• Turkey

    Erdogan’s thugs attack protesters in Washington [updated]

    The Washington Post reports: A Turkish state news agency said guards for visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were involved in a violent clash with demonstrators in Northwest Washington on Tuesday in an incident that D.C. officials said left nine people injured. Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency and similar accounts by pro-government outlets confirmed what many on social media had speculated after seeing videos of men in dark suits and ties — some holding Turkish flags — going after demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence at Sheridan Circle on Massachusetts Avenue. The Turkish news agency blamed the incident on an “inadequate” response by local police. Not terribly surprising when you remember…

  • Russia,  Turkey,  Vote 2016

    Putin’s candidate for president

    Moving on to more substantive and critical matters… Donald Trump gave an interview on foreign policy to The New York Times which ought to disturb anyone who cares about preserving NATO, defending democracy at home and abroad, and upholding human rights. Jeffrey Goldberg writes at The Atlantic: Fulfilling what might be [Vladimir] Putin’s dearest wish, Trump, in this interview, openly questioned whether the U.S., under his leadership, would keep its commitments to the alliance. According to [the interviewers], Trump “even called into question, whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States…

  • Turkey

    Turkey’s descent

    The news coming out of Turkey now is as bad as can be.  Anne Appelbaum was on The World Tonight comparing the situation to a Bolshevik purge, when Lenin would keep a list of “future enemies” to be liquidated when the time was ripe – in this case secularists and Kemalists. In the latest developments on Tuesday, the government fired more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry, sacked 257 officials at the prime minister’s office and 492 clerics at the directorate for religious affairs. Additionally, more than 1,500 university deans were asked to resign. It followed the firing of nearly 8,800 policemen, and the arrests of 6,000 soldiers, 2,700…

  • Turkey

    The dilemmas posed by the coup in Turkey

    Last night’s events in Turkey provide a useful reminder as to what a coup (whether or not it’s successful) really is. a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government. Generally one can predict how people will respond to dramatic news stories but this one has revealed some less obvious fault lines.  Dislike for Erdogan had to be weighed against dislike for coups and enthusiasm for secularism against enthusiasm for democracy. Owen Jones, no fan of Erdogan, was perturbed by the idea that the coup could be seen as welcome or legitimate. However many – including Marc of course – were cheering it on, at least to some…

  • Britain Today,  Democracy,  Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    How Erdogan targets British Turks via the Turkish Consulate in London

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. Erdogan’s anti-democratic actions have caused much negative publicity in recent years – so much so that any positive work he did in the early part of his rule has now been totally wiped out by his autocratic behaviour.  Now when his name is mentioned only one word comes to mind- that is ‘Dictator’. It is worrying to then learn that the Turkish Consulate in London has been busy targeting British Turks with Erdogan’s propaganda.  It has come to our attention that mailshots are sent to Turks in the UK encouraging them to vote for the AK Party.  This has created a climate of fear…

  • Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    The utter death of democracy in Turkey

    Whatever thin patina of democratic freedom remained in Turkey vanished Saturday when the Erdogan regime forcibly took over the country’s largest (and opposition) newspaper Zaman and turned it into a government propaganda outlet. The last “free” issue of Zaman was released the day before it was seized. The headline read, “Constitution suspended,” above an excerpt from Turkey’s constitution that forbids seizure of printing houses and press equipment:

  • Corruption,  Turkey

    Was Berat Albayrak picked as sacrificial offering in the oil trade with the ISIL?

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. As Italian prosecutor Manuela Cavallo’s launching an investigation into money laundering claims about Bilal Erdogan, who recently moved to the Italian city of Bologna with his family, made it into news reports, another initiative, the Russian Federation kicked off at the United Nations, has raised the possibility of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak’s being tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague on charges of aiding and abetting the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  In a letter it sent to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council Member States on…

  • Corruption,  Turkey

    Is the ‘Deep State’ using Erdogan to take revenge against its enemies?

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. The deep state (or state within a state) is believed to be a secret network of military officers and their civilian allies who for decades suppressed and even murdered perceived opponents of Turkey’s secular order.  It allegedly functioned as a kind of shadow government, spreading false propaganda to whip up public fear and destabilising civilian governments through bombing campaigns and even assassinations (events which have again become common place in Turkey today).   Amongst other nefarious activities, the deep state is believed to have orchestrated the death of Prime Minister Adnan Mendres in 1960 and brought down the government of Necmettin Erbakan in the…

  • Freedom & Liberty,  Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    Erdogan’s European lobby group UETD-UK holds political conference in a British school!

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. It is abundantly clear to anybody following political events in Turkey over the past few years that Erdogan’s government continues to silence free speech, restrict freedom of expression and abuse the rule of law.  This has resulted in journalists being arrested, media channels being closed down and judges jailed.   The dictatorial tendencies of Erdogan and his AK Party grow more and more every day.  It is somewhat worrying then to learn that Erdogan’s lobby group in the UK, Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD-UK), held a political conference at a British school in 2014. British schools are not supposed to allow the promotion of partisan political views on…

  • Kurds,  Turkey

    Most encouraging headline I’ve seen in awhile

    From The Washington Post: The deciding factor in this election was the emergence of the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, which came in fourth with 12 percent of the vote. For a political party to enter Turkey’s parliament, it has to pass a threshold of 10 percent of the total vote. The HDP did so and will command an estimated 78 seats in the 550-seat legislature, mostly won at the expense of the AKP. ….. “From now on, HDP is Turkey’s party. HDP is Turkey, Turkey is HDP,” the party’s leader, Selahattin Demirtas, said Sunday evening at a news conference in Istanbul. The party framed itself as a leftist movement…