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As I wrote some months ago:

Opium production in Afghanistan has soared to record levels, with an increase on last year of more than a third, the United Nations has said.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime report says the amount of opium produced there has doubled in the last two years. It says Helmand province is now the biggest single drug-producing area in the world, surpassing whole countries such as Colombia. Afghanistan now accounts for more than 93% of the world’s opiates.

Despite billions of dollars of aid and tens of thousands of international troops, the report says 193,000 hectares of opium poppies are being grown in Afghanistan.

[…] The report says growing opium poppies is now closely linked to the insurgency and the instability in the south. And what is to be done? The report recommends more determined efforts to bring that security. It urges the government to get tough on corruption, which it says is driving the drugs trade and it lists poor governance, a weak judiciary and failing eradication programmes for these new frightening record levels.

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World Organization for Human Rights has sued Yahoo! over its policy in China: Look at Yahoo!’s hypocrisy:

Yahoo is being sued by the World Organization for Human Rights for sharing information about its users with the Chinese government. The information has led to the arrests of writers and dissidents. One journalist cited in the case was tracked down and jailed for 10 years for subversion after Yahoo passed on his e-mail and IP address to officials.

In its 40-page response to the lawsuit, filed with a federal court in San Francisco, Yahoo acknowledged releasing information to the Chinese government. But it argued that there was little connection between the information the firm gave and the ensuing arrests and imprisonment of its users.

[…] But Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights said the company had failed to meet its ethical responsibilities. “Even if it was lawful in China, that does not take away from Yahoo’s obligation to follow not just Chinese law, but US law and international legal standards as well, when they do business abroad,” he said.

Barely, Yahoo! claims this is a merely political case. 😡

At the same time, Angela Merkel reminds China the West would like to see progress on freedom of the press and Human Rights’ matters (where it has not progressed really):

“The world will be looking at China to a greater extent than it has in past years,” Merkel said. “And people will also be looking at how China presents itself in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

Chinese critics of Beijing welcomed Merkel’s remarks.

“Unlike her predecessor Gerhard Schröder, Angela Merkel does not run and hide from this topic,” former university professor and dissident Liu Xiaobo told Deutsche Welle. “She tells it like it is. The pressure she’s put on the Chinese government has already had significant effect.”

Well done, Merkel!

It’s logical, by the way, Merkel’s position. Looks like that the Chinese Government has hacked Merckel’s chancellery and three other Berlin ministries h/t Barcepundit.

Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, discovered the hacking operation in May, the magazine reported in its new edition, published Monday.

The Chinese government has vehemently denied the report, with the Chinese Embassy in Berlin describing the accusation of state-controlled hacking as “irresponsible speculation without a shred of evidence.”

But Prime Minister Wen Jiabao assured Merkel that measures would be taken to “rule out hacking attacks.” During a news conference in Beijing on Monday, Merkel didn’t comment on the specific allegation but said it was important that “common rules of the game” were observed in a globalised economy.

Well, there has been reports before about industrial spying on Canada, also vehemently denied by China. And on Australia, where they have targeted exiled dissidents.

So worried about foreign lands and yet China is searching for 8 kgs of “missing” uranium. Take a little more care about things which are really dangerous and stop targeting dissidents and foreign governments… 😡

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In Italy, a mother pregnant of two daughters, went to a clinic to see the state of both fetuses. In the clinic, she was informed that one of them has Down Syndrome so she asks for the abortion of that fetus. In the operation, the fetuses change places and the healthy one is finished. After that, she asked again for the abortion of the unhealthy one, which was done by injecting a solution of digoxine. This method which causes a cardiac stop, is used only in grown-up fetuses, while in this case, they were in the 30th week of pregnancy. The scandal in Italy is great. For a link in English, click here.

Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has already condemned the abortion of the twins:

L’Osservatore Romano reported: “Two girls have died, assassinated as a consequence of selective abortion. A radical decision has brought about another abortion, that of the little sister that still had life.” No one “has the right to eliminate another life. No person has the right to take the position of God. Not for any motive.”

But that’s not all. In Spain, as I wrote days before, there is a “problem“: doctors working in public health system are not practising abortions as they think it’s a matter of conscience and have objected. Some leftist MSM -specially world-known as very objective El País– began saying that people had a lot of problems to get themselves an abortion, with statements like: “They told me abortion was a crime“, “Leny and Fátima had succeeded in achieving their right (¿? Really didn’t know that was a right) to have an abortion in private clinics paid with public money” or “I had to go to have it to another Autonomous Community“.

There are three causes for legal abortion in Spain: rape, grave illnesses of the fetus or grave danger for the physical or psychological health of the mother. More than 98% of all the abortion held in Spain use this last cause.

So the Spanish Ombudsman, Enrique Múgica, has begun an investigation about the “great difficulties to have a free-willing interruption of pregnancy practised in the public health system“. He also asks to “adopt the pertinent measures to let the users have the guarantee the attention in the Community of residence and in the main hospitals of the National Health System“. So how are they going to do that? Are they going to hire pro-abortion doctors? Or are they going to make pro-life ones make abortions against their conscience and will? I really have a bad feeling about this…

Meanwhile, the Spanish Schools’ Council has passed a resolution by which the State can educate the children on affective-sexual matters without any consentment from parents ( 😯 ). But at the same time, “it rejected to include Cervantes in the minimum required to pass Literature, the Catholic Kings in History and the inversion of €1000 millions in the infants’ education from o-3 years-old (which was in the PSOE’s electoral program) and to liberalise the prices of the books (as stated in the Law passed in the terms requested in this respect from the Culture’s Ministry)”.

Regarding immigration, Zapatero denies it (hmm…) but French Prime Minister maintains that he is totally repented from the immigrants’ regularization.

Zapatero spoke yesterday about the statements of French PM, François Fillon, about the content of the summit between both of them last July in Madrid, to contradict his ally and ask for an immediate rectification which has not happened and most probably, won’t in the future. Fillon has stated that Zapatero admitted then that the regularization of more than 600.000 immigrants in 2005 was an error of which he repented “bitterly” and that he won’t make more in the future (repentance and modification of behaviour: we’re on the right track! Eehh, no, not quite). The President contradicted yesterday French PM, insisting on all the good things that his policy of open borders have brought and said that France was going to “make things clear because it was all probably a bad interpretation”. Sources near Fillon assured EL MUNDO that «there hasn’t been nor there is going to be any rectification in any way». The more similar to tinging his words, was some statements made by the entourage of the French PM, according to which Fillon understands that Zapatero supported the policy of “papers for all” because “he had no options… because of circumstances” (there is always another option, even if it’s very difficult or harder to follow. And in this case, there is). It is not clear if Zapatero has or hasn’t a communication problem or of interpreters when he has to speak about his analysis and compromises over immigration, as Zaplana (PP, center-right) laughed about yesterday, but it is clear that the President puts at risk again the diplomatic relations between France and Spain, because of the massive regularization which affected all Europe because of its awful “calling” effect.

Look here, I do not know who is responsible for this misunterstanding. But if he is not a total idiot -and I don’t think he is, he is just convinced he is going to save Spain from fascism (¡!), yeah I know…-, he knows he was stupid enough to let a lot of immigrants without any kind of control (not even medical, and there are illnesses which did not existed in Spain, which have appeared afterwards). Border control is not a characteristic of being a fascist, it’s just a consequence of common sense. Does Spain need immigrants? I really don’t know, but it’s possible. But what is certain is that we need some kind of immigrants, not every immigrant in the world. Ergo, select them according to the needs here and their qualifications -if we need truck drivers and the people who come are cookers, they are going to be jobless… with all the dangers that implies-. So, please, stop blaming others for your own bad policies’ results, move your ass and begin working on something more profitable than in denying what it’s clear as clean water: it was a HUGE ERROR.

[A friend of mine told me: With all my heart aching, I have to acknowledge that I trust more Fillon than Zapatero… Ejem].

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Christianity’s greatest menace:

Christians around the world suffer daily because of their faith, and it seems the persecution is intensifying.

CBN News looks at the top two offenders– North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Countries that persecute Christians usually fall into two camps: those with communist governments and those where Islam as the dominant religion.

That is: where there is no freedom, no respect for Human Rights…

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Looks like that Chávez has bought both the military and the Majors from… Evo’s paradise:

One of the accomplices of Hugo Chávez, the head of one ghost Ministry of all that Venezuela has nowadays, has stated to Venezuelan press that Hugo Chávez’s regime has given $6 millions to pay Bolivian military. Meanwhile, the sheepy Bolivian President, Evo Morales, has been photograpphed while giving money checks to Bolivian majors who are Venezuelan friends. The shameless says: “Chávez gave me the money to give it away“.

They do not refer to woodcutters. I wonder if this has something to do with it h/t Kate. 😈

But Chávez wants also to infiltrate himself in other weak South-American democracies, like Ecuador or Paraguay. In the latter, the so-called “Yearly operative Planning of the Foreign Relations Ministry of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” (wow, what a name 😯 ), reveals that he wants to give “Bolivarian indoctrination” to Armed Forces, energetic firms, students and peasants; even it speaks of the recruitment of young doctors from rural areas.

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USA and Europe: Another terrorist attack inevitable. h/t Extreme Centre: Newsweek interviews Redd, Head of the US National counterterrorism center. An excerpt:

Tell us about the threat that emerged earlier this year.
We’ve got this intelligence threat; we’re pretty certain we know what’s going on. We don’t have all the tactical details about it, [but] in some ways it’s not unlike the U.K. aviation threat last year. So we know there is a threat out there. The question is what do we do about it? And the response was, we stood up an interagency task force under NCTC leadership. So you have all the players you would expect: FBI, CIA, DHS, DIA, DoD, the operators—the military side comes into that—participating in an integrated plan, but integrated in a much more granular and tactical way than we’ve ever done before. This is my 40th year in government service, 36 in uniform and almost four as a civilian. This is revolutionary stuff, and it is affecting the way we do business.

Earlier this summer, there was talk that people were picking up chatter that reminded them of the summer before 9/11. The Germans basically said this is like pre-9/11. They said, “We are very worried.” What do you make of this?
We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West and is likely to [try to] attack, and we are pretty sure about that. We know some of the precursors from—

Attack Europe?
Well, they would like to come West, and they would like to come as far West as they can
. What we don’t know is…if it’s going to be Mark Hosenball, and he’s coming in on Flight 727 out of Karachi, he’s stopping in Frankfurt, and he’s coming on through with his European Union passport, and he’s coming into New York, and he’s going to do something. I mean, we don’t have that kind of tactical detail. What we do have, though, is a couple of threads that indicate, you know, some very tactical stuff, and that’s what—you know, that’s what you’re seeing bits and pieces of, and I really can’t go much more into it.

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Yesterday I wrote about Abdulah Gül’s being named new Turkish President. Today I read dissapointing news from French PM Sarkozy:

If this essential inquiry on the future of our Union is undertaken by the 27 member nations, France will not oppose the negotiations between the EU and Turkey that are to take place in the months and years to come,” said the French president addressing the 15th Conference of Ambassadors.
These new discussions must, he stressed, “be compatible with the two visions of future relations between Europe and Turkey, i.e., membership in the EU, or as close an association as possible.”

French blogger Tiberge writes commenting this:

It isn’t clear what Nicolas Sarkozy means by a “close association”, but it is clear that he accepts Turkey as much more than a trading partner or a tourist attraction. A close association implies an alliance, with attendant loyalties and military implications.

With Islamist Gül in the Presidency? Uuuuuuuuuuuyyyyyyyyy, Sarko….

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More about Greek fires: from NYT:

“Up the hill, workers were preparing the grave for Athanasia Karta-Paraskevopoulou, a 35-year-old teacher, and the four children she shielded as the flames closed in on them: Angeliki, 15; Maria, 12; Anastassia, about 10; and Constantinos, 5. They had been on vacation from Athens”.

Requiescat in Pace. She was brave enough and she died to protect these children, while they were waiting for rescue. Unluckily, it ended in a very sad way.

And it is more worrying as:

The danger had by no means passed. In the village of Grillos, just over a ridge from here on the western peninsula, a couple who own a restaurant watched in tears as flames advanced from three directions while fire trucks spewed water in the flames’ path.

“All we need is one of those,” said one owner, Iannis Drakopoulos, 72, as a Russian plane carrying an industrial-sized water bucket passed. “If he dropped it here, it would all have been fine.”

In Artemida and here in Makistos, the flames were already out, and Monday was instead a day for tallying the damage and preparing to bury the dead.

[…] The descriptions from people who saw it were the same: flames moving at an unimaginable rate and no one apart from the police to help.

[…] The fire reportedly came over a ridge first to Makistos, a village of 60 homes. Antonios Kokkaliaris, 80, a farmer, said he had been reading his newspaper, underlining parts he liked, when he heard the bell in St. John’s church ring. “I went out and I saw the flames before me and people running,” he said. He could not leave, he said, because his wife, Koula, 82, is severely disabled. “I told her, ‘Stay put, we’re going to fight this out.’ I grabbed onto the hose and I started dousing left, right and center.”

The town emptied, with only him, a herdsman and Mr. Dimopoulos with his wine staying behind. Mr. Kokkaliaris managed to douse his home, and two next door, well enough that the fires howled past, leaving his house intact.

But when it was over, he did not feel relief.

“I was disappointed, honestly,” he said, “because not only was there no one to help me, there was no one in sight. ‘Am I just standing here alone? What happened to all my townspeople? What is the purpose of life if I am all alone?’ ”

I can only say: 😯 A brave old man.

But we continue:

The region normally produces 10,000 tons of oil, but nearly all the olive trees are now destroyed, along with countless livelihoods. Charred donkeys and chickens litter ruined farms.

This village is literally wiped out,” Ms. Bammi said. “It’s not just those who have been killed. Those who are left have no fields to work in, no olive trees. They have nothing to look forward to.”

It is already a tragedy. And if finally it’s proved they did that with mobile phones, well, the punishment for these bastards must be … great.

More from the Astute Bloggers:

DAY 4 of deadly fires: Fires rage in Greece as SEVEN PEOPLE CHARGED WITH ARSON.
They remain nameless. Why? Those depraved savages set a country on fire, the public deserves to know no matter who it is. I have searched all news sources. Any Atlas readers have a clue?

Well, can it be because they can be charged with terrorism? I really don’t know. Seems strange to me too.

(+) If you want to read a magnificent post about the political consequences of the Greek fires, just go over to Cassandra’s blog.

The other usual suspects in the EU are exploiting the crisis to call for more integrated emergency cooperation, in other words: continued deepening of federal structures. Strangely, among the first countries to send fire-fighters and airplanes were Israel and Switzerland; both countries aren’t EU members.

The press from hell continues: “‘The village of Artimeta in the Peloponnese has become known as the ‘crematorium’, says the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant who is in the village near the town of Olympia.” I have serious doubts about this piece of atheist cynicism! Considering the fact that Greece is 96% Orthodox, a Christian denomination prescribing interment, I ‘d be surpised if most Greeks even know what a crematorium is, as the first is still to be build; it’s highly unlikely that local Greeks would describe a much loved village in such terms!

😯

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Chaim writes that “More than 5000 Kassam rockets have been fired at Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip which Israel abandoned to the PLO two years ago, the Sharon government brutally throwing thousands of Jews out of their homes“. Very critical of Olmert as ever:

Israel’s government, as any other government, has an obligation to defend its people. As long as Ehud Allmerde and his cohorts are running at the top they are going to do little more than a few symbolic gestures to make it look like they are defending Israelis. Rather, they seem obsessed with appeasement. Obsessed with a policy that invariably has failed miserably time and again. They seem intent on giving everything up to the terrorists, little realizing that the more they give, the less they get and the more is demanded!

Olmert spoke on Tuesday 28th with Mahmoud Abbas to “agree on measures against terrorism“. As I linked yesterday, this policy is not going to bring them any good.

Meanwhile, Israeli leaders are building themselves shelters to protect them in case of attack. Everyday’s tale…

Also, on related news, the Israeli government’s tourism ministry has reached an agreement to cooperate with the Vatican’s new charter-flight service for pilgrimages to the Holy Land, the Ynetnews agency has reported.

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And now for the thinking post of the day. Pastorius has written it -the scene of Patton is priceless-:

[…] you have to ask yourselves, do you want a world which is ruled by men, or by women?
Hmm???
Obviously, rationality is not arbitrated by force.

Read it all. It’s worth it. (Chauvinist males: this post is not very recommended for you 😈 ).

Read Full Post »

There has been 600 people killed or dissapeared in North Korea as a result of the floods. There are also thousands of hurt people.

Iraq’s PM Maliki vs. H. Clinton:

Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin are democrats but they don’t respect democracy. They speak about Iraq as if it were their property”, Malike said in a press conference. He added that both senators “have never lived controversies like the ones we are knowing in Iraq. When they speak, they don’t know what reconciliation means”.

Maliki reacted like that to some statements made by Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton -favourite of his party to the 2008’s presidential career in USA- who asked the Iraqi MPs to choose another person to leader a national unity government, after the extinction of the Iraqi coalition government.

He also critisized Bernard Kouchner, French FM, who visited Iraq some days ago, and whose visit was considered a success at first.

Bernard Kouchner had also advised him to resign. But he has said France is ready to make an apology about this:

Last week Mr Kouchner said the Iraqi government was “not functioning” and was quoted saying he had told the US that there was strong support in Iraq for Mr Maliki to resign and he “has got to be replaced“. 😯

In an interview with RTL radio on Monday, Mr Kouchner said: “I think that he [Mr Maliki] misunderstood, or that I was not clear enough that I was referring to comments I heard from Iraqis I talked to.” [Do you really think he was misunderstood???].

“If the prime minister wants me to apologise for having interfered so directly in Iraqi affairs, I’ll do it willingly,” he said.

Mr Kouchner visited Baghdad last week to promote France’s role in efforts to solve the Iraq crisis and mend relations with Washington damaged by France’s opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

So what do Iraqis think about the intervention? h/t Desde el Exilio.

America should finish what it started.

Spanish National Library’s President, old Rosa Regás, is now a fan of Chávez -well, err, not now, this is something which we have known in Spain for so long-:

Her article is compulsory. Her analysis is a panegyric to Chávez, with numbers very far from reality, which nowadays does not belong to the Venezuelan people as it never happened in the last 50 years, sunk in the most cruel misery, where a citizen dies each half an hour killed by gangs, with a record of being one of the most corrupt places in the world, no.170 these days, according to the Corruption Perception’s index. An expert regime in manouvring to sell lies, while at the same time it’s proclaiming himself the poors’ saviour.

[…] When Rosa Regás tells us “Why against Chávez?” with the conviction that she does it, with a bad tempered arrogance, it looks like, with Zapatero, the Spain of democracy and progress is menaced. I’m convinced that she does not wish this country to be reflected in Venezuela’s mirror.

I should say that depends on who was going to exert power… I really believe some of them, at least, think, that just as Franco was 40 years in power, they have a right (non-written one) to be another 40 years, whatever the means for that. I’m not saying even that all Socialists think that, not even that the majority of them think it, but some of them do -of course, they never say that publicly…-.

At the same moment, two world maps of 1482 have been stolen from the institution she is in charge. 😡 And she has presented her dimission because she “does not feel the new Minister of Culture, César Antonio Molina, trusts her“. 😈 These are good news, indeed…

In Egypt the dictatorship creeps each day to a more frightening stand h/t Desde El Exilio:

On Aug. 8, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights reported that it had confirmed more than 500 cases of police abuse since 1993, including 167 deaths — three of which took place this year — that the group “strongly suspects were the result of torture and mistreatment.” The organization previously found that while Egypt‘s population nearly doubled during the first 25 years of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime, the number of prisons grew more than fourfold and that the number of detainees held for more than one year without charge or indictment grew to more than 20,000.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have corroborated chilling accounts of torture in Egyptian prisons. The independent daily Eldestour recently published two important facts: that the annual budget for internal security was $1.5 billion in 2006, more than the entire national budget for health care, and that the security police forces comprise 1.4 million officers, nearly four times the size of the Egyptian army. “Egypt has become a police state par excellence,” the paper’s editor noted.

For the people who uses bloglines, there is a new beta version for you to try.

More about Iranian Government’s savages, go and see the photos that Stephania has posted.

Al Fatah uses now the Lion King to attack Hamas. And Disney still says nothing about this.

The new cause of anger in Aghanistan: a ball with the Saudi flag. You know, the one with the Islamic declaration of faith?

A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah.

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.

Last news from Venezuela: now Chávez wants to move the country’s time zone to “offer a more equitable distribution of sunlight“. The socialism of XXIth century also distributes the sunlight in a more equitable way… This sounds like the Galizian Nationalist Party asking to change the time zone of Galizia as if Spain was the USA and had huge need of several time zones… 😈

A very interesting post: On “racial” profiling:

Islamism, Islamist militancy, and Islamist militant terrorism are very adept at converting people to Islam and to Islamist terrorism. And so not only do we need to worry about the usual suspects, so to speak, but also those who have been converted. Our obliviousness to this is exploited by Islamist terrorists, as can be seen by a number of the people involved in the plot by Britons to attack American and British trans-Atlantic flights from London. One was even a white (that is, British) pregnant woman, someone who would not register on anyone’s counter-terrorism radar.

[…] My suggestion is that while focusing on the usual suspected ethnicities or people of suspected ethnic origins (Arab, especially Saudi, and South Asian, especially Pakistani), we need to watch for suspicious behavior by any and all people. Besides, Islamist terrorism is not the only threat: some people are simply deranged and up to no good. We should, thus, be able to stop not only Islamist terrorist attacks but also attempts by anyone, for any reason, to conduct lethal attacks of any sort. And, who knows, maybe by cracking down on people who show an inordinate interest in information and data regarding our infrastructure, we might be able to help counterintelligence efforts as well. Preventing Iran, Russia, China, or any of the host of our enemies from getting intelligence will help The Republic.

Well, in my case, I do not think this is a problem of ethnicity nor do I consider this an ethnic problem. It’s an IDEOLOGICAL one: it’s based on an ideology that wants to rule the world, using a religion. I’m not going to discuss now if this is the religion in itself or it’s being used, but clearly not all Muslims are terrorists or want to rule the world. The problem, as I have said before, is that if the extremers are supported -as it’s happening in most of the West-, the people who are not, do not feel supported at all, in the end, that’s going to cause a surge in support for extremism in both sides.

And when I say Westerners are supporting several madnesses/extremisms, it’s because it’s true:

Academia’s fixation on cultural sensitivity is changing the debate around female genital mutilation, with a growing number of professors and women’s rights activists becoming hesitant to condemn the practice.

Where feminists rallied against the operation from the pages of Ms. magazine in the 1970s, today’s critics are infinitely more cautious, with most suggesting that the Western world butt out until Muslim African communities are ready to reconsider what they are doing to their daughters.

The shift in attitudes about the practice– which in the worst of cases involves the carving out of a woman’s clitoris and inner labia and can cause lifelong urinary tract infections, sterility and even death — comes at a time when high-profile victims of the operation such as writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali and model Waris Dirie, both Somalis, have launched very public campaigns against the practice.

To know more about this practice, click here. It’s a shame someone cannot or doesn’t comdemn that practice.

A reward is offered in Greece to capture the culprits of the fires which were provoked and which had already killed at least 60 people.

Fire in the countryside and smoke surrounding Athens.

Statue of Victory at Olympia surrounded by smoke.

Map of the fires.

More about the Greek fires by Paolo. Impressive the NASA’s satellite image of the fire he has posted. Last news are that there are two possibilities: the first being it was caused by organised criminality, the second being it was international terrorism to influence in Greek elections, in which the center-right’s margin has been slightly reduced these last weeks. So a prosecutor on Monday ordered an investigation into whether arson attacks could come under Greece’s anti-terrorism and organized crime laws. (CNN).

An update about the fires: From Infidels are Cool, I reach this post from a Greek blogger:

There were at least a couple of instances where the ones trapped called the TV and radio stations, got on the air, said their final goodbyes to their families, and then were burned alive. While the stations were doing their best to send aid, the fact that the emergency reponses are streched so thin made rescue efforts near impossible.

My grandmother’s village was completely burned down. It was one of the worse hit and there is nothing that remains. The local authorities say that it’s completely erased off the map.

[…] There is a video of two men setting one of the fires. That is now fishy since we now know that the fires were started remotely via cell phone bombs.

More here by Pastorius.

How affects Jewish self-criticism to the actual view of International affairs:

I have dealt with the problem of hyper-Jewish self-criticism repeatedly in the past, including issues concerning the Alvin Rosenfeld Controversy. Among other things, I emphasized the role of a kind of “prophetic” criticism that uses high rhetorical excess to “whip” the Jews/Israelis into the right path. When combined with a desire to “please” fellow, non-Jewish progressives by showing how “non-tribal” one is, this produces a lethal combination, documented by Rosenfeld, that makes some Jews willing to confess to anything (racism, apartheid, Nazism, the illegitimacy of the State). They do this not only to urge their fellow Jews to mend their ways, but also to pursue a kind of “therapeutic” dialogue where, if they are sufficiently magnanimous in accepting blame, then maybe their enemies, say, the Palestinians, might also respond by being a bit more self-critical.

Hmm, yes, I understand this very well. And I mean it. Well, the result is just the opposite: whatever the Israelis do in this direction, is not going to grant them anything but even more problems.

Read it all: another great post from Richard Landes.

Private clinics are profiting from abortions in Spain:

In response to the refusal by gynecologists of the public health care system of Andalusia to perform abortions, a considerable number of women are being sent to private clinics that have agreed to collaborate with the Council for Health Care.

I wrote some months ago about a platform whose objective is to send Aznar to the International Criminal Court because of “his support to the illegal Iraqi war”. Another platform, called “Aznar for ICC” is preparing a “hot autumn“, as United Left’s MP from Andalucia’s Autonomous Community Antonio Romero has said. He added:

Neither Aznar, nor Bush nor Tony Blair can go away without punishment after causing an illegal and immoral war, which has produced the death to 700.000 Iraqis, the majority of which were civil, more than 2 million of people in exile, the complete destruction of the country’s infraestructures, of its historical and cultural heritage and the absolute looting of its natural resources, specially, of oil”.

For you to consider the personality of this man: he was condemned some years ago, because in a strike, he beat, insulted and menaced an old man, owner of a little cafeteria, and one of the clients because he did not want to go on strike. He shouted at both: “fascist, son of a bitch, asshole”, after yelling at them “you’re going to shut whether you like it or not, or you’re going to shut por cojones“. You know, a peaceful, respectful and calm guy… But the best is what he said: “I only wanted to defend their rights -whether they liked it or not-, telling him how marvellous it was to close all the shops for Andalucia’s rights“.

Gül has been elected Turkish President. Oh, my!!! 😦 He was elected in the third round as was predicted some weeks ago. The Turkish military has spoken: Secularism is under attack:

“Nefarious plans to ruin Turkey’s secular and democratic nature emerge in different forms everyday,” Buyukanit said in his statement. “The military will, just as it has so far, keep its determination to guard social, democratic and secular Turkey.”

Russian man detained in Afghanistan carrying 500 kilos of explosives and, in a rapture of manliness, wearing a burqa. His two other companions were also wearing a women’s clothes. If they like so much being a woman, why they do not change their sex? Yes, I think that, for these chavinist male … individuals, that would be a good punishment. Imagine Bin Laden … 😈 There was a joke here some years ago: the worst fate for Bin Laden would be to catch him -US SEALs could be employed for that-, transport him to a clinic, change his sex and then set him loose in Saudi Arabia. Je. With an inside camera to see his reaction: “Hey, I’m Bin Laden”.

Gordon Brown will not allow a referendum about the EU Constitution, after he promised to do so. He faces 120 Labour MPs who have rebeled against him, although David considers that Brown will not allow it, “as he knows he can lose it“.

Read also this post by Angel: A planned Ar-abic-themed public school in Brooklyn has prompted polarized reactions. Critics warned Monday that students could be “indoctrinated” with radical Is-lamic beliefs and supporters called such statements “racist.

Some weeks ago I discovered a very good blog called Modestly Yours, entirely written by women (where I discovered a book I would like to read…, when I have finished reading all I have to read now, but the title is promising: “Girls gone Mild. Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find that it’s not Bad to be Good“). Well, just read about the “Sexy Crazy Cancer” movie:

The film itself actually looks quite interesting. As described on her website, the idea for the documentary came about in 2003 after the “31-year-old actress/photographer…was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later she began filming her story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, Kris shares her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor.”

As the author says, I don’t know how the sexy thing fits in there.

There is another very good blog post called: “The War on Vulgarity“. Thank God, someone is saying this loudly. Looks like it’s better to be vulgar and really there is no need. There are people who consider that to be manly (I must be tough), to speak out better the truth (that is, to be more sincere) or just because it sounds much more direct. For me, that is only foul language… 😈

Lastly, after the scandal surrounding Sarkozy about his lack of fitness, look at this cartoon. 😆

Looks like Sarkozy is menacing Iran: Either Iran suspends the uranium enrichment or will be bombed! Well, this is unexpected… Will be continued!

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 And the result of Turkish elections is:

Turkey’s ruling AK Party won a resounding election victory on Sunday, giving the pro-business, Islamist-rooted party a mandate for reform but risking fresh tensions with the secular elite.

The result is a moral triumph for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who called early parliamentary polls after losing a battle with the establishment, including army generals, who did not want his ex-Islamist ally as head of state. With nearly all votes counted, his party won 47 percent, up some 13 points on 2002, but a more united opposition means it will get around 341 out of 550 seats, slightly fewer than now.

“This is the first time in 52 years that a party in power has increased its votes for a second term,” Erdogan told thousands of jubilant supporters outside his party’s plush new headquarters in the capital Ankara where fireworks lit the sky.

“We will continue to work with determination to achieve our European Union goal,” he said of strained efforts to join the bloc and anchor his country more firmly to the West. Only two other, secularist, parties crossed the 10 percent threshold into parliament — the nationalist-minded Republican People’s Party (CHP) on 21 percent and the far-right National Movement Party (MHP) on 14 percent.

Turkey’s ruling AKP wins vote – Yahoo! News

Business Week titles its article “Islamic pragmatists triumph in Turkey“:

It wasn’t just headscarf-clad women and devout moustached men who voted for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), as cliché would have it. Polling analysts said more than half its support came from people with a secular background who wanted Turkey to keep on reforming, to remain business-friendly and to continue to open itself up to Europe — goals shared by many religious voters as well. Erdogan’s AKP has done more in this regard than any of its predecessor governments, however secular.

I posted a link some weeks ago about the real agenda of Turkish moderate Islamists and Turkish entry on the EU. But EU leaders continue not to consider this: the EU has congratulated Erdogan about his triumph:

“It is essential that the new government will relaunch the legal and economic reforms with full determination and concrete results,” Mr Rehn (EU Enlargement Commissioner) said.

“We need to see concrete progress on such fundamental freedoms as the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion.”

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, also welcomed the victory, saying the vote came “at an important moment for the people of Turkey”.

The UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said it was very important for Europe to “reach out” to the new government.

“A stable and secure political situation in Turkey is massively in our interest and we will certainly want to be taking forward our links with this very important country,” he added.

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said everyone was interested in having a “modern, dynamic, successful Turkey as a partner”.

“We expect this government that has a good track record over the past years to continue with even more ambition,” she said.

More about Turkish situation here.

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Today there are elections in Turkey, after some months of a very difficult situation, including the conflict between the Islamists and the secularists.

The role of religion here will be a key issue at the ballot box, and so will Turkey’s relations with the outside world, our correspondent adds.

Nationalist sentiment is running high, fed by bitter disappointment with the EU. Renewed fighting with separatist Kurds and talk of an incursion into northern Iraq will also influence the result, she says.

And it is right: the role of religion will be one of the key issues in the election. Acording to Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey and of a political phylosophy called kemalism (from his own name: Kemal), the Turkish republic should be laic, and as a result, any Islamic symbol was to be considered against the republic.

But things are changing and now h/t JW:

For 84 years, modern Turkey has been defined by a holy trinity — the army, the republic and its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Each was linked inextricably to the others and all were beyond reproach.

But a deep transformation is under way in this nation of 73 million, and elections this Sunday may prove a watershed: liberal Turks, once supporters of the ruling secular elite and its main backer, the military, are turning their backs on them and pledging votes to religious politicians as well as a new array of independents.

They say that the rigid rules of the last century, which prohibit women from wearing Muslim head scarves in public buildings and forbid ethnic minorities to express their identities, need to be left behind.

Something to take into account is that this will be the first time when the elections to the Presidency will be held directly, not through Parliament. The Constitutional Tribunal accepted the reform, considered unconstitutional by both the Turkish President of the Republic and the opposition:

The move, a blow for the current president and the main opposition party, paves the way for Turkey to hold direct elections for the presidency.

Both the president and main opposition party had applied to the court to annul the reforms.

They had complained that the changes were adopted in haste and threatened the country’s stability.

The ruling AKP moved to introduce a direct presidential ballot to end the standoff caused when it tried to get its own candidate, Abdullah Gul, elected president through parliament.

For an approach to the change in the Turkish minds, read JW. An excerpt:

I can imagine the fury of a well-educated, secular Turk as he reads this article by the young Sabrina Tavernise. For it is so uncomprehending of Turkish history, and of all that it took to systematically constrain Islam so that the very possibility of some modicum of reasonableness, the very development of an educated secular class, the very class that Sabrina Tavernise and all other Westerners frequent and the only class with which they feel, quite rightly, fully comfortable, came about only because of Ataturk.

If Kemalism is on the ropes, it is not because the Kemalists have been too ruthless, but because they have not been nearly ruthless enough. They did not push, relentlessly, their program after the first few decades, and some of those who followed were content to pocket the benefits of Kemalism without systematically trying to change the minds of the masses — and the masses remained largely unaffected.

Since, in any society, the primitives will always and everywhere outweigh the others, it was important that those to whom, thanks to Kemalism, the freedom to think was granted, should never have taken those freedoms for granted. Now it may be too late. Make no mistake; there is a program by those who want more and more Islam. Its proponents are patient: look at the statements about waiting for the right moment by the sweet-reasonably sinister Mr. Gulen, waiting in his Washington-area exile, for the results of the election.

Jihad Watch: Fitzgerald: Turkey: Kemalism on the ropes

Il Corriere della Sera makes a very good summary of the situation:

ANKARA – Polls opened in Tirkey, where approx 42 millions have been called to vote to renew Parliament. The vote began at 7:00 a.m. (local time) in 32 provinces of the Oriental Anratolia. In the rest of the country, they have been opened one hour later. The party in the Government, the moderate Islamists of the Justice and Development party (Akp) can achieve an absolute majority in Parliament. The opposition is leadered by the Popular Republican Party (Chp) and the Party of the Nacionalist Movement (Mhp).
CAMPAIGN – The electoral campaign has been characterized by the confrontation between the laic establishment, which proclaims itself the heir of the Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the Islamist in the Government. The main opposition party has accused the Government’s President of being a menace to the lay character of modern Turkey, born from the disgregation of the Ottoman Empire. In the center of the political confrontation: the role of women in society: according to the critics of the Government, AKP is seeking to introduce laws according to the Islamic prescriptions.

There is another worrying thing to say about Turkey, related to the Turkish Government’s menace to invade Iraq to pursue the Kurdish terrorists of PKK. It seems Turkey has 140,000 soldiers along the border with Iraq, prompting fears of another incursion against Kurdish guerillas:

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari an ethnic Kurd himself, said his government was against any breach of Iraqi sovereignty.

He called for talks with Ankara to solve the issue.

Turkey accuses Kurdish separatists of staging attacks from inside Iraq. It has often warned Baghdad that it is prepared to take military action.

Turkey has not commented on the figure of 140,000 quoted by Mr Zebari. If the figure is accurate, Turkey would have nearly as many soldiers along its border with Iraq as the 155,000 troops which the US has in the country.

In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow said the US shared Turkey’s concerns but that it was “important, we think, to recognise the territorial sovereignty of Iraq”.

Mr Zebari said he understood Turkey’s “legitimate security concerns”, but said the best way to address them was by reviving the tripartite military and security commission, which involves Iraq, Turkey and the US.

I figure Turkey is wainting for the results of today’s elections. And after…

[About the Kurds, read this interesting post by Plateau. It is from an Iranian perspective but it’s interesting nevertheless].

Lastly, about the relationship between Turkey and the European Union, read here.

Oops, I forgot to link something: Is Turkey tolerant of non-Muslim religions?

The Turkish government has long failed to tackle deep-rooted discrimination against religious minorities – by refusing to guarantee their position in law or to crack down on intolerance from officials, the media and in school curricula. This has left religious minorities dangerously exposed, argues Otmar Oehring of the German Catholic charity Missio. For, as Dr Oehring observes in this personal commentary for Forum 18, hostility to religious minorities is stoked by widespread xenophobia. Following the brutal murder of three Protestants in Malatya in April, attacks on and threats against religious minorities have only increased. Official “protection” for religious minority leaders and places of worship seems designed as much to control as to protect them.

Looks like a not very good prospect to me.

Others blogging about this: Winds of Jihad.

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As I posted some weeks ago, there are reports that point out to a Turkish incursion into Iraq. Turkey has just denied it:

Turkey has denied reports that its troops have launched a major incursion into northern Iraq, targeting Kurdish militants. News agencies quoting unnamed Turkish security officials say there’s been a “limited cross-border” military operation. A US State Department spokesman urged Ankara to be cautious. An estimated 4,000 rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, are said to be hiding in Iraq. Turkey’s foreign minister Abdullah Gul described reports of a 50,000-strong invasion force “disinformation”. Meanwhile the new Frenc President, Nikolas Sarkozy plans to obstruct attempts by Turkey to join the European Union, saying the vast country does not belong in the bloc.

Turkey: “no incursion into Iraq”

But the incursion was first pointed out by Turkish officials:

Three Turkish security officials said troops crossed the border Wednesday. But they described the operation as just a “hot pursuit” raid that was limited in scope, and one said the soldiers left Iraqi territory by the end of the day.

The officials, all based in southeastern Turkey, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Turkish authorities rarely acknowledge such military operations against the PKK, but the army has conducted brief raids across the border in the past.

Despite the dispute over whether an incursion happened, the reports were likely to heighten anxieties over whether Turkey is planning a large-scale invasion. The last such operation was in 1997 and involved 50,000 soldiers.

Turkish leaders have said they are considering an offensive, and have sent more troops and equipment to the frontier. But they hope the U.S. and Iraqi Kurds will stage their own crackdown on the separatists, who raid southeast Turkey after resting, training and resupplying in Iraq.

For a fair reasoning, read The Moor Next Door on this matter h/t The Belmont Club:

All this Kurdish fuddleduddle seems to me to be at the same time dangerous and insincere. Dangerous because it damages the stability of our allies (i.e. Turkey) and other already unstable states (i.e. Syria). Insincere because the United States is not a revolutionary power; it is a status quo power and only half supports revolutionary movements, and generally tries to preserve regional boundaries. The Kurds will not find a Kurdistan in America. They will find themselves offered up as tools for destabilizing Iran and then abandoned (as they were against Iraq in the 1970’s; and without remorse by the American Congress) to be locked up, butchered or worse. I call it fuddleduddle because I see no long term benefit to allowing the Kurds to let their friends blow themselves up in Turkish cities. The Kurdish region of Iraq is beneficial in the short term, but if it persists in being a launch pad for PKK attacks, I am forced to ask who is the more valuable ally, the Turks or the Kurds? In this respect, I see that the Iraqi Kurds express no concern for the national interests of their neighbors (even as those neighbors are the allies of their patrons), or of their supposed country men (the Arabs of Iraq to their south, for whom Kurds interviewed consistently express a mixture of contempt and indifference). What kind of ally can a Kurdistan really be?

Also from the above post from The Belmont Club:

There are rumors Turkey has made an armed incursion into Kurdistan and the news is well covered by Pajamas Media. Iraq’s neighbors do not seem to treat it as a state. The Syrians, Iranians and now the Turks feel free to cross its borders and attack it’s nominally sovereign territory with impunity; to attack Kurdish guerilla bases, snatch British sailors or attack American troops according to preference.

Ironically, neither Iraqi, British nor American troops are on any account allowed to cross the border the other way. No sir. That would constitute a breach of international law. That frustration with the limitations of international law or rules of engagement limiting counterinsurgency inevitably tempt commanders to indulge instead in war by proxy. And there we are with ethnic instability again.

This creates a situation pregnant with danger. Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia are precisely the countries which diplomats hope will guarantee Iraq’s internal peace and security once America withdraws. But in absence of an exteranal guarantor, the nonexistence of a de facto Iraqi state will mean every part of its carcass will be up for grabs. If news of the Turkish incursion are true, the buzzards are already taking their first tentative pecks.

It is true that PKK is considered as a terrorist group even by USA. The problem here is that both Kurds [which does not mean every Kurd is a PKK admirer] and Turks are US allies. Which of them will US back? If they back the Kurds, they can lose Turk support in a more than delicate moment. And if they back the Turks, the Kurdish support can vanish into thin air, something also very delicate, considering that they are US coalition main allies throughout Iraq. And that Kurdish support can also be very important inside Iran, as there is also an important Kurdish community there, that is basically anti-Mullah and admirers of PKK.

Both solutions are not good, in fact they can be very wrong.

You can also read A Blog for All, Noisy Room.Net, Epaminondas, Outside the Beltway,.

UPDATED: Al-Qaeda Threat to Kurdish Converts:

“We are hunting those who have converted to Christianity or Zoroastrianism as we consider them renegades and God’s punishment must be implemented by killing them,” the Islamist terrorist group said in a statement released on the internet on April 22.

Related with Turkey: Sarkozy will not block Turkish accession to EU talks. Hmm, wasn’t Sarko the one who opposed so fiercely during electoral campaign to it? Yes, and that’s why Gallia Watch critisizes him, among other subjects, like EU constitution.

Also the Orthodox Patriarc Bartholomew I wants Turkey’s Christians to share the same rights as Muslims both in that country and in all Europe h/t Custos Fidei.

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From Beitbart:

Turkey’s highest court halted a parliamentary vote Tuesday that looked certain to lead to a president rooted in political Islam, a victory for secularists who fear the country is moving toward Islamic rule that would undermine their Western way of life.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by calling for a constitutional amendment to allow the president to be elected by popular vote, rather than by the parliament. And he said new parliamentary elections could be held as early as June 24, instead of in November as scheduled.

The goal would be to elect a government with a fresh mandate and resolve a crisis that has seen the stock market plummet and the pro- secular military threaten to intervene.

“God willing, Turkey will go back to its track,” Erdogan told reporters late Tuesday, referring to the economic and political stability that Turkey had enjoyed in recent years.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the ruling Islamist party’s presidential candidate, said he would not withdraw his candidacy despite Tuesday’s setback from the Constitutional Court, a strongly secular body, and urged parliamentary elections “as soon as possible.”

“What we need to cast off and get rid of these shadows is early elections,” Gul said.

International press continues with the dangers a military coup will produce to Turkey (not considering that Turkey has had 3 in the last 5o years and it has remained a secular democracy, whereas if the Army would not have intervened, it would probably be another Islamist state…): Der Spiegel Online, The Guardian.

The ruling of the High Tribunal has not been pleasant for Erdogan, who has condemned the ruling because it divides the people and was like “firing a bullet to democracy“. Then he backed down saying his remarks were not for the court, but against Deniz Baykal, the chief of the opposition who had called for the annullment of the vote.

So Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan proposed on Wednesday holding an early parliamentary election on June 24 to end a standoff between his Islamist-rooted government and the secular elite over Turkey’s political direction.

The question some people now are asking is “Will Turkey return to Islamic fundamentalism?”. Avi Green in The Astute Bloggers:

True, Gul has promised to maintain the state’s values of secularism and democracy, as well as to keep up Turkey’s good relations with the United States and Israel, and its pursuit of membership in the European Union. But some of his past actions worry secularists, including Gul’s meeting with Hamas leader Khalad Mashaal at the Justice and Development Party headquarters in Ankara in 2006. And Erdogan advocated a law to make adultery a crime, in 2004.

As a result, many secularists, including the chief of staff, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, argue that Gul and Erdogan are merely paying lip service to secularism. They vividly recall Erdogan saying before he was premier, “Thank God, I am a servant of the Shari’a,” or Islamic law, and, “We will turn all our schools” into Islamic ones.

Sounds not very good. More of his statements:

“I am the imam of Istanbul.”—Hürriyet, Jan. 8, 1995
“The police operations against the turban are comical.”—Sabah, May 5, 1995
“I support the proposal to inaugurate the parliament by reciting the Qu’ran.”—Milliyet, Jan. 8, 1996.
“I am against the [Western] New Year’s celebrations.”—Sabah, Dec. 19, 1994
“Alcohol should be banned.”—Hürriyet, May 1, 1996
“Swimsuit commercials are lustful exploitations.”— Hürriyet, Mar. 6, 1996

He also do not like Ataturk very much…

Also US Ambassador to Turkey, Mr Abramovitz, says in an interview (h/t Free Republic):

Q: I was reading an interesting article today on the Internet. Gul’s wife wears a headdress. They have a daughter who goes to college. And the daughter, when she’s at home, wears a headdress. But when she’s in school, she wears a wig, the article said.
A: The Islamic headgear is verboten in public institutions. If you want to attend a university, participate in class, you can’t legitimately wear a headscarf. They will deny you the ability to participate.
Q: But a wig is okay?
A: A wig is okay.
Q: A headdress can be a big issue.
A: The headdress is a symbol of a reversion to the pre-Ataturk period. That’s in large part what it is.
Q:You mean under the Ottoman Empire. . .
A: There was the fez and all those sorts of accoutrements of the time when the Ottoman Empire was a religious state. The headdress is viewed as an anti-Ataturk symbol and a political statement, not just an individual wanting to wear a headdress. It is a political statement that they are seeking to change the nature of the Turkish political entity.

The importance of the new President will be great, not only for Turkey but also for the rest:

President Sezer has been seen as a counterweight to Erdogan, using his veto power to stop controversial laws from being enacted. But with Sezer out of office, Erdogan as president, and an Erdogan appointee as prime minister, Turks suspect that Ankara will begin drifting farther from Europe and nearer to Tehran. In fact, the shift has already begun. As Turkish artist Bedri Baykam recently told the BBC, “This government is trying to change every law little by little. It’s as though we were trying to join the Iranian Union, not the EU.”

In fact, after the murder of a judge by a youth -who also hurt others- shouting “I’m Allah’s soldier”, suspicion arose about the real intentions of Erdogan’s party. Some journalists wondered about a “seldon Plan” to convert the secular democracy into other thing… on May 2006: the relations with Iranian Ahmadinejad, a somewhat critical relationship with US, etc. lead people to think that the Turkish rulers were anxious to change Turkey.

We will see what the future brings…

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One of the most lucid and to-the-point writers is Mark Steyn. He has a web page called Steyn-on-Line where all of his articles can be read. This is what he writes about Turkey:

For a year or more now, there’s been a steady drip of “Who lost Turkey?” stories. The modern secular Muslim state – a country that gave women the vote before Britain did and was Israel’s best friend in an otherwise hostile region – certainly, that Turkey seems to be being de-boned by the hour: it now has an Islamist government whose Prime Minister has canceled trade deals with Israel, denounced the Iraqi elections, and frosted out the US Ambassador because he was Jewish; a new edition of Mein Kampf is prominently displayed at the airport bookstore. In other words, the Zionist Entity’s best pal is starting to look like just another cookie-cutter death-to-the-Great-Satan stan-of-the-month.
But among all the lamentations only Michel Gurfinkiel’s recent analysis in commentary got to the underlying reality: Since the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire, there have been two Turkeys: the Turks of Rumelia, or European Turkey,
and the Turks of Anatolia, or Asia Minor. Kemal Ataturk was from Rumelia and so
were most of his supporters, and they imposed the modern Turkish Republic on a
somewhat relunctant Anatolia, where Ataturk’s distinction between the state and
Islam was never accepted. In its 80-year history, the population has increased from 14 million in 1923 to 70 million today, but the vast bulk of that population growth has come from Anatolia, whose population has migrated from the rural hinterland to overwhelm the once solidly Kemalist cities. Ataturk’s modern secular Turkey has simply been outbred by fiercely Islamic Turkey. That’s a lesson in demography from an all-Muslim sample: no pasty white blokes were involved. So the fact that Muslim fertility is declining in Tunisia is no consolation: all that will do, as in Turkey, is remove moderate Muslims from the equation too early in the game.

Brief and to the point…

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Some days ago 3 Christians were killed after being tortured in the central city of Malatya:

The three victims — a German and two Turkish citizens — were found with their hands and legs bound and their throats slit at the Zirve publishing house in the central city of Malatya.
Police detained four youths, aged 19-20, and also suspect a fifth, who underwent surgery for head injuries sustained apparently in trying to escape by jumping from a window at Zirve, authorities said.
The five suspects had each had been carrying copies of a letter that read “We five are brothers. “We are going to our deaths. We may not return,” according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

[…] In February 2006, a Turkish teenager shot a Catholic priest dead as he prayed in his church, and two other Catholic priests were attacked later that year. A November visit by Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by several nonviolent protests. Earlier this year, a suspected nationalist killed Armenian Christian editor Hrant Dink.

[…] The manner in which the victims were bound suggested the attack could have been the work of a local Islamic militant group, commentators said, and CNN-Turk television reported that police were investigating the possible involvement of Turkish Hezbollah — a Kurdish Islamic organization that aims to form a Muslim state in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Turkish Hezbollah — which has been known to “hog-tie” its victims while torturing them — takes its name from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, but has no formal links to it. Turkish authorities recently said they were witnessing an increase in the group’s activities.

The Middle East Times [h/t The Belmont Club] reported about the torture inflicted on the victims:

“He had scores of knife cuts on his thighs, his testicles, his rectum, and his back,” Ugras said. “His fingers were sliced to the bone. “It is obvious that these wounds had been inflicted to torture him,” he said.

[…] The abuse lasted for three hours as the five men detained at the crime scene interrogated the three on their missionary activities, they said.

But there is another thing to worry about h/t NoisyRoom.Net:

Even though both Turks who died on Wednesday had abandoned Islam and converted to Christianity, Ugur Yuksel was buried as a Muslim.

More in Kattolikko Pensiero.

The Turkish PM Erdogan considered this “a brutality“. But the fact that he have elected his friend Abdullah Gül to substitute him (Erdogan is retiring from active politics) has caused a terrible political storm.

Gül is what MSM call a moderate Muslim. His wife wears the veil -she could not study at University because of that- and his daughter wears a wig instead of hijab, not to show her hair attending the Unversity classes. [In the Atatürk founded state, based on modern secularism, women who wear hijabs are forbidden to attend any official/public gathering/office.

Lots of Turks began demonstrating against the naming of Gül h/t C&R. The Jawa Report has a video in this post.

The Turkish Army, guardian of the secularism, spoke to warn against any movements that would make secularism disappear from Turkey. The Government told the Army that the military chief answers to the Prime Minister

And the EU “warned Turkish Army over vote“:

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the controversy was a test case for
the military to respect democracy.

So it is true that they are seeing it better an moderate Islamist Turkey than a military held secular Government. I wonder what they would say if any Catholic country would be in the same position…

At the same time,I think they are searching for a reason not to admit Turkey in EU. I mean, if Turkey would be a real stable secularist country with no kind of influence from Islamists, EU would have it really tough not to admit them. But as it is, there are great majorities both in Germany and France -here it would really depends on who wins the Presidential election, as Ségoléne has announced she would support Turkey’s admittance into the EU- that do not like Turks in the EU. If a coup happens or Islamist influence grows, it is going to be plainly difficult… to tell them EU admits them… [remember Gül was the one who said that, if Turkey wasn’t admitted, the EU would be considered as “a Christian club”?]

More about this at Town Commons who points out that ten years ago, the Army ousted Islamist premier Necmettin Erbakan’s government, in which Gul also served, with strong public backing and without tanks on the streets, something which forgets to tell the Economist when writing about Gül. He also comments about this:

I am unsure how to feel about the EU’s warning. On one hand, it is comic for being utterly meaningless. There is no military threat behind it, and it is pretty clear that the EU will not forgo a single euro in trade over it. On the other hand, it is rather ironic for being issued in protection of Islamists. If Gates of Vienna’s compelling arguments on Islamicization in Europe and its likely course are accurate, this continued EU willingness to do business with and support Islamists may be biting them sooner rather then later.

More about demonstrations against Islamism in Turkey from Gateway Pundit. Jim has posted a lot of photos, like the one on the right.

Newsbusters also wrote about this: How will media Report Massive Turkish Protests Against Islamic-Rooted Government? h/t Custos Fidei.

More about the demonstrations in NYT, Deutsche Welle.

It’s curious that International MSM pictures these huge demonstration (1 million according to Turkish TV) as “elite” demonstrations… and that the demonstrations are considering the Islamists as inferior human beings.

Turkish political tensions hit currency ahead of court ruling.

Tulay Tugcu, president of the Constitutional Court, said she hoped for a ruling on Friday’s contested first-round vote before the second round is held on Wednesday.
If the court’s 11 judges rule in favor of the plaintiff, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the election will be annulled and early elections will be called in 45 to 90 days.
The CHP based its complaint on a technicality, saying the 550-member parliament should have had a quorum of 367 to open the session for a presidential election — the number of votes required for a candidate to be elected in the first round.

Other news about Turkey:

  • Turkey warned Canada US against using term genocide regarding Armenians. Canadian Prime Minister Harper was warned through diplomatic channels last week that “repeating these claims annually will not help in normalizing Turkey-Armenia relations and will harm Turkish-Canadian bilateral relations as well.” “We hope that the Canadian PM will not repeat this year what he did last year,” a high-level Foreign Ministry official said, the Turkish Daily News reports. [To read more about Armenian genocide, go over to Fausta’s blog].
  • Turkish Islamists in Germany h/t Jihadi du Jour: Welt am Sonntag: What do you think about the influence of Islam on the western world? Notker Wolf: There are certainly some groups that have set the islamization of Europe as their goal. I think that in itself is a serious thing. In Germany the Turkish association Ditib recently demanded that the «Word on Friday» be broadcast on public television. I only wonder: How can it be that these people demand all rights in Germany for themselves, while at the same time Christians are seriously discriminated in Turkey? Why are we, Christians, not allowed a theological faculty in Turkey? Why are we not allowed to have any church property there? Meanwhile, the mayor of Munich even breaks building regulations to approve a mosque, just to win the votes of the Turks. That is unbelievable! Tolerance is good, but it doesn’t mean we should surrender.
  • Turkey’s stocks, currency tumble on election fears (also on BBC, BBC) : The ISE National 100 index dropped 5.7% to 44,208.58, with Turkcell losing 2%, Finansbank down 1.7% and Alcatel Teletas losing 5.8%. The dollar gained as much as 4%, and climbed 2.7% to 1.3640 lira in morning trading.
    The staunchly secular military, which has led three coups since 1960, is upset that the leading presidential candidate, Abdullah Gul, has an Islamist past. In a statement made Friday evening, the military said it would act to defend secularism.
    Serhan Cevik, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, called the military’s statement “harsh” and “unexpected.”
    “Even though reasons behind this blunt declaration are open to debate, there is no doubt that even ‘post-modern’ statements undermine institutional reforms to demilitarize the political landscape and thereby Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union,” Cevik said in a note to clients.

Others blogging about this: Desde el Exilio.

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The Turkish Army Chief General Yasar Büyükanit has announced that it is necessary -militarily speaking- for Turkey, to enter Iraqi land to search for Kurdish rebels. Of course, he has added that he is waiting for political authorization. The reason of this “precaution” is that, as he added, the Americans were not going to like it. Of course, EU has ordered Turkey some restraint and has praised Turkey of being a constructive role in the area.



But they are not inactive: they are clearing the frontier of landmines, just in case…



The problem is that the situation in Iraq is already very complicated, being the Kurds the more pacific of all.



Mr Bürüyant has asked USA to stop the Iraqi Kurds helping the Turkish Kurds.



Turkey’s army chief General Yasar Büyükanit has called for a military incursion into neighbouring northern Iraq to hunt down Turkish Kurd rebels. He said the move would require parliamentary authorisation, but stressed that the armed forces are prepared for the mission. He also referred to intelligence indicating that rebels plan a fresh offensive in May. Turkey has accused Iraqi Kurds of tolerating and backing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has waged an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey’s southeast since 1984. About 37,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

EU Urges Restraint Over Turkish Talk of Kurdish Crackdown | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 13.04.2007

The European Commission urged Turkey on Friday to play a “constructive” role in Iraq a day after Turkey’s army chief called for a military incursion into northern Iraq to hunt Turkish Kurd rebels. “The stability of Iraq is in our common interest,” Commission spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy told reporters in Brussels. “The EU recognizes the constructive role Turkey plays in the area and in this context it is important that Turkey continues to play such a positive role,” she added. “The EU is following the situation in the region very closely,” said Nagy. “Our hope and the interest of all involved is that possible differences are dealt with in a peaceful and constructive manner.”

Turkish General Threatens To Attack Kurdish Rebels In Iraq

Yasar Buyukanit, the head of the Turkish military’s General Staff, said a political decision was needed before any such cross-border operation could be made. “Do we need to have an operation into northern Iraq? There are two aspects to this issue,” he said. “First, from a military point of view, an operation in northern Iraq must be made. Will there be any benefits? Yes there will be. The second aspect is political. To make an operation beyond our borders, there must be a political decision.”

Escalation | The Moderate Voice

Cernig comments that this will put the U.S. in an incredibly difficult position: the U.S. cannot afford to lose the support of the Kurds, but it also cannot oppose NATO ally Turkey.


NoisyRoom.net » Blog Archive » Turkish forces drive into northern Iraq to destroy Kurdish PKK rebel bases in Iraqi Kurdistan

They crossed at several points – 20 km deep to target PKK camps east of Zaho and 30-40 kms up to the rural areas of Haftanin, Sinaht and Pirbela provinces. The Turkish army is also clearing landmines that could impede its cross-border offensive against rebel Kurdish camps.

Turkish general pushes for cross-border incursion into Iraq – International Herald Tribune

Turkey is aware of the consequences a military incursion into Iraq could have.

There is no way that our American friends would welcome such a move by Turkey. The idea is to persuade the Americans to address the problem more urgently than they have been,” said Ilter Turan, a political analyst at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. “I think people are frustrated that the Americans have been reluctant to do much about northern Iraq and many Turks hold the Americans responsible for what has happened (there).”

In Washington, the State Department said Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried had expressed U.S. concerns directly to Turkish authorities.

“The way we suggest it be dealt with is to have the Iraqis and Turkish governments working together to try to eliminate this threat,” spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, adding that “the focus should be on trying to resolve this in a cooperative way, in a joint way, rather than to resort to unilateral actions.”

Eye On The World: UN Genocide Exhibit Postponed Over Turkish Objection to Armenian Reference

A U.N. exhibition on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, scheduled to open Monday, has been postponed because of Turkish objections to a reference to the murders of a million Armenians in Turkey during World War I. James Smith, chief executive of the British-based Aegis Trust which works to prevent genocide and helped organize the photo exhibition, said the U.N. Department of Public Information approved the contents and it was put up on Thursday. After a Turkish diplomat complained about the reference to the Armenian murders, he said, Armenia’s U.N. Ambassador Armen Martirosyan went to see the new Undersecretary for Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka and they agreed to remove the words “in Turkey.”

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El Jefe del Estado Mayor Turco ha señalado que Turquía necesita invadir Iraq para impedir a los kurdos iraquíes ayudar a los kurdos turcos que continuamente pasan la frontera para, según Turquía, realizar atentados. Yasar Büyükanit ha señalado que es necesario militarmente para Turquía, pero que quiere tener el visto bueno político de su gobierno. Ha añadido que esta decisión no va a gustar mucho a “nuestros amigos americanos“.



El problema es que de todos los grupos de Iraq, el más pacífico es el kurdo, que además son también fieles aliados de EEUU. Así que Büyükanit ha pedido a USA que se haga cargo de esta cuestión.




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FT.com / World / Europe

Turkey’s largest internet services provider shut down access to the YouTube video-sharing web site on Wednesday after a court ruling that some of its content insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. The decision followed days of furious insult-sharing among Turkish and Greek users of the popular and controversial site.



The result was a flood of complaints to the site and to the media from Turkish users angered by what one newspaper said were “fanatic Greeks broadcasting videos” insulting Ataturk. Turk Telekom acted first by removing the offending items, but a court ordered access to the site to be blocked late on Tuesday after prosecutors brought a case against YouTube.



A message posted on the site late on Wednesday said access had been suspended following a decision by an Istanbul court. One video posted on the site allegedly claimed that Ataturk and Turks were “homosexuals”. Ataturk, who died in 1938, is a revered figure in Turkey and it is a crime to “insult” him or state institutions. Many writers, including the Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk, have faced trial for work that allegedly breaches this law.


Turkish court orders YouTube blocked – Yahoo! News

The video prompting the ban allegedly said Ataturk and the Turkish people were homosexuals, news reports said. The CNN-Turk Web site featured a link allowing Turks to complain directly to YouTube about the “insult.”



On its front page on Wednesday, the newspaper Hurriyet said thousands of people had written YouTube and that the Ataturk videos had been removed from the site. “YouTube got the message,” the headline said. Insulting Ataturk or “Turkishness” is a crime in Turkey punishable by prison.

So someone in a video insults Turks and a whole site of internet is shut?? Wouldn’t it be sufficient to remove it?

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Un juzgado turco ha ordenado el acceso a YouTube después de que durante la semana pasada hubiera una “guerra” entre griegos y turcos en el sitio de internet. El cierre se ha realizado en base al mismo artículo por el que se condenó al famoso escritor Orhan Pamuk.



Al parecer, en uno de los vídeos se decía que Ataturk y los turcos eran homosexuales. La CNN de Turquía puso a disposición de sus usuarios la posibilidad de mandar una queja a YouTube. Así que mucha gente escribió a Google quejándose.



Me parece una decisión totalmente injustificada. Incluso si consideramos que el vídeo era insultante -que lo era…-, no me parece normal que impidan el acceso a TODO un portal sólo porque hay UN vídeo (o VARIOS) que sean insultantes.



Incluso quitar el vídeo me parece un poco excesivo…, teniendo en cuenta lo mal que se llevan griegos y turcos.




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If some months ago I wrote about Gadaffi wanting compensation to stop immigrants coming from Europe, today Gadaffi wants compensation for Lybia being non-nuclear:

Col Gaddafi says the West has not properly compensated his country because it has failed to transform its nuclear weapons programme into nuclear power.

Speaking to BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins, Col Gaddafi said this meant the West had lost bargaining power with countries like Iran and North Korea.

“This should be a model to be followed, but Libya is disappointed because the promises given by America and Britain were not fulfilled,” he said.

“And therefore those countries said ‘we are not going to follow Libya’s example because Libya abolished its programme without any compensation’.”

Mr Gaddafi said that the US and Britain had a duty to help Libya develop civilian nuclear power plants.

“They said if you abolish your war programme we will help you to develop your nuclear abilities into peaceful ones. This has not happened.”

Our correspondent says the Libyan leader may have been bargaining for foreign investment, but a return to hostility does not seem to be on the cards.

Ejem….

But ¿is North Korea disarming itself or not? Ehhh, well, we don’t know. What we know is that they are going to began receiving the benefits for their disarmament. The United States, for one, has trashed its previously assertive position with the north and is now considering early provision of fuel aid. The south, meanwhile, will eventually be resuming rice and fertilizer aid as soon as the deadline for disarmament passes. I am sure the aid is not going to reach the needy -in Russian- (thanks to military photos -in English-).

And Iran wants Russia, China and … Turkey to help them because they are hoping US will just leave them to have their bombs.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has been authorized by the Teheran regime to form a series of alliances that would neutralize any new sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Mottaki’s focus has been Iran’s neighbor Turkey, led by an Islamic government that has become increasingly anti-American.

Mottaki (Iranian FM) with lovable and loyal Erdogan

Mottaki wants to form strategic ties with Turkey based on Teheran’s huge crude oil and natural gas reserves. Borrowing a leaf from the book of Iraq’s late Saddam Hussein, Mottaki has offered Ankara a deal: energy for illicit trade that would bolster Teheran’s military and strategic programs.
Last week Mottaki outlined Iran’s offer in talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara. The foreign minister was blunt. Teheran would immediately increase trade from the current $6.7 billion by another $10 billion through the sale of Iranian energy to Turkey.

Hmm, yes, that convinces me more to deny Turkey entry in the EU.

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Gadaffi pidió hace unos meses a Europa 10.000 millones de euros anuales para África, considerándolo la única manera de que se pudiera parar la inmigración masiva. Ahora ha dicho a la BBC que Libia no fue compensada lo suficiente por dejar su programa nuclear y que esto es lo que hace rechazar las propuestas de desarme a Corea del Norte y a Irán.

Ehhh, pero ¿no habíamos quedado que Corea del Norte se estaba desarmando? Lo del desarme no está claro, pero ya se sabe que USA Y Corea del Sur van a empezar a pagar por el desarme nuclear norcoreano. USA está pensando (ya) enviar una ayuda de combustible y Corea del Norte pronto mandará arroz y ayuda en fertilizantes. Estoy segura que no a la población no le llegará esa ayuda.

Pero, sin duda, lo peor es que Irán está intentando que TURQUÍA le ayude como Siria apoyó a Sadam. Si lo hace, Teherán le ha prometido a través de su Ministro de Exteriores Mottaki, un inmediato aumento del comercio mutuo de 6.7 billones de dólares al año a 10 billones por la venta de energía iranía a Turquía para que la venda al resto de Europa.

En cuanto a la relación Irán-Arabia Saudí, era algo cantado desde que visitó Arabia Saudí Ali Larijani y después el Príncipe Saudí Bandar al Sultan fue de visita oficial a Irán.


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