Archive | November 26th, 2013

Kurds protest against wall along Turkey’s border with Syria

NOVANEWS

Riot police use tear gas to disperse pro-Kurdish demonstrators during a protest in the southeastern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the Turkish-Syrian border, November 7, 2013. REUTERS-Stringer
Syrian Kurds from the Syrian town of Qamishli gather behind border fences as Turkish troops stand guard (foreground) on the Turkish side of the border to prevent Turkish Kurdish protesters from approaching the fences in the southeastern town of Nusaybin November 7, 2013. REUTERS-Stringer

1 OF 2. Riot police use tear gas to disperse pro-Kurdish demonstrators during a protest in the southeastern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the Turkish-Syrian border, November 7, 2013.

(Reuters) – Thousands of Kurds protested on Thursday against Turkish plans to build a wall along the Syrian border, calling it a move to stop Kurdish communities strengthening cross-frontier ties as Syria splinters from civil war.

The rally underscored the sectarian strains spilling over from Syria’s war, which grew out of a 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and has fragmented into a patchwork of antagonistic ethnic and sectarian pockets that risk destabilizing neighboring Middle Eastern countries.

Riot police tolerated the protests, organized by Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), for much of the day but fired tear gas to disperse groups of demonstrators as a sit-down protest began following the main speeches.

Crowds of mostly young men, many waving red, yellow and green Kurdish flags, gathered in the Turkish town of Nusaybin, separated from the Syrian town of Qamishli by a strip of no-man’s land and barbed wire fencing.

Officials said last month that Turkey would build a two-meter high wall to stop people bypassing checkpoints and prevent smuggling near Qamishli, where Kurdish fighters, Syrian rebel units and Arab tribes have regularly clashed.

BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas told the crowds that the government had promised to abandon the plans, but said the protests should continue until the border was fully open to trade. He accused Turkey of backing radical Islamists fighting against Kurdish groups in Syria.

“Our protests will continue until government support for these gangs is halted,” he said.

Syrian Kurds say they have taken ground from Islamist rebels in Syria’s northeast in recent weeks, tightening their grip on an area close to the Turkish border where they have been seeking to establish autonomous rule.

Their assertiveness has posed a quandary for Turkey as it tries to make peace on its own soil with militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought for greater Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades.

Ankara has long championed more robust backing for Syria’s fractious armed opposition, but it has denied supporting al Qaeda-linked groups among their ranks such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“It is out of the question that groups like al Nusra and al Qaeda can take shelter in our country,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said during an official visit to Stockholm on Thursday.

MISTRUST

Turkish officials have played down the measures being taken along the border near Nusaybin. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said earlier this week the intention was simply to lay more barbed wire to tighten security.

Turkey is sheltering around a quarter of the two million people who have fled Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old conflict and has pledged to maintain its open-door policy to refugees.

But the plans raised suspicions among Kurdish communities that the government had a sectarian agenda, something officials in Ankara have been at pains to deny.

“You see how they divide Kurdistan,” said Bahattin Ozbek, 46, a BDP mayoral candidate who travelled 200 km (124 miles) from the eastern city of Mus to attend the demonstration.

“We want to unite with our ethnic kin and get rid of this border,” he said, pointing to a line of riot police, flanked by water cannon and armored vehicles along the barbed wire fence.

The Syrian conflict has complicated Turkey’s efforts to make peace with the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and European Union but for the past year engaged in a peace process with the Turkish state.

The border gate on the edge of town is officially closed to trade, although locals are allowed to cross carrying small amounts of tea, cigarettes and fuel. The BDP says ambulances and flour mills destined for Syrian Kurds have been held up on the Turkish side of the border for months.

But smugglers frequently cross through gaps in the barbed wire elsewhere along the border, local residents say.

Construction workers with excavators have begun digging foundations in Nusaybin for the wall, which would span just a fraction of the 900-km (560-mile) border. The barrier is only a temporary security measure, a Turkish government official said.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Kurds protest against wall along Turkey’s border with Syria

A statement of YPG about the beginning of liberating town of Til Kochar (al Yarubiya)

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In the second stage of the campaign of fulfilling revenge for the martyrs of Gel Agha and Tirb Spi, and in response to the calls of the elders and the people of the region with all its components and clans,

we began the operation of liberating the town of Til Kochar from the hands of the dark forces and foreign mercenaries who entered the region.

All of the farms around the town have been liberated, in addition to the border gate on the Syrian-Iraqi border and the area of the free market.

The operations are still ongoing, progressing positively and will continue until the liberation of whole the town.

We thank and applaud all those people and the families of the region who participated and contributed in the operations of liberation, and we especially thank the tribe of Shamar for their contributions in the success of this mission.

Our hounorable people! Our brothers and sisters in the free Til Kochar!

The task of protecting and managing your town is your job, for this we call upon all components of the region, Arabs, Kurds and tribes, to be the driving force for the victory.

People’s Protection Units (YPG) will be a shield against everyone who tries to play with the security or freedom of our people in the region.

We, YPG, are going to protect the property and houses of all the inhabitants of the town.

People’s Protection Units are from you for you, and our hope is that you take the historical responsibility that is being generated by the liberation wars in these crucial and historical junctures.

People’s Protection Units 26 – 10 – 2013

Posted in SyriaComments Off on A statement of YPG about the beginning of liberating town of Til Kochar (al Yarubiya)

Iraqi Soldiers and PYD Militiamen Attack FSA Brigades near Border with Iraq

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Press Statement
Syrian Coalition
Istanbul, Turkey
October 26, 2013

The Iraqi government continues to interfere with Syria’s internal affairs. Today, Saturday, October 26, Iraqi soldiers provoked a clash with Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades stationed at al-Yarubiya border crossing with Iraq.

Iraqi army forces also shelled the al-Yarubiya post, early Saturday, in cooperation with militias of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). These units are the armed wing of PYD (an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK). PYD Militiamen launched a ground offensive on the city of al-Yarubiya and the border crossing of al-Yarubiya and clashed with FSA brigades there, in an attempt to control the Syrian side of the crossing. Iraqi soldiers stationed at the borders assisted PYD militiamen.

The Iraqi government’s attack on FSA forces in Yarubiya is a considerable mistake and a blatant and unprecedented interference in Syrian affairs. This intervention comes after a series of indirect violations to Syria’s national sovereignty, by the Iraqi government, as they continue to facilitate the entry of pro-Assad sectarian militias into Syria.

The Syrian Coalition and the General Staff of the FSA pledge to defend the Syrian territories against any aggression, to maintain the geographical unity of Syria, and to preserve its national sovereignty. The militias that attacked FSA bases in the city of Yarubiya will be held accountable.

It has become the duty of the international community and the United Nations to seriously engage in putting pressure on the government of Maliki in Baghdad to stop its blatant interventions in Syria’s internal affairs and withdraw all Iraqi militias from Syria. The international community must support the Syrian Revolution and act in accordance with the aspirations of the Syrian people and not against them; otherwise the entire region will be dragged further into a dark abyss.

We ask for Mercy for our martyrs, health for our wounded, and freedom for our detainees.

Long live Syria and its people, free and with honor.

Posted in Iraq, SyriaComments Off on Iraqi Soldiers and PYD Militiamen Attack FSA Brigades near Border with Iraq

Kuwait to offer more financial aid to Egypt

Kuwait to offer more financial aid to Egypt

 

An official Kuwaiti source said that Kuwait would increase their total pledged financial aid [to Egypt] to $6 billion.

Kuwait is poised to offer a further $2 billion in assistance toEgypt to help the latter’s faltering economy in the wake of the military’s July 3 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, a high-profile official Kuwaiti source revealed Tuesday.

“We will increase our total pledged financial aid [to Egypt] to $6 billion. We have already offered $3 billion and steps are currently underway to send the remaining amount,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

Following Morsi’s ouster this summer, the official said,Kuwait had initially pledged $4 billion in assistance to Egypt. He noted that $2 billion had since been deposited at Egypt‘s central bank, while $1 billion worth of petroleum products had been shipped to the country.

An additional $1 billion grant to Egypt is still awaiting the approval of Kuwait‘s parliament, he added.

As for the latest aid pledges, the official said, details still remained unclear as to what form these would take. “Most of it will likely be in the form of petroleum products,” the source said.

Since Morsi’s July 3 ouster, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged a combined total of $15.9 billion worth of aid to Egypt.

In the 2012/13 fiscal year, Egypt coughed up a whopping 128 billion Egyptian pounds (roughly $18.4 billion) – almost one quarter of the entire state budget – to subsidize the local petroleum sector.

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Palestinian issue and Turkish viewpoint

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In my opinion, if we want to understand Erdogan’s words clearly, firstly, we should understand the parameters of Turkish foreign policy.
By İsmail Duman, World Bulletin

“ ‘We are confronting a human tragedy, and I find it to difficult to understand what is going on there, as there would be no justification whatsoever for a collective punishment of two million people under the guise of stopping rocket attacks. Our friends in Israel should understand that by their siege and indiscriminate punishment of all the people they serve the cause of the marginal-extremist elements.’

‘Israel caused through its excessive use of force a humanitarian tragedy… The tears of children and helpless women and mothers will not be forfeited, the oppressors will drown in these tears.’ ” (Turkish Prime Minister- Recep Tayyip Erdogan)

As you know, in these days, we are remembering the Israeli onslaught on Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009. Unfortunately, we witnessed this massacre in Gaza and every virtuous person has felt pains of the consequences of this barbaric aggression in his heart. As you can remember, “the initial raids on Gaza led to the death of not less than 200 Palestinians, whose numbers increased to several hundreds in the subsequent few days because of aerial bombardment.”

And, today, by this means, we want to look at the Turkish viewpoint about Palestinian issue. As Mohsen M. Saleh says in his ‘The Palestinian Strategic Report’, “Turkey angrily reacted to this aggression, both on official and popular levels. The infuriated premier saw in this aggression ‘lack of respect to Turkey’ and in the whole military operation against Gaza a blow to international peace. He furiously added, ‘The killing of helpless innocents, women and children, the destruction of houses and the use of extensive power are all totally unacceptable.’ “ 

This is an undeniable fact that, today; there is a very different Turkey in the world political scene in terms of its foreign policy rationale. Ankara’s attitude toward Iran and the crisis with Israel following the Mavi Marmara incident have especially pulled Turkey into the center of the Middle East. So, today many Westerners have been asking whether Turkey has been redefining the main perimeters of its foreign policy. Actually, we tried to focus on this issue in the previous analyses. However, in this analysis, I plan to look at the relationship between the viewpoints of Turkish leaders to the Palestinian issue and this new foreign policy rationale. 

Erdogan Became a Hero in the Arab World

   

As Sungur Savran says, after a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in the aftermath of this war in late January 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ferociously attacked the Israeli President Shimon Peres in an incident that captivated Arab audiences and made him a hero in the eyes of Arab masses. 

The words of Turkish Prime Minister became an answer the demands of Arab masses who want their leaders to be in opposition to Israel both by their speeches and practices. They found their feelings in the speech of Erdogan:

“Despots, gangsters even pirates have specific sensitiveness, follow some specific morals. Those who do not follow any morality or ethics, those who do not act with any sensitivity, to call them such names would even be a compliment to them … This brazen, irresponsible, reckless government that recognizes no law and tramples on any kind of humanitarian virtue, this attack of the Israeli government by all means … must be punished.”

“God will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.”

According to Rannie Amiri, in this way, “Erdogan was seen as the only regional leader who had taken demonstrable action and directly challenged the three-year-old siege.”

“Meanwhile, Turkish flags and the posters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are prominent in demonstrations around the world.” says Murat Daglı. “Erdoğan’s profile and popularity was already high in the Arab world due to his televised confrontation with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in 2009 over Israel’s attack on Gaza earlier that year.”

Actually, after Erdogan accused Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, of “knowing very well how to kill.”, asBulent Keles, from Today’s Zaman, says, “the myth that Israel is untouchable was destroyed by Erdogan, and because of that Israel nurses a hatred for Turkey.” This was a very important attempt for Palestinians. So, according to Jeremy Salt, “for the Palestinians, Turkey, its people and its outspoken Prime Minister have emerged as strong champions of their cause on the world stage at a time when the rest of the ‘international community’ seems to be shutting its eyes.”

This is a reality that Erdogan’s popularity began to exceed Hassan Nasrallah’s popularity in the Arab world. But, here, I prefer to think very carefully. Are these attempts realistic or emotional/romantic? The answer of this question will give us the real picture. We know that in terms of Turkey, although there are many speeches about Palestine, there is no any real/practical attempt to prevent Israel from doing these massacres. How can we explain this? Thus, I want to question these emotional pictures. I wonder the reality of Aijaz Zaka Syed’s words: “If only more Muslim leaders could think and act like Erdogan and confront big bullies of our world, their people wouldn’t be in the mess that they are in today. “

The Main Parameters of New Turkish Foreign Policy

In my opinion, if we want to understand Erdogan’s words clearly, firstly, we should understand the parameters of Turkish foreign policy. 

As Seyfeddin Kara mentions in his article, Davutoglu explains Turkey’s new foreign policy as follows:

  1. A visionary approach as opposed to a crisis-oriented approach: Turkey wants to liberate itself from a defensive stance and positively get involved in issues taking place in its proximity, i.e., mediation efforts between Syria and Israel, involvement in the Palestinian issue, Iranian nuclear issue, and reconciliation between Iraq’s political groups.
  2. Basing Turkey’s foreign policy on a “consistent and systematic” framework. Approaches to a certain region should not be incongruous with Turkey’s interests in other regions. There will be concurrence in implementing policies in different regions. 
  3. Adoption of a new discourse of diplomatic style (soft power approach) that prioritizes Turkey’s “civil-economic” power. 

On the other hand, as you can remember, we discussed “new Turkish Foreign Policy”  in these pages previously. We said so:

“The AKP government believes that it is now a realpolitik necessity on the part of Turkey to help set into motion a particular regional order. In this way, it thinks that both the structural problems in the surrounding regions cease to exist and Turkey’s transformation process at home goes peacefully: ‘Turkey’s growing engagement in the Middle East can also be attributed to the emerging reality that Turkey’s national security interests has been impacted the most by the developments in this particular region. The change of regime in Iraq and the rise of Iran’s regional influence appear to be the key developments affecting Turkey’s national security the most profoundly. Turkey does no longer have the luxury of indexing its policies to the wishes of her Western partners and turning a blind eye to regional developments because what happen in the Middle East do now closely impact Turkey’s internal developments and core national interests.’ “ 

So, we should know that Turkey began to take its neighbors and its public opinion into account. The world is not like past and if Turkey want to become a play maker, it should take a careful steps. So, as Arzu Ekinci focuses on, ‘win-win’ game is an important element in order to explain Turkey’s foreign policy. According to this game, play maker is Turkey and through this game all the countries in the Middle East will win what they want. Thus, peace with its neighbor is very important for Turkey. 

Moreover, although Turkey knows very well that it is not possible to take radical steps with its neighbors like Iran and Syria despite US, through its populist steps, it tries to convince its voters so: “We are besides Muslim countries”.

In this way, we can say that Palestinian issue is crucial for Turkey if it wants to be accepted as a play maker in the region. Otherwise, neither Turkey nor Erdogan can be a hero for public opinion in Turkey and for the Arab World.

Is it an Islamic reflex?

While Cemal Ahmedoglu, in his writing entitled “Turkey begins to assert its Islamic identity”, talks about far reaching implications of the shift in the Turkish approach towards Israel for the Muslim world, Sungur Savran criticizes this viewpoint and says so: “Turkey has emerged as the major protagonist among the forces that support the Palestinian cause. This is extremely ironic given that the country has been a loyal member of NATO for six decades and ‘Israel’s most important friend in the Muslim world’ (New York Times, May 31, 2010) for as long as one can remember, markedly so in the post-Cold War period and even under the present government.”

Actually, AKP’s sympathy for Hamas rather than Palestinian Authority may show its Islamic reflexes. Or, its neo-Ottoman identity may seem as a opportunity for Muslim world. In parallel to this, Khalid Amayrehreminds us the desire of the Arab World: “In the meanwhile, we say to our Turkish brothers, welcome back. We have long missed the Ottomans.”

But, can we really read this picture so? I am not sure. Maybe we should ask the dynamics behind this discourse. What is behind this rise of protagonist discourse in Turkish authorities?

In addition to this, we know that public opinion is very important for the new Turkish foreign policy rationale. We know that several opinion polls revealed the negative image of Israel in the eyes of the Turkish populace. The outcome of an opinion poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), published on 1/4/2008, revealed that 78% of the Turkish people do not like Israel, and only 11% do so.

If we really want to understand the real dynamics behind these policies, we should focus on a) Turkey’s relations with Israel, and b) how the AKP evaluate Hamas. Before deepening these issues, as a warning, giving an ear to Seyfeddin Kara can be very important: 

“Muslims around the world cannot make sense of the cooperation between the two countries, continuing despite the political vendetta between Israeli leaders and Erdogan. The Ummah wants to believe that Turkey has departed from its pro-Israeli stance and returned to its Islamic roots, once again embracing the Islamic world and becoming the protector of Muslims as their ancestors the great Ottomans did.

As part of its ambitious “neo-Ottomanist” foreign policy concept Turkey is trying to develop independent policies in the region and pursue them with the aim to become the dominant regional power. The perimeters of the new independent policy are however, clearly dictated by protecting US interests. Taking advantage of the current lukewarm relations between the Obama administration and the present Israeli government, Erdogan finds it easier to criticize Israel than he might otherwise do.”

Is there any changing about the relations between Turkey and Israel?

We know that the structure of relations between Turkey and Israel changed in 2002 when AKP came to power in Turkey. As Seyfeddin Kara says, although there was no immediate change in relations, the first blow came in 2004. Erdogan was outraged at the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and called it a “terrorist act”. He also described the Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip as “state-sponsored terrorism”.

But, despite all these reactions, there is no any real change in the nature of relations as Israeli politicians have always appreciated the importance of a strong Muslim ally in the region. “Similarly, Turks have considered Israel as a useful means to secure US support, a policy the AKP leaders have not abandoned; of course strong US influence keeps the relations intact.”

Unfortunately, we also see same picture after the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Up to the present, “military cooperation between Turkey and Israel continued in various ways and manners: exchange of visits of military experts at the levels of ministers of Defense or commanders of the naval and air forces, joint air and naval military maneuvers in which the USA participated, and intelligence cooperation between the two countries on the Kurdish and other issues.” 

In addition to this, “Turkey had also striven to purchase from Israel the Heron pilotless planes. Many rounds of negotiations were conducted to test their practical feasibility.”

Although, “Turkey recently cancelled one military contract with Israel and has sent out signals that it is ready to cancel others unless Israel complies with the terms of agreements signed long ago.”, there are many incidents that create confusion in the Ummah. Seyfeddin Kara summarizes these incidents for us very well: 

“Last January, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon publicly insulted Turkish ambassador Oguz Celikkol over a scene, aired in a Turkish TV show, Valley of the Wolves. Israeli humiliation of the ambassador offended Turkish pride and drew harsh criticism from Turkish politicians and the media. However, three days after the crisis, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak received a warm welcome from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davudoglu and both politicians acted as if nothing happened in their meeting.

In another development, on December 18, 2009, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, agreed to mend relations, to make them “positive and stable”. However, three days later, at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Erdogan slammed Israel for violating Lebanon’s airspace and for its air strike in Gaza.“

Moreover, we can give OECD membership of Israel as an example. Although Turkey could reject its membership, it did not do so. All these events create confusion and after these examples Kara asks us important questions: “How is it possible that on the one hand Turkey voices strong criticism of Israel and on the other talks about “positive and stable” relations? What is the reason for this ambivalent relationship between the two countries?”

Nonetheless, the Turkish-Israeli relations are expected to be generally good in future because of the common security, economic and political interests between the two parties. Actually, this equation answers our question: Is the reaction of the AKP an Islamic reflex?

How does the AKP evaluate HAMAS?

“Since Hamas was elected in a landslide in January 2006 to rule the Palestinian Legislative Council (eventually becoming isolated in Gaza), the AKP has followed a policy that widely diverges from both that of the U.S. and the EU (and of the so-called Quartet that also includes Russia and the UN). This policy also diverges from that which would have been followed by the rabidly pro-Western and Islamophobic secular parties of Turkey.” says Sungur Savran. “The Western alliance classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization and rejects engagement with it so long as it refuses (a) to renounce violence against Israel, (b) to recognise the right of Zionist Israel to exist and (c) to abide by the Oslo accords.”

When we evaluate the AKP’s viewpoint in this issue, actually, we can see that there are parallels between the viewpoint of Western alliance and Turkey to some extend. But, Turkey, on the other hand, does not describe Hamas as a terrorist organization, but as a political party. 

As Mohsen M. Saleh says, “The Turkish position versus the aggression on Gaza may be summarized in the following:

-Immediate cessation of fire by both Israel and Hamas

-Opening of all the gates to Gaza

-To send humanitarian aid into the Strip.” 

In addition to this, as we know, “in a drive to secure an immediate cease fire, open the crossings and send humanitarian assistance to Gaza, Erdogan started an Arab tour to Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, where he also met Mahmud Abbas in Jordan and Khalid Mashal in Syria.”  

“Turkey will never hesitate to be part of any solution or settlement to the crisis in Gaza and Palestine in general, particularly so as such a role will not be opposed by both the Palestinians and Israel.” says Mohsen Saleh. In other words, ‘Having a pioneering role in the efforts of reconciliation between the PA and Hamas and in a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians’ is very important for Turkey. But, in this process, the AKP is not ready to confront neither US nor Israel.

But on the other hand, according to Aijaz Zaka Syed, “these close ties haven’t deterred Turkey’s present leadership from confronting Israel on its persecution of Palestinians.” In my opinion, here, we come across problematic dilemma.

Although when it is asked, Erdogan says “the future of Turkey’s relations with the Jewish state would very much depend on Israeli behavior, especially toward Palestinians.”, he also see himself as a mediator between Hamas and Israel and send moderate messages to both Israel and Hamas at the same time. This means that a dramatic change in Turkey’s approach to Israeli relations or the Palestinian issue cannot be expected. So, despite its role in the region, Turkey’s reactions and actions do not stem from its Islamic identity. Of course, its leaders want to help Palestinian Muslims; but, at the same time, they play “the game” according to its conditions.

Does AKP serve to U.S. Imperialism?

“Turkey is the foremost ally, with the obvious exception of Israel, of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. It is also a candidate for accession to the European Union engaged in negotiations for the last five years, although relations have recently soured between the two sides due to the explicit reluctance of the Sarkozy and Merkel governments to carry the accession process to completion.” says Sungur Savran. “There is, then, the fact that the AKP government has no intention of breaking with the imperialist system, but is in fact offering its services to this system through the new hegemony it is attempting to establish over the Muslim and, more particularly, the Arab world. Only days after the Israeli assault on the flotilla, on June 8-9, foreign and assorted ministers of 22 Arab countries came together in Istanbul for parallel meetings of the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum and the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum, to be treated to sermons regarding the virtues of neoliberalism, privatization, integration with Western capitalism and flexibility in the labour market by none other than Erdogan and his ministers of foreign affairs and the economy.”

We should accept that when Turkey-AKP- plays a chess, it tries to control all the player and every person know that despite all these reaction, Israel needs to Turkey as a liberal Muslim country and Turkey also needs to Israel as a regional power. Thus, in my opinion, although there are very important steps in Palestinian issue which can be interpreted as Islamic actions, main foreign policy rationale of AKP government focuses on pragmatic steps in order to protect domestic and regional balances. As is known, politics is multi-dimensional equation and AKP tries to pass an examination with a minimum damage. This does not mean that their reactions are artificial. But, we should read this picture in the light of rules of international relations.

When we evaluate this issue from this viewpoint, as Savran emphasizes, “to present Erdogan as a saviour for the Palestinian masses is to disregard a series of contradictions that hold his government hostage to the status quo in the Middle East.“

But this process, again, raises the question of whether the AKP is ‘a model country’ for the Arab World and Middle East in the favor of American interests.

Is it possible?

As we said before, because US is very worried about Iranization of Middle East, they prefer to secular Turkey as a land of new caliph. If we talk about Palestine, these concerns are more and more. As you know, Iran helps to many Palestinian resistance groups and in this way, it has an effect on these groups and Palestinian issue. After Turkey’s reactions, this picture has changed a little.

“Turkey, especially under the rule of Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been taking, and continues, to take strident steps in expanding its influence eastward, effectively grooming itself for the auspicious title of the leading state in the Sunni Muslim world.” says Khalid Amayreh. And also we know that many Arabian countries disturb Iran because of its Shiite identity.

Here, reminding Akif Emre’s sentences, again, is very crucial. He warns us about this issue in his writing entitled ‘Iran-Turkey competition in Gaza’. “Rising Iranian prestige in the region in consequence of Hezbollah-Lebanon victory was preventing US’s strategic plans. Looking at the issue from this point, in terms of Arab regimes and US-Israel ally which want to break Iranian effect, there is no any obstacle in rising of Turkey’s prestige. Heroism of Sunni Turkey which has good relations with Israel and the US, tries to enter EU and is a member of NATO, was very limited compared to Iran which is out of the system and has a Shiite identity”.

We should not forget that If Turkey plays this role, it can be very problematic for the future of Muslim world.

Conclusion

Asked to Hamas advisor Ahmed Yousef, “Who does Hamas look to as a political model from other struggles in history?”, he answered: “I do believe that Hamas also looks at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as a good model. We are not Taliban, we are Erdogan.”

When we look at the sentences of Hamas advisor, we can easily say that even Hamas sees Turkey under the leadership of the AKP as a regional power and model. Although, today, we come across Turkey’s verbal reactions rather than practical reactions, Palestinian Muslims seem very happy from this picture.

But, in my opinion, Conn Hallinan describes this process and these reactions very well and we should listen to him carefully: “Ankara’s falling out with Israel is attributed to the growth of Islam, but while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party does have a streak of Islamicism, Turkey’s anger at Israel is over policy not religion.”

According to Asst. Prof. Dr. Tarik Oguz, there were always multi-dimensional and multi-directional policies ever since the early years of the 1960s and he exemplifies his argument with the actions of Bulent Ecevit, Turgut Ozal, and Ismail Cem. Although we cannot say that the foreign policy of the AKP is the same with that of the past governments, the AKP should also reject any ‘model role’ in the region.

Otherwise, the reactions of Erdogan and the other AKP leaders about Gaza and Palestine will become very artificial. We advise to the AKP Government that of course it should support Palestinian people; but, at the same time, it also should react to Israel practically, not only verbally/emotionally/romantically. If it tries to manage both Israel and Palestine at the same time and it insists on demands of the Western alliance over Hamas Government, this means that it will obey to U.S. imperialism.

We hope that Turkey will act independently in the Middle East. Otherwise, we will betray Palestinian Muslims and their expectations. This should not be acceptable for Islamic-oriented AKP Government.

Today, we are remembering second anniversary of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza and Palestinian people still wait helps of their Muslim brothers from all corners of the world. We should give an ear to this scream.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, TurkeyComments Off on Palestinian issue and Turkish viewpoint

WHO apologizes for claiming Greeks infect themselves with HIV

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WHO apologizes for claiming Greeks infect themselves with HIV
The World Health Organization has corrected a mistake in a document that claims that Greeks have been intentionally contracting HIV for receive benefits.
World Bulletin / News Desk

The World Health Organization has apologized for an error in a report that claimed that half of people suffering from HIV in Greece inflict the disease on themselves to receive benefits.

The WHO corrected the error, found on the 112th page of a report that can still be found on the WHOwebsite. They have corrected the error, saying: “The sentence should read: ‘half of the new HIV cases are self-injecting and out of them few are deliberately inflicting the virus’.”

The report, which notes a rise in HIV cases in Greece in the past 5 years, refers to a case back in 2011 in which it was revealed that some people were infecting themselves with the disease intentionally.

Explaining the 52% increase of HIV cases in 2011 compared to 2010 in correlation with the onset of the Greek economic crisis, the WHO claimed that the HIV was spreading due to the increasing number of those affected using and sharing needles to inject drugs.

Posted in GreeceComments Off on WHO apologizes for claiming Greeks infect themselves with HIV

Turks in Greece denied right to speak Turkish

Turks in Greece denied right to speak Turkish
Turks native to western Thrace in Greece are being told that they cannot speak Turkish.
World Bulletin / News Desk

To commemorate 90 years since the Treaty of Lausanne, Muslim Turks in western Thrace, Greece, held a two day conference called the Muslim Children Education Program on November 22-23 in the mainly Turkish city of Gumulcine (Komotini).

However, the conference was marred on the first day when a guest speaker was refused the right to address the audience in his mother-tongue Turkish.

This is the third such incident this month, after a coach and football players in Iskece (Xanthi), another city with a big Turkish population, was forbidden from speaking Turkish among themselves and their families during games. Turks were also forbidden from speaking Turkish at the Gumulcine state hospital.

Approximately 150,000 Turks native to western Thrace were spared the population exchange that took place after the Treat of Lausanne in 1923, which saw Turks in Greece swapped with Greeks in Turkey.

Like other ethnic Turks native to south-eastern Europe in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, they have been in a struggle to gain official recognition for the Turkish language in Europe.

Posted in Greece, TurkeyComments Off on Turks in Greece denied right to speak Turkish

The Ottomans smelt petrol in Istanbul

The Ottomans smelt petrol in Istanbul

 

According to the Ottoman Archives, during the Ottoman era petrol was discovered in Istanbul, but due to being found in a residential area, permission to explore was denied.
World Bulletin / News Desk

A document dated on October 1, 1915, reveals the details of petrol being found in the historic Balat district of Istanbul, but due to it being found in the Molla Aski neighborhood, which is a residential area, permission to explore was denied.

The Ottoman Archives document was found by historian Dervis Basa, who pointed out that during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II, the Ottoman authorities had started a campaign to find petrol in the region. ‘This document shows that petrol was found in Istanbul,’ he said.

‘While the address at which the petrol was found is explained, the location is supported by a number of names,’ he summarized.

The petrol was found in the Molla Aski neighborhood, inside the Tekfur Palace of the Balat district, in front of the home of Hayim Bahar. Basa also said that a request was sent to the Board of Ministers to give Egyptian Dr. Ahmed Fuad Bey the license to investigate the source of amount of petrol. However, this request was refused.

Commenting on the document, the head of the Turkish History Board Prof. Dr. Metin Hulagu said that for the discovery to reach the Board of Ministers shows that it was quite an important issue. He added that when it comes to petrol, one must look back at the era of Abdulhamid II, claiming that the reason for his dethroning in 1909 was because of two reasons – his pan-Islamic politics and the fact that he gave just as much importance to petrol as the British and the French did.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on The Ottomans smelt petrol in Istanbul

Western propaganda against Sultan Abdulhamid II

NOVANEWS
During Abdulhamid II’s 33-year reign as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, he was called names like ‘oppressor’, ‘tyrant’ and ‘dictator’ by the likes of French historian Albert Vandal and English prime minister William E. Gladstone.
Emre Gul / Historical Document / World Bulletin

When Sultan Abdulhamid II took to the Ottoman throne in 1876, the Ottoman Empire was in a phase of weakness and was falling apart. His opponents were to call his 33-year reign the ‘era of oppression’, but in order to rid the threat of the empire falling apart completely due to dangers both within and outside its borders, he completely reformed the empire’s governance. Putting a great deal of emphasis on establishing a firm foundation, he showed the importance of investing into the education sector and re-organized the treasury in order to decrease the empire’s debts.

In terms of his foreign policy, as the recognized Caliph of all Muslims both inside and outside the empire, he utilized his position of influence over the Muslim world to the maximum, which made the British Empire very uncomfortable. Ottoman flags and posters of Abdulhamid II were put up in even the remotest of Indian villages. Supplications were made in Indonesia, China, Africa and central Asia in the name of the Caliph and Commander of the Believers, Abdulhamid II. Simply from money collected from the financing and construction sectors alone, without resorting to loans or interest, he built the Hejaz railway from Istanbul to the holy city of Mecca. He also laid out the blueprints for bridges going across the Bosphorus and Halic River in Istanbul.

His pan-Islamic approach impeded on British interests in the Muslim world. Additionally, his open opposition to Zionism and the settlement of Jews in the lands of Palestine upset
many Zionist lobbyists in the western media. Using the Armenian crisis as an excuse to get Europe to intervene, the British Empire and Jewish capitalists decided that the only way to secure their interests was to bring Abdulhamid II down. For this reason, a propaganda campaign against Abdulhamid II was started in Europe. Working with opposition groups in the empire, an assassination attempt took place on July 21, 1905, as Abdulhamid II was leaving the Hamidiye Mosque.

During Abdulhamid II’s 33-year reign as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, he was called names like ‘oppressor’, ‘tyrant’ and ‘dictator’ by the likes of French historian Albert Vandal and English prime minister William E. Gladstone. Even after he was dethroned by a military coup in 1909, the propaganda campaign against him continued, with calls for him to be hanged.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Western propaganda against Sultan Abdulhamid II

Number of Iraqi Kurds dying for Jihad continues to rise

Osman went from Iraq to Turkey then via smuggling route to Syria
Hoshmand Sadiq
BasNews (Suliaymania):
Another jihadist from Iraqi Kurdistan has been killed while fighting against the Syrian regime.

20-year-old Osman HamaTofiq Fayaq was from Khurmal, north of the Kurdish capital Erbil and close to the Iranian border.

According to information obtained by BasNews, the body of Osman was returned to his hometown just a few days ago, but no funeral service was held.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has instructed that no funeral processions be held for Iraqi Kurds who die as jihadists.

“Osman’s family received the news of his death a few days ago, now they have brought his body back,’ said Simko Salar, mayor of Khurmal town.

Salar explained that Osman went to Syria two months ago, and that before he left he had been the imam of the town’s mosque. According to the young man’s family, Osman was smuggled into the conflict zone via Turkey.

Since the start of the Syrian war, dozens of Iraqi Kurdish youths have crossed into Syria to fight the Assad regime along with other jihadists.

Posted in IraqComments Off on Number of Iraqi Kurds dying for Jihad continues to rise

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