Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Western oriented was Turkey ever?

Turkey and the United States are experiencing a rift, especially as regards how to respond to the civil war in Syria(or should we say terrorism as the Turkish side does in regards to Kurds?). Back in June 2012 when the Turkish F-4 (RF-4ETM) was shot down, Ankara claimed it did not violate Syrian airspace. However un-named American defense and intelligence officials cited in a Wall Street Journal report denied the initial Turkish version of events, which the Turks hoped to would have initiated a Libya style air campaign under article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Now the rifts over their competing Syria policies grow even more, as Hurriyet reports today, the Turkish undersecretary of foreign affairs, Feridun Sinirlioğlu "criticized Washington’s decision to declare the al-Nusra front in Syria a terror organization." Some still attribute this rift to an aberration isolated only to the AKP regime and its fervent supporters, however according to think-tank scholar, Michael Rubin, even back in 2010 the allegedly contrarian military had the same views:

The lower ranks of the Turkish military share the same virulent hostility toward the United States and the conspiratorial anti-Semitism of men like President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. I sat through the Turkish General Staff’s (TGS) academic conference a couple years ago and heard lecturer after lecturer — each chosen by the TGS’s think tank — accusing the United States and Israel of the most base conspiracies. While traditional to fly the flag of every country whose diplomats were attending the conference, the TGS decided that Israel’s flag alone would not be flown.

If we go back further in time, one can even question more what kind of Western ally was Turkey ever, besides a fair weather one.

Balkan Analysis: Adventures with the CIA in Turkey: Interview with Philip Giraldi
July 30, 2006 In the following exclusive interview, Balkanalysis.com Director Christopher Deliso speaks with Philip Giraldi, a former CIA deputy chief of base in Turkey. ...
Christopher Deliso: First of all, please share some background information about your mission. What exactly was your position in Turkey? For how long were you stationed there?
Philip Giraldi: I served as deputy chief of base of Istanbul from 1986 to 1989. In the CIA, a station is in the capital city, Ankara, in this case, and is subordinate to the Embassy. All other field elements in any given country are called bases.
CD: Why? Was spying on the Turks out of the question, or too difficult or what?PG: The CIA did not make much of an effort to develop good sources among Turks because it was extremely perilous to do so, both in terms of US broader equities and because the Turks were very aggressive in a counter-intelligence sense....
CD: So there was no formal or tacit agreement between the two governments to not spy on one another, being NATO allies and so on?
PG: There was no agreement between the US and Turkey that we would not spy on each other- I believe that only Britain enjoys that status. Indeed, the Turks did spy very actively on our diplomatic missions, mostly through co-opting the local employees who worked there.
Life under Surveillance
CD: So combining this with your statement that “the Turks were very aggressive in a counter-intelligence sense”- how did this affect you and your colleagues?
PG: Embassy officers who were known or suspected to be CIA were surveilled whenever they went out, had their phones tapped, and their apartments were bugged.My apartment had microphones in the table lamps, for example, and everything I said on the phone was taped and analyzed. I was routinely surveilled when I went out to lunch, sometimes by teams of as many as one dozen survellants using cars and radios.
CD: That sounds stressful. How did you handle yourself, under the circumstances?
PG: When your apartment is bugged as mine was, you just talk normally and never ever talk about work.
CD: Would it have been foolhardy to remove those devices?
PG: If you remove the microphones, they would just put more in- in the end, it’s better to know where they are than to have to guess.
CD: Did you ever try to deceive them by speaking nonsense, or code, or things that would send them on a wild goose chase?
PG: No- you don’t play games with them, because then they really get mad and come after you with everything. And you don’t want that.
The Future of US-Turkey Covert Relations
CD: Many observers, and most pointedly the neocons, have declared that there has been a breakdown in relations with Turkey since the invasion of Iraq and the Turkish refusal of a northern attack route for the US. How bad are things really?
PG: I certainly know that the relationship is regarded as cool and that the Turks are extremely mistrustful of the United States, primarily due to our failure to suppress PKK activity in northern Iraq. The neocons, of course, would like to see Turkey join in a new crusade against Syria and Iran, but that is not about to happen.
CD: So has the CIA’s intelligence-sharing cooperation with Turkey also suffered because of this chill?
PG: Intelligence cooperation with Turkey has always been so-so. They share information only when it is completely in their interest to do so, not otherwise.
CD: So is Turkey now being categorized at the policy-making level as more of a hostile power than a friend? If so, Will the US be able to win back Turkish trust?
PG: Turks really dislike the US because of the mess in Iraq and the impending mess that our unquestioning support of Israel means for the region. And the Turkish government has reflected that antipathy. If you want to change the perception, you have to change the policy. Not likely to happen, is it?
CD: What can you say about how the current Israeli war in Lebanon will affect the traditional Israeli-Turkish alliance?
PG: Well, concerning the impact of [what is happening now in] Lebanon, you must be aware of the fact that the so-called “friendly” relationship between the two countries is very narrowly focused. It is largely the Turkish Army’s General Staff that keeps the relationship going, because it provides access to US military assistance and weapons that would otherwise be embargoed.
The Turkish public and the government, on the other hand, are rather ambivalent, if not hostile, to the relationship. And they are now very angry about the attacks on fellow Muslims in Lebanon.

Wild Turks driving madly. No rules, no safety.

The United State's Travel.gov advice for driving in Turkey should give a lot of pause for anyone who actually believes Turks care at all about safety or rules, in addition to providing laughs:

A number of accidents occurred when a local driver stopped, turned or took some unexpected action which caused the U.S. driver to hit the other vehicle or be struck by someone else. Many of the "unexpected" actions were unexpected according to U.S. driving standards but are quite common in Ankara and Istanbul and other parts of the country. About half of the accidents were clearly, according to local standards, the fault of the non-U.S. drivers. The key to reducing accidents is situational awareness, concentration and extremely defensive driving.
...  In 1995, Ankara and Istanbul provinces accounted for almost half of the total vehicle accidents in Turkey; Ankara 43,517, Istanbul 74,905, countrywide total 233,803. 1996 figures are even higher with 156,000 accidents in the first six months.
A number of defensive measures can and should be taken to increase the odds in your favor for accident-free driving. ...
-- Drive defensively, defensively, defensively.
-- Drive each day as though you were on a mission: the goal of which is not to be involved in an accident, cause an accident or strike a pedestrian.
-- Unexpected stops or turns without signaling, for no apparent reason.
-- Stopping in unexpected locations to pick up or let off passengers by cars, buses and trucks, including main highway entrance ramps, intersections, and along major highways.
-- Trucks parked at night without lights on the highway rather than on the side of the road.
-- Vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways.
-- Drivers that drive in the middle of the road and yield to no one.
-- Oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your "brights" on or not.
-- Drivers that attempt to pass while you are passing another vehicle.
-- Unmarked intersections (i.e., no stop signs), primary road has right of way, but proceed with caution.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A poem on Turkish injustice

After a character in noble prize winner Ivo Andric's novel is impaled alive, the following beautiful poem appears.

Freed from all earthly ties and burdens,
He was no longer a prey to troubles;
No one could do anything more against him,
Neither rifle, nor sword,
Nor evil thoughts, nor men's words,

Andric, Ivo. trans. Lovett F. Edwards, The Bridge on the River Drina(Macmillan, NY; 1959) p. 54.

Cracks in AKP's El Dorado economy, no gold

Cracks are showing in the "El Dorado" boom economy of the AKP period. Zaman reports:
Presence, hardships of homeless overlooked in blame for Sierra murder
17 February 2013 /TUĞBA AYDIN ,ISTANBUL
The issue of homelessness was brought to the country’s agenda recently after Sarai Sierra’s murder in İstanbul. ... 
Homeless people are generally individuals without strong ties to family or friends. ...
Hayrettin Bulan, the head of Şefkat-Der, told Sunday’s Zaman that there are currently around 10,000 homeless people in İstanbul and around 100,000 in the country. “There are only two homeless shelters that give service year round in the country. ..."
To be fair in the USA, where I live the homeless situation is much worse, despite a more powerful on paper economy. However due to the stronger social solidarity and family ties in Turkey, those homeless likely don't even have extended family that can help them.

 Debt is driving many Turks to desperate measures:
Hurriyet: More people trying to put their kidney on sale
February/18/2013, Dilara Sarı
The number of individuals applying to the Turkish Kidney Foundation to sell their kidneys as a way out of severe financial troubles has been rapidly increasing, with once weekly calls now coming 15 times a week, the foundation’s press representative, Gülizar Gün, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

“We used to receive such calls once a week,” Gün said. “Now there are one, two people calling every day. They talk about credit card debt and family troubles.”  
Recent developments hint that the AKP's economic miracle is about over. Here is one of their best tricks from 2012:
Asia Times: The talented Mr Erdogan
By Spengler (David P. Goldman), Dec. 4, 2012
The United States is shocked - shocked - to discover that Turkey, a notional American ally, has done more to help Iran skirt sanctions than any other country. ...

Turkey's gold shipments to Iran are big enough to make a significant dent in the country's enormous current account deficit. At an annual rate of $17 billion, Turkish gold exports amount to 2.2% of Turkish gross domestic product. Without them, the nominal improvement in the country's bulging trade deficit (to "only" 7.5% of GDP as opposed to last year's 10%) would disappear. 
However that game has been shut down(thanks to Israel Matzav blog citing Reuters):

A provision of U.S. sanctions, made law last summer and implemented from February 6, effectively tightens control on sales of precious metals to Iran and prevents Halkbank from processing oil payments by other countries back to Tehran, bankers said.
"Halkbank can only accept payments for Turkish oil and gas purchases and Iran is only allowed to buy food, medicine and industrial products with that money," one senior Turkish banker told Reuters.
"The gas for gold trade is very difficult after the second round of sanctions. Iranians cannot just withdraw the cash and buy whatever they want. They have to prove what they are buying ... so gold exports will definitely fall," he said.
Trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai was already drying up as banks and dealers declined to buy the bullion to avoid sanctions risks associated with the trade.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Turkish sexual morals and prostitution

If you allow almost any Turk to obtain a platform they will lecture you about the chastity, respect for values and woman within Turkish society and contrast it to the decadence of Western civilization. However according to the German-Turkish writer Seyran Ates, sex with one's wife has been reduced to something perfunctory, with Turkish husbands openly going to brothels for enjoyment. Not only that but according to Wikileaks in Turkey those brothels are populated mostly by either Turkish or foreign infidel/gavur woman forced into prostitution. Thus it is obvious which civilization is the more moral one. 
Wikileaks: UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 ANKARA 001622



E.O. 12958: N/A


¶5.  Published by Sabah on Friday, March 3, written by Fatih
TITLE:  Those who force children into prostitution


BEGIN TEXT:  Sabah, for the past two days has been publishing a sad story that turns our stomachs.  This is the story of kids who were dragged into prostitution.  Girls as young as 12 and 13 are being sold in front of police in Istanbul.  They are somehow being taken out of state- controlled centers and being dragged into prostitution.
These poor girls could be our daughters.

...  Meanwhile, I learned that the person behind the child prostitution is
Serpil from Kayseri.  Her real name is Cemile Aydin.  She is
involved in child prostitution.

Authorities took action 23 times against this woman and her brothel where she employs children.  It was raided most
recently on October 9, 2005.  She was captured while forcing
girls to prostitute themselves.  This house was raided again
late last night. She was released by the court in which she appeared.  Child prostitution is the biggest shame in civilized countries, but it is openly conducted in Turkey. And one of those who are responsible for this is wandering freely, despite the fact that she was captured 23 times. 

¶8.  Published by Sabah on Wednesday, March 8:

TITLE:  Guardian Angel of Modern Slaves

BEGIN TEXT:  Selin Arslan, who works in the International Organization for Migration's fight against human trafficking office, and who is also the coordinator for public relations, is extending her helping hand to Ukrainian, Moldovan and Russian women drug into prostitution in Turkey. 
Arslan, along with her professional team, works like a
detective following information coming to the 157 hotline
operated by such women.

The 157 hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Operators speak Russian, Romanian, English and Kyrgyz.

In 14 months, 248 of 290 women victims were sent back to their countries and 98 percent of those women were forced into prostitution, while two percent were used as domestic
help.  END TEXT.

¶10.  Reported by Yeni Safak, Radikal, and Aksam on Saturday,
March 11:

TITLE:  Pinar's Tragedy

BEGIN TEXT:  The life of Pinar O. (16), who was one of the
two women shot in the head and killed in Eregli, Konya,
brought into question why we cannot protect our children.

When she had nowhere to go, she took shelter at the house of
G.E., who reportedly forced her into prostitution.  When she was forced into relationships with men, she fled and took shelter with the police.  Six people were detained for keeping her and leading her into prostitution by force.  The policemen that she accused were found not guilty in the investigation.  ...


¶11.  Published by Vatan on Saturday, March 11:

TITLE:  Prostitution in a hot tub

BEGIN TEXT:  The Jandarma, which got a tip that prostitution
was being conducted at the Sultaniye Hot Springs in
Koycegiz, Mugla, conducted a "Circle Operation" that
encircled the hot springs with three teams of officers.  Ali ¶A. (30), a municipality worker who allegedly forced foreign women into prostitution, and his brother, Arif A. (39), and his Azeri wife Aygun A. (27), who was deceiving women with job offers, were detained.  Ukrainian Valencia M., who
allegedly was forced into prostitution was rescued.

...  It was claimed that the gang members have been bringing women from abroad to Mugla with job offers and forcing them into prostitution.
¶14.  Reported by Radikal on Saturday, March 11:

TITLE:  Blow to the prostitution on board gang

BEGIN TEXT:  Police saved 29 women, most of whom were foreigners, when it cracked down on a prostitution ring in Fethiye, Mugla.  ...

The Mugla Police Organized Crime and Smuggling Department,
upon complaints by tourism agents and local businessmen,
began to follow a prostitution ring.  Following a two-month
surveillance, it raided 24 separate sites last Tuesday and
detained 19 people.  ...

The ring kept the women in their houses or hotels, had even rented a three-story hotel, and forced them into prostitution.  From time to time, they were providing prostitution services on board a rented boat.  The gang
members confiscated the passports of the foreign women and threatened those who wanted to return home by saying that they would throw hydrochloric acid on them. 
...  M.K., who was detained,
was working for the Tblisi police.  ...  END TEXT.

¶15.  Published by Sabah on Saturday, March 11, written by
Fatih Altayli:

TITLE:  A raid on a brothel

BEGIN TEXT:  Some time ago, Sabah published reports exposing
the prostitution scandal in Beyoglu.  This situation brought
to agenda indeed has been disturbing to those who have lived
in Tarlabasi for a long time.

People living in that neighborhood and hotel owners many
times filed official complaints to the Istanbul Governor's
office and the Provincial Tourism Director.  They asked
officials to stop what was going on.  They even gave the
addresses of the houses involved in prostitution.  Later
came the comedy.  The Governor and Provincial Tourism
Director referred the issue to the police.

The police first collected the women working on the street
and transsexuals.  Certainly, prostitution did not end.
There was a need to carry out an operation on the brothel.
They applied to the prosecutor, who gave the go ahead for a
single search.  The operation was then carried out.  Let me
read the rest from the official document that was prepared
after the operation. "When we went to the buildings numbered 18 and 24 on X Street, and numbers 9 and 14, we noticed that their doors were closed.  We rang the bells many times, but nobody responded.  We concluded that there was nobody inside and we did not conduct a search."  Policemen in official uniforms knocked on the doors of the brothels and when nobody answered the door, they decided not to conduct an operation. 
What were the policemen expecting?  Were they expecting someone to tell them, "Welcome.  Let me offer you something"?  END TEXT.


¶17.  Published by Radikal on Sunday, March 12:

TITLE:  Valentyna saved

BEGIN TEXT:  Ukrainian Valentyna Butkova, who fell into a
prostitution web, was saved by a Jandarma operation.

The 24-year-old primary school teacher was deceived earlier by Ali Altindal (42), who works temporarily in the Koycegiz Municipality, and his Azeri wife Aygul Altindal.  They offered her a job.  Altindal took her passport and sold her
to men at the Sultaniye hot springs where his brother A.A.

...  END TEXT.

Turkish males misbehave amongst scantily clad female beach-goers

Many people have a false perception of Turks as secular and anti-Islamic because of the hard work they have done in propagating their official state narrative, which runs counter to reality on the ground. However, this is how many Mehmets behave when they are surrounded by sexually liberated and barely clad Western female tourists:

Tragic images were recorded by the lens of HABERTURK at the public beach in Marmara, Turkey

They get out of the sea in front of women with white briefs. 

This is how he looks at a tourist.

This is how they look at tourists during their their afternoon sunbathing. 

This is how he gives her a harassing gaze. 

This is how they look at women at the moment they bend down. 

This is how they bother a group of tourists. 

Like it was a cafeteria. 

Two young men at three tourists. 

They get in the sea with their underpants. 

Haberturk 11/7/2012  
via Tourkikanea.gr(a Greek blog that translates articles from the Turkish press)

The Turkish media: salivating over the Greek crisis

A relatively non-fascist Turk describes the Turkish press's coverage and gloating over the Greek debt crisis on his blog:
Ferhatbingol: Saliva of Turkish newspapers
December 18, 2011 
Let me be clear from the first sentence; this post will not be a Christmasy one because I will write about something that makes me angry for a while. So, this is a hate post

Whom I am angry is Turkish Newspapers. Since the crisis in Greece has started they look like enjoying the show from the first row. The first days, there were political comments like EU state Greece goes down etc. Nowadays, the comments became insulting and no body stops them. 

For example, today’s Hurriyet newspaper there is a so-called business man commenting about Greece saying that The Greek companies trying to sell themselves to Turkish companies; and they are running after us. First of all, who the frack are you? How many Greek companies came to you to even talk? 

That is the thing I am angry about, the SALIVA of some people are dripping from their mouth. Nobody even aware that if Greek market goes down the regional market goes down. 

Turks bet on their local economy to grow; but what will happen when the micro-loans you gave around like pop-corn collapse? Why did the mortgage interest raised 10% in 1 year? Because, where you get the money (Europe) see that you are going down and do not want to stuck with another mortgage crises. Self confidence without knowledge should be considered as crime. 

In my opinion, Turks should be more clever and LEARN from Greek crises instead of acting like the regional Gods They will need it I admit, the things will not be as bad as Greece when the crisis hit; because of the heavy industry BUT again, the salaries will go down, devaluation of Turkish Lira is a big possibility. 

Why do people are so happy to watch other people’s misery? Do they feel better about themselves? Superior? Don’t they see what ever IMF does to Greece is actually a recipe of what will happen to the others???
This is nothing new, in Turkish society negative stereotypes against non-Turks are common, even before the Greek crisis this was the stereotype that even elite and educated Turks held against Greeks:
Bianet: Racist State Report Withdrawn from PublicationAnkara, 05-03-2009, Tolga KORKUT  ...
A report by the Governmental Auditing Commission (DDK) on shipyards has been found to contain racist descriptions of Greeks, such as “lazy” and “a genetic hostility towards Turks”. When reported, parts of the reports were taken off the website. 
Appendix 4 noted that this meeting took place on 12 December 2007 and was headed by Necmi Uğurlu, former Athens Trade Advisor. 
Following the observation that public offices opened 7.5 hours a day in Greece, the report continued: 
This shows how lazy the Greek people are and how inefficient they are in their business life. Within these working hours there are another one and a half hours for tea breaks. Even if the President came, employees would not interrupt their tea breaks.” 

AKP's Sunni Chauvinist foreign policy has domestic blowback: report

Bianet: Report Reveals Discrimination Against Turkey's Alevis
An Alevi association annual report reveals at least 60 right abuses including board-marking of apartments with Alevi residents, discrimination of Alevis' funerals were committed in 2012. 
Nilay VARDAR, 31 January 2013, Thursday
The report listed 60 different incidents in 2012 diverging from board-marking of apartments with Alevi dwellers to Turkish state's discriminatory practices toward Alevi funerals and arsons cases in sacred Alevi places.
Ali Kenanoğlu, association chairperson, discrimination toward Alevi people from government authorities skyrocketed in 2012 and physical attacks on Alevi people became "routine" on evening news.
"We can also resolve this issue with a new constitution where the Turkish state will be entitled to approach all religious equidistantly and not to favor an semi-official state religion," Kenanoğlu said.
Some of the remarkable incident from the report included:
* Ostracizing: Rumors spread that dozens of apartments inhabited by Alevi people have been board-marked in Adıyaman, Antep, Erzincan, Balıkesir, Istanbul and Mersin provinces. In Izmir province, Çiğili district's Alevi residents were said to receive notes inviting them to the faith of Islam.
* Attacks: During the islamic holy month of Ramadan, an Alevi resident's apartment has been reported attacked after he complaint on the public drum noise to wake up people for fasting.
* Ill-treatment on Alevi sacred places: Municipalities in Istanbul and Mugla provinces ordered the deconstruction of two cemevis (Alevi prayer space) due to their "unsuitabilities for construction". While an arson was reported in a cemevi in Istanbul's Kartal district, the walls of another cemevi in Yeşilkent district has been destructed by bulldozers. A cemevi in Kadikoy district complaint that their electricity was cut down by the municipality. A failed arson attempt was reported in a ceremony tent built in Erzincan province during Alevi's holy month of Moharram.
* Injustice: Several Turkish court verdicts reinforced the government approach denying cemevis as a religious practice place.
* Threats: Hundreds of students with Alevi origin complaint that they received threats from school administration to enroll in Islam religion class.
* Education: Education Ministry included two chapters on Alevi faith on school textbooks. Most Alevi parents interpreted the ministry's move to force their children to enroll in Islam religion classes. Alevi parents' request to exempt their children from compulsory religion classes were denied.
* Funerals: No army or government officials attended the funerals of 2 slain army soldiers because they were held in cemevis. Other slain cemevi soldiers' funerals held in mosques were attended by dozens of officials from the government and army.
* NGOs: Police raided an Alevi association in Dersim province, detaining its administrators.
* 1993 Sivas Massacre case: A general feeling has established among society that the remaining few suspects for involving in 1993 Sivas Massacre could benefit from the statute of limitations. (NV/BM)