TURKEY BLOCKS NATO SHIPS FROM ENTERING ITS TERRITORIAL WATERS
16:15, 2 March, 2016
YEREVAN, MARCH 2, ARMENPRESS. Turkey blocked NATO ships from
patrolling its territorial waters in Aegean sea in order to intercept
people-smuggler boats carrying refugees to the Greek islands, from
where the refugees take different directions, "Armenpress" reports
citing "France Presse".
A number of diplomatic sources in Brussels have confirmed the
information for the agency.
It has been previously agreed that NATO warships would be patrolling
Aegean waters between Greece and Turkey in an effort to deter human
traffickers from carrying refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece
on their way to northern Europe.
NATO warships located in the Aegean under German command are to
monitor the movements of smugglers. However, according to an AFP
report citing diplomatic sources from Brussels, Ankara said "no"
to the demands of the German command of the NATO naval mission. This
claim was confirmed by a second diplomat.
Erdogan Orders Schools to Teach Muslim Discovery of Americas ?
Posted 03 March 2016 - 09:32 AM
TURKEY BLOCKS NATO SHIPS FROM ENTERING ITS TERRITORIAL WATERS
Posted 03 March 2016 - 09:37 AM
THE PRIME MINISTER'S POISONOUS POPULISM
Today's Zaman (Turkey)
March 1, 2016 Tuesday
What was Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu thinking when he
spoke at a meeting with NGOs last Saturday in the Kurdish-majority
As was to be expected, the leader of the ruling party first reminded
his audience of the many achievements of the Justice and Development
Party (AKP) in improving the situation of Kurds living in Turkey. But
then he switched to extremely incendiary rhetoric, insulting Armenians
and threatening Kurds. Using the undefined word they, Davutoglu said:
They are taking advantage of the situation in Sur and Silopi. Like
Armenian gangs, they are collaborating with Russia. They are opening
diplomatic missions in Moscow. Who has turned the region into an
arms depot? Who placed snipers there? Who is tricking young children
and taking them to their deaths? Ã~BÂ¦ You saw what happened in
Aleppo. This is what they want to do to our cities Ã~BÂ¦ They are
going to do this and we, the government that you voted for, is going
to just watch; would you accept this?
I am afraid that after years of offensive language against Armenians
and Kurds used time and again in public discourse, most Turks have
become insensitive to this kind of vulgar populism -- accusing someone
one disagrees with of being of Armenian descent or grossly insulting
all Kurds when one is furious about the Kurdistan Workers' Party
(PKK). Still, this is different and for several reasons, Davutoglu's
speech in Bingol should not go by unnoticed or uncommented.
First, this was not said by a hot-heated person in the middle
of a private discussion. These are the words of one of Turkey's
leading politicians, carefully drafted in advance and spoken in
public. They were expressed by the man who only one year ago on the
eighth anniversary of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant
Dink and in the run-up to the centenary of the Armenian genocide,
stated that Turkey wants to share the pain of the Armenians, wants to
heal the wounds and establish friendship: Our course is set towards
a horizon of friendship and peace.
It is hard to believe in the sincerity of those words when, one year
later, the same person refers to the infamous Armenian gangs from 1915
to intimidate and frighten the Kurdish citizens of Turkey. Davutoglu
knows very well that the fact that some Armenians in 1915 took up arms
against the Ottoman authorities and collaborated with the Russians
was used as an excuse by the Young Turks to set in motion a murderous
campaign against all Armenians on Ottoman lands. We are all informed
about the end result: the death of approximately 1 million Armenians.
The prime minister's reference to Armenian gangs not only repeats a
key element of the standard policy of denial by the Turkish state when
it comes to the Armenian genocide but it opens up all the old wounds
among the Armenian community in and outside Turkey. On top of that --
which brings me to the second reason why this is such a despicable
comparison -- it is also a thinly veiled threat to the Kurds that
they could face the same fate.
In order to achieve the maximum menacing effect, Davutoglu deliberately
put all Kurdish groups and parties in the same basket. It was the
Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that opened an office in
Moscow, not the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). It is the PKK and
Kurdish youngsters affiliated with it that are engaged in terrorist
activities, not the HDP. Davutoglu's speech in Bingol was, of course,
not the first example of the AKP's well-calculated strategy of not
drawing a distinction between Turkish and Syrian Kurds or between
elected Kurdish politicians and armed Kurdish militants. What makes
it an extremely worrying incident is the link with the Armenian
genocide. In 1915, the violent resistance of some Armenians was used to
legitimize the expulsion and massacre of all Armenians. What Davutoglu
basically implied last Saturday is that the same could happen to the
Kurds: Because a tiny minority of Kurds in Turkey is using terrorist
methods, the Turkish state has every right to target all Kurds.
This kind of poisonous populism is not befitting for an
academician-turned-politician who should realize that his Bingol
rhetoric is both disgraceful and counter-productive; it terrifies
a substantial part of the Turkish population and only deepens the
divisions in the country he is supposed to unite.
Posted 03 March 2016 - 10:19 AM
ARMENIA MFA: NOT MUCH CHANGED IN TURKEY RULING ELITE IN 100 YEARS
YEREVAN. - Not much has changed in Turkey's ruling elite, over the
course of the past one hundred years.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Thursday stated the
aforesaid, at his talk with the academic council members and students
at Yerevan State University.
To the query on his assessment regarding Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu's recent statement that the Kurds are collaborating with
Russia, just like the Armenian "gangs" had done in the past, thus
justifying Turkey's current actions against the Kurds, Nalbandian
responded: "Official Ankara publicly declares that, in fact,
the genocide committed against Armenians had been intentional and
planned, on the grounds that the Armenians were collaborating with
In his words, the history of crimes against humanity has numerous
things in common.
"One of them is discrediting the victim, labeling him as treacherous
and unworthy," the Armenian FM added. "The persecutions, the
murders against them are justified in the sick imagination of the
Posted 04 March 2016 - 10:01 AM
ARMENIAN MEMBER OF TURKISH PARLIAMENT SLAMS DAVUTOGLU'S ANTI-ARMENIAN ANNOUNCEMENT
16:12, 3 March, 2016
YEREVAN, MARCH 3, ARMENPRESS. The latest racist announcement made
by Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu has become subject
for broad discussions. Garo Paylan, Armenian member of the Turkish
parliament from Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) severely
criticized the Prime Minister during the discussion of the budgets of
the ministries of Interior, Health, Culture and Tourism. "Armenpress"
reports the Turkish Demokrathaber.net informed about this.
Paylan showed a photo reading "Armenian dregs". "Unfortunately,
it is not only the security forces that do this", he mentioned. The
MP reminded Davutoglu's anti-Armenian announcement, where the Prime
Minister, criticizing the HDP, had said, "Armenians seek to cooperate
with the Russians like gangs. Today Turks cooperate with the "Islamic
State" and if I say Turkish gangs, it will be a racist announcement.
Mr. Prime Minister openly made a racist announcement", Paylan
In respond to Paylan's statement, head of the ruling "Justice and
Development" party faction Naci BostancÄ± stood for Davutoglu saying
that in "in fact Paylan himself makes a hate speech"
Posted 04 March 2016 - 10:05 AM
Today's Zaman, Turkey
March 3 2016
March 03, 2016, Thursday/ 18:16:00/ GUNAL KURÅ~^UN
Garo Paylan, a member of Parliament of Armenian descent who belongs
to the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), gave a speech and showed some
photos in the Turkish general assembly on Thursday.
The photos showed some of the graffiti that had been daubed on the
ruined walls of southeastern villages during the recent curfews. The
words "Armenian bastards" can be clearly seen on the photos and the
situation has triggered a serious racism debate in Turkey.
Paylan first showed the photos and then stated that the situation is
in itself a crime. He said this crime was committed not only by the
security forces but also by the prime minister. As you might recall,
last week Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in BingÃ¶l and said
"the Armenian gangs cooperated with the Russians during World War I".
Paylan wisely asked in Parliament whether it would be fair for him to
say "Turkish gangs" about the Turks and Kurds who sometimes join the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Lastly, he asked "what
kind of racism is it?", drawing a thunderous commotion in Parliament
from Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party
Let's visualize that our father committed a crime, namely killed
our neighbor and buried him in our backyard. We were four years of
age, but we saw the situation. Now we are grown up, but the reality,
which lies in our sub-conscious, occasionally comes to the conscious
surface. I believe that it was such a moment when Paylan showed the
pictures yesterday. Being confronted by reality is always painful, but
to postpone the confrontation only creates bigger and ongoing mistakes.
We have an unconfronted racism inside us. Whatever we say, it becomes
visible at key moments. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will
not abide by or respect the decision of the Constitutional Court,
Turkey's top court, after it declared on Feb. 25 that the imprisonment
of Cumhuriyet daily's Editor-in-Chief Can Dundar and its Ankara
representative Erdem Gul for publishing photos on an alleged illegal
weapons transfer to Syria was a violation of their basic rights. If
the president has no respect for the rule of law, we can not expect
any positive developments in the area of democratization.
I send my deepest regards to all Armenians living in Turkey
and outside. Although it is not my duty, I apologize for every
individual who has suffered. The Armenians living in the diaspora
should remember that there are still people living in Turkey who deem
themselves allied to law and there are still people who have not lost
their conscience. We will not leave our neighbors alone and won't
let racism reign over Turkey. The Union and Progress (Ä°ttihad ve
Terakki) mentality is still alive in Turkey and its representatives
are not giving up. Let me recall that there are more deputies in
Parliament to stop this racism and that Paylan also found support
from the Republican People's Party (CHP). The most important thing
to confront is the reality that has racist backgrounds forcing us to
continue the mistakes of the past. The belief in law and conscience
is the key to confronting this reality.
Posted 06 March 2016 - 11:50 AM
Interfax: Russia & CIS Diplomatic Panorama
March 4, 2016 Friday 5:44 PM MSK
Kurds facing genocide in Turkey - Armenian foreign minister
YEREVAN. March 4
The Kurdish population in Turkey is facing extermination, Armenian
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has said.
"Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has openly said that his
previous theory of the Armenian genocide being caused by the war, the
hostilities and everything fitting that logic was a fantasy. In fact,
Ankara authorities are publicly declaring that everything that
happened to the Armenian people was intentional and planned, because
the Armenians were cooperating with the Russians," Nalbandian said at
a meeting of the Yerevan State University Academic Board on Thursday.
The Turkish prime minister has compared the events happening in
Turkish areas populated by the Kurds to the events which happened 100
years ago in Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire in WWI.
"The contemporary Kurdish militants are similar to the Armenian
bandits who cooperated with the Russians. They [the Kurds] have even
opened their diplomatic mission in Moscow," Davutoglu said.
Turkey "is threatening the Kurds for the same reason," the Armenian
foreign minister said.
"This is a serious message for the international community as to what
may happen to the Kurds, what may be done against them. Nothing has
changed in the Turkish ruling elites in the past 100 years,"
Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:06 AM
ANALYST: MERKEL AND HER COUNTERPARTS WITHIN EU HAVE GIVEN MONEY FOR FORMATION OF A MODERN CORPS OF JANISSARIES
by Anzhela Stepanyan
Wednesday, March 9, 13:19
Today one can rightfully argue that German Chancellor Angela Merkel
and her counterparts within the EU have given money for formation of a
modern corps of janissaries, independent analyst, ex-foreign minister
of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arman Melikyan has told ArmInfo.
To note, European Union leaders welcomed Turkey's offer on Monday to
take back all migrants who cross into Europe from its soil and agreed
in principle to Ankara's demands for more money, faster EU membership
talks and quicker visa-free travel in return (EU leaders acceded to
Turkey's surprise demand to double its payouts to EUR6 billion by
the end of 2018).
"Actually, the EU has not simply bribed its way out of the refugee
problem. Brussels must realize that it has agreed to fund Turkey's
training of a multipurpose military contingent and that the launch
of this contingent will result in the second wave of refugees rushing
into the West in 1.5-2 years," Melikyan says. He thinks it is obvious
even today that Turkey is not going to build resorts for the refugees -
they will be staying in camps.
If one takes into account that the major part of the refugees consists
of male representatives under 30, it will be no wonder if most of them
are forced by the Turkish authorities to undergo military training
funded by the European Union's 6 bln EUR. The analyst thinks that
Turkey will be able to use them against Kurds, the Assad regime,
Hezbollah and anyone else at just the right time and place.
Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:12 AM
TURKEY AMONG 50 COUNTRIES WHERE CHRISTIANS FACE THE MOST PERSECUTION
March 9, 2016
Open Doors has released its latest World Watch List (WWL). The annual
list ranks the top 50 countries "where Christians face the most
persecution," aiming to create "effective anger" on believers' behalf.
Turkey ranks 45 in the top 50 list of countries where Christians face
the most persecution.
Leader: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Population: 79.6 million (219,000 Christians) Main Religion: Islam
Government: Republic World Watch List Rank: 45 Source of Persecution:
Islamic extremism/ Religious nationalism
The presence of radical Islam, the ethnic conflict, and a regime that
aims to Islamise the country are all affecting the church in Turkey.
The renewed fighting between the government's military forces
and the Kurds is stimulating Turkish nationalism to new heights,
which is impacting all believers, but converts from Islam most of
all. Pressure on them from both family and community is especially
acute. The presence of Islamic fundamentalists in Turkey has already
proved to be a huge threat for Protestant pastors; Muslim-background
believers can expect similar treatment.
ENGINES OF PERSECUTION
Why are Christians persecuted, though? What is it that drives
persecution? Open Doors has identified eight main 'engines' of
Islamic extremism - bringing the country/world under the 'House of
Islam' through violent/non- violent actions
Religious nationalism - one religion is defined as the sole basis of
national/ethnic identity, either by the state or by extremist groups
eg Hindutva ideology in India
Tribal antagonism - the continuing influence of age-old norms and
values shaped in tribal context
Denominational protectionism - churches do not recognise or want
to give room to Christians outside their structure or theological
Communist oppression - seeking to maintain communism (however defined)
as the prescriptive national ideology
Aggressive secularism - attempting to eradicate the Christian faith
from the public and private domain
Organised corruption - the creation of a climate of impunity, anarchy
and corruption as a means for getting rich
Totalitarian paranoia - in which religious freedoms suffer, alongside
other freedoms, in the attempt to maintain power.
Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:22 AM
NALBANDYAN: IF TURKEY WANTS KARABAKH SETTLEMENT IT SHOULD REFRAIN FROM MEDDLING THE PROCESS
Politics 14:22 09/03/2016 Armenia
If Turkey is really interested in the resolution of the Karabakh
conflict, it should not meddle in the settlement process - wherever
possible, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan said in an
interview with Kommersant newspaper.
Asked to assess the Turkish statements that "it (Turkey) would exert
every effort "to return Azerbaijani territories,"" Nalbandyan said:
"My impression is that the Turkish leadership is losing the sense of
reality in the sphere of both foreign and domestic politics. Prime
Minister Davutoghlu recently accused the Kurds of being like "Armenian
gangs" and collaborating with Russia. Those statements are an alarming
signal for the International community what may happen to the Kurds
as well. Talaat Pasha in the early 20th century accused the Russians
of "arming and provoking the Armenians" as well. Obviously, little
has changed in the Turkish clique over 100 years," Nalbandyan said,
adding that if Turkey is really interested in the resolution of the
Karabakh conflict it should not meddle in the settlement process."
On another note, the foreign minister reflected on the Armenian-Iranian
cooperation and the lifting of the international sanctions against
the Islamic State. According to the minister, Armenia has neighborly
relations with Iran, and the newly occurred circumstances (lifting
the sanctions) provide an opportunity for the implementation of
the joint projects as well as for speaking of the new mechanisms of
Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:29 AM
TURKEY IS NO FRIEND OF EUROPE - HER BEHAVIOUR IS BLACKMAIL
19:02 â~@¢ 09.03.16
Below is an article posted by The Telegraph
Haggling in a Turkish bazaar is not an experience most Westerners
enjoy at the best of times. But it becomes especially unpleasant when
you discover that, having agreed a price, you then become a victim of
blatant extortion. That is certainly how EU leaders must be feeling
after their bruising encounter with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu to find a workable solution to the refugee crisis that is
threatening mainland Europe.
Writing on these pages on Tuesday, William Hague, our former foreign
secretary, revealed the high regard in which he held Mr Davutoglu
during his four-year tenure at King Charles Street. And it is easy to
understand why the Turkish politician became the object of Mr Hague's
admiration when you look at the way he has run rings around his EU
Not so long ago it was the case that, in terms of the EU's relations
with Turkey, it was Brussels that held all the trump cards. Numerous
initiatives undertaken by Ankara to join the EU were hindered by the
demands of Brussels - from resolving the long-standing dispute over
Cyprus to improving Turkey's woeful human rights record.
Now, thanks to the migration crisis, the tables have turned
dramatically, so that it is Ankara, not Brussels, that finds itself
holding all the aces, a drastic change in circumstance the Turks are
determined to exploit for their own advantage.
The most graphic illustration of Turkey's new assertiveness emerged
in Brussels in the early hours of Monday morning after Mr Davutoglu
had invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel to dinner at the Turkish
Embassy, ostensibly to discuss the terms of the refugee deal negotiated
over several weeks by EU President Donald Tusk. Instead Turkey's
prime minister presented her with a completely new set of demands
that read more like a ransom note than a bargaining position.
In return for agreeing to the repatriation of migrants being shipped
to Greece by Turkish people-smuggling gangs - the so-called "one in,
one out" deal - Turkey is demanding an extra three billion euros added
to the three billion euros the EU has already pledged. In addition,
Ankara wants full-scale visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens
visiting the EU by June, an acceleration of Turkey's application for
EU membership and a pledge to resettle in Europe many of the Syrian
refugees Turkey agrees to take in.
Such is the EU's desperation to fix the migrant crisis that it now
has little option other than to accede to Ankara's demands. But if
the Turks think that by indulging in blackmail this will somehow help
to improve their relations with Europe, they should think again.
For a start, the suggestion that Turkey still remains interested
in joining the EU can only be described as a bad joke. Just a few
days before Mr Davutoglu's dÃ©marche to Mrs Merkel in Brussels,
Turkish riot police were busy raiding the offices of Turkey's main
anti-government newspaper, Zaman, arresting its senior journalists
and firing tear gas at demonstrators. This is not the conduct of a
country that is serious about joining an organisation like the EU,
where the protection of all human rights - including press freedom -
is pursued with obsessive zeal.
Moreover, the increasingly pro-Islamist agenda being pursued by Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has placed him on a far more worrying
collision course with his European neighbours.
Mr Erdogan likes to claim that, with an estimated three million Syrian
refugees already seeking sanctuary in Turkey, his country cannot cope
with the influx. But he is conveniently overlooking the fact that
Turkey would not be in this position if its government had prevented
jihadists from freely crossing its borders to travel to the war
zones in Syria and Iraq. Indeed, it has been suggested that Ankara,
which supports the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,
has links with Islamic State (Isil) militants fighting across the
border in Syria.
Furthermore, when British counter-terrorism officials warn, as they
did earlier this week, that Britain today finds itself at risk from
"enormous and spectacular" terrorist attacks, this is in large part
due to Turkey's disinclination to monitor the hundreds of thousands of
Syrian refugees crossing its border. Many of the returning jihadists
who now pose a threat to our security have made their way to the UK
courtesy of Turkey's unpoliced migrant routes.
If Turkey were really serious about forging a closer relationship with
Europe, then it would be more proactive in monitoring those from Isil
and other Islamist-inspired terror groups that seek to do us harm.
For the moment the EU might be desperate to keep the Turks onside as
it tackles the worst migration crisis in living memory. But in the
long term we should take the view that, so long as Turkey remains
under its present leadership, it would be foolhardy to regard her as
an ally in whom we can place our trust.
Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:40 AM
PRAISE HITLER, GET BILLIONS: EU FALLS PREY TO ANKARA'S BLACKMAIL
Turkish police raiding crowds outside Zaman Headquarters and spraying
them with tear gas. (Source: Today's Zaman)
BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
The lessons learned from Europe's decision to reward Turkey is, if you
are a despotic leader like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
you can murder and imprison your citizens and praise Hitler as an
"effective leader" and get billions of dollars in taxpayer aid. Hurray
for the new world order.
European leaders demonstrated their enslavement to Ankara's policies,
which ignore basic human rights and condone terrorism, by rewarding
Turkey billions of dollars in aid and guaranteeing other perks,
including the establishment of a visa-free regime.
This kowtowing to Ankara sets a new precedent in international circles
of how to hold nations accountable to basic human rights abuses and
sends a clear message to despots around the world that killing and
maiming their citizens and forced closure of media outlets are not
only tolerated, but can also be rewarded if the perpetrator nation
can pledge minimum action as long as it preserves European nationalist
International rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International and UNHDP, as well as some European Parliament
members are up in arms with the European leaders' decision to grant
Ankara a carte blanche in the name of suppressing the tide of migrants
into European countries.
By turning a blind eye on human rights abuses, which in Turkey's case
include waging a violent and indiscriminate war against its own Kurdish
and other minority citizens, stifling dissident voices by shutting
down media outlets through the use of barbaric force and imprisoning
any individuals who dares to oppose the regime, European leaders
are trampling upon the very democratic value system, based on which
Europe's partnerships are determined with other--developing--nations.
This is a direct consequence, if not a natural progression, resulting
from the West's general and historic ambivalence--or outright
disregard--for the realities on the ground, be they in Syria, the
Middle East or elsewhere in the world. All one has to do is reflect
back on Europe's posturing in the same part of the world a hundred
years ago to know that the more things change, the more they stay
the same. A 100 year ago, while Germany and France seemed to be on
opposing sides, Germany's support for the Ottoman Empire and France's
and Britain's ignoring of the so-called realities on the ground paved
the way for the Armenian Genocide.
So Europe's pledge of billions of dollars in aid and easing of travel
restrictions among other perks, will, most definitely, allow Ankara
to carry out its crimes and perhaps escalate its campaign against the
Kurds into a full-blown Genocide, since nobody is watching, or those
that are have relinquished their powers to intervene.
The same forgiving policy is also being carried out by the United
States. Despite voicing "concern" over human rights violations
by Ankara, which don't even amount to a slap on the wrist, the US
continues to defend Turkey and praise it as an important and critical
ally in this farce that also known as the "war on terror" or the
"fight against ISIS."
In fact, as recently as Tuesday, US Ambassador to Armenia, who
is on a tour of Armenian communities on the West Coast (the press
has been excluded from this visit--at least Asbarez has been) has
dismissed criticism of Turkey by praising Ankara for its generosity
in allowing the US to use the Incirlik airbase in the fight against
the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Da'esh. I am certain
that Ambassador Mills has also dismissed the notion that Turkey has
aided and abetted the rise of ISIS, despite his own colleague's,
former US Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone's assertion
that Turkey has systematically turned a blind eye on the flow of
Islamic militants into Syria through it porous border.
How long will it take for the Obama Administration to further sweeten
the already saccharine pot and embrace Turkey's uncivilized regime?
Posted 19 March 2016 - 12:02 PM
ERIC ZUESSE | 16.03.2016 | WORLD | HISTORY & CULTURE
America's Ally Turkey Again Stirs Anti-Armenian Bigotry
On March 11th, a news-report was headlined «VIDEO: Kurds in Turkey
Accuse Erdogan for Mass and Genocidal Massacre», but the resurgent
fascist-nationalist, and self-righteously Sunni-Islamic, Saudi and
US-allied government of Turkey doesn't hate and despise only Kurds `
as horrific as those reports are. (And those videos and pictures make
clear the government's bloody contempt of Kurds.)
A news-report also appeared recently that the Turkish government is
again stoking hatred against Armenians ` the victims of the 1915
Turkish genocide that Hitler admired. This news-report received
virtually no coverage in the West. The little coverage that it did
receive was attacked by some because the news was reported on
Al-Monitor, which is a Washington DC-based site created in 2012 by US
corporations and their academics ` it was an ad-hominem `criticism',
regardless of whether those funders raise reasonable doubts about the
truthfulness of the report. But, in any case, the report itself was
linked to credible sources, and so is credible.
It opened: «Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a searing
speech Feb. 27 on the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in
the eastern province of Bingol. In his speech he accused the Kurds of
taking advantage of the situation in the southeastern border towns of
Sur and Silopi. 'They are collaborating with Russia like the Armenian
gangs used to do». His assertion in context was that Turkey's enemies
«want our Kurdish citizens to get into another fight with us patriotic
Turks. They try to appeal to the people of this country by honoring
the Armenian gangs who cooperate with the Russian invaders».
This Al-Monitor article commented: «Nurhan Becidyan, an
Armenian-American who served in the Turkish army as a reserve officer
in the 1970s, told Al-Monitor about the meaning of the term 'Armenian
gangs.' He said, 'When an Armenian hears the term, he immediately
recalls the official Turkish government history lessons of the past
century that talk about how the Armenians in 1915 collaborated with
the `enemy' [Russians] and revolted against the Ottomans», which is
the traditional Turkish-government rationalization for the genocide
that Turkey's officials (to this day) deny was a «genocide». (Even
Hitler acknowledge it was, but they don't acknowledge it.)
Why is Turkey in NATO, except that Turkey's government is hostile to
Russia? Is that enough to qualify Turkey's government to be in NATO?
Back in 1915, when Turkey's government slaughtered approximately a
million Armenians, it wasn't only Armenians whom the Turkish
government aimed to exterminate. The article from Wikipedia states,
«Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians
and the Ottoman Greeks were similarly targeted for extermination by
the Ottoman government, and their treatment is considered by some
historians to be part of the same genocidal policy». This was Turkey's
extermination policy against peoples whose cultures were
Christian. Russia was an overwhelmingly Christian-majority nation
then, prior to the 1917 communist revolution; and Turkey was hostile
toward Russia, and also to Greece ` it was a religious hatred, of
Christians, which Turkey reflects, then and now.
That Wikipedia article on the Armenian genocide says, «Writing in the
late 1890s after a visit to the Ottoman Empire, the British
ethnographer William Ramsay described the conditions of Armenian life
as follows: `We must, however, go back to an older time, if we want to
appreciate what uncontrolled Turkish rule meant, alike to Armenians
and to Greeks. It did not mean religious persecution; it meant
unutterable contempt... They were dogs and pigs; and their nature was
to be Christians, to be spat upon.'» Perhaps that's the reason why
Hitler took it to be his model: he, too, denied that he was targeting
any «religion»; he hated a people, a `race': Jews. The Turkish
government hates non-Sunnis. But in NATO it needs their cooperation.
America is in bed with some pretty sordid regimes ` Saudi Arabia,
Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, to name some of the
Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:30 AM
THE REFUGEE DEAL CONTINUES EUROPE'S HISTORY OF DIRTY DEALING WITH TURKEY
March 21 2016
Stefan Ihrig, Polonsky Fellow, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Last week, European Union leaders announced a new deal with Turkey. It
was hotly anticipated for a number of reasons: Would it "solve"
Europe's refugee crisis? To what extent would the EU give in to Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demands? The deal seeks to repatriate
refugees back to Turkey, which would become a "safe country."
How exactly the deal will be implemented remains to be seen, and what
it actually means for the right to asylum in the EU will need to be
discussed. But the deal has further repercussions that EU leaders
either do not want to see or -- more probable -- cynically factor in
as part of doing business. But let's be clear: this deal is making a
mockery of alleged European values, and it further empowers Erdogan,
who has become increasingly authoritarian.
The deal calls up memories of Europe's rather checkered history of
deal-making with Turkey. One recalls another German chancellor from
another time: In late 1915, it was becoming increasingly clear that
the Young Turk leadership was using World War I as cover to get rid
of the Armenian question by "doing away" with the Armenians themselves.
Germany should have known -- its consular services in the Ottoman
Empire were vast and meticulous. Its consuls in Eastern Anatolia had
chronicled the Armenian genocide from day one.
German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg reacted angrily
to mounting pressure to intervene with Germany's ally, the Ottoman
Empire, to stop the Armenian genocide. He wrote, "Our only goal is
to hold Turkey at our side until the end of the war, regardless of
whether the Armenians perish over that or not. If the war carries on
for a while, we will need the Turks very much."
Our "war" today is different, as are the potential victims of today's
cynical realpolitik. And yet, there are unsettling parallels of
violence and geography -- think of the renewed violence in the Kurdish
regions of Turkey as well as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's
declaration of the so-called Islamic State committing genocide in
the very same regions in which Armenians died a century ago.
Furthermore, that fact that we "will need the Turks very much" --
in Europe, the Middle East and the world -- is again quite clear. Yet
we are mistaken if we think it is Erdogan's Turkey that we will need;
it is the other Turkey, currently being destroyed by Erdogan, that
we will sorely miss in the future.
This is precisely where the parallel applies much more poignantly.
Something else that is being cynically left to perish, besides people,
is the future of the EU and the future of Turkey. Without much ado,
in the quest to solve the refugee crisis, the EU devalued itself
in a fundamental fashion -- it connected the deal to Turkey's EU
membership negotiations. Erdogan's Turkey can now hope for faster
opening of the next chapters in the accession process. While it must
be doubted that Erdogan still wants Turkey to actually become a member,
it has a symbolic significance that is almost poisonous.
The prospect of EU membership used to mean something, or was supposed
to. It was an instrument to strengthen and enhance the opening of
societies, to further cement the rule of law, to protect a plural
and open society -- and of course, to make a country compatible
with a host of economic and other standards. Already in the last
waves of enlargement (2004 and 2007), this great tool of reform and
democratization was under-used. The EU, for example, incorporated a
divided Cyprus, giving up a great incentive for conflict resolution
without actually having made much use of it.
Instead of using Turkey's EU perspective and various partnerships and
bi- and multilateral relations to protect freedom of speech in Turkey,
the EU has singularly rewarded Erdogan in this great game of refugees.
If anyone ever doubted that Erdogan was an astute strategist, here is
merely the latest proof. He has been testing both Europe and Turkish
society to see how far he can go. And he has been met with less
resistance than should have been expected. It has emboldened him --
beyond measure, some would say. The dismantling of the other Turkey
-- of the pluralist, open Turkey with a vibrant civil society --
is on Europe's conscience.
Declaring Turkey a "safe country" will sound rather cynical to
journalists and academics who face harassment and arrest by the
government (not to mention ongoing violence in Turkey's Kurdish
regions). And it's not just Turkish journalists -- the German magazine
Der Spiegel ran a story in the middle of the Brussels negotiations
about how its correspondent in Istanbul had to leave the country when
the government didn't renew his visa. Der Spiegel saw this as a clear
sign that its journalist was declared persona non grata because of his
critical articles and that his freedom of speech was being violated
With the latest deal, the EU has not only once more made a mockery of
its self-declared asylum laws and rights -- it has devalued its own
core political values. By its sheer timing and its (relative) lack of
condemnation of Erdogan's continued crackdown on the opposition and
remodeling of the country along more autocratic lines, it blatantly
declared that freedom of speech (especially of the press and academia)
and the rule of law do not matter as much as solving problems and
staying in power. This deal is very much about German Chancellor
Angela Merkel's approval at home.
It is hard not to agree with political scientist Kerem Oktem that
every deal with Erdogan strengthens him further. After the Brussels
deal, Erdogan can turn to his population and tell them that all the
criticism from abroad of the past months has been negated by the
collected EU leadership. He can tell them that Turkey is Europe's
close partner and that EU membership talks will continue at a faster
speed. What more democratic credentials could one possibly need?
Posted 22 March 2016 - 09:51 AM
Could there be a coup in Turkey?
By Michael Rubin
March 21, 2016
The situation in Turkey is bad and getting worse. It's not just the
deterioration in security amidst a wave of terrorism. Public debt
might be stable, but private debt is out-of-control, the tourism
sector is in free-fall, and the decline in the currency has impacted
every citizen's buying power. There is a broad sense, election results
notwithstanding, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is
out-of-control. He is imprisoning opponents, seizing newspapers left
and right, and building palaces at the rate of a mad sultan or
aspiring caliph. In recent weeks, he has once again threatened to
dissolve the constitutional court. Corruption is rife. His son Bilal
reportedly fled Italy on a forged Saudi diplomatic passport as the
Italian police closed in on him in an alleged money laundering
scandal. His outbursts are raising eyebrows both in Turkey and abroad.
Even members of his ruling party whisper about his increasing paranoia
which, according to some Turkish officials, has gotten so bad that he
seeks to install anti-aircraft missiles at his palace to prevent
airborne men-in-black from targeting him in a snatch-and-grab
Turks--and the Turkish military--increasingly recognize that Erdogan
is taking Turkey to the precipice. By first bestowing legitimacy upon
imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan with renewed negotiations
and then precipitating renewed conflict, he has taken Turkey down a
path in which there is no chance of victory and a high chance of de
facto partition. After all, if civil war renews as in the 1980s and
early 1990s, Turkey's Kurds will be hard-pressed to settle for
anything less, all the more so given the precedent now established by
their brethren in Iraq and Syria.
Erdogan long ago sought to kneecap the Turkish military. For the first
decade of his rule, both the US government and European Union cheered
him on. But that was before even Erdogan's most ardent foreign
apologists recognized the depth of his descent into madness and
autocracy. So if the Turkish military moves to oust Erdogan and place
his inner circle behind bars, could they get away with it?
In the realm of analysis rather than advocacy, the answer is yes. At
this point in election season, it is doubtful that the Obama
administration would do more than castigate any coup leaders,
especially if they immediately laid out a clear path to the
restoration of democracy. Nor would Erdogan engender the type of
sympathy that Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi did. When Morsi was
ousted, his commitment to democracy was still subject to debate; that
debate is now moot when it comes to the Turkish strongman. Neither the
Republican nor Democratic frontrunners would put US prestige on the
line to seek a return to the status quo ante; they might offer lip
service against a coup, but they would work with the new regime.
Coup leaders might moot European and American human rights and civil
society criticism and that of journalists by immediately freeing all
detained journalists and academics and by returning seized newspapers
and television stations to their rightful owners. Turkey's NATO
membership is no deterrent to action: Neither Turkey nor Greece lost
their NATO membership after previous coups. Should a new leadership
engage sincerely with Turkey's Kurds, Kurds might come onboard.
Neither European nor American public opinion would likely be
sympathetic to the execution of Erdogan, his son and son-in-law, or
key aides like Egemen Bagis and Cuneyd Zapsu, although they would
accept a trial for corruption and long incarceration. Erdogan might
hope friends would rally to his side, but most of his friends--both
internationally and inside Turkey--are attracted to his power. Once
out of his palace, he may find himself very much alone, a shriveled
and confused figure like Saddam Hussein at his own trial.
I make no predictions, but given rising discord in Turkey as well as
the likelihood that the Turkish military would suffer no significant
consequence should it imitate Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's game plan in
Egypt, no one should be surprised if Turkey's rocky politics soon get
Posted 23 March 2016 - 10:23 AM
Turkey businessman, who has President ErdoÄ?an's backing, is arrested in US
Turkish business tycoon RÄ±za Sarraf (Reza Zarrab)'who has bribed
Turkish ministers with millions of dollars, who was engaged in
billions of dollars worth smuggling, and who enjoyed the backing of
Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an'has been arrested in the US.
Sarraf is arrested on charges of violating the sanctions on Iran,
committing banking fraud, and robbing the US, according to Cumhuriyet
daily newspaper of Turkey.
RÄ±za Sarraf was arrested in Turkey in December 2013, within the
framework of a large bribery scandal.
But the judges and prosecutors, whom ErdoÄ?an had replaced, did
everything so that those arrested along the lines of this scandal be
As a result, all these arrestees'including Sarraf'were released in
Posted 24 March 2016 - 10:39 AM
Reza Zarrab is a Turkey-based businessman. He holds Iranian, Azerbaijani and Turkish citizenship. He was arrested and charged with money laundering among the other allegations in the United States on 19 March 2016
Posted 24 March 2016 - 10:40 AM
Reza Zarrab: Turkey reels from gold bullion scandal as spotlight lands on Erdogan allies
The love of gold, stashed under floorboards for emergencies, may be deeply ingrained in Turkish culture. But Reza Zarrab, a 33-year-old Turkish-Iranian millionaire, is learning fast that the US authorities are not as willing as his allies in Turkey to turn a blind eye to millions of dollars of smuggled gold bullion.
Zarrab, a businessman and gold trader who owns yachts, private jets and a $72m (£51m) villa on the shores of the Bosphorus, was at the centre of a money-laundering scandal in Turkey in 2013, and was arrested by US authorities on 19 March. He is now due to face a federal court in Miami.
Posted 02 April 2016 - 10:14 AM
April 1 2016
Turkey’s Lobbyists Seek U.S. Help By Calling Tiny Armenia A Big Threat
Armenia is allowing Russia to menace NATO member Turkey, according to
Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Foreign Affairs Reporter, The Huffington Post
Nick Baumann, Senior Enterprise Editor, The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — A lobbying firm that’s a registered agent of the Turkish
government is trying out a new argument during Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. this week: the Russians are coming,
and Armenia is helping them.
Representatives from Mercury LLC have contacted multiple congressional
offices to argue that Russia’s presence in Armenia, a small country on
Turkey’s border that has tensions with the Turks lingering from the
1915 genocide of Armenian Christians, makes it important for the U.S.
to close ranks with fellow NATO member Turkey, according to two
Capitol Hill aides.
Mercury, which registered to work on behalf of Turkey last month,
hopes to convince lawmakers to attach their names to two separate
documents, an aide told The Huffington Post.
One is a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry that
focuses on the “growing military alliance between Russia and Armenia”
— citing the flow of Russian fighter jets, helicopters gunships and
drones to Armenia. It calls the Russia-Armenia relationship “deeply
The other is what’s called a “Dear Colleague” letter, intended to be
passed from one member of Congress to others to drum up congressional
interest. The “Dear Colleague” missive is to be sent April 4, when
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will be in Washington.
The document doesn’t mention Turkey by name, but states, “The time to
stand with our allies is now.” It also encourages recipients to read
an op-ed by James Foley, a former deputy chief of staff to the NATO
secretary-general. The copy of the letter seen by HuffPost does not
include a link to that op-ed, but one of the aides said Mercury on
Thursday sent his office a Time magazine piece by Foley that
highlights Russian aggression against NATO and says Turkey is more
important to the security alliance than ever. Foley served as U.S.
ambassador to Croatia from 2009 to 2012, and was a Bush administration
senior coordinator on the Iraqi refugee issue.
Asked for comment, Mercury shared a statement from an organization
called the Turkish Institute for Progress.
“The Turkish Institute for Progress along with U.S. security experts
and officials are calling on Armenia to expel the two Russian bases in
Armenia and to sever its military ties with [President Vladimir]
Putin’s Russia. The close relationship between Russia and Armenia
speaks for itself,” said Derya Taskin, the institute’s president.
Mercury’s work “is on behalf of TIP,” which is not government-funded,
Mercury’s John Cpin said in an email. “We have consistently been
educating congress about the concerns surrounding Putin’s influence in
Armenia and the threat to NATO that influence represents,” he added.
It’s too soon to predict the impact of the lobbying effort. Many
lawmakers are skeptical of Putin because of his aggressions against
Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. But it’s hardly news for most
national experts that Putin is close with Armenia, and Turkey’s
military dispute with Russia over an alleged airspace violation late
last year prompted little U.S. reaction.
Meanwhile, Erdogan and Turkey are fairly toxic in Washington. Experts
on Turkey and human rights groups have blasted the Turkish
government’s brutal treatment of civilian members of its Kurdish
minority as part of its fight against Kurdish militants. That
heavy-handedness is consistent with Erdogan’s general repression of
civil society, which includes the targeting of journalists.
At the same time, Kurdish forces in Syria, which see Turkey as an
enabler of the so-called Islamic State, have been heroes in the West
since their triumphs against ISIS in 2015. Those Syrian Kurds have
cooperated with Putin without any significant effect on their
popularity in Washington — something Turkey’s messaging machine may
want to keep in mind.
Erdogan’s visit this week has done little to improve his image in the
U.S. Scores of protesters showed up to his address at the Brookings
Institution on Thursday, and Turkish security officers tackled
journalists trying to cover it, calling one “a PKK whore.” (The PKK is
the primary Kurdish militant group battling the Turkish state and is
listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the
European Union. Turkey distrusts the Syrian Kurdish militia battling
ISIS, the YPG, because it sees that group as an extension of the PKK.)
President Barack Obama only agreed to meet with Erdogan Thursday night
after initially declining to do so. The two leaders clearly do not see
eye to eye: Erdogan doubled down on his criticism of the Obama
administration’s outreach to the Syrian Kurds in his Brookings
Institution speech. Obama, for his part, considers Erdogan “a failure
and an authoritarian,” according to a detailed Atlantic magazine
report on the president’s thinking about world politics.
Posted 04 April 2016 - 10:04 AM
Turkish, Israeli officials clandestinely meet in Sweden, reports
Posted 11 April 2016 - 11:30 AM
Demirtas: Armenians and Kurds lived in Anatolia even before Turks' arrival
The Armenians and Kurds lived in Anatolia even before Turks' arrival,
HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas said.
Demirtas voices criticism against anti-Kurdish statements of Turkish President.
According to the Turkish website T24.com, Demirtas said that he wants
to remind Erdogan: even before arrival of Turks in Anatolia, the
Armenians and Kurds lived there.
The HDP leader also mentioned that when Alparslan invaded Anatolia,
the Armenians had already lived there.
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