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.


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.


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.


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.


Turks destroy dollars, break iPhones in reaction to US sanctions

Several Turks have had their share of 15 minutes of fame this week when their videos showing their furious reaction to United States sanctions went viral, as they destroyed dollars and broke their iPhones.

Destroy iPhones and dollarsIn one of the most popular videos, a Turkish butcher was seen “mincing” dollar bills, while a businessman from the south-eastern Şanlıurfa province opted to burn them.

In another popular video, a man was seen breaking several iPhones for “reis,” which means “leader,” referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. As he also broke other phones for two cabinet ministers sanctioned by the U.S., six young men behind him were seen calling out, “God is great.”


No irregularities in Turkish election that would have affected the outcome – CHP opposition

CHP presidential candidate İnce blasts election night ‘hoaxes’

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has blasted “hoaxes” that circulated on social media after the June 24 election in a series of tweets before his three-hour meeting with CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. 

CHP leaders

If they can get their act together, they may have a chance next time.

“They, everything told, written or shared on the election night, were all lies, claiming I was silenced, threatened, kidnapped or was put in a position where I could not make a statement. I did not send a tweet saying ‘there were things that you do not know.’ That screenshot was fake, a hoax,” İnce said in a series of tweets on July 2.

He reiterated that the CHP could not detect an irregularity in the election that would have affected the outcome.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was re-elected by receiving the majority of votes in the first round of elections on June 24.

İnce, who vowed to “keep up with the struggle until Turkey would become a country for us all,” said he would start to tour the country on July 4.

Kılıçdaroğlu and İnce met for a dinner at a hotel in Ankara late July 2 to evaluate the election results and determine the party strategy ahead of the local elections, which could be moved from March 2019 to late 2018.

The two figures did not release a press statement after their dinner, which took three hours.

It was the first time that they met face-to-face after the elections.

“I will not run against [Kılıçdaroğlu] and be his competitor. I will not commit such disloyalty to a person who has presented me as a presidential candidate,” İnce said on July 1, as inner-party debates were the center of attention within the CHP following the election results.

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish diaspora see Erdoğan as ‘healer’ of frustrations

Extracts from an interview with Professor Ayhan Kaya

From the start I have challenged the rise of “civilizational” discourse, which originates from the “clash of civilizations” paradigm introduced by Samuel Huntington, based on the idea that Muslims and Christians cannot live together simply because they are from two different civilizations. Civilization cannot simply be reduced to religions, it is much more of a material process related to urbanization, industrialization, etc.

1*0Fe6fTDdKidxPXKCNrljtgLook at what happened in Palestine. Israel killed more than 60 Palestinians and this shows there is no global justice. One of the reasons why there is more radicalization among Muslim-origin youths towards Islamism is the belief that there is no global justice.

Right-wing populist parties are instrumentalizing the fear of refugees and fear of Islam for their own use. In our interviews in six countries with supporters of right-wing populist parties, we saw that they are not actually too hostile to refugees. Rather, they are hostile to settled migrants.

In our research in different European countries we saw what Erdoğan signifies for many members of the Turkish-origin public. He is seen as the person who can heal the sources of their problems. What many see in the image of Erdoğan is a strong personality who can challenge European leaders.

We don’t really see much radicalization among Turkish-origin youths in terms of jihadism. We see that more among members of the North African diaspora. I think one of the reasons for this is the Ottoman past. The Ottomans were never colonized, which gives them a difference in terms of their identification compared to North Africans. 

The misperception about Islamophobes in Europe is contributing to the rise of anti-Westernism among Turkish politicians, some of whom have started to suggest there is a “war between the crescent and the cross.” This is completely wrong; the war is between the rich and the poor, the center and the periphery.

Read the whole article

Erdoğan long-awaited mentor for Muslims

Bosnian leader Bakir Izetbegovic said May 12 that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a mentor for Muslims, a fact that makes him unpopular in the West.

Bosnian leader

Bosnian leader Bakir Izetbegovic

Speaking at an event organized by his Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in capital Sarajevo, the chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “Our friend is not very popular in the West, because Erdoğan is a long-awaited great leader for Muslims.”

“They [the West] are not disturbed by primitive and ignorant Muslims,” he said.

 “But when it comes to economic development, they are disturbed by a man who opens his doors to three million refugees, who builds the world’s largest airport, deals with terrorism and wars at his country’s borders.” 

Erdoğan is expected to visit Sarajevo on May 20. 

Izetbegovic said that their meeting during the visit will focus on a highway project that will link Sarajevo and Serbia’s capital Belgrade. 

Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Triplets in Turkey named after President Erdoğan – Today’s happy news!

Came across this article in today’s newspaper. I’m giving a translation for readers who don’t know Turkish. The original is a bit repetitious, so I’m abbreviating it a little:


Little Recep, Tayyip and Erdoğan with mum, dad, big sister and the president

“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with three-year-old triplets named Recep, Tayyip and Erdoğan at the office of the governor in Sivas [a historic city in the east of Turkey].

“President Erdoğan had met them for the first time during a visit to Sivas in 2015. After the meeting, the father and mother of the triplets, Dilek and Kemal Akıncı said they were very happy. ‘We met Mr Erdoğan for the first time in 2015 and afterwards we spoke on the telephone. We’re grateful that he visited us in Sivas. We met up at the governor’s office. We’re so happy,’ they said.”

Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan Minik Adaşları İle Görüştü

Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 3 yaşındaki Recep, Tayyip, Erdoğan isimlerini taşıyan üçüzler ile Sivas Valiliğinde bir araya geldi.

Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ilk kez 2015 yılında ki Sivas ziyareti sırasında tanıştığı; 3 yaşındaki Recep, Tayyip, Erdoğan isimlerini taşıyan üçüzlerle bugünkü Sivas ziyaretinde yeniden bir araya geldi. Sivas Valiliğindeki ziyaret sonrası üçüzlerin annesi Dilek Akıncı ve babaları Kemal Akıncı çok mutlu olduklarını belirterek, “İlk kez 2015 yılında görüşmüştük. Daha sonra telefonla görüştük. Sivas’ı ziyaret ettiği için kendisine çok teşekkür ediyoruz. Valilikte kendisi ile görüştük. Çok mutluyuz” dedi.

More evidence that the US was behind the failed coup attempt in Turkey

Reassessing The Reasons For The Failed Turkish Coup AttemptEVIL_EMPIRE_COVER_2_670

This review aims to re-evaluate the motivations for the regime change attempt and argues that the US exploited sharp pre-existing differences within Turkey’s military, elite, and society in order to instigate the coup for envisioned zero-sum geostrategic ends against Russia.