Omer Taspinar On The Recent Arrests in Turkey

-


Brookings Institution Turkey Project Director Ömer Taspinar offers his thoughts on the recent wave of arrests of former and current military officials in Turkey.
Taspinar is among the most astute and objective analysts of Turkish politics in Washington and this quick snippet captures the essence of the political events unfolding there.
I helped organize a forum last week at which Taspinar spoke, and the most striking aspect of his presentation was his comment that many secular Turks from the bureaucracy and the military interpret the United States’ support for the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) – as well as Washington’s rhetoric that Turkey can serve as a “model” for other Muslim countries – as evidence that the United States is actively supporting Islamism in Turkey.
True or not, this perception contributes to the immense distrust of the United States that persists among broad swaths of the Turkish population.

– Ben Katcher

Comments

42 comments on “Omer Taspinar On The Recent Arrests in Turkey

  1. sesli chat says:

    ben dun buraya yorum yapmistim sanirim ama gedeler onaylamamis nedenki ömer gerci sen gibi ibnelerr olursa onaylamamalar? normal degilimi.

    Reply

  2. DakotabornKansan says:

    Scott Horton/Harper’s/March 3, 2010 on the recent wave of arrests of former and current military officials in Turkey.
    “The tendency in U.S. media has been to view this as an aspect of political maturation in Turkey. A state that had an overweening military is now in the process of becoming more democratic, as elected rulers exert more direct civilian control over the military. The AK Party is presented as a political organization with religious roots but as still committed to a secular state and pursuing a slow but steady course of integration with Europe. Thus the developments in Turkey can be put in the context of a pattern easily understood by observers of democratization in Portugal, Spain, and Greece.
    But I’m very skeptical about this analysis. The core of the current controversy is plainly between Islamists and secularists, and it goes to the founding principles of the Turkish state as laid down by Kemal Atatürk. The AK Party is not a radical organization, and its commitment to democratic government is credible. What is in doubt, however, is the AK Party’s commitment to secular government in Turkey—one of the pillars of the Kemalist state, and one that Turkey’s military, which has long constituted a part of the essential socializing glue of Turkish society, has been committed to uphold. The AK Party has been steadily undermining the secular concept through its policies and through its personnel choices—using its historically unprecedented position in Ankara as a stable majority party to transform the civil service and the military, putting persons with an Islamist perspective in positions of authority.
    Many in the Turkish intelligentsia today are simply dumbstruck by the American posture, which has been to hold up the AK Party as the very model of a democratic Islamic political party that can serve as a model for the entire region. Many view this as a betrayal of the alliance or as evidence of hopeless American naïveté in grappling with Turkish politics. They’re certainly right on the second point. But America’s commitment to democratic rule is at the heart of her foreign policy, and the United States cannot therefore quickly turn against the policies of the government of an allied state that enjoy firm popular support–even if not among the elites who have long formed the core of the U.S.-Turkish alliance.
    If Turkish politics were to follow the predictable paths of the past, we would anticipate Turkish prosecutors responding to the AK Party’s conduct by launching a new legal case to shut down the AK Party. That can’t be ruled out altogether, but most observers at this point think things have progressed too far for this to happen. The AK Party is deeply entrenched in government and the bureaucracy, and it has effectively wielded the process of European integration to shut the door to steps aimed at resurrecting the Kemalist principles of the state. Even if such a step were taken, moreover, the AK Party would simply resurrect itself under a new name with a handful of new leaders—as happened before.
    In any event, Turkey is entering into a decisive transitional phase in which the AK government, which has proven itself far more competent than any of its recent predecessors, is likely to sharply transform the character of the Turkish state. Kemalist Turkey is about to give way to something new, and the new state is not likely to be nearly so ready a friend of the United States or Europe as its predecessors. Because of the strategic importance of Turkey, this process deserves far more attention than has been paid to it over the past few weeks.”

    Reply

  3. ... says:

    trust the us congress to do the ””right”” thing, lol…. rubber stump for all things inane is a better description….
    the us congress can’t support the goldstone commisions report, but alas it could support such a bill as this… us congress = hypocrites….

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    More on next week’s vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee to condemn the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
    This is from the Turkish English language daily, Hurriyet.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=obama-silent-ahead-of-vote-on-armenian-genocide-resolution-2010-02-28
    The resolution condemns the genocide committed by the Turks in 1915. It calls on Turkey to admit its role in rounding up and “deliberately annihilating” 1.5 million people. It calls for the President to call the Turkish attack on its Armenian citizens as what it was; “genocide.”
    Turkey has threatened to recall its Ambassador if the full House passes the resolution and to seriously reassess its relations with Washington if the resolution passes.
    The Resolution will pass the Committee; it has broad bipartisan support. Whether the Resolution will pass the full House is another question although I bet it will. Bush lobbied against the Resolution last year but so far Obama has remained silent. During his Campaign, Obama said what the Turks did to the Armenians was genocide and he promised to support the Resolution.
    This should be great political theater and should be fun to watch. It’s sad that the subject matter of the dispute has to be so serious and so unfortunate.

    Reply

  5. Charlemagne says:

    To understand Why Israel is anxious and getting paranoid about Turkey, here are some key words to look it up:
    1)Greater Middle East Project initated under Bush Adm. in 2004 in an accordance with G-8 summit.
    2)European Neighborhood Policy
    3) Eisenhover Doctrine (compring it with Greater Middle East Project)
    4) NATO 2004 Istanbul Summit and its implications on Turkey

    Reply

  6. Charlemagne says:

    As every country, Turkey has its own social problems and trying to deal with them in a progressive way. Especially for the last decade, Turkey made a huge progress compared to previous decades. The progress is still going on. But I dont perceive that Turkey is actually changing axis. Turkey is currently re-eastablisihing its balance between civil government and the military in terms of power relations. Check-balance mechanism in Turkish politics is being reorganized and redefined in an accordance with the current day needs and specifications. NATO undergone this redefinition process at their summit in 2004 with Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. European Neighborhood Policy followed suit. And then Turkey followed suit naturally.
    It seems that Israel dont like this process. Just as they didnt Like Eisenhower Doctrine in 1957.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Looked up some more info and read a few articles in the FT and the Economist and Strafor Intelligence on Turkey.
    The gist of which was that although discrimination exist in Turkey on a “societal level”, the overwhelming majority of Turks (90+% Muslim) insist on a SECULAR government.
    Which in a country of 9O+% Muslims tells me that Muslim Turks don’t want a government that could be turned this way and that for or against any group least it be radicalized to the point that it causes upheaval in the country and Turkey’s government.
    I think that is why Turkey is or can be called representive of moderate Islam by Obama…and was allegedly misunderstood by some Turks.

    Reply

  8. ... says:

    an alteration to thomsa l. sjovall’s post
    “The U.S. must think long and hard about how to deal with Israel. Orthodox Judaism is playing a greater role in it’s national life. Israel is also a key player in the Mid East.
    The U.S. is also a friend of Israel, but the new fact of the role of orthodox judaism is making that friendship less friendly.
    As someone thinks a great deal about world politics,
    I hope the best for Israel.
    Israel needs to know what it is as a nation and were it’s going.”

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    It’s nobody’s business but the Turks’.

    Reply

  10. Thomas L. Sjovall says:

    The U.S. must think long and hard about how to deal with Turkey. Islam is playing a greater role in it’s national life. Turkey is also a key player in the Mid East.
    Turkey is also a fried of Isreal, but the new fact of the role of Islam is making that friendship les friendly.
    As someone thinks a great deal about world polics.
    I hope the best for Turky.
    Turky needs to know what it is as a nation and were it’s going.

    Reply

  11. DakotabornKansan says:

    Ömer Taspinar’s comment that “many secular Turks from the bureaucracy and the military interpret the United States’ support for the moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) – as well as Washington’s rhetoric that Turkey can serve as a “model” for other Muslim countries – as evidence that the United States is actively supporting Islamism in Turkey.”
    Interesting article/Victims of Radical Islam – Christianity’s Modern-Day Martyrs Part 3: “We Don’t feel Safe Here” on Spiegel Online today
    It states that “Government-tolerated persecution occurs even in Turkey, the most secular and modern country in the Muslim world, where around 110,000 Christians make up less than a quarter of 1 percent of the population — but are discriminated against nonetheless. The persecution is not as open or as brutal as what happens in neighboring Iraq, but the consequences are similar. Christians in Turkey, who numbered well over 2 million people in the 19th century, are fighting for their continued existence.”
    However, “one of the few small indications that the situation of embattled Christians in Islamic countries could improve” is in Turkey. “One of the contradictions of the Islamic world is that the best chances for Christians seem to crop up precisely where a major player actually comes from the political Islam camp. In Turkey it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former Islamist and now the country’s prime minister, who has promised Turkey’s few remaining Christians more rights. He points to the history of the Ottoman Empire, in which Christians and Jews long had to pay a special tax, but in exchange, were granted freedom of religion and lived as respected fellow citizens. A more relaxed attitude to its minorities would certainly signify progress for Turkey.”
    Questions:
    Is Turkish Islam different from Arab or African Islam?
    Was the election of Prime Minister Erdogan and the JDP predicated on their “giving up” or “delaying” their “Islamic” demands on society in return for being allowed to govern?
    Did Turkey’s election of conservative Muslim Prime Minister Erdogan mean a deviation from its secular ideals?
    Does the threat to secularism in Turkey come from religious intolerance rather than Turkish Islam?
    Is secularism more important than democracy?
    How should secularist policies protect secularism without polarizing Turkish society, while at the same time advancing democratization?
    Has Turkey embraced a much-needed different path from that of radical Islam as well as radical secularism?
    If so, is this the rationale for Washington’s rhetoric that Turkey can serve as a “model” for other Muslim countries?

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    US Can’t Get No Satisfaction
    President Bashar al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in Damascus today, threw down the gauntlet. Only the day before Hilary Clinton warned Syria “to begin to move away from the relationship with Iran,” and stop supporting Hizbullah, Hamas, and ex-Baathists in Iraq. For several years, Syria has been told to “flip” and break from Iran if it expects to be allowed out of diplomatic and economic isolation. Israel has made Syria’s break with Iran a condition for peace with Damascus.
    Today, Assad came out forcefully and defiantly to end any talk of separation.
    “We must have understood Clinton wrong because of a bad translation or our limited understanding, so we signed the agreement to cancel the visas,” Assad said. “I find it strange that they (Americans) talk about Middle East stability and peace and the other beautiful principles and call for two countries to move away from each other,” he added.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    This is so comical to any sane person it’s hard to comment on.
    Maybe we should send a group of sixth graders to debate congress on US policy…they would wipe the floor with their hypocritical a**es.

    Reply

  13. Mr.Murder says:

    “Supposedly the FBI is looking into this but I doubt it will go very far.”
    Bin laden was never offficially named to the FBI ten most wanted list.
    Wonder if they are still gathering evidence to who really did it….

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    New Israeli Law Forbids Palestinians From Mourning Or “Showing Signs Of Sadness”
    By politicaltheatrics
    Published: February 26, 2010
    A new law in Israel makes it a crime to commemorate what Palestinians call the “Nakba”, the “catastrophe” of their dispossession by the creation of the Zionist state in 1948. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has passed “The Nakba Draft Law” after just one reading. Penalties will be imposed on anyone showing signs of sadness and mourning within the (undefined) borders of Israel on 15 May; Palestinians remember on that day the creation of the refugee crisis that remains after 62 years.
    Hebrew radio reported this week that the law is intended to stop people mourning on what is Israeli Independence Day; commemorative acts are, it is claimed, tantamount to “denying the Jewish character of Israel [and] insulting the symbols of the state”. The radio noted that the fines might amount up to three times the expenditure of commemorative programmes.
    According to one commentator, it is ironic that this law has been passed at a time when Israel is complaining about attempts to “de-legitimise” the Zionist state. Here is an example of Israel’s own “de-legitimisation” of the Palestinians, their land and their culture, he said.
    http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/02/new-israeli-law-forbids-palestinians-from-mourning-or-showing-signs-of-sadness/

    Reply

  15. sdemetri says:

    “…Europe should be very alarmed by the rise of militant Judaism in
    the Jewish state of Israel, the only religious warrior state with
    nukes.” JohnH
    I think the US might fit the description of “religious warrior state
    with nukes” too, John, which takes nothing away from your point.

    Reply

  16. Dirk says:

    “As you may also be aware, there is a growing movement in Germany to revoke the law that provides citizenship to these people who were actually born in Germany and have never lived in Turkey. It’s both remarkable and shameful.” -wigwag
    This supposed revocation is a complete fabrication.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    israel is an apartheid state, not a democracy…

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Nadine might do well to learn a little something about Israel before she makes her uninformed proclamations:
    “Israeli extremists are a minority but influential enough to make policy, and therein lies the threat to peace and likelihood of a sovereign Palestinian state. In his book, A Little Too Close to God, David Horovitz recalled that before prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination he attended a Netanyahu-sponsored anti-Rabin rally he described as follows: “I felt as if I were among wild animals, vicious, angry predators craving flesh and scenting blood. There was elation in the anger, elation bred of the certainty of eventual success.”
    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/961/focus.htm
    Or perhaps Nadine is just projecting her knowledge of Jewish religious extremism onto Muslims to score debating points here.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Both Judaism and Christianity have reconciled themselves to not ruling the state and co-existing with democracy.
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/02/omer_taspinar_o/#comment-153173
    With all due respect, Nadine, it is truly incredible how much crap you can stuff in a small mind. Do you use a funnel???

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    “In Europe, which remembers well the history of turmoil which emanated from its own intermingling of religion and statecraft, the rise of Islamism in Turkey is surely viewed with increasing alarm.”
    If the intermingling of religion and statecraft is cause for alarm, then Europe should be very alarmed by the rise of militant Judaism in the Jewish state of Israel, the only religious warrior state with nukes.
    Something is missing here between cause in effect. Or is this simply another example of Western hypocrisy?

    Reply

  21. Charlemagne says:

    wigwag says: “I think it also pays to remember
    that many European nations are home to a poor,
    unskilled and pious lumpenproliteriat who migrated
    to Europe from Turkey” This is an orientalist
    view. Everything is a matter of time. This may be
    roughly true for the 1960′s but Today Turks in
    Europe are the third-fourth generation and they
    are not different from the lumpenproleteriat of
    the european christians if that is the politically
    correct phrase to define low-income people.
    Besides every community has its own haves and have
    nots. The same applies to the turks in Europe.
    Wigwag’s statement is very tricky and orientalist
    in nature.
    I am amazed with Wigwag’s never-ending struggle in
    attempting to throw mud to Turkey. With this
    performance I would like to nominate Wigwag for
    Hasbara membership (Israeli Public Diplomacy
    Organization)
    Europe is having its own problems aside from
    “lumpenproleteriat turks” Such as Portugal,
    Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS countries)
    Wigwag is always trying to select a negative
    sample from the turkish history, and using that
    sample to prove his/her points, and trying to
    throw mud at the current day of Turkey. It is
    because wigwag is very
    worried about USA’s Greater Middle East Policiy
    that aims to make many arab states come together
    against Russia and China. This kind of arab unity
    is actually posing a threat to Israel at least in
    her perceptions. Thus Israel is feeling alone ,one
    more time,under the current US policy over
    MidEast like she felt the same way in 1957 under
    the Eisenhover doctrine. Wigwag is demonstrating
    a passive agressive behaviour in his- her
    writings. As though wigwag is carrying out an
    israeli public diplomacy. And it is getting boring
    after a while.

    Reply

  22. WigWag says:

    “Turkey provides a neat little schizophrenic dilemma for our media that is most comfortable playing to the groundlings since Turkey is both a member of Europe/NATO and a nation with an avowed Muslim slant…” (DonS)
    It’s not just a neat little schizophrenic dilemma for the media, DonS, I think it goes way beyond that. Turkey is inspiring a schizophrenic attitude in the West in general, in the United States and most importantly, in Turkey itself.
    In Europe, which remembers well the history of turmoil which emanated from its own intermingling of religion and statecraft, the rise of Islamism in Turkey is surely viewed with increasing alarm. As the Europeans are becoming more secular, the Turks are becoming more religious; add this fact to the historical role that the Ottoman Empire played in Europe and I expect to see a severe deterioration on Europe’s relationship with Turkey. I think it also pays to remember that many European nations are home to a poor, unskilled and pious lumpenproliteriat who migrated to Europe from Turkey. As Turkey itself becomes more religious I think it’s pretty clear that the European view of these guest workers is likely to deteriorate far more than it already has.
    Where’s the schizophrenia?
    Well the Europeans, good liberals that they are, certainly endorse self-determination for the Turks. Surely they would like to see the model for Islamism in Turkey prevail over the model advocated by the Iranians or the Saudis. So the Europeans are of two minds; they dislike the rising tide of religion that they see in Turkey but they feel that it’s better than the alternative models that Muslims could endorse. Expect to see increasing tension between Europe and the Turks, especially as an increasingly conservative Europe moves to limit the rights of Turkish guest workers and possibly even expels them.
    Schizophrenic is also the best word to describe the likely American attitude towards Turkey in the years ahead. It is interesting that the United States is more tolerant of its Muslim citizens than almost any nation in Europe but at the same time, American attitudes towards Islamism is, if anything, even harsher than the attitudes in Europe. Perhaps alot of it has to do with the way Islamic nations are presented in the press as you said; but I think it’s more than that.
    The American mantra has always been the separation of church and state. I think Americans have a mistrust of nations where a state religion is a dominant religion. The role of the Church of England or the Dutch Church is pretty benign but if those nations started promoting their state religions in a more assertive way, which may be happening in Turkey, I think alot of people would sit up and take notice.
    I wonder how many Americans who view Turkey’s embrace of Islamism as a potentially positive development would view a move to enforce Christianity as the national religion of the United States as equally positive. Would you, DonS?
    After all, the Constitution bequeathed to Turkey by Mustafa Kemal endorses secularism. Turkey’s history for the past 80 years has been centered on its role as a secular republic. Al of this is very similar to the traditions of the United States. Now, in Turkey that’s all beginning to change. One can’t help but get the feeling that some of the fiercest supporters of Turkey’s move in a more religious direction (which is opposed by a very substantial minority of the Turkish population) would have precisely the opposite feeling if Christian sects in the United States tried to accomplish the same thing here.
    The United States also has to confront the reality that despite being a NATO member, Turkey and American interests are increasingly diverging. Like Europe, the United States would like to see a moderate form of Islamism serve as the model for the Muslim world. But like Europe, the United States is uncomfortable with societies where religion plays too strong a role. This schizophrenia is completely understandable because the issues involved are not black and white.
    I wonder what the American and European reaction would be to a military coup in Turkey. I actually expect a coup to take place within the next year or two, but I’m not sure the coup will be successful. Here too I think the reaction would be schizophrenic. A military coup in a nation on the periphery of Europe that had aspirations to enter the EU would be highly tasteful to the United States and European governments. On the other hand, the restoration of secularism and pro-Western policies would undoubtedly be welcomed. Like everything else between Turkey and the Western world, I think western reaction of a coup would be unsettled or even schizophrenic.
    Then there’s the schizophrenia in Turkey itself. On the one hand a clear majority of the nation endorses the move towards a more religious society; on the other hand a very significant minority of Turks opposes this new direction. Can these two sides live together in peace? I’m skeptical.
    The Turkish military may be losing power right now while the Islamisist dominated national police and the domestic intelligence services are ascending but can stability be maintained when so many people with guns have views that are diametrically opposed?
    Turkey is filled with so many more contradictions than just the ones I mentioned. Turkey is moving closer to Iran which is a Shia nation but at the same time bigotry and discrimination against its Alevi population is on the rise. The Alevis practice a very moderate and gentle form of Shia Islam.
    The Turks decry the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians but they do everything they can to crush the national aspirations of their own Kurdish population; they ban Kurdish political parties; they throw Kurdish demonstrators in prison for decades for even mild infractions and they prevent the Kurds from using their own language.
    Turkey is justifiably proud of the prominent role played by Jewish Turks. Jews have always thrived in Turkey and they have always been free to practice their religion. Yet the Turks treat the Orthodox Patriarch as a virtual pariah. Despite the fact that Constantinople was once the seat of Orthodox Christianity, the Turks oppress the church, deny it adequate funding and relegate it to the status of a poor stepchild. The Turks seem indifferent to the anger this inspires in Orthodox Christians around the world (there are 300 million of them.
    I could go on and on.
    The point is, DonS, that your word schizophrenic is the perfect word not only to describe how the Turks look at themselves, but also the way that the West views the Turkey
    I am of the opinion that a coup is coming in Turkey but of course, that’s nothing but pure speculation.
    If a coup does come, it will be fascinating to see how it all works out.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Feb 26 2010, 2:55PM – Link >>>
    Speaking of the assassination. The credit cards used by the assassins has been followed back to a US company owned by a Israeli opeerative.
    http://warincontext.org/2010/02/25/the-dubai-payoneer-connection/
    Today Paul picks up on a Wall Street Journal article that links the money trail of the assassins to financial institutions in the U.S., including one with an apparent Israeli at the helm:
    The company Payoneer Inc., based in New York, has been named in the case – a company that helps facilitate Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Payoneer provides financial services for trip participants and as the Wall Street Journal reports, the company’s chief executive, Yuval Tal, is a former Israeli special-forces soldier.
    Tal appeared on Fox News during the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, notes the Journal.
    The paper also mentions that the incident has started to diplomatically affect the U.S.:
    United Arab Emirates officials have contacted U.S. authorities for assistance in the probe, according to a person familiar with the situation. (Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the U.A.E.) A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment.’
    Supposedly the FBI is looking into this but I doubt it will go very far.

    Reply

  24. ... says:

    wigwag, i will accept you’re a good catalyst for clarifying things here at the washington note specifically as they relate to israel… here is what i and probably many others take issue with…
    wigwag quote “I can only assume that your responses to my essays are always so shallow because you lack the ability to refute the substance of my comments or perhaps, in your heart of hearts you know that I’m right and that fact disturbs you.”
    the substance of your comments are always filled with subjectivity slanted in favour of israel…. challenging someones subjective slant is mostly a waste of time, but necessary to do if the person makes the comments in such a ‘matter of fact’ manner when they’re subjective viewpoints…. saying this last part “perhaps, in your heart of hearts you know that I’m right and that fact disturbs you.” is the icing on the cake, as when it comes to subjective viewpoints, stating one is perhaps right is the height of arrogance, something you excel at here at the washington note…. most folks don’t like arrogant people…
    perhaps you could consider this the next time someone pulls you up the carpet for your subjective and predictable perspective… you will continue to invite comments that challenge you or politely be ignored by others here that are able to see your comments for what they are…

    Reply

  25. WigWag says:

    The term “Islamist” is not a negative characterization, DonS. In fact, if you read Hurriyet, you will see that the Erdogan Government refers to itself as “Islamist” with some degree of frequency.
    Some people may think it’s wise for a nation to adopt “Islamist” policies and some people may think it’s something to be frightened of; but the term itself is not pejorative.
    Some people think that the United States is a “Christian” nation or that Europe is a “Christian” continent.
    Presumably everyone who objects to characterizing the United States or Europe as “Christian” would be equally uncomfortable with a nation aspiring to “Islamism.”
    But maybe not.

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    The negative characterization of a nation as “islamist” is something the US is going to have to get over if it seeks ever to have peace and accommodation with the world. That is not to say that other ‘islamist’ nations will reciprocate, or that peace will suddenly break out.
    The alternative is that the US will concretize the equation of islamist’ with ‘evil’ and we shall for ever have a polarized world, bipolar or multipolar. And maybe we will anyway. But if there is not even a rhetorical possibility of opening to another nation, there can hardly be a substantive opening expected.

    Reply

  27. Charlemagne says:

    Here we go again. Whenever a topic about Turkey
    appears on the scene WigWag and NAdine are always
    there, trying to give Turkey a bad image. WigWag
    and NAdine are just obsessed and getting paranoid
    eachday.Whenever I read Ben Katcher’s articles on
    Turkey, I see WigWag and Nadine are always
    projecting here. I would like to inform israelies
    like wigwag and Nadine that Turkey is not changing
    its axis. Israelies are almost getting into a
    panic because Israel feels insecure and alone
    under the greater middle east prjoect initated in
    2004 under Bush adminisration. And Israel is not a
    part of this plan. So they nonsensically criticize
    Turkey as if Turkey initiated this plan. Israel
    was reacting in the same way when the Eisenhower
    Doctrine was being implemented in 1957. And Israel
    was again feeling insecure and paniced. But they
    were not playing the kurdish card against Turkey
    in those years.
    Now Israel is almost threatening Turkey by
    playing the kurdish card. This threats are being
    reflected in the writings of people like Nadine
    and Wigwag. Besides Turkey is on the verge of
    solving its kurdish problem. In that case Israeli
    threats would just cause further and needless
    confrontations between Turkey and Israel. USA also
    should try to appease Israelies while implementing
    the NATO’s Istannbul Cooperation Initiative of
    2004. As you see, Israelies are always getting
    into a panic and not knowing what to do, they
    verbally attack on Turkey. Not being an actor
    under Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, ISraelies
    once again got mad just as they were the same
    under Eisenhover Doctrine of 1957. Give us a break

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Just to add insult to injury let’s do examine this statements of wiggie’s on Turkey.
    “Turkey’s international orientation is moving away from Europe and closer to Iran and Syria –’….says wig.
    That evidently she formed by reading a book about Turkey and consulting Bremmers blog.
    Generally speaking most people try to get closer to the horse’s mouth if they want the most accurate information to make predictions or statements.
    So one would think she would be consulting the geo and Turkish experts that are Turkish connected in Turkey.
    Not to mention the in country 2009 CIA report on Turkey which supports this article’s statements about Turkey “Not moving away from the West” but rather maintaining a posture between the West and Iran and their neighbors which is based on it’s own interest.
    If I were to GUESS, I don’t do wiggism declarations by plucking feathers to make the pillow I want, I would guess that Turkey would always keep one foot in the West unless a horrific event and the combined attitudes of ME countries and Turkey’s neighbors forced it to take a different tack.
    http://www.turkishweekly.net/columnist/3291/where-does-turkey-stand-between-the-us-and-iran.html
    Where Does Turkey Stand Between the US and Iran?
    Mehmet Yegin
    Thursday, 25 February 2010
    The US has been in a diplomatic attack against Iran in recent days. The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, avowed sanctions against Iran. She pointed to the Revolutionary Guards as the target to facilitate getting support inside of Iran and from the international society. She has tried to persuade the leaders for support and to reach out to China as the key country for sanctions. Israel has joined these attempts as a natural party of this tension. It lobbies in Russia and Greece to get the support of these countries on the matter.
    On the other side, Iran’s reaction to this attack is not more than a reiteration of its declarations and reprisal threats. Iran regards the issue as a matter of independence and with this perspective is ready to suffer the consequences. Thus, it persists that it has a right to have nuclear power yet leaves the door ajar on uranium exchange negotiations.
    The parties do not seem to step back, at least in short term. They sometimes even benefit from the tension to justify their actions or get domestic support through this conflict rhetoric. This makes the problem more complicated. Turkey, as the one of the mediating countries for the regional conflicts, appears at the scene in order to reach a solution. And this attempt is not only a simple mediation but also a crucial step to protect its vital interests in the region.
    IS TURKEY DIVERGING FROM THE WEST?
    Some scholars have accused Turkey of being closer to Iran and Syria than to the West and Israel. Turkey opened its borders to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Turkey congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad instantly after the controversial 2009 Iranian presidential elections. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “defended” Iran while criticizing Israel. Is Turkey backing Iran rather than the West? Is Turkey diverging from the West? The answer is: absolutely not.
    Turkey is neither diverging from the West nor becoming a strategic ally of Iran. Turkey has had a close relationship with Syria in recent years. Nevertheless, this is not applicable to Iran. Iran is not a sister country with Turkey. Turkey does not -probably will not- have a relationship like the US and Britain with Iran. Besides, Turkey opposes Iran’s enrichment of uranium for military purposes. Nonetheless, Iran is a neighbor of Turkey. This geographic fact cannot be changed. Turkey’s PKK experience with its neighbors underlines the significance of replacing animosity with cooperation. Thus, Turkey is actually getting along with its neighbors, but this does not mean Turkey is lining up with these countries.
    WHY DOES TURKEY OPPOSE ANY MILITARY OPERATION?
    First of all, any military confrontation with Iran would primarily damage Turkey’s interests in the region. Turkey’s Iraq experience is still fresh and still works on restoring stability in the region. The Iraq invasion had terrible effects on Turkey. Turkey lost quite a number of civilians in Iraq without being a party to the conflict. Actually, Turkey has the highest number of casualties after the US and Britain.
    Moreover, PKK terrorism is Turkey’s primary security concern. Along with the insurgency and lack of solid authority, Iraq became a safe haven for the PKK terrorist organization. Turkey is still trying to solve this problem in Iraq via the trilateral mechanism. The picture in Iran is quite different. Iran, as a stable country, cooperates with Turkey against the PKK. Iran even runs military operations against PJAK, which is a subdivision of the terrorist organization. Thus, another Iraq would be devastating for Turkey’s security. Besides, with such an operation there would be a line of unstable countries consisting of Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq -not to mention Pakistan. This is not acceptable for Turkey.
    WHY NOT SUPPORT SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN?
    The sanctions would foster further hostility in the region. This would raise the tension between Iran and Israel, so the other actors which are not free from this developments. The rising tension is against Turkey’s foreign policy parameters in the region. Davutoglu’s “zero problem” approach is not only about Turkey’s relations with its neighbors. This approach also includes the relations between the neighbors in order to achieve a secure and prosperous region in real terms.
    The conflicts and conflict rhetoric fosters and maintains extremism and animosity in the region. It prevents the normalization of the relations. Turkey is aware that there is no way to establish a secure region before curing the extremism that even nurtures international terrorism.
    In short, Turkey does not want Iran to go nuclear for military purposes. Yet, Turkey does not want a solution that includes use of force and sanctions. We should keep in mind that Turkey is even pushing Israel despite all the criticism and claims of diverging from the West for the sake of decreasing the tension in the region. Thus, Turkey will push the negotiations with Iran until the full closure of the diplomatic channels.
    Thursday, 25 February 2010

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    The reason for ragging you wig is because you are a phony and constantly make false statements like the following on the US, Israel and other issues.
    “Obviously I am delighted that most Americans and virtually the entire United States Congress agrees with me on this subject and I understand how frustrating it must be to have an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute that makes you the member of a small minority, at least in your own country”..says wig.
    What is amusing, and frustrating to those who haven’t caught on, is that you know it is false.
    But here’s where your lack of real intelligence comes in. Smart people figure out what makes other people tick, in business, politics, battle.
    You aren’t intelligent enough to figure out that we figured out long ago that your main thrill in commenting is to fustrate those who don’t agree with you.
    That’s why you will not acknowledge being proved both wrong or deceptive or respond to it in any way when you are caught out. Like a little pigeon you fly off to another thread to leave your false droppings to frustrate again.
    Yours is classic passive agressive behavior. Which I said was your problem long ago. The thing about figuring out people is you learn how to use them.
    I am posting the information that destroys your claim about US opinons of Israel. I know you like for posters to do that so you can ignore it thinking it frustrates them. But again you aren’t too bright. I post it because it gives me the perfect opportunity every time you repeat the lie to let the majority of posters and non posting readers here know their opinion on I/P is in fact the majority opinon in America…and in several of the countries you are most concerned about.
    Univ of Maryland Kennedy School of Government financied World Opinion Poll.
    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/international_security_bt/503.php
    International Poll:
    Most Publics–including Americans–Oppose Taking Sides in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    July 1, 2008
    Israeli, Palestinian, American and Arab Leaders All Get Low Marks On Efforts to Resolve Conflict
    Most Favor UN Playing Robust Role in Peace Enforcement
    Country-by-Country Summaries (PDF)
    Questionnaire/methodology (PDF)
    Press Release (PDF)
    Full PDF Version
    Dataset for Download (SPSS format)
    A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.
    A UN convoy approaches an Israeli checkpoint outside of Gaza City in June 2003 (UNRWA photo)
    Asked to evaluate how well a number of key actors are doing their part to resolve the conflict, none of them get good grades, including Israel, the Palestinians, the United States, and the Arab countries. On average across all the countries polled, none of the actors receives good grades from more than 3 in 10. Interestingly, Americans are divided as to whether the United States is doing its part.
    Publics in most countries favor the United Nations offering to play a robust role in support of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nearly all publics would favor the UN saying that, if the parties come to a peace agreement, the UN would send a peacekeeping force to enforce it. Most publics would also favor the UN offering to provide security guarantees to both Israel and the Arab countries should a peace agreement be reached.
    “Publics around the world are not cheering for either side and want their governments to take an even-handed approach,” said Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org. “All of the key actors are seen as failing to do their part to break the impasse and most want the UN Security Council to step in and offer peacekeeping forces and even security guarantees to help resolve the conflict.”
    The poll of 18,792 respondents was conducted between January 10 and May 6, 2008 by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative research project involving research centers from around the world and managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Margins of error range from +/-2 to 4 percent.
    Interviews were conducted in 18 countries, including most of the largest nations -China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Russia–as well as Mexico, Peru, Britain, France, Spain, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea. Not all questions were asked in all countries. In addition, most of the questions were asked in the Palestinian Territories. The nations included represent 60 percent of the world population.
    Publics Support Even-Handed Approach to Conflict
    Asked how their country should approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 14 out of 18 publics preferred taking neither side. On average, 58 percent say that their country should not take either side, while just 20 percent favor siding with the Palestinians and 7 percent say that their country should take Israel’s side.
    In eight of the countries this was a large majority–seven in 10 or more–including Mexicans (88%), South Koreans (82%), Britons (79%), the French (79%), Peruvians (76%), the Chinese (74%), Americans (71%), and Ukrainians (69%).
    Only in a few predominantly Muslim countries do most favor taking the side of the Palestinians. Robust majorities take this position in Egypt (86%) and Iran (63%), as does a modest plurality in Turkey (42% Palestinians’ side, 38% neither side). However two other predominantly Muslim countries primarily favor taking neither side–Azerbaijan (54%) and Indonesia (43%).
    In no country does a majority favor taking Israel’s side. The largest percentages favoring taking Israel’s side are Indians (24%), Americans (21%), and Nigerians (15%).
    Negative Reviews of Israel, Palestinians, US, Arab Countries, Quartet
    World publics give low marks to all the various parties who play a major role in trying to resolve the conflict. Respondents were asked to evaluate how well each party is “doing its part,” in “the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” In nearly all cases publics give poor grades to Israel, the Palestinians, the United States, or the Arab countries.
    Israel
    Israel receives the worst ratings, with most saying they are not doing their part very well in 13 out of 15 countries asked. On average, 54 percent say it is not doing its part well (31% not very, 23% not at all) while just 22 percent say it is (5% very, 17% somewhat).
    Negative ratings of Israel are not confined to predominantly Muslim publics–the largest majorities saying Israel is not doing its part well include Egypt (88%), South Korea (69%), Indonesia (66%), France (64%), the United States (59%), Azerbaijan (59%), Mexico (57%), and Great Britain (57%).
    Only in India do more say that Israel is doing its part than do not (35% to 25%), while the Chinese are divided (41% to 39%).
    In addition, the Palestinians were asked to evaluate Israel (though they are not included in the averages). Not surprisingly, 81 percent say that Israel is not doing its part well (61%, not at all well). Just 13 percent say that it is (4% very well).
    Palestinians
    Ratings of the Palestinians are not much better than those of Israel. In ten out of 15 countries most say they are not doing their part well to resolve the conflict. An average of 47 percent says they are not doing their part well, while just 28 percent say they are.
    The largest majorities critical of Palestinian efforts are Americans (75%), South Koreans (74%), the French (66%), Mexicans (61%) and British (57%). Pluralities in Turkey (42%) and Azerbaijan (50%) also rate the Palestinians’ efforts poorly, as do pluralities of Russians (41%), Ukrainians (34%), and Thais (33%), though many decline to offer an opinion.
    Palestinians receive the most positive ratings from Egyptians (63%) and Nigerians (46%), though a significant number of Nigerians is also critical (43%) making the overall public divided. Pluralities in Indonesia (49%), China (40%), and India (34%) all say the Palestinians are doing their part at least somewhat well.
    The Palestinians give themselves quite good ratings (again, they were excluded from the averages). Seventy-five percent say they are doing their part well (40%, very). However, 15 percent give them poor ratings (5%, not well at all).
    United States
    Asked to rate how well the United States is doing its part to resolve the conflict, 12 out of 15 nations say the United States is not doing its part well (excluding Americans but including Palestinians). On average, 59 percent rate US efforts poorly, while just 20 percent give positive ratings.
    US efforts receive the most negative evaluations from Egyptians (86%), Mexicans (77%), the Palestinians (77%), the French (71%), South Koreans (70%), the Chinese (69%), and Turks (64%).
    A majority of Nigerians (53%) says that the US is doing its part at least somewhat well. Indians are divided (33% well, 34% not well), as are Thais (27% well, 26% not well).
    Interestingly, Americans themselves are divided. Only 44 percent say the United States is doing its part well (7%, very), while 46 percent say it is not (15%, not at all).
    Arab Countries
    Evaluations of the Arab countries are somewhat less negative than those of Israel or the US, with most in 11 out of 15 publics rating their efforts negatively (excluding the Egyptians). On average, a plurality among the nations polled (48%) says they are not doing their part well, while just 23 percent say they are.
    Americans (78%) and South Koreans (76%) rate the Arab countries most negatively, followed by the French (69%). Majorities of the Palestinians (57%) and Turks (58%) also rate them negatively.
    In just two countries a plurality gives a positive rating–Indonesia (50%) and China (40%). Two publics are divided: Nigeria and India.
    The one Arab nation (other than the Palestinians) polled–Egypt–gives the Arab countries a positive evaluation. Seventy-one percent say the Arab countries are doing their part well (9%, very well), while just 29 percent say they are not.
    The Quartet
    The countries that are part of the “Quartet” were also polled on the performance of their country and of the European Union. The Quartet consists of the US, Russia, the UN, and the European Union.
    The European Union’s efforts were evaluated by France and Britain. The EU receives negative ratings from pluralities in both countries (France 48%, Britain 45%), and in both countries those giving positive ratings does not exceed one third (France 33%, Britain 31%).
    The British also give their own country poor ratings. A plurality of 47 percent gives their government an unfavorable review while 33 percent give a positive review.
    Russians are a bit more upbeat about their country’s performance. While many do not provide an answer, a plurality of 36 percent give a positive evaluation while 17 percent give a negative one.
    Widespread Support for Robust UN Role
    Overall, there is strong support for the United Nations playing a robust role in the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Very large numbers favor the United Nations contributing a peacekeeping force to enforce a peace agreement and substantial numbers favor the UN Security Council offering to provide security guarantees to Israel and the Arab countries.
    Enforcement of Peace Agreement
    In 16 of 17 countries polled, majorities or pluralities favor the UN Security Council offering–if Israel and the Palestinians come to a peace agreement–to send a peacekeeping force to enforce the agreement. On average, 67 percent favor such an approach, while just 20 percent oppose the idea.
    Among all of the permanent members of the UN Security Council publics are supportive. In four countries this is by a robust majority–China (81%), France (74%), Great Britain (67%), and the United States (61%). Only in Russia is support limited to a plurality (47%), though few are opposed (25%).
    Palestinians are strongly in favor of such an idea (63%), as are those in other predominantly Muslim countries–Turkey (65%), and Egypt (64%).
    In addition, large majorities also favor this idea in Nigeria (89%), Indonesia (88%), South Korea (83%), Mexico (82%), and Azerbaijan (74%). Only Ukrainians are not in favor, but rather are divided (35% favor, 32% oppose) with a large number uncertain.
    Providing Security Guarantees
    Respondents were also asked about a much stronger possible commitment by the UN Security Council in the event of a peace agreement–committing to protect Israel if attacked by its Arab neighbors, and to protect Arab countries if attacked by Israel. Though such a commitment could prove costly, support was surprisingly high. Out of 16 nations, 11 favor such a UNSC commitment to protect Israel and 13 favor a commitment to protect Arab countries.
    On average, 45 percent favor providing security guarantees to Israel (36% opposed), while 55 percent favor providing guarantees to Arab countries (24% opposed).
    Ten countries favor the UN Security Council providing security guarantees to both Arab countries and Israel. This includes three of the permanent members of the Security Council. Very large majorities are supportive in China (84% for Arab countries, 80% for Israel), with more modest majorities in France (61% for Arab countries, 65% for Israel) and Great Britain (54% for Arab countries, 51% for Israel).
    Other countries include Mexico (66% for Arab countries, 57% for Israel), Nigeria (67% for Arab countries, 61% for Israel), Azerbaijan (63% for Arab countries, 57% for Israel), and Turkey (50% for Arab countries, 43% for Israel). South Koreans support both proposed commitments equally (63% for the Arab countries, 65% for Israel), Indonesia has a large majority favoring protection of the Arab countries (71%), while a much smaller plurality (48%) favors the UNSC protecting Israel as well. Pluralities in Thailand are also favorable, though many appear to have an unformed opinion on the issue (for Arab countries 32% favor, 14% oppose; for Israel 31% favor, 16% oppose).
    The other two permanent members of the UN Security Council–the United States and Russia–have less robust public support. A majority of Americans favor making a commitment to protect Israel (53% favor), but a plurality opposes protecting Arab countries (38% favor, 50% oppose). Russians oppose protecting Israel from an attack by its Arab neighbors by a slight margin (36% oppose, 28% favor) while a similar number oppose protecting Israel (34% to 27%). But large numbers of Russians do not take a position.
    Only two publics where a majority favors protection of Arab countries do not also favor protecting Israel: Egyptians (82% Arab countries, 16% Israel) and the Palestinians themselves (75% Arab countries, 12% Israel).
    Among Indians, a plurality favors protecting Arab countries (28% favor, 19% oppose), but they are divided on whether Israel should also receive protection from the UNSC (34% favor, 34% oppose).
    Ukrainians, like Russians, have pluralities opposed to protecting Israel (39% oppose, 15% favor) and Arab countries (38% to 15%), with large numbers undecided.

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    Like you, JohnH, I comment about topics that interest me and I think my comments are pretty diverse. I’m interested in Haiti (see the thread two down from this one); I’m interested in Turkey and Ottoman history; I’m interested in the Muslim world; I’m interested in Israel; I’m interested foreign policy theory and American politics; I’m interested in European history and politics. I think I comment on many different subjects. I readily admit that I do it all as a dilettante and an only marginally informed one at that. On all these subjects I never claimed to be anything other than an autodidact.
    I’ve made no secret here about my feelings about the Israel-Palestine conflict. I think I’ve talked about that subject extensively and I haven’t hid my opinions or pulled my punches; I’ve written what I believe. Obviously I am delighted that most Americans and virtually the entire United States Congress agrees with me on this subject and I understand how frustrating it must be to have an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute that makes you the member of a small minority, at least in your own country.
    What makes you so dimwitted is your apparent belief that everything I believe is rooted in my support for Israel while at the same time not understanding that the same argument would suggest that everything you write is rooted in your extreme dislike of Israeli policies. The argument you make about me, if true, could equally be applied to you. Are you so unreflective and narcissistic that this reality hasn’t occurred to you?
    Feel free to believe my opinions about Turkey are colored by my feelings about Israel and I will feel free to believe that your opinions about Turkey are colored by your intense dislike of the Jewish State.
    But why should anyone care about this? Isn’t a comment section about discussing opinions and presenting facts to back up those opinions as best you can and then listening to other people’s opinions and hearing the facts that they present? Isn’t that what engenders interesting discussion?
    Why exactly do you think it’s so interesting or informative to exclaim “Another rant by Wigwag against the enemies of Israel!”
    Who exactly is supposed to care?
    POA? Carroll? OA? Are they the people you are trying to impress or are you just releasing an emotional outburst rooted in your own frustration?
    On the off chance that anyone reads these comments other than the people who post here obsessively as we do, do you really think you’re contributing to anyone’s edification by saying “WigWag says this or that because he’s a Zionist?”
    Who emerges smarter or more informed as a result of your comments? To whom have you suggested an idea that maybe they hadn’t thought of before?
    I’ll give you my opinion JohnH; there are a small number of regular commentators here who generally stick to substance, engage in civil debate even when they disagree with each other and conduct themselves with a modicum of civility. The debate between these commentators usually resembles the debate you witnessed between Steve Clemons and David Frum.
    Then there is a small group of other commentators who specialize in emotional outbursts, expletives, intense and continuous vitriol and one or two line remarks that are generally non-substantive. You used to be part of the first group, JohnH, now you are part of the second.
    It’s not that it matters all that much. Most of this blog’s dumb or nasty commentators I don’t bother to engage (at least if I have my temper under control). But I used to enjoy engaging with you at least from time to time. But your level of maturity has obviously declined percipitously.
    I regret that that’s the path you’ve gone down, but C’est la vie.

    Reply

  31. JohnH says:

    Getting defensive, Wiggie? Ah, too bad.
    The point is not whether your rants are accurate or not. The point is that you selectively rant against certain targets, specifically those that you perceive as critical of Israel.
    If your rants were based on principled criticism, you would rant against others that exhibit the same problematic behavior as your targets, whether they were critical of Israel or not.
    But principles for you–women’s rights, freedom, democracy, etc.–are only debating points to be used to make an opponents look bad in the eyes of your readers. When Israel and its few friends exhibit exactly the same bad behavior, you magically become oblivious.
    I, too, come to the Washington Note “to share and discuss different ideas about foreign policy issues.” But that’s not what you’re doing. You’re playing “gotcha” with presumed critics of Israel.
    Wigwag, you’re so transparent, even though you try so hard to be coy. Why not just be candid and upfront about your Nut-’n-yahoo-esque worldview? Who are you trying to fool?

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I probably should not have said “Arab” nations, but rather should have used the term “Islamic states”. After all, haven’t Israel’s leaders made a point to declare Israel a “Jewish state?
    Point being, its interesting seeing Wig-wag spit out descriptions like “fervent Islamist bent” as if the Islamists have a monopoly on the advocation of strict religious law. In lots of respects many Israelis are equally as radicalized, and not beyond imposing strict religious laws on the citizens of Israel.
    For Wig-wag to minimize John’s underscoring of her probable motives for her opinions on Turkish affairs, one has to assume her denials are diversionary. Her motives MUST be considered in order to determine the degree of credibility one wishes to assign to her presentation of “facts” and opinion. Having read Wig-wag for some time now, to assume her presentation of argument is not colored to Israel’s favor, or made with Israel’s “interests” being the primary motivating factor for her engagement on this thread, would be naive. First and foremost to Wiggie, above all else, is Israel’s welfare. Years of reading her comments and opinions make any other conclusion ridiculous.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its actually an example of blatant hypocricy seeing Wiggie and Nadine decry the theocratic nature of Arab nations, real or imagined.
    http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/living-under-israels-jewish-law/
    The Status of Non-Jews Under the Halacha
    By Khalid Amayreh
    Rabbi Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, taught that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
    Remarks by the Israeli Minister of Interior Yaakov Neeman suggesting that the Jewish religious law (Halacha) should be adopted as the “law of the land” in the Jewish state has drawn strong reactions from both Jews and non-Jews.
    “Step by step, we will bestow upon the citizens of Israel the laws of the Torah and we will turn Halacha into the binding law of the nation,” Neeman told Rabbis at a Jewish law convention in occupied Jerusalem in December 2009.
    “We must bring back the heritage of our fathers to the nation of Israel,” he said. “The torah has the complete solution to all of the questions we are dealing with.”
    Neeman’s statements were met applauds from participants who included high-ranking Rabbis, as well as representatives of religious parties.
    However, for non-Jews, who now constitute nearly 50 percent of the total population in occupied Palestine, Neeman’s remarks are a serious cause for concern since Halacha, at least according to the Orthodox Jewish interpretation, does not recognize the full humanity of non-Jews.
    Hence, non-Jews living under Halacha must accept to live under a perpetual state of inferiority, if not persecution.
    continues….
    http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/living-under-israels-jewish-law/
    BTW, Nadine and Wiggie, what happened to your buddy and admirer, Marcus??? I haven’t seen a comment from him since he accused Carroll of having anal sex with Arab men. Kinda crude, but hey, when non-jews are likened to cattle, I suppose such comments are appropriate, eh?

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    Sorry, JohnH, you are misinterpreting my remark either deliberately or out of ignorance. Turkey was a democracy before the Islamists won control. That doesn’t mean that Turkey isn’t still a democracy, it means that the Islamists did not bring democracy to Turkey (as one of the commentators on the post you referred to implied.)It was a democracy before the Islamists rose to power (which by the way, they did fair and square).
    You refer to my “diatribes” JohnH but you appear unable to refute them; in fact you don’t seem to have the ability to even try.
    I don’t think anyone would doubt that Turkey is becoming increasingly hostile to Israel and it hardly seems revolutionary to suggest that selling arms to a nation that is increasingly hostile to you may not be a good idea.
    As far as Israel goes, I have always supported the Labor Party although I do think Netanyahu is doing a far better job than I thought he would. Nevertheless I would still prefer Livni to Netanyahu and I would prefer Barak to both of them.
    But of course, questioning my motivations just makes you a nitwit if you can’t refute the substance of my comments; and apparently JohnH, you don’t have what it takes to refute the substance of my comments.
    Frankly I don’t care much about what you think motivates me nor can I see why anyone else would think it’s interesting to come to the Washington Note to discuss what secrets lurking in WigWag’s heart motivates my particular remarks.
    I’ve always thought that the Washington Note is a place to share and discuss different ideas about foreign policy issues. You apparently see it as a place to work out your emotional frustration that the policies you prefer are rejected by the American public and have no chance of becoming operative in the near future.
    It’s not that I don’t understand your frustration; it’s just that I’m more interested in your intellectual ideas not your emotional baggage.
    After all, your frustration is a problem that you own.
    Get back to me when you have something of substance to say.

    Reply

  35. JohnH says:

    “Turkey was a democracy before the current Islamist Party won control.” –Wigwag
    In other words, Turkey was a democracy after the military exercised its veto power over the elected government in 1997. But when AKP got democratically elected in 2002 and again in 2007 with 47% of the vote, Wigwag would have you believe that Turkey’s democracy ended!
    Now, as for the origins of Wigwag’s diatribes against Turkey, they can be traced to her statement, raised in the context of Turkey’s canceling military exercises last September and signaling displeasure with Israeli behavior in Gaza, “It raises the question of whether Israel should continue to sell armaments to a Muslim-majority nation that is becoming increasingly focused on religion and increasingly belligerent to Israel.”
    Wigwag, you’re just too transparent, even though you try so hard to be coy. Why not just be candid and upfront about your Likkud/Kadima worldview? Who are you trying to fool?

    Reply

  36. Dan Kervick says:

    “True or not, this perception contributes to the immense distrust of the United States that persists among broad swaths of the Turkish population.”
    Of course. However, had the United States adopted an anti-AKP position, immense distrust would have been bred among an even broader swath of the population.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh yes, Wiggie, your stance on Israel has nothing to do with your stance on Turkey. The fact that Nadine has slithered onto the scene kinda belies the indignation and sarcasm you’ve spat at JohnH.
    I tend to ignore Katcher’s posts about Turkey. His past ommissions, failing to note the TRUE reasons behind Israel and Turkey’s estrangement, kinda robbed him of his credibility.
    Kudos to Turkey’s leadership for having the guts, and the morals, for standing up and recognizing, and supporting, Goldstone’s efforts.

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    Here is a post from Barry Rubin on January 29, before the recent wave of arrests. The recent wave may have made the headlines, but Rubin showed last month that it’s all part of a series of moves which the AKP government is using to discredit and silence the opposition.
    Scoop: How a “Leftist”-Islamist Alliance is Subverting Democracy in Turkey
    By Barry Rubin
    Scary stuff is happening in Turkey. The stealth Islamist regime is increasingly threatening critics and creating phony plots against itself to justify taking more power into its hands. The process is a slow-motion one but the direction is away from moderation and democracy.
    Foreign admirers of the AKP regime like to say it is a moderate Islamic government which proves that Islamism is compatible with democracy. It is possible that a few years in the future—when it is too late—observers will look back on its example to prove the opposite.
    But here’s an obscure angle on what’s happening that tells a mountain-load about contemporary politics. Stick with me as we expose a covert operation that ties up the far left with the drive toward an Islamist dictatorship. Briefly, here are the themes:
    –A nominally left-wing newspaper is an Islamist front fed disinformation by the regime in order to discredit the regime’s rivals, both the army and the left of center political parties.
    –This front is praised by leftists in the West as a heroic venture when it is funded by Islamists and does their bidding.
    –The Turkish regime is moving increasingly toward demonizing its secular enemies to the point where they can be repressed and Turkish democracy is, at best, limited and the country is moved toward being at least a partial Islamist state with authoritarian rule by a single party. While there will continue to be elections, the AKP is using extra-parliamentary means to ensure that it always will win.
    And this is a pattern we’ll see repeated elsewhere. In fact, we’re already seeing it, in the West as well.
    Slick neo-Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is quoted in Today’s Zaman, which with its Turkish-language partner Zaman is owned by the Islamist Gulen movement and supports the regime, warning of a new alleged coup plot, supposedly called the “Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan,” to overthrow the government. The army is accused of planning a terrorist campaign of placing bombs in mosques to blow up innocent worshippers.
    Creating such phony plots is one of the AKP regime’s main techniques for discrediting opposition and putting critics on trial. Previous alleged plots have included ones called Blonde Girl, Moonlight, Sea-sparkle, and Glove. But the main so-called army-opposition conspiracy is called Ergenekon. Those who have waded through thousands of pages of indictments and the disparate group of those arrested point out a rather important fact: there are no specific acts that took place and no real evidence against anyone.
    One of the accused, for example, is Turkan Saylan, a secular leader in the grassroots opposition to the regime who has organized several mass demonstrations. The pro-AK media has accused her of being an Armenian-lover, supporter of the terrorist PKK Kurdish group, and a Christian missionary. But the missionary charge was only made in the Turkish-language Islamist media so it would not become known abroad so that the regime can still pretend to be tolerant and non-Islamist.
    The real defenders of Turkish democracy are slandered as those who want to destroy it, while the destroyers are portrayed as the defenders.
    The Ergenekon label is used to smear all critics of the regime. When an AKP parliamentarian close to Erdogan attacked my daring to point out how the Islamists repressed women’s rights, she accused anyone of agreeing with me of being part of the Ergenekon conspiracy and thus traitors to Turkey. Erdogan, who is portrayed abroad as a democratic leader, is now accusing the opposition of every political assassination in modern Turkish history, which is pretty serious incitement, and threatening newspaper columnists who criticize his government.
    Here’s Today’s Zaman teaming up with the prime minister to make false statements labeling the peaceful parliamentary opposition as a group of terrorist coup-makers:
    “Erdo?an said he was unable to understand why some parties act as advocates of illegal groups. He was referring to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), whose leader Deniz Baykal declared that he was an advocate of Ergenekon. Ergenekon is a clandestine crime network that has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government…[charged with being] a terrorist organization.”
    Baykalm leader of the left-of-center opposition party, is hardly an advocate of Ergenekon, terrorism, or overthrowing the regime in a violent coup.
    And what is the source of the latest accusation? A mysterious leftist newspaper called Taraf. If you were to read the media column of the world’s leading leftist English-language newspaper, the Guardian, you’d think Taraf is a heroic champion of free speech. It calls Taraf “Turkey’s most courageous newspaper” and regards Ergenekon as a completely true story.
    While pointing out there seems to be a mystery about how this newspaper is financed it explains that the editor does so out of his own pocket. In fact the editor is a journalist who owns a small bookstore which does not explain how he comes up with $6.6 million a year.
    So where does the money come from? Apparently, though this requires further investigation, from a group of pro-Islamist, Gulen-connected businessmen of whom the most prominent is Ahmer Calik—in other words to the same people who back the regime and run Today’s Zaman. Calik gets big favors from the government, for example a major pipeline project.
    Despite supposedly being a leftist newspaper, Taraf never criticizes Islamism or the government. When the regime’s police beat up leftist demonstrators on May Day the story went unreported in Taraf.
    The newspaper’s sensationalism is pretty extreme. For example, last year it ran a story accusing NTV television network, a pro-secular station, of sending out electronic signals to crash the helicopter of an Islamist/ultra-nationalist extremist politician to crash. This is an accusation of murder. When NTV released its full phone records showing the accusation was false, Taraf and other pro-regime newspapers ignored the fact that their story was wrong and moved on to new accusations.
    Intimidating newspapers and television stations—as well as buying them up–is one of the regime’s main tactics. For example, the main media empire supporting the opposition was hauled into court and given a fine of several billion (that is not a typo) dollars on trumped-up charges. The message is: shut up or we’ll put you out of business.
    The real threat to Turkey’s remaining a free and democratic state is not the made-up Ergenekon nonsense but Erdogan, Gulen, Today’s Zaman, and Taraf, with help from varous foreign dupes.
    So there you have it. An Islamist regime pretending to be moderately conservative, a “leftist” newspaper set up to smear the opposition, false charges of terrorism against rival politicians, the use of the courts to jail or intimidate democratic critics, and the cheers of the Western left for all of these techniques.
    Coming soon [if not already there already] to a country near you.
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/01/scoop-how-leftist-islamist-alliance-is.html

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    Another rant by Wigwag against the enemies of Israel! Days ago she was railing about the AKP’s anti-Israeli behavior spelling the end Turkish democracy. Now she’s exulting that AKP’s poll numbers are dropping, presumably because of its anti-Israeli stand. Of course, according to Wigwag logic, poll numbers don’t matter anyway since Turkey is no longer a democracy. And what’s even worse, Turkey’s military democracy is being replaced by a people’s dictatorship.
    If you can figure out Wigwag’s logic, please let me know!

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    It’s an interesting interview Taspinar gave, but I wouldn’t bet the house that he’s right that military coups in Turkey led by tanks in the streets are over. In fact, while most Turks would oppose a military coup, a very sizable minority would welcome one; the polarization in Turkey is somewhat reminiscent of the polarization in Iran.
    If Ian Bremmer is right, the popularity of the AKP continues to decline. He actually thinks that the rest of the year is likely to be a very uncertain time for the Erdogan government. This is what Bremmer said on his blog on January 19, 2010,
    “Domestically, an increasingly unpopular AK party, facing popular fallout from the economic downturn, is embroiled in intractable and increasingly interlinked fights with the judiciary, industrialists, and the military. The party’s experiment with trying to buy some support from Turkey’s Kurdish population failed, which not only loses them the Kurds but many Turks if there’s further social instability as a consequence — as seems likely. Meanwhile, there’s growing political pressure within the AK party to keep would-be splinter Islamist forces onside and to formulate policies that appeal to more emotive calls from that base.
    Turkey’s international orientation is moving away from Europe and closer to Iran and Syria — driving further domestic wedges between Turkey’s Islamists and secularists. And while Turkey’s EU candidate membership status isn’t going to shift in 2010, the threat of confrontation looms larger, especially as Cyprus negotiations, which seemed on a strong track, now look like they might leap off the rails. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s principal diplomatic success is with Armenia. That’s important historically, but not for the country’s relationship with creditors at the IMF. And though Iraq looks better , if there’s a worry, it’s the unsettled status of Iraq’s Kurdish north — just across the border from Turkey.
    In short, country risk is hitting Turkey from just about every side. By year’s end, the fight for the coming year’s elections will heat up. Unlike in Brazil, 2011 doesn’t look like a bounce.”
    Recent polls do suggest that support for the AKP is collapsing. Given all the other turmoil going on in Turkey including: massive strikes by trade unions; increasing Kurdish embitterment since their main political party was declared illegal; the impasse with Armenia about Nogorno Karabah; and the continued stalemate over Cyprus, one has to wonder if the stability of Turkey is in serious jeopardy.
    Vali Nasr suggests that the fulcrum in Turkish politics is the devout but avaricious petit bourgeoisie and merchant classes. If he’s right and if fear of economic turmoil causes the support of these classes to stray from the AKP towards the secular parties all hell could break loose in Turkey.
    In light of their increasingly bleak political prospects, it wouldn’t even surprise me if Erdogan and Gull were antagonizing the military in the hopes of inspiring a coup. If the Turkish military seized power that would be viewed with great alarm by most of Europe and by the Obama Administration. Certainly the uneducated classes in Turkey from which the AKP derives much of its support would be angered by a coup. Erdogan and Gull might just figure that a failed coup that angered the West and the Turkish lower classes might just be the recipe for them to retain their positions of power. At least it might be their best chance.
    One event that is likely to unite all Turks, secular and religious, is the coming vote on March 4, 2010 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee branding the Turks as the perpetrators of genocide against the Armenians. The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee both support the resolution and it is sure to pass the Committee. Speaker Pelosi (who has been a vocal champion of the resolution in the past) has promised a floor vote. The resolution condemning Turkey will probably pass the full House sometime this Sping.
    During the Campaign Obama said that he agreed with the sentiment expressed in resolution which will make it very hard for him to lobby against passage as George W. Bush did. Secretary of State Clinton is desperately trying to get Armenia and Turkey to sign their recently negotiated agreement which might delay passage of the resolution but the Nagorno Karabah problem is too intractable; Clinton will fail.
    To their terrible disgrace, various groups that support Israel quietly lobbied against passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution when it came up last time at the request of their then allies the Turks and the Bush Administration. That won’t happen now and the House of Representatives is likely to brand Turkey as what it actually is; the nation that murdered 700 thousand to 1.5 million Armenians.
    It’s really quite ironic that the one thing that might unite the warring factions in Turkey could be their anger at the House of Representatives for telling the truth about the mass murder that the Turks committed 95 years ago.
    Most Turks, both religious and secular would rather turn a blind eye to their butchery of the Armenians.
    Well, at least the Turks agree about something.

    Reply

  41. JohnH says:

    It’s a sign of progress when the military is brought firmly under independent, civilian control. This is prime tenet of American democracy, and Americans should laud the Turkish democracy’s steps in this direction.
    Having the military pose as the guarantor of freedom never guarantees anything but an authoritarian society that disregards the public interest in favor of the narrow interests of the connected few.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *