Co-ed schools to be banned in Turkey?

The government of Turkey, and in particular, its president, are frequently lambasted by opponents, at home and abroad, for being Islamic-based, authoritarian and dictatorial – so much so the accusations have become boring, even laughable to anyone with a knowledge of the wider world.

bush prayers

Don’t waste your breath, mate – you’re going straight to Hell!

Islamic-based? Ninety-eight percent of Turkey’s population identify as Muslims in some form or another so it’s hardly surprising that a democratically-elected government would reflect this demographic. Who accuses United States’ administrations of being Christianic-based? It’s expected. All presidents kow-tow to the Pope of Rome, and the Big DT is currently risking the very fabric of NATO in defence of an evangelical “missionary”! Britain’s Tony Blair flew into the bosom of the Roman Catholic church as soon as he stopped being Prime Minister! Is there a double-standard here?

The AK Party government and the president have, since Day One, been accused of working to a hidden Islamic agenda. Cited as evidence are: relaxation of the ban on women wearing head-scarves; restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol; and the latest move to lift the ban on single-sex education.

blair_benedict

Coming out of the closet!

Well, first of all, this government has held the reins of government in Turkey since 2003 – fifteen years! If they really planned to lead the country into a black night of Shariah fundamentalism, they are showing remarkable patience and stealth! Overtly religious parties contested elections for years in Turkey without ever collecting more than 20% of the vote. AK Party won and held the right to govern alone by virtue of appealing to a broad base of the electorate – something the so-called secular Kemalist parties had never managed to do. I might add that Turkey’s proportional representation electoral system is far more democratic and reflective of popular feeling than the systems in either Britain or the United States.

But what about alcohol, you ask. Aren’t they trying to ban it? Well, they are the government. If they wanted to ban it, they could and would, I guess. But they haven’t yet, in all those fifteen years. On the contrary, the range and variety of local and imported beers, wines and spirits available for purchase in bars, cafes, supermarkets and off-licences have expanded out of sight in those fifteen years. Revellers gather and imbibe freely in entertainment districts all over Istanbul and holiday resorts (and no doubt elsewhere, for all I know) – even in the holy fasting month of Ramazan! Picnickers lounge and socialise in parks along the Marmara coast, sipping their chardonnay etc without attracting the attention of any prohiibitionist authorities.

no alcoholI must admit to being uncomfortable with the level of tax imposed on alcoholic beverages. There is a danger that, if drinks become too expensive for ordinary people, they may resort to manufacturing and consuming dangerous homemade products. But that’s another matter. It seems to be a worldwide trend to tax alcohol and tobacco products to finance health care services for the associated problems – nothing to do with religion.

And on the same theme, on a recent visit to Melbourne at the time of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament, I joined the crowd in Federation Square to watch action on the giant screen, and sip a cold beer in the summer heat, you might think . . . But no! Uniformed security guards were patrolling to ensure that the ban on alcohol was strictly enforced . . . in Australia!

OK, but what about this education business? Are they going to force kids to learn in gender-segregated schools? Surely that’s an infringement of civil liberties? At one time, many schools in Turkey, state and private, were gender-segregated. I don’t know which government changed that – but whoever it was, they removed an element of choice that many families consider important – and not just for religious reasons.

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Auckland’s most popular school – Not as Christianic as it used to be, but still not a girl in sight

As I understand the government’s proposal, the intention is to return to a situation where families have the option of choosing to send their children to a school offering single-sex education – as they do in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and other countries where civil liberties are allegedly respected. I myself spent my five years of secondary schooling in a boys-only school, returning fifteen years later as a teacher. That school is one of NZ’s most popular and successful. Property prices in its zone are astronomical, and a place on its out-of-zone allocation is hotly contested. Not everyone in NZ loves it, but that too is another matter.

Meanwhile, another “journalist” has been arrested in Turkey. According to Hürriyet Daily News:

Turkish authorities have arrested an Austrian journalist and activist on suspicion of a terrorism-related offence, the leftwing website where he works said on Sept. 11.

Re:volt, which describes itself as a “radical left-wing” online magazine, said Max Zirngast had been arrested at his apartment in the Turkish capital Ankara on the morning of Sept. 11.

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Come into my arms, you old child molester you!

“We condemn this arrest in the strongest terms of course and call for his immediate release,” Re:volt said by email, confirming a statement on the arrest from rights group Reporters Without Borders. “Our writer, who has lived in Turkey for many years, is a passionate leftist activist and author who campaigns for freedom and democracy,” the German-language publication added.

“We expect Turkey to immediately explain what the journalist is accused of, and if that is not possible then to immediately release him,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters before a weekly cabinet meeting. Kurz’s government, a coalition of his conservatives and the anti-immigration Freedom Party, is opposed to Turkey joining the European Union and has called for accession talks to be broken off.

Well, it’s nice to see that “conservative, anti-immigration” Austrian government supporting a “radical left-wing” magazine and “passionate leftist activist reporter”. Strange bedfellows indeed. I’ve always felt that, when you’re attacked by extremists on the right and the left, your political position is probably well balanced.

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A belated tribute to Ursula le Guin

le-guin“If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there’s no way you can act morally or responsibly.”

When she died in January this year I did save the obituary published in the New York Times. I hadn’t read a lot of her work, but I have, over the years, read and re-read The Earthsea Trilogy – subsequently expanded, like Douglas Adams’s Galaxy Hitchhiker, into a quintology (I made that word up).

I’ve never been a big fan of science or fantasy fiction. I couldn’t progress past the second volume of “Lord of the Rings” – but Ursula le Guin had something else: a genuine belief that the world could be a better place. What’s more, she had definite ideas about how that could be brought about.

As the Turkish Lira plunges in the “money markets”, I’ve been increasingly forced to go hunting for free e-books online, and I’ve been delighted, if a little saddened, to find several of le Guin’s novels available.

earthseaSo, I’m reading “The Dispossessed”, according to the writer of the NY Times obituary “her most ambitious novel”, and I want to share a brief extract, on the subject of economics, banking and finance. Shevek, a theoretical physicist and the main character, from a planet colonised by socialist exiles from their home world where capitalism reigns supreme, has been brought to the latter by curious academics:

“[Shevek] tried to read an elementary economics text; it bored him past endurance, it was like listening to somebody interminably recounting a long and stupid dream. He could not force himself to understand how banks functioned and so forth, because all the operations of capitalism were as meaningless to him as the rites of a primitive religion, as barbaric, as elaborate, and as unnecessary. In a human sacrifice to a deity there might be at least a mistaken and terrible beauty; in the rites of the moneychangers, where greed, laziness and envy were assumed to move all men’s acts, even the terrible became banal. Shevek looked at this monstrous pettiness with contempt, and without interest.”

I can relate to that.

Another spoilt, privileged, overpaid sportsperson

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks

No doubt haranguing the referee, like so many spoilt, entitled, overpaid, privileged sports stars.

No, I’m not talking about Serena Williams. This one is Enes Kanter, a professional NBA basketball player for the New York Knicks, and, according to Time Magazine, “an outspoken critic of Turkey’s authoritarian regime.”

I’m including the full text of the Time article below – but to save you time, I’m going to first address some of the guy’s outrageous points:

  • “It has been too dangerous for me to set foot in Turkey for three years”– If you want to be a revolutionary reformer, Enes, at least have the guts to take the consequences! How many times did the Brits put Mahatma Gandhi in prison? Chelsea/Bradley Manning spent seven years in jail for whistle-blowing the US Government. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange can’t go home either – and Assange isn’t even a US citizen! Stop crying and expecting the NBA and the US government to bail out you and your big mouth!
  • “[President] Erdogan does not respect that right [to express my beliefs and opinions]  in me or anyone else, and is willing to crush anyone who criticizes him.” Yet further on in his article, Kanter says “Five years ago . . . thousands of Turkish people flooded the streets to defend our democracy over the bulldozing of a beloved park in Istanbul. On the first anniversary of the coup attempt [ie last year, 2017!], thousands marched to demand back their right to free expression, assembly, and political opinion. In April, they came out in force again to oppose changes that would allow Erdogan to continue ruling with impunity. And . . . the opposition candidate won 30.6% of the vote in the snap presidential election in June.” Clearly there is freedom enough in Turkey to do these things! What exactly does Kanter want to do?
  • “The last time I visited, the government destroyed my brothers’ school and threw my dentist and his wife in prison.” Who destroyed the school? Destroyed a school? I don’t believe this! And they threw your dentist in prison? And his wife? Come on, son!
  • “Erdogan blames Gulen and his followers for the coup. It is a crazy claim.” It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that Gülen and his people were behind the unsuccessful coup attempt; and it’s 99% sure that they were tools of the CIA and the US government. If Kanter spent the night of the coup with Fethullah Gülen, small wonder Turkish authorities want to speak with him! “We spent the night praying for our country.” The whole night praying! I suspect the secular Kemalists would also be suspicious of such a devout Muslim!

Take a look at some of the inflammatory words Kanter uses in his article:

  • My father has been targeted for persecution by the Turkish government and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • I’m a follower of Fethullah Gulen, a preacher and scholar whom Erdogan has deemed Public Enemy Number One.
  • Erdoğan is willing to crush anyone who criticizes him.
  • Erdogan was a dictator-in-the-making for a long time
  • the economy is in shambles—a direct result of Erdogan’s purge – [Not the USA and their financial backers?]
  • My friends and family have told me that I wouldn’t recognize the country anymore. They say people are unhappy and scared. [If I had a son like this, I’d be worried too!]
  • Erdoğan’s regime has forced the country into darkness.
  • In September, I’ll be attending the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, presented by the Human Rights Foundation, to give voice to the silenced people of Turkey and to shed light on Erdogan’s crimes.

__________________________________________________

Well, here’s the whole sorry article, if you can be bothered reading it:

NBA Player Enes Kanter: I’ve Spoken Out Against Turkey’s President Erdogan and Now I Can’t Go Home

This month, my dad will face trial in Turkey for “membership of a terror group.” He is a university professor, not a terrorist.

serena-williams-0908-super-tease

At least she didn’t blame Trump

My father has been targeted for persecution by the Turkish government and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because of his association with me. I am a vocal critic of Erdogan’s dictatorial regime, and I’m a follower of Fethullah Gulen, a preacher and scholar whom Erdogan has deemed Public Enemy Number One. Because I play in the NBA, I am lucky enough to have a public platform, so I’ve used every opportunity to make sure everyone knows about Erdogan’s cruelty and disdain for human rights.

If you speak out against Erdogan, it can affect your whole life and everyone around you. It has been too dangerous for me to set foot in Turkey for three years. The last time I visited, the government destroyed my brothers’ school and threw my dentist and his wife in prison. The regime arrested and charged a man for links to Gulen after I took a picture with his child, and went after a comedian after he exchanged a few tweets with me. Last year, Erdogan canceled my passport and put out an international warrant for my arrest. That means I am now stateless and pretty much can’t leave the United States. It’s interfering with my career, too. 

But far worse are the consequences it has had on my family. My siblings have been bullied in school. Our friends are too afraid to be associated with us. My father lost his job as a professor at a public university and now, if he loses the trial, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

tantrum

Who do you think you are? The referee?

I’m not a criminal or a radical. I’m not “dangerous.” I’m a human being with opinions and beliefs that I have a right to express. Erdogan does not respect that right in me or anyone else, and is willing to crush anyone who criticizes him.

Erdogan was a dictator-in-the-making for a long time, but things escalated after a coup attempt in July 2016. Erdogan blames Gulen and his followers for the coup. It is a crazy claim.I was with Gulen in his house in Pennsylvania that night, and he was as shocked and fearful for Turkey as the rest of us. We spent the night praying for our country.

Since then, Erdogan has used the coup attempt as an excuse to go after his political opponents and critics by targeting anyone with a perceived connection to Gulen—real or imagined. In two years, according to Turkey Purge, a website set up by a small group of young journalists that tracks the government crackdown, Erdogan’s government has arrested more than 80,000 people and detained more than 142,000. He has dismissed nearly 4,500 judges and prosecutors that he doesn’t agree with, a move that seriously weakens rule of law. He’s taken aim at free speech and press freedom by arresting 319 journalists and shutting down 189 independent media outlets.Turkey now has more journalists in jail than any other country. He is even going across international borders, persecuting supposed Gulenists in Turkmenistan, Malaysia, Kosovo, and more.

In some ways, it’s working. Without independent news outlets, and with social media under strict surveillance, it’s hard to get a real senseof what’s happening on the ground, and even harder to hear opposition voices. My friends and family have told me that I wouldn’t recognize the country anymore. They say people are unhappy and scared.They are struggling because the economy is in shambles—a direct result of Erdogan’s purge.I love my country and its people so much. As a follower of Gulen’s Hizmet philosophy, I believe in education, equality, and democracy. It pains me to see how Erdogan’s regime has forced the country into darkness.

C - Rasheed Wallace

Who makes the rules around here, huh?

People often ask me why I continue to speak out if it’s hurting my family. But that’s exactly why I speak out. The people Erdogan is targeting are my family, my friends, my neighbors, my classmates. I need to speak out, or my country will suffer in silence.

And I am lucky. When I became the target of the regime, the NBA and the U.S. government came to my defense and brought me back to safety, to a country where my rights are protected. I want to use this privilege to make sure the people of Turkey are heard.

So here it is: Five years ago, when Turkey was more free than it is now, thousands of Turkish people flooded the streets to defend our democracy over the bulldozing of a beloved park in Istanbul. On the first anniversary of the coup attempt, thousands marched to demand back their right to free expression, assembly, and political opinion. In April, they came out in force again to oppose changes that would allow Erdogan to continue ruling with impunity. And despite the risks in opposing Erdogan, the opposition candidate won 30.6% of the vote in the snap presidential election in June.

What all of these people are saying is that the status quo just isn’t good enough. This is not what many of us want for our beautiful country. We want democracy and freedom. We want to be able to express our opinions freely and without fear. We want free media and a strong civil society. We want more.

In September, I’ll be attending the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, presented by the Human Rights Foundation, to give voice to the silenced people of Turkey and to shed light on Erdogan’s crimes. Let’s all make sure to hold the world’s dictators accountable.

 

E.U. Planning a 10,000-Strong Armed Force to Protect Its Borders

The European Union will deploy 10,000 armed border guards to tackle unlawful migration by 2020, the European Commission President Claude Juncker is expected to announce in a speech on Wednesday.

FRONTEX - Greek Turkish land borderThe force will have the power to use armed force on the E.U.’s external borders, according to a draft of the document seen by the Financial Times.

Migration has been a particularly divisive issue within the E.U. since a major influx of refugees in 2015. Voters’ fears and concerns over migration have, in part, led to right wing parties surging in popularity and being elected to government in a number of member states including Italy and Austria. 

The border force proposal marks a significant E.U.-level policy move in a debate that has long been defined by disagreements between individual member states. Most recently, in July, the new anti-immigrant Italian government refused to allow boats carrying hundreds of migrants to dock in its ports, leading to a political deadlock that only defused when Spain agreed to take the migrants in.

The proposal for a heavily beefed-up E.U. border force is also likely to be highly controversial—with rights groups who decry the construction of a “Fortress Europe,” and with political parties who resent centralized European institutions accruing more power.

What will the border force look like?

border guards 3The proposal is actually to significantly strengthen an existing force, rather than to create a totally new one. The body, Frontex, currently employs just 1,500 border guards and works alongside national border control agencies.

According to the Financial Times, under the new proposal the force will not only gain members but also increased powers. The document suggests it will be deployed on the E.U.’s external borders and also have powers to prevent “secondary movements” between E.U. nations, as well as “step up the effective return of irregular migrants” to countries outside of the bloc. These are powers long demanded by anti-migrant voices in the E.U.

It is unclear whether the plans mean borders between member states will also be policed. If they are, it would mark a seismic change to one of the E.U.’s founding principles of free movement.

Under current E.U. law, asylum-seekers must register in the first E.U. country they land in, but the free-movement Schengen area means that traveling between countries is easy and unregulated. This typically allows migrants to move from point-of-entry countries like Greece to countries with higher living standards, like Germany.

However European borders, internal and external, are under much less pressure than they were at the height of the migration crisis. The number of arrivals to the E.U. fell from a height of over 1 million in 2015 to just 186,000 in 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration [Largely because of measures taken by Turkey, which is hosting around 4 million refugees and doing its best to prevent them from entering Europe – but scant thanks they get for it].

The numbers of migrants moving between E.U. member states are also way down from the highs of 2015 and 2016. “It’s true the Schengen area is under pressure,” says Marie De Somer, a senior policy analyst on migration and diversity at the European Policy Centre, a Brussels think tank. “But it’s more political pressure, rather than actual pressure from uncontrolled movements.”

Is a border force likely to be effective?

border guards“Barbed-wire fences and remote camps might make voters feel safe today but they won’t address the actual forces that drive migration or resolve the situation of people on the move, even as they empower forces in Europe who want to take the continent back to the hyper-nationalism of its bloody past,” writes Benjamin Ward, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s European division.

 But, says Matthew Goodwin, the author of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, the E.U. is under pressure to reassure its citizens first and foremost. “The big challenge facing the European Union is how to give citizens a stronger feeling of both physical and cultural security,” he tells TIME. “We know from E.U.-wide surveys that public concerns about immigration and terrorism have increased dramatically, and that these worries about identity and security are now also bleeding into how people think about the E.U. more generally. This is the big risk for the E.U.—that by failing to bolster people’s sense of security it will further erode support for the E.U. project more generally.”

Source: Time

America cannot be trusted to run global economy

Turkey’s President Erdoğan has been copping plenty of flak from opposition at home and abroad recently. So what’s new? He’s been dealing with negativity, black propaganda, outright lies, a period of imprisonment and at least one attempted military coup for more than twenty years – so I guess for him it’s just business as usual.

Recep+Tayyip+Erdogan+G20+Nations+Hold+Hamburg+oF8eiMsk5dWl

Interestingly, Frau Merkel and M. Macron seem to be offering support these days!

After being re-elected as president, with increased powers under the new constitution, Mr Erdoğan appointed a new cabinet, as he is now entitled to do. Most of his appointments were relatively uncontroversial – but one has aroused considerable criticism and mockery: the choice of his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as Treasury and Finance Minister.

Well, certainly, it’s not a good look, especially since the gentleman concerned is only 37 years old; but I’m withholding judgment at this stage. For sure, young Mr Albayrak has a difficult road ahead. His age, for a start. He’ll be dealing with much older, more experienced, hard-headed businessmen (and women) all too ready to latch on to any sign of weakness. His father-in-law, for seconds. He has to live down the perception that he only got the job because of Baba Tayyip. Worst of all, though, is the fact that Turkey’s economy is going through a particularly hard time, with the Turkish Lira dropping to scary lows against the world’s big currencies – with an inevitable flow-on effect to internal prices.

Whatever you may think about President Erdoğan, I am sure few would deny that he is a very astute politician. His party came to power in 2003 after decades of hyper-inflation, regular military coups, and outrageous corruption in business and politics. They have won election after election – and Mr Erdoğan makes no secret of his desire to be at the country’s helm in 2023 when the Republic of Turkey celebrates its centenary. He wants to go down in history as the best thing to happen to his young nation since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

So, in my opinion, he’s not going to pick a dodo as Finance Minister at this critical time. He knows that much of his reputation in future will depend on his last years in office, maybe more than the earlier years; and his success (or failure) in bringing his country through the current financial crisis could be the crucial factor in determining how the history books will view his achievements.

So, what has the new Finance Minister got to say for himself? This report appeared the other day in Hürriyet Daily News:

America cannot be trusted to run global economy: Albayrak

Albayrak

After all, he’s about the same age as the President of France, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and New Zealand – and father-in-law’s got his back

The assault on Turkey’s economy must be viewed as an example of how the senseless use of economic pressure as a political weapon poses serious global risks, Turkey’s treasury and finance minister has said.

“By acting together with Turkey now, other countries can also help it create a common strategy to avoid artificial crises in the future,” Berat Albayrak wrote in an article titled ‘America Can’t Be Trusted to Run the Global Economy’ for the American news magazine Foreign Policy published on Sept. 7.

“This August, Turkey’s economy became the main topic in global news coverage. The reason was a systematic attack on the Turkish economy by the biggest player in the global economic system, the United States. It was one of the most disappointing moments in the history of the alliance between Turkey and America,” Albayrak said, accusing the Trump administration of overtly attacking the economy of a fellow NATO member through sanctions and tariffs.

Albayrak underlined that while the scale of the attack resulted in exchange rate fluctuations, the incident ultimately demonstrated the strong fundamentals of the Turkish economy.

“In the face of all the negative propaganda, and the attacks on its financial system, the Turkish economy has demonstrated its strength. It is important to reiterate that no economic indicators or macroeconomic data can account for the devaluation of the Turkish lira over the past month. Turkey’s financial structure and banking system have not experienced any fundamental changes during this time,” he said.

Turkish Central Bank’s independence 

Albayrak pointed to Turkey’s commitment to create an investor-friendly environment in an effort to take steps to address several economic weaknesses to prevent potential future vulnerabilities. He said the Turkish Central Bank’s independence, effectiveness and leading role in monetary policy would remain a priority for the government as it has been for the last 16 years. Albayrak said contrary to what some suggested, “it is not on our agenda to go to the International Monetary Fund”.

“Turkey will continue to secure foreign currency reserves from international markets as it has until now. Our goal is to ensure that Turkey continues to attract foreign direct investment and become a center for innovation and research and development for the global economy,” he added.

Albayrak said the U.S. attack on the Turkish economy also increased Turkey’s determination to strengthen its economy through structural reforms, new trade partnerships and the attraction of foreign investments and to take steps to rebalance the structure of the international economy so that powerful countries like the U.S. no longer would have the power to unilaterally disrupt the economic life of others.

Underlining the fact that Turkey never implemented rules that run counter to market principles, Albayrak said: “No crisis or financial assault can weaken Turkey’s commitment to those principles.”

‘Turkey not only country targeted by U.S.’ 

Albayrak pointed out that Turkey was not the only country that the U.S. recently targeted with sanctions under political pretexts.

“The single-handed exercise of tariffs by the United States against its trade partners in Europe, Russia and China proved that international trade, cooperation and stability should be secured by a stronger alliance among nations around the world and may necessitate taking countersteps to prevent catastrophic damage to the global financial system and international trade.”

Albayrak said the world faces incredibly complex challenges and Washington’s economic threats were a significant subset of those challenges.

“Unilateral sanctions, incitement of trade wars and haphazard use of economic weapons could potentially trigger another global economic crisis. At this critical juncture, developed and developing economies around the world need to promote strong and institutionalized cooperation to handle potential crises and financial attacks.

‘Cooperation, solidarity between Turkey, EU revived’ 

Albayrak said the Turkish government has been pleased to see promising new opportunities for the future of the international economy amid this artificial crisis created by the United States.

“Our European friends, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, have made statements that clearly indicate they understand that Washington’s approach was dangerous and mistaken. The spirit of cooperation and solidarity between Turkey and the European Union has thus been revived, having proved critical for the political and economic well-being of both sides,” he added.

Albayrak highlighted that Turkey has been at the forefront of dealing with significant threats against Western countries for more than six decades.

“In recent years, this has included the fight against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State. During this period, Turkey has become a hope for millions of refugees running away from the brutal regime in Syria and the target of terrorist organizations that want to expand the war in that country to the West,” Albayrak said, adding that Turkey became an island of stability in one of the most unstable regions of the world.

In adopting sanctions against Turkey, the Trump administration invoked the flimsy pretext of an ongoing legal case involving a U.S. citizen with strong links to terrorist activities targeting Turkey’s peace and stability. The effects of the U.S. decision were nevertheless dramatic, with the Turkish economy experiencing immediate fluctuations. Referring to Andrew Craig Brunson, a U.S. pastor who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges, Albayrak said, “Washington’s brazen use of economic weapons served as a wakeup call for many countries and investors around the world. It was recognized as risky not only for the future of the alliance between Turkey and the United States but also for global markets.”

Coalition? Or Axis of Evil?

Saudi-led coalition admits ‘mistakes’ in deadly Yemen bus strike

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen admitted Saturday that “mistakes” had been made in an August air strike on Yemen that killed 51 people including 40 children.

YemenAn official said an investigation by the coalition had found “mistakes” were made in the strike on a crowded market in northern rebel-held Yemen, adding that those responsible must be “punished”.

Credit rating agencies are fraudsters

Credit rating agencies are fraudsters, Turkish President Erdoğan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called international credit rating agencies“fraudsters,” while promising his supporters “this too shall pass,” referring to the ongoing market volatility. 

erdoğan“They say that credit rating agencies say this or that… Leave those fraudsters. They say a lot of things about us,” Erdoğan said, addressing locals in the western province of Balıkesir on Aug. 31. “These firms are those that increased ratings of bankrupting states four notches at once. They are such a [crime] syndicate.”

His comments came after ratings agency Fitch, which downgraded 24 Turkish banks last month, said on Aug. 30 the 25 percent fall in the Turkish Lira since then had heightened risks and could lead to further rating cuts.

Earlier on Aug. 31, the Turkish president addressed newly graduated military cadets in Balıkesir, where he said: “Turkey will cope with this attack. For those who ask about foreign exchange rates, our answer is: This too shall pass.”

Hours before Erdoğan, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said rating agencies have been putting in intense efforts to create a pessimistic view of Turkey’s banks.

Fitch’s warning came two days after Moody’s downgraded its ratings on 20 Turkish financial institutions, citing the increased risk of a deterioration in funding. The operating environment is now worse than previously expected, it said.