Turkey: Top Military chiefs resign

Actually, this is not surprising at all. And so, the last secular Turkish bastion falls and now Erdogan can appoint someone who is more supportive of his view of democracy (1, 2):

Kuleli Military High School

Turkey’s top military officer stepped down from his post Friday, a surprise move that exposed growing tensions between the country’s military and Islamic-leaning government.

Gen. Isik Kosaner, Turkey’s chief of the general staff, retired a year ahead of schedule. His decision came as a shock in Turkey and rattled its currency.

Security analysts widely saw the move as a confirmation that Turkey’s military—the second-largest in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after the U.S.’s, and long seen as the country’s dominant power—has had its wings clipped amid a lengthy power struggle with the ruling Justice and Development Party. Continue reading

Spain: Zapatero wants Morocco and Turkey in the EU as a “gesture of conciliation with the Islamic world”

You know, the only problem Spain has nowadays is, of course, that Turkey and Morocco (an autocratic Monarchy in which the King is also the “Commander of the Believers…) aren’t members of the European Union. Absolutely appalling.

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero - Royal & Zapater...

Image by Guillaume Paumier via Flickr

That the only casualties of the twin bombings of Norway are European origin and people outside the Islamic religion has not prevented the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, calling on EU leaders for Morocco and Turkey to be allowed entry into the European Union as a gesture of reconciliation with the Islamic world.

The Spanish Government’s President spoke about that support in phone calls to both to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Alawite ruler of Morocco (what do Erdogan and King Mohammed VI have to do with Norwegian murder? No Muslim was murdered, no Moroccan or Turkish citizen was murdered or hurt…), in which he reiterated his commitment to the alliance of civilizations as the only way possible for a north-south agreement. Zapatero argues that both Turkey and Morocco meet the requirements set by the EU to join their project. Continue reading

Erdogan wins… but not enough

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey...

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won Turkey’s parliamentary elections with around 50 percent of the vote, a resounding victory that forces the country’s pluralistic democracy to face some cold hard facts.

With voter participation exceeding 84 percent, the results are a democratic legitimation of the AKP’s third consecutive election victory since 2002. Over the course of the past three elections, the AKP’s support among voters has grown from 34 percent to just under 50 percent, leaving the opposition well behind.

The rest were also-rans: the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) garnered around 25 percent of the vote while the right-wing extremist Nationalist Action Party (MHP) came in with a meager 13 percent. In contrast, independent candidates, many of them supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), managed to secure a respectable 35 parliamentary seats. Among the independents are also non-Kurdish critics of Erdogan, who are currently in prison awaiting trial on charges of plotting a coup.

More here.

France: Sarkozy Still Opposed to Turkish EU Membership

This is an update of this story:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a staunch opponent of Turkey’s membership in the European Union, may pay his first visit to Ankara later this year.

Sarkozy, invited to Turkey by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Paris on Wednesday, said he may visit after November, the Anatolia news agency reported.

But the French leader refused to change his stance towards Turkey’s EU membership bid, Anatolia said, reporting that the two sides repeated their known positions during talks held in Paris.

Despite their disagreements, Sarkozy and Erdogan said they were committed to improving bilateral ties between Turkey and France. The two sides also appeared to disagree on the issue of sanctions against Iran, but Sarkozy announced full backing for Turkey’s fight against terrorism.

Erdogan traveled to the French capital in a bid to boost diplomatic ties and enhance cooperation in the fields of economy, energy and transportation between the two countries.

via Sarkozy Still Opposed to Turkish EU Membership | Asbarez Armenian News.

Well, these are good news, but the Lisbon Treaty could facilitate Turkey’s entry in the EU or, at least, a “priviledged” commercial situation, whatever France, Germany or Cyprus, think about the issue.

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Turkish PM Erdogan: Sooner or later Turkey will become a full EU member

Flags of the EU and Turkey.
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If Turkey is not included into the European Union as a full member, then the EU itself will suffer, but not Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference in Sarajevo, CNN Turk reported.

“I am sure that sooner or later Turkey will become an equal member of the European Union. This day is near. The EU will only be a Christian club without Turkey,” Erdogan told media.

via Today.Az – Turkish PM Erdogan: Sooner or later Turkey will become a full EU member.

Well, does it have to be other thing that a Christian club? Is there something wrong in that?

And yet, he maybe right thanks to the Lisbon Treaty:

Do you remember the promise made by the EU in 2004 to end the isolation of northern Cyprus by allowing direct trade between the Turkish part of the island and the member states of the EU? It was meant as a reward for the Yes-vote to the Annan-plan by the Turkish Cypriots. Unfortunately, the EU was not able to deliver on that promise because the Greek Cypriots used their presence at the EU table to block the adoption of the trade agreement. The proposal is still there, it was never withdrawn but politically it was dead because of the Cypriot determination to use their veto.
But that is no longer possible under the new rules of the Lisbon Treaty. Trade agreements have to receive the approval of the majority in the EP and of a so-called qualified majority (that means, roughly speaking, a two-third majority) among the EU member states. All pending trade agreements have automatically been transferred to this new decision mechanism. Including the free trade proposal with northern Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Turks are not assimilating in Austria, where more than half a million live, specially in Vienna:

They are here to dominate,” said Vienna-based counter-jihad acticist Harald Fiegel. “And of course, knowing a little bit about Islam, you can read it there. They are are here to dominate all the world, not just Europe.”

Fiegel monitors Islamic growth in Austria. He says Turkish Muslim immigrants are not assimilating.

“What they are trying to do is segregation,” he told CBN News. “To maintain Turkish national and religious identity.”

The same happens in Germany as we have seen lately.

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Turkish constitutional reform plans anger judges

Considering the influence of the Fethullah Gulen movement in Turkish politics, this comes as no surprise.

Turkey’s Islamic-based government fired the opening salvo in a brewing confrontation with the country’s secular judiciary today by unveiling a radical constitutional reform package that would give politicians greater power to appoint judges and make it harder to shut political parties.

Ministers in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) justified the planned changes as essential to meet the conditions of EU membership. But in a sign of the rancour to come, senior judges condemned the reforms as unconstitutional and said they were designed to strip the judiciary of its independence.

We sense that the constitutional package is aimed at decreasing the power of the judiciary. We are definitely objecting to this,” Judge Hasan Gerceker, chief of the supreme court, told the Turkish television channel NTV.

The attacks came as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) vowed to oppose the package in a parliamentary vote. Other opposition parties have indicated they will also reject the changes, meaning the government will probably lack the two-thirds majority needed to force them through.

In that case, the government, led by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said it will call a referendum, likely be held in June. A referendum campaign is bound to be bitter and would provide a fresh forum for the AKP’s critics to accuse it of pursuing an Islamist agenda in breach of Turkey’s secular constitution, a charge the party vehemently denies.

via Turkish constitutional reform plans anger judges | World news | guardian.co.uk.

(For comments go to T&P 2.0).

Turkey: Erdogan seeks influence through Turks living abroad

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey...

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Erdogan said in the past that making Turks assimilate in the countries they migrate to, was a “crime against Humanity”. Now he is trying to influence other countries through Turkish immigrants:

Leaders of Turkish descent across Europe recently received an invitation to a fancy event in Istanbul, all expenses paid. But what sounded innocent enough appears to have been an attempt by Ankara to get members of the Turkish diaspora to represent Turkish interests abroad. Turkish-German politicians have reacted angrily tbrazen lobbying.

The invitation that numerous Turkish-German politicians received in February sounded enticing: Lunch in a five-star hotel in Istanbul, travel expenses included. The session was titled: “Wherever One of Our Compatriots Is, We Are There Too.”

Around 1,500 people of Turkish descent from several European countries accepted the tempting offer. Among the speakers at the event, which took place at the end of February, were businesspeople, NGO representatives and a member of the Belgian parliament of Turkish descent. But the meeting, which has sparked outrage among Turkish-German politicians, was more than a harmless gathering of the Turkish diaspora.

The event was organized by the Turkish government, which is led by the conservative-religious Justice and Development (AKP) party, in an attempt to send a clear message to the participants that they should represent Turkey in other countries. Turks living abroad should take the citizenship of their new home country — not, however, with the intention of becoming an integrated part of that society, but so they can become politically active, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke at the event. Erdogan also compared Islamophobia with anti-Semitism in his speech and said that countries which oppose dual citizenship are violating people’s fundamental rights. (Germany, for example, generally does not allow its citizens to hold dual nationality.)

Erdogan has also interesting double standards: he considered that Israel “knew very well how to kill people” in Gaza, while defended Sudanese President Al-Bashir against the accusation of genocide because “a Muslim cannot commit” such crime. He has also accused China of genocide against Uighur Muslims (there are people who have defended that China should retaliate towards Turkey for that reason) but is against a US Resolution (and against Swedish vote on the same subject) claiming that the mass murder of Armenians during the First World War by the Ottoman Empire was indeed a genocide (even before it’s adopted). So much he is enraged that he firstly threatened with serious consequences against US and now wants to expell 100,000 Armenians from Turkish soil. Continue reading