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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Erdogan’

Turkey Rejects Egyptians’ Choice, Demands Egypt ‘Return to Democracy’

Friday, July 5th, 2013

It had been one of the warmest relations between Middle Eastern leaders: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi.  Last year, Turkey pledged $2 billion in aid to Egypt whose economy, so dependent on tourism, had been battered by increasing – and realistic – fears of violence and protests.

This past spring, news stories had been floated that Morsi was going to accompany Erdoğan on a trip the Turkish leader has planned to make to Gaza. And last September, Morsi attended Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress in Ankara.

And then the Egyptian people, many millions strong, rejected their president’s many, rapid moves towards the rigid Islamization of their country, and the military removed President Morsi from power in the Egyptian people’s July 3 Revolution.

And as a loyal good friend, Erdoğan is now sticking up for his fellow Middle Eastern leader.  Erdoğan and his ministers are calling for a “return to democracy,” by which they mean the reinstatement of Morsi as Egypt’s president.

On Thursday, July 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized the military intervention in Egypt, saying “Turkey does not accept the removal and detention of elected leaders from power through ‘illegitimate means,’” according to the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News.

Of course, part of the driving force behind the Turkish government’s outrage over the removal of Morsi by the Egyptian military may be the hot breath they feel on their own necks; the Turkish government itself has been the target of three attempted military coups in recent history.

There are other similarities between the two leaders – both Morsi and Erdoğan moved their respective countries towards increasing Islamization, albeit Erdoğan’s shift has been more of a slow but steady creep away from the secularism of Turkey’s historic leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who transformed the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular nation, while Morsi’s was more of a mad dash from what was only a fleeting position of potential secularism.

“Leaders who come to power with open and transparent elections reflecting the will of the people can only be removed by elections, that is, the will of the nation,” Dovutoğlu said to reporters in Istanbul, on July 4. Dovutoğlu also spoke on Thursday about the situation in Egypt with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The United States, like Turkey, seemed stunned by the rapidity of Morsi’s fall, and until even the day of Morsi’s removal were still urging the Egyptian people to retain the first elected president in Egypt’s history.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the July 3 military intervention did not reflect the people’s will and urged the country to “return to democracy.” Perhaps none of the reporters had the nerve to ask how to measure the will of the people when millions of Egyptians showed up to demand Morsi’s removal.

“The power change in Egypt was not a result of the will of the people. The change was not in compliance with democracy and law,” Bozdağ said in Ankara. “In all democratic countries, elections are the only way to come to power,” he said.

“Everyone … who believes in democracy should naturally oppose the way this power change happened because a situation that cannot be accepted by democratic people has emerged in Egypt,” said Bozdağ.

Prime Minister Erdoğan cut short his holiday and returned to Turkey on Thursday to discuss the situation in Egypt with his top ministers.

A statement was released by the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, which was signed by parties across the Turkish political spectrum: the ruling Justice and Development Party, the main opposition Republican People’s Party, the opposition Nationalist Movement Party and the opposition Peace and Democracy Party.

The ruling power that was usurped by unauthorized powers should be given back to the [Egyptian] people. All democratic individuals and institutions across the world should stand against such moves, which have the potential for human rights violations.

Thus far the people of Turkey have not yet made clear their position about the ouster of the Egyptian president, so eyes will be back on Taksim Square to see whether the Turkish opposition is emboldened by the ability of the Egyptian street to topple their leader, and if so, to see how the Turkish government responds.

Jewish Conspiracy Behind Turkey’s Crisis Theory Gains Momentum

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

As The Jewish Press pointed out several weeks ago, it was perhaps inevitable that the blame for Turkey’s current woes was going to wind up being pinned on the Jews.

But where originally code words were being used – the “financial lobby” and one could still be accused of excessive paranoia for saying out loud that a modern day, non-Arab, largely-westernized state was going to point to the ultimate scapegoats as the source of their current woes, rather than at their own very bad decisions, we are currently in full-blown anti-Semitic, blame the Jews mode in the Republic of Turkey.

For those who find grim humor in watching those who, in spite of themselves, believe that one of history’s smallest peoples numerically, and least cohesive intellectually, politically and religiously, are capable of causing global turmoil, this latest creative effort to pin someone’s disaster on the utterly unrelated actions of a completely non-united “Jewish people,” is impressive.

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C. think tank, is the current address at which intellectual Jews are metaphorically described as circling their spoons in a cauldron containing a venomous brew.  This time the Jews “caused” the Turkish stock market to plunge, the Turkish youth and intellectuals to turn against their benevolent leader, and the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to look an awful lot like the stock version of a Middle East tyrant.

AEI’s public policy blog describes the situation in an entry it labeled, “AEI vs. Erdoğan.”

AEI’s director of foreign policy, Danielle Pletka, addressed the claims making the rounds in parts of the Turkish press that the anti-government protests in Turkey were the result of a plot hatched at AEI, and that the plotters are, of course, Jews. The accounts mention Michael Rubin, William Kristol (not affiliated with AEI), Bernard Lewis (also not affiliated with AEI and now 97 years old, it is unlikely he is doing much hatching of global or other plots these days), John Bolton (he is affiliated with AEI but he is not Jewish), and others.  And, of course, the meeting was, according to the Turkish press reports, paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Council.

Rubin, who has long been a serious student of Turkey, was particularly singled out as a prime mover of the alleged plot.  He also responded with tongue firmly in cheek in a posting he called, “A little bit of crazy from Turkey.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can’t even get Jewish conspiracies right: doesn’t he know that on Sundays, we control the banks. On Mondays, we control the newspapers. On Tuesdays, we think about how we can stage terrorist attacks and blame al Qaeda. On Wednesdays, we attend meetings with George Soros to discuss interest rates. On Thursdays, we plan atrocities and then order the international media to broadcast cooking shows so no one need see the violence. On Fridays, we hunt Christian children so we can use their blood to make matzoh. On Saturdays, exhausted, we rest.

There are Jews who work at AEI, Pletka being one of them, but the idea that there was some secret meeting at which the plot was hatched was so ludicrous that Pletka had to pull on her best try-not-to-laugh face and state: “I have to admit this didn’t happen. No meeting. No plot. No Jewish cabal.”

On the other hand, Pletka did take the opportunity to express her views about what Erdoğan has done to the modern Turkish state:

Reporters are in prison, the army has been emasculated, and secular freedoms are under siege. The Turkish people are standing up to Erdoğan because they see what has become of their once-proud nation, and they won’t stand for it. Kudos to them.

Rubin, echoing Pletka, suggested where Turkey’s leader should look if he wants to know who is responsible for Turkey’s unrest: “If Erdoğan wants to know who is causing these protests, all he needs to do is look in the mirror.”

Turkish Police Use Tear Gas, Water Cannons on Ankara Protesters

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Turkish police on Thursday fired tear gas and water cannons on protesters hiding behind barricades made from paving stones and roadside signs, in the capital Ankara.

Thousands of protesters gathered at Kugulu Park in Ankara, to support Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul, then hundreds of them marched from the park to the Kennedy Avenue near the  United States embassy, where they erected barricades to block the armored police trucks carrying water cannons.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said a referendum might be held on the future of Gezi Park in Istanbul, ruling Justice and Development Party deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik told the press.

Celik said, following Erdogan’s five-hour meeting with representatives of the Gezi Park protesters in Ankara, that the referendum, if held, would only include the Gezi Park, not the nearby Ataturk Cultural Center, which may also be on the demolition list as part of a program to revamp Taksim Square.

“Those with bad intentions, seeking provocation and persisting in staying at the park will be facing the police,” he warned.

The government’s move came after more than two weeks of nationwide anti-government protests in solidarity of the demonstrators at Gezi Park, which witnessed fierce clashes between police and protesters.

The protests have left at least three people dead, nearly 5,000 injured and thousands detained.

What Took so Long: Jews Finally Blamed for Turkish Unrest?

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

In one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Sabah, the blame for all the rioting and ensuing damage to the Turkish economy is finally being blamed on the same people who were blamed for the Bubonic Plague, the death of the leader of one of the world’s great religions and Mel Gibson’s fall from grace…the financial lobby – some would call that code for “Jews.”

On Friday, June 7, an article appears in Sabah that reveals Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to “tens of thousands” of supporters who came out to greet him when he returned from a three day visit to North African countries.

Erdoğan’s trip abroad happened during the worst of the ongoing nationwide protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which were sparked by plans to level a large park to be used instead for commercial purposes.

“We’ve gotten to this point despite the interest rates lobby, and this lobby right now thinks it’s threatening Turkey with speculation in the markets,” is how Bloomberg reported Erdoğan’s words from the event. “No power can stop Turkey’s rise except God,” while supporters chanted: “Open the way and we’ll crush Taksim.”

Erdogan has accused “extremist” groups, including terrorist from far-left organizations, and “unidentified foreign provocateurs” of having a role in the fiercest anti-government protests in years.

But Sabah, a fiercely pro-Erdoğan media outlet, merely quoted the Turkish Prime Minister of blaming a non-specific “financial lobby” or “interest lobby.”  Perhaps Walt or Mearsheimer are looking for reporting opportunities – they may be a good fit for Sabah.

In 2007, Erdoğan seized ownership of the Sabah newspaper.  He then sold it to the Turkuaz Media Group, owned by Çalık Holding. Ehmet Çalik is Erdoğan’s son-in-law.  He is also the 16th richest man in Turkey, with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

In an article on the economy published last year in Sabah, the headline of which appears on Google translate as “Appeared on big brother and the lobby,” there is quite a telling explanation of how the Rothschild family is behind the bad rap Turkey gets in the British media.  In the article it also “explains” how Turkey’s monetary policies cause great danger to the “Family,” which, presumably, is why the “Family” has been provoked into harming Turkey.

But the “Rothschild Family” is not only blamed for media manipulation that economically harms Turkey.  The Sabah article also explains how the Rothschilds made enormous profits from the concentration camps as the financiers of the gas used to kill the Jews, they also benefitted financially from the “Opium War” in the Far East, and from the U.S. war in Iraq and, indeed for both World War I and World War II.

It Was Erdoğan’s Fault

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Translated to English by Sally Zahav

For about a week now, Turkey has been in an uproar. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have burst into the streets inf almost a hundred cities all over the country, in noisy, audacious protest against the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A few people have been killed, about 1500 have been injured and about 2000 arrested. The spectacles from the streets of Turkey were reminiscent of the mass demonstrations of January 2011 in Tunisia that eventually caused President bin ‘Ali to flee, and in al-Tahrir Square in Cairo, which resulted  in the overthrow of Mubarak, and the demonstrations in the beginning of what was called the “Arab Spring” in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. The question arises – is it now Turkish society’s turn to rid itself of Prime Minister Erdoğan and perhaps the religious “Justice and Development Party ” as well, which has governed the country since 2002 as a single party, without need for a coalition because it has a majority in parliament.

The answer to the question is “probably not,” that is, the rule of Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party does not seem to be in immediate danger, for several reasons:

The first and principal reason is that, after all, Turkey is a democratic country, even if its democracy is not perfect, and in a democratic country, the prime minister is replaced by means of elections, not demonstrations. In contrast to the Kurdish minority, the Turkish nation, in all of its sectors, sees Turkey as its country, and the government is considered legitimate, despite the substantial criticism about how it functions. There is not an overwhelming desire to overthrow the government, but rather to improve the way it functions and correct the direction in which it is pulling Turkish society. The slogans heard in the demonstrations express the  demonstrators’ rage  over the behavior of Erdoğan, and actually, it is his personality that is the focus of the demonstrations. One of the signs in the demonstrations showed Erdoğan next to Hitler, both giving the Nazi salute, and for anyone who didn’t understand the image, “Erdoğan = Hitler” was written.

The second reason is that the regime truly wants to turn down the flames, and therefore, on most days of the demonstrations and in most places, there were no policemen positioned near the demonstrations, in order to minimize as much as possible the contact with officials and to minimize the potential for people to be injured, and indeed,  by mid-week only a small number of fatalities, about five, was reported, hundreds of injured and about one thousand arrested. Compared to Egypt or other Arab countries that have been afflicted by the “Arab Spring,” the situation in Turkey is much better, at least in this phase.

The third reason that Erdoğan will remain in power is that the larger the demonstrations against him, the more justified he will be — if he wants — to bring out millions of Turks to demonstrate to support him and his performance. His supporters as well as his opposition know well that during the past eleven years he has brought Turkey to a position of economic power, certainly compared with Europe, which gave him a slap in the face when it refused to allow Turkey to join the European Union. He — the Islamist — took the refusal hard, because the real reason that Turkey was not accepted to the Union is because Turkey is an Islamic country, and Europe does not want to grant membership to 80 million Muslims. For these past five years, since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, Erdoğan has been smiling at Europe all the way to the bank. If Turkey had been a member of the European Union it would have had to support — among others — Greece, and there is nothing the Turks want less than to support the Greeks.

For the sake of comparison: In Turkey the GNP per person is about $14,000 per year, while in Egypt it is less than half of that — about $6,000. The distribution in Egypt is much worse than in Turkey; that’s why there are millions of Egyptians who live on 2 dollars per day, while in Turkey the economic success pervades many strata of the population. True, there are pockets of poverty in Turkey as well, but they do not have the critical mass and they are not so severely  impoverished — as in Egypt — to bring millions into the streets to demonstrate against the regime because of their poverty and hunger.

Dissatisfaction

The demonstrations against Erdoğan stem from a sense among his opposition that he has crossed the line in Turkey too, on a number of matters.

The first matter is cultural. Turkey is an arena in the battle between Islamic tradition and the secular-nationalist heritage of Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk” (the father of the Turks) who founded modern Turkey after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. With his rise to power, toward the end of 1923, he imposed a secular nationalist agenda on the country, encouraged the drinking of alcohol and made “raki” the national drink, despite its being alcoholic. He did away with  compulsory compliance with Islamic Shari’a, imposed on the Turks civil marriage and divorce, changed the written language from Arabic characters to Latin characters, closed madrassas, dismissed imams, forbade the wearing of turbans, encouraged women to walk in the streets without a head covering–like the women in Europe–and promoted the political and civil rights of women. His successor, President İsmet İnönü, continued in his path until 1950. Thus, for almost 30 years, the citizens of Turkey underwent a difficult “educational program” intended to strip them of “Islam” and garb them in a modern secularism that would be liberal in every way, except for its treatment of religion.

In parallel, the bazaar — the shuk -- developed as a result of several factors. These factors include economic stability, an air of “business first,” European markets and travelers who came in hordes to enjoy the pleasant climate, the inviting beaches and the “everything is included” service. The military, the parliament, the presidency and the high court all comprised a system that was expected to “adhere to the constitution,” meaning the secular aspect of the state.

This reeducation worked well in the cities, because there the regime had an effective presence, and the various branches of the regime could monitor the application of the anti-Islamic laws and principles. In the cities, a cultural elite developed that included people of the theater, authors, poets, journalists, politicians, lawyers and doctors, as well as economists and accountants, with an impressive representation of women among this modern, “European” elite. As is the way of the elite in the world demographically, this group has a low birth rate, mainly because women usually have plans in addition to being a wife and a mother.

The trend toward secularism was problematic in the villages, because there the regime had a small, even marginal footprint, and tradition remained the name of the game. The farther a village was from an urban center, the more traditional were its residents, and, as a result, the birth rate in the villages remains high. Thus, for 90 years–four generations–since Atatürk began the cultural revolution, the secular citizens have become a minority in Turkey and traditionalists have become the majority. This fact was expressed in parliament when Necmettin Erbakan’s religious “Welfare Party” won the elections in 1996. The secular sector did not accept their defeat and demanded the high court–a secular stronghold in those days–to outlaw the religious party. The court did so, and Erbakan was forced to quit in 1997.

About six years afterward, in 2003, Erbakan’s student, Erdoğan, assumed power after winning a majority in parliament with his “Justice and Development” Party. Most of the secular sectors were left out of the loop politically, and for Erdoğan and his friends it was a sort of revenge  for the decades when the religious were sidelined and oppressed. Since the Islamic party rose to power it has made changes in the Turkish public arena: the Islamic courts were brought back to deal with matters of divorce, women were allowed to enter universities with head covering, and attempts were made to forbid abortions and the drinking of alcohol. Military  officers were replaced with the Islamic regime’s faithful, and parallel changes were made in the high court following a referendum that called for such changes.

The secular sectors object to these pro-Islamic trends, and for the past 11 years they have been trying to stop the process by which Islam is gradually resuming the position it occupied before the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The restless youth who burst into the streets a week ago carried  banners that were red, the color of the Turkish nation; in contrast, the banners that the adherents of Islam carried in their demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2003 were green. The red Nationalist versus the green Islamic, and in the struggle for dominion in the Turkish culture, color indicates your cultural identity.

Dictatorial Traits

The second matter that brought the demonstrators out into the streets was Erdoğan’s dictatorial behavior: in recent years he has sent almost a hundred journalists to prison because of their criticism of him. The government of Turkey, under his leadership, monitored what Turkish Internet users put on social networks, mostly Facebook and Twitter. The police take liberty in putting down demonstrations against Erdoğan ruthlessly and mercilessly, using gas mixed with water, and even rubber coated bullets that cause much pain–even though they’re not lethal. In recent demonstrations, one protester lost his eye as a result of being hit by a rubber coated bullet. Erdoğan’s crude and raucous style angers many, many Turks, who feel degraded by his arrogance.

The agreement that Erdoğan reached lately with the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, also angered many of those who see the Turkish nation and its rights as overriding principles. They see this agreement as a surrender to Kurdish terrorism, and from their point of view any surrender to the Kurds harms the Turkish character of the country.

Erdoğan’s foreign policy also gets a significant amount of criticism: his involvement in Syria has worsened the chaos there, and Turkey has lost out in Arab world markets where Syria served as a bridge to Turkey. The Syrian refugees in Turkey–approximately 200 thousand, possibly more–are a burden on the Turkish budget, and the tension on the border between Turkey and Syria does not contribute to the quiet necessary for economic prosperity. Many secular Turks view unfavorably Erdoğan’s support for the Syrian rebels, who identify with al-Qaeda, just as they object to his blatant sympathy with the Hamas movement in Gaza, and they accuse him of creating the Mavi Marmara affair. They do not agree with the Israeli response, which was, in their opinion, unreasonably brutal, but, in parallel, there are more than a few among them who think that the event began as an unjustified provocation by Erdoğan.

Erdoğan’s raucous style of speaking, the dismissive way he treats his political opposition, his attention to religious trappings and his activist foreign policy in the Middle East arouses concerns among his opposition that he is trying to restore the Ottoman Empire and become a modern-day sultan. These concerns have increased in the past two years as he began to transfer authority from the prime minister to the president, with the intention of being elected president in 2014, and having the authority to rule like the presidents of the United States, France and Brazil, who serve as executive heads of their countries.

The Taksim Events

The Taksim Quarter is in the heart of Istanbul and it is the stronghold of the modern nationalist state. At the center is Ğezi Park, with hundreds of ancient trees, among which Atatürk liked to stroll. Plans to improve the place include building a mosque and uprooting trees, which seemed to secular citizens like an Islamic blow to the symbols of secularism and Turkish nationalism. This blow was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the spark that ignited the secular public and sent it into the streets, to defend Taksim Square with their bodies, to defend the symbols of the nation, the culture, the arts, democracy and the right to speak out and voice criticism.

There are rumors that among those who stood to benefit from the changes in Taksim Square were two real estate agents who are personally close to Erdoğan. This kind of rumor creates the impression that the regime is corrupt, giving away national symbols to the prime minister’s cronies.

Erdoğan blames foreigners for stirring up the masses against him, and uses conspiracy theories in his defense. “Communists,” he calls them, and his spokesmen claim that those who are stirring up demonstrations are no more than a handful of people on the fringe, who belong to  the radical Left. The Turkish media minimized their coverage of the events of last week so as not to give free publicity to the initiators of the demonstrations and so that the public would not be encouraged to join them. Erdoğan himself transmits a “business as usual” attitude–he went out this week on a tour of North African countries. He is also supposed to go to Gaza this month, in clear defiance of the president of the United States, whose Secretary of State John Kerry tried to dissuade him from going there.

What’s  Next?

As things appear now, the demonstrations do not endanger the government in Turkey, and don’t significantly damage Erdoğan’s image. There are analysts who claim that the demonstrations even strengthened his position among the religious groups, because they fear the resurgence of the secular and their return to power. Here I share with my readers what I heard myself, when I visited Turkey last summer and met with senior people from the ruling religious party. There were those among them who expressed considerable resentment regarding the crude style of the prime minister, his impulsiveness, the arrogant way he relates to anyone outside of his inner circle, and the raucousness that he has brought into the country’s political discourse. They also disagree with the way he relates to Israel. Some of them even claimed that they are embarrassed by him, but they have no choice but to support him, because he knows how to excite the masses; a different leader might be pale and unattractive and the result would be the return of the secularists to power.

Erdoğan will have to draw conclusions from the demonstrations even if they stop, because if he continues to behave as he has done so far, the demonstrations might continue and even intensify. If this happens, Turkey’s economy would pay a high price because of reduced tourism, since tourists don’t set foot in unstable countries (Look at Egypt, Tunisia and, of course, Syria).

It is reasonable to assume that in the near future Erdoğan will be more responsive to people from his party who disagree with his style of speaking and his micromanagement style. He may even free some of the jailed journalists. In the situation created following the demonstrations it will be difficult for him to continue with his changes to the constitution that are intended to strengthen the position of the president at the expense of the prime minister, because the public is more aware today than in the past of his ambition to amass power and perhaps become the sultan of the Neo-Ottoman Turkish Empire.

Can Erdoğan make a basic change to the country, to his behavior, to his personality? It is reasonable to assume that he cannot, and, therefore,  in the future, the streets of Turkey will probably see more demonstrations, violence, wounded and killed, and each time the questions will arise: is Turkey really a democracy? Do the ruling elite know how to protect the civil rights of those who are not part of it? Doesn’t this country have more peaceful and orderly ways to influence the regime’s behavior through legitimate action?

It seems that more than a few years will pass before Turkey becomes an inseparable part of European culture, and by the time that happens, Europe will likely become an integral part of Islamic  culture…

An Alternative Opinion

Those who research Islam have differences of opinion about whether there can be a nexus between the requirements of Islam and democratic values. Islam is divine law, while democracy is based on laws created by a legislative body. Divine law is permanent, while parliamentary law is relatively transitory. Islam determines punishments such as cutting off the hand of a thief while democracy tries to rehabilitate him. In Islam the state is the main mechanism for imposing the commandments of religion (Shari’a) while democracy prefers a separation of religion and state. In Islam the religious figure rules in the name of Allah (as in Iran) and democracy is led by a group of elected individuals in the name of the people.

Despite this, Turkey is an example that shows, especially after 2002, that there is a nexus between Islam and democracy, and the proof is Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party.


It could be that the events of the past week shatter the Turkish example too, because difficult questions do arise from them: Is the rage of the secular citizens directed against Erdoğan personally or against the Islamic culture that he represents? And if he is so democratic, why does his opposition equate him with Hitler and the Nazis? And why does he need to use such violent and undemocratic means to break up the demonstrations that should be allowed in a democracy? And perhaps all this “democracy” of his was only a means to take control of the state and then to impose Islam upon it? And if he puts journalists in prison because they criticized him, will he allow politicians to criticize him when it is time for the next elections?


All of these doubts are an expression of the fear that actually a nexus
between Islam and democracy is not possible, and even the Turkish example worked for only a limited time period. Meanwhile, an Israeli has written a book on Turkey entitled “Demo-Islam” and it will be interesting to see if the theory will stand up to the test of reality.

Originally published at Israel and Terrorism.

Syria Issues Travel Advisory Against Travel to Turkey

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The Syrian government issued a travel advisory today to Syrian citizens, warning them against traveling to Turkey, for their own safety, according the Syrian government’s official news site, SANA.

The Syrian foreign ministry warned its citizens about the deteriorating security situation in several Turkish cities, and the escalating protest violence between the Turkish government and Turkish protesters.

Syria even called on Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to stop the violent repression of the protesters, and if he can’t, then to resign.

The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry advises the Syrian citizens against traveling to Turkey during this period for fear for their safety, due to the security conditions in some Turkish cities that have deteriorated over the past days and the violence practiced by Erdogan’s government against peaceful protesters.

The advisory is similar to the one that Turkey published against travel to Syria.

The Syrian civil war has left 80,000 people dead. Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has taken in a few hundred thousand Syrian refugees who fled from the violence.

Assad: ‘Israeli Aggression’ Fuels Demand that Syria Fight Israel

Friday, May 31st, 2013

In a televised interview on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station Thursday, May 30, Syrian President Bashar al Assad warned Israel that he is feeling pressure to open a military front against Israel.

Assad said there was “popular pressure” in his country to strike at Israel because of “repeated Israeli aggression.”

Israel has struck Syria three times over the past several months in order to stop the traffic of suspected biological and other sophisticated weapons which flow from Iran through Syria.  The eager recipients-to-be of those weapons is Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim terrorist entity closely aligned with Iran, which is headquartered in Southern Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border.

In the latest of the alleged Israeli attacks against Syria on Sunday May 5, an explosion rocked a military research facility outside the Syrian capital of Damascus.  “Military research facility” is a frequently used euphemism for chemical weapons factory.

Syrian officials called the early May attack a “declaration of War against Syria by Israel,” and warned of grave retaliation, but no specifics were given.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been brutally caustic in his criticism of Syria for failing to respond to Israel’s attacks. Erdoğan ridiculed the embattled Syrian president for being a “mute devil” for carrying out attacks on his own people but failing to stand up to Israel for its “aggression” against Israel and because Israel “occupies Syrian territory.”

Erdoğan was referring to the Golan Heights, a strategic location in Israel’s far northeastern border which Arab and Muslim nations and their sympathizers routinely refer to as “occupied Syrian territory.”  The Golan Heights were acquired by Israel in a defensive war, one which Syria waged against the Jewish State in 1967. Prior to Israel’s acquisition of the Golan Heights, the Syrians high up in the hills routinely shot at Israeli civilians who were frequently forced to sleep in bomb shelters.  The topography of the land rendered Syrians shooting at Israelis the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS: HOW IS IT ISRAEL’S, LET US COUNT THE WAYS

In the 1973 Yom Kippur War Syria again attacked Israel and briefly invaded the Golan Heights, but were turned back in less than a day.  Following this defeat, Syria signed a “Disengagement Agreement” ceding the territory to Israel.  Eight years later, Israel formally annexed the territory.

In other words, Israel acquired the Golan Heights in a defensive war in 1967, it reacquired it in another defensive war in 1973, Syria ceded control of the territory in 1973 and in 1981 Israel formally announced its sovereignty over this strategic highpoint.  And yet the anti-Israel nations and the media and other enablers still refer to this area as territory illegally occupied by Israel.  That should be a lesson to those who believe, because they keep hearing it, that Israel is an evil occupying force:  facts have nothing to do with the claim.

RUSSIAN S300S

There was extensive speculation about whether or not Syria received from Russia a delivery of long-range S300 missiles in recent days.  Although in the text of Assad’s speech, distributed prior to his televised al-Manar interview, Assad stated that Syria had received the first shipment of those weapons, during the actual interview Assad did not use those words, and instead his language was very general.

The S300 anti-aircraft missiles have been described by Israel as a “game changer.” According to Israeli officials, there has thus far been no delivery to Syria of these weapons.  There is currently an EU arms embargo on Syria.

“The S300 would be the pinnacle of Russian-supplied arms for Syria,” Colonel Zvika Haimovich, a senior Israeli air force officer, told Reuters in an interview. “Though it would impinge on our operations, we are capable of overcoming it.”

Israeli government minister Silvan Shalom told public radio: “Syria has had strategic weapons for years, but the problem arises when these arms fall into other hands and could be used against us. In that case, we would have to act.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/assad-israeli-aggression-fuels-demand-that-syria-fight-israel/2013/05/31/

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