Category Archives: Turkey

Turkish Leader Caught With Hand In Cookie Jar!!

Each day offers another example of the benefits and deficits of modern technology and the forces of those in charge of handling snooping in a country. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has been engaged in a crusade to rid the nation of Turkey of police or judges or prosecutors who are honest. The bad guys are on his side since they protect us from those seeking to end graft and corruption. Erdogan has removed hundreds of police, prosecutors and judges from their assignments and sent them out to places where they cannot carry out anti-corruption activities. New recording published on February 24 have the prime minister of Turkey informing his son Bilal to get rid of all the stolen money as soon as possible. He refers to 2.2 billion Turkish lira and wants the boy to clean out all accounts so that no one can find the money.

Prime Minister Erdogan has now wrapped himself in the cloak of victimhood. He warns the nation that if police can wire tap his phones or hack into his computers they can do the same for all. This anti-corruption program now means “no privacy for families.” In other words, the issue of the day is wire tapping and focusing on stealing money simply diverts attention away from the real issues of the day. I guess this is an interesting approach when you are charged with stealing money.

From Democracy To Autocracy?

During the past two decades Turkey was used as an example of how moderate Muslims could create a democratic society in which people of various religions and political beliefs lived in harmony with one another. However, the past few months have witnessed the removal of hundreds of police, judges and prosecutors from their jobs and replacement by those who represented the interests of the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. Over eighty scholars in America sent a message to Turkey urging the end of its current purge of those investigating bribes, corruption and crime that identified important members of the Erdogan administration as culprits. The scholars urged President Obama to speak out for a halt noting there are “threats to take Turkey from an imperfect democracy to an autocracy.”

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdog rejected these charges arguing the removal of hundreds of police, prosecutors and judges who were involved in these investigations was simply a normal changing of the guard. Yes, now we await completion of the investigations and charges brought against members of the government. We suspect this will be a long time to occur.

Brawl In Turkish Parliament

Fighting erupted in the Turkish parliament when the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pushed through a bill that would provide more power for the Ministry of Justice to control the actions of judges and police in order to prevent further prosecutions of friends, members of the government by the judiciary. Three Cabinet members have resigned, children of members of the Cabinet have been charged by police and the judiciary with corruption. Erdogan claims that followers of US based Fetullah Gulen are part of an American directed conspiracy to damage the reputation of Turkey in the world. Gulen used to be a friend of Erdogan, but when the police and prosecutors went after corrupt government officials he suddenly became the enemy.

A member of Parliament was sent to the hospital with a broken nose. Opposition members charge the government is engaged in a massive cover up of its own and their friends. Erdogan has gone power mad and Turkey is damaging its reputation in the world as a center of democratic Muslim societies.

Turkey Totters On Freedom Issue

President Abdullah Gul is at a crossroads in the history of his nation. During the past few decades, Turkey, for the most part, has been a stable society that is dedicated to the concept of democracy in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has allowed power to consume his every move in life. Unless, the idea if his idea, unless the group or person speaking is one who adheres to his ideas, then that speech must be haltered and someone sent to prison. Erdogan has simply become consumed with power and the struggles that go along with insisting that all power remains in one hand. Turkey has more people in jail than any other nation.

President Gul insists that “security, stability and peace” are necessary for a democratic society. He argues, “doubtless, there are different opinions in democracies, but competition for all these opinions in a civilized manner is also necessary.” Absolutely. But, what happens when your prime minister refuses to behave in a civilized manner toward those who have differing opinions?

Freedom Threatened In Turkey

For many years Turkey has been a hallmark of how a basically Muslim society can create a viable democracy in which those of differing religions and political viewpoints can live in peace and security. However, during the past several years, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has transformed the Justice and Development Party(AKP) into a mechanism to enforce his view as to what Turkish society should become. In the process, Turkey now leads the world in the number of journalists who are in prison for publishing the wrong ideas. The legislature just passed an Internet censorship law which allows the government to decide what can or cannot be sent via Internet. This follows a campaign to purge the police and judiciary of suspected subversives who are pursuing a campaign to uncover graft and corruption on the part of government officials. As far as Erdogan is concerned it is a plot from America by head of the Gulen movement which adheres to ideas of love and peace.

David Kramer, head of Freedom House in America told the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet that his NGO which fights for freedom of the press throughout the world, was in contact with President Abdullah Gul. Freedom House has urged him to veto the Internet bill and fight for an honest judiciary and freedom of the press. It is doubtful if any statement by President Obama would be helpful at this point in time. Erdogan would simply use it to inflame public opinion against “foreign interference” with Turkey.

Turkish People Threatened By Turkish Govt!

Turkey for many years has been a symbol of a Muslim nation which has a modern economy, a solid education system that offers a modern curriculum, and a society in which people of diverse Muslim views as well as those of other religions can live in harmony with one another. Under leadership of the Justice and Development Party(AKP) a modern Islamic society has been created. But, recently, there has emerged a tendency to protect the government and those who work for it from criticism and charges of corruption. Selahattin Demitras of the opposition Democratic Party charges the AKP with seeking to create a parallel state in which its members are protected even when they engage in corrupt practices. “Isn’t building a parallel state a crime? He wants an end to firing of prosecutors and judges who are charging leading members of government from engaging in corrupt practices.

Ironically,President Gul of the AKP supports further investigations and an end to firing members of the police department who are doing their duty. He also wants Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to cease harassing judges and removing them from office because they support prosecution of several key members of the AKP who currently have key posts in the government.

Listen to your President, he is telling the truth!!

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??