Category Archives: Turkey

Turkey’s Primal Scream and the PKK

Someone appears to have been spending too much time howling at the moon. Ertugal Ozkok writes in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet:

If Barzani’s plan involves using the PKK to create a new ” powerful Kurdish nation,” we need to show him a new map.

Either that, or we need to show him that the price for that nation, built by using the PKK as a tool, will be too high for them to pay.

We need to explain: A handful of F-16s from the Turkish Air Force carrying out 30 or 40 sorties would result in a northern Iraq that just went backwards 20 years.

What if American F-16s come in front of us to block us? Let them try, that’s their business.

But the United States shouldn’t forget that such a course will involve Iran, Syria, and attach Russia, too. In fact, what they’ll see is a geography that stretches all the way to Afghanistan. Oh, and let Washington remember to add nations in its old backyard to the mix, those Latin American countries that now hate the United States. And then there’s always neutral Europe. Yes, these are all things that not only we, but America, lying 14,000 kilometers away from us, needs to think about. If the calculations and bills are being made there, the scale is over here. And on one side of the scale lies northern Iraq, while on the other side lays Turkey.

Turkey has come to the point of making some historical and global decisions. And what has brought us to this point? What lies behind the caprices of the northern Iraqi government is a super state’s (U.S.) super-caprice. This is the only conclusion I can reach after three hours of meditation trying to calm my feelings of anger.

(via memeorandum)

Luckily for all involved, Ozkok is an editorial writer, not a general. Think of him as a Turkish Ann Coulter without the long blonde locks, throwing verbal hand grenades at his target du jour.

The picture he paints isn’t totally implausible. If the US went to war with Turkey it would be a huge tragedy with enormous repercussions.

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WordPress Still Blocked in Turkey

Deborah Ann Dilley at Global Voices follows up on the same story I mentioned last week.

Last week Sami Ben Gharbia did an excellent posting about the blockage of the WordPress blogging platform in Turkey, this week we will examine what Turkish bloggers have to say about it. There is anger, resentment, and sense of utter amazement at the absurdness of the situation. And yet, there is a powerful spirit of strength in combating this ban.

Many Turkish bloggers and expat bloggers feel that the recent banning of WordPress in Turkey is not only a sign of things to come, but a cause for embarrassment.

Read it all.

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Circling the Wagons around Iran’s Fire

Though Iran isn’t covered in the American press all that much, in the world press right now it is at the center of almost every major story involving the Muslim world.

What Happened?

What Does it Mean?
Pakistan’s president Musharraf was in Iran this week to meet with President Ahmadinajad and Ayatollah Khamenei. His stated goal was to unify the ummah (a political union of muslim peoples). This project is called the IPI (Islamic Peace Initiative?). They also discussed a natural gas pipeline project from Iran to Pakistan.

Meaning: The ummah is not unified. Specifically Iran does not see eye-to-eye with other Muslim countries. Other Muslim countries think this should be fixed.

Musharraf then flew from Tehran to Ankara Turkey for a visit to discuss Iraq, Afghanistan, and a Muslim Middle East peace plan.

He has already held talks with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates to seek backing for his peace initiative. (source)

Meaning: Musharraf is serious about his peace plan.

Perhaps he sees himself as the Muslim Jimmy Carter. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

A team of Iranians and Saudis intervened to defuse a general strike called by Hizballah in Lebanon. Prince Bander visited Tehran in the past month. In mid-January, Iranian nuclear figure Ali Larijani visited Saudi Arabia to talk about the Iranian nuclear program (and perhaps about Saudi Arabia’s nuclear plans).

Meaning: Cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a surprise, and bears watching closely.

Saudi Arabia is shedding its usual program of behind-the-scenes checkbook diplomacy and taking a more public role in negotiations.

  • Hosting Hamas and Fatah in Mecca for talks to hopefully lead to a national unity government.
  • Secret meetings with Israel to talk about a single State in Israel (not acceptable for Israel)
  • Support of Siniora’s government in Lebanon against the Hizballah coup attempt.
  • Support of Sunni tribes in Iraq in the face of increased sectarian killings by the Badr and Sadr militias.
  • Taking seriously the rumors that Iranian Shi’ites are trying to convert Sunnis.
  • Attempts to lower the price of oil.

The U.S. is encouraging this move.

The shift is occurring with encouragement from the Bush administration. Its goal is to see an American-backed alliance of Sunni Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, along with a Fatah-led Palestine and Israel, opposing Iran, Syria and the radical groups they support. (source)

Meaning: Saudi Arabia has realized that Iran is attempting to become the new king of the mountain in the ummah. Saudi Arabia plans to replace Egypt as the new leader of the Muslim world.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said to Der Speigel that Iran must play a crucial part in the recovery of stability in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. He rejected utterly the possibility of violence against Iran.

“Violence leads to a dead end alley for which Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia are examples. It always leads to a worsening of problems,” the Russian official said. (source)

Meaning: Iran is a nuclear client state of Russia and Russia is running static for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei has said that Iran is ready to share its gas reservers with “Muslim brotherly countries, including Pakistan.”

‘Iran is also rich in gas and we are ready to allow Muslim brotherly countries, including Pakistan, to benefit from Iran’s reserves and facilities,’ IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying while referring to the project for laying a pipeline to transfer gas from Iran to India via Pakistan.

He also insisted on unity and solidarity among the Muslim nations. Khamenei was critical of the US and Britain for their support to Israel, which he felt, has allowed the Jewish state to ‘oppress’ Palestine.

‘Any plan on the Middle East will be successful only when it prevents US bullying and puts an end to Zionists’ crimes,’ he said. (source)

Meaning: Pakistan is considering breaking with the U.S. and siding with Iran.

What is the deeper meaning to be found in all this activity around Iran and Pakistan?

  • The trendline of Israel and the United States is going downward.
    • Israel lost face last summer in the war against Hizballah. Hizballah lost many fighters, but Israel has not gotten Ehud Goldwasser or Eldad Regev back. Hizballah has rearmed openly with assistance from Iran and Syria. Israel’s weakness invites exploitation from those who would further weaken it, or destroy it utterly.
    • Toxic domestic politics and destructive, alienated media in the U.S. are hamstringing U.S. efforts to pacify and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. When both houses of Congress swung to the Democrats in 2006 the stormclouds on the horizon were obvious. Now Democrats are doing everything they can to undermine the President and the armed forces. The plan in Iraq has been to withdraw without establishing security. They oppose the words “staying the course,” yet they intend to continue withdrawing without establishing security, which is in fact staying the course. All this makes the U.S. appear weak in the eyes of the entire Muslim world.
  • The trendline of Iran is going up.
    • Iran is developing nuclear weapons and spitting in the eye of the increasingly weak U.N. Security Council.
    • Iran is attacking and killing Americans and Iraqis inside Iraq, which is an embarrassment to the U.S. Need I mention that Iran’s invasion of the U.S. sovereign territory of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 has never been punished?
    • Iran indoctrinated, trained and supplied Hizballah which has embarrassed Israel.
    • Iran has been hosting Al Qaeda ever since 2001, promoting cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, and allowing Jihadists such as Zarqawi free passage and supply lines through Iran.
    • If Iran obtains hegemony in Iraq as it might if the U.S. withdraws too quickly, then it will have a free hand to wage the same kind of war it has been waging against Iraq in Afghanistan, thus dooming the NATO mission there.
    • Iran is willing to act ruthlessly, and is not bound by any self-destructive rules of engagement.
    • Iran continues to threaten to destroy Israel and America to no repercussions.
  • Pakistan is thinking about abandoning the U.S. and allying with Iran instead. This would leave NATO in Afghanistan surrounded by hostile countries, with safe havens for Al Qaeda and Taliban across the Pakistani and Iranian borders and not even the level of cooperation that Pakistan has been supplying so far.

All this must lighten the hearts of Jihadist Vampires and their preachers of Jihad and fill them with dreams of a world-wide KKKaliphate with a monster like Osama bin Laden as the KKKaliph.

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From “We are all Armenians” to Posing for Souvenir Photos with the Killer

The Turkish security forces face fresh embarrassment after it emerged that some of its members had posed for “souvenir pictures” with the alleged murderer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.Film footage and photos leaked to the media showed 17-year-old Ogun Samast, who has confessed to the murder, displaying a Turkish flag, flanked by members of the security forces, some of them in uniform.Behind them is a calendar featuring another Turkish flag and the words of the country’s founder, Ataturk: “The motherland’s soil is sacred. It cannot be left to its destiny.” (source)

The problem of toxic Turkish nationalism is a serious one for Turkey. A Fascist Nationalism is the force that protects and militates against Islamism and Jihadism in Turkey, yet it is informed by those strains that also seek after authoritarianism. The Young Turks who propagated the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire were the predecessors of the the Moslem Brotherhood, which in turn gave birth to Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Al Qaeda. After the Ottoman Empire was broken up and Attaturk dissolved the Caliphate, Attaturk encouraged Nationalist feelings in order to guard against further Islamist excesses.

The relationship between this hysterical type of Turkish nationalism–or, to use a more appropriate term, Turkish fascism–and Islam is worth clarifying. There are of course many militant Islamists in the world today, but Turkish fascists are not among them. In fact, they are clearly distinguished from and often at odds with Turkey’s Islamic circles, some of which are strong proponents of democratization and the EU bid. The fascists defend Islam and use it in some of their slogans, to be sure, but this is because they see religion as an important component of the Turkish identity. They hate the “infidel” Jews, Armenians, or Americans, but they detest Muslim Kurds and Arabs, too. Indeed, some of their most extreme factions don’t like Islam because of its trans-nationalism; instead they yearn for the pagan faiths of the pre-Islamic Turks.

Threats and violence have been the traditional tools these fascist cadres use to silence the intellectuals they hate–including liberal novelists such as the recent Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, and the Sufi-inspired Elif Safak. With the murder of Hrant Dink, they probably wanted to give a warning to them all. But the reaction of Turkish society to this political assassination suggests that their plan has backfired. Right after Dink’s murder, thousands of people gathered in front of his office to protest the crime. Their maxim was dramatic: “We are all Hrant Dink.” And the Turkish media, save for a few extremist dailies that support the fascist line, published heartfelt praise for Dink and grave condemnation of his murder.

Moreover, Hrant Dink’s funeral turned into an unprecedented rally against fascism in Turkish society. About one hundred thousand people from all walks of life and faiths marched in the wide avenues of Istanbul, creating a scenic river of bodies. The motto of the day was “We are all Armenians.”(source)

From “We are all Armenians” to posing for souvenir photos with the killer, the contrast couldn’t be more vivid.

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Turkish Al Qaeda Leader Arrested

Not much more is known. (source)

Update: The NYT has more.

TRABZON, Turkey, Jan. 29 — In simultaneous operations carried out in five Turkish cities on Monday, the police arrested 47 people suspected of being Islamic militants, including the leader of Al Qaeda in Turkey […]

Among those taken into custody on Monday was Ekrem K, identified as the suspected leader locally of Al Qaeda. Ekrem K, who the police said went by the name Usame, was captured in Konya, 150 miles south of Ankara, along with 22 other suspects. (source)