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Showing posts from 2013

People get the government they deserve.

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People get the government they deserve.

These are the very sobering words of a Columbia University professor seventy years ago discussing the Soviet government under Stalin. It is hard to accept that the Soviet people were deserving of the terrible crimes under Stalin, but it is true that after 1989 they were in large part able to free themselves from the shackles of that criminal regime.
Now many of us, both foreigners and the citizens of Turkey, have their eyes on the catastrophic unraveling of the justice system under the AKP government. It is still very unclear what is happening. What is clear is that there has been graft and corruption on a level unusual for the generally sober Turkish society. If there has been a major cover-up or if this scandal is in part a consequence of the schism between Prime Minister Erdoğan and the Gulen movement, we still do not know. The government appears to be covering its tracks - and in so doing is creating more tracks.
In the end it would be satisfyi…

The PKK is not a defeated army; things are much more complicated than that.

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When Johnny comes marching home again, Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll give him a hearty welcome then Hurrah! Hurrah! The men will cheer and the boys will shout The ladies they will all turn out And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home. ----------------------------------------- Marching song of the Northern Armies in the American Civil War (1861-1865). At that time the word "gay" only meant happy.
This song spoke of the welcome that surviving Northern soldiers would receive when they came home at the end of the war. Southern soldiers went back to the desolate aftermath of defeat.

And what should be sung for the returning thousands of PKK militants who have sacrificed years of their lives in a struggle, deemed to be terrorist by the Turkish, US, and EU governments?

Certainly the PKK was not defeated. Many of its goals for the Kurdish people seem to be on the verge of being realized. And  yet, they are not going home. Unwelcome in Turkey and officially unwelcome by the Baghda…

A voice of reason when it seems that no one listens

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Kemal Dervish, Turkey's renowned economist and revered statesmen, now vice-president of the Brookings Institute, calls for the only change of course that can keep Turkey from sliding into the chaos of its Arab neighbors. He argues that a return to the democratic path and the toleration of Turkey's diverse peoples by the Sunni Islamist dominated government is the only sure way to save the Turkish Republic. Read his full argument here.

The Turks and the PKK As Allies? ?? ??? ????

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On August 16, 2013, Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, published an article in the Atlantic entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fall Lands Turkey an Unexpected Ally: Kurds”.See the full article.
Turkey's grand scheme for the New Middle Eastern Order has collapsed. Its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which extended to other affiliates of the Egyptian center, have been cut off by the violent actions of the Egyptian army. In addition other promising projects of extending Islamic control throughout the region, have been compromised by the coup in Egypt. The Syrian opposition to Assad, which had been based in Cairo at a safe distance from the fighting in its own country, has now had to flee to Turkey to set up a new base.
Inside Syria itself, a most complex situation has developed in the east where the Kurds have set up a more or less autonomous region. Here the Kurds themselves are divided between the PKK militant faction, the PYD, which fin…

The Turks and the PKK As Allies? ?? ??? ????

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On August 16, 2013, Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, published an article in the Atlantic entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fall Lands Turkey an Unexpected Ally: Kurds”.See the full article.
Turkey's grand scheme for the New Middle Eastern Order has collapsed. Its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which extended to other affiliates of the Egyptian center, have been cut off by the violent actions of the Egyptian army. In addition other promising projects of extending Islamic control throughout the region, have been compromised by the coup in Egypt. The Syrian opposition to Assad, which had been based in Cairo at a safe distance from the fighting in its own country, has now had to flee to Turkey to set up a new base.
Inside Syria itself, a most complex situation has developed in the east where the Kurds have set up a more or less autonomous region. Here the Kurds themselves are divided between the PKK militant faction, the PYD, which f…

The Kurds and the Syrian Quicksand Box

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Syria is an area of conflict with porous boundaries both inside the country and along its national borders. But violation of those national boundaries by a foreign force raises the ante in the conflict. Of the many fuses attached to bombs that may detonate and bring down whatever stability is left, the plight of the Syrian Kurds is one of the most salient. 
The Kurds in Syria are divided between those who look to the PKK for help in their struggle against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, those who look to Iraqi Kurdistan for help in forming an autonomous region in the northwest of Syria, and those who want to be left alone. The Syrian government at the outbreak of the civil war declared definitively that "there is no Syrian Kurdistan", but then promptly withdrew military and most security personnel from the region, giving the Kurds at least a temporary autonomous zone. The Turks, perceiving that this might become another staging area for PKK attacks on Turkish soil, rattled the…

The Kurds and the Syrian Quicksand Box

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Syria is an area of conflict with porous boundaries both inside the country and along its national borders. But violation of those national boundaries by a foreign force raises the ante in the conflict. Of the many fuses attached to bombs that may detonate and bring down whatever stability is left, the plight of the Syrian Kurds is one of the most salient. 
The Kurds in Syria are divided between those who look to the PKK for help in their struggle against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, those who look to Iraqi Kurdistan for help in forming an autonomous region in the northwest of Syria, and those who want to be left alone. The Syrian government at the outbreak of the civil war declared definitively that "there is no Syrian Kurdistan", but then promptly withdrew military and most security personnel from the region, giving the Kurds at least a temporary autonomous zone. The Turks, perceiving that this might become another staging area for PKK attacks on Turkish soil, rattled t…

Too many secrets, the meltdown of information security

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The unprecedented action of the US government to shut down embassies and consulates in the whole are of the Middle East is indicative of the jitters all governments must feel about the security of their operations after the leaks from the US defense and security agencies. The massive hemorrhage may mark the end or grave decline of the ability of governments and other organizations to secure their date. Transparency may not come as a virtue, but as an consequence of changing technology and attitude of workers in formerly secure areas. 
Sneakers is a 1992 filmed in late 1991 and released in 1992. In it two college student pull a prank by raiding bank accounts of people they did not like (Richard Nixon) and sending the money to causes that Nixon did not like. One was caught by the police and spent time in jail, eventually working for the Mafia as a computer genius. The other started a security company. The mafia hacker had a business card that said simply "Too many secrets". 
Too…

Too many secrets, the meltdown of information security

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The unprecedented action of the US government to shut down embassies and consulates in the whole are of the Middle East is indicative of the jitters all governments must feel about the security of their operations after the leaks from the US defense and security agencies. The massive hemorrhage may mark the end or grave decline of the ability of governments and other organizations to secure their date. Transparency may not come as a virtue, but as an consequence of changing technology and attitude of workers in formerly secure areas. 
Sneakers is a 1992 filmed in late 1991 and released in 1992. In it two college student pull a prank by raiding bank accounts of people they did not like (Richard Nixon) and sending the money to causes that Nixon did not like. One was caught by the police and spent time in jail, eventually working for the Mafia as a computer genius. The other started a security company. The mafia hacker had a business card that said simply "Too many secrets". 
Too…

Blind driver: who is in charge of Turkey's foreign and domestic policies: Gezi Park, Kurds, Syria, etc.?

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On August 4, 2013 an editorial in the Guardian reflected on the unraveling of Turkish democracy and its effect on Turkey and its international partners (and enemies). It began with a reflection on the sacking of Yavuz Baydar the ombudsman of Sabah, a newspaper that closely follows the ruling party's political line. His crime, to tell the truth honestly as he saw it.

"Seeing 30 brave writers and columnists thrown out of work after Taksim breeds only cynicism. This isn't what Europe means by democracy; and it is not what Turkey should mean by it either," writes the editor, But he goes on to cite many of the disturbing tendencies of Prime Minister Erdoğan's government. See the Guardian article.

Supporting the use of violent force against peaceful protesters, which even Turkey's President Gul condemned. Of course there were other protesters that were not so peaceful, but from all reports the vast majority were.


Blaming  the protests by hundreds of thousands of Turks…

Blind driver: who is in charge of Turkey's foreign and domestic policies: Gezi Park, Kurds, Syria, etc.?

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On August 4, 2013 an editorial in the Guardian reflected on the unraveling of Turkish democracy and its effect on Turkey and its international partners (and enemies). It began with a reflection on the sacking of Yavuz Baydar the ombudsman of Sabah, a newspaper that closely follows the ruling party's political line. His crime, to tell the truth honestly as he saw it.

"Seeing 30 brave writers and columnists thrown out of work after Taksim breeds only cynicism. This isn't what Europe means by democracy; and it is not what Turkey should mean by it either," writes the editor, But he goes on to cite many of the disturbing tendencies of Prime Minister Erdoğan's government. See the Guardian article.

Supporting the use of violent force against peaceful protesters, which even Turkey's President Gul condemned. Of course there were other protesters that were not so peaceful, but from all reports the vast majority were.


Blaming  the protests by hundreds of thousands of Turks…

These articles are continued in Neareastwindow.blogspot.nl

Please visit the new website for analyses of Turkish, Greek, Kurdish and other Near Eastern questions: www.neareastwindow.blogspot.nl.

Democracy unfolds its dark side in Turkey. Almost a hundred years of development are in peril.

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The PKK is not a defeated army: it is much more complicated than that

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When Johnny comes marching home again, Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home. ----------------------------------------- Marching song of the Northern Armies in the American Civil War (1861-1865). At that time the word "gay" only meant happy.
This song spoke of the welcome that surviving Northern soldiers would receive when they came home at the end of the war. Southern soldiers went back to the desolate aftermath of defeat.

And what should be sung for the returning thousands of PKK militants who have sacrificed years of their lives in a struggle, deemed to be terrorist by the Turkish, US, and EU governments?

Certainly the PKK was not defeated. Many of its goals for the Kurdish people seem to be on the verge of being realized. And  yet, they are not going home. Unwelcome in Turkey and officially unwelcome by the Baghda…

What if the army joins the police and protesters and Erdogan's faithful followers in the streets?

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The AKP says it may bring the army out against the protesters. Having thrown hundreds of top military leaders into jail, does Erdogan really want to play this card? Is he so certain of being adored by the officer corps? Just a question.

The situation gets very murky. The army has been bashed by Erdogan's assertion of control and his throwing so many of the top brass into prison. But being bashed is one thing. Loyalty is harder to measure. Sometimes lower echelon officers in other countries have been at the heart of resistance and revolt in times of upheaval.

AKP loyalists, protesters, unions, police, and perhaps the army all in the streets. The ensuing chaos may not be what the prime minister wants.

President Obama Announces Military Theme Park to be built in New Yurk’s Central Park

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The New Yurk Times
President Obama Announces Military Theme Park to be built in  New Yurk’s Central Park
Environmentalists Protest, Police Respond, Turkish Prime Minister Praises Obama
The USS Battlestar Pegasus, a gigantic stealth satellite built ten years ago in an orbit beyond the moon is for the first time revealed to the public. It will be dismantled piece by piece and returned to become a permanent exhibit in the new Outdoor Military Museum. For the convenience of the millions anticipated to visit the park, K-Mart, a string of fast food restaurants, and a Mercedes dealership will be located adjacent to the theme park’s entrance.
Some protesters, hearing of the plans to tear up ten acres of Central Park, gathered to sing protest songs and feed the ducks in the fabled duck pond - soon to be demolished as the site of a new multi-story Kentucky Fried Chicken adjacent to the museum.
NYPD officers, supported by elements of the New York National Guards removed the protestors, showering the…

The IMF finally admits it made a booboo, but there is no talk of throwing a life line to the drowning

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For one who loves Greece, at least the way it was five, or better, before it entered the candy shop of the Eurozone, there is nothing at all in the news to cause optimism about the future. The country is being systematically destroyed by very clever people who have no eye on the consequences of their actions. These clever people are financiers and politicians in Brussels, Berlin, and Athens (among other places). They wear extremely expensive suits, speak in an incredibly sophisticated econ-talk, and are expert in spotting their own short-term interests.

We all know that the way in which the leading Greek politicians and financial king pins first smuggled the Greek economy into the Eurozone and then systematically set about exploiting it. We all know that these policies have led to the disaster in the nation. People outside of Greece for some reason cannot understand that these same people are leading the country to complete political implosion and perhaps civil war. Yes, civil war. The…

Greek political leadership, as blind as Oedipus

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The Greeks invented the concept of tragedy over two thousand years ago. They realized that often it was not the bad intentions of political actors that led to disaster, but a fatal flaw that the leader was unaware of. In the end Oedipus blinded himself as punishment for the evil he had done, but in fact he had been blind throughout his career. Like the Samaras led government.

It was never clear to me as a foreigner resident in Greece why the Greeks kept the same team of center left and center right political parties in power after these same actors were the ones that first led the country into the disastrous spending spree after joining the Euro zone. After successfully branding Syriza, the left-wing opposition, as extremist and irresponsible, they went ahead with the austerity programs that the International Monetary Fund now recognizes caused the total collapse of the Greek economy. An editorial in the Guardianyesterday points out that the call for a default on the impossible debt bu…

A new blog, same old content

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Because Facebook for some reason would not allow me to post any comments mentioning my old blog name, I have opened this new blog to cover events in Turkey, Greece, and the Kurdish lands.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I still do not know why the old blog was blocked. Older articles can still be found on www.zakopion.blogspot.nl.

Learn a little about the Kurds and their language

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Introduction to Sorani Kurdish:The Principal Kurdish Dialect spoken in the Regions of Northern Iraq and Western Iran
Authored by Livingston T. Merchant PhD

List Price:$12.00 6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm) 
Black & White on White paper
138 pages ISBN-13: 978-1483969268 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1483969266
BISAC: Language Arts & Disciplines / General This basic textbook is an introduction to the Sorani dialect of Kurdish. It contains dialogues, vocabularies, elementary grammar, and exercises. The basic sentences are written in Latini, the romanized script, and also in Sorani Kurdo-Arabic for the convenience of a tutor or teacher.
     Available on Amazon.com and Amazon Europe

When police attack peaceful protesters, when protesters attack property, everyone loses.

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Only a strong, rational, and calm prime minister can settle Turkey into a political process that reintegrates the society. Is Tayyip Erdoğan up to this challenge?

Good article: regimes have changed; political culture has not.

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Sub Categories: » HOMEPAGE / OPINIONMUSTAFA AKYOL Saturday,June 8 2013, Your time is 7:43:28 AM MUSTAFA AKYOL akyol@mustafaakyol.org The troubles of a very immature democracyIt is sad these days to see that many officials and supporters of the governing AKP (Justice and Development Party) sound like the Kemalist establishment that they overthrew.

They, for example, believe that mass demonstrations against their government are orchestrated by “foreign powers” who have evil intentions toward Turkey. Some headlines report about the “spies” caught among the demonstrators, supposedly proving the “international conspiracy.” Even the fact that the Western media has shown a great interest in the events is seen as a proof of this paranoia. (The shameful fact that most Turkish TV channels failed to show the necessary interest perhaps creates a distorted perception of “the normal.”)

Kemalists were really like this, too. They would believe all of Turkey’s troubles were created by foreign imperialists…

The protesters have a voice but no clear message

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One of the tragedies of the protests in the Turkish cities, especially Ankara and Istanbul, is that those taking part in the civil disobedience have no clear political stance. It started out over trees in a central park in Istanbul when the Prime Minister announced that he would build an Ottoman barracks with a shopping mall, no wait, a mosque, no wait, an opera house - something, anything. Anything but trees.

The entire situation changed due to a police riot. The excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators brought tens, then hundreds of thousands into the streets. The trigger was the police riot. The result was a strong desire among the larger body of demonstrators to get rid of the Prime Minister, who was perceived to be the instigator of that riot. It was no longer pro-trees, but it became anti-regime.

A series of grievances became attached to the rioters' angry protests: the limited ban on alcohol, the PM's words that all Turkish women should bear three children in…