Posts Tagged ‘Ataturk’

What in the world is going on in Turkey?

June 24, 2013

Turkey demosFour weeks ago a small group of environmentally-minded Turks staged a demonstration, or an occupation, of tiny Gezi park in Istanbul, where the government had stated its intent to build a replica of an Ottoman-era barracks to house a shopping mall.

The government responded by attacking the protesters violently with water cannon and tear gas. The disproportionate attack on the peaceful protesters crystallized widespread hostility to the government of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced ER-duh-wan). The protests grew and spread all over Turkey, and everywhere the protesters were met by violent police action. So far five have died, and the protests have died down.

Erdoğan blames the trouble on outsiders, including CNN and the “interest lobby,” and has called out his supporters into massive counter demonstrations.

Erdoğan was first elected to head the government in 2002, with 34% of the vote. He was reelected in 2007 with 46%, and again in 2011 with just under 50% of the votes cast. He is a practicing Muslim—rare for a Turkish leader—and has steadily moved to make Turkish society more congenial to pious Muslims. He wants to amend the Constitution to allow women to wear headscarves in public buildings (now forbidden), and has had laws passed that allow early religious instruction in elementary school, limit the sale of alcohol, and has proposed bans on abortion and even on kissing in public.

Some fear Erdoğan’s goal is to introduce Sharia law, a la Iran or Saudi Arabia, while others (including The Economist) call him a “moderate Islamist” and believe his intent is simply to (more…)

Tripoli falls, Americans and free people everywhere rejoice

August 21, 2011

Government ethics 101:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

These words of Thomas Jefferson are the core principle of government. Perhaps nothing defines being American so much as a belief in these three sentences. So every American must be joyful at the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The bloodbath that the evil dictator promised hasn’t occurred. His troops defending his capital seem to have melted away as the rebel army drove, almost anti-climactically, into Tripoli.

What comes next no one can say. The people who united to oppose the dictator soon will have nothing so powerful to unite them. Qaddafi claimed—like Mubarak before him—that he (more…)

Is Turkey becoming anti-American, anti-Israeli, pro-Iran, and radical Islamist? What in the world is going on with Turkey?

June 18, 2010

Turkey, long America’s most reliable, and Israel’s only, ally in the Muslim world, is now being called anti-American, anti-Israel, and most alarming, Islamist, especially after the deadly May 31 incident when Turkish activists sailed into an Israeli blockade of Gaza and came off second best.

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recap Erdogan (pronounced Re-jep ERD-uh-WAN) is the favorite whipping boy of just about anybody who is for Israel or against Iran, radical Islamists, or Muslims in general. It’s ironic that Erdogan, who has led Turkey toward most of the western democratic-style reforms demanded by the European Union as a condition for Turkey’s acceptance, is at now being accused by many, including many Turks, of wanting to return Turkey to the Muslim caliphate of pre-Ataturk days.

One of the West’s most insightful observers of Turkish affairs is South African journalist and author Hugh Pope, who for years headed the Istanbul office of the Wall Street Journal. Pope has an op-ed in today’s Haaretz, Israel’s most respected newspaper headlined Erdogan is not the bogeyman. In it he debunks the idea of an “Islamist foreign policy for Turkey, (more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers