And a Gaza roundup below…
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan begins a visit to Brussels for talks on his country’s flagging bid to join the EU.
In an attempt to revive Turkey’s European Union accession negotiations, which have slowed noticeably over the past several years, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went to Brussels on Sunday to discuss Turkey’s EU accession process.
Turkey’s prime minister said Monday accession to the European Union was a top priority and that he hoped his country would move closer to that goal in 2009.
Turkey’s prime minister arrived in Brussels yesterday aiming to revive the country’s stalled bid for European Union membership, which is under threat from tensions…
ISTANBUL – Egemen Bağış was born in 1970 in Bingöl and we might consider him to have come from there but his family lived in Siirt where his father Abdullah Bağış served as mayor. The people of Siirt claim Egemen Bağış as one of their own just as they claim Emine Erdoğan, the wife of Turkey’s prime minister.
ANKARA – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was due to start a three-day visit to Brussels Sunday for talks with European Union officials on Turkey’s struggling membership bid, his office said Thursday.
PM Erdogan of Turkey is on its way to Brussels to revive EU process.
It’s crystal clear for me that his party is running Turkey as a computer shop, and thinks that negotiations with the EU is the same as doing business at the bazaar, but he knows, and we know that the only thing his government has to do is full filling the Copenhagen Criteria which are non-negotiable. So simple. But for sure, he will come back after his three day visit, complaining that the EU treat Turkey in general and Him in person unfairly…in the meanwhile playing the blame game. Yes, another carrots for the EU and the Turkish people.
Turkey will be an honorable member of the European Union and not the sick man of Europe, the country’s newly-appointed chief EU negatiator said on Tuesday.
Egemen Bağış’s appointment as head negotiator for Turkey’s accession to the EU has been warmly greeted by EU circles. The timing of this appointment has, however, turned some heads.
The EU project under way in Turkey is actually a project of head-to-toe change and transformation. It is a project that will pull Turkey into the premier league when it comes to democracy and the supremacy of justice.
On his Web site, David Cerny stated that he "wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself. Turkey saved by not being a EU member. If only Turks can truly laugh at themselves without being dragged into the court system by over zealous prosecutors. On a second thought how would Turkey be represented. Any ideas?
Photo by Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency
David Cerny’s artwork "Entropa" is a symbolic map of Europe depicting stereotypes attributed to the individual member countries.
President-elect Barack Obama’s administration faces difficult choices regarding its policy toward Turkey. Should Washington choose sides in Turkey’s protracted struggle over secularism and democracy involving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its opponents? Can the United States bring the reluctant AKP to support U.S. efforts against Iran’s nuclear program?
When the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) invited exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to Ankara, Israel and some Western countries were shocked. The international circles that have never liked the Islamic stance of the AK Party since the party assumed office rushed to cite this step as proof for their criticism.
The recent Gaza tragedy has triggered anti-Israeli sentiments all around the world. No matter the reason for Israel’s war on Hamas, images of dead children in Gaza outraged people. In this column we published the lyrics to Salvatore Adamo’s "Inch’Allah" to share the sufferings of the Palestinian people.
Roughly three weeks after the Israeli invasion of Gaza started, the conflict seems more and more likely to boomerang back to Israel as a two-front war: one against Hamas in the south, and the other against Hezbullah in the north.
The war in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 reaches the end of its third week with its human toll still rising: by the end of 16 January 2009, more than 1,100 people had been killed (including over 300 children) and 5,100 injured (including over 1,500 children). The Israel Defence Forces (IDF’s) air attacks intensified as the three-week mark approached, and its tanks and armoured vehicles moved closer into the crowded urban areas where the majority of the strip’s 1.5 million Palestinians live. The concentrated assaults have inflicted damage estimated at $1.4 billion on Gaza’s infrastructure, destroyed much of the infrastructure of the governing Hamas movement and eliminated some of its senior officials. Paul Rogers is professor of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He has been writing a weekly column on global security on openDemocracy since 26 September 2001
The United Nations partition plan of 1947 in the middle east did not include an agenda for implementation. This and many subsequent failures have meant that during the subsequent sixty years, thousands have died needlessly in several wars involving Israel and its Arab neighbours. Today, once again the region rings with the cries of hatred, anger and violence and the land is soaked with the blood of the innocent dead. Fear and suffering, the misery of those who cannot even flee, and massive destruction burden the living. Now, in the third week of the latest war, over 1,000 Gazan Palestinians have been killed, and over 4,000 injured – approximately 40 percent of whom have been women and children. In some instances, entire families have been wiped out as they sheltered together in their homes.
Prince Hassan is a senior member of the Jordanian royal family, and president of the Arab Thought Forum. His official website is here
Residents return home during first day of ceasefire.
PARIS – During a visit to the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned that enemies of the United States should not use the power vacuum there to try to alter the status quo or to undermine the new American president’s objectives. But the major challenge in this respect is now coming, ironically enough, from America’s main ally in the region, Israel.
(Some events on the Gaza Strip on January 15, 2009, courtesy of The New York Times.)
In between the live feeds of the spectacle in Washington, D.C. and on the Hudson River, CNN went silent. When reports of possibly another round of shelling in Gaza, its anchors and reporters had the bright idea to stop talking and let viewers simply listen in on whatever that can be heard from yet another live feed, this one peering into the war zone from afar. No international journalists are allowed inside, so it was the best that CNN could do at breaking news reporting from the trenches.
Professor John Mearsheimer
Another War, Another Defeat
The Gaza offensive has succeeded in punishing the Palestinians but not in making Israel more secure.
By John J. Mearsheimer, The American Conservative, January 26, 2009
Israelis and their American supporters claim that Israel learned its lessons well from the disastrous 2006 Lebanon war and has devised a winning strategy for the present war against Hamas. Of course, when a ceasefire comes, Israel will declare victory. Don’t believe it. Israel has foolishly started another war it cannot win.
Illustration of “Persian Jews” from the People’s Magazine, 1879
The current fighting in Gaza is a tragedy of Greek dramatic proportions. On the one hand a highly sophisticated military machine wielded at present with Hawkish intent, on the other a ragtag guerilla group bent on lobbing barbs at the Hawk’s fortified lair. And in the middle frightened civilians in a humanitarian nightmare of medieval mindset. Th
e problem is that neither side is really willing to treat the other with consideration and respect. In this unethical tie, of course, the onus must be on the stronger to recognize the limited options of the weaker.
Suleiman Baraka is a brilliant Palestinian astrophysicist from Gaza working at Virgnia Tech with NASA. His eleven-year-old son Ibrahim was killed in an Israeli air strike on his house.
Twenty-seven members of the family died and another 90 Gazans remained trapped under the rubble, with rescue efforts hampered by Israeli forces.
Unfortunately, Saletan’s piece should have been called "How not to close the Gaza tunnels." It’s really terrible advice — almost a parody of the worst sort of technocentric thinking that military reformers like H.R. McMaster have been fighting against for decades…….