Mr. Ibrahim Kalin, the chief adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, will speak at the Chautauqua Institution on Tuesday August 8/13 about “his experiences in Turkish government leadership, interfaith relations in Turkey and his scholarship on Turkish perceptions of the West.”
On Friday of that same week, Kemal Kirişci, director of the Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution's Center on the United States and Europe, will lecture on “how Turkey can be held up as an example to the Middle East, and on the state of its relationship with the U.S. and Europe.
Feed: Jihad Watch
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2013 8:35 AM
Subject: Turkey: Erdogan claims Jewish investors behind anti-Sharia protests
Of course. Who else? Islamic Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Paranoia Update: "Erdogan claims Jewish investors behind protests," by Dror Zeevi for Ynet News, June 14 (thanks to Joshua):
After two weeks of protests, each side in the Turkish tumult is starting to produce its own narrative, explain the origin of the protest and plan the next step.
In the demonstrators' viewpoint, the protest's train has long left its humble beginnings as an environmental struggle against the redevelopment of Gezi Park in central Istanbul, and is now heading toward far more general goals.
The object of the protestors' ire is no longer Gezi Park, the ruling AK party or even the government, but one man - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Described as an autocrat, demonstrators protest his attempts to force values, norms and codes of conduct on a widely diverse public, and especially against the move to make Erdogan president carrying sweeping authorities.
Erdogan's conduct toward the demonstrators – his refusal to meet with leaders and harsh measures aimed at suppressing the demonstrations – is for them ample proof to their claims.
The protestors have little love for the Turkish media outlets, as well, which act like cowed rabbits, provide little coverage of the demonstrations and tend to support the government's stance.
Have they been taking lessons from pro-Islamic supremacist "journalists" such as Niraj Warikoo, Christiane Amanpour, Spencer Ackerman, Lisa Wangsness, Manya Brachear, Bob Smietana, Kari Huus, Dave Weigel, Michael Kruse, Eli Clifton, Alex Kane, Alex Seitz-Wald, Adam Serwer, Max Blumenthal, et al?
Conversely, over the last few days and especially since returning from a visit to north Africa, the Turkish PM has constructed his own theory of the ongoing events. At first he comprised a long lists of supposed suspects behind the protests – opposition supporters, hooligans, foreign governments – but recently the government's narrative is taking a more stable shape and accusations are mostly directed at business men and large-scale investors Erdogan has been terming "the interests lobby."
According to him, these want to hamper Turkey's economy for short-term profits. Though the specific guilty partners were not explicitly named, it appears Erdogan is hinting at investors such as Jewish-American tycoon George Soros and other Jewish and Western businessmen.
Soros? Soros has never been against the imposition of Sharia anywhere. Why would he oppose Erdogan?
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: AN INTERVIEW WITH BARRY RUBIN ****
By Ruth King on June 14th, 2013
Barry Rubin is a commentator National Review Online often checks in with when there are eruptions around the world, particularly in and around the Middle East. He is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center in Israel, and author of, among others, The Muslim Brotherhood: The Organization and Policies of a Global Islamist Movement. He talks to NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Are the protests in Turkey more Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street?
BARRY RUBIN: The idea that this is some far-Left thing is a slander by Islamists. Those involved include a wide front of social democrats, liberals, and conservatives — usually called center-right in Turkey — and all sorts of people who are tired of a ten-year-long march toward Islamism. This is the kind of thing we should be supporting. Instead, unfortunately, the Obama administration is on the side of the democratically elected dictator, so to speak.
LOPEZ: What is this exposing about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
RUBIN: His vicious, oppressive side. He’s the man who said that democracy was like a streetcar and you just decide where to get off. He has intimidated the once-free media, harassed the courts, and supported Iran and terrorist groups abroad. This week he was busy trying to destroy the Turkish republican tradition of beer drinking. He is trying to undo 70 years of social progress in Turkey.
LOPEZ: Do words like “dictator” and “tyranny” overdramatize the situation?
RUBIN: The Western mass media have not covered what’s been going on in Turkey during the last decade. Listen to what millions of Turks say. The media-economic power of the regime is incredible. There are many anecdotes: a television journalist practically trembling while talking to me about repression in his office; the billing of a newspaper for hundreds of millions of alleged tax debts unless it toed the regime line; the women who fear to walk through Istanbul neighborhoods unless dressed in Turkish-style “Islamic garb”; the anti-American propaganda; the knowledge of government officials that you will be promoted faster if your wife wears a headscarf; the thousands of political prisoners; the Jewish family firm told that, after almost a century of providing equipment to the government, they shouldn’t bother to put in bids any more; the anti-Semitic website that, behind the scenes, was sponsored by the ministry of education; a retired general sentenced to a year in prison for telling a villager that the government had betrayed the country. A lot of the truth was reported by the U.S. embassy, as we can see in the Wikileaks.
LOPEZ: Is there any chance of this ending well?
RUBIN: I don’t think so. The army is finished; opposition politicians are fools at worst and incompetents at best. Maybe these demonstrations will mobilize a new opposition. Maybe it will make the ruling AKP go slower, or maybe it will become more openly oppressive. Moderates and pro-Western forces in Turkey know they cannot depend on accurate media reporting or Western assistance
LOPEZ: Fools? Could you be more pessimistic?
RUBIN: That is the way a lot of Turks speak. The current demonstrations are the first sign of hope. The main opposition is the historic Ataturk party. I was in Istanbul in the last election and heard on television the speech of that party’s leader after that party’s defeat. He said they lost because the voters were stupid. The current leader raised hopes but wasn’t able to deliver.
LOPEZ: How is this important in the context of the Middle East?
RUBIN: Not at all, really, in terms of the larger picture. This is not changing international issues.
LOPEZ: But isn’t Turkey supposed to be a model secular state in the Islamic world?
RUBIN: It was in the republican, Ataturk era, but that is long gone. A lot of people have an outdated view of Turkey.
LOPEZ: What might this mean for the future of Turkey?
RUBIN: Probably nothing. Either slower or faster, Islamization is still Islamization. There is little or no chance of getting rid of Erdogan or of Obama changing policy. There has been much discussion of whether the Turkish economy will continue to do well or will crash. So far it has done acceptably and that helped to keep Erdogan popular.
LOPEZ: What if the White House were to reconsider? What would be a helpful policy?
RUBIN: There are people in the State Department who are very unhappy with what’s been happening in Turkey, as you can see in the embassy reporting. There were high-ranking officials who wanted Obama to take a tougher line toward Erdogan, breaking away from his pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy in Syria. Up to now, U.S. Syrian policy has been made in Turkey. But Obama kept to his pro-Erdogan line. The government renewed the exceptions to Iranian sanctions for Turkey. If Erdogan goes to Gaza, it will really throw a pie in Obama’s face — and show that he has no respect for U.S. interests. Note that Erdogan has disregarded the supposed détente with Israel and broke all his commitments despite the fact that these were made as direct promises to Obama! But he paid nothing for this behavior.
LOPEZ: Can the U.S. be of any help in Syria, as Obama–administration officials — and John McCain — meet with some leaders of the opposition to Assad?
RUBIN: This is a big question. Remember that the Obama administration courted the Bashar Assad dictatorship until it had to change course because of the rebellion. Then it backed the Muslim Brotherhood — this is easy to document — and was soft on the Salafist radicals. Now they have awoken too late, trying to find non-Islamist moderates. Just as in Turkey, the Brotherhood types in Syria refuse to be flexible or to listen to the United States, but they still get the goodies. McCain understands nothing. He meets with the Free Syrian Army, which probably is less than 5 percent of the armed rebels. The civil war will go on for years, wreck Syria, kill tens of thousands of people, create two repressive regimes, and be a big strategic mess. I prefer the rebels to Assad, but the margin isn’t huge. This is a tragedy; it has become like the Iran–Iraq war. Neither side is good for U.S. interests, and when it does finally end, watch out for more instability. The whole problem has involved so much Western wishful thinking. Every time I’m interviewed by Western journalists, they claim that these radical Islamist regimes will inevitably become moderate, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
LOPEZ: What do the National Security Agency surveillance leaks — Edward Snowden on the run — look like to you, from afar?
RUBIN: This is not the way to handle a counterterrorist policy. It really looks as if terrorism is an excuse for gathering information on U.S. citizens. This NSA approach is like the TSA approach to airport security: Pretend that everyone needs surveillance rather than using profiles to focus on the likely threats.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at large of National Review Online.
‘Model’ Muslim State Turkey Accelerates Towards Tyranny
Erdogan is wrapping up his "long con."
By: Ozgur Yilmaz - Bio
June 12, 2013
It first begins with a peculiar, bitter smell. As you inhale, it starts to burn your throat, your eyes get red and you start to cry. Then it becomes difficult to breathe. You feel suffocated. Get sufficiently exposed, and you may faint or even die.
These are the effects of pepper spray, the chemical that was used by the Turkish police against peaceful sit-in protesters who tried to protect one of Istanbul’s few remaining green spaces against a controversial reconstruction plan in Taksim Square on May 28. Undercover police then proceeded to set fire to the tents left behind by escaping protesters — with all their belongings in them — despite the protesters’ pleas.
For many people, this was the last drop in the glass, which took many years to fill. The unprovoked attack against the environmentalists urged people from very diverse backgrounds to pour into Taskim Square to support them. Most of the supporters were well-dressed, well-spoken, decent people representing no particular political party, or ethnic or sectarian group.
What had brought people from so many diverse backgrounds together?
When you talk to protesters, you understand. They are secular-minded (yet almost exclusively Muslim) pacifists; their slogans and chants revolve around only one person: Erdogan. The anger and contempt felt for him is the common denominator. Secular people are rising up against Erdogan’s style of governance.
This must be puzzling from a Westerner’s point of view, as the West still portrays Erdogan’s Turkey as a model for the Muslim world.
To date, his Turkey had been put forward as a political and economic success story for Muslim countries to emulate. Turkey is a considerably more powerful country than it was ten years ago, but beneath the surface a different picture emerges.
From the moment they took power in 2002, the Erdogan-led coalition of ex-Islamists under the AKP umbrella worked hard to convince the West and liberals that they had left their desire for an Islamic state behind. In addition to this extensive window dressing, they were instrumental in finding strategic targets for which they would receive the support of the Western world and liberals — they cracked the code of the West’s wishful thinking.
The power of the military has been rebuked, including that of the Western-oriented secularists within it. They emptied out Turkey’s secular judiciary with an induced retirement plan, and recruited their fellow supporters instead. Success in the economy was accompanied by a huge transfer of governmental resources to their supporters. According to observers, media owners are brought into line with huge tax fines or with governmental contracts as reward, while journalists are being suppressed via threat of getting fired or getting jailed. Telephone tapping by the government-controlled police is a common practice.
There are no checks and balances left in the Turkish state to stop this abuse of power. Critics say that the police, state prosecutors, and judges have all come under the control of Islamists, and that this setup is used to dismantle secularists from key posts in the Turkish state. In order to prevent any questioning or pressure from the West, they cunningly accuse the defendants of anti-democratic charges, and portray them as anti-Western.
What the West has so far refused to accept is that Turkey has been facing a network in symbiosis with the AKP, which has excelled in the manipulation of truth and the art of disguise thanks to their accelerated evolution under pressure from the Turkish secular system for many decades.
Many of the leading figures in opposition parties have been eliminated using sex tapes serviced to the media. In the absence of an effective opposition and benefiting from the growing economy, Erdogan’s party received more votes in each successive election.
The more power Erdogan gained, the louder he railed against the secularists and their way of life. Unrivaled, Erdogan feels no pressure in revealing this. He declares that he wants to bring up a pious youth. He insults the man on the street, and nobody dares to challenge him. He criticizes the separation of power and praises the “unity of power,” which he wants to hold as “the president” of Turkey.
Irritated liberals have begun to depart from the AKP’s autocratic course, or have been dumped by the AKP as they are no longer needed. A number of schools have been converted into Imam-Hatips (religious schools) in spite of the objections from the local communities. Restrictions on a secular way of life have increased, be it regarding alcohol, abortion, male-female relations, and TV content. The list goes on and on.
As a result, people felt the same way as they did upon inhaling pepper gas: suffocated, they took to the streets.
Erdogan’s fierce response to them — which resulted in casualties — revealed two things: the protesters were right; and Erdogan lacks the key qualities needed to successfully manage the delicate national and international balance of new Turkey. His imbalance and incompetence to realistically assess the situation peaked when he threatened to unleash his supporters onto the field. Two weeks after his return from Washington, where he was warmly welcomed by President Obama, he chose to suppress dissent by force and censorship.
The West should see that the attitude of Erdogan and his apparatchiks is shaped by the power they have, not by liberal principles. It is true that Turkey has become a model for the rest of the Muslim world, but what kind of a model is it? It is turning its back on secularism and it has an authoritarian leader who bashes Israel and the EU, which leads to better economic relations with Muslim countries and the West’s support. Is this really a model that the world needs?
Erdogan’s autocratic tendencies pose risks to the stability of this important country. Considering this and his willingness to use power on his own people, Washington and Brussels should be wary of appeasing Erdogan and his political sect anymore. This has been a sure way to antagonize his Western-oriented, urbanized, secular-minded opponents.
As for Erdogan, to re-qualify as a partner of the West and to gain the respect of his people, he needs to decide whether to stay on as a wannabe leader of the Sunnis or to act like a real leader of the Turkish people and genuinely embrace her centuries-old diversity. There is little hope that he will choose correctly.