. This site hasn't been covering those reports, but even the Guardian has picked them up.
      Of course, YPG is about the ONLY force in Syria fighting ISIS. Turkey, meanwhile, will do business with, and support, just about any Sunni force of any sort and is now cuddling up with the KSA, whose leaders he had excoriated not long ago.
      Ankara has also once again, as it did a few years ago, done all it could to derail talks by making Assad's exit a precondition.
      &, oh, yeah, Bass was summoned to the Kaçak Saray on Monday

  • Would Trump or Cruz be worst President ever? & Why Jimmy Carter's Answer will Surprise you
    • surprises me not at all. Trump is, after all, a performer not an ideologue. I've always thought that Cruz is the most dangerous person in the race.

  • Syria: The Mother of all Battles for Aleppo is Joined
    • The irrepressible Davutoglu took today to announce his new plan to expand Turkey's regional policies to the Caucuses and the Balkans. However, those who follow Turkey from many angles know that in this 100th year of Sykes-Picot (so what if those borders are long dead) neo-Ottoman ideologues in Ankara (like the PM, former FM) remain committed to restoring Turkey's rightful lands down to Homs and out to Mosul. How? Verda Ozer often does an excellent job channeling the state's vision, as in this article which suggests taking advantage of the disintegration of Syria to"integrate Rojava economically, culturally, politically and security-wise."

  • The Final Breakup of Iraq? Barzani calls for Kurdistan Referendum
    • In fact, this article on Erdogan's potential new Kurdish "allies" (ask Gul and Arinc how that works out) notes one who enjoys Barzani's blessing.

    • You are quite correct. In fact, Erdogan (there's nothing else in Ankara) is playing Good Kurd Bad Kurd, and Barzani is cooperating because his faction is not close with PKK/PYD. Recall a while back that Ankara did all it could to block Kurdish support for PYD in Raqqa but was ok with the Pesh coming down to fight.
      Other factor: "It's the oil, stupid."

  • Toward a New Islamic Golden Age through Science
    • The sad news about METU/ODTU is that the new regime has little tolerance for it. Other governments tolerated its politics recognizing its stature; the Sultan has dreams that do not include such "westernized" institutions and has repeatedly attacked ODTU. Not just ODTU, YOK has been Erdogan's bludgeon for over a decade and has done damage. But under the unitary state and without the Gulenist check, I expect it to do more.

  • Top 5 Ways Putin has won big in Syria and why Europe is embracing him
    • I don't know that "bankrolling would be the word. But support? Absolutely. They've taken no serious steps against ISIS even after having their consulate overrun and at least three bombings. Reyhanli was almost certainly some Sunni jihadis, and there's mountains of online evidence that Turkey has been supplying weapons and other materiel to ISIS/AQ franchises. It's what journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul face life sentences for publishing stories about.

      My question remains why BHO has never gotten over his mancrush on Tayyip. Or is it that he's not allowed to? It surprises me the way he gets left out of the list of human rights violators when he reignited a civil war to secure the election results he wanted and is trowing opponents in jail like it's the Moscow purges of old. Hope dies hard, I guess.

    • Yeah, I think that PS is a dream, unless he wishes to ensure he is succeeded by a GOP president.

  • Why has Turkish Foreign Policy Gone Rogue & What does it mean for the US?
    • Why would anyone write an essay like this, one that works so hard to ignore the Turkish role in DEstabilizing the nation and the region -- Erdogan's authoritarianism and wars against all who disagree with him, and Davutoglu's neo-Ottoman strategic depth.
      Turkey is once again working hard to derail talks over Syria. Last time it was because Ankara believed its Sunni Islamist allies would win, expanding the nation's borders figuratively if not literally. Now it is horrified that the PYD want a seat at the table.

  • Arabs Caught between Trump and ISIL: Casino Capitalism driving backward Identity Politics Worldwide
    • and of course, much of the academic left from the late-80s onward renounced "grand narratives" of emancipation and aufklarung, rejected the "totalitarian" nature of Marxist totality for the "diversity" of identities/"positionalities." And Renounced the positionality of "progressive" in favor of "oppositional" positionality. Not that Professor Harvey deserves any of the blame for that; he was a trenchant critic of those currents.

  • Noam Chomsky slams Turkish Pres. Erdogan for Arresting Academics, supporting Extremism
    • I must agree. And this not isolated but a series of purges with a longer history than Erdogan's one-time defenders both in government and on the academic left like to admit. Now it goes along with a push to place all foundation universities under YOK, in the first place to continue the assault on FETO, but as you note, also to discipline and punish opposition academics.
      Even given the immense hope that certain people put in him, I find the lingering affection for Erdogan in the face of facts curious.

    • I'm rather interested in what counts as "aid" for our author.
      How does he imagine the hostages in Iraq were released?
      Given that ISIS had virtually established customs and border controls on the Turkish border and kept records of crossings while Turkey stood by, is that not aid?
      What of the "unofficial" arms regularly crossing the border, not only MIT shipments?
      What of how long it has taken Turkey actually to start caring -- just the slightest -- about ISIS recruitment?
      Finally, how does he imagine Ankara views the situations in Syria and Iraq vis-a-vis its desire to recover "the lost lands" out to Mosul and down to Halep?
      I'd like to know.

  • Istanbul explosion: overview of this year's surge in terror attacks in Turkey
    • This is excellent news for Erdogan. With war raging in the Kurdish Southeast and MHP a shambles more so then normally, a snap election (which many observers are predicting) will give him enough seats to rewrite the constitution.

      Meanwhile, Juan, no mention of YÖK targeting Turkish academics who signed a peace protection? They've even got extra muscle with Erdogan's newest ally, ultranationalist and crime boss Sedat Peker.

  • Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric Nimr Al Nimr Under “Terrorism” Charges
    • US just signed a shiny new treaty with Iran, which had executed 700 people between 1 Jan and 15 July of 2015 per Amnesty.

  • Top 7 Middle East Foreign Policy Challenges in 2016
    • Speaking of public diplomacy or its lack, I presume you are aware that several respectable commentators in the region regard the Arab Spring as a US?CIA production like the Maidan revolt?

    • Partition would run into problems with defining the Kurdish area unless Obama were finally to wake up and tell Erdogan to deal with it. On the other hand, Ankara might welcome anything that it thinks might help them to reclaim the "lost" Turkish lands out to Mosul and Homs. But why would any sane person want that, given the condition of Turkey's Southeast?

  • Rare victory for Freedom of speech in Turkey, as Pianist allowed to quote Omar Khayyam
    • What's more remarkable is that all the members of çArşı charged in relation to the Gezi protests walked. Hadn't expected that, especially at this level.

    • Of course, it is a sad commentary that the case ever got this far.

      No, it's just inevitable. Those splendid dreams of Islamic democracy suckered in so many; Erdogan was counting on it. Look around now at how many HIGH SCHOOLERS have been arrested for "insulting the president." How many journalists have been arrested for practicing journalism. How the HDP is to be charged with treason for discussing constitutional changes not approved by the Saray (not designed to concentrate RTE's power). How once again the AKP is pimping a story of an attack on the religious that doesn't pan out (the student at ODTU says he was set upon by Saadet Partisi -- Islamist -- thugs.)

  • Israeli PM: 'Arab terror and Jewish terror' are different
    • Why not? Tayyip thinks that occupation of KKTC and Palestine are entirely different, too.

  • Is its Syria Adventure destabilizing Turkey?
    • Is Turkey a rational actor? No.
      Is any of this a surprise? Only to people who spent the aughts talking about Turkey as a rising democracy -- the academic left and the Bush administration.Secular Turks had been predicting since the start that Erdogan was not sincere and would "change his shirt" back again.
      To them, the idea that the head of AKP youth wing would lead the attack on the Hurriyet newspaper building and then be rewarded with a ministerial position is completely unsurprising. As is the array of such youths in shrouds vowing to become martyrs for their Prophet, their Mahdi, Erdogan.
      Is Turkish education in trouble? Yes, just look at the rise of the imam hatips (and no, don't blame it on the 80s, those schools had been closed over the ensuing decades, particularly the 90s, before being revived by AKP).
      But is Turkey being destabilized? No, not yet. It's become a dictatorship, an elective dictatorship. (Or is it a democracy? There's a vote, after all, and like God/Allah, JHWH, we worship the same god in different ways, non?)
      What may destabilize Turkey eventually is a push to Homs and Mosul or the inability to control the civil war with the Kurds. Interestingly, one AKP member floated the possibility of autonomy for the southeast,which would be a prelude to negotiation for the "executive Presidency." Or it may not if Washington still plays its stupid and dirty game with the terrorist-supporting government in Ankara.

  • Human Rights in Turkey: Is Turkish Press Freedom Doomed?
    • Press freedom, democracy, education, all doomed in Turkey, where a state university will refuse to host an academic conference on evolution because it's "too controversial."

  • Flash Point: Could Turkey block Russian access to Mediterrranean?
  • Should an al-Qaeda Ally have a seat at the Syrian Table? Al-Assad rejects talks w/ any armed Group
    • As long as we insist on pretending that Turkey is an ally we're right there with Ahrar al-Sham anyway.

  • ISIL/ Daesh can be Starved of Oil Revenue: Here's How
    • Saved me having to say anything except, interesting to read support for drone warfare on this page.
      Turkey finds the border impossible to close unless it's Kurds headed to support their brethren on the other side.

  • How Turkish President Erdogan went Wrong: Dividing and Not Ruling
    • really, Professor, you need to leave to the Turkey beat to someone able to see what's going on. Yes, as long as AKP stayed with the Kemal Dervis-written plan (he's CHP, you know) approved by The IMF, yes, Turkey expanded. And as long as it was a matter of replacing the operatives of the old state with his own (and his once-BFF Feto), democracy was all to the good.

      Funny, isn't it, how once he has his appointees in place, say 2007/2008, democracy stopped being a value. It just took you a while to notice that he'd wrecked the "Muslim Democrat" narrative.

  • Did Turkey send a deliberate message to Russia & was the US involved?
    • Turkey's ruled by its own chickenhawks, it's not especially opposed to ISIS and from kidnappings in Iraq to bombings in Suruc and Ankara, ISIS hasn't been bashful about sending messages.
      On the other hand, after the shootdown the MHP leader pledged his undying manly love to Erdogan as long as he does things like that. So, yeah, I can see Bahceli actually giving Tayyip his new constitution just because he's stupid like that.

  • Putin: Turkey supports Radicalism & We may have to Respond, hence Tourism Ban
    • No, they'll demand no such thing. They will become ever more nationalist, cheering the war in the southeast (as they do), and ever more militantly religious, desecrating moments of silence for people killed by ISIL (as they do). Meanwhile, there is no government to replace. PM Fieldmouse and his minions are so much window dressing ... you might have noticed their entire absence from G-20 and other fora, and their lack of input into policy.

    • In the past three years certain Western apologists for the AKP have awoken from their slumber of postcolonial reason to discover what Erdogan had been doing along. Many have since conceded that, yes, all that EU-friendly democratization was a brilliant way to gain Western support for replacing the old deep State with the New and Improved Deep State.
      Other have an unaccountable theory that one day the Great Democrat (and former Erbakan acolyte) woke up and inexplicably became an Islamist.
      As for Putin's claim, it's well documented.

  • Why did Turkey dare shoot down a Russian Plane? The Proxy War in Syria
    • Turkmen are not Turks; the doctrine is more accurately, "We owned this once; we're reclaiming it."

    • I do too. I'd also suggest reading Al Monitor as a place to read some excellent Turkish journalists (and Mustafa Akyol).
      But I'm not sure why you're not noting that Yeni Safak is Erdogan's unfiltered id.

      And I do wish you'd not hidden behind a passive construction, but said who is accusing the YPG of cleansing ... the same people who are sending death squads ("Allah's Lions") against their own Kurdish population?

  • 'Very Soon' US forces will Arrive in Syria; Russia bombs near Turkey
  • Paris at Midnight: Attempt to push France out of anti ISIL coalition in Syria?
  • Who Bombs a Peace Rally? An Unprecedented 95 Dead in Turkey capital as Accusations fly
    • Agree with all you said. Would also think that for setting the scene a mention of Sedat Peker's rally in Rize on Friday ought to be mentioned. Hard enough to imagine how he's walking the streets, much less holding a rally in Erdogan's home town calling for blood in the streets.

  • Disillusioned Daesh/ ISIL Fighters joined for 'Adventure, Luxury & Saving Muslims'
    • there's a difference between Muslims and heretics (who are themselves different from infidels).

  • As Germans welcome 1000s of Refugees, EU, Turkey Wrangle over Crisis
    • Yes, Turkey brought them in ... to tents, to streetlife, to a refusal to allow them work permits, to restricting their movement to a single province, while it has worked for years to prevent any sort of talks because of its own power-play by its Islamist , Authoritarian government, which is presently removing the last remnants of democracy and the Consttutional government. (Don't tell me it's a flawed constitution, Juan, it's better than a president making up the lists with handpicked central committee including someone who led the AKP youth attacks on Hurriyet.) But, yes, it's so important to hear from the Islamic democrats on the issue.

  • Egypt’s "Terrorism" Law Violates “Fundamental Freedoms”
    • Sounds a lot like Turkey, which has the freest press in the world, or so I've heard. Nice to see grounds for rapprochement.

  • Turkey Hit by Wave of Attacks as It Continues Mideast Military Strikes
    • At least in Turkey it's because they're sympathetic. The government is not simply Islamist, it's Sunni and considers Shia, Alevis, Alawites, as infidels. As with the Gulen movement (and the Kurds until they had the temerity to vote for their own party), the KacAK Saray will make common cause with anyone who can further the cause of a reunified Sunni empire; such is Neo-Ottomanism.

  • Turkey opens up old wounds with a new campaign against the PKK
    • Let's be clear about this. Whatever the Generals' attitude (and they're ALL Erdogan appointees now), Tayyip himself rode this process to victory after victory.

      Once it became apparent this year -- an election in which he wasn't actually standing, but needed a victory to create his Executive presidency -- that the Kurds would vote HDP in numbers large enough to cross the 10% threshhold -- which Erdogan supports -- and deny the AKP the majority it needed, Erdogan took a hard turn and disavowed the process, denied having any idea it was even going on.

      The all but inescapable coclusion is that hte peace initiative, like the Democratization of Turkey (I remember when our host praised it to the skies) was all a brilliant populist strategy to appear progressive while making over the state and the Deep State in his own image. (That Gulen had already had that idea gave us 17/25 December.)

      It's been a brilliant slow-motion coup in Ankara.

  • Turkish Tanks Shell Syrian Kurds who expelled ISIL from Zur Maghar
    • Not like at all. Exactly. One's Wahhabi, the other's Muslim Brotherhood. So it goes.

  • Turkey's new "war on terror" mainly targeting Kurds
  • Turkey: How Pres. Erdogan damaged the AKP Brand
    • The claim that the problems started appealing two years ago betrays how little the author follows the Turkish situation. Of course, he at first dismissed the Gezi uprising as privileged seculars.

  • Turkish Women Have Last Laugh on Twitter, Reject Gov't Puritanism
    • Less jolly:
      A local court in the eastern province of Erzurum has reduced the sentence of a husband who attacked his wife after seeing her with another man, arguing that her wearing tights and sitting “slightly leaning to one side” could be described as “provocative” and an extenuating circumstance.
      Defense lawyers denigrated D.K., arguing that she provoked the husband’s anger by sitting in the backseat of the car while wearing tights and leaning toward one side.
      But D.K. rejected her husband’s accusations, claiming that the man in the driver’s seat, A.P., was a friend of 14 years and that her husband saw them at a gas station while they were going to pick up her brother and sister.
      He asked me ‘Why did you leave me?’ when he entered in the car and stabbed me. Then he said: ‘I told you I would kill you. Now it will be your family’s turn,’” D.K. told the court.

      And MORE Arinc:
      “There are women who leave on holiday without their husbands and others who don’t have self-control and can’t stop themselves from climbing up a pole.”

      "Moderate Islam" kahkaha

  • Obama needs Europe in responding to MH17 Crash, but NSA Spying a Bar
  • Gaza meets the New Politics of the Middle East: "Islamic State," Egypt, Turkey
    • Well, Tayyip seems to think he can play last Muslim brother standing here, order the colonialists out,* and expect to be protected by those colonialists when the excrement hits the fan. At least, that's how it works in Professor Davutoglu's class. (Yavuz Baydar discusses this essay in his Today's Zaman column today.)

      *Turkey is not a colonizer, you see, it's all Ottoman Property, RTE Sole Owner and Proprietor

    • Turkey’s ruling AK Party is mildly oriented to political Islam.

      Yup, and israel is mildly oriented toward military action in Gaza.

  • The Cost of Repression: Turkey on May Day
    • They know full well who's responsible, and they're happy for it. they rode the democracy tram to the "thanks West for Putting "Kemalists" in Retreat" station, got off, changed shirts, and are now every bit as authoritarian and kleptocratic as the party they replaced.

      Think back:
      According to Human Rights Watch, the Ergenekon case “gives Turkey a chance to make clear that it will hold security forces accountable for abuse, but that can only happen if the investigation follows the evidence wherever — and to whomever — it leads.” [Source: Le Monde Diplomatique, Nov 2009, online]

      That worked out well, didn't it?

  • Turkey's PM Erdogan between Sultanate and Hobbesian Commonwealth
    • Finally, an excellent and thorough essay on the situation in Turkey. my only questions are how long the Kurdish support continues based on promises and if Erdogan will ever consider it within his political self-interest to grant them.

  • If Jesus had a wife, would it change the GOP War on Women?
    • discopies; I imagine they've got cocaine sprinkled over the tops of them instead of powdered sugar?

    • I think the obvious answer is that Mohammed had several; how's that working out?

  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • Yes, and the fun thing about states like Putin's Russia and Erdogan's Turkey is that you can check off the boxes in real time.

    • Funny you should mention Houston-Based Burn & Loot. They were bought by Halliburton in 1962 and remained Halliburton-owned until 2007.

    • "Paul’s notion is not Marxist, but more of a vague populist-like border-line conspiracy theory congenial with extreme right-wing notions – sort of like saying WWI was a plot by the munitions manufacturers."

      This. Entirely this.

    • The simple answer to your first question is that they didn't. The "GG" was not the generation that ordered the internment or ruled in Korematsu, it was not the generation that made the decision to drop the bombs.

    • Convinces me. I mean, I cannot think of a single instance in recorded history in which a man has changed his opinion except for venal reasons.

      Jesus, that man Paul is an absolute buffoon. (Which is not to say that he's necessarily wrong -- stopped clock and all -- but from what's presented here, it's the worst form of post/propter reasoning imaginable.)

  • Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
    • or perhaps, to work of what John suggests, above, those groups flourish because rule by semi-fascist groups is the closest thing to democracy that can survive that close to Russian pressure.

  • Get ready for More Disappearing Airliners: Obama moots giving Syrian Rebels Anti-Aircraft Missiles
    • what there is is on unnamed source on 28 March reported by AP and repeated over and over by many sources. Not saying it won't/can't happen, but that's less evidence than echo chamber.

    • Feb 18: Obama admin official says administration is opposed.
      March 28 Obama admin official reiterates that they pose a proliferation risk.
      March 29: This author says Obama is considering supplying this weapon. No source, no link, nothing.

      what's this post based on?

  • The Paradox of Turkey's Victorious Erdogan: Authoritarianism burnishes his 'democratic' credentials
    • And so, today, we get an even better picture of what Turkey's Islamic democrats believe as they reject an appeal for a recount in Ankara, where the AKP mayor won by less than 1% of the vote in a count a marred by irregularities, and in Antalya, where the AKP won narrowly.

    • Well, the Cemaat spends a lot of money on American academics and it expects articles in return. Wisely, it focuses on people in Humanities and the less-well-funded social sciences and cleans up quite well. Given the cost of a trip to Turkey, praise for the man who buys the ticket must seem like a small price. (I don't think it's only my colleagues I'm talking about ;) )

    • I'm a regular reader of Hurriyet and an admirer of Semih Idiz, whom I regard as the best Turkish journalist writing in English on foreign policy, but if you think that (a) TZ is reliable on Cemaat issues -- look at the people it's dismissed for breaking the party line -- or that Semih Bey is for one second unsure that Cemaat is strong withing the state, and that it, with Tayyip's blessing, put together Ergenekon/Balyoz, you're either kidding yourself or you're ill informed.

      Fact is, too that CHP was always at odds with Cemaat before this falling out, and previous secular governments had placed a warrant for FG for conspiracy against the state.

      Please inform yourself if you're interested!

    • "For many the result is a paradox. How can an increasingly authoritarian government continue to win democratic support"

      seriously? Has this author looked at actually existing political systems? Has Mr Putin, for instance, dropped in to say hi? Or Gen. Sisi? Daniel Ortega? The Ghost of Huey Long?

      Has the author read any historians on populism? this is hardly uncharted territory!

  • Despite Twitter ban, Corruption Charges, Turkey PM claims victory, warns Islamist rivals 'will pay price'
    • Yep; might be time to speak of Tunisia as the regional exception.

    • He can remove the term limits at the Party level, Travis. the attraction is/has been the desire for an all-powerful presidency by a rewritten constitution.

      Back in the days of AKP pretend-democracy, he was trying to get it through with promises of favors to come to the BDP (Kurdish party, which has been foolish enough to trust him).

      Now that' he's declared war on 54% of Turkey, he can ram it through if he wants. He'll be embraced by Russia and, oddly a lot of the academic left (such as it is).

      economy's hard to say; probably helped by the Russian market's nose-dive, but you're still looking at a state with few energy resources, an economy reliant on construction funded by the state and not all of it remunerative, a real threat of the "creative class" expatriating; these youngsters aren't so nationalist as the Kemalists were, they've seen Europe via the Erasmus program and postbac studies, and they're not the kinds of Turks that cause friction in Europe. My friends/former students living there are doing fine thanks.
      the other things about the economy are;
      1. that the books haven't been audited for years, so no one really knows either the actual health of the state or the extent of corruption, and
      2. Tayyip has his own opinions about economic management and he might be less likely to listen to the counsel of Babacan, the only competent economic mind in the government.

    • Fehim Taştekin sums it up well:

      In his victory speech from the party headquarters’ balcony, Erdogan was accompanied by ministers and his son Bilal, also implicated in the corruption scandal, as if he was saying, “They are now acquitted.” Erdogan openly declared a war on the Gulen movement when he said, "We will enter their dens from now on. Yes. They will be held accountable. They will pay the price." He also stated that Syria "is at war with us," signaling that he would be even more hawkish in foreign policy.

      And so it comes as no surprise that Vladimir Putin called to congratulate Erdogan on his victory.

    • So much for the idea that Turkey was a democracy waiting to happen and the Islamists would save us from the generals. At least that little fantasy launched a raft of academic conferences and secured not a few tenure-and-promotion bids.

  • Ukraine wouldn't be as much a Crisis if Europe had adopted Green Energy Faster
    • Wouldn't be as much as a crisis for whom? I suppose this is the imperial view in which those little colonials don't matter?

  • Twitter strikes Back at Turkish Gov't Ban in Courts
  • Turkey: Is Twitter Mightier than Prime Minister Erdogan?
    • Pass a law to extend term limits?? It's an AKP policy not Turkish law. You've been away too long, Erdag Bey.

  • Top attempts by Dictators to Shut down Twitter in Mideast (including Turkey's PM Erdogan)
    • Considering that Twitter use was up 138% after the ban, that alternate DNS routes were sprayed in graffiti and posted on message boards outside stores and restaurants, considering Twitter sent out instructions on how to use SMS to tweet, considering all the posts crossing my FB account on alternative routs and software ...

    • At this point, those wacky "moderate Islamic democrats" who are delivering us from the evils of Kemalism have switched to an IP/DNS based ban, so it's beyond twitter.

      Remember when Gul said he'd sign the law that would make this possible only it wouldn't ever really happen? Funny that people insist on still believing there's life and independent thought in the man.

    • there was an AKP "attempt" to prove the tapes "montages," and it was as comical as this Twitter attempt. Some nameless person passed copies of the tapes to non-Turkish speaking American audio "experts" who turned out to be music studio engineers with no knowledge of Turkish.
      they each confirmed that there were breaks in the tape. No surprise because the tapes submitted were of five calls between Tayyip Erdogan and his son Bilal about the need to get several million dollars in currency out of the house in advance of a police search.

      No wonder the Turkish Medical Association posted a statement yesterday questioning the man's sanity. Perhaps we'll learn that, a la Nixon, he's going to Anit Kabir at night to talk to Ataturk.

  • Google's Larry Page: We can't Have NSA Spying and a Functioning Democracy
  • On Iranian New Year, Russia hints it May Swing Support to Tehran over Crimea Sanctions
  • Crimea Vote provokes fear of Domino Effect in Eurasia: Turkish FM
    • Sorry to break it to you, but the whole world is not about the US. Turkey has its own territorial concerns and desires as regional hegemon.

    • You mean because of the massacres of Russians by Ukrainians? I must have been reading the censored news.

  • Turkey's PM Erdogan can weather Corruption and Islamic Politics: But Can he Weather Twitter?
    • You might have a look at this report from 2009, "Being Different in Turkey"
      link to

      ... all obvious enough now

    • Only if you assume that the Gulenists really want something other than to control state power in Turkey are they a better choice. That's not an assumption I share because I've heard too much for too long about his designs and the extent to which the organization's infiltrated so much of the state apparatus and civil society institutions. If they hadn't, this fight wouldn't be happening now and extending through the courts, the police, the education apparatus ...

      Gulen's spent millions selling himself through his various publications, the conferences he sponsors to praise himself, the legislators whose good will he purchases, the naive academics who are suckers for any tale of oppression (sloppy reading of Fanon and Said is endemic at least in the US and UK academy).

      But read what little of Sik and Sener you can find; ask Andrew Finkel how questioning prior restraint worked out for him at Today's Zaman, do some background reading on Ergenekon and Balyoz, and then ask yoursel why in god's name they's be an improvement over the AKP gang that can't shoot straight?

      (& no, that's not to say that the Army tutelage regime was anything less than excessive at many points in its career, but those who would knee-jerk invoke that narrative for the CHP might try to explain how Kilicdaroglu fits it. He's not your father's CHP -- unless you want to say "thy all go that way," but that's just about crossing the line to a racialist theory of the Turks' incapacity for democratic government.)

    • He wouldn't unleash the police: too many Fethilacci in it, though the restaffing of the upper ranks continues even today. I'd not be so quick to assume which side (if any) the Army would take. For one thing, if it's still a bastion of secularism, it would be advantaged by the duelling lodges going after each other, and secondly, the Army's distruct of Gulen is longstanding; Gulen canceled the indictment against FG that predates his government.

      The MIT appears to be free of Gulenist influences, which may well explain why it and its leader, Findan, have been targeted in the past by likely Gulenist circles within the state structure.

      Nopr should you underrate how strong AKP media is within turkey and how strong Erdogan's influence over RTUK is.

      I can't imagine who, other than the Cemaat and their Western retainers would hope to see FG rise.

    • Having jumped the shark months ago, Today Tayyip attempted the whale:

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped up his fiery rhetoric against his ally-turned-nemesis, the Gülen movement, criticizing U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen as the leader of “neo-Ergenekon.”

      link to

      So, it is now all of Turkey against Erdogan and his shrouded boys. Alas, if he weren't so violently opposed to the Shia, he could join Iran and Syria in the Putin league.

    • If he can't weather it, he can always shut it down. , as he's shut down the courts, the prosecutors, and set to attack various professional associations and unions that he does not control. Beyond that, he can rest assured that the Turkish media control board will carefully regulate dissent (it's happening already), that he will dominate TV, and that the AKP version of truth will be widely disseminated in all the crony-run newspapers. Beyond that, all the money will come in handy for buying votes with household goods.
      I'd be happy to see him gone, but I don't expect it. People who say they won't vote for him will still vote AKP, and that will remain his party as the three-term rule is set aside unless RTE sees a way to the presidency (much less likely within reach).

  • Crimean Tatars fear Russian Rule
    • Could? Absolutely. Would? Tayyip's not that crazy. He has not one single time said anything against Putin's protection of Assad. Never. He harangues Europe and the US, but is silent about Assad's actual supporter.

      Or as Sozcu reports, Davutoglu was heard to say, "No Sunnis, no Shia, no oil! How can there be a problem in Ukraine?" (OK, it's a satiric site, but still, it's fairly accurate.)

  • Syria: Kurdish Women Soldiers take on Extremist Jihadis
    • Yes, they all want Assad out. After that, things get difficult and as a wise man said, the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

  • The Theater of Conspiracy in the Run-up to Turkey’s Elections
  • Tens of Thousands in Turkey Protest Tyranny of the Majority
    • Oh, I would, actually. And given that the military was all in jail at the time, a lot of good it would have done, anyway.

      I made a point of asking ... well, not so much asking as saying that the Army would certainly be one solution, and the response from these so-called "White Turks," mostly in their late 20s and 30s was resoundingly No!

      There was also a large Alevi contingent that has historically not done well under the old-guard Kemalists, and I doubt doubt the TKP/ML was out there for the army, either ... well, other than to take it on.

      I mean, I know it was a popular theory at the time for commentators who were still down with the AKP but have since backpedaled significantly, but Taksim wasn't Tahrir.

    • Sorry, I know too many of the people out in the streets and they know too many others to take seriously your "theory" for a second. If I knew nothing of what has been transpiring in Turkey over the last few years, and accelerating over the last 12 months, I might believe it. But your claim is akin to the idea that there's no serious objection to the security state or the economic disparities in the US because there's always been an intelligence service of some sort and a plutocratic class, so it's only communists or the extreme right agitating for a coup.

    • Oh, for crying out loud, Juan. Egemen Bagis, former EU Ambassador, present graft suspect, called the mourners "Necrophiliacs." That's your idea of apology? Had Berkin been an Egyptian protesting for the MB, there would have been a state funeral. He's Alevi, so what matters it?

      Meanwhile,. pro-government papers are suggesting that the family had him disconnected from life support -- all remaining 19 kilos of him -- as an election plot.

      Erdogan's response? "This will not hurt the economy!" It's a Jewish/anarchistic/Cemaatci coup, you see.

  • Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis?
    • As you well know, Poland has all sorts of historical reason short of Neocon conspiracy theories to be concerned about the Ukraine. That's a FOX-worthy claim.

    • Certainly we have no reason for concern about far-away country between people of whom we know nothing, and as so many of your European commenters have noted, Crimea, or even Ukraine is a small price to pay to keep the gas flowing.

  • Sunni Representation Imperiled in Iraq if al-Anbar can't/ won't Vote
    • Because they relize that nation-states aren't in general happy to see their territories dissolved? Because the nationalist sentiments then quite often turn on remaining minorities? Because lands are often claimed by more than one group?

      What are my other intelligent choices?

  • Censorship: Turkish PM, President tangle over Bruited ban on Facebook, Youtube
    • Not even needed. Ergenekon/Balyoz was the Mother of All RICO cases and carried far too far without need for a statute.

      There's no way for Erdogan to prove this conspiracy without staining himself.

      More importantly, Erdogan has always run as the underdog beset by conspiring forces. It's a popular narrative in Turkey, and he was able to get a lot of otherwise intelligent people in the west to sign on.

      In this case, you might say that if Gulen didn't exist Tayyip would have had to invent him. Or Keyser Söze.

    • In the end, Gul will do what he's told to do by Erdogan. When hasn't he? Oh, he talks pretty some days, but it leads nowhere.

      & whatever the truth about the Gulen movement (I've no illusions of their virtue), he was glad to have them as long as they were clearing the field of opponents. But apparently there's a messiah quota, so and one of them has to go.

      & Juan, be serious: you can be jailed for libel if you say anything against AKP or anything taken as "anti-Muslim," but none of it applies if you're AKP. That's been proven repeatedly over the years.

      What's changed about Tayyip is your opinion of him. Had you been talking to other Turks, you'd have been hearing this over the years.

      And if you really think that Erdogan has been an economic steward, you're kidding yourself. Credit first to the CHP's Kemal Dervis, who hatched the recovery plan. Then to Ali Babacan, who ran a good ship while he had the freedom to chart course.

      And given your interest in green policies, you should be thrilled to learn that on Friday a decision was taken to leave it up to provincial governors -- who are political appointees -- to decide if environmental impact studies are necessary before green-lighting projects. Spend some time reading up on environmental depredation in Turkey and the privatization of public land, particularly green spaces, then talk about that wonderful stewardship if you still dare.

  • US Hypocrisy on Crimean secession move: Washington Supported Break-up of Sudan, Yugoslavia, Iraq
    • Come to Texas, you'll find a good job in government!

    • Step one, send people across border,
      Step two vote to secede from one state and join another
      (see, e. g. Antakya region voting to leave Syria for Turkey).

      Not comfortable at all with that.

    • Good point. Given the tens of thousands killed in the Ukraine, as in those other places, how can we insist on the carnage continuing.

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