Millions stand for democracy in Turkey

Was this reported in your local news media?

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Standing up for democracy in Istanbul

Millions of people gathered Aug. 7 at a meeting venue in Istanbul’s Yenikapı area for a massive joint democracy rally to protest the July 15 coup attempt, putting an end to three weeks of demonstrations following the failed takeover.

The rally was a rare event in which the leaders of three political parties took the stage upon a call made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leaving aside their political differences.

The event began with Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate reciting from the Quran.

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Remember that picture from Tiananmen Square? This is Turkey!

“That night, I realized that I am a part of a very great nation,” said Orçun Şekercioğlu, who came to the stage on a wheelchair. He was wounded by coup soldiers on the Bosphorus Bridge as he was standing against tanks.

“July 15 has opened a door of consensus for Turkey,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu said, while addressing the crowd. “There is a new Turkey now,” he said. “All political party leaders should learn lessons from the coup attempt. That includes me.”

“I am happy because I can see the rise of Turkey,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli said in his address to millions from all walks of life. “July 15 is a milestone for Turkey,” he said, praising the citizenry’s strong stance against the coup soldiers at the cost of their lives.

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This is a huge one, for those who know Turkey!

Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar received a big round of applause when he took the stage. Along with Akar, other members of the top brass who were taken hostage by the coup plotters were present at the meeting. Akar once again said U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen was responsible for the coup.

President Erdoğan arrived in Yenikapı in a helicopter alongside first lady Emine Erdoğan. Mr Erdoğan started his speech by thanking the people who stood against the tanks and planes used by the coup plotters during the failed takeover. He wished his condolences to the 240 people killed by putschists, of whom 172 were civilians, 63 were police officers and five were soldiers. He also wished speedy recovery to the 2,195 wounded.

During Erdoğan’s speech the crowd repeatedly shouted that they wanted the death penalty to be reintroduced. “If parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it,” he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and “many other countries.”

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The Aegean region is a stronghold of opposition to the government, but . . .

“We’re here to show that these flags won’t come down, the call to prayer won’t be silenced, and our country won’t be divided,” said Hacı Mehmet Haliloğlu, a civil servant who traveled from the Black Sea province of Ordu for the rally. “This is something way beyond politics, this is either our freedom or death,” he said, a large Turkish flag over his shoulder and a matching baseball cap on his head.

Repeated announcements were made in the area regarding a ban on carrying party flags or party slogans. Millions of Turkish flags were seen in the area, as well as the flags of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Posters of Erdoğan and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, were also hung around the venue.

The “Democracy and Martyrs Rally” was held as the last in a series of meetings to protest the failed takeover, which is believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Read the whole article

It has been estimated that 3.5 million people turned up for the meeting in Istanbul – and large crowds attended similar gatherings in all of Turkey’s 81 provinces.

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“There is a new Turkey now!”

In spite of that, I could find no mention in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald or the New Zealand Herald.

BBC News chose to report: Turkey’s president backs death penalty!

Apart from the Beeb, the other sites I visited focused on the possible abdication of the Emperor of Japan; continuing violence in Libya, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan; and the possibility that Oscar Pistorius may have tried to top himself.

Is there disappointment out there that the attempted coup in Turkey didn’t succeed? It sure looks like it from where I’m sitting.

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Attempted Coup in Turkey – For Those Who Do Not Understand

You should read this. It’s not just me . . .

e14ab38e-4511-4a3a-9ac8-6a83a38175e8Adam McConnel in Serbestiyet:

“Hours after the Turkish government declared a state of emergency, the German Foreign Ministry took the astonishing step of criticizing the Turkish government for the action. Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s comments revealed how ignorant he is about Turkish affairs. Germany’s neighbor France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, and has just extended that state of emergency for another six months. The German Foreign Ministry has not said anything about that. Then two days later, in a case of grotesque and horrific irony, Germany itself had to declare a state of emergency when an assailant in Munich killed a number of civilians.

As someone who lived through the night of 15-16 July, there are two aspects of the situation that I find disturbing. The first is the event itself, which was truly terrifying. The second has been the attitude of journalists and other intellectual commentators both inside Turkey and abroad. As the coup attempt emerged and then failed, reporters and pundits struggled to say something coherent for their viewers and readers. The situation inside Turkey was better because the large majority of commentators had (and have) a better grip on the political realities of the situation, but abroad the outlook was grim. This and the following articles will address those journalists’ and commentators’ massive failure to perform their job properly.

A number of extremely worrying narratives emerged even while the violence was continuing early on Saturday, 16th July. In a general way, they were meant to insult or to negatively impact on the public perception of two main actors. The main target was Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan; the secondary, but inherently connected actor was the Turkish citizens themselves. For several years an international campaign has been waged to portray the Turkish leader in as bad a light as possible for Western media consumers. But because Erdoğan has achieved repeated and spectacular electoral successes over the past fifteen years, the insults aimed at Erdoğan have between the lines also been aimed at the Turkish people. If he is the supposed dictator, then they are the brainwashed, hideous rabble that voted him there.”

Read the whole article

Democracy in Turkey? They’re Muslims for God’s sake!

Thanks to my old neighbour and friend Malcolm Evans for allowing me to publish this letter. He’s sent it to several newspapers in New Zealand, but I’m not expecting to see it published. Maybe I’ll be surprised, who knows?

“Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’ve just been trawling media stories for too long.  But then again, maybe – just maybe – maybe we’re being fed as big a line of BS in our newspapers as ever we claim is routinely served up to the other lot.

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Did you see these photos in your local newspaper?

It all came to a head these past days in the aftermath of the attempted military coup in Turkey – did you notice?  Clearly a serious attempt to overthrow an elected government had taken place.  And just as clearly the Turkish people, including those who oppose that elected government, took to the streets and stopped it!

But then, instead of stories praising Turkey for defending democracy, which we claim to hold so dear, our newspapers ran sneering suggestions that the coup was engineered by the Turkish government to cement its power. And these were followed by warnings that Turkey had better not use the coup as an excuse to go on a “witch hunt” for other than those responsible.

And all these stories seemed to materialise simultaneously and each seemed to be singing from the same song sheet!  And yes, dare I say it, they carried a distinct whiff of stifled disappointment that the coup in Turkey had failed!

_90415709_034087874-2Turkey is a major power, geographically and politically important and, as a member of Nato, is surely deserving of the same respect we accord other members of that alliance. If a similar coup attempt had taken place in another Nato country I doubt it would have been given the treatment our newspapers gave Turkey got last week.

For instance, maybe I missed it, but I didn’t read of any warning being given to either France or Germany, both of whom have declared states of emergency, not to use their terror situations to impose harsh measures on anyone.  (And don’t get me started on the blind eye we turn to the appalling treatment of minorities in America). So why the difference?

But then of course I’m being naïve aren’t I.  There’s something else going on here isn’t there. Turkey’s not playing the game some would have it played, is it? And that’s what’s behind the jaundiced eye we’re told we must see Turkey through. Heaven forbid that we should consider them as decent, well educated, nice people – they’re Muslims for God’s sake!

I’m a newspaper man. I’ve worked in and around them, in one capacity or another, for over fifty years.  Newspapers are a vital element of our democracy –  “The Fifth Estate” said Edmund Burke – and if they are to remain true to that principle it’s vital that newspapers preserve their objectivity and resist attempts to convert them into a conduit for someone else’s agenda.

Then again maybe that’s just me.”

The new president of the Philippines says many slain journalists deserved it

An average of four journalists killed every year! And I guess the Philippines is/are an important ally of the United States? I’m looking for a comment from ‘Reporters Without Borders’.

500Many slain journalists in the Philippines had been corrupt and had “done something” to warrant being killed, the country’s president-elect said.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Philippines ranks as the second-deadliest country for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 75 journalists there have been killed since 1992.

On Tuesday, Duterte said many slain journalists had accepted bribes or criticized people, who then retaliated, the Associated Press reported. He also said a radio commentator killed in Davao City was “rotten.”

He also said journalists who defamed others weren’t necessarily protected from violent attacks.

“That can’t be just freedom of speech. The constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person,” he said, according to reports.

Read the whole article.

George Clooney, The Aurora Prize And Hope In Armenia – Hate masquerading as peace

I want to pass this on to you. It is the most articulate response I have read to the barrage of attacks mounted against the people of Turkey in Western media over something that happened over a hundred years ago.

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Without the shades, you might see some of the world’s real problems

I can’t tell you who wrote it. It was submitted as a comment on the Forbes website to an emotive article about the Hollywood actor George Clooney’s recent visit to Armenia.

Please. You are not Kim Kardashian or George Clooney. You are a journalist. Do some research on both sides before you write some piece to “feel all the feels”.

What is conveniently not mentioned in these “feel all the feels” articles is this: Guess which country has had the most diplomats and ambassadors murdered? Turkey. All of them, by Armenian terrorists. And you don’t have to go back 100 years to research it. And it all took place in Western countries. You know why you never heard of it? Because Western media bows down to special interest Armenian lobbying and censors the news. You know what else? All those murderers have already been released and are free and walking the streets.

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Armenian terrorist holds hostage at gunpoint

Did you know that in the 1980s, an Armenian priest in Turkey burned himself publicly to protest and to stop his own people from murdering Turkish diplomats? No? Because the Western media suppressed that bit of news also. Did you know that there are more than 60 Armenian schools in Turkey for Armenian citizens to send their children to, if they’d rather their children go there? Do you know there are numerous famous Armenian writers, musicians, actors, and artists in Turkey? Do you know Turkey allows its own Armenian citizens living in Turkey, who have been influenced by Armenians in Western countries, to freely meet and post on social media all their vengeful feelings about 100 years ago?

Turkey takes the higher road and doesn’t get into the lies and the sensationalism so you end up with misguided celebrities feeding the fire. Did Armenians join with the world to help relieve the refugee crisis? Did the Clooneys or Kim Kardashian do a single thing to help a single refugee? Did they ever say anything about the more recent Rwandan or Serbian genocide? Did they ever stop their vengeful navel gazing to help anyone else in the world? Do you know how many refugees Turkey took in? Millions and millions. And Turkey did it while being harassed nonstop by these bullies giving in to the sensationalized lobbying. In Western countries currently, there is a great amount of harassment, bullying, bigotry, and discrimination towards Turkish citizens perpetuated by Armenians. 

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Well known historians, Kim and Khloe on their photo-op in Armenia

Don’t fool yourselves. American and Western universities, schools, workplaces are not places of Equal Opportunity. You only hear about the racial and religious discrimination because those are eventually unearthed. This other type of nationalistic discrimination by Armenians toward those with Turkish origins goes on and on every single day and is never even brought to light. Why would you even say Turkish people are denying it? Like Turkish people were alive and in their 20s and 30s in 1915 and they all happened to be right there wherever this battle / march / genocide happened and they witnessed it or outright took part in it and then they all miraculously lived to be 120 and 130 years old and deny it? I personally did not hear a single word about it growing up in Turkey and I was caught off-guard by all the harassment and bullying I experienced once I came to the U.S.

Just the way police coerce people into false confessions, Armenians won’t rest till they use their hysteria, sensationalism, and special interest lobbying to get the whole world pressuring Turkey to make a false confession. How about the world telling Armenians to stop rehashing World War I nonstop for a zillion years?

Why would you be stuck in what an empire, that the Turkish Republic put an end to itself, did more than 100 years ago? Why would you bring it to a level where you have this unquenchable personal vengeance toward people who had nothing to do with what happened 100 years ago? All of a sudden, the whole world is on this vengeance and hatred bandwagon with Armenians against Turkish people who have done nothing. Why would you not choose peace? Why would you perpetuate vengeance and hatred? Even our grandparents were not even born in 1915. If the world wants to have an enemy because they just can’t be peaceful, they should find some real perpetrators because this whole thing is the single most obnoxious thing I have ever seen. You all continue to swing your sword at the windmills like Don Quixote. You are conducting the Salem witch trials all over again. Why can’t you say, “Peace begins with me,” instead of creating hatred and vengeance?

recently renovated Vordvots Vorotman Armenian Church in Istanbul

Recently renovated Vordvots Vorotman Armenian Church, Istanbul

There are numerous Western historians who have studied events around that time in that region of the world and unequivocally said, “I will not call this genocide.” If you want anecdotes just like the Armenian anecdotes, there are numerous anecdotes of Turkish families being tortured and murdered at the hands of Armenians who joined with the Russian forces. But of course, in our topsy-turvy world where Western media is censored by lobbying bullies, you rarely hear the truth. Please satisfy the requirements of objective journalism before you write a piece to fan the flames of vengeance.

 

Of Tennis, Politics and Freedom of the Press

I’m a tennis fan, though I don’t write much about it. I don’t watch a lot of TV either, but I do enjoy a match between top-level players. For some years now my favourite player has been Spain’s Rafael Nadal – and not merely because he’s left-handed. I was impressed from the moment he burst on the scene at the French Open as an 18 year-old in a sleeveless shirt and long bermuda shorts.

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Rafa hugs Uncle Toni after winning Wimbledon, 2012

I appreciate his gentlemanly conduct on and off court – his magnanimity in victory, and more recently, his graciousness in defeat. I admire the way he works on his weaknesses: learning English good enough to deal with even the most inane questions of the press gallery; and coming back with a more powerful service after realising his game needed it. After a lengthy period of illness and injury where Nadal saw his world ranking drop from 1st to 8th, he appears to have come back to his winning ways. In an age where mega-rich tennis stars pay for an army of coaches and support staff, and change them regularly, Rafa has stuck with his Uncle Toni through thick and thin.

So I am totally on his side as he brings a defamation lawsuit against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot who apparently accused the Spanish star of covering up a failed drug test.

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Who can know? But he looks honest to me

Nadal was quoted as saying, “Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career.”

“I also wish to prevent any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation.”

And isn’t he right? Mme Bachelot is apparently now a television show host, so I guess the question of press freedom arises here.

Well, I want you to know that I am a firm supporter of freedom in all its forms. The fact that I occasionally express contentious opinions on this blog must be evidence of this. However, it seems to me there must be limits to freedom of speech – and of course there are. All civilized countries have laws of libel and defamation. Clearly the issue of doping is crucial to a sportsperson’s ability to pursue his or her career. No one has the right to jeopardise that without indisputable evidence to support their accusation.

Surely the same is true for political leaders. I may think that the prime minister of my country is corrupt, a liar and a murderer; but if I come out in public and accuse him or her of these crimes – or bestiality and paedophilia, I’d better be prepared to front up in court and substantiate my claims, or face the consequences.

And no anonymous bunch of pseudo-leftist puppets calling themselves ‘Reporters Without Borders’ will convince me otherwise.

Cultural Arrogance

A couple of weeks ago I published a post about a gang of high-level Western diplomats who invaded a sensitive court hearing in Istanbul. In an obvious and high-handed attempt to influence the judicial process in a country where they are privileged guests, the twelve consuls and ambassadors snapped group ‘selfies’ which they proceeded to post on Facebook.

If there was an award for cultural arrogance, that would surely have to be on the short list. I can’t imagine the reaction if such an invasion was organised by foreign diplomats at a court in London or Washington DC.

Following close on the heels of that outrage, here’s another group of contenders:

It was reported on Tuesday that nine people had been arrested in Lebanon on charges related to the kidnapping of two small children.

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Where there’s a need, someone will supply a service

Normally such an event in a Middle Eastern country wouldn’t arouse much international interest – but in this case, those arrested include the Australian mother of the two children, four personnel from the Australian ‘60 Minutes’ TV news programme, and agents of a shady British ‘child recovery’ company.

Reports suggest that the Australian TV network paid ‘a six-figure sum’ to the British child-snatchers so that they could film the operation in Beirut. The operation went well, apparently, except that the heist was captured on CCTV cameras in the street, with the predictable result that all nine are now in custody facing charges that could bring them up to twenty years in a Lebanese prison.

What’s the background? Well, the mother, Sally, from Brisbane, has two children, Noah (4) and Lahela (6) from her Lebanese ex-husband, and now has a baby with her new partner. Ex-hubbie apparently took his two children for a holiday in Lebanon, but then refused to return them. Sally decided to arrange a snatch-back, but couldn’t afford the company’s fee, and that’s where the TV people came in, on the understanding, no doubt, that they would film an action-packed, tear-jerking human interest story.

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Let’s see ‘Reporters Without Borders’ sort this one out!

I don’t imagine they’ll be allowed their cameras in the prison where they’re being held, so it seems the only footage we’ll be seeing is the grainy CCTV clip showing two small children being torn away from their grandmother by strangers on a busy street, and bundled into the back of a van – pretty traumatic for the little kids, not to mention grandma. For sure, it raises some interesting questions about freedom of the media.

An Australian academic specialising in Middle East affairs has been quoted as saying the child-snatchers had seriously underestimated the difficulty of the task they were attempting to pull off. He says the area where the children were picked up is a Hezbollah stronghold, with a high level of security. In addition, he says the father of the children is related to the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, so pulling diplomatic strings won’t be easy.

Apart from that, there seems to have been an assumption that those third world countries inevitably have inefficient law enforcement and primitive technology, so our intrepid Aussies would be in and out with the kids before the locals knew what was going on. Ah well, you live and learn, huh?