Category Archives: Turkey

Rule Of Law In Turkey?

The Muslim nation of Turkey for years has been held up as a model Muslim society in which those who are secular Muslims or of another religion can live in peace and harmony without worrying about their divergence from a more orthodox religious viewpoint. Under leadership of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, the Justice and Development Party has modeled an image of acceptance of diversity of religious and political viewpoints. However, during the past several months, Prime Minister Erdogan has unleashed a campaign of hatred toward those in the police or judiciary who seek to uncover corruption in his administration. In particular, he charges that members of the judiciary and police who are linked with the ideas of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen are engaged in a campaign to bring down his government by raising issues of corruption.

Mustafa Yesil, speaking for a group of Turkish journalists,urged President Gul to reign in his prime minister and compel the government to “observe the duty to protect the constitutional order, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and order from being put to risk.” They believe it is time for free journalists who have been imprisoned and end the “lynch law” attitude of Erdogan against those who oppose him.

Media: Speak Softly In Turkey

Turkey is in one respect an amazing story for a Muslim majority nation in the Middle East. It retains the basic ingredients of a democratic society in which people of diverse views and religions can live in peace and harmony. The Justice and Development Party led by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has rid the country of its long term military elite and allowed civilians to control the nation’s destiny. However, in the process of ending military rule, Prime Minister Erdogan has instituted a semi-democratic government which does not enjoy criticism by members of the media. At this point, Turkey leads the world in placing members of the media in jail. Erdogan does not like either critical articles in newspapers nor people in the streets demonstrating for human rights.

To make the situation even more confusing, President Abdullah Gul is a champion of human rights and supports efforts by the media to present their version of what is the truth. He recently pointed out to Prime Minister Erdogan, “sometimes, because of the nature of the media, it is generally expected to be critical.” He went on to point out that if you attempt to prevent it from being so critical, “then it stops being the media, it becomes something else.”

He emphasized that what makes Turkey important is “its dynamic power, young population, and its industrious people.”

Free the journalists and make Turkey a symbol of democracy!

Who Is The Terrorist?

Syria and Turkey are engaged in a conflict as to which nation is really the terrorist one. Syrian Foreign Minister Muallam argues that Turkish attacks on Kurds within its boundary constitute acts of terrorism along with its support of militants who are engaged in a war to overthrow the Syrian government. Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu responded with “we all know who the terrorists in Syria are.” In reality, there are numerous nations engaged in acts of terrorism. Of course, “terrorism” comes in various degrees of death and destruction. There is no question the horror of the Syrian civil war is not yet matched by other horrible actions on the part of Turkey. The thousands who have been brutalized, murdered by the Syrian government are not matched by Turkish attacks on Kurds or the governments brutalizing of its own population, including leading the world in arresting journalists.

Perhaps, the world needs a new Reality TV program in which contestants vie to prove they represent the most terrorist nation in the world. I wonder if there might be category about how nations brutalize the poor. I assume the US might enter that category.

Humans Are Simply Humans!

There is an old French expression, “Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose,” which in English translates into “the more things change, the more they are the same.” Archeologists excavating in the Bursa area of Turkey discovered evidence of the existence of torture chambers and dungeons from 2,300 years ago. Pick up a newspaper today or survey the Internet and one encounters images and stories of human brutality that bring back memories of World War II and Adolf Hitler or Japanese soldiers going wild in the streets of Chinese cities. Of course, the Allies also enjoyed opportunities to kill and torture, although, on a much lower scheme of things. So, what did these 2,300 year old dungeons reveal?

There were hangman who cut off heads of people, and then threw their heads into a well while selling off body parts to relatives of dead people.

There were instruments of torture –just like we have instruments of torture in the 21st century.

So, what has changed in terms of human brutality? Just the numbers involved, just the numbers. We have always been part of the human race.

Question: Did our Cro-magnon or Neanderthal ancestors also torture??

Turkey Blasted By EU

Prime Minister Recep Erdogan assumed power about ten years ago as the new leader of Turkey and worked to curb power of the Turkish military. His steps to remove control over government by the military were important in helping to create a modern Turkish democracy. But, in the process of removing military control, Erdogan has established a new Erdogan control. His Justice and Development Party(AKP) is now firmly in control of the land. One party control inevitably results in one party corruption. The Turkish police and judiciary uncovered wide spread evidence of corruption by officials in the government. Three ministers in the Erdogan Cabinet were forced to resign. Instead of working with police and the judiciary, Erdogan has launched a program to destroy the independence of police and judges. Hundreds of police have been reassigned and members of the judiciary removed from positions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is in Brussels for meetings with European Union officials to discuss the desire of Turkey to enter the EU. He now confronts an EU that is furious at trampling of the rights of the police and judiciary by Erdogan. Davutoglu promised “if there is anything that stands contradictory to EU standards, we will listen to this.” The issue is clear: if Turkey desires to enter the European Union, it must adhere to standards and norms of the EU. Will Erdogan do this is the question??

Let’s Get The Cops!

All too often Americans believe there is such a thing as “the Muslim religion.” It is equivalent to claiming there is “a Christian religion” to which all who claim to be a “Christian” belong. Tell that to Catholics or Protestants or to the endless small Christian sects who believe God is on THEIR side. I once visited a small town in southern Missouri which had 1500 people and sixteen Christian churches. Turkey and its Muslim population are no different than any group of Christians. They are split into sects and groups. Syria has the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Alawites and a few other groups. Turkey has fundamentalists, secular Muslims and a sect known as the followers of Fetullah Gulen. He is now charged by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan with being part of a plot to destroy his Justice and Development party, (AKP). Erdogan claims that Gullen followers in the police force and judiciary are behind recent investigations into his government which forced two of his ministers to resign and several members of the AKP to quit the party in disgust at the corruption that has now become apparent.

So, yesterday, 600 police officers in Ankara were reassigned to other positions such as directing traffic. Many were engaged in the investigation of terrorism or financial crime or smuggling, etc.. crimes that led to the arrest of two sons of his Cabinet ministers. Naturally, Erdogan charges a “plot.” Naturally, somehow, the plot was organized by the Israel Mossad. Plots abound when they catch you with a hand in the cash register.

Muslims DO Believe In Female Rights!

Among the myths propagated by conservatives is that women in Muslim societies are treated as second class citizens and do not enjoy equal rights. This is certainly true in many Muslim nations, but it is also true in many Çhristian and Jewish nations. Turkey has worked for many decades to address this issue, and, while equality has yet to be achieved, its courts assist such efforts. A Turkish woman, Sevin Akat Ekri applied for the right to keep her maiden name after being married. Lower courts denied her that right, but the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that every woman in Turkey had the right to keep her maiden name under provision of Article 17 and under provision of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the woman must also keep her husband’s surname in addition.

No, women do not in Turkey have complete equal rights, but the battle to attain them is progressing. This simply proves that it is perfectly compatible in a Muslim nation to be Muslim and provide equal rights for women. Consider the plight of single women in American society who raise children abandoned by husband, and are denied free childcare so that she can enter the job market. We, in America, also have a long way to go before equality is guaranteed for women.

Turkey Hunt In Turkey

The nation of Turkey is engaged in a great shootout as to whether or not it can retain its democratic traditions which have prevailed, in one way or another, for decades. This is a nation which seeks to become a model of how Islamic leaders can govern without intruding into the rights of secular people and those who are not fervent followers of their faith. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has ended rule of military men who continually seized power if they did not like civilian leaders. However, as the tyranny of military rule ended, the tyranny of the Justice and Development Party(AKP) rule as replaced it. However, the hidden force of Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen movement now stands in the way of total power for the AKP.

Most probably, secret agents of the Gullen movement are in power positions within the judiciary or police or secret service and they are playing a role in fostering investigations into corruption in government. Courts again rejected demands by Erdogan to release the 26 people currently being detained for corruption. For example, a bank head was found with $4.5 million hidden in shoe boxes, hardly the place a bank keeps deposits. Gullen, the former ally of Erdogan, is now challenging him for power.

PM Erdogan Is The Turkish Tough Guy!

Recep Erdogan is prime minister of Turkey and he has ruled this land with a tough political stance that has removed the power of its military to interfere with the democratic process. For eleven years, tough guy Erdogan has wiped out military leaders, challenged Israel, fought the Kurds, and made clear to one and all that HE is the MAN who makes final decisions in Turkey. There is scant question that Erdogan has played an important role in establishing the rule of civilians in modern Turkey. But, along the way of power he has become a power within the nation. During the past month, Turkey’s police and judiciary have uncovered evidence of corruption within the halls of government. It was one thing for police and the judiciary to uncover plots by the military, and quite another for them to uncover plots by members of the Erdogan government. Three ministers already have resigned, and several member of his own party have left the Justice and Development Party(AKP) in disgust.

In his New Year message, Erdogan came out swinging against those who seek to end corruption. “The December 17 plot is an assassination attempt hidden inside the package of corruption. The December 17 plot is targeting the people’s government” by seeking to end democracy!

President Abdullah Gul who has stood apart from charges of corruption summed up the response to Erdogan by pointing out that a democratic society is “governed by the rule of law.” And, that includes the prime minister and his associates!

A Turkish Crisis!

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party(AKP) have run Turkey for the past eleven years. Erdogan was successful in forcing the Turkish military establishment to cease interfering in the government of Turkey and finally deciding their role was not to step in when it thought the government was not conducting itself in accordance with the constitution. But, there is always a price to pay if one party remains in power for over a decade- the cost is invariably CORRUPTION. At least three government ministers have been charged with corruption and the list most probably is much longer. Instead of welcoming the work of Turkish prosecutors, Erdogan has decided to oppose any attempt upon those who work in his government. He claims there is a vast “conspiracy” which leads back to the United States or Israel or nations of the European Union. When in doubt these years, just shout, “CIA” or “NSA” and millions will believe anything that you utter.

According to Erdogan, “those who called this operation a corruption operation are themselves the very ones who are corrupt.” He has taken Public Prosecutors off the case, he has bullied the courts and is nonstop in complains about the “American conspiracy” rather than addressing issues of concern about corruption. Thousands are in the streets of Turkish cities yelling demands for change. The police are blocking efforts of the judiciary to carry out its work. The question remains: will Erdogan support or block this corruption investigation?