Turkey imprisons journalists? – E U countries murder them!

Bulgarians mourn murdered journalist – raped, beaten and suffocated

Leading EU politicians and media activists urged Bulgaria on Oct. 8 to conduct a fast investigation into the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova, as mourners planned vigils across the Balkan country.

Bulgarian journalist

Murdered Bulgarian journalist, Viktoria Marinova

Marinova’s body was found in a park near the Danube river in her home town of Ruse on Oct. 6. Prosecutors said she had been raped, then beaten and suffocated.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov, who travelled to Ruse to oversee the inquiry on Monday, has said there was no evidence so far to suggest a link to Marinova’s work as a journalist.

But media focused on her recent work. On her last TV show on Sept. 30 Marinova featured two journalists who were investigating an alleged corruption case involving EU funds. She promised that her recently launched current affairs show ‘Detector’ would do more of its own investigations.

“Shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria Marinova. Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption,”the European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmerman tweeted.

Marinova is the third journalist murdered in the European Union over the past 12 months.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative reporter, was killed when a bomb blew up her car in October last year and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February.

Vigils were planned in Sofia, Ruse and the northern cities of Vidin and Pleven.

Bulgaria ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year, lower than any other EU member and also lower than other countries in the western Balkans, some of which are candidates for EU membership.

In October 2017 hundreds of Bulgarian journalists protested in downtown Sofia downtown against threats from Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov against the country’s biggest broadcasters. He accused the mainstream media of leading a “massive smear campaign” against him.

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Who’s helping the refugees? Only Turkey?

The MV Aquarius 2 is a 1977-built research vessel. It has been chartered and operated since February 2016 by the NGOs SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) as a rescue vessel for migrants and refugees making the Mediterranean crossing in makeshift craft from Libya to Italy as part of the European migrant crisis.

Aquarius refugee shipThe operating groups were obliged to register the ship in Gibraltar and then Panama, one assumes because no European countries would accept it. Now it seems, in spite of accepting on to their books every kind of dodgy oil tanker and decrepit, unseaworthy rust-bucket crewed by seamen from the Third World, even those two puppet states of Western corporate interests have cancelled Aquarius’s registration.

Turkish Red Crescent calls for protection of migrant ship Aquarius

Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık on Oct. 6 called for the protection of rescue ship Aquarius.

The Aquarius, operated by the SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), saves migrant lives in the Mediterranean Sea. It has faced a blockade for the second time.

The ship was de-flagged first by Gibraltar and recently Panama.

Kınık, who is also vice president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in a statement that Aquarius “may continue its activities under the Turkish ensign.”

“We propose that Aquarius resumes its activities with the Turkish ensign. I believe our country, hosting today more than 4 million refugees will be an important part of a solution to this issue,” he said.

mediterranean-refugees-migrant-offshore-aid-station-moas-11465295706“Turkish Red Crescent has taken an initiative to support the Aquarius to continue sailing. The support tis needed to save more lives among those fleeing their countries and at risk of death while crossing the Mediterranean,” the statement added.

According to the statement Aquarius has been rescuing migrant lives in the Mediterranean Sea for the last three years.

It has saved 29,523 lives in the Mediterranean, a migration route for those seeking asylum in Europe.

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According to Wikipedia: [The Aquarius] was flagged under the flag of convenience of Gibraltar since February 2018. On 6 August 2018 the Gibraltar Maritime Administration issued a “notice of removal” for the Aquarius, because she was registered as a survey vessel, but used as a rescue ship. As a result, the ship was warned that she would be removed from Gibraltar registry.

refugeesOn 27 August 2018 the ship arrived in Marseille and its operator MSF announced, that the owner has applied for a registration of the vessel in another flag of convenience Panama on 20 August. However, on 22 September 2018 the maritime authority of Panama announced that it had initiated the procedures to remove the Aquarius (now renamed Aquarius 2) from its registry, quoting violations of international law in respect to migrants, rescue at sea and refusing to carry the migrants back to the area where they originated. The government of Panama had been informed by Italy and other sources that the Aquarius did not follow international legal proceedings concerning the transport of migrants, so it was decided to initiate the process to remove Aquarius 2 from Panama’s ship registry. Specifically, Aquarius has been accused of not returning the rescued migrants to Libya. As of that date the Aquarius was seeking a port to disembark the migrants, after having refused an earlier order from to transfer them from the Libyan coast guard.

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According to Al Jazeera: The EU has to recognise that its war adventures caused the refugee crisis and start working on a real solution.

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

The first genocide of the 20th century

Europe struggles to atone for its colonial evils

Anti-populist minoritarian denialists for whataboutism

I learned another new word this week. Well, I’m always learning new words in Turkish – this one is English, my native language, in which I consider myself to have a pretty extensive vocabulary. What’s the word? Whatboutism

-ism/-ist are very useful suffixes in English. You attach them to the end of a noun or adjective and suddenly you have a belief system, usually with negative connotations, implying a fanatical adherence to a set of principles often justifying violence to those not belonging to the group; or at the very least, defending an indefensible point-of-view.

Examples: Communism, capitalism, Nazism, fundamentalist, evangelism, extremist, Islamist, Marxist, and so on.

In recent years, the following have become popular.

denialist/ism –people who think they have the right to deny something I am accusing them of. Implication? These people should just shut up and admit they are wrong and I am right!

majoritarianism –the mistaken belief that winning an election allows the elected party to get on with the job of governing a country. Implication? Even though my party of choice was unsuccessful, I still want things to be done my way.

populism/ist –a pejorative term applied by the losers to the winners of an election, even when, as in the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the Big DT was only supported by 26% of eligible voters.

And now we have whataboutism– a debating technique allowing the user to accuse me of any and every evil deed, while denying me the right to point out that other people (or countries) are guilty of equal or often worse crimes.

Thanks toThe Washington Post for publishing the following account of the 20th century’s first genocide – will someone please bring it to the attention of Pope Francis, when he has time to spare from defending his cardinals against the victims of child abuse and pedophilia.

germany-namibia-herero-skulls.width-800At a handover ceremony held in a Berlin church on Wednesday, Namibian officials received the remains of indigenous people killed in their country by German forces more than a century ago. The grisly contents included 19 skulls, a scalp and bones belonging to five skeletons, all of which had been housed for decades on dusty shelves in German universities and museums.

kaiser_main_1695446fThe remains are a visceral link to a hideous past — what many historians recognize as the first genocide of the 20th century. Between 1904 and 1908, colonial forces in what was then German South West Africa carried out the widespread massacre of Herero and Nama tribespeople. Estimates suggest as many as 80 percent of the nomadic Herero tribe — believed to number around 100,000 a century ago — perished, either killed by German soldiers or left to die of thirst and starvation in the desert.

In October 1904, Lothar von Trotha, the German commander in Namibia, delivered his infamous “extermination” order, dictating that “every Herero, with or without rifles, with or without cattle, will be shot.” The following year, he issued a similar warning concerning the Nama; some 10,000 are believed to have been killed.

The violence and indignity did not end there. Moved by the racist eugenics of the time, German authorities shipped thousands of skulls and other body parts of the aboriginal dead back to Europe. The specimens were subjected to studies that formed the basis for now-discredited theories of European racial superiority.

dsc_6574-2.jpgMany of the skulls belonged to tribesmen left to die in squalid concentration camps in the desert; their bodies were beheaded. In some instances, according to a 2011 article in Der Spiegel, widows were ordered to use shards of glass to scrape the flesh off their husbands’ heads so as to better prepare the skulls for transport.

The vileness of these acts is part and parcel of a far broader history. The Germans were hardly alone in slaughtering local populations or hoarding the body parts of slain natives. Myriad museums, clinics and universities in Europe still house remains of colonized peoples, who were sometimes killed explicitly for the purpose of augmenting these morbid collections.

Many Herero in Namibia are awaiting a formal German apology for the genocide of their ancestors. Officials in Berlin committed in 2016 to extending an apology, but they are still in negotiations with the Namibian government over the wording of an official statement. Analysts say the German government doesn’t want to commit to an apology that could make it liable for reparations.

c2bc3439f9145394b389693d4aeed376b3c08e71054d5122a452992bf4fd8b2bOn Wednesday, Michelle Müntefering, the minister of state at the German foreign office, said that “Germany is firmly committed to its historic responsibility” and asked the Namibian delegation for “forgiveness,” but stopped short of an official apology.

European governments are notoriously averse to offering formal apologies, while the right-wing populists ascendant in countries such as France, Britain and Germany — inflamed by various forms of imperial nostalgia — decry the supposed shame complexes of the left. Germany’s far-right AfD has even urged its compatriots to get over their “guilt cult” about Nazi-era crimes.

The Cyprus Issue – Searching for the truth

Turkey has been suffering international condemnation for nearly fifty years for its military intervention in Cyprus back in 1974. The island was granted independence from Britain in 1960, with a constitution recognising the rights of both Greek and Turkish communities. The Greeks, however, were determined to unite with mainland Greece. When the Greek military junta in Athens implemented a coup d’état on the island in July 1974, the Turkish government asked for United Nations and British intervention (as provided for under the constitution). When both failed to get involved, Turkey’s government acted unilaterally (again, as allowed for in the constitution) and sent a military force that established a separate Turkish enclave in the north.

eu-and-u-s-world-champion-in-hypocrisy-750x400As far as Turkey is concerned, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was a political necessity as a result of illegal interference by the government of Greece. Ideally, they would like to see an independent united island, as provided for by the 1960 constitution, and as proposed by several United Nations initiatives – the latter always vetoed by the Greek community.

Despite the foregoing, the European Union and other Western governments have constantly put pressure on Turkey to withdraw, and insist on supporting the Greek position.

This article appeared in our English language news site the other day. I haven’t been able to check the quoted source because it is a Greek language newspaper based in Cyprus. If anyone can help with that I’ll be grateful.

10 Turks ordered to be killed for each Greek during Cyprus violence: Report

A Greek Cypriot newspaper published new documents about the violent years that led to the division of the Mediterranean island some five decades ago, including an instruction on Greek Cypriot security forces ordering that “10 Turks shall be killed for each Hellen.” 

Daily Politis’ article series titled “Cyprus: Crimes that went unpunished” reported on Aug. 7 cyprusthat two Greek officers and a Greek Cypriot policeman were killed in Magosa on May 11, 1964 at a time when tensions ran high amid the Greek attempt to unify the island with Greece, known as Enosis. One of the slain was Costakis Pandelidis, the son of the Greek Cypriot police director in Nicosia.

According to the report, Greek Cypriot security forces were then instructed that “10 Turks shall be killed for each Hellen” as retribution. The following day, 17 Turks were kidnapped and executed by a firing squad in Famagusta. 

The killings, which are considered by Turkish Cypriots as ethnic cleansing, continued on May 13 when 11 Turkish Cypriot workers were kidnapped and killed near Paralimni Lake. Their remains were found in 2006, the report added.

The newspaper reported there were many other atrocities committed by the Greek Cypriot side and that had gone unpunished in the following decade. For instance, 126 Turks, most of them women, children and elderly, were killed and buried in mass graves in Muratağa and Sandallar villages on Aug. 14, 1974.

“Most of the killers were EOKA militants but there were also some Greek Cypriot neighbors of the Turkish victims among them,” the report said.

The newspaper also gave other examples from Greek atrocities, including the raping of Turkish women, the plundering of Turkish villages and horrific murders, such as the death of Muratağa village’s Turkish coffeeshop owner Mustafa Kukudi, who was killed by quartering of his body on Aug. 10, 1974.

Politis drew the ire of the Greek Cypriot administration because of the latest article series, which continued with a new episode on Aug. 8. The newspaper, as well as its reporters, reportedly received death threats this week.

tarihi_olaylar_kibris-jpg_45921048_1451760999

Turkey’s “Peace Operation” 1974

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared on Nov. 15, 1983. It is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.

The United Nations has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey.

The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in July 2017 after two years of negotiations.

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Well, it’s an issue that’s been bubbling away on the international scene for many years now, emerging from time to time as a major issue from time to time, such as when the EU want to justify their constant refusal to accept Turkey into their exclusive club.

I always thought this business was another manifestation of the general anti-Turkey obsession in the West. However, another news item caught my eye the other day that made me think again. Why is the Western First World so determined to support mainland Greece’s annexation of an island so far from its own shores; an island with no connection to “Greece” at all since it was seized from the Byzantine Empire by England’s crusading King Richard I in 1191?

Now I learn that the “Greek” republic of Cyprus is an important tax haven and provider of money-laundering services to the rich and powerful in those self-righteous Western “democracies”. Paul Manafort, former chairman of Donald Trump’s election campaign, is on trial in the United States on a wide range of corruption charges. And I thought to myself, “Aha! So that’s what it’s all about!”

Ex-Manafort Aide Rick Gates Describes Funneling Millions Through Bank Accounts in Cyprus

manafort trump

Thumbs up for money-laundering, tax evasion and general corruption

(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) —Paul Manafort’s longtime deputy told jurors Tuesday how he spent years disguising millions of dollars in foreign income as loans to lower the former Trump campaign chairman’s tax bill. 

Rick Gates, the government’s star witness, recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

“In Cyprus, they were documented as loans. In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts,” Gates said during his second day of testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss.

Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort’s “right-hand man,” to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Source 

Manafort lawyer: ‘So many lies’ Gates can’t keep up

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — In blistering and aggressive questioning aimed at undermining the credibility of the government’s star witness, a defense lawyer accused the protege of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of being immersed in “so many lies” he can’t remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.

170414-mak-cyprus-money-laundering-tease_ndrxfw

We’re squeaky clean – it’s Turkey that’s guilty!

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by confronting him on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss. 

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes. He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort’s tax bill. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS. 

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

“In Cyprus, they were documented as loans. In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts,” Gates said.

Source

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The Cyprus business used to be about controlling the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. Now, it’s about controlling the world!

So who invaded Cyprus first?

It’s not the main topic of the news item, but it does make an interesting point about Turkey’s “invasion” of Cyprus back in 1974 . . .

Spooky pics of abandoned Cyprus airport frozen in time

nicosiaTHIS once bustling transport hub was suddenly abandoned 40 years ago, leaving jet planes and empty terminals as eerie signs of the past.

THIS airport was once a bustling, state-of-the-art transport hub on a popular holiday island. 

But for more than 40 years, time has stood still at Nicosia International Airport on Cyprus, which is now an eerie scene of decaying check-in desks and terminal equipment, and stripped-back jets stuck on the abandoned tarmac.

The airport became deserted after 1974, when it became a flashpoint for civil conflict on the Mediterranean island.

Cyprus had seen years of tensions between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots after it became independent from Britain.

In 1974, Greek nationalists overthrew the elected president of Cyprus and in the days that followed, Nicosia airport was briefly used to bring in troops from Greece.

The airport was also a scene of chaos during that time, as holiday-makers and other foreigners sought to flee the conflict.

Within days of the coup d’etat, Turkey invaded Cyprus, and the airport was severely damaged in a bombing campaign.

nicosia jetA demilitarised zone was created and Nicosia airport wound up right in the middle of it, which led to it being suddenly abandoned. The last commercial flight departed Nicosia in 1977.

After Nicosia airport was abandoned, authorities opened a new international airport at Larnaca, which is the island’s main airport that most Australians now fly into or pass through.

But intrepid travellers who venture to neglected Nicosia airport can see how its has become frozen in time, with derelict rows of seats in the terminals, stained carpets on now-empty corridors, and decrepit jet planes stuck where they last came to rest all those years ago.

Source

And another related snippet from the BBC . . .

Varosha – The abandoned tourist resort

famagustabeach

Famagusta before the Greek military coup – and subsequent Turkish invasion

Miles of sand where it’s just you and nature. Dozens of grand hotels where you’ll have the pick of the rooms.

Just remember to pack your bolt cutters to make a hole in the fence – and watch out for the army patrols with orders to shoot on sight. 

Before the division of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha – a resort in Famagusta – was booming. The rich and famous were drawn by some of the best beaches on the island. Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot all dropped by – the Argo Hotel on JFK Avenue was said to be Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite.

But 40 years ago, after years of inter-ethnic violence culminating in a coup inspired by Greece’s ruling military junta, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern third of the island.

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Incidentally, before taking matters into their owns hands, the government of Turkey had asked the UK government, as guarantors of Cyprus’s independence, to intervene  – which they declined to do.

3.6 million Syrian refugees have now fled to Turkey

20 percent of Syrian refugees live in Istanbul

Do the maths: 20% means 720,000 men women and children – More than the population of Seattle, WA, and slightly fewer than Charlotte, NC, the 17th and 18th largest cities in the United States! And you guys are still bombing them!

The Turkish province accommodating the highest number of Syrian refugees in the country is Istanbul with 20 percent, according to media monitoring company Ajans Press.

samserif_ak_final3

Istanbul’s “Little Syria”. “Şam” is “Damascus” in Turkish.

In figures that are based on data from the Interior Ministry’s Immigration Office, as well as media reports, as of June some 3.6 million Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey.

Istanbul accommodates the highest number, followed by the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa and the southern province of Hatay.

Other provinces hosting a high number of Syrian refugees are the western provinces of Bursa and İzmir, the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis, the Central Anatolian province of Konya, and the southern provinces of Adana and Mersin. The number of Syrians exceeds 100,000 in all of these provinces.

The registered number of Turks in Kilis, on the Turkey-Syria border north of Aleppo, stood at 136,319 as of last year, while the province hosts a total of 131,109 Syrian refugees. The demographic shift has sometimes led to confrontations between Turks and Syrians in the province.

276,158 Syrian babies born in last six years

The media monitoring company’s report also included the number of Syrian babies born in Turkey over the last six years, calculating it as reaching 276,158 based on figures from media outlets.

It also found that the issue of Syrian refugees was one of the most-discussed issues in Turkish media reports over the last six years.

The number of refugees has been on rise in Turkey since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. The Syrian refugee population was 2.8 million in 2016 and 3.4 million in 2017.

Of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees, some 1.9 million are males and 1.7 million are females.

Source: Hürriyet Daily News