Turkish envoy slams op-ed calling for NATO dismissal

Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Serdar Kılıç responded on Aug. 19 to an op-ed piece that he said it was aimed to undermine the Turkish contributions to the NATO alliance.

The Wall Street Journal’s piece penned by Bernard-Henri Levy, a French media personality and intellectual, argued that NATO should “give Turkey the boot.”

serdar kılıç

Turkey’s ambassador to the USA, Serdar Kılıç

The Turkish envoy criticized Levy for falsely claiming the unreliability of Turkey as a NATO ally and ignoring the country’s history of contributions to the strategic organization.

“Turkey has been a proud and indispensable ally for over 60 years: as a front-line combatant against ISIS [Daesh] and other religious extremists, guardian of NATO’s southern flank and home to the alliance’s second-largest armed forces,” Kılıç said.

“Mr. Levy accuses Turkey of spreading Islamist extremism and fomenting violence in Syria, but the opposite is true,” he wrote.

Kılıç said that Turkey provided a safe haven for nearly 4 million Syrians fleeing the war, where they “live free from terror and have access to homes, schools and health-care facilities established by our government.”

Levy’s claim that Turkey was an “illiberal state” was also retorted by Kılıç who said the Turkish elections in June were democratic and monitored by the international community.

“The numbers tell the story: An amazing 86.2% of eligible voters went to the polls to cast their votes in an election that was the most monitored by international observers in recent history,” Kılıç added.

Highlighting the geopolitical importance of Turkey, Kılıç said the country ensured a global security at a time of unprecedented challenges facing the alliance.

“Turkey’s İncirlik air base also hosts a crucial staging ground for the international coalition to defeat ISIS. Located 60 miles [96 kilometers] from the Syrian border, the base’s proximity to the front lines allows coalition strike missions to stay in the air longer without refueling and to react more quickly.

“That saves American and coalition lives. Incirlik is playing a vital role in staging operations that have put our enemies on the run,” Kılıç added.

“We stand by our NATO allies during this challenging time and proudly stand on guard at the front lines to face future threats to our collective security, and expect nothing less from our allies,” Kılıç said.

Source

And by the way . . . Who is Bernard-Henri Lévy? Source

“Lévy was born in 1948 in Béni Saf, French Algeria, to an affluent Algerian Jewish family. His family moved to Paris a few months after his birth. His father, André Lévy, was the founder and manager of a timber company, Becob, and became a multimillionaire from his business.

Returning to Paris, Lévy became known as a founder of the New Philosophers (Nouveaux Philosophes) school. This was a group of young intellectuals who were disenchanted with communist and socialist responses to the near-revolutionary upheavals in France of May 1968, and who developed an uncompromising moral critique of Marxist and socialist dogmas.

[R]ecently, Lévy was publicly embarrassed when his essay De la guerre en philosophie (2010) cited the writings of French “philosopher” Jean-Baptiste Botul. Botul’s writings are actually well-known spoofs,

[In 2018, his fortune is estimated to be around $1.25 billion] his fortune comes essentially from the inheritance of his parents, then completed by stock exchange investments (he was in 2000 suspected of insider trading by the Commission des opérations de bourse).”

A media personality, philosopher and intellectual – Nice work, if you can get it! I wonder where he stands on the question of French genocide in Algeria?

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Press Freedom in Turkey – and democracy on social media

Feelings are running high in Turkey at present over the violent attacks by Israeli security forces on Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The government has openly condemned the Israeli government’s actions. This evening a public meeting will be held in Istanbul, and no doubt strong words will be spoken.

Yenikapı protest

Condemn the cruelty – Support Jerusalem!

Interestingly, the people of Turkey, and before them, the Ottoman Empire have a long history of providing friendship, support and even sanctuary to Jewish people when they were suffering persecution in Europe.

I want to share with you two news items that appeared in our local newspaper this morning:

The first refers to an incident that took place yesterday in Taksim Square – a location teeming with emotive connotations for Turks of all political persuasions.

Israeli journalists

Reaction to two Israeli journalists

Apparently two Israeli journalists representing a TV channel Hadashot were attempting to interview passersby about their views on the recent events in Gaza. It seems things were peaceful enough until a woman, allegedly a citizen of Azerbaijan, became angry. “You are killing people in Palestine,” she shouted, “and you are coming here to do reports!”

A crowd began to gather and two other people joined the woman in starting to push the two journalists around. Luckily for the Israelis, police intervened, listened to their complaints and took the woman into custody.

Netanyahu's son

An ugly share

The second item was about Yair Netanyahu, son of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the article, the PM’s son posted a picture of the Turkish flag on Instagram accompanied by some obscene words.

Possibly the young Netanyahu was surprised at the negative reaction he received to his post, and shortly after closed his Instagram account.

“We Are All Palestinians Now”

I’m not going to write about the massacres in Palestine, but I’m reblogging this from Shuck and Jive:

Anti-SemiteNakba 1948

Holocaust Denier

Conspiracy Theorist

People are beginning to awaken to the fact that the name-calling is connected to the violent oppression. The name-calling and the smearing is the weapon the oppressors use to silence the resistance. When someone is labeled as an anti-Semite, Holocaust Denier, Conspiracy Theorist and what have you, then we don’t need to listen to what they have to say.  You don’t need an argument.  Call someone an icky name, then avoid them and tell others to avoid them.

The surprising thing is that the name-calling often comes from the mouths of those in opposition to the oppressors. When pro-Palestinian activists call other pro-Palestinian activists these names, then we know the true power of the oppressor. The oppressor controls the language of the opposition.

When I met with divestment activists in the Presbyterian Church (USA) four years ago, I was surprised when one of them told me that we can now use the word “occupation.” When the divestment movement in the PCUSA had begun over a decade previous, calling what Israel was doing to Palestine “an occupation” was not allowed. I asked, “Who makes those rules?” The answer had to do with strategy and who might be offended and who would support and not support their particular goals and so on and so forth.

The rules are self-made and guided by the oppressors.

The oppressors allow the little victories as long as the truth of what keeps the oppressors in power is not allowed to be revealed. When someone like for instance, Gilad Atzmon, starts talking about the ideology behind the oppressors, then an artificial line that has been drawn by the oppressors is crossed. All forces are then unleashed to smear not only Mr. Atzmon but anyone who might even give him space to defend himself against such attacks.

Meanwhile, mass murder continues while churches in America either cheer it on, satisfy themselves with smaller goals that won’t offend the sensitivities of the oppressors, or, as in most cases, remain deadly silent.

palestineI do think people are beginning to awaken to the fact that the name-calling is connected to the violent oppression and that the name-calling says much more about the name-caller than the name-called. The next step is heart or courage. If we are going to dismantle the oppressor by dismantling their control of the discourse, then we must accept that we, too, will be smeared when we give space to those who cross the oppressors’ line.  This may affect our reputations, our jobs, our livelihoods.

But that is nothing compared to what is happening to our sisters and brothers in Gaza on this 70th anniversary of the ongoing Nakba. As Mr. Atzmon writes, “We are all Palestinians now.”