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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘protests’

Turkey: A House Divided

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute

There is no doubt that the Gezi Park demonstrations in May and June, which spread to most of Turkey, represent a seismic change in Turkish society and have opened up fault lines which earlier may not have been apparent. What began as a demonstration against the “development” of a small park in the center of Istanbul ended as a widespread protest against the AKP government — and particularly Prime Minister Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.

The European Commission in its latest progress report on Turkey has recognized this change when it writes of “the emergence of vibrant, active citizenry;” and according to Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül, who in the report is praised for his conciliatory role, this development is “a new manifestation of our democratic maturity.” The Turkish government, however, has chosen to see these demonstrations as a challenge to its authority and has reacted accordingly.

The report mentions various repressive measures taken by the government, including the excessive use of force by the police, columnists and journalists being fired or forced to resign after criticizing the government, television stations being fined for transmitting live coverage of the protests and the round-up by the police of those suspected of taking part in the demonstrations.

However, there is, in the EU report, no mention of the campaign of vilification led by the Prime Minister against the protesters, or reprisals against public employees who supported or took part in the protests; also, measures taken to prevent the recurrence of mass protests, such as tightened security on university campuses, no education loans for students who take part in demonstrations and a ban on chanting political slogans at football matches.

Not only the demonstrators themselves have been targeted but also the international media, which Prime Minister Erdoğan has accused of being part of an international conspiracy to destabilize Turkey. The “interest rate lobby” and “the Jewish diaspora” have also been blamed. As the Commission notes, the Turkish Capital Markets Board has launched an investigation into foreign transactions to account for the 20% drop on the Istanbul Stock Exchange between May 20 and June 19, which had more to do with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering than the Gezi Park protests.

In August, however, a report on the Gezi Park protests by the Eurasia Global Research Center (AGAM), and chaired by an AKP deputy, called the government’s handling of the situation “a strategic mistake” and pointed out that democracy-valuing societies require polls and dialogue between people and the local authorities.

Polarization

The Commission is correct, therefore, when it concludes that a divisive political climate prevails, including a polarizing tone towards citizens, civil society organizations and businesses. This conclusion is reinforced by the observation that work on political reform is hampered by a persistent lack of dialogue and spirit of compromise among political parties. Furthermore, the report emphasizes the need for systematic consultation in law-making with civil society and other stakeholders.

This division was underlined by Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek in June, when, at a conference, he deplored the lack of a spirit of compromise in intellectual or political circles. This lack is not only illustrated by the occasional fistfight between parliamentary deputies, but also when the AKP government in July voted against its own proposal in the mistaken belief that it had been submitted by the opposition. Or when the opposition two days later passed its own bill while the government majority had gone off to prayers.

President Gül, in a message of unity to mark the start of Eid al-Fitr (in August, at the end of Ramadan), had called on Turkey to leave polarization behind and unite for the European Union membership bid. But to create a united Turkey will be difficult, given the attitude of the present government. Even the democratization package presented by Prime Minister Erdoğan at the end of September does not indicate any substantive change in the government’s majoritarian approach to democracy.

Irrespective of the Prime Minister’s reference to international human rights and the EU acquis [legislation], both lifting the headscarf ban for most public employees and a number of concessions to the Kurdish minority can be seen as a move to boost Erdoğan’s popularity ahead of the local elections in March.

Obama Urging Calm in Wake of Zimmerman Acquittal

Monday, July 15th, 2013

President Barack Obama appealed for calm on Sunday, after a Florida jury comprised of six women acquitted George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

In a written statement, Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy for his family and for America, but said “we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

The acquittal of Zimmerman Saturday dominated television news and the Internet on Sunday, with incidents of protests in communities as far away as San Francisco.

The 17-year-old Martin was killed on February 26, 2012 in a struggle with the armed Zimmerman, who is Hispanic. Many said Martin was profiled and targeted because he was black and walking at night in a gated, mostly white community. Zimmerman—a neighborhood watch volunteer—spotted Martin and called police. He then got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. A confrontation and struggle followed, ending with Zimmerman shooting Martin.

The case made national news after it was discovered that Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police accepted his claim that he shot Martin in self-defense.

Now, it appears, the jury did as well. But the U.S. Justice Department said it is looking into the prosecution of Zimmerman under federal statutes. So the other side might get its brand of justice, in the end.

State Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda says he was disappointed by the ruling, but will respect the jury’s decision. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman profiled the teen and followed him because he assumed Martin was going making trouble in the gated Florida neighborhood.

Immediately after the verdict, Martin’s supporters, including his family members, used media to express their rage about the jury decision.

Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, Mark O’Mara, was ecstatic. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. I’m glad that the jury saw it that way.”

More Clashes in Turkey, Police Use Tear Gas, Water Cannons

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Police in Istanbul fired water cannons and tear gas at thousands of protesters in Taksim Square.

Protesters converged on the site Saturday, blatantly disregarding warnings to stay away. Organizers said they intended to march into the adjacent park that has been cordoned off by police.

The area has been the site of anti-government protests and clashes with police since late May, when police forcefully broke up a demonstration against a government plan to develop the park for commercial use. At least three civilians and one policeman have been killed, and many more injured, during the past month.

Protesters are angry at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to use the army to disperse demonstrations, if necessary.

IDF, Egyptian Army and Hamas on High Alert at Borders

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The Israeli and Egyptian armies and the Hamas regime in Gaza are on high alert at Sinai and Gaza borders and near smuggling tunnels, according to eyewitnesses quoted by the Egyptian Independent.

Police stations, the airport at El Arish, the Kerem Shalom crossing, jails and entry points are under heavy security.

 

Nearly 100 Rapes in Four Days of Anti-Morsi Protests

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Mobs protesting the rule of Mohammed Morsi have sexually assaulted nearly 100 women and raped at least 91  in the last four days of protests, Human Rights Watch reported.

Forty-six attacks took  place on Sunday, 17 on Monday and 43 on Tuesday, according to figures attributed to the Egyptian Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault, which operates a hotline for victims of sexual assault. The Nazra for Feminist Studies women’s rights group  reported that there were five similar attacks on Friday.

“The government response has been to downplay the extent of the problem or to seek to address it through legislative reform alone” Al Jazeera reported”

Several women required surgery after the attacks and some were beaten with metal chains and were stabbed.

Al Jazeera noted, “Sexual harassment has long been common in Egypt, but its increasing occurrence and ferocity has shaken the protest movement. A large number of women had fallen victim to gang assaults too in the square – the epicenter of 2011 revolution.”

An American television journalist was brutally gang raped in the protests against Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

Erdogan’s Police May Be Using Chemical CR Gas on Protesters (Video)

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

A Turkish doctor has charged that her patients who have suffered from tear gas fired by police show signs associated with CR gas, classified by the U.S. Army as a combat class chemical weapon that can cause serious side effects and can be lethal.

CR gas was developed the British and was used in Northern Ireland and is used in riot control today in Egypt and Israel, but its use in Turkey was not documented until Wednesday. The use may be legal, but if it is being deployed, the Erdogan government has kept it under wraps and prevented people from knowing.

Police sprayed gas, either the usual CS tear gas or CR gas, on protesters Wednesday as the riots continued after nine days, and the death toll has climbed to three.

The government had instructed police to use restraint, but police violence was seen in Ankara where unions called for a solidarity strike in sympathy with Gezi Park demonstrations.

Police also used water cannons to disperse demonstrators, and among those arrested were the Ankara bureau chief for a television channel and a cameraman.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following the pattern of Hosni Mubarak and Basher al-Assad, among others, has called protesters “terrorists” and has placed the blamed for the riots primarily on users of social networks. His police arrested 25 people early Wednesday for the high crime of tweeting “misinformation.”

“This is a protest organized by extremist elements,” Erdogan said Monday a press conference.

“Have they already banned freedom of opinion and I have not heard about it?” tweeted one user, (at)CRustemov, as the news spread. “What on earth does it mean to get detained over Twitter!”

Thousands of people have been detained since the beginning of the protests, but most of them have been freed.

“We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism.”

Hopes by Erdogan that the violence would end, after his deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc apologized for police violence on Tuesday, have evaporated.

No one expects Turkey to follow Middle East countries that have seen revolutions topple their rulers following Arab Spring demonstrations, but Erdogan has been acting like the deposed rulers.

“He’s not been behaving rationally at all,” Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based researcher with the Silk Road Studies Program at John Hopkins University, told US Today Wednesday. “He appears to be becoming almost delusional and refusing to accept the reality that these protests are mainly spontaneous and are being organized by small groups of people who’ve never engaged in politics before.”

His behavior should come as no surprise. He has been living in his own dream world for the past Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad, while reducing diplomatic relations with Israel to a their tier level.

He has since realized that choosing  Ahmadinejad and Assad as friends was the wrong decision, but Erdogan still is a cheerleader for Hamas and wants to visit Gaza.

Years of promoting Turkey as a shining example of prosperity, democracy and tolerance have gone up in smoke.

Property damage and massive injuries, many of them from CD or CR gas, have forced an Istanbul mosque dating back to the Ottoman empire to be converted into a makeshift field hospital.

Ex-Jordanian Spy: Abdullah is Anti-Israel

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen is a former senior level Jordanian agent who is Christian. He defected from Jordan because he objected to the Jordanian monarchy’s practice of assassinating Jordanian citizens who have protested against the current regime. Ouni was born to the tribe of Hadadeen, which is supportive of the Hashemite dynasty that has traditionally filled significant positions within the Jordanian government and armed services.

Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

While he worked as a senior level Jordanian intelligence “collaborator” (spy), Ouni was ordered by the Jordanian government to confront anti-government protests and to lead counter protests in support of the Jordanian monarchy. In addition, he was told to write articles within the Arab media in support of the Jordanian government to prevent Jordan’s power base from collapsing, as was the case in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.” Hadaddeen claims that supporting the current Jordanian regime is not in the best interest of Israel and has accused Jordan’s King Abdullah of manipulating the Jordanian people to have negative views and even hatred of Israel.

The Hadaddeen family.

Hadaddeen is presently a political refugee in Norway, while his family remains within Jordan. He claims that the Jordanian government has constantly threatened to rape and murder his wife and three young daughters. When asked if the threats were credible, Ouni said that rape is a systematic tool used by the Jordanian intelligence and the fact that he is Christian, rather than from a Muslim tribe, makes the regime less concerned about repercussions. Despite the threats, Hadaddeen continues to be an outspoken advocate against the Jordanian monarchy, out of the belief that at this point only public exposure will help his family.

There is evidence to back up Ouni’s claim that the Jordanian regime is fomenting hatred for Israel among the Jordanian people. The Jordanian educational system, instead of teaching the country’s youth to peacefully co-exist with Israel, educates youngsters that Palestine was stolen by the Jews. A report published by Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Today, states that in Jordanian school textbooks, “references to Zionists as agents of imperialism and proponents of expansionists’ schemes […] occur.” Many of the anti-Israel textbooks that are presently used within Palestinian schools were originally Jordanian textbooks.

However, according to Hadaddeen, it seems that the Jordanian regime doesn’t merely publish anti-Israel textbooks. “One of the main foundations of King Abdullah’s regime is establishing hatred for Israel under the table,” Hadaddeen reports. He says that:

During the protests, [Abdullah] would tell Jordanian intelligence operatives, with me only being one of them, to sneak into protests and chant anti-Israeli slogans, both to distract the attention of people from the king and to give the impression that if he falls, Israel will be next.

Furthermore, a year and a half ago, the Jordanian intelligence establishment organized a massive march to the Israeli border, where Jordanians were told to “cross the border into Palestine.” But when Jordanians began to attempt to cross the borders, Jordanian intelligence officials attacked the protesters. Hadaddeen said this was a ploy in order to convince the Israelis that it was in their best interest to keep the Jordanian king in power.

Ouni’s wife with King Abdullah II.

Hadaddeen said that after the Israeli diplomatic mission was evacuated, as a result of this march, Jordanian intelligence officers went into the streets and proclaimed, “Haha, the Israeli chickens have left.” Hadaddeen compares the Jordanian king to Yasser Arafat, claiming that they are both double-faced. Just as Arafat told westerners he was dedicated to peace yet called for shahids among his own people, the Jordanian king portrays himself as the lone front against the Islamists, while getting his intelligence people to organize Islamist, anti-Israel and pro-regime protests, as the secular opposition, opposed to terror, is persecuted.

Unlike the situation in Egypt during the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan was and is on the same side as the regime. As Zaki Bani Rushied –leader of the Islamic Action Front Party—the Brotherhood’s political arm—informed the media, “The people of Jordan have chosen to reform the regime; people can choose to topple the regime or reform it, and here in Jordan we have chosen to reform the regime.”

Indeed, Hadaddeen asserts that in Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood is a “tool used by the king himself.” He said that the Jordanian king is “using the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorize Israel. He would meet them, and this is documented by media, and one day after they would start massive protests against Israel. It is not even a secret.”

Hadaddeen made the claim that in Jordan not a single Muslim Brotherhood member is in jail, and their members drive brand new German cars, in a country where such things are considered an extreme luxury. Hadaddeen described the cooperation between the Jordanian monarchy and members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, claiming that the Jordanian monarchy has supported the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.

Hadaddeen decided to abandon the Jordanian monarchy mainly because of the killings that have taken place “under the radar,” that have gone unreported in mainstream media. He claims that “they have been doing a lot of killing.” A Jordanian named Khairi Jameel, who was mildly injured while protesting against the Jordanian government, apparently was murdered by Jordanian intelligence upon boarding an ambulance.

Hadaddeen is certain that the regime attempted to make an example out of him. “I was there that day leading the pro-monarch counter-protests, and we were told by our intelligence officer someone was going to get killed that day. I saw Khary Jameel boarding the ambulance alive with a minor injury, pronounced dead hours later.” Hadaddeen believes that since that he is a Christian, he has dispelled the Jordanian government’s “facade to the western media” that all opposition members are Islamists.

Visit United with Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/united-with-israel/ex-jordanian-spy-abdullah-is-anti-israel/2013/05/19/

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