Why a Referendum Won’t Solve Iraqi Kurdistan’s Problems

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Opinion

Why a Referendum Won’t Solve Iraqi Kurdistan’s Problems

There’s a lingering impression in Washington that Iraqi Kurdistan is what it was five years ago, before the rise of ISIS: a peaceful, prospering, emerging pro-Western democracy whose aspirations for full independence from Iraq are increasingly hard to ignore.

Unfortunately, a great deal has changed since then, thanks to war, the US retreat from the region and the Kurds’ own dysfunctions. As the ISIS slowly crumbles to its south and west, Kurdistan is politically and economically broken. President Masoud Barzani remains in office four years after his term ended, and parliament has not met in almost two years. The government is deeply in debt and can scarcely afford to pay the three-quarters of the workforce who are state employees. The army and security services are divided into rival factions.

Barzani’s reaction to this distress has been to schedule a referendum on Kurdish independence for Sept. 25. The initiative has been rejected not just by the Iraqi federal government, but also by Kurdistan’s powerful neighbors Iran and Turkey, as well as the United States. More significantly, it is being viewed even by staunchly pro-independence Kurds as evidence that the region’s politics have reached a dangerous dead end.

The referendum is “an excuse by Kurdish leaders to remain in power,” says Shaswar Abdulwahid Qadir, the owner of Kurdistan’s independent NRT television network. “The younger generation doesn’t know anything about their fight in the mountains against Saddam Hussein. So the old leaders need another excuse to run the country for another 26 years.”

Those bitter words reflect Qadir’s perspective as one of a rising generation of Kurds — and Iraqis — struggling over how to create stable political institutions and a working economy amid the mess of sectarian conflicts, extremist movements and corrupt establishments littered across the post-ISIS landscape.

An independent television network is, at least, a place to start. While most Iraqi media are controlled by the government or political parties, Qadir is one of Kurdistan’s few self-made magnates: Born in the city of Sulaymaniyah, he started peddling electronic games as a teenager and became one of Kurdistan’s largest real estate developers before founding NRT in 2011, at the age of 32.

Launched under the slogan “courage, balance, truth,” the network saw its first office attacked and burned within a week of opening; Qadir blames militants from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the region’s two historical political forces. Two years later he survived an assassination attempt. Kurdish authorities have closed NRT’s offices and arrested its journalists on multiple occasions. Yet it has persisted and flourished: It now has two Kurdish channels, an Arabic channel covering all of Iraq, and an English-language website.

A referendum, Qadir says, might prompt Turkey to shut down that pipeline, through which Kurdistan exports the relative trickle of petroleum that is its only reliable revenue. It also might cause the Turks and Iran to back opposing factions of the army, which is divided between the PUK and Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, triggering a resumption of the civil war they fought in the 1990s.

“What kind of Kurdistan would we have?” Qadir asked. “Would we have South Korea or South Sudan?”


The Washington Post

Turkey promises to eliminate anti-China media reports

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

Turkey promises to eliminate anti-China media reports

BEIJING (Reuters) – Turkey regards China’s security as akin to its own and will move to stamp out any anti-China reports in its media, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, after meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

China and Turkey have repeatedly vowed to step up cooperation on security and counter-terrorism, amid Beijing’s concerns about ethnic Uighurs from its restive far western region of Xinjiang fighting with militants in the Middle East.

“We take China’s security as our security,” Cavusoglu said, speaking through a Chinese translator during a joint news briefing with Wang in Beijing.

“We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China,” he added, but did not give details.

Uighurs are a largely Muslim, Turkic-language speaking minority from China’s western Xinjiang region.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, keen to escape unrest in Xinjiang have traveled clandestinely via Southeast Asia to Turkey, with which many see themselves as sharing religious and cultural ties.

Beijing says some Uighurs then end up fighting with Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria. It denies accusations that it restricts the Uighurs’ religious freedoms.

European leaders have been alarmed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on opponents since a failed coup attempt last year, and what critics see as his attack on free speech.

About 150 media outlets have been shut and around 160 journalists jailed, the Turkish Journalists’ Association says.

Turkish authorities say the crackdown is justified by the gravity of the coup attempt, in which rogue soldiers tried to overthrow the government, killing 250 people, mostly civilians.

In 2015, Turkey angered China by expressing concern about reports of restrictions on worship and fasting by Uighurs in Xinjiang during the holy month of Ramadan. Turkish protesters have marched on China’s embassy and consulate in Turkey over the treatment of Uighurs.

The two countries have also quarreled over Thailand’s deportation of Uighur migrants back to China.

But Ankara is keen to tap into Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure investment plan to link China with the rest of Asia and the world. Erdogan visited China in May when President Xi Jinping hosted his first Belt and Road summit.

“China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance the ancient spirit of the Silk Road, … and in jointly promoting the Belt and Road plan unlock new cooperative potential,” Wang added.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Today is the “Tishaa Beav”. I wish everybody easy fast.

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE WEBSITE OF ‘SEELISTENUNDERSTAND’)

 

seelistenunderstand.wordpress.comx
amir-2007@012.net.il
162.158.89.156
Post Aug. 1st 2017
1. Today is the “Tishaa Beav”. I wish everybody easy fast.
2. There is a very noisy debate in Israel. The subject is the killing of a terrorist that tried to stab Israeli soldiers. He was shot by Israeli soldiers and while he was lying on the ground, came another soldier and made “confirmation” of death of the terrorist. If you doubt/ask why to confirm the terrorist death? Here is the answer: It happened in the past that “Killed/dead” soldiers “waked” up and caused casualties to the soldiers. It happened in many places. Actually it happens in every war/battle. During the fight the soldiers run and look for shelters. They don’t watch if there are fake dead enemies. This, many times, enabled the “dead/injured” enemies to get organized/prepared to attack the soldiers from their back. So, in order to eliminate such unpleasant surprises the order is to confirm the death of those that pretend to be dead.
3. In the case in debate the Israeli soldier killed the terrorist. Couple of journalists took pictures of the confirmation. They published it and ignited the surface. The soldier tat “confirmed” the death was called to court. After many, too many, court meetings he was sent to jail for 1.5 years.
4. I think that the judges behaved to him in the most serious way. He, and his colleagues, the Israeli soldiers are exposed every day to attacks by terrorists. Attacks means stabbing and/or shooting and of throwing homemade bombs and/or fireworks. Everything is usable for their purposes to kill Israelis/Jews/Christians/Druze/civilians/soldiers/children/ adults/ men/women and people of any other nation in the world. Even Arabs/Muslims. Their purpose is to see blood and as much as possible.
5. Israel fights them because of this reason. But this is not the only reason. Israel was occupied by Jews all history long. Since the time of the bible. Even when the land of Canaan was conquered by foreign armies, and it happened several time, Jews were sitting, keeping the land by making agriculture. After the 2nd world war Jews Holocaust survivors returned to Israel and established the best and most wonderful/blooming/successful state in the world. The Arabs can’t admit to the flourishing of Israel so they want to destroy us. They failed. So they established their “Small warfare” which is called, in another words, terror. They hope that it will help them. So this is the story of the confirmation of the death of the terrorist in subject.
6. In the same breath, while we discuss this subject, I want to tell all of you that if you look for a pure fight and pure army that keep strictly the pure arms you won’t find one like the IDF. We don’t kill civilians and/or even soldiers, like the Arabs do, if it is not necessary for the safety and security of our soldiers/army. If you check all history long you can find that all armies killed many prisoners. You can’t find even one prisoner that was killed by Israeli in a cold blood. If it should have been happened the soldier would have have been sent to jail for the entire of his life. This is the degree of honor that we give to other soldiers although they are our enemies and that they are in danger.
7. The Israeli law order very strictly not to pour blood, whoever it will be, of innocent people. This is the charter of the Israeli army.
8. But there are cases that the soldier is in a dilemma what to do. This is up to him. To leave a live enemy that can attack him from behind or to make sure that he and his friends, Israeli soldiers, keep living and fight for our lives/state. This is not a easy decision, especially during war when you see your best friends getting killed.
9. All of this is to differ from the Arab/Muslim/Palestinian way to kill everybody that they see on the way and if they didn’t find such one to kill Jews, on Friday night, while they celebrating the entrance of the queen Shabat=”Shabat Hamalka”.
10. “Even if he would be sentenced to life imprison it would not revive our son”. This sentence was said by the terrorist that was killed by the soldier that confirmed his death. Just read it carefully. They complain about the killing of their son who was killed because he was educated, and tried to implement his education, to kill Jews. Killing innocent Jews is, from their point of view-ok, but he got killed. They blame the others. This is part of the Muslims culture. It must be learned in every school in the world to show the level of art that the Muslims reached in lying by using religion.
11. Israel, as a social state, thinks that everybody is equal so one must contribute to the state by fulfilling his duties. One of the duties is the army service. Most of the youngsters do join the army after high school. “Most” does not mean all. The balances of the people that don’t serve in the army are the extreme right wing religious parties and the most leftists. The right wingers don’t recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and they support the Arabs. Some of them even meet with Palestinian leaders and have very good relations with them, not with Israel. Most of them live in America. Not very many live in Israel but contribute nothing to the social life and the economy. The next group of extremists is the day and night Torah learners. Just next to them there is another group that don’t serve in the army, but they recognize Israel and even have government members. They also give some kind of social service. After them there are still none Zionist group that don’t recognize Israel, but they serve in the army. They suffer very much from the more right wingers, because of their contribution to the state in different ways. After them we have the group of Zionist religious people that fulfill all duties that an average Israeli citizen do. Afterwards there is the center, the main group of the Israelis that carry the state on their shoulders. These people can be found everywhere and they, together with the Zionist religious people, are the ones that lead the state. The next group is the leftists that don’t serve in the army as they are pacifists and they claim that the debate/war with the Palestinians is because of Israel’s position. They claim that if we fulfill all Arab claims the peace, between Arabs and Jews, will prevail. My feeling is that this is a wishful thinking. Why? See next.
12. In the Quran is written that all none Muslim people, from all over the world, must convert to the Islam. The none believers in the Islam will be killed. This is what happened just lately between Daesh and Muslims that were not of their group/stream. They just beheaded them. This is how they behave among/between Muslims. What will be the verdict and the execution between Muslims and Jews if they get all the requested by them, by the Muslims/ Arabs, I don’t want even to think of.
13. Yes, that’s right that not all Arabs are the same. They have different opinions. There are pacifists that look for common lives. I know many of them and we are friends. They have the same blood color, like mine and work very hard for their income. The problem with them is that they are not war people and they can’t fight the extreme Muslims. They are afraid of the extremists. Therefore they stay in the shed looking for better time.
14. In spite of all the above written I hope that somebody, Muslim leader, like Ata Turk of Turkey, will take the lead of the Islam, will overrule the orders in the Quran and lead the Islam in different way, more friendly. I am sure that it will happen. The question is when?
Please share/reblog the posts.
In friendship……………………………….Amir

Turkish Opposition Leader Ends 25-Day March With Istanbul Rally

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Turkish Opposition Leader Ends 25-Day March With Istanbul Rally

2:49 PM ET

Addressing huge throngs of people at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday, the leader of Turkey’s mainstream opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, issued a thunderous demand for an end to an ongoing government crackdown.

The rally represented the largest public display of opposition to the clampdown by government of President Recep Erdogan since he survived a failed military coup attempt nearly a year ago. More than 47,000 people have been detained since the government suppressed the attempt seize power by a faction of the armed forces on July 15, 2016.

“This the era of dictatorship. This is the era of 1940s Germany,” said Kilicdaroglu, addressing a huge throng of demonstrators at a parade grounds along the Sea of Marmara. “With this rally we witness that we are not alone. Each one of us represents hope,” he also said.

Kilicdaroglu spoke at the rally after walking about 280 miles from Ankara in protest of the crackdown which has lead to the arrest journalists, academics, and members of parliament. Kilicdaroglu set out from the capital on June 15, a day after a member of parliament from his Republican People’s Party (CHP) was arrested, joining at least 11 other opposition lawmakers who have been detained in recent months.

After marching through the Turkish countryside for more than three weeks, Kilicdaroglu arrived in Istanbul on Saturday leading a throng of thousands of protesters. The protest raised fears of a confrontation when the crowd arrived in the city, but there were no signs of violence. Police had provided security for Kilicdaroglu and the protesters during their long walk from Ankara. On Sunday, Kilicdaroglu chose to walk alone on the final stretch to the rally.

“’I reached the end of my walk, but this is not the end. It is the beginning of a new era,” he said, speaking to a cheering crowd that chanted “Hak, hukuk, adalet!” (Rights, law, justice!) Though it was organized by the CHP, the organizers of both the march and rally eschewed party insignia, instead distributing signs reading “adalet,” justice. The crowd waved Turkish flags.

Kilicdaroglu has been criticized in the past for failing to organize a credible opposition to the crackdown in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt. However, his march across the country captured Turkey’s national political conversation. The demonstration in was a show of force for Turkey’s mainstream opposition, and CHP supporters were heavily represented in the crowd. The protest also attracted support from members of the broader Turkish public.

“I want justice for everyone in this country. I want justice for my children,” said Saime Zirik, 55, as she stood in in the afternoon sun awaiting Kilicdaroglu’s arrival. She said she had been unable to find work for five years.

A populist leader who has dominated Turkish politics for about 15 years, Erdogan is a deeply polarizing figure, equally loved and hated by rival political camps within Turkey. In recent years, he has sidelined other leaders within his own party and moved to restrict political opponents. The coup attempt lead to an acceleration of the clampdown, including the closure of dozens of news organizations and the firing of top military officers and tens of civil servants.

In April, Erdogan also won a disputed victory in a referendum on a constitutional overhaul to replace Turkey’s parliamentary system of government with one dominated by a powerful presidency. The government argued the changes were needed to impose stability, while the opposition denounced it as a power grab. The vote itself was also marred by widespread claims of fraud. The referendum marked another step in a larger struggle over the future Turkey’s democracy.

In his speech on Sunday, Kilicdaroglu issued a list of demands including freeing the judiciary from the influence of the ruling party, releasing journalists from prison, and greater prosperity for all Turks. He did not articulate a specific plan to achieve those goals, and even some of the protesters in the crowd expressed skepticism about whether the demonstration would result in concrete changes.

“Unless Erdogan says ‘yes,’ nothing will change in this country,” said a 60-year-old teacher from Istanbul who also stood in the crowd. She asked for her name to be withheld, for fear that she could lose her job for criticizing the government.

Others, however, left the demonstration energized.

“I feel like I’m more hopeful for the future. I feel like a new person now,” said Fahri Gokdal, 61, a retired civil servant who came to the rally from the town of Burhaniye, about a five-hour drive south of Istanbul.

Erdogan’s Post-Evolutionary Turkey Floods School Classrooms, Threatens Universities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES.ORG)

Erdogan’s Post-Evolutionary Turkey Floods School Classrooms, Threatens Universities

Photo of Recep Tayyip Erdogan taken from r4bia.com. Creative commons.

While the earlier education reforms of Turkey’s socially conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party) pointed towards inclusiveness, the current ones have a far more troubling direction.

Not content with removing around 45,000 education ministry staff from the government payroll following an abortive coup in July last year, Turkey’s ruling party is now looking to take down Darwin.

Last month the government announced that the theory of evolution would be removed from the teaching curriculum at Turkish schools until students reach university.

The announcement adds to evidence cited by concerned secularists who suggest Turkey’s education system is being remodelled in line with President Erdogan’s bid to raise “pious generations” and forge a “New Turkey”.

Efforts to rejig the country’s teaching curriculum along more religious lines are not new, dating back at least as February 2012.

What has changed since is President Erdogan’s seemingly unassailable position in post-coup attempt and post-referendum Turkey.

‘New Turkey’

Despite its shrunken majority and the ever-increasing polarization of the Turkish electorate — or perhaps because of these things — AKP is pushing its policy agenda more aggressively than ever before.

Along with the ban on evolution in the classroom, the AKP educational reforms will see the government’s narrative on the 2016 coup attempt embedded in school syllabi, while class time dedicated to modern Turkey’s secular founder Kemal Attaturk will be reduced.

Forced enrolment of some school-age students into controversial religious imam-hatip state schools is another feature of the new education agenda.

The AKP government won praise from both liberals and conservatives for managing to reverse the country’s repressive ban on headscarfs in universities back in 2010. The move allowed women from observant Muslim families to receive further education.

But the imam-hatip schools have faced criticism for discouraging girls from doing that very thing. Secularists see the schools growing role in Turkey’s education system as yet another sign that AKP is trying to recast the country in its own traditionalist image.

An evolving threat

According to the head of curriculum for the Turkish education ministry, teaching evolution in schools is “controversial”, but opponents of the ban were quick to side with science.

Evrim müfredattan çıkarıldı, biyoloji ders saati %33 azaltılırken din dersi saati % 100 arttırıldı. İran’ı kısa zamanda geçeriz İnşaAllah!

They have removed evolution from the curriculum, biology class hours have been reduced by 33%, while religion class hours have been increased by 100%. God willing, we are going to get ahead of Iran soon.

Evrim teorisi dersi kalkıyormuş arkadaşlar, arttık neyin dersini verecekler çocuklarımıza onu merak ediyorum 😠😠😠

They are removing evolution theory class. I am not wondering what they are going to teach our children.

Okullarda evrim dersleri okutulmayacak ama şeriat ceza hukuku din dersi okutulacak # işte yeni Türkiye anlayışı

There won’t be any classes on evolution. But there are classes on Sharia criminal law and religion. This is the meaning of ‘New Turkey’.

Biyoloji dersi ilk ders ilk slayt; evrim bir gerçektir, tartışılamaz. 29 yıldır aklımda. Hoca haklıydı.

Biology class, first class, first slide: evolution is real, and cannot be argued against. I have remembered this for 29 years. The teacher was right.

The international response has also been critical:

 continues to change ‘s identity by erasing evolution from the country’s education curriculum.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/world/europe/turkey-evolution-high-school-curriculum.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Feurope&_r=0 

Schoolchildren in Istanbul. Turkey’s decision to stop teaching evolution in high schools has deepened concerns that the president, a conservative Muslim, wants to radically change the identity of the secular country.

Turkey Drops Evolution From Curriculum, Angering Secularists

A chapter on evolution will no longer appear in ninth graders’ textbooks because it is considered too “controversial” an idea, an education official said.

nytimes.com

Currently the evolution ban only applies to schools, but many fear that universities are being targeted for a serious government-led overhaul, too. Thousands of academics were dismissed from their jobs following the military coup, while out of 180 universities currently operating in Turkey, 15 were shut down.

Iran’s Rouhani backs Qatar, rejects ‘siege’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

Iran’s Rouhani backs Qatar, rejects ‘siege’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani voiced support on Sunday for Qatar in its confrontation with Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying a “siege of Qatar is unacceptable”, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of support for Islamist militants, an allegation Qatar denies.

They have since issued 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran, shutting a Turkish base and paying reparations.

“Tehran stands with the Qatari nation and government… We believe that if there is a conflict between regional countries, pressure, threats or sanctions are not the right way to resolve differences,” IRNA quoted Rouhani as telling Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in a telephone call.

“The siege of Qatar is unacceptable to us… The airspace, land and sea of our country will always be open to Qatar as a brotherly and neighboring country,” Rouhani said.

Doha, whose neighbors have closed their airspace to Qatari flights, has said it was reviewing the list of demands, but said it was not reasonable or actionable.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia accuse each other of subverting regional security and support opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Adrian Croft)

Turkey says Israel paid compensation to families of 2010 flotilla raid victims – media

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

Turkey says Israel paid compensation to families of 2010 flotilla raid victims – media

Israel has paid total compensation of $20 million to the families of the victims of an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid flotilla that killed 10 people in 2010, Turkish media quoted Turkey’s Finance Minister Naci Agbal as saying on Friday.

The payment, which will be divided among the 10 families, comes some nine months after Israel, which had already offered apologies for the raid – one of Ankara’s conditions for rapprochement – agreed to pay the families of those killed.

“Compensation has been paid to the families of those who lost their lives during the Mavi Marmara attack,” Turkish broadcasters quoted Agbal as saying.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down in 2010 when Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The soldiers raided a ship, the Mavi Marmara, leading a flotilla towards the Islamist Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

In June 2016 however, the two countries said they would normalize relations – a rapprochement driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as well as mutual fears over security risks in the Middle East.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan named a new ambassador to Israel in November last year, reciprocating a move by the Israelis, in a move toward restoring diplomatic ties between the once-close allies.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

German cabinet backs troop pullout from Turkey base after row

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

German cabinet backs troop pullout from Turkey base after row

Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday backed the withdrawal of troops from the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, the German defense minister said, following Ankara’s refusal to allow German lawmakers access to its soldiers there.

Germany plans to move the 280 German soldiers to an air base in Jordan but has stressed it wants to minimize any disruption to the U.S.-led coalition operation against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, of which it is part.

Turkey has refused to allow German lawmakers to make a routine visit to the base, saying that Berlin needs to improve its attitude towards Turkey first.

Turkey was infuriated when Germany, citing security concerns, banned some Turkish politicians from campaigning on its soil. Ankara responded by accusing Berlin of “Nazi-like” tactics and has since reignited a row over Incirlik.

“Given that Turkey is currently not in a position to allow German parliamentarians the right to visit Incirlik, the cabinet today agreed to move the Bundeswehr from Incirlik to Jordan,” Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

Lawmakers are still discussing whether the proposed withdrawal should be put to a parliamentary vote. German armed forces are subordinated to parliament, not the government, meaning lawmakers have oversight of the troops.

Von der Leyen said she would hold immediate talks with the U.S. military and the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS to minimize the impact of the move and would set the timetable accordingly. She will brief cabinet and parliament next week.

She has said withdrawing German refueling aircraft would take two to three weeks, and the relocation of reconnaissance jets two to three months.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was in Turkey on Monday in a last attempt to convince Ankara to avert a pullout, but said Turkey had once again refused the visits for “domestic political reasons.”

He said he had wanted to avoid further hurting ties with Turkey and pushing it towards Russia.

Critics have accused Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in September, of cozying up to Erdogan to secure his help in stemming the flow of migrants to western Europe.

Ankara reacted angrily to German concerns over a domestic crackdown after a failed coup attempt last July, and relations were further tested by Turkey’s jailing of a German-Turkish journalist.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Sabine Siebold and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Now Turkey’s Dictator Erdogan (The Dog) Has Issued Arrest Warrant For An NBA Player As A Terrorist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘HOT AIR’NEWS)

Keep your friends close and your friends who are homicidal dictators closer, I suppose.

Turkey’s efforts at international diplomacy were clearly bolstered when the Tyrant of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gained a White House audience with President Trump. During that meeting the two leaders supposedly discussed the release of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. (Which still hasn’t happened, by the way.) Many observers still seem to believe that Erdogan is holding out because he would like the United States to turn over cleric Fethullah Gulen, currently residing in Pennsylvania. But now Erodgan may be adding another name to his list. NBA center for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Enes Kanter, has an arrest warrant out for him in Turkey and their president really wants him brought to Ankara for “questioning.” (The Oklahoman)

Turkey has issued a warrant for the arrest of Thunder center Enes Kanter, according to a report from a Turkish pro-government publication.

According to a story from international news agency AFP, the Daily Sabah in Turkey reported that Kanter is sought for being a member of a “terror group.” A prosecutor in Istanbul opened an investigation into Kanter’s “alleged membership of an armed terrorist organization,” according to the AFP report…

Daily Sabah reported that the prosecutor would apply for an Interpol red notice to inform Interpol’s members that Kanter’s arrest is sought in an effort to ensure his deportation, according to the AFP report.

In terms of how he managed to get on Erdogan’s radar, Kanter definitely brought the attention on himself. He’s been tweeting out taunts to the Turkish government, daring them to try to come and get him and promising to go there and “spit in all their ugly, hate-filled faces.” On top of that, he’s openly aligned himself with Gulen, expressing his support for the cleric’s movement. Kanter is a citizen of Turkey but has a green card giving him lawful permanent resident status in the United States and has said that he’s working on obtaining US citizenship.

But being critical of the Erdogan regime and siding with Gulen aren’t crimes. (Well.. they’re not crimes in America, anyway. In Turkey that can get you executed.) The fact that he’s a Turkish citizen complicates matters a little, but we still have no reason to give this guy up and send him off to what would almost certainly be a lengthy stretch in a dungeon and some face time with one of Erdogan’s torturers.

Is this something that the Trump administration would ever seriously consider? The charges against Pastor Bronson are completely trumped up, if you’ll pardon the phrase, and it’s a slap in our face that he hasn’t already been released. But if he’s being used as a bargaining chip for some larger game of international diplomacy and intrigue, we’ve hit some dark times indeed.

Meanwhile, in an obvious show of hypocrisy, Turkey still has nothing to say in terms of regrets over Erdogan’s goons beating down unarmed protesters during his visit to Washington. As the Free Beacon reports, dozens of congressmen have signed on to an effort to have the perpetrators either arrested or expelled, but the White House remains silent on the matter thus far.

“This may be how they deal with dissenters in Turkey, but here in America that’s against the law,” Rep. Randy Hultgren (R., Ill.) said in a statement about the letter. “Our country is founded on the rights of free speech and freedom of peaceful assembly. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security team’s brazen, physical assault on American citizens and legal residents peacefully protesting his policies is outrageous and follows a disturbing pattern. Foreign leaders, diplomats, and staff are invited guests of our nation, and they should act as such. All of those involved—at all levels—must be held accountable.”

You might be able to make the argument that Trump is in a tough spot right now when it comes to Turkey. No matter how deranged Erdogan may be, his country remains a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to dealing with Syria, and to a lesser extent, Russia and Iraq. But there also have to be limits to precisely how much we’re willing to tolerate in the name of cooperation from a supposed ally. We’re running into the same problem with the Philippines right now and it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture for the rest of the world.

More than enough time has passed now for Trump to craft some sort of deal and get Andrew Brunson home. Once that’s accomplished we can deal with Erdogan from at least a slightly stronger position. Dithering and continuing to wait is increasingly turning into a problem for this administration.

U.S. Decries Violence During Turkish President’s Washington Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

U.S. decries violence during Turkish president’s Washington visit

 (My question is, why were these protesters so close to a visiting President in the first place?)
By Yeganeh Torbati | WASHINGTON

The United States on Wednesday said it was voicing its “strongest possible” concern to Turkey over violence that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington.

Police said the fighting that flared outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday injured 11 people, including a Washington police officer, and led to two arrests.

“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as baton-wielding police tried to intervene. Two men were bloodied from head wounds as bystanders tried to assist dazed protesters.

Erdogan was in the U.S. capital on Tuesday to meet with President Donald Trump.[nL2N1II15R] A spokesman for the Turkish embassy could not be reached for immediate comment.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Ian Simpson; Editing by Richard Chang and Tom Brown)