Turkey’s politics No contest | Dec 11th 2008 | ISTANBUL
From The Economist print edition | The Turkish prime minister’s biggest asset is his opposition
FOR two decades, the leader of Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has cast himself as the sole politician who can defend Ataturk’s secular republic against creeping Islam. So the sight of Deniz Baykal recruiting a woman in a full black chador at a CHP gathering and saying, “We must show respect for people’s [choice of] dress,” has rocked the country’s secular establishment. “We will never get used to this,” quavered Necla Arat, a CHP deputy.
Ergenekon witness paid to keep silent, paper claims
Today’s Zaman, Turkey –
A former member of Ergenekon, a clandestine gang with links to behind-the-scene intelligence units nearly 90 of whose alleged members are currently facing
Some sections of the media, including this paper, pay attention to the Ergenekon case; however, a substantial part of the media and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) are eager to serve as advocates for Ergenekon. They are trying to dilute, distort and belittle this case.
As reported by Agence France-Presse in mid-January, "The far rightist parties of Europe are reorganizing themselves in order to fight against the Islamization of the old continent."
Ergenekon: Turkey’s military-political contest – Turquie Européenne – Wednesday 10 December 2008 – Actualités de la Turquie et traductions de la presse turque
The trial of alleged conspirators acting in defence of Turkey’s “deep state” is exposing the country’s military as well as its political leadership to new pressures
Turkey’s year of extraordinary political controversy continues to absorb and divide the country’s citizens. The latest high-level dispute surrounds the opening on 20 October 2008 in Istanbul of the long-awaited trial of eighty-six suspects involved in the elusive ‘Ergenekon’ conspiracy.
(WMR) — Tuncay Guney, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) agent who was a key player in the right-wing “Deep State” Ergenekon movement that attempted to overthrow the Turkish government, spent time in North Jersey in the months prior to the 9/11 attacks, according to a reliable source who spoke to WMR."
|In novels appealing to national sentiments, war heroes are depicted as brave people possessing an inherent ability to become heroes because protagonists are not found heroic enough if they have turned into heroes because of psychological reasons. However, true stories point to something contrary to this. Bravery is a product of despair.|
As the March 29 local elections draw closer, political tension across Turkey will start to increase. The most recent initiatives from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the candidates put forward by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), intra-party opinion polls by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and attempts by the Democratic Society Party (DTP) to extend their voting base by amplifying tension are all examples of this.
Nihat Ergün, deputy chairman of the AK Party’s parliamentary group, said a loss of votes would be tolerable if it remains within a reasonable margin.
[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News] Deniz Baykal, the leader of the main opposition People’s Republican Party, or CHP, has been surprising us for a while. For years, he had slashed his sword for all the ultra-secularist causes you can imagine, including the ban on the Islamic headscarf in the "public square." But just a month ago, he made a surprising move by blessing the acceptance ceremony of a group of veiled women in his party. And, alas, these ladies were the most orthodox of all: they wore the all-black, all-covering chador. "We can’t push these people to the AKP’s ranks," he mind-bogglingly said. "They, too, deserve a pla
ce under the CHP roof." As you can imagine, not all CHP folks were happy with this unexpected u-turn. Criticism against Baykal for "selling out secularism" grew in party ranks and newspaper columns. But, to date, he has remained defiant. He even took a bolder step this week, by countering his critics with a critique of the golden age of Turkish ultra-secularism: the "single party" period. R
The coming local elections are encouraging political parties to develop new policies quickly. Turkey’s old debates, such as the issue of the Islamic veil and the Kurdish and Alevi problems, have emerged once again.
After affixing party badges to women wearing the chador, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized the “single-party mentality,” which put a twist on the ongoing debates in and around the CHP.
[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News] For most people, especially westerners, the all-covering black chador is a sign of the repression of women. And it often really is. Authoritarian Islamist regimes such as Saudi Arabia force their female citizens to wear these "niqabs," which turn the latter into BMO’s, i.e., "Black Moving Objects," as tourists sometimes call them. The shapeless veil deprives women of their personality and turns them into exiles from society. With the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the black chador gained another meaning, which gave women some social personality, but still not a very inspiring one. The female militants of the revolution, who wore head-to-toe black uniforms, were displaying anything but anger and reaction. After the death of hundreds of thousands Iranian soldiers during the disastrous Iran-Iraq War of the ’80’s, which fitted into the Shiite veneration of martyrdom, their black chador also became the symbol of grief.
[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News] Turkey’s Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül made the headlines recently with his remarks on the history of the country’s nation-building process. "One of the great achievements of Atatürk… is the population exchange between Greece and Turkey," he said, speaking at the commemoration of the death of the country’s founder. "Could Turkey be the same national country had the Greek community still lived in the Aegean or Armenians lived in many parts of Turkey?" These words of the minister — whose ministry is a most weird one, because it is subordinate to the military that it is supposed to supervise in a real democracy — implied that he was content with the loss of Turkey’s Armenians and Greeks. The former had been "lost" during the tragic expulsion of 1915, and the latter were "exchanged" with the Turks in Greece in 1923. And according to Mr. Gönül, Turkey became the nation it is today thanks to these designs on its populace. Before criticizing the minister, I think we should simply acknowledge that he was telling the truth.
I finally watched the much-debated biographical documentary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life "Mustafa," which has drawn more than a million moviegoers and resulted in three criminal complaints.
We are a country full of contradictions. Contradiction requires at least two different cultural groups. It is possible and even ordinary. Groups living in the same country may disagree about some issues.
We can say that the possibility of a serious transformation in Turkey will increase as long as Baykal maintains his current approach.
ISTANBUL, Turkey–It felt like treason, and it probably was.
I was betraying my country in that dark seedy room, afraid someone would recognize me in the very act of selling out the republic. Ah, the republic that emerged from the ashes of a bankrupt empire, as we were reminded every day in school, with amazing human sacrifice and collective determination to create a fresh new order.
"The Turkey-IMF Stand-By Accord: a Never-Ending Symphony?
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 235
December 10, 2008 03:52 PM Age: 44 min
By: Saban Kardas
The Turkish government’s handling of the economic crisis continues to draw criticism. Business leaders and investors have been insisting that urgent measures are needed to protect the economy. An expert from Moody’s maintained that without a new IMF program, Turkey could face recession in one or two years (Today’s Zaman, December 2). Since the previous stand-by deal ended in May, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) has repeatedly called on the government to conclude a new accord with the IMF (Radikal, April 26)."
Last Saturday many Turkish newspapers carried the story of Mesut Sanir in their headlining articles. Sanir was under investigation in a Diyarbakır court, accused of participating in a demonstration and chanting slogans in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) three years ago.
Süleyman Demirel and Tansu Çiller both wanted Istanbul. Deniz Baykal now also wants this great city. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has more than one wish.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) continues to surprise us. After its "chador initiative," which has taken top billing on the country’s political agenda for the past month, the CHP is now getting another initiative ready, this one about the Kurdish issue.
It appears that the latest “headscarf initiative” of the CHP, or to be more specific, Deniz Baykal, is not actually policy, but in fact the result of improvisation.