Tag Archives: Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Reaches Out To Alevi

Turkis Prime Minister Gul hosted a dinner for members of the Alevi community in his nation which was probably the first time a Turkish government official had taken such a step. The Alevi are considered a liberal denomination of the Muslim faith and are subject to extreme persecution and discrimination in other Muslim nations. Many Alevi boycotted the dinner because they doubted the sincerity of the prime minister. Erdogan told the audience of Alevis, “we all belong to this country, we are all brothers. We must know and understand one anotheer. We must not give in to those who would sow division.” However, even as he spoke, a Turkish court turned down a request by Alevis that their place of worship, a “cemevi” could be recognized as equivalent to a mosque.

The Alevis have long been fighting to attain equal rights in Muslim nations. The Turkish court decision is unfortunate because it fails to acknowledge the right of Muslims to have their own beliefs and accords to government the right to decide which is or is not an official house of worship. We applaud Prime Minister Erdogan for reaching out to those who are facing discrimination in his nation.

Turkey Angry At European Union Hesitations

The Turkish government is increasingly upset at statements by President Sarkozy of France which offer alternatives to a Turkish entry into the European Union and to failure on the part of EU officials to move forward their nation’s application for membership. Prime Minister Erdogan bluntly informed the French leader his behavior was two-faced, he talks one way when in Turkey, but before another audience the message is a negative one about entry into the European Union. “Sarkozy approaches us differently during our bilateral talks and backbites elsewhere.” To Ankara’s dislike, an EU foreign ministers’ statement on the
bloc’s enlargement strategy omitted Monday the words “accession” and”membership” in connection with Turkey, a development brought about due to French pressure. French diplomats claim changes in wording are of minor importance and is not meant to imply rejection of the Turkish application.

The Turkish government is extremely upset at recent speeches by President Sarkozy in which he advocates creation of a Mediterranean Union which would include Turkey. The obvious intent of Sarkozy’s idea is to block the entry into the EU of nations which are predominantly Muslim. Turkish leaders note the recent entry of Romania and Bulgaria which never elicited speeches by French leaders concerning necessary changes in language.

Turkish Military Crosses Border Into Iraq

The Turkish army crossed the border into northern Iraq in order to deal with members of the Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) which is conducting guerrilla warfare against its nation. This Turkish force claimed to be operating based on “military intelligence provided,” but it is unclear whether or not that information was furnished by the United States armed forces. Prime Minister Erdogan extracted from President Bush a pledge in November that America would furnish Turkey military intelligence related to the activities of the PKK. The Turkish government made clear it was only directing its action against those who commit “an act of enmity against the Turkish armed forces,” and promised there would be further operations in the area. However, Massoud Barzani, head of Kurdistan claims that no foreign troops entered his nation and denied action by the PKK towards the Turks.

We can expect in the coming months to witness clandestine Turkish operations into Iraq that everyone claims never happened. In this way, the Turkish military can deal with the PKK while the world pretends it is not doing any such thing. In this way, peace can reign.

Kurdish Rebels Evacuating Northern Iraq Bases

There are reports that Kurdish rebels belonging to the Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) are withdrawing from bases in northern Iraq and returning to their homes in Turkey. The movement is in response to pressure from Iraq, the Kurdish government in Kurdistan, and the United States. They are being replaced by anti-Iranian Kurds who belong to the Free Lie Iranian Kurdish Party (PEJAK). Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of Turkey has announced his nation’s army is authorized to make a cross border invasion if the situation requires and that the military is now working in close cooperation with American intelligence agents.

The shift from bases in northern Iraq back to homes in Turkey undoubtedly is the result of enormous pressure that was exerted on the Kurdish rebels. However, it is interesting they are being replaced by anti-Iranian Kurds whose goal is the overthrow of the Iranian government. One can only wonder if the United States will be exerting pressure on the PEJAK to cease military operations across the border into Iran. To Iranians, the failure to take action to halt the PEJAK is simply another example of American hypocrisy. the United States could reach out to Iran by promising to crack down on these Kurdish dissidents, but it is doubtful if such a policy would meet the needs of the Bush administration which is bound on pushing an hysterical anti-Iranian agenda.

Religious Bigotry In Turkey Forces Girls To Leave School

The Islamic Justice and Development Party of Turkey has worked hard to avoid arousing fears of secular Turks they will impose Sharia law on the population. Unfortunately, at the lower levels of Turkish society that message has not gotten through to those in charge of schools. Four female students at a Turkish vocational school who were living in dormitories were forced to leave the school when teachers and dorm officials tried forcing the girls to adopt formal Muslim attire such as making them pray, and wear a headscarf. Turkish education authorities made clear no one could be forced to pray or fast or wear a headscarf and the incident would be investigated.

The party of Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul is trying very hard to avoid such situations because forcing females to wear a headscarf is as incorrect as forbidding women to wear one. Hopefully, this is a minor incident that will not occur in the future.

Turkish Army Ready To Roll Say Generals

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff. Genral Yagar Buyukanit, said the army was ready to proceed with operations in Kurdistan and is awaiting final authorization from the government. He referred to the recent meeting in Washington D.C. between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush as merely a temporary delay which has allowed the armed forces to intensify intelligence activities prior to an armed attack. Bush had talked about Turkey using “surgical operations” but General Buyukanit responded to a question by saying, “surgical operation or not, I cannot say.” He also emphasized, “We are a great state and we do not need approval from anyone. However, there is a different situation in Iraq and the is a must to have the coordination with the Americans in order to avoid friendly fie.” He said it was of no importance to him if politicians met, but the Turkish army must be on guard to protect the nation.

There apparently is a void between what Bush and Erdogan agreed would happen and what the Turkish military believes must occur. Just another example of how the Bush approach to foreign policy always leaves gaps of knowledge.

What Would Bush Do If President of Turkey, Asks Turkish Paper?

As the recent meeting of UN, Arab League, and other concerned regional nations concluded its meeting in Ankara, the return of the eight captured Turkish soldiers has temporarily reduced tension on the Turkish-Iraq border. Prime Minister Erdogan is meeting today with President Bush, who undoubtedly will indicate his support for Turkey in demanding the right to have peaceful borders, but he will insist that no military action should be undertaken to invade Kurdistan. Yusu Kanli, writing in the Turkish Daily News, posed the interesting question as to what would George Bush say if he was President of Turkey rather than the United States” According to Kanli, he would probably say words to this effect, “When what’s at stake is the security of the United States, international law, diplomacy, peaceful settlements, cooperation, etc..we couldn’t care less. We have to counter that threat. Are you with us or against us?”

I believe Mr. Kanli has made a clear and accurate statement about any Bush position if the United States was the nation being attacked by a terrorist group using the safe haven of Mexico in order to launch cross border attacks on US territory. One can only wonder if in moments of reflection, President Bush recognizes that he is asking of Prime Minister Erdogan what he refused to do in 2003.

Iraq President-Inviation Not Sent To Mideast Meeting

President Jalai Talabani of Iraq will not be attending the upcoming regional ministers that began yesterday in Istanbul. “He is not invited, and he is not coming,” said Iraq’s Ambassador to Anakara, Sabah Omran. Talabani did tell Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, that he wanted to attend the meeting and was given a nod indicating he would be invited, but nothing came of the nod. Secretary Rice, permanent members of the Security Council and neighboring countries will be present.

Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is caught between opposing forces as he attempts dealing with the Kurdish issue. Nationalist forces within his own country are flouting the banner of violence while he knows war might doom his nation’s entry into the European Union. The ineffectiveness of Iraq’s government to handle any form of insurgency adds to problem of conflict resolution. To mtake maters worse, Kurdistan’s leader, Massoud Barzani talks defiantly one day about not surrendering a single Kurd insurgent and the next day he is pontificating how he wants friendship with Turkey.

Cool It TV Commentators, Says Turkey Prime Minister!

Prime Minister Reecp Erdogan expressed anger at Turkish television commentators who were urging the government to take action and invade Iraq. He noted television programs were featuring former generals and military men who spoke in a jingoistic manner about the glory of war. “At times, I see commentators who are supposedly experts on the subject. They serve as public servants for provocation.” He noted as a prime minister he has obligations to engage in diplomatic exchanges, not talk wildly about war. Erdogan will meet with President Bush on November 5 and, “will openly tell him that we expect concrete immediate steps against the terrorists.” The Turkish prime minister says the manner in which Bush and Iraq respond to demands for neutralizing border regions to prevent terrorist attacks would be a critical test of sincerity on their part. Erdogan believes his nation is a “part of the world, and we should not forget that diplomacy has certain requirements.” He expressed willingness to engage in meaningful talks, but he also expected results will emanate from such exchanges. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party both said they would work with Iraqi and US officials to neutralize border regions and avoid violence.

Perhaps, President Bush might lean something about how a leader conducts himself in the midst of crisis. Erdogan is speaking in a tough manner, but always indicating receptiveness for discussion and dialogue with opponents. He is open to talking with various factions and does not demand preconditions for engaging in dialogue. Are you listening, Mr. Bush?

War Chants Heard In Turkey As Diplomats Try For Peace

Thousands of Turks marched through the streets of their nation shouting for war with Kurdish rebels even it if means invading Iraq. In the meantime, Turkish leaders were holding meetings in London, Washington, and Baghdad in a last minute effort to avert a new Iraq war. Prime Minister Erdogan told his counterpart, Gordon Brown, in London that an attack might come at “any time” unless the Iraq government was able to control Kurdish rebels of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Baghdad informed Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that war was the last resort of his nation because, “we do not want to sacrifice our cultural and economic relations with Iraq for the sake of a terrorist organization.”

Four years ago President Bush in his usual tough talking way persuaded the American Congress to allow an invasion of Iraq in search of WMD because diplomacy had failed. Today, more mature leaders like Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey are trying the diplomatic route despite having over two dozen of their soldiers killed by Kudish insurgents. It is unfortunate for America that it lacked leaders with diplomatic skills in 2003 who could have worked hard to achieve our foreign policy goals without resorting to war.