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Update on “Turkish Taffy”

COMMENT: In FTR #‘s 737, 738, 739, we exam­ined the pre­vail­ing political/journalistic fan­ta­sy about the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment in Turkey. That coun­try is wrapped in a cloak of fan­ta­sy and wish­ful think­ing by ele­ments who would see Turkey as a bas­tion of Islam­ic enlight­en­ment and a role mod­el for “emerg­ing democ­ra­cies” in the Arab and Mus­lim world.

The sug­ary con­fec­tion derived from such fan­ta­siz­ing may taste sweet at first, but that is mis­lead­ing.

Nei­ther “mod­er­ate” nor, in essence, “demo­c­ra­t­ic,” the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with: the milieu of the Bank al-Taqwa, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Pan-Turk­ist move­ment, the Fetul­lah Gulen cult and inter­na­tion­al fas­cism.

In this post, we exam­ine:

  • The [belat­ed] real­iza­tion by Euro­pean diplo­mats that the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment has a neo-Ottoman, Islamist agen­da, as well as an unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic one.
  • The recent call by Erdo­gan for his ally Gulen to return to Turkey. Gulen’s cadre is wide­ly seen as the appa­ra­tus through which Erdo­gan has cement­ed his polit­i­cal con­trol. (Note: crit­ics of the orga­ni­za­tion claim it is sup­port­ed by the CIA. The gen­tle han­dling of the orga­ni­za­tion by West­ern news out­lets is sug­ges­tive of such a con­nec­tion.)
  • Alle­ga­tions that the head of the Turk­ish IHH Islam­ic char­i­ty has helped fund Al-Qae­da. In the past, we have exam­ined the IHH’s links to inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism. Most recent­ly, the IHH shep­herd­ed the flotil­la that attempt­ed to land in Gaza, pre­cip­i­tat­ing an Israeli reponse that turned vio­lent.

“Neo ‑Ottoman Islamist Fan­tasies Wor­ry Euro­pean Diplo­mats” by Michael Sail­han; Mid­dle East Online; 6/10/2012.

EXCERPT: Euro­pean Union diplo­mats are express­ing grow­ing con­cern at what they see as the increas­ing­ly mil­i­tant stance tak­en by Turkey’s rul­ing Islamists.

They accuse Ankara of using probes into alleged plots against the gov­ern­ment as a tool to jail and silence oppo­nents and com­pro­mise the coun­try’s sec­u­lar cre­den­tials by intro­duc­ing Koran stud­ies in pub­lic schools.

Oth­er mea­sures include low­er­ing the age at which par­ents can send their chil­dren to Islam­ic reli­gious schools, increas­ing pres­sure on those crit­i­cis­ing Islam and restrict­ing abor­tion.

Turk­ish author­i­ties accuse the so-called Ergenekon net­work of being behind sev­er­al plots to over­throw the gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan.

Dozens of retired or serv­ing senior mil­i­tary fig­ures, intel­lec­tu­als, lawyers and jour­nal­ists been put behind bars.

On Thurs­day Ste­fan Fuele, Euro­pean com­mis­sion­er for enlarge­ment, cit­ed this and oth­er obsta­cles in the way of Turkey’s mem­ber­ship bid while in Istan­bul for talks.

“I have used this meet­ing to con­vey our con­cerns about the increas­ing deten­tion of law­mak­ers, aca­d­e­mics and stu­dents and the free­dom of press and jour­nal­ists,” he said.

Changes due to take effect when the new aca­d­e­m­ic year starts this autumn also have also ruf­fled feath­ers. The Islamist-root­ed rul­ing Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty (AKP) gov­ern­ment is intro­duc­ing Koran lessons.

And from the end of pri­ma­ry school, more par­ents will be able to opt out of the sec­u­lar edu­ca­tion sys­tem and send their chil­dren to Islam­ic reli­gious schools. Pre­vi­ous­ly these schools could not recruit chil­dren under the age of 15: now chil­dren as young as 11 will be allowed to attend.

There is con­cern too over plans by state broad­cast­er TRT to launch a reli­gious chan­nel and pro­pos­als for prayer rooms in new­ly built pub­lic build­ings such as crech­es, the­atres and even opera hous­es.

“A series of recent moves show that the con­ser­v­a­tive ten­den­cy has the upper hand and faces no oppo­si­tion,” said Marc Pieri­ni, a for­mer head of the EU diplo­mat­ic team in Turkey.

“Civ­il soci­ety exists, but it is hard­ly audi­ble,” said one Ankara-based diplo­mat.

“The media are for the most part direct­ly or indi­rect­ly con­trolled by the AKP and the oppo­si­tion is pow­er­less,” the diplo­mat added. . . .

“Erdo­gan Hopes Islam­ic Schol­ar Gulen Returns to Turkey Soon”; Today’s Zaman; 6/15/2012.

EXCERPT: Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has open­ly invit­ed Turk­ish Islam­ic schol­ar Fethul­lah Gülen to Turkey in a speech he deliv­ered dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony for the 10th Turk­ish Olympiads amid a stand­ing ova­tion from a crowd of over 50,000.

Erdoğan, who spoke after he was grant­ed a spe­cial award by the orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee of the Olympiads, implied that Gülen, with­out direct­ly men­tion­ing his name, should return to Turkey as soon as pos­si­ble. The well-known schol­ar has been resid­ing in the US for near­ly 13 years.

“We want this yearn­ing to end,” he said, receiv­ing a lengthy stand­ing ova­tion from the crowd, in a rare blunt invi­ta­tion for Gülen to return to his home­land. Erdoğan added, “We want to see those who are abroad and long­ing for the home­land among us.”

Respond­ing to the lengthy applause, Erdoğan fur­ther said he under­stands that the crowd also wants “this yearn­ing to end.”

Gülen is a Turk­ish Islam­ic schol­ar well known for his teach­ings that pro­mote mutu­al under­stand­ing and tol­er­ance between dif­fer­ent cul­tures and faiths. Now resid­ing in the US, Gülen has pio­neered edu­ca­tional activ­i­ties in a num­ber of coun­tries, along with efforts to pro­mote inter­cul­tural and inter­faith activ­i­ties around the world. The Turk­ish Olympiads are an ini­tia­tive pio­neered by schools asso­ci­ated with him. . . .

“Turk­ish IHH Pres­i­dent Inves­ti­gat­ed for Financ­ing Al-Qae­da”; Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Report; 6/17/2012.

EXCERPT:  Turk­ish media is report­ing that the Pres­i­dent of the Human­i­tar­i­an Relief Foun­da­tion (İHH), spon­sor of the June 2010 Gaza flotil­la that was involved in a vio­lent alter­ca­tion with Israeli naval forces, is being inves­ti­gat­ed for alleged­ly financ­ing al-Qae­da through his orga­ni­za­tion. Accord­ing to the report:

. . . . Human­i­tar­i­an Relief Foun­da­tion (İHH) Pres­i­dent Bülent Yıldırım is being inves­ti­gat­ed for alleged­ly financ­ing al-Qae­da through his orga­ni­za­tion, dai­ly Habertürk has report­ed. The probe, led by an Istan­bul spe­cial­ly autho­rized pros­e­cu­tor, accus­es Yıldırım of ‘pro­vid­ing finan­cial aid to al-Qae­da via his foun­da­tion’ with absolute secre­cy, report­ed­ly with­out offi­cial num­ber­ing and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. A Diyarbakır spe­cial­ly autho­rized pros­e­cu­tor has also been lead­ing a sim­i­lar case into Yıldırım, Habertürk report­ed. Yıldırım was the İHH’s head dur­ing the 2010 Mavi Mar­mara flotil­la inci­dent . . . .

. . . There is strong evi­dence for Turk­ish gov­ern­men­tal involve­ment in the Gaza flotil­la inci­dent, with Turk­ish gov­ern­ment sup­port chan­neled through the Turk­ish Mus­lim Broth­er­hood net­work. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new cen­ter for the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The IHH was not act­ing alone but rather was an inte­gral part of a Turk­ish Mus­lim Broth­er­hood net­work.

The Gaza flotil­la inci­dent brought into sharp focus an even more sig­nif­i­cant long- term devel­op­ment: the grow­ing rela­tion­ship between the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment and the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which has giv­en rise to some of the most noto­ri­ous Islamist ter­ror­ist groups – from al-Qae­da to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new cen­ter for the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip act­ed as the main axis for this activ­i­ty. . . .


9 comments for “Update on “Turkish Taffy””

  1. If you’re going to enter the the­atre of Cen­tral Asian geopol­i­tics, be sus­pect of the pro­gram they hand you at the door. The actors have a ten­den­cy to switch roles at will or even play more than one char­ac­ter simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.
    Turkey’s ambi­tions to reestab­lish an Ottoman Empire Lite along the Old Silk Road would nor­mal­ly be expect­ed to foment noth­ing but resis­tance from Chi­na, who has to wor­ry about a Tur­kic lin­guis­tic and eth­nic minor­i­ty at her west­ern back door. But Chi­na’s pol­i­cy of soft pow­er expan­sion­ism helps avoids much direct con­fronta­tion.

    “The lead­ers of the world’s fastest grow­ing economies in Eura­sia met in Bei­jing last month. Prime Min­is­ter Erdogan’s vis­it to Chi­na, com­ing soon after pres­i­dent-in-wait­ing Xi Jinping’s vis­it to Turkey might have her­ald­ed a new dawn of Sino-Tur­kic rela­tions on the old Silk Road: in Cen­tral Asia.”
    Chi­na would rather absorb ene­mies than fight them. A still fur­ther basis for coop­er­a­tion with Turkey is both par­ties’ mutu­al desire to hold Rus­sia in check in the Earth Island. Con­sis­tent with this, the EU/US block offers its ten­ta­tive sup­port for this oth­er­wise sur­pris­ing alliance, con­sid­er­ing that Chi­na faces a real threat from a revived Tur­kic union.

    “This could be an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Unit­ed States to enlist these two dynam­ic economies to con­tribute to sta­bil­i­ty in the region once West­ern forces have with­drawn from Afghanistan. It could also emerge as an alter­na­tive to U.S. influ­ence in the region. Much depends on how Wash­ing­ton approach­es the revived rela­tion­ship.”

    Read the above as: Turkey’s pos­si­ble grow­ing influ­ence in the region ( act­ing as a proxy for the EU ) can be steered more firm­ly against Rus­sia by manip­u­lat­ing his­tor­i­cal Russ­ian and Chi­nese com­pe­ti­tion for the loy­al­ties of Cen­tral Asian gov­ern­ments. As US mil­i­tary intim­i­da­tion fades (slight­ly) from the area, Chi­na, Turkey and Pak­istan can take up the slack, hold­ing the Russ­ian bear at bay. See­ing the inevitable and posi­tion­ing her­self for max­i­mum advan­tage, the dis­mem­ber­ment of Syr­ia and Iran may not be resist­ed by Chi­na over­much.

    Posted by Dwight | June 21, 2012, 7:39 am
  2. It’s too tempt­ing, giv­en the top­ic, not to make some sweep­ing obser­va­tions con­trast­ing the Tur­kic peo­ple and the Chi­nese and their respec­tive his­to­ries.

    Very, very rough­ly, Turks = Mon­gols = Huns = Manchus = Scythi­ans = Bul­gars = Mag­yars = Moghuls = Khaz­ars = Ottomans. The hard edged north Asian peo­ple who were the main prog­en­i­tors of the native Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion and who first domes­ti­cat­ed the horse went on to invent the stir­rup so that they could have both hands free to kick for­eign­ers’ ass­es (ignore con­fus­ing hand/foot metaphor). They began ear­ly, begin­ning about 3000 years ago, and have stayed late.

    One his­tor­i­cal puz­zle is where they got the raw num­bers to repeat­ed­ly invade and con­quer all with­in reach on the Eurasian con­ti­nent. The Manchus were one spe­cif­ic incar­na­tion of the north­ern con­querors who made a cult of their rela­tion­ship to their hors­es and wore a long braid in imi­ta­tion of a hors­es tail. Loy­al sub­jects were expect­ed to emu­late this, hence the ‘que’ of Chi­nese stereo­type.

    The Hun and Mon­gol inroads into Europe sur­vive into the present day and their var­i­ous incar­na­tions, across cen­turies, held togeth­er the lin­guis­tic and cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty known today as ‘Turk’ with its rec­og­nized roots in Siberia. (‘Turk’ prob­a­bly comes from a word mean­ing ‘blue’ of the Blue Horde.)

    The peo­ple we know today as Chi­nese, on the oth­er hand, are more sinned against than sin­ning in the inva­sion and expan­sion are­na. Chi­na has been invad­ed, con­quered and frag­ment­ed by the north­ern­ers a dozen times ( not to men­tion Japan and Europe in liv­ing mem­o­ry ) and, whether it takes decades or cen­turies, tol­er­ates the invaders and assim­i­lates them, until the day when the Chi­nese lan­guage, cul­ture and iden­ti­ty reemerges unit­ed and seem­ing­ly unscathed. It is some­what of an over-gen­er­al­iza­tion and sounds close to racial chau­vin­ism to say it but the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence is about cul­ture, not genet­ics, and shows this: The Chi­nese are much more sur­vival­ist ori­ent­ed than expan­sion­ist and so tend to the long view. The Turks, in con­trast and if they fol­low the incli­na­tions of their Siber­ian war­rior fore­bears, want what they want now.

    Com­par­ing the sim­ple cli­mac­tic com­mon­al­i­ties of Euro­pean and Asian his­to­ry and con­sid­er­ing the seem­ing­ly innate aggres­sive­ness of Scan­di­na­vian and north­ern Ger­man peo­ples. a recipe for cre­at­ing a war­like cul­ture would seem to be sim­ply freez­ing them for a few mil­lenia. Then watch out when they come from behind the glac­i­er.

    Posted by Dwight | June 21, 2012, 11:14 am
  3. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3132/turkey-sex-lies-and-videotapes

    Turkey’s Sex, Lies and Video­tapes

    by Claire Berlin­s­ki
    June 26, 2012 at 8:30 am

    If you are not allowed to keep these tapes on your com­put­er, how can you threat­en your ene­mies with them? The issue peo­ple should have been con­cerned about was not porn at all, but the imple­men­ta­tion of a sys­tem that allows the gov­ern­ment at will to to shut off chan­nels of polit­i­cal dis­sent – a feat it man­aged quite suc­cess­ful­ly.

    Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals did not crim­i­nal­ize all porn recently—it just ruled that any­one in pos­ses­sion of videos depict­ing oral or anal sex may be sen­tenced to prison. This fol­lowed a recent rul­ing iden­ti­fy­ing videos of gay and group sex as “unnatural”—that is, in the same legal cat­e­go­ry as videos depict­ing sex with ani­mals, chil­dren and corpses, all of which are for­bid­den by Arti­cle 262.2 of the Turk­ish Penal Code. This arti­cle stip­u­lates that own­ing, traf­fick­ing, dis­trib­ut­ing or pub­lish­ing such videos will earn you one-to-four. The rul­ing fol­lowed the sen­tenc­ing by a local court of a sus­pect to six months in prison for sell­ing CDs that depict­ed what we in the deca­dent West might call “send­ing your hus­band off to the office hap­py.”

    The case went up to the Supreme Court of Appeals, which not only ruled that the defen­dan­t’s sen­tence was too low, but declared that the activ­i­ty in ques­tion was also “unnat­ur­al”— on a par with necrophil­ia. The court thus over­ruled the orig­i­nal sen­tence and replaced it with one con­sis­tent with Arti­cle 262.2.

    As if this were not enough to chill the coun­try’s libido, the new rul­ing applies both to videos down­loaded from the Inter­net or stored on a per­son­al com­put­er— in oth­er words, it prob­a­bly applies to every male with a com­put­er in Turkey: accord­ing to Google, Turkey leads the world in search­es for the word “porn” (fol­lowed, if you are curi­ous, by Roma­nia and Peru). As one Turk­ish friend put it, “Who wants to watch porn with­out oral sex?”

    Bans on porn in Turkey are noth­ing new—after the 1980 coup, for exam­ple, the mil­i­tary imposed a desul­to­ry ban; but what real­ly hap­pened was that news­pa­pers unable to report about any­thing else start­ed com­pet­ing on skin, until, by the end of the decade, porn was a growth indus­try. A Turk­ish friend recent­ly nos­tal­gi­cal­ly rem­i­nisced about the kids who sold Kleenex out­side his favorite Beyo­glu cin­e­ma when he was grow­ing up.

    By the late 1990s, the porn indus­try here was appar­ent­ly in its Gold­en Age. I don’t know much about it and don’t real­ly want to do the research; I’ll just take every­one’s word for it. Then the AKP came to pow­er and began crack­ing down. In 2004, mem­bers of the gov­ern­ment passed leg­is­la­tion mak­ing it ille­gal to dis­trib­ute “obscene” images, words, or texts through any means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion – pret­ty much crim­i­nal­iz­ing the entire coun­try. In 2005, they banned the four erot­ic tele­vi­sion chan­nels avail­able on Turkey’s sole satel­lite provider: Dig­i­turk. Play­boy TV, Exot­i­ca TV, Adult Chan­nel, and Rouge TV all dis­ap­peared, to lit­tle out­cry. No one watched porn on satel­lite TV anyway—it had long since entered the Inter­net age.

    But then they went too far: They announced plans to fil­ter the stuff off the Inter­net. Del­i­ca­cy pre­vents me from list­ing the banned words, but their move prompt­ed the kind of out­rage usu­al­ly not seen in Turkey: peo­ple who had nev­er before expressed the faintest inter­est in attend­ing a protest said they planned to attend one.

    There were mas­sive cam­paigns against the leg­is­la­tion on Face­book and Twit­ter, some of them quite sophis­ti­cat­ed, defend­ing the right to unfet­tered Inter­net access. The gov­ern­ment was forced to back down: it would intro­duce a fil­ter­ing sys­tem, it said, but adults could opt out.

    The issue peo­ple should have been con­cerned about, of course, was not porn at all, but the tech­ni­cal imple­men­ta­tion of a sys­tem that allows the gov­ern­ment at will to shut off chan­nels of polit­i­cal dis­sent – a feat it man­aged quite suc­cess­ful­ly.

    The gov­ern­ment has not giv­en up the dream of ban­ning porn, or books, for that mat­ter. Last year, the Board for Pro­tec­tion of Minors from Obscene Pub­li­ca­tions brought a case against both the pub­lish­er and the Turk­ish trans­la­tor of The Soft Machine by William Bur­roughs, pro­nounc­ing the book “incom­pat­i­ble with the morals of soci­ety and the peo­ple’s hon­or,” “inju­ri­ous to sex­u­al­i­ty” and “gen­er­al­ly repug­nant.” The own­er of the pub­lish­ing house, Irfan San­ci, had been tried on sim­i­lar charges the year pri­or, and was acquit­ted for pub­lish­ing a Turk­ish trans­la­tion of Apol­li­naire’s The Adven­tures of a Young Don Juan. Now, how­ev­er, the trans­la­tor of The Soft Machine, Suha Sertabi­boglu, faces up to three years in prison if con­vict­ed. The Board for the Pro­tec­tion of Minors also brought the pub­lish­er and trans­la­tor of Chuck Palah­niuk’s Snuff to tri­al on charges of obscen­i­ty. Snuff is a satire of the porn indus­try, not an exam­ple of it, but the lev­el of Eng­lish lan­guage com­pre­hen­sion and lit­er­ary sophis­ti­ca­tion one would need to appre­ci­ate this is far beyond that of the Board. The Board, by the way, has exist­ed since 1921, but has been so som­no­lent that no one I know can even remem­ber hear­ing about it until the AKP won its third term.

    Giv­en the num­ber of politi­cians, gen­er­als, jour­nal­ists and oth­er fig­ures who have been black­mailed with ille­gal­ly filmed video­tapes of their sex­u­al activ­i­ty, this new rul­ing puts black­mail­ers, in par­tic­u­lar, in a legal conun­drum: If you aren’t allowed to keep these tapes on your com­put­er, how can you threat­en your ene­mies with them?

    Illic­it sex tapes were a major fea­ture of the last gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign that brought the AKP back to pow­er for its third and arguably least glo­ri­ous term. One well-timed sex-tape scan­dal after anoth­er held the oppo­si­tion par­ties hostage, and may have con­tributed to the AKP’s cap­ture of 326 votes in the 550 seat parliament—almost enough to put its pro­pos­als for con­sti­tu­tion­al reform to a ref­er­en­dum with­out the sup­port of any oth­er par­ty. (Or per­haps it lost seats instead: Quite a bit of the coun­try was just dis­gust­ed by the whole busi­ness.) Released just a month before the June 12 elec­tion, one tape appeared to show two (mar­ried) senior oppo­si­tion par­ty mem­bers engaged in a bit of rumpy-pumpy with female uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents. The anony­mous cin­e­matog­ra­phers warned the leader of the minor­i­ty Nation­al­ist Move­ment Par­ty, or MHP, that if he did not want to see more sex and audio tapes of his clos­est aides released, he might like to step aside.

    It’s pos­si­ble that the wave of tape-scan­dals was an inside job: Some believed they were the work of a dis­sent­ing fac­tion of the MHP. But they were also wide­ly rumored to be the hand­i­work of the AKP or its sup­port­ers, and designed to push the MHP below the 10% elec­tion thresh­old. This would have barred the MHP from enter­ing par­lia­ment and reas­signed its seats to the par­ties that passed, giv­ing the AKP the super­ma­jor­i­ty its mem­bers so bad­ly want­ed to be able to pass a new con­sti­tu­tion with­out a ref­er­en­dum. It almost worked, too—the MHP squeaked in with just 53 seats.

    While the tech­nique of rid­ding one­self of polit­i­cal rivals by means of a well-timed sex-tape leak is hard­ly unknown to the West, in Turkey the rit­u­al has cer­tain unique cul­tur­al adap­ta­tions: In the pre-elec­tion video­tape scan­dal, a group that called itself “Dif­fer­ent Ide­al­ism” began sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly releas­ing video­tapes of MHP lead­ers in indeco­rous pos­es with, as one colum­nist here chaste­ly put it, “women who do that sort of thing for a liv­ing.” Two video clips depict­ed Bülent Did­in­mez, a deputy chair­man and for­mer MHP Istan­bul provin­cial branch leader and par­lia­men­tary can­di­date Ihsan Barutçu involved in acts that def­i­nite­ly did not involve the women to whom they were mar­ried. The clips were released short­ly after a video­tape dis­play­ing deputy chair­men and Adana Deputy Recai Yildirim and Kirse­hir Deputy Metin Çobanoglu in an “inti­mate” con­ver­sa­tion with two women to whom they, too, were not wed. When MHP leader Bahçeli pub­licly demand­ed the errant par­ty lead­ers’ res­ig­na­tion, they stepped down.

    Up to this point we are still in famil­iar territory—all of this could have hap­pened in the West. But then Did­in­mez and Barutçu defend­ed them­selves by say­ing that they had tak­en the women in the videos as their sec­ond wives—so it was all in fact quite legit­i­mate, you see. The men claimed that many of the rul­ing AKP mem­bers had sec­ond or third wives out­side their civ­il mar­riages, so they were only doing the same thing. Not even John Edwards could come up with a defense like that.

    Of course, no scan­dal in Turkey is com­plete with­out the accu­sa­tion of a for­eign con­spir­a­cy: Deputy MHP Chair­man Faruk Bal indig­nant­ly announced that “this is a prod­uct of a plan by domes­tic and for­eign cir­cles, and those who wish to see par­lia­ment with­out the MHP in it are actors of this plan.”

    His expla­na­tion, how­ev­er, did not fly. Ten high-rank­ing par­ty lead­ers were forced to resign after videos were released of them engaged in var­i­ous shades of socia­bil­i­ty with women def­i­nite­ly not their wives in a house the MHP appar­ent­ly main­tained for these secret liaisons. Worst of all, one of these men was caught on film bitch­ing to his mis­tress about Devlet Bahçeli, the MHP par­ty leader. There is stu­pid, then there is real­ly stu­pid. This is Turkey: Take a sec­ond wife, okay, but do not crit­i­cize the par­ty leader.

    It is cus­tom­ary, in Turkey, to blame Fethul­lah Gülen for these cin­e­mato­graph­ic feats. The aged preach­er, who lives in self-imposed exile in the Poconos, is wide­ly believed (not with­out rea­son) to con­trol every­thing in Turkey, although most like­ly even he does not con­trol these recre­ation­al par­tial­i­ties. State pros­e­cu­tor Nuh Mete Yük­sel, famous for indict­ing and impris­on­ing then-may­or and now prime min­is­ter Erdo­gan for read­ing, at a par­ty ral­ly, a poem with a puta­tive­ly anti-sec­u­lar inter­pre­ta­tion, filed for the arrest of Gülen on August 3, 2000, at the Ankara State Court of Secu­ri­ty on the charge that his sym­pa­thiz­ers and he had sought to over­throw the sec­u­lar state. A mere year lat­er, a secret­ly-taped video of Yük­sel engaged in han­ky-panky (rumpy-pumpy, indeco­rous activ­i­ties, what­ev­er you like ...) with a sub­or­di­nate was released to the pub­lic. We can extend this list. If, for exam­ple, you want to know the fate of the jour­nal­ist Ali Kir­ca, who broad­cast the video­tape of the Gülen ser­mon that prompt­ed Yük­sel to file those charges, try this Google search.

    In fair­ness, it must be not­ed, that in Turkey there is a long sec­u­lar tra­di­tion of video­tape shenani­gans. The main oppo­si­tion CHP leader, Deniz Baykal was filmed in hap­py bon­homie with one of his par­ty’s female MPs, forc­ing him to resign — a CHP inside job, most believe; and while few could approve of the method, every­one approved of the out­come. Baykal was a fos­silized old bore with no hope what­so­ev­er of win­ning an election—not that his mouse-like suc­ces­sor, Kemal Kil­iç­daroglu, has been the improve­ment every­one had hoped for.

    Inci­den­tal­ly, they—whoever “they” are—have not been con­fin­ing them­selves to black­mail­ing oppo­si­tion politi­cians, gen­er­als and dis­si­dents of all stripes. They have also been film­ing their kids. Turn­ing peo­ple’s kids into unin­ten­tion­al porn stars is about as dirty as it gets. Sad­ly, jour­nal­ists who viewed the harass­ment of the fam­i­ly of the blind Chi­nese rights activist Chen Guangchen as beyond the unspeak­able have not once sug­gest­ed, as far as I know, that the humil­i­a­tion and harass­ment of the fam­i­lies of dis­si­dents in Turkey might be wor­thy of some moral out­rage, as well.

    Short­ly before the Turk­ish police arrest­ed the for­mer 1st Army Corps com­man­der Gen­er­al Hasan Igsiz on charges of “mak­ing pro­pa­gan­da cam­paigns against civil­ian groups and the gov­ern­ment,” pho­tos of his son’s bob­bling and naked rear end were splashed across the tabloid press. The term “civil­ian groups” is a euphemism here—the group in ques­tion is the Gülen movement—and Hakan Igsiz, whose anato­my became mild­ly famous, is not in much doubt that Gülen’s sup­port­ers were the cin­e­matog­ra­phers. Hakan, by the way, a sound tech­ni­cian, men­tioned that he was in awe of the excep­tion­al­ly high qual­i­ty of their audio equipment—he said he had seen noth­ing like it in the indus­try before.

    The real­ly huge news for black­mail­ers, though, is the gov­ern­men­t’s pro­pos­al to ban the pub­li­ca­tion in dig­i­tal news­pa­pers and the press of ille­gal­ly-acquired sound record­ings. Some believe that the pur­pose of this leg­is­la­tion is to pro­tect prime min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan from the kind of embar­rass­ment to which he was exposed when it was revealed that his intel­li­gence chief and per­son­al con­fi­dant, Hakan Fidan, had been sur­rep­ti­tious­ly nego­ti­at­ing with the PKK—this despite Erdo­gan’s recent cam­paign blus­ter that had he been in charge when PKK leader Abdul­lah Öcalan was cap­tured, he would have had him hanged.

    Erdo­gan is now try­ing to arrange a deal to release the impris­oned mil­i­tary offi­cers, who for years have been lan­guish­ing in prison with­out a con­vic­tion. Why, you might won­der, does he want to do that? Well, we would all like to know, but the best we can do is guess. Per­haps he is wor­ried that more offi­cers will be hit, leav­ing in tat­ters what is left of the mil­i­tary. Per­haps he is wor­ried that the Gülenist infil­tra­tion of the mil­i­tary has gone too far and is becom­ing a dan­ger to him. Erdo­gan may be many things; a fool is not one of them: The sit­u­a­tion in Syr­ia may have remind­ed him that he might actu­al­ly need his mil­i­tary, and in par­tic­u­lar the gen­er­als who know how to use it—the best of whom are all in jail.

    This, of course, has the Gülen move­ment in a pan­ic. There is no greater night­mare sce­nario for Gülen’s sup­port­ers than the com­bined and con­sid­er­able wrath of Erdo­gan and the mil­i­tary. So in Turkey, as in the US, leak­ing sea­son is here. The pro­pos­al to ban the pub­li­ca­tion of such record­ings has the news­pa­pers that plumped for the impris­on­ment of Turkey’s top mil­i­tary brass, and who are sym­pa­thet­ic to Gülen—who is no longer sym­pa­thet­ic to Erdogan—panic-stricken. Of late, Gülen’s sup­port­ers have been releas­ing ille­gal­ly-taped record­ings almost every day, most­ly from jailed mil­i­tary lead­ers in Has­dal prison. These recordings—unsurprisingly—reveal that the men in jail are furi­ous and wish ill upon the peo­ple who put them there—many of whom hap­pen to be, in their eyes, the jour­nal­ists fran­ti­cal­ly leak­ing these tapes. Tapes are sur­fac­ing from their archives almost every day now, killing two birds with one stone: first, the tapes hint that if the offi­cers are released, the mil­i­tary will take bloody revenge; sec­ond, the jour­nal­ists need to emp­ty their pock­ets before their record­ings are banned.

    It is rumored that Gülen’s sup­port­ers have quite the col­lec­tion of record­ings of Erdo­gan and his inti­mates (polit­i­cal or oth­er­wise). It is also rumored — and pret­ty obvi­ous — that they are threat­en­ing Erdo­gan with the release of record­ings by means of unsub­tle mes­sages con­veyed by sym­pa­thet­ic jour­nal­ists such as Emre Uslu and Mehmet Baran­su, who hint dark­ly on Twit­ter of their knowl­edge of “igrenç” infor­ma­tion— a word Turk­ish for “dis­gust­ing,” and pre­cious for its ono­matopoe­ic apt­ness. I could not with cer­tain­ty say this is what is happening—I’m not the one putting hid­den cam­eras under peo­ple’s beds—but if I were a bet­ting woman, I would place every pen­ny I had on it.

    Turkey is one of the world’s most opaque coun­tries, so it is hard to dis­cern which snake is bit­ing which tail in this sto­ry, which broke the oth­er week:

    Police and spe­cial­ly autho­rized pros­e­cu­tors raid­ed sev­er­al homes and mil­i­tary build­ings across the coun­try yes­ter­day as part of an ongo­ing probe into an alleged espi­onage ring. ...

    The loca­tions searched includ­ed secure mil­i­tary build­ings, includ­ing the Gen­er­al Com­mand of the Turk­ish Gen­darmerie Forces, the Navy, the Spe­cial Forces Com­mand top secret room and the Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal (GATA) in Ankara.

    The lat­est raids were part of an inves­ti­ga­tion launched in Izmir last month into alle­ga­tions that secret mil­i­tary doc­u­ments were acquired through black­mail. Accord­ing to the probe, nine active-duty mem­bers of the mil­i­tary alleged­ly used a pros­ti­tu­tion ring to black­mail high-rank­ing offi­cers and obtain con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion about the Turk­ish mil­i­tary.

    The mem­bers of the pros­ti­tu­tion ring alleged­ly record­ed secret footage of high-rank­ing offi­cers as they had sex­u­al inter­course with escorts and lat­er used the footage to black­mail them. The active-duty sol­diers police arrest­ed had been black­mailed them­selves and lat­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in ensnar­ing their col­leagues. They also alleged­ly prof­it­ed finan­cial­ly from the ring’s activ­i­ties.

    There is almost cer­tain­ly more to this than what you just read. And this is the mod­el democ­ra­cy we are pro­mot­ing to the Mid­dle East?

    Posted by Vanfield | June 30, 2012, 11:34 pm
  4. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/03/turkey-davutologu-ottoman-new-order-mideast.html

    Davu­to­glu Invokes Ottoman­ism As a New Order for Mideast
    [US Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry (L) shakes hands with Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu after their news con­fer­ence at Ankara Palas in Ankara, March 1, 2013. (pho­to by REUTERS/Umit Bek­tas)]

    By: Tulin Daloglu for Al-Mon­i­tor Turkey Pulse. Post­ed on March 10.

    Speak­ing of the inter­na­tion­al order or lack there­of has always been con­tro­ver­sial. For Turkey to chal­lenge the inter­na­tion­al order, how­ev­er, car­ries some real risks — sim­ply because it’s a NATO mem­ber coun­try, and its objec­tions raise ques­tions as to whether it’s propos­ing an alter­na­tive for­eign pol­i­cy to this mil­i­tary bloc’s gen­er­al­ly per­ceived world­view, and if so, whether it is diverg­ing in its per­cep­tion of secu­ri­ty issues from the rest. NATO is also the most sig­nif­i­cant alliance Turkey has, anchor­ing it in the West.
    About This Arti­cle
    Sum­ma­ry :

    Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu’s sug­ges­tion of an Ottoman mod­el for a new Mid­dle East order is like­ly a mis­read­ing of region­al pol­i­tics that could prove hard for Turkey to back away from, writes Tulin Daloglu.
    Author: Tulin Daloglu
    Post­ed on : March 10 2013
    Cat­e­gories : Orig­i­nals Turkey Syr­ia Secu­ri­ty

    The ongo­ing crit­i­cism that comes out of Ankara to the inter­na­tion­al order is not news. The Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment has been vocal­ly ask­ing for the enlarge­ment of the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, espe­cial­ly since the Russ­ian and Chi­nese veto pow­er has been pre­sent­ed as the main stum­bling block before the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to estab­lish no-fly zones in the war-torn Syr­i­an bat­tle­field for the past two years.

    As set­ting a no-fly zone lit­er­al­ly means for the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to decide to go to war against Syr­ia — since they need to knock down all the radar sys­tems to do that, Ankara there­fore has also been ral­ly­ing for war against the Assad regime. While Turkey’s ini­tia­tives on that were not real­ized, NATO respond­ed pos­i­tive­ly to Turkey’s request to install Patri­ot mis­siles on its ter­ri­to­ry as a pre­cau­tion against an esca­la­tion of the Syr­i­an fight­ing into Turkey. Yet Ankara has been tire­less­ly com­plain­ing about the lack of the inter­na­tion­al community’s moral oblig­a­tion to Syr­i­ans, while being dread­ful­ly depen­dent on it, maybe more than ever, for the pro­tec­tion of its east­ern bor­ders — not only with the Assad regime, but poten­tial­ly with Iraq and Iran as well. And not that all this coop­er­a­tion has to be about mil­i­tary engage­ment, but Ankara needs the polit­i­cal sup­port of the coun­tries that it crit­i­cizes to keep things under con­trol and to its ben­e­fit.

    The rea­son for this entire intro­duc­tion is sim­ply this: It’s more than like­ly now than ever that Ankara has been mis­read­ing the cur­rent devel­op­ments in its neigh­bor­hood, and the mak­ing of the new world order.

    Like Hen­ry Kis­sen­ger, Ahmet Davu­to­glu, the Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter, is also com­ing from acad­e­mia — but it’s very like­ly that he is find­ing it way too dif­fi­cult to admit that his aca­d­e­m­ic the­o­ries actu­al­ly has not been prac­ti­cal­ly work­ing on the ground — yet he keeps on dwelling in the same direc­tion with­out any hope. Kissinger, a for­mer sec­re­tary of state, was more prac­ti­cal in that sense.

    Take Davutoglu’s recent remarks on two con­sec­u­tive days, March 3 and 4 — as an exam­ple. First he claims that Turkey for the first time has final­ly been back to the lands that were lost dur­ing the Ottoman times, and he sug­gests that it’s time for Turkey to take the lead to set an order for these lands and re-con­nect them once again — “With­out going to war, we will again tie Sara­je­vo to Dam­as­cus, Beng­hazi to Erzu­rum and to Batu­mi.”

    Before con­tin­u­ing with his fol­low­ing remarks though, two quick obser­va­tions need to be made. First, there is noth­ing against these cities or coun­tries to feel against being con­nect­ed to one anoth­er. The world is a vil­lage, and who ever likes to join hands and work togeth­er may do that. There­fore, his remarks as such invite ques­tions as to whether he is propos­ing an alter­na­tive for­eign pol­i­cy, and what that means exact­ly. Sec­ond of all, it may not be the place of Turkey’s for­eign min­is­ter to sug­gest that Sara­je­vo to be tied to Dam­as­cus — espe­cial­ly at a time like this, when Syr­ia is drown­ing in an unfor­tu­nate civ­il war, one needs to won­der as to what the peo­ple of Sara­je­vo think about such a pro­pos­al!

    But, let’s not linger on that point and get lost in the con­ver­sa­tion. After all, Davu­to­glu is won­der­ing why peo­ple use an accusato­ry rhetoric, as if his pol­i­cy sug­ges­tions mean to sug­gest the refur­bish­ment of Ottoman era.

    Here is why in his own words: “Last cen­tu­ry was only a paren­the­sis for us. We will close that paren­the­sis. We will do so with­out going to war, or call­ing any­one an ene­my, with­out being dis­re­spect­ful to any bor­der, we will again tie Sara­je­vo to Dam­as­cus, Beng­hazi to Erzu­rum to Batu­mi. This is the core of our pow­er,” he said. “These may look like all dif­fer­ent coun­tries to you, but Yemen and Skop­je were part of the same coun­try 110 years ago, or Erzu­rum and Beng­hazi. When we say this, they call it ‘new Ottoman­ism.’ The ones who unit­ed the whole Europe don’t become new Romans, but the ones who unite the Mid­dle East geog­ra­phy are called as new Ottoman­ists. It’s an hon­or to be remind­ed with the names of Ottomans, Seljuks, Artuk­lu or Eyyu­bi, but we have nev­er or will ever have our eye on anyone’s land based on a his­toric back­ground.”

    On March 4, Davu­to­glu con­tin­ued with his remarks: “The peo­ple who lived togeth­er through­out the his­to­ry in this region were torn apart from each oth­er in the last cen­tu­ry; they grew dis­tant from each oth­er. Turkey was the cen­tral coun­try at the time when bor­ders were dimin­ished, geog­ra­phy was divid­ed, and eco­nom­ic spheres were sep­a­rat­ed. As if these are not enough, a new seed of divi­sion start­ed to be plant­ed in our coun­try.”
    This new seed Davu­to­glu is refer­ring to is the Kur­dish nation­al­ism that seeks some form of auton­o­my or recog­ni­tion. He calls on every­one to grasp the impor­tance of the moment, and be alert for those who might attempt to pre­vent Turkey from grow­ing stronger as a coun­try that has solved its Kur­dish prob­lem.

    “This cur­rent labor pain is the pain of gain­ing back that old his­tor­i­cal nature. We have to get our act togeth­er both domes­ti­cal­ly and abroad. Sure­ly, we have to first cure our own prob­lem,” he says. “It’s time to think big. When I was an aca­d­e­mi­cian, I used to observe this coun­try feel­ing scared of com­mu­nism dur­ing win­ter, and divi­sion [of its land] dur­ing sum­mer [i.e., cre­ation of a Turk­ish Kur­dis­tan]. It’s now time to solve our own prob­lem. If this gets delayed, the trau­mas from the out­side will inevitably play a neg­a­tive impact on us, and that it will be like­ly that the oppo­site may also hap­pen.”

    “What I have observed in for­eign pol­i­cy prac­tice is that if you have a right read­ing, and pre­sent­ed a firm posi­tion, you may receive crit­i­cism in the first place, but you will get results in the mid- and long-term. What is impor­tant is to stand firm there. If you are con­fi­dent of your pol­i­cy, you should not give any con­ces­sions. What is impor­tant is not to be inde­ci­sive at a crit­i­cal, deci­sion-mak­ing moment.”

    Fair enough, but Turkey has not accom­plished any­thing sol­id with Davutoglu’s pol­i­cy except strength­en­ing its trade ties with the Arab Mus­lim coun­tries. That said, Europe still remains Turkey’s major trad­ing part­ner. Yet for things where Turkey has put its polit­i­cal cap­i­tal on the line in the region — whether sid­ing with Hamas against Israel, or ral­ly­ing the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to use mil­i­tary force to end the Assad regime in Syr­ia, it has not scored any­thing con­crete to show as a Turk­ish vic­to­ry. In that per­spec­tive, one has to ask — what hap­pens if Davutoglu’s poli­cies are actu­al­ly wrong, and that his insis­tence on wrong poli­cies expos­es Turkey to new and unprece­dent­ed threats? Who would actu­al­ly bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty for that?

    May he be hum­ble enough to under­stand that he, or any­one else for that mat­ter, won’t be able to bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty for it all when things get rough.

    It’s time for the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment to lis­ten to the crit­ics of its poli­cies, and at the very least begin ton­ing down these arro­gant sug­ges­tions that Turkey be the core coun­try for set­ting a new order for those once-Ottoman lands.

    That said, it may already be too late for Turkey to take a new direc­tion.

    Tulin Daloglu is a colum­nist for Al-Mon­i­tor’s Turkey Pulse. She has writ­ten exten­sive­ly for var­i­ous Turk­ish and Amer­i­can pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing The New York Times, Inter­na­tion­al Her­ald Tri­bune, The Mid­dle East Times, For­eign Pol­i­cy, The Dai­ly Star (Lebanon) and the SAIS Turkey Ana­lyst Report. She also had a reg­u­lar col­umn at The Wash­ing­ton Times for almost four years. In the 2002 gen­er­al elec­tion, Daloglu ran for a seat in the Turk­ish par­lia­ment as a mem­ber of the New Turkey Par­ty.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/03/turkey-davutologu-ottoman-new-order-mideast.html#ixzz2Nla4Rt7t

    Posted by Vanfield | March 17, 2013, 7:45 pm
  5. http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2013/04/18/turkeys-regime-fails-abroad-is-world-champion-at-fundamental-transformation-at-home/
    Turkey’s Regime Fails Abroad; Is World Cham­pi­on at Fun­da­men­tal Trans­for­ma­tion at Home
    Bar­ry Rubin April 18th, 2013 — 10:58 am

    A Turk­ish friend just wrote me that Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan has sold his soul to the Dev­il. That implies Erdo­gan is suc­ceed­ing on every front, as if by mag­ic. More accu­rate­ly, how­ev­er, the trick is that Erdogan’s for­eign pol­i­cy is fail­ing on almost every front but he’s able to con­vince Turks that the sit­u­a­tion is the exact oppo­site.

    Let’s exam­ine the list of devel­op­ments in objec­tive terms:

    –He has made no progress on mem­ber­ship or inte­gra­tion in the Euro­pean Union. Sim­i­lar­ly, his diplo­mat­ic efforts to ease rela­tions with neigh­bor­ing Arme­nia have borne no fruit.

    –Erdo­gan has thrown away the vir­tu­al alliance with Israel with­out gain­ing any­thing mate­ri­al­ly in the Ara­bic-speak­ing world. Although few seem to under­stand this point, it was not Israel that grov­eled in accept­ing Erdogan’s terms but the exact oppo­site.

    Remem­ber that if the bul­ly lies and the media gets it wrong that does not change real­i­ty. Erdo­gan swore not to back down on three issues but then accept­ed Israel’s posi­tion. Erdo­gan said: no deal with­out for­mal apol­o­gy; pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion; and end to all sanc­tions on Gaza. He then backed down. He then, of course, imme­di­ate­ly, broke this com­mit­ment. That’s my point: defeat inter­na­tion­al­ly cou­pled with boast­ful pro­pa­gan­da to make gains at home.

    The Syr­i­an sit­u­a­tion has a lot to do with this, as does—amazingly enough—a bit of U.S. pres­sure (see below), but also he had a new prob­lem. As an Israeli diplo­mat explained:

    “Turk­ish export routes to the east used to go through Syr­ia, to the East and to the Gulf. That’s not pos­si­ble any­more. Turk­ish exports are shipped to the port of Haifa, where they’re loaded onto trucks, which cross Israel and then go to Jor­dan, and then from Jor­dan, they are shipped to the Gulf and to the East. Israel has now become a [piv­otal] point for Turk­ish exports.”

    –Turkey had gained no real influ­ence over the Pales­tin­ian Hamas and the Lebanese Hizbal­lah groups on which he has lav­ished much atten­tion.

    –In Syr­ia, despite Turkey’s good rela­tions with the dic­ta­tor­ship there, he has backed a rebel­lion in which he seem­ing­ly had great influ­ence. But now Erdo­gan is clear­ly hav­ing sec­ond thoughts, becom­ing scared that he may have pro­duced a Frankenstein’s mon­ster, a rad­i­cal Islamist state next door which might cause trou­bles for Turkey.

    –And now Turkey is bor­dered also by not one but two Kur­dish “states.” While he has done well in keep­ing good rela­tions with the Kur­dish-gov­erned dis­trict in north­ern Iraq, its flour­ish­ing exis­tence must be wor­ri­some to him, includ­ing its effect on Turkey’s own large Kur­dish minor­i­ty. And now there is a much more mil­i­tant Kur­dish statelet in Syr­ia ruled by his old adver­saries, the Kur­dish Work­ers’ Party’s local branch. Erdo­gan does have a plan to deal with Syr­i­an Kur­dis­tan build­ing on the Iraq mod­el: good rela­tions, region­al auton­o­my, and no attacks from there against Turkey. Still, how cer­tain can he be that there won’t be big prob­lems?

    –Most impor­tant of all, per­haps, is that Erdogan’s attempt to gain wider lead­er­ship in the Mid­dle East (called “neo-Ottoman­ism,” recall­ing Turkey’s pre-World War One empire in the region) has fall­en flat on its face. While Erdo­gan stress­es his Mus­lim cre­den­tials, nobody who speaks Ara­bic has for­got­ten that he isn’t one of them.

    –And now his love affair with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is on the rocks, at least tem­porar­i­ly. Erdogan’s lev­el of anti-Israel and even anti­se­mit­ic invec­tive has risen so high and become so obvi­ous that the U.S. gov­ern­ment can no longer ignore it. For the first time, ques­tions were raised about the great mod­el Islamist in Wash­ing­ton. That was one of the key motives for the president’s effort to effect Israel-Turkey con­cil­i­a­tion. As always, Erdo­gan has gone out of his way to be provoca­tive. He told the Fifth UN Alliance of Civ­i­liza­tions meet­ing in Vien­na, for exam­ple, that Zion­ism was a “crime against human­i­ty.” Since such crimes should pre­sum­ably be pun­ished, this can be regard­ed as Erdo­gan call­ing for geno­cide against Israel and its res­i­dents.

    “Just like Zion­ism, anti-Semi­tism and fas­cism, it becomes unavoid­able that Islam­o­pho­bia must be regard­ed as a crime against human­i­ty,” he alleged.

    It is also possible–and there is some evi­dence for this–that the U.S. gov­ern­ment feels that Erdo­gan mis­led it on Syr­i­an issues now that it has part­ly awak­ened to see­ing that coun­try about to go under rad­i­cal Islamist rule. Amer­i­ca fol­lowed Turk­ish advice and the result is advanced weapons in the hands of ter­ror­ists who may soon be run­ning the coun­try. I warned about this two years ago, but per­haps the U.S. gov­ern­ment is a bit ticked off at being made to look like idiots and hav­ing got­ten into a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion. Let’s also remem­ber that Erdogan’s pro­ject­ed trip to the Gaza Strip would have dis­rupt­ed U.S. “peace­mak­ing” efforts and after talk­ing to Oba­ma, Erdo­gan backed off (but see below). And, final­ly, let’s remem­ber that the whole Israel-Turkey rap­proche­ment might still fall apart due to Erdo­gan and leave Oba­ma and Ker­ry look­ing fool­ish.

    The prob­lem is that since Erdo­gan has received U.S. praise and sup­port as he has bashed U.S. inter­ests he then doesn’t need to respect U.S. inter­ests. Many or most Turks today can com­bine two seem­ing­ly dis­cor­dant views: Oba­ma and his gov­ern­ment love Turkey’s gov­ern­ment and views it as a friend; they them­selves increas­ing­ly hate the Unit­ed States and its goals.

    We will know more after Erdo­gan vis­its the White House on May 16. If that turns out to be anoth­er Oba­ma-Erdo­gan love fest, more demon­stra­tion of the fact that Erdo­gan is Obama’s favorite Islamist, with no crit­i­cism in evi­dence despite all that the Turk­ish prime min­is­ter has done delib­er­ate­ly against U.S. inter­ests, it would be safe to con­clude that Erdo­gan owns the White House for the next three years. He will know that he can do any­thing he pleas­es.

    But there are few in Turkey who under­stand this list of loss­es. On the con­trary, Erdo­gan has suc­cess­ful­ly sold the sit­u­a­tion to them as one of tremen­dous suc­cess. They can be proud of their country’s return to inter­na­tion­al pow­er and great respect, or at least so it seems. In this view, Turkey is act­ing in a prop­er­ly Islam­ic man­ner, the Arabs love them, Amer­i­ca rec­og­nizes their great­ness (they can do what­ev­er they want and the Unit­ed States caves in), he made Israel apol­o­gize, and so on.

    On top of this, Turkey’s mus­cle-flex­ing bold­ness, anti-Amer­i­can­ism, and hos­til­i­ty to Israel pleas­es the left and the nation­al­ist right; his Islam­ic pol­i­cy pleas­es the pious. As a result, Erdo­gan enjoys the sup­port of a strong major­i­ty.

    Con­se­quent­ly, Erdo­gan is the world’s most suc­cess­ful leader in fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form­ing his coun­try. Step by step, he is seiz­ing all of the country’s insti­tu­tions for Islamism. Grad­u­ates of Islam­ic schools, who have now been giv­en par­i­ty with uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­ates, are flood­ing into the state bureau­cra­cy.

    The army’s polit­i­cal pow­er has been bro­ken and Islamists are now going into the offi­cer corps. The media has largely—but not completely—been bought up and intim­i­dat­ed. Only the judi­cia­ry remains. The econ­o­my is doing rea­son­ably well.

    In this con­text, Erdo­gan increas­ing­ly appears to be a dic­ta­tor who is build­ing a cult of per­son­al­i­ty. Every­where there are signs claim­ing that Erdo­gan “gave” the peo­ple what­ev­er pub­lic works’ project or new school exists in the vicin­i­ty. His sit­u­a­tion is com­pa­ra­ble to Russia’s dic­ta­tor (in every­thing but name) Vladimir Putin.

    Here’s a case study, the Israel-Turkey agree­ment on resolv­ing the dis­pute over the Gaza flotil­la. Under pres­sure from Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, Erdo­gan agreed to Israel’s terms while pre­tend­ing that this was a great vic­to­ry for him­self. Yet there is increas­ing rea­son to believe that the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment will NOT imple­ment its draft agree­ment with Israel. There are two fac­tors involved here. First, Erdo­gan, as usu­al, is over­reach­ing abroad, get­ting noth­ing because he tried to get too much. Sec­ond, though, Erdo­gan doesn’t care because his real intend­ed audi­ence is domes­tic, using the flotil­la after­math to stir up hatred against Israel and now claim­ing he has forced Israel to sur­ren­der in what con­sti­tutes a great vic­to­ry for Turkey. What Israel’s con­cil­ia­to­ry behav­ior actu­al­ly did was to expose the Turk­ish regime’s bad faith, show­ing that it is impos­si­ble to deal with it, an expe­ri­ence com­pre­hend­ed now in Wash­ing­ton for the first time.

    Now Erdo­gan has vetoed Israel’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in NATO maneu­vers and Erdo­gan says he won’t send back his ambas­sador unless Israel stops all sanc­tions against the Gaza Strip. He knows that this demand will kill the deal. Yet at home he can claim to be the cham­pi­on of Mus­lims and of Pales­tini­ans. That domes­tic pro­pa­gan­da is all that counts for him. Sim­i­lar­ly, after agree­ing to post­pone his provoca­tive trip to the Gaza Strip Erdo­gan then mere­ly resched­uled it for May. And on top of that, Erdo­gan then announced he would (for the first time) send an ambas­sador to Pales­tine even when refus­ing to send an ambas­sador back to Israel. Once again, he threw a pie in Obama’s face.

    Why does this make sense? Again, because he doesn’t care about the inter­na­tion­al impli­ca­tions but only domes­tic polit­i­cal brag­ging rights. More­over, none of his antics mate­ri­al­ly hurt Israel but–note this well–there are some inter­est­ing ways in which Erdo­gan is going to lose by for­feit­ing Israel’s coop­er­a­tion.

    Mean­while, the West, espe­cial­ly the mass media, has not yet quite caught on to the fact that the Turkey of Kemal Ataturk, the sec­u­lar repub­lic, is gone. Mas­sive rur­al migra­tion to the cities has cre­at­ed a wave of tra­di­tion­al behav­ior that has been fun­neled and retrained as Islamism. Turkey has also become an increas­ing­ly repres­sive state where jour­nal­ists trem­ble, crit­ics may be thrown into jail on trumped-up charges, and a cul­tur­al rev­o­lu­tion to reverse Ataturk’s reforms is far advanced. Erdogan’s great­est achieve­ment in terms of the inter­na­tion­al scene is that by his maneu­vers and Obama’s approval, he has made the world unin­ter­est­ed in the esca­lat­ing repres­sion in Turkey includ­ing ridicu­lous Stal­in­ist-style show tri­als of dis­si­dents. The lat­est event is the sen­tenc­ing of an inter­na­tion­al­ly famous Turk­ish con­cert pianist to ten months’ impris­on­ment for tweets “insult­ing” Islam and a court deci­sion claim­ing a 700-year-old church was ille­gal­ly run as a state muse­um mak­ing pos­si­ble its con­ver­sion into a mosque.

    Thus, Erdo­gan has put togeth­er a win­ning com­bi­na­tion: fake vic­to­ries abroad; repres­sion, seiz­ing insti­tu­tions, and mobi­liz­ing sup­port through patri­o­tism and Islam at home.

    If you are inter­est­ed in read­ing more about Turkey’s history—during World War Two–you’re wel­come to read my book Istan­bul Intrigues online for free.

    Posted by Vanfield | April 27, 2013, 10:47 pm
  6. Ger­many was a major sup­port­er of the Ottoman Empire, in terms of loans, arms and mil­i­tary train­ing. Many of the Ottoman gen­er­al staff was trained in Ger­many, as was Enver Pasha.


    The U.S. Helps Recon­struct the Ottoman Empire

    by Robert E. Kaplan
    May 29, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Each of these Unit­ed States mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions occurred in an area that had been part of the Ottoman Empire, and where a sec­u­lar regime was replaced by an Islamist one. So far, the Ger­man pol­i­cy of keep­ing hid­den its lead­er­ship role in its attempt to recon­sti­tute the Ottoman Empire has suc­ceed­ed.

    Since the mid-1990s the Unit­ed States has inter­vened mil­i­tar­i­ly in sev­er­al inter­nal armed con­flicts in Europe and the Mid­dle East: bomb­ing Serbs and Ser­bia in sup­port of Izetbe­gov­ic’s Moslem Regime in Bosnia in 1995, bomb­ing Serbs and Ser­bia in sup­port of KLA Moslems of Koso­vo in 1999, bomb­ing Libya’s Gaddafi regime in sup­port of rebels in 2010. Each inter­ven­tion was jus­ti­fied to Amer­i­cans as moti­vat­ed by human­i­tar­i­an con­cerns: to pro­tect Bosn­ian Moslems from geno­ci­dal Serbs, to pro­tect Koso­vo Moslems from geno­ci­dal Serbs, and to pro­tect Libyans from their mur­der­ous dic­ta­tor Muam­mar Gaddafi.

    Oth­er rea­sons for these inter­ven­tions were also offered: to gain for the Unit­ed States a strate­gic foothold in the Balka­ns, to defeat com­mu­nism in Yugoslavia, to demon­strate to the world’s Moslems that the Unit­ed States is not anti-Moslem, to rede­fine the role of NATO in the post-Cold War era, among oth­ers.

    Each of these Unit­ed States mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions occurred in an area that had been part of the Ottoman Empire. In each, a sec­u­lar regime was ulti­mate­ly replaced by an Islamist one favor­ing sharia law and the cre­ation of a world-wide Caliphate. The coun­tries that expe­ri­enced the “Arab Spring” of the 2010s with­out the help of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion, Tunisia and Egypt, had also been part of the Ottoman Empire, and also end­ed up with Islamist regimes.

    In the Unit­ed States most dis­cus­sions of the mil­i­tary con­flicts of the 1990s in the Balka­ns and the “Arab Spring” of the 2010s do not men­tion that the areas involved had been part of the Ottoman Empire; these includ­ed Turkey, the Moslem-pop­u­lat­ed areas around the Mediter­ranean, Iraq, the coastal regions of the Ara­bi­an Penin­su­la and parts of the Balka­ns. In the areas that expe­ri­enced the Arab Spring Turkey’s role in every instance has been to sup­port the rebels and quick­ly rec­og­nize them as the legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment of the coun­try in upheaval.

    Turk­ish lead­ers do make the con­nec­tion between the con­flicts in the Bosnia, the “Arab Spring” and the Ottoman Empire. Harold Rhode, an Amer­i­can expert on Turkey, has report­ed:

    [Pres­i­dent of Turkey] Erdo­gan’s recent [2011] elec­toral vic­to­ry speech puts his true inten­tions regard­ing Turkey’s for­eign pol­i­cy goals in per­spec­tive. He said that this vic­to­ry is as impor­tant in Ankara as it is in the cap­i­tal of Bosnia-Herze­gov­ina, Sara­je­vo, under Ottoman times, an impor­tant Ottoman city; that his par­ty’s vic­to­ry was as impor­tant in a large Turk­ish city Izmir, on the West­ern Ana­to­lian coast, as it is in Dam­as­cus, and as impor­tant in Istan­bul as it is in Jerusalem….

    In say­ing that this vic­to­ry is as impor­tant in all of these for­mer Ottoman cities, Erdo­gan appar­ent­ly sees him­self as try­ing to reclaim Turkey’s full Ottoman past.

    The occur­rence that since 1990 each Euro­pean and Mid­dle East­ern coun­try that expe­ri­enced Amer­i­can mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in an inter­nal mil­i­tary con­flict or an “Arab Spring” has end­ed up with a gov­ern­ment dom­i­nat­ed by Islamists of the Moslem Broth­er­hood or al-Qae­da vari­ety fits nice­ly with the idea that these events rep­re­sent a return to Ottoman rule. Besides being a polit­i­cal empire rul­ing a ter­ri­to­ry and its pop­u­la­tion, the Ottoman Empire claimed to be a Caliphate with spir­i­tu­al suzerain­ty over all Moslems – those with­in its bor­ders and those beyond. Though it might seem strange at first, the idea of advanc­ing the renew­al of the Ottoman Empire on two tracks – break­ing down the post-Ottoman polit­i­cal struc­ture and pro­mot­ing a Caliphate which Islamists say they long for – is real­ly quite rea­son­able.

    Just as the Balkan con­flicts of the 1990s and the “Arab Spring” of the 2010s con­sid­ered in his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive sug­gests that Turkey might be attempt­ing to recre­ate its for­mer empire, con­sid­er­a­tion of the Turk­ish Empire in his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive sug­gests the pos­si­ble part­ner­ship of Ger­many with Turkey in the project giv­en that, from its cre­ation in 1870, Ger­many viewed Turkey with its empire as a most valu­able client and ally. In the view of the lead­ers of Ger­many, Turkey was con­trol­lable through a com­bi­na­tion of eco­nom­ic inter­course, gifts of edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, pro­vi­sion of tech­ni­cal exper­tise and admin­is­tra­tive aid, as well as bribes to Turk­ish offi­cials. Ger­many saw influ­ence over Turkey as a means of influ­enc­ing Moslems world­wide for its own inter­ests. Thus as the Ger­man schol­ar Wolf­gang Schwanitz has shown, dur­ing World War I Ger­many employed the Turk­ish Caliphate to pro­mote jihad – riot and rebel­lion – in areas where Moslem pop­u­la­tions were ruled by its ene­mies Rus­sia, France, Britain and Ser­bia.

    Yet in the 50-odd arti­cles col­lect­ed in an explo­ration of the aware­ness on the part of Amer­i­cans of a pos­si­ble Turk­ish con­nec­tion with the “Arab Spring,” I found not a sin­gle men­tion of “Ger­many.” Only from a link in one of those arti­cles – to an arti­cle on the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court (ICC) which, with its indict­ment of Muam­mar Gaddafi and issue of a war­rant for his arrest, pro­vid­ed the “legal” basis legit­imiz­ing NATO’s bomb­ing of Libya — which gave the rebels their vic­to­ry and end­ed the Gaddafi regime – did I find men­tion of Ger­many. From that arti­cle, “A Law­less Glob­al Court” by John Rosen­thal (Pol­i­cy Review Feb. 1. 2004 No.123), one learns that the ICC is a project ini­ti­at­ed, pro­mot­ed and, to a con­sid­er­able extent, fund­ed by Ger­many. Giv­en this, the idea that the ICC serves Ger­many’s pur­pos­es is com­mon sense. Through the ICC con­nec­tion, Ger­many’s pro­mo­tion of the “Arab Spring” is clear. Yet it is nev­er or almost nev­er men­tioned. This silence calls for expla­na­tion.

    Lat­er, I did come across an explic­it ref­er­ence to Ger­many’s role in it — specif­i­cal­ly in the war against the Assad regime in Syr­ia — in John Rosen­thal’s arti­cle “Ger­man Intel­li­gence: al-Qae­da all over Syr­ia” in the online Asia Times ­­­­­­­­­­­­ — which reports that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment sup­ports the rebels and their polit­i­cal arm, the Syr­i­an Nation­al Coun­cil (SNC), against Assad; that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment clas­si­fied [made secret] “by rea­son of nation­al inter­est” the con­tents of sev­er­al BND (Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence) reports that the May 25, 2012 mas­sacre of civil­ians in the Syr­i­an town of Houla, for which Assad has been blamed, was in fact per­pe­trat­ed by rebel forces; and that “the Ger­man for­eign office is work­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Syr­i­an oppo­si­tion to devel­op ‘con­crete plans’ for a ‘polit­i­cal tran­si­tion’ in Syr­ia after the fall of Assad.” So far the Ger­man pol­i­cy of keep­ing hid­den its lead­er­ship role in the attempt to recon­sti­tute the Ottoman Empire seems to have suc­ceed­ed.

    Each U. S. mil­i­tary action in Europe and the Mid­dle East since 1990, how­ev­er, with the excep­tion of Iraq, has fol­lowed an overt pat­tern: First there is an armed con­flict with­in the coun­try where the inter­ven­tion will take place. Amer­i­can news media heav­i­ly report this con­flict. The “good guys” in the sto­ry are the rebels. The “bad guys,” to be attacked by Amer­i­can mil­i­tary force, are bru­tal­ly anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic, and com­mit­ters of war crimes, crimes against human­i­ty, and geno­cide. Pres­ti­gious pub­lic fig­ures, NGOs, judi­cial and qua­si-judi­cial bod­ies and inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions call for sup­port­ing the rebels and attack­ing the regime. Next, the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent orders Amer­i­can logis­ti­cal sup­port and arms sup­plies for the rebels. Final­ly the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent orders mil­i­tary attack under the aus­pices of NATO in sup­port of the rebels. The attack usu­al­ly con­sists of aer­i­al bomb­ing, today’s equiv­a­lent of the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies’ gun­boat which could attack coastal cities of mil­i­tar­i­ly weak coun­tries with­out fear of retal­i­a­tion. The ulti­mate out­come of each Amer­i­can inter­ven­tion is the replace­ment of a sec­u­lar gov­ern­ment with an Islamist regime in an area that had been part of the Ottoman Empire.

    Why the gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States would active­ly pro­mote Ger­man aims — the destruc­tion of Yugoslavia (both World Wars I and II saw Ger­many invade Ser­bia) and the re-cre­ation of the Ottoman Empire — is a ques­tion that needs to be answered.

    Robert E. Kaplan is an his­to­ri­an, doc­tor­ate from Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, spe­cial­iz­ing in mod­ern Europe.

    Posted by Vanfield | May 29, 2013, 10:10 am
  7. @Vanfield–

    In a word, “Bra­vo!”

    After the tem­po­rary link to FTR #750 expires (5/30/2013) this will be fea­tured in a post.

    Note that this Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor is iden­ti­fy­ing PRECISELY the same dynam­ic that I’ve been work­ing on and refin­ing for many, many years.

    The Ger­man hand inside the Amer­i­can glove, wield­ed on behalf of the Islamists at one lev­el, and the Under­ground Reich at anoth­er.

    The Boston bomb­ing and the dual pol­i­cy vis a vis the Earth Island, the Cau­ca­sus, Rus­sia and Chi­na must be seen against this back­ground.

    I’ve been doing my utmost to illus­trate this for a long time.

    Looks like some oth­ers are start­ing to see this as well.



    Posted by Dave Emory | May 29, 2013, 5:25 pm
  8. Thanks for the kind words Dave.

    Here is some more fun and games.


    Turkey Stakes Claim in Amer­i­ca With $100 Mil­lion Mega-Mosque
    The build­ing of this cen­ter takes Turkey’s “out­reach” in Amer­i­ca out of the realm of the sub­tle.
    By Ryan Mau­ro

    The gov­ern­ment of Turkey is build­ing a 15-acre, $100 mil­lion mega-mosque in Lan­ham, Mary­land. Turkey’s Prime Min­is­ter Erdo­gan vis­it­ed the site on May 15 as part of his offi­cial vis­it to the U.S.. The state of Mary­land was offi­cial­ly rep­re­sent­ed at the event by its Sec­re­tary of State John McDo­nough.

    The event was also attend­ed by the lead­ers of two U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood enti­ties.

    The mega-mosque is called the Turk­ish Amer­i­can Cul­ture and Civ­i­liza­tion Cen­ter and, accord­ing to the Mus­lim Link, it “will like­ly become the largest and most strik­ing exam­ples of Islam­ic archi­tec­ture in the west­ern hemi­sphere” when it is fin­ished in 2014. The Mus­lim Link explic­it­ly says it is “a project of the gov­ern­ment of Turkey.”

    On May 15, Prime Min­is­ter Erdo­gan spoke to hun­dreds of peo­ple at the con­struc­tion site and said he’d come back for the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny next year. He warned the audi­ence that there are groups pro­mot­ing “Islam­o­pho­bia,” brand­ing poten­tial crit­ics as para­noid big­ots. Erdo­gan recent­ly said that “Islam­o­pho­bia” and Zion­ism are equiv­a­lent to fas­cism and anti-Semi­tism, say­ing they are a “crime against human­i­ty.”

    On this trip to the U.S., Erdo­gan brought the father of one of the Islamists killed while on a Turk­ish flotil­la which was try­ing to break Israel’s weapons block­ade on Gaza. Gaza is con­trolled by Hamas, which is a des­ig­nat­ed ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by the U.S. State Depart­ment. Erdo­gan report­ed­ly want­ed to him to meet Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. (In the end, the father met with Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry.)

    The lead­ers of two U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood enti­ties in atten­dance includ­ed Naeem Baig, is the pres­i­dent of the Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca (ICNA). A 1991 U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood memo lists ICNA as one of “our orga­ni­za­tions and the orga­ni­za­tions of our friends.” The memo says its “work in Amer­i­ca is “a kind of grand jihad in elim­i­nat­ing and destroy­ing the West­ern civ­i­liza­tion from with­in.” The memo even refers to meet­ings with ICNA where there was talk about a merg­er.

    ICNA is also linked to the Pak­istani Islamist group Jamaat-e-Isla­mi and its con­fer­ences fea­ture rad­i­cal speak­ers. A for­mer ICNA pres­i­dent was recent­ly indict­ed for hor­rif­ic war crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing Bangladesh’s 1971 suc­ces­sion from Pak­istan – the tor­ture and mur­der or 18 polit­i­cal oppo­nents.

    The sec­ond offi­cial from a U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood enti­ty that attend­ed the event was Mohamed Magid, pres­i­dent of the Islam­ic Soci­ety of North Amer­i­ca (ISNA). ISNA and sev­er­al of its com­po­nents are list­ed as U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fronts in the same 1991 Broth­er­hood memo. ISNA was also an unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tor in the Holy Land Foun­da­tion case, dubbed the largest Islam­ic ter­ror-fund­ing tri­al in the his­to­ry of the U.S. Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in the case also list­ed ISNA as a U.S. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood enti­ty.

    The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has been qui­et­ly spread­ing its influ­ence in the U.S., but Erdo­gan’s pub­lic invovle­ment in the build­ing of this cen­ter takes Turkey’s “out­reach” in Amer­i­ca out of the realm of the sub­tle.

    The Clar­i­on Project recent­ly report­ed on the grow­ing ties between the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment and Native Amer­i­can tribes. With Con­gress’ help, thou­sands of Turk­ish con­trac­tors and their fam­i­lies may be flood­ing into Amer­i­ca’s heart­land and set­tling in semi-autonomous zones of the Native Amer­i­cans, well out of the reach of Amer­i­can author­i­ties.

    The Clar­i­on Project also report­ed on the Turk­ish Fethul­lah Gulen school net­work in Amer­i­ca, which is cur­rent­ly under FBI inves­ti­ga­tion. The net­work is the largest char­ter school net­work in Amer­i­ca. It is the same net­work that has been a crit­i­cal com­po­nent in Turkey’s on-going trans­for­ma­tion from a sec­u­lar democ­ra­cy into an Islam­ic state.

    Erdo­gan and his Islamist gov­ern­ment calls Hamas a “resis­tance” group, despite the fact that Hamas specif­i­cal­ly tar­gets Israeli civil­ians with sui­cide bomb­ings and rock­et attacks. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is a big admir­er of Erdo­gan.

    Since tak­ing office in 2003, Erdo­gan has been imple­ment­ing his Islamist agen­da, slow­ly but steadi­ly chang­ing Turkey from a sec­u­lar democ­ra­cy to an Islamist state: Col­lege admis­sions have been changed to favor reli­gious stu­dents, the mil­i­tary has been gut­ted of its sec­u­lar gen­er­als (with one in five gen­er­als cur­rent­ly in prison on dubi­ous charges) and women have been rout­ed out of top gov­ern­ment jobs. Hon­or killings in Turkey increased 1,400 per­cent between 2002 and 2009. Per­se­cu­tion of artists and jour­nal­ists has become com­mon­place as oppo­nents are charged with “crimes” like “den­i­grat­ing Islam” and “den­i­grad­ing the state.”

    Accord­ing to the Mus­lim Link, the new cen­ter will have five build­ings, includ­ing a mosque “con­struct­ed using six­teenth cen­tu­ry Ottoman archi­tec­ture that can hold 750 wor­shipers.”

    The Turk­ish Amer­i­can Cul­ture and Civ­i­liza­tion Cen­ter will be the largest Islam­ic site in the West­ern Hemi­sphere. The fact that it is being built by the gov­ern­ment of Turkey rep­re­sents the next step in Erdo­gan’s desire to increase the Islamist influ­ence in Amer­i­ca.

    Posted by Vanfield | May 29, 2013, 7:58 pm
  9. http://www.investigativeproject.org/4098/bangladesh-war-crimes-trial-proceeds-without-icna

    Bangladesh War Crimes Tri­al Pro­ceeds With­out ICNA Offi­cial

    IPT News
    July 24, 2013

    In the Unit­ed States, Ashra­fuz­za­man Khan osten­si­bly is a respect­ed Mus­lim cler­ic, pres­i­dent of the Imams of Amer­i­ca asso­ci­a­tion and past sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca (ICNA).

    In Bangladesh, a court is hear­ing evi­dence alleg­ing that Khan is a war crim­i­nal, some­one who helped draft a list of intel­lec­tu­als who would lat­er be kid­napped and killed in the final days of the 1971 war of lib­er­a­tion against Pak­istan.

    Khan, 65, is being tried in absen­tia. Bangladesh’s Inter­na­tion­al Crimes Tri­bunal ruled last month that “there are suf­fi­cient and sub­stan­tial mate­ri­als” to war­rant pro­ceed­ing to tri­al against him on 11 war crimes counts.

    He remains on the exec­u­tive board of ICNA’s New York chap­ter and has not com­ment­ed pub­licly on the alle­ga­tions. He is being tried along with Chowd­hury Mueen-Uddin, a promi­nent imam in the Unit­ed King­dom who helped cre­ate the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Britain.

    The two are accused of lead­ing a killing squad called Al-Badar, which was an off­shoot of the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Isla­mi. The Islamists sup­port­ed Pak­istan dur­ing the war. As many as 3 mil­lion peo­ple died in bat­tle for inde­pen­dence and mil­lions more sought refuge in neigh­bor­ing India. In its final days in Decem­ber 1971, dozens of intel­lec­tu­als – jour­nal­ists, doc­tors, pro­fes­sors and oth­ers – were sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly round­ed up. They were tak­en from their homes at gun­point and lat­er found in a mass grave. In some cas­es, the charg­ing papers say, the bod­ies were nev­er recov­ered.

    “Al-Badar act­ed as ‘killing squad’, in fur­ther­ance of plan and pol­i­cy of Pak­istani occu­pa­tion army,” the Tri­bunal’s pros­e­cu­tion wrote. Khan was the “ ‘chief execu­tor’ of Al-Badar to the accom­plish­ment of the bar­bar­ic crimes, in fur­ther­ance of com­mon plan and design, with intent to par­a­lyze the Ben­gali nation.”

    Britain’s Chan­nel 4 broad­cast a doc­u­men­tary on Bangladesh’s war of inde­pen­dence and the result­ing atroc­i­ties which can be seen here.

    Khan alleged­ly was on a cen­tral com­mit­tee for the Jamaat-e-Islami’s stu­dent wing, called Isla­mi Cha­tra Sang­ha. The names of many vic­tims were found in a diary found in Khan’s home after he fled the coun­try.

    Khan’s court-appoint­ed attor­ney denies the charges, say­ing the Pak­istani army was respon­si­ble for the killings and that Khan was nev­er in Al-Badar.

    So far, three wit­ness­es have placed Khan at the scene of abduc­tions:

    1. Masu­da Banu Rat­na – whose uncle Gia­sud­din Ahmed was tak­en at gun­point from Dha­ka Uni­ver­si­ty – said she knew Khan and Mueen-Uddin from stu­dent polit­i­cal activ­i­ties and rec­og­nized them when they came for her uncle. His body was found three weeks lat­er, dumped in a mass grave.

    2. Ena­m­ul Huq Khan tes­ti­fied that his father, a his­to­ry pro­fes­sor, was tak­en from their home by a hand­ful of men at gun­point. He said he lat­er was told by a man who was dri­ving the Al-Badar squad around that Khan pulled the trig­ger and killed his father. He did­n’t know Khan at the time, but said he rec­og­nized him the fol­low­ing year when a news­pa­per pub­lished pic­tures of Khan and Mueen-Uddin with a cap­tion “help to cap­ture the killers.”

    3. The son of slain jour­nal­ist Seli­na Parvin said Mueen-Uddin and Khan were among those who took her away from their home on Dec. 13, 1971.

    The Tri­bunal has faced some crit­i­cism, and its rul­ings sparked vio­lent protests led by Jamaat-e-Isla­mi. More than 80 peo­ple died after the Tri­bunal sen­tenced Jamaat leader Del­war Hos­sain Say­ee­di to death in March.

    Talk of Khan being charged has cir­cu­lat­ed for years. A report also indi­cat­ed that the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s Office of Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions was inves­ti­gat­ing Khan to deter­mine if he failed to men­tion his activ­i­ties when he applied for U.S. res­i­den­cy and nat­u­ral­iza­tion.

    ICNA, the orga­ni­za­tion he led, was found­ed by South Asian Mus­lims. Its con­sti­tu­tion draws heav­i­ly from the Jamaat-e-Isla­mi and its cur­ricu­lum empha­sizes writ­ings by Jamaat founder Syed Abul Ala Maudu­di. Maudu­di advo­cat­ed that Mus­lims “must strive to change the wrong basis of gov­ern­ment, and seize all pow­ers to rule and make laws from those who do not fear God.”

    Khan offered a sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment in greet­ing peo­ple to ICNA’s 1999 con­ven­tion. Mus­lims, he wrote in the con­ven­tion pro­gram, “have a cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion which once ruled the world and still has the via­bil­i­ty to rule the world again.”

    Khan has not pub­licly addressed the charges against him and ICNA has not com­ment­ed since last mon­th’s charges were accept­ed. In a March state­ment, it dis­missed the tri­bunal’s exis­tence as a pure­ly polit­i­cal effort “to silence oppo­si­tion fig­ures” and said its actions amount to human rights vio­la­tions. Mueen-Uddin has post­ed a state­ment deny­ing all the charges against him and ridi­cul­ing the Tri­bunal.

    It is unclear what hap­pens if Khan is con­vict­ed. The Unit­ed States has no extra­di­tion treaty with Bangladesh, and U.S. Ambas­sador for Glob­al Jus­tice Stephen J. Rapp has been among those tak­ing issue with some of the Tri­bunal’s stan­dards. If the Unit­ed States is sat­is­fied with the evi­dence, or even if it can be proven that Khan was a part of Al-Badar and failed to dis­close that fact on immi­gra­tion papers, his inter­ac­tion with the courts may be just begin­ning.

    Posted by Vanfield | September 10, 2013, 11:33 am

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