Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 03, 2013

Erdogan Is Toast

Last week a small environmental protest against the demolishing of a park in Istanbul went nearly unnoticed. But when police rather brutally intervened to let workers cut some of the trees the situation exploded. Within a few days over 100,000 were out on the streets and clashing with police forces.

Most of those people did not come out to save the Gezi park but to demonstrate against the kind of politics that it symbolizes. Most of the locals want to keep the park and are against the larger related project to "renovate" the central Taksim square. Taksim stands for May 1 demonstrations, the Ataturk cultural center and common urban space.

But the AKP wishes to revive the Ottoman era and to insert more religion into public live. Its leading clique has many business interests. The AKP therefor decided to raze the park to build a replica of the Ottoman Artillery Barracks and to fill its with a shopping mall and a mosque. A government commission advised against the project but was overruled. Protesters were moved away through rather brutal police engagements. This authoritarian way of pushing party interests against the common one is what brought the people into the streets.

On Friday a court handed the government a perfect chance to calm the protests down. It ruled that the project would be stopped until some further issues could be heard in court. Erdogan could have pointed to the ruling and could have promised to follow it. Instead he repeated that the government will to continue to “realize their dream” and to build the barracks and to transform the whole Taksim square.

The AKP under Erdogan disregards the societies opinion on single political issues and only cares about its followers' interests and winning the totals in the next election. The political alternatives to the AKP are not strong enough or too dogmatic on single issues to be serious challengers. Turkey has thereby become a hollow democracy and a one party state. The Turkish media are suppressed. Journalists who dared to criticize the government lost their jobs or even went to jail. Media companies were threatened over dubious allegations of tax evasion. Many TV stations did not dare to report the protests and only now start to follow them.

The AKP pursues neo-liberal policies, privatizes state companies wherever it can and hates labor unions. For some years it was very effective in growing the economy though most of the growth was bought with foreign capital, mostly from the Gulf. Turkey's current-account deficit is some 10% of GDP per year. That is unsustainable. Much of this money is "hot" and only interested in short term return. It will flee as soon as the recent Turkish growth story seems to falter. The Turkish stock market already started to fall before the demonstrations started. Today it plunged another 10%. Interest rates jumped.

Erdogan has called the protesters alcoholics, bums, extremists and looters. This video shows "looters" trying to rob an ATM. They clearly wear riot police outfits. Erdogan blamed twitter and other social media for the protests and alleged that opposition politicians were inciting the protesters and suggested that they were under foreign intelligence control.

There are of course protesters who belong to political opposition parties and the soccer fans of Istanbul's three big clubs, who banded together to clash with the police, are not harmless pussies. But the way these protests exploded and spread within two days into nearly 50 other cities does not point to pure political or foreign control. It rather looks like a collective outbreak of long simmering frustrations with Erdogan's authoritarian rule.

Today Erdogan went off to a week of state visits in north Africa. Before he left he claimed that he could "barely hold back" the 50% that voted for his party in the last election. It is dubious that all of those would now come out for him. In several of his policies, like the assault on Syria, a large majority of Turks is against him. But it still is a threat to launch counter demonstration that would inevitably end in more clashes. Last night one demonstrator was killed when a car ran over him. Some claim the driver was incited by Erdogan's aggressive talk. While Istanbul was rather quiet throughout the day today clashes with the police continued in Ankara and for the first time Erdogan's shabiha went into action:

Solidarity protests against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park continued in Ankara today while clashes erupted between demonstrators and a group 30 people chanting slogans on behalf of the police. The unknown group, which attacked while shouting “May the hands of those who attack the police be broken,” ran away after attacking demonstrators.
Unless Erdogan starts to compromise on the Gezi park and other issues or steps down demonstrations and clashes are likely to continue. There will be counter demonstrations and clashes with groups supporting Erdogan. While the police is on the side of the government the military is not. Many generals are in jail for alleged coup plotting and the officer corps will not support the man and party who put them there.

The economy, already effected by the war on Syria and much too high current account deficits, will go down as the hot money flees from the Turkish markets. The big tourism industry will see further losses. One of the four big labor unions with 240,000 members announced that it will now go on strike. The peace process with the Kurds is still vague and attacks by the Kurdish PKK guerrilla can easily reoccur.

Erdogan is not without competition within his own party. If he can not keep the economy going and the streets peaceful the knifes will come out against him. President Gul, one of Erdogan's top frienemies, is already positioning himself. Today he came out against Erdogan's absolutists claims by explaining that democracy is not just about elections.

There are now four possible ways out of these troubles:

  • The protests run out of steam and peter out. Unlikely in my view, especially as the labor unions are now joining.
  • Erdogan becomes a humble man, stops the Taksim square project and apologizes. This would be counter to everything that is know about Erdogan's personality and seems unlikely.
  • The military launches a coup. It is dubious that a majority of Turks would support another coup and the military might not be willing to take on the burden. Why not just sit back, simply watch the show and smile?
  • Some faction in Erodgan's AKP launches a party coup against him and put him out of office.

For now my bet is on the third alternative. But it will take a while. More clashes - maybe even outright shootings, more economic damage, more political strife will happen before someone dares to take the sultan down. The process could take weeks or months. But however it ends Erdogan will, in the end, lose out. There is no going back. He is toast.

Posted by b on June 3, 2013 at 15:51 UTC | Permalink


Well, b, it depends on the degree of "toast".. I have a feeling he may survive but will surely be kicked out in the next elections with his AKP nonsense.He's fallen from grace like a lead balloon. I guess the honeymoon with the people is finally over.

Something's happened in Turkey that's not going to reverse. The fear here is the US pushing the arming to stage a backdoor regime change..In effect keeping the regime but without Erdogan..Kinda like Egypt.

At the moment, the movement doesn't seem to have any leadership..This makes them very vulnerable hijacking by vested interest..

But I'll agree with you, the guy is certainly toast..It's the degree of "toastness" that's debatable.

Interesting times.... ;)

In other news, Jordan is also boiling but it's been kept out of the news for some reason..I wonder why :)

Posted by: Zico | Jun 3 2013 16:01 utc | 1

A little off topic but you may be interested to know if you did not see the C-Span program over the weekend of the interview of Army's Chief of Staff General Odinero at the Atlantic Council by Barry Pavel. Pavel started with the question (para phase) Gen. what is the single most concern you have in the world today". Odinero said actually he had three major concerns: Shia-Sunni conflict spreading; Pakistan and North Korea.
Pavel was not satisfied. He said he wanted to know about what should be done about Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon. He did not say IF! He said unequivically they were seeking one. Obviously, Odinero did not see Iran as a high concern. He already list his top three which did not include Iran. Accordingly, he answered in generalities about proliferation.
My point is that the military is not overly concerned about Iran and seemingly not planning for an Iran war. But, the politicians are.


Posted by: TomV | Jun 3 2013 16:57 utc | 2

Well, about that footage that shows policemen try to rob an ATM. It actually a some kind of door that's blocked by the protesters behind it, and policemen try to break it so they can fire teargas upon those protesters.

Posted by: hikmet | Jun 3 2013 17:05 utc | 3

3) it is probably a grocer's shop. bad enough though.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 17:28 utc | 4

Iran could be a HUGE US ally, it would keep the whole region on point. The money to be made there is HUGE. But the powers that be want to be in control, they can't let the Iranians run their own stinking show. Too many people want Iran to be the puppet it was during the Sha's years. Not gonna happen, anyway Erdogan must be realizing that the similarities between his REGIME and that of Mubarak, Ben Ali and dear old Gaddafi is very frightening.
I think he's skkerrdd...
I'm just dying for someone in Syria, Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela or even North Korea!
I want them to parrot Hilary, Obama or anyone of the idiots running foreign policy. To please say, "Erdogan has lost all legitimacy he must step down"
"He slaughtering his own people and a no-fly zone will be implemented and he will be remanded to the IHRC".
Poetic justice, bwhahahaha!!!!

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 3 2013 17:32 utc | 5

@hikmet - its too low for a door and I do not see any protesters inside. The cover of the "door" is standing to the right of it. Looks like an ATM cover to me.

Posted by: b | Jun 3 2013 17:53 utc | 6

I think that b's 3rd and 4th options are not very different.
I will explain how I think the third option may play out and that will explain why I think that option is not so different in its essence from the fourth option:

Turkish military cannot make a change through a military coup without the West's -at least implicit- 'green light'. Turkish economy is a complete slave to the multinational western corporation's hegemony. As 'b' has pointed out, it is highly dependent on foreign capital and technology and anyone who may want to go politically against the western dictates, has to radically change the Turkish economy. To do that they also need the majority's support.
I very much doubt that Turkish military has the desire (and the stomach) to change the Turkish economy in any fundamental way. Furthermore -as 'b' points out- I doubt that it will have the majority's support.
Therefore, if option 3 were to happen it would be just to remove AKP and replace it in name (and name only) with a "new" neo-liberal party and perhaps with many of the AKP members transferring to the new party (without Erdogan and even perhaps with a ban on any political activity by Erdogan in the "new" era).
But I don't know why US would go for such an option, it would be much easier and far more "democracy-like" for a party coup from within AKP against Erdogan (ie. the fourth option).

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 3 2013 18:13 utc | 7

@b - actually you have a point but, in the video voice of the people who record this footage says that it's a door and police try to knock it down, they also say that probably protesters block the door with heavy objects. Since they may witness the prior events, i presumed what they're telling is true.

Also, it could be a door that opens to some kind of basement depo where goods are stored, not necessarily a regular door.

Posted by: hikmet | Jun 3 2013 18:16 utc | 8

An AK-47 pulled from a police car near Gezi. Turkish police does not have AK-47 as regular weapons. So why is it there?

Posted by: b | Jun 3 2013 18:25 utc | 9

"Today Erdogan went off to a week of state visits in north Africa."


Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jun 3 2013 18:29 utc | 10

From Naked Capitalism 0603 links a comment:
Working Class Nero says:
June 3, 2013 at 8:20 am
There is no Turkish Spring occurring in Anatolia. It’s more like the wispy last gasp of breath from the old guard. Although many of the protesters may be relatively young age-wise; in political and ideological terms they are indeed the ancien régime, the Old Turks.

The Arab Spring was and is about undemocratic secular dictators being replaced by popular Islamist tyrants. These regime changes have the full backing of the US and her allies. They help resolve a long-standing contradiction in the Western approach to Muslim countries. While the West preaches democracy, generally it was thought to be a bad idea to let underling nations have it since they might elect governments hostile to US interests. In 1992 elections in Algeria were halted with the backing of the French and ultimately the US, in order to avoid an Islamist party coming to power. The obvious truth is that in most Muslim countries there exists a solid majority (mostly rural peasants) who would support a Sharia-imposing Islamist government if they were allowed to vote for one. But from an imperial point of view, a universalist ideology such as Islam fits in much better than particularist blood and soil nationalism that Muslim elites used to espoused after pan-Arabism collapsed.

So the key, with the help of Saudi Arabia, was to confection pro-American Islamist parties, or to simply make it a condition of power for existing, America-phobic Islamist parties to adjust their attitude towards Uncle Sam..

Since 1992, Western elites have slowly changed their minds and learned to love the Sharia. After all an ideology based on submission cannot be all bad from a ruling class point of view since the goal of any group of leaders is to cultivate obedience from their subjects. Islam turns the trick very well. Even in Europe the ruling class is learning this lesson. As they flood their countries with the “wrong kind of Muslims” (the rural peasant type instead of the liberal urban elite), their welfare states are imploding and their jails are bursting at the seams. In France around 70% of all jail inmates are Muslim. These former rural peasants are now crowded into urban ghettoes which fairly quickly become something close to autonomous regions. This is all fine long-term since one of the international elite’s goals with mass third world immigration is to destroy the societal cohesion that makes a welfare state possible. But in the short term the police or other emergency services are not welcome in these no-go zones. So in a modern day version of feudalism, effective control over these zones is quietly handed over to Imams who are then often able to impose discipline and order on their new subjects but at the cost of creeping Islamization in the urban centers of Europe. Muslim patrols replace state police patrols. So while gay marriage may now be legal in France as a nation, as Muslims reach majority status in neighbourhoods and cities, two men walking hand in hand will not be tolerated by your local Muslim patrol. And all this is not just accepted, but is actually celebrated by the urban elite, both left and right. Meanwhile it is the more conservative rural–types in Europe who are alarmed for now. Who knows, one day they may jettison their lefty urban brethren and realize they have quite a bit in common with the Islamists. But for the time being, the young European Islamists don’t don hippy clothing and go play Occupy for a while at a park. They occupy their neighbourhoods for keeps, just as their brethren back home are starting to occupy their nations.

So the Arab Spring has consisted of placing some Islamist parties in power backed by a majority of the peasant vote. Where elections are not possible, insurgencies, back by Saudi Arabia and the US, are the preferred method of regime change, as in Syria and Libya.

But Turkey has already gone through this transformation over the past decade – in fact they were one of the prototypes of a new pro-Aemerican Islamist regime. Before the secular military ensured that the Islamist-leaning majority were not really seen or heard. But in reaction, it was the Islamist political parties who became a politically “fashion-forward” movement, the “Young Turks”, anticipating the future, the progenitors of a long running Turkish Spring which has placed Islamists in power and may one day soon succeed in building a mall in Taksim Gezi Park. The US may put a little pressure on to calm things down, but Erdoğan is the leader the US wants in place there.

In Turkey, the urban bourgeoisie are ideologically committed to democracy but unfortunately cannot gather anything near a majority. Even the military, which the urban elite hated due to their instinctual animus towards all things martial and nationalistic, used to have enough power to keep the nation safe from the Islamist hordes. But after years of purges of secular-leaning officers, it is an open question whether the Army has the wherewithal to halt the implacably slow but relentless Islamic creep in Turkey. Because while the Islamists may disdain democracy, after all the word of God is never to be compromised by a majority vote; it is a very useful tool for them, since there is no denying that they do have the rural masses on their side which gives them a majority in any election.

The Turkish bourgeoisie have finally awakened but now it is way too late for them. They are attempting a counterrevolution, a Turkish Fall, an attempt to go back to a cosmopolitan secular society. I have several close friends there so I am rooting for them but the realist inside me says they are doomed because in the end they stand for nothing much more than an enlightened Western lifestyle but that’s not something they will get many peasants majority to vote for. And that’s conditioned on the rather naive assumption that the Army has enough secular officers to force the Islamists to relinquish power the day they do lose a vote. As things stand, why would military risk everything to save a few ungrateful Turkish Bourgeoisie? They might be better off just hunkering down and getting with the Islamist program.

For several years I’ve worked alongside Turkish construction companies. In the early ‘00s Turkish companies were enthusiastically looking to break into the first world markets; often in association with German companies. In recent years, especially after their EU dreams were dashed, attention returned to more realistic second world goals, especially Russia, where they are very competitive. And in turn, politically they are dropping the liberal facade and are turning back to Putin-inspired second world authoritarianism as well.

The only leverage the revolting urban bourgeoisie have in Turkey is their value to the economy. But in a second world society, obedience to ruling elites counts more than being able to create an internet start-up or writing an essay on feminist legal theory. So in the coming months many of the demonstrators will start to emigrate, especially as the internal security forces start examining Facebook and Twitter accounts. And as these left-leaning liberal Turkish professionals resettle in Europe’s glamorous cities, perhaps they will be able to warn their European co-Bourgeoisie about what is coming down the road in a decade or two in the old continent’s cities as well.

Posted by: jan | Jun 3 2013 18:40 utc | 11

@jan - that writer has a lot of phantasies.


Tone deaf. On a press conference in Morocco Erdogan said he didn't know (or understand) what President Gul said today ("democracy is not only elections"), but insisted that votes are what (solely?) manifests the will of the people.

Posted by: b | Jun 3 2013 18:48 utc | 12

@ 9

Maybe he should follow the advice of Syria's information minister.

Omran al-Zoubi urged Erdogan to flee to the Qatari captial Doha. In language that appeared to deliberately echoed Turkey's call for President Assad to step down, the state news agency said: "Al-Zoubi said there is still an opportunity for Erdogan to halt the violence in Turkey, stressing that Erdogan should respect the will of his people and leave for Doha that might host him."

I'm sure Qatar would put him up in one of those fancy hotel rooms they are using for the cowardly SNC or whatever the acronym is this week. Of course he could also go to Israel now that he has made up with NetanYahoo.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 3 2013 18:50 utc | 13

Well done to Syria for shining a light on the hypocracy of Erdogan.

Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 3 2013 18:55 utc | 14

10 jan, 11 b and does not know anything
two men walking hand in hand will not be tolerated by your local Muslim patrol

hah! (scroll down for images)

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 19:15 utc | 15

@somebody @15

this sentence in 10 is terribly stupid: "So while gay marriage may now be legal in France as a nation, as Muslims reach majority status in neighbourhoods and cities, two men walking hand in hand will not be tolerated by your local Muslim patrol."

In the Middle East (including Turkey) you will see men walking hand in hand all the time. It is NOT an expression of being gay, just of being friends. That the author asserts different (and hypes Islamophobia) disqualifies the comment.

Posted by: b | Jun 3 2013 19:21 utc | 16

I know, b. it is a quote from 10 jan ...

Posted by: somebody | Jun 3 2013 19:26 utc | 17

While I generally agree with b's interpretation, I tend to look for an answer by focussing on what might seem to be a detail.

The military, which btw. isn't hated but rather respected and by many actually seen as a guardian of democracy, has more - and smarter - option than to bluntly putsch.

They can - and interestingly seem to actually have done so already - quietly support the protest movement against erdogan. Until now they only seem to have handed out some gas mask but there is nothing keeping them away from "forgetting" some small arms. My reading so far is that they follow a line of quiet support that comes rather cheap to them and, that seems to be important, what can be plausibly denied.

One should not overlook what is a major factor in most military forces: A constructive nationalism.
While the military often has a tendency to interpret the question of what's best for their beloved country in way that is strongly different from the citizens views, in turkey the military seems to be quite on line with the citizens views and, more generally, a mainstream, non radical views.

They can not possibly like to watch their country becoming more and more a slave to alien financial and power interests. In other words, it comes quite naturally that the military is anti-erdogan for more reasons than their power having been severely restricted by erdogan.

There is another issue linked to the current events, Syria. Putting it somewhat clumsily, I think one must differentiate between "turkey, generally" (the current demonstrations and clashes) and "turkey, southeast, Syria border".
One factor, for instance, is the balance between police and military and the need to operate rather covertly (or not).
While that balance, the military basically being forced to stay in their barracks and out of the current situation for the time being, is in favour of the (widely erdogan loyal) police, the situation near the Syrian border is rather different; there, the military has a rather large freedom of action and sure enough, the ability to cut down the police swiftly.

erdogan needs the military and the south-east, both in regard to Syria and to the Kurds. This effectively gives the military a strong instrument of power by controlling a situation that in two respects is vital for erdogan.

In summary I fully agree with b. erdogan is toasted one way or the other, more or less bluntly. One interesting question associated with that is what that means in regard to Syria as well as turkeys position on the axis zato - Russia.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 3 2013 19:39 utc | 18

Turkey is at this time weakened and not too much of threat to Al-Assad. They have become a barking dog with no bite for the foreseeable future. That is one of the benefits of this situation.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 3 2013 19:47 utc | 19

I admit that that I am surprised by the strength of the demonstrations. If it is so, it is so. We haven't heard yet much about the demonstrations in continental Anatolia. I'd be interested to know what is happening there.

I have a fear that this could fall into a West-East contest. Westernised Istanbulis versus conservative Anatolians. Ataturk addressed this question, but I don't know whether this lot are as capable.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 3 2013 20:30 utc | 20


Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 3 2013 21:28 utc | 21

"Turkish protesters raise $55,000 for full-page ad in New York Times"

"The campaign is steered by three individuals – Murat Aktihanoglu, Oltac Unsal and Duygu Atacan – who claim to represent the "Turkish People" with "no organizations, parties or affiliations"."

Who are they? Quick search give this:

Murat Aktihanoglu
Technologist, Author, Entrepreneur and Investor.
Founder and Managing Director at ER Accelerator
Greater New York City Area Venture Capital & Private Equity

Current: ER Accelerator, Entrepreneurs Roundtable, MIT Enterprise Forum New York
Previous: Self, Centrl Inc., Silicon Graphics
Education: Bilkent University


Oltac Unsal
Analyst, United States
Venture Capital & Private Equity
Current: The World Bank, NextGen Angels, Generation Last
Previous: Microsoft, Pelea de Gallos, Tzero Technologies
Education: Stanford Business School


Duygu Atacan
UX/UI Designer
Greater New York City Area, Design


To me, quite interesting characters in that "steering comitee" from: Stanford, MIT, World Bank, Venture and Equity Capital world. Quite globalist and so-called secular. Very, very close to the ruling layer.

It is an interesting that there is no labour/unions involved in this protest, which was the case in Egypt.

As usual, Amnesty Int. is very active in defending the protestors and in general "liberal" values.

"Chemical Tayyip" recently paid debt to IMF in full, and even offered the credit to IMF to the tune of $5 Billion! Is Tayyip becomes too independent and ambitious contracting business with the Russians, Japanese and Chinese?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jun 3 2013 21:28 utc | 22

In regards to soccer fans' clubs becoming important in the street protests...

Back when Istanbul was Constantinople the sports clubs nearly toppled The Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Procopius of Caesarea, (who pretty much despised the emperor Justinian) weaves a good tale of the Niko rebellion and how Justinian barely survived.

The sports clubs of the day (cheering and street fighting for their favorite charioteers) joined together and elected a new emperor.

Had it not been for the quick intervention of the military the clubs would have established a new government.

My point is that one should watch the soccer clubs in Istanbul as they still have the possibility of decisive power.

As times change, culture stays the same.

Posted by: kirby | Jun 3 2013 21:29 utc | 23

What is Happening in Istanbul? An on Location Report


Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 21:49 utc | 24

Tone deaf. On a press conference in Morocco Erdogan said he didn't know (or understand) what President Gul said today ("democracy is not only elections"), but insisted that votes are what (solely?) manifests the will of the people.

Posted by: b | Jun 3, 2013 2:48:18 PM | 12

the will of the people isnt manifested by persons who put themselves up as 'representatives' being elected but by direct political participation in decision making. 'Representative' Democracy is the biggest farce in political history. Theres no check on who wants to represent: so we have so may sociopathic types lie Obama or McCain in office

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 21:53 utc | 25

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jun 3, 2013 2:50:04 PM | 13

good one! Turkeys Erdogan is doing for real what he alleged Assad was doing. Time for the disgraced man to pack his bags and go to his backers for asylum

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 21:54 utc | 26

I wrote Saturday when the demonstrations just turned into a major political event that Erdogan's survival depended on:

The Turkish military was heavily burned by Erdogan a few years back. It only stands to reason that they would seek alliance with any of the opposition forces.

There are the secular, "Westernized" urban folks. They might be a minority but they have influence in the economy and state bureaucracy. If they were willing to accept the military there could be an alliance here.

Turkey seems to have a militant labor movement. Again not that powerful by itself but it could add an important dimension in a larger movement -- a few critical strikes can create tremendous pressure especially if supported by significant sections of society.

Then there are the minority Kurds and Alevi but I have no idea how they will react or even if their support would be welcomed by a larger coalition of forces.

On top of these opposition groupings there is the clear indication that a big majority of the the Turkish people do not approve of the war against Syria that Erdogan has been pushing. This lack of support seems to extend to his own electoral base. Something like this might mean that needed support during a crisis might decide to stay home.

It remains to be seen what the military does. I doubt that an outright coup is likely, but they clearly are not being deployed to put down the demonstrations (well duh, that would be Erdogan's end) but they might just show up someplace and defend people from unruly police.

The secular folks seem to be the ones maintaining the mass presence on the streets. No sign of slowing yet.

Good old labor unions looks like they are coming through. I wasn't aware when I wrote the above that Erdogan had pursued a very strict neo-liberal policy, supported by the business community that actively worked to defeat the unions. They really need to come out now with major strikes for their survival is on the line.

Kurds and Alevi?? No idea how that will play.

The war against Syria may well turn out to be an important factor. This war is not popular even with Erdogan's supporters and may very well sap enthusiasm by his backers if they are needed on the streets to confront the demonstrators.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 3 2013 22:06 utc | 27

the farcical US regime is calling for all parties 'to stop provoking violence'

only US is allowed to provoke violence

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 22:07 utc | 28

Der Spiegel manages to associate a sociopath like Erdogan with a real statesman: Putin

'As recently as mid-May, Erdogan boasted during an appearance at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. of the $29 billion airport his government was planning to build in Istanbul. "Turkey no longer talks about the world," he said. "The world talks about Turkey."

Just two weeks later, he appears to have been right -- just not quite in the way he had anticipated. The world is looking at Turkey and speaking of the violence with which Turkish police are assaulting demonstrators at dozens of marches across the country. Increasingly, Erdogan is looking like an autocratic ruler whose people are no longer willing to tolerate him'

going unnoticed in the media is how all this resembles what was reported by the MSM to have happened in Syria 2011...and never did

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 22:12 utc | 29

Just leaving this here:

The people of Turkey regard the United States and Israel as their main enemies, the results of an opinion poll suggest.

A total of 2,000 Turkish people took part in the opinion poll conducted by Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center.

The results were published on February 28, 2011, the IRIB's Research Center reported.

Forty-two percent of the respondents saw the United States as Turkey's number one enemy, and 23 percent of them singled out Israel as the main enemy of the Eurasian nation.

Six percent of those polled said Greece was their country's main enemy. Four percent singled out Iraq's Kurdistan, and a tiny three percent picked Armenia.

Eight percent of the respondents chose other countries as Turkey's number one enemy, while 14 percent had no opinion about their country's worst enemy.

Turkey's differences with Greece are mainly over the ownership of a few islands in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the issue of Cyprus. Both countries are members of NATO alliance.

The Turkish people also regard Iraq's Kurdistan as a threat because it can set a precedent for Turkish Kurds, the research center said.

Armenia also has age-old difference with Turkey because of the alleged "Armenian Genocide" during World War I.

end snip

If Russia was to get a government in Turkey that was even neutral, much less willing to align, it would be maybe Russia's greatest strategic victory since WWII. I don't think Russia is behind these protests but it possibly may stand to benefit from them ultimately.

I personally don't put much stock on protests in countries with elections. My understanding is that the AKP consistently wins more legitimate votes than its opposition.

I don't like Erdogan's alignment with the US, especially on Syria also his cooperation on Gaza, but Turkey does not yet have a political process that aims for the median Turkish voter, it has Erdogan as a leadership pole who is able to hold power just by being closer to the median than the opposition that had historically been far more anti-religious and pro-West than most people of that country.

After Erdogan, I hope the competition over leadership of the AKP will lead that party closer to views and values of the average citizen of Turkey. I don't expect that these protests will lead to Erdogan losing power.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 3 2013 22:13 utc | 30

ad over at Juan Cole some revealing stats:

Some 70.8 percent of respondents said that they think “the AKP’s (Justice and Development Party) policy on Syria is wrong…”

Even within the Ak Party, about 32 percent rejected Erdogan’s vocal support for the rebels over the Syrian government.

Erdogan is said to be thinking of adopting a French mode of a strong directly-elected presidency. Most Turks think that is a bad idea:

“The percentage of those who do not want [a presidential] system is 79.3.” Four out of five persons are against the presidential system.”

“More importantly, 65 percent of the AKP electorate are against that system. This is a very high ratio.”

not just toast but deep fried..his legacy wil be like that of other sociopaths the democratic system allows to seep into the political arena

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 22:17 utc | 31

interesting comment in Juan Cole piece:

'Zaman daily editor-in-chief and Media Group CEO, Ekrem Dumanlı, explained the reasons behind the group’s decision to part ways with Anatolia in a column published in both Zaman and Today’s Zaman on Monday. The following is an excerpt from his column:

“For a long time, the Anatolia news agency has been having problems with the Turkish media. However, for some reason, no one wanted to raise their voice against the agency. Everybody has complained about some of the improper practices of the agency, but people were waiting in hopes of some improvement. For instance, the agency requests extra money from papers for reports that it considers exclusive. But they are mostly not exclusive; a report delivered to all would not be considered exclusive. But when we point this out, Anatolia gets upset. Besides, the reports they consider exclusive are related to public institutions or events using public funds. It is impossible to tolerate such injustice.”

In his question, Oran accused Anatolia of not abiding by media ethics and asked: “By employing censorship on the opposition, don’t you make the service received by media institutions that only subscribe to AA [the Anatolia news agency] but not the ANKA, CİHAN, DHA and İHA [other news agencies] flawed?”'

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 22:26 utc | 32

This one is simply HILARIOUS!!
Watch the video clip at the bottom of the news! It is from Iran's NasrTV (I didn't know that it existed!! LOL)
As for the content of the news, here is my translation:

"Iranian news channel "Nasr TV", has broadcasted a news-analysis regarding the Gezi Park resistance which started a week ago and turned into the country wide anti-AKP demonstrations. The channel which reminded its viewers of how the city squares from Tahrir to Taksim have been transformed, also pointed to the Turkish police's brutality. It also stated that the Turkish people warned AKP about Syria but that Erdogan disregarded those warnings and instead collaborated with USA and Saudi Arabia in trying to topple the Syrian regime. It also criticized the decision to name the third Istanbul bridge after Sultan Yavuz Selim who massacred Alevies and asked Edogan: 'What is the message that you are trying to give? Are you promoting blood baths?'"

It is so funny how everybody can see other people's dictatorial nature but not their own, huh? :D

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 3 2013 22:38 utc | 33

MSM upset that Syrias govt delights in turkeys real uprising

an eg of their disconnect from reality:

'Erdogan enjoys broad support in Turkey and there’s no sign that his government is in any imminent danger. But as long Istanbul’s Taksin Square and Gezi Park are packed with protesters, the pestering from Syria is likely to continue. “We wish the Turkish people stability and calm,” said Zoubi.'

no hint of condemnation by this fellow. AND no Ergogan doesnt enjoy broad support...not even from his own party

the same journalist retweets this:

David Steven ‏@davidsteven 10h Feeling let down that @SenJohnMcCain hasn't yet called on @BarackObama to arm the Turkish rebels.Retweeted by Alexander Marquardt

Alexander Marquardt ‏@MarquardtA 2 Jun RT @MahirZeynalov Erdogan: Our approach is right and sincere but there is an evil called "Twitter."
(Erdogan is what sci fi writer Van Vogt would have called a Right Man)

Posted by: brian | Jun 3 2013 23:09 utc | 34

Someone needs to be taping the commercials, inane human interest stories, Jodi Arais updates, and other general nonsense CNN is airing during these protests, so that it can be played side by side with the 24-hr non-stop commercial free coverage they'll devote to even the slightest hint of dissatisfaction with the upcoming Iraninan elections.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 4 2013 0:54 utc | 35

'While Istanbul was rather quiet throughout the day today clashes with the police continued in Ankara and for the first time Erdogan's shabiha went into action:

Solidarity protests against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park continued in Ankara today while clashes erupted between demonstrators and a group 30 people chanting slogans on behalf of the police. The unknown group, which attacked while shouting “May the hands of those who attack the police be broken,” ran away after attacking demonstrators.

yes its Erdogan not Assad who has and uses 'Shabiha'! pity the MSM ignore this

Posted by: brian | Jun 4 2013 1:22 utc | 36

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 3, 2013 8:54:35 PM | 34

its been done:

As around 1 million Turkish citizens continue to secure Istanbul’s main square in protest against government control, the Turkish media has completely blacked out the event and continues to play cooking shows and animal documentaries instead.

Posted by: brian | Jun 4 2013 1:36 utc | 37

Turkey, constitutionally, is not an Islamic state. So Erdogan has been acting unconstitutionally.




I. Form of the State

ARTICLE 1. The Turkish state is a Republic.

II. Characteristics of the Republic

ARTICLE 2 . The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the Preamble.

It’s nobody’s business but the Turks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 4 2013 2:57 utc | 38

I was quoting a song-- not making a statement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 4 2013 4:00 utc | 39

32)Yep, its great to see dictators undermine each other, ah the blow back!

It will take a while but people will find out how to get rid of all of them.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 4:17 utc | 40

37/38 here it is - ticker of Turkish spring events in seven languages :-))

And: Berlin supports Istanbul

That is the fun of globalization ...

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 4:32 utc | 41

#37 and in all of its glory:

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 4 2013 4:56 utc | 42

It is clear that the US has decided to place their bets on Abdullah Gül.

He is a hardcore modern Islamist and at the heart of the net of Islamist businesses.

Turkish protesters will have to transform into a political movement if they want to change anything.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 6:36 utc | 43

Wow! The Turkish model is revealing itself to be...Anyway, a very enlightening article about the "Axis of Evel" model that seems to work pretty well despite war and sanctions:

Posted by: Amar | Jun 4 2013 6:48 utc | 44

Amar @43: Sharmine Narwani writes the most charming articles, and researches them very well, but please bear in mind who her current employers are. She is a Senior Associate at St Antony’s College Oxford, which is one of UK’s premier spook nests. You'll find her under 'Senior Associate Fellows' at the bottom, here:
Senior Associate Fellows are normally visitors to the College and the University for periods of up to a year who are pursuing a specific research objective of their own. They or their academic work must be known to the Governing Body Fellow who is acting as their Sponsor. In her case that will probably be Walter Armbrust:
I would interpret all this as background research for a forthcoming British charm offensive aimed at popular Shi'ism, similar to that conducted by 'ex' MI6 man Alastair Crooke vis-a-vis Hamas:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 4 2013 7:56 utc | 45


I've read Crooke and Narwani and both have paid a pretty heavy price for their views. Just because their views are honest and progressive their intentions shouldn't be questioned.

Posted by: Amar | Jun 4 2013 8:22 utc | 46

what if Erdogan wanted all this chaos and is making sure that it would escalate?

He continues to provoke the people with his statements, his police forces continue to try to smash protests, his "shabiha" are now seen in action. He might think this will put an end to the protests, or he could actually know that this would aggravate the situation bringing it to the brink of a civil war.

Why? He might benefit from the chaos, taking it as an opportunity to change the constitution "out of necessity during these turbulent times" and assign himself as president/absolute ruler.

I'm not sure who's running the army now, but with the majority of the opposing generals sidelined, is it possible that he managed to get the army to his side?

He could be expecting a civil war, but if he manages to get the army to his side, he might think he would actually have a really good chance to win that war.

The recent move with the kurds might actually put them on his side during all this, promising them a state within the greater turkish islamic state to be.

How realistic/probable is this scenario? it doesn't seem too far-fetched

Posted by: f | Jun 4 2013 9:56 utc | 47

Some background:

The main beneficiary of Erdoğan’s weakness may well be the Gülen movement, the powerful network led by the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. Erdoğan and the Gülenists made common cause until recently to defeat their common enemy, the military and the secularist old guard. But with that task accomplished, they have been increasingly at odds. The Gülen movement does not want Erdoğan to become too powerful, while Erdoğan is wary of Gülenist machinations within the police and judiciary. The movement likes to promote President Abdullah Gül, who is much closer to it, as a tolerant, more democratic alternative to Erdoğan.

That the Gülen movement watches Erdoğan take the rap for the protests carries more than a hint of paradox, as Gülenists are known to be particularly well represented in the police. Supposedly moderate, the movement has been closely linked to some of the worst police and judicial abuses under Erdoğan.

Sadly, there is no organized political movement that can give voice and representation to the protestors that have made their point so loudly and clearly in recent days. So it will be the competition between Erdoğan and the Gülen movement, along with developments on the Kurdish front, that defines the future of Turkish politics.

The reporting and editorials in Zaman, a Gülen movement paper, fits the above.

Probably best analysis what the issue with Gezi park is (written before the violence started): Islamization of Istanbul Continues

A second protester was killed

A protester was shot dead late on Monday during an anti-government demonstration in southern Turkey near the Syrian border, the provincial governor's office said.

Abdullah Comert, 22, died in the town of Antakya, the governor's office statement said.

Television channel NTV reported he was demonstrating to show support for a wider protest that began in Istanbul last week against the policies of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, and said he was shot in the head.

It was not immediately clear who opened fire at the Antakya rally, the governor's office stated.

Hatay province borders Syria and has sheltered thousands of refugees from the civil war there. Last month, car bombs ripped through the center of the Hatay town of Reyhanli, killing 52 people.

Comert is the second protester to die after a taxi hit Mehmet Ayvalitas, a member of a left-wing association, when it plowed into demonstrators occupying a highway on Sunday.

Some 3000 people were allegedly wounded during the clashes with police.

The public worker union has called for a two day strike starting this noon. The turnout for this will be interesting.


The government is now somewhat trying to calm things down. While PM Erdogan is in Morocco the president Gül met with the opposition leader yesterday and the deputy PM today. The deputy PM than gave a speech with said that the protesters in Geli park where within their rights and that the police was wrong in using harsh measures. He apologized.

Will the deputy PM be heard? Will Erdogan come out with another harsh reaction?

Funny how all the "western" papers suddenly come out with op-eds against Erdogan's authoritarianism. He is clearly getting the same bashing that Syria was getting. I admit to having some serious Schadenfreude.

Posted by: b | Jun 4 2013 10:01 utc | 48

Problem is Erdogan might not even be the worst guy ...-))

This here makes it sound like some Mafia family war

The next stage in the growing power struggle involved, of all things, soccer. The July 2011 arrest of Aziz Yildirim, the president of the Fenerbahçe sport club, on charges of match-fixing was of course about much more than European football; Yildirim is a major defense contractor for NATO. With him out of the way, many lucrative jobs could go to Gülen’s star entrepreneur, Ahmet Çalık.

But the attack on Yildirim proved a serious misjudgment. The importance of football in Turkey cannot be underestimated (or understood, so don’t try). Fenerbahçe fans were enraged by Yildirim’s arrest. They took to the streets in massive numbers repeatedly, and were repeatedly tear-gassed; the videos of fans, many of them women, some even in headscarves, and children, being gassed by Gülenist “robocops” in full battle regalia circulated all over Facebook and Twitter.

The AKP’s fear of a massive loss of votes if immensely popular footballers were to end up in prison for many years, prompted the party to propose limiting the maximum penalty for the crimes with which they were charged. Then, while Erdogan was in the hospital, President Abdullah Gül (who is known for having better relations with the Gülen movement) vetoed the bill. It was the first time in his four-year presidency that Gül had done so, and it was not at all a coincidence that this happened when Erdogan was in the hospital, being treated, or so his doctors said, for intestinal polyps. (The rumors that in fact he has colon cancer were and remain persistent, and they were obviously taken seriously by many of his supporters in the AKP, who believed it might be wise to throw in their lot with the Gülenists.) When Erdogan emerged from the hospital looking, at the very least, alive, parliament overrode the veto. Erdogan won the round, but the divide with the Gülenists was now impossible to ignore.

The final straw was the prime minister’s attempt to abolish the special authority courts—which left the Gülenists positively hysterical. Hüseyin Gülerce, Gülen’s mouthpiece in Turkey, wrote columns with such striking rage and paranoia about these proposals that they would no doubt have been fodder for satirists were Turkish satirists not all too aware of what happens to their ilk. The move to abolish the courts followed the arrest of former Commander-in-Chief Ilker Basbug. This prompted Erdogan to say he was “disturbed” by the unending raids against current and former military officers, and to urge the prosecution to get their investigation “over and done with.”

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 10:55 utc | 49

47 f - the police actions obviously are counterproductive. If there is intent it would be in the context of Gülenists undermining Erdogan, as in this analysis of the leaks by the intelligence service and the police in the case of the Reyhanli bombings.

Someone has to get control of the Turkish police. They act like fascists.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 11:07 utc | 50

#38 / Don Bacon

Who said it is an islamic state? Stop that nonsense about "islamisation" talk.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 4 2013 11:17 utc | 51

“Welcome to Islamist Turkey” – Turkish PM Erdoğan retires mall project, vows mosque in Taksim.

17,000 New Mosques Built In Turkey Since Obama’s BFF Erdogan Took Power, Zero New Schools built.“Welcome to Islamist Turkey” – Turkish PM Erdoğan retires mall project, vows mosque in Taksim.(HD).

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped back from building a shopping mall in the Artillery Barracks project to replace Taksim Gezi Park, while also announcing that a mosque will be built on Taksim Square.

“You cannot make an AVM [shopping mall] familiar to the international ones in this area. There is no conclusive AVM project here. Maybe we will make a city museum there or an architectural work that will put different activities in place. Is there any certain document? No,” said Erdoğan on June 2 in Istanbul as he attended the Rumeli Turks Association’s general assembly.

Erdoğan also said the much debated Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM), also on Taksim Square, should be demolished, proposing to build an opera house and a mosque there instead.

“A mosque will be built in Taksim,” said Erdoğan adding that he did not have to receive permission from the main opposition leader or a “few marauders” for the projects. He said that the authority had already been given by people who voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 4 2013 12:58 utc | 52

Gullen is not Muslim ... he has great ties with zionist and FreeMason and belive in something that in Iran we call it " American Islam " ...

Posted by: a person | Jun 4 2013 13:15 utc | 53

Well, now we know where all the GCC money has benn invested. Mosques R Us. To deny that is ludicrous. They did the same thing in several of the former USSR republics. Don't forget that a new mosque often comes as a complete package with an Islamic school. Clearly, that is a sneaky way of spreading the washable ideology.

Posted by: Hilmihakim | Jun 4 2013 13:26 utc | 54

Washable = wahabee

Posted by: Hilmihakim | Jun 4 2013 13:27 utc | 55

"Gullen is not Muslim ... he has great ties with zionist and FreeMason and belive in something that in Iran we call it " American Islam " ..."


Who is Muslim? Can you tell us?
By the way while at it can you tell us also who is a "takfiri"?? :)

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jun 4 2013 13:36 utc | 56

54) let's hope it is washable :-))

The complete family package also often includes a cultural center and a shopping mall ....

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 13:50 utc | 57

Interesting to think about how the US avoided something similar by placating the country with Obama.

Watching these protests and thinking about Occupy Wall Street really is good for a chuckle. I marched near the head of what was billed as the last "big march" before winter. When the crowd was marching towards the Stock Exchange building and met the line of cops defending it - I remember distinctly the message given by the "leader" of the march (who WAS that guy?) to turn left down an open side street instead of going forward into the cops and to the Exchange.

And that's when the whole entire thing failed, IMHO. The question of whether it ever had it in it to win was answered right then and there. It was either a battle with the cops, or what we ended up doing: telling "stories" surrounded by the police, several blocks away from our objective. Barf.

The Turks aren't turning away. The Egyptians didn't either. Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, had better take a stand against the things that are being done in our name, or we'll rightfully be on the receiving end of the world's righteous anger instead of being a part of the movement towards justice.

The choice is clear, though I doubt it will ever be made. It's just too comfortable here, our society laying as it does on pillows made soft with the death and slavery of the third world. Maybe the plutocrats will push us to desperation with the surveillance state, the economic collapse, and brute repression, but we're a long way off.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 4 2013 15:26 utc | 58


en.rian DOT ru/russia/20130604/181501423/Syrian-S-300-Missile-Contracts-Not-Realized---Putin.html

YEKATERINBURG, June 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his country's sale of S-300 air defense systems to war-torn Syria on Tuesday, but said the contracts for the missiles have not yet been fulfilled.

“We do not want to disturb the balance in the region,” said Putin during a joint press conference at the Russia-European Union Summit with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. “The contract was signed several years ago. It has not yet been realized."

Well, I didn't think they'd been delivered, but I didn't expect Putin to give the Israeli "balance" line either.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 4 2013 15:40 utc | 59

As much as I've grown to hate Erdogan over the course of the Syrian War, it does no one any good to have an even more pro-business, pro-Israel leader at the helm of Turkey.

All these protests. They're just raw expressions of anger with no political force to back them up. Not very useful.

We need a Turkish Syriza.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 4 2013 15:59 utc | 60


It is a complex statement. He is saying that if weapons are delivered to the Syrian opposition (i.e. by Europe), he will tip the military balance in the region. He probably told Israel he would do it if they attacked again.

He does not have to deliver. The threat works better.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 16:02 utc | 61

@ 59.
It's Russian humour.
Putin's telling Kerry to butt out.
"We haven't delivered all the S-300s yet. But we will, and it's perfectly legal - no matter what Kerry thinks or says.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 4 2013 16:02 utc | 62

Turkey's economy is fueled by Saudi money, The price Turkey will pay is wahhabization of the country.

Posted by: clubofrome | Jun 4 2013 16:05 utc | 63

Sorry for the off-topic question: What are your thoughts on the stories about thousands of Hezbollah fighting in Syria?
Fisky says they suffered over 100 KIA in just over 2 weeks.
Other sources state Hezb has suffered hundreds of casualties. It all seems quite exagerated to me. Some of the sources are lebanese but it appears that most of these lebanese newspapers are anti-hezb and keen on exagerating the groups losses as well as its involvement in Syria.

Posted by: Luca K | Jun 4 2013 17:10 utc | 64

" What are your thoughts on the stories about thousands of Hezbollah fighting in Syria?"
My guess is that, if Hezbollah had committed as many fighters to Syria as these reports suggest, both Hariri and his zionist allies would be undertaking all manner of probes and provocations to take advantage of the weakening of forces in south Lebanon.

The likelihood is that Hezbollah's role in Syria is largely in training militias and in "forechecking", to employ a hockeyism, to prevent the salafist internationals from shelling refugee camps and villages.

Right now Hezbollah have been selected to play "villain of the month" for the western masses: whenever anything happens anywhere they get blamed, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Argentina all are grist to their mill. The idea is to portray the Resistance to Israel as being motivated by an irrational hatred of Jews. Given the history of Lebanon and the long list of crimes zionism has committed there, this is a tough sell for anyone with an IQ in double digits and a functioning memory. But this sort of propaganda is put out by people who get paid by the hour, the likelihood that their work convinces nobody is not taken into account.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 4 2013 18:02 utc | 65

Maroc/Turquie : Le roi n’a pas reçu le Premier ministre Erdogan

Le chef de gouvernement turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan ne gardera pas de bons souvenirs de son premier déplacement au Maroc. Son tête-à tête avec le roi Mohammed VI n’a pas eu lieu. En somme une visite-monologue au cours de laquelle, il s’est réuni, uniquement, avec ses « frères » islamistes. La visite du Premier ministre turc au Maroc se termine en queue de poisson. Le chef de l’AKP a écourté son séjour au Maroc, initialement étalé sur deux jours, pour se rendre en Algérie.

Presumably will get worse in Algeria.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 4 2013 18:11 utc | 66

On chemical weapons report

Remember a month ago when UN spokesperson said rebels had been using chemical weapons.
Now, the report is done and say sarin has been used
but they refuse to write down that the rebels are the ones that have been using it, instead they use the typical propaganda approach, that is accuse both parties. The evidence for rebels using chemicals are so overwhelmign that the corrupt UN/France dont have the nerve to blame syrian government for this.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 4 2013 19:03 utc | 67

Except for their desire to somehow recreate their colonial income streams (and giving a black eye to Russia), I can't imagine why France and Britain are so hell-bent on fueling the fires in Syria.

Dangerous Idiots.

Posted by: guest77 | Jun 4 2013 19:09 utc | 68

I noticed today that the US Congress had a ceremony in rememberance of the 24 th Anniversary of "The Tieneman Square Massacre".

May I suggest that, in order to save money China should approach the US with a view to hold joint rememberances of Fallujah Massacre, Tieneman, Iraq, Indian population, My Lai etc. I am sure you can add many in Afghanistan, Libya,....

This should save a lot of cash and create a lot of goodwill between the USA and China.

Posted by: boindub | Jun 4 2013 19:10 utc | 69

Abdullah Gul is being quietly groomed to replace Erdogan. It's interesting what you say guest77, the country was kinda sorta ripe for "something", at the end of the bush years. Odummy's being elected was a nice little salve for the revolutionary groups that would have definitely risen and produced some type of change in this country. Imagine McCain trying to utter "to big to fail", or trying to propose the controversial bailouts?
An old, rich, greedy, nasty carpetbagger like McPain trying to do that, killing Al-awlaki?
Occupy and so many other movements might have had different outcomes. What an interesting alternative universe.

Posted by: Fernando | Jun 4 2013 19:27 utc | 70

@ 69.
Yeah. One subject Yankee 'remembrance' of Tienanmen will NOT include is a dissertation on the dubiously heroic benefits of "stand up" (we're 'helping' the Eye-Rackie/Afghan Army to stand up). Since Russia decided to stand up to America's Primadonas, Paper Tigers, Court Jesters and Silly Old Farts(J McCain (R) Tel Aviv), "stand up" has been banished from the FWOT lexicon.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 4 2013 19:52 utc | 71

guest77 (59)

en.rian DOT ru/russia/20130604/181501423/Syrian-S-300-Missile-Contracts-Not-Realized---Putin.html

YEKATERINBURG, June 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his country's sale of S-300 air defense systems to war-torn Syria on Tuesday, but said the contracts for the missiles have not yet been fulfilled.
“We do not want to disturb the balance in the region,” said Putin during a joint press conference at the Russia-European Union Summit with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. “The contract was signed several years ago. It has not yet been realized."
Well, I didn't think they'd been delivered, but I didn't expect Putin to give the Israeli "balance" line either.

I think Putins statement can be roughly translated to "I slap your face but I'll politely smile while doing it".

The facts are simple. If I sign a contract to deliver, say, 10 "something" to you that contract will be fulfilled only after delivering 10 something to you. Not 5 or 9 but 10.
Now if I sign into an presumably complex contract a clause stating, say, that I also will have one of my technicians in an official blouse with my logo on it to check hydraulic pressure in something items 3,6, and 9 - then the contract is not fulfilled even if all 10 something are delivered, even with a "hydraulics checked and OK" label on each item as long as I didn't send that technician.

To Putin it's simple. He *did* stop the ugly machinery against Syria and he *did* make it clear to israel that they will suffer considerable pain should they attack again.
It's not even important whether those S-300 are fully delivered in this or that technical sense. The basic message was "We will not tolerate zato plans and, if needed, we will enforce what we've told" - and that message has arrived.

Now, being a very experienced and brilliant "general" Putin knows the reality: zusa is on its - by now irreversible - path into demise and israel destroyed the grounds for its long term existence more than once.

All he really needs to tell in his message is "That process will not anymore be delayed by artifical - and criminal - means at the expense of other parties."

On the other hand Putin has no reason to allow for an unneccessary tough or negative image, nor is it important or worth any considerable price to be overly rude. Furthermore he can actually gain a lot by *seemingly* not confronting israel but by *seemingly* even giving in to a degree.

From what could be seen during the past 10+ years Putin doesn't care too much about image (at least outside Russia) and he doesn't even care less about other countries, in particular about harming them. He is a builder not a destructor.
Somewhat simplifiying one could say that 95% of his energy go into building; building his own country, building constructive relationships. While Putin never hesitated to fight when it as necessary, he did it almost bluntly effectively and kept it to the nessessary minimum.

This issue is another example. His goal has been achieved so far. He has the means in place to exert more pressure and to change the facts on the grounds within 48 hours and he has shown his will to go to the bitter end if desired by the other side (e.g. by mentioning/having "leaked" the Iskander signal).
As long as all sides play nicely it doesn't harm to smile, too, by mentioning the "israel phrase".
Actually this friendliness even plays into his hands for a simple reasons. With israel not being publicly humiliated but seemingly even having convinced Putin zusa will be under considerably less pressure from israel.

Once more it pays off or putin to - unlike his zato counterparts - not play politics basically as a PR game.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 4 2013 20:38 utc | 72

@72 Talking of games....

'The United States will deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 fighter jets to Syria's neighbor Jordan this month, Jordan said on Tuesday, drawing swift condemnation from Moscow which accused the West of sending weapons to fuel Syria's civil war.

Jordan said the planes and missiles will be sent as part of an annual exercise to begin in the last week of June. Military sources said the exercises would involve armies from at least 18 countries with more than 15,000 troops.'

Posted by: dh | Jun 4 2013 20:52 utc | 73

Did Fabius's parents drop him on his head when he was born??? He sounds more and more stupid by every word that comes out of his mouth..He basically wants the US to fight for France in

Posted by: Zico | Jun 4 2013 21:04 utc | 74

I have avoided mainstream television for over two years, but on Sunday I finally tuned into a Western English language satellite news channel. I have not even connected my 40 inch flat panel LCD TV to the digital DVB-C set-top box, so I had to use my friend's TV. It was so enjoyable I will have to describe the experience to you.

The news start on the hour at 10 pm our local time. France24 is the only English offered for free by our cable provider. I lean back on the sofa with a Coke in one hand and popcorn in the other. (Coke and popcorn imaginary, but it does not matter, the news is so good I can taste them anyway.)
Now some more leaning back and stretching.

First 10 minutes: Turkey
Smashed police cars. Teargas. Massive protests. LOL! #ByeByeErdogan! ROFLOL! Some nice trees to hang him on if he ever decides to come back.
PLONK! <- that's me hitting the floor.

Back to the sofa for some more stretching and relaxing. My friend brings me some more imaginary Coke and popcorn.

Second 10 minutes: Syria.
Al-Nusra in Qusayr is sending out desperate calls for help. Humanitarian catastrophe or whatever. (some more Coke) 8000 "civilians" and 1500 wounded trapped in town. (at least two of the wounded are claimed to be civilians.) Demand humanitarian corridor or whatever. Assad says the Red Cross will be allowed to enter the town AFTER the military operation is over. No comment or complaints from France24 on that one. Now, some more Coke and popcorn!

After 100 000 people murdered by Erdogan and his friends, napalm starts smelling really lovely in the morning.

Third 10 minutes: Egypt
The supreme court decides the Muslim Brotherhood dominated upper house of parliament is illegal. (Did not watch.)

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 4 2013 21:13 utc | 75

@23. The Niko rebellion becomes th Nike rebellion!

Posted by: Brian | Jun 4 2013 21:20 utc | 76

Several months ago, I attended a talk by one of the activists involved in organizing the early Egyptian protests. He said that he was getting very little traction in getting people out for initial protests until he connected with Egypt's soccer fans. Once the fans got on board, they provided a critical mass that brought a lot of other people out to the protests.

Speaking of Egypt, the Western NGO workers have just been sentenced. So far, I haven't heard anything in the MSM coverage about the role of some of these NGOs in the State Department's color revolutions:

A Cairo court on Monday sentenced 43 Egyptian and foreign employees of several non-governmental organizations to jail sentences ranging from one to five years for working illegally.

Twenty-seven of the defendants were sentenced in absentia to five years by the Cairo criminal court.

Five defendants who were present in the country, including one American, were sentenced to two years behind bars while the remaining 11 defendants were given one-year suspended sentences, an AFP reporter in court said.

Judge Makram Awad also ordered the closure of the NGOs [where] the sentenced staff worked.

These include US-based NGOs Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute, as well as the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The defendants were charged with receiving illicit foreign funds and operating without a license.

The trial began last year following raids of the groups' offices which led to a crisis in relations between Egypt and Washington.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jun 4 2013 21:20 utc | 77

@Bevin 65

Thanks for the reply. What you wrote is pretty much what i think too.
Luca K

Posted by: Luca K | Jun 4 2013 22:19 utc | 78

OK, a point of view from someone who hasn't followed the specifics of Turkey for months but who holds a jaundiced view of politicians of any stripe whilst trying to objectively gauge their power and attitudes.

Erdogan (unfortunately) is far from toast. He probably won't get an outright majority in Parliament next election, but the AKP will be the largest party in Parliament - by a long shot since the opposition is divided and completely unable to reconcile their differences which are historic as well as pseudo-ideological (I say pseudo because this is 21st century politicians we are considering - people who regard ideological principle as others would an expensive suit - handy to throw on to impress the peasants but one should never worry about taking it off when there is work to be done - or even if left on and it becomes sullied - there's always a website handy to purchase another).
The next step is an easy one for Erdogan if he lacks a clear majority. He casts his beady eyes across the party lists of the opposing parties with a view to utilising one or all of three options.
The first is the one that the media appears to generally endorse even if in many ways it is the lowest trick in the book.
Erdogan calls in the leader of some ancient political movement which has languished in side-lines for years - quite possibly gaining respect for its principled stance among citizens who would never consider voting for it. Erdogan offers this leader a couple of concessions on issues that have been burning in the minds of the minor party for a long time. "Look", says Erdogan "this is your best and only chance to get these matters resolved. You hold the balance of power this election but that may never happen again. Sign up to a coalition agreement whereby you support AKP legislation regardless and we promise to back you guys on what matters to you."
The usual outcome is that some of the party go along with the deal and some don't. Erdogan has killed two birds with one stone here; he has garnered a few more votes in Parliament at the same time as destroying a political movement that had been syphoning away votes for too long. As for the issues Erdogan promised to resolve. Well the least contentious and possibly popular ones will be resolved early. The rest will be delayed and probably quietly dropped off the agenda. That way Erdogan can keep the minor party loyal during the early stages of his term and later it won't matter, the party will be a spent force whose political representatives have nowhere else to go.

Erdoğan’s second play to gather numbers will be the one most loved by conspiracy theorists and their ilk. Erdogan has slowly wrested control of intelligence gathering from the military and he will have access to some pretty torrid secrets - incidences of corruption and lechery by politicians whose hubris prevented them from being more circumspect. A spot of circumspect blackmail will ensure a few more votes get mopped up.

Lastly if Erdogan still 'lacks the numbers' he has one more string to his bow. Too many politicians enter parliament young, keen and ambitious only to see their big moment evaporate thanks to a capricious (so they believe), electorate. Some just want to get their snouts in the trough and are given a position as assistant to a minister in an area where contracts are dished out. Others desire the trappings of power - chauffer driven luxury as they move between one international gabfest, sorry conference, to another. These types are offered ministries in areas his own AKP members loathe even if it is a foot on the rung. In many countries the most loathed job is corrections or prisons. The work is dull and the only time you get yer picture in the paper is when something goes wrong either a prison break/riot or some bloke let out of jail immediately kills/rapes/whatever an innocent citizen.
But even prisons is a position of responsibility and some of the parliamentarians simply can't be trusted to see the thing through without making a complete mess, so for them a special ministry is established. In the part of the world I live the favourite created gig was minister of horse-racing. I kid you not! Some shiny assed politician would be paid a huge whack to make sure the horses went round in a circle each week.
This has fallen from favour as a few 'ministers' got caught up in betting scams plus of course horse racing is now 'a minor share of the gambling dollar'. Casinos are the go now, and casinos tend to be owned by large international corporations and there is simply too much 'juice' sloshing around those organisations to let some traitorous upstart from an opposition party near it. The 'good old boys' from the party faithful queue up for that gig.

So Erdogan will get his majority next time after which it will be over to him to play that manufactured majority into something more substantive for the time after.

If he has been astute building his coalition, the opposition parties will be decimated and distracted, while the voters will feel distraught and abandoned. Some despotic democratic leaders have gone on from there to rebuild their majority, but when an administration reaches this stage, the inner cadre is often burnt out & divided, so the party dies (at least for a while). Turkey languishes in confusion until a new Erdogan emerges either from AKP or another party. Don't despair, for a citizen these times of no clear political leader are usually idyllic.

As for the park? I would have to say that is doomed. Erdogan is likely to see it as a sort of calumniator, a symbol of everything that has sapped his power and he will likely bulldoze the park with glee, probably against the wishes of his advisors. That isn't always the case some politicians would concede and trade the park for an increase in the polls, but Erdogan doesn't strike as being much of a conciliator, hubris & its companion pride will prevent Erdogan from 'backing down'.

Posted by: debs is dead | Jun 4 2013 22:19 utc | 79

@45. Now maws judgement is sometimes awry. I'd trust Snarwarni

Posted by: Brian | Jun 4 2013 22:32 utc | 80

@45 I meant Niqnaqs judgement pardon typos

Posted by: Brian | Jun 4 2013 22:34 utc | 81

I used to criticize you for lack of brevity debs, but your verbosity is a welcome and refreshing addition to this blog. Brings back nostalgic memories of superb conversations here at b's bar. As for the issue at hand, I have no idea, but am nonetheless intellectually stimulated by your ideas. Always good to hear your mournful voice from kiwi land.

Posted by: juannie | Jun 4 2013 23:46 utc | 82

When bread is getting stale the thing to do is to toast it. That way it lasts longer and can be used. Some even prefer it that way.

Mr Erdogan is in a similar position: he has become stale. The best thing to do with him is to find him something to do which doesn't involve executive authority. He'd make a decent, non-executive, figurehead President, for example. Which is pretty much what he wanted, minus the Constitutional changes that would have given him dictatorial power.

His problem is that he never grew up: he kept on hectoring and bullying. In fact, as the years passed, he got worse. No doubt his party colleagues have grown tired of his behaviour (much as Mrs Thatcher's did of hers). They certainly seemed to be very quick to "put the boot in" the moment he left the country, after making a particularly stupid speech.

This is not to say that he won't serve out his term. He very well might. But he won't get to be the next Ataturk. And he will probably have to learn to wear a muzzle.

The truth is that he was getting stale anyway: the bubbles on the Bosphorus are due to burst soon.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 5 2013 1:06 utc | 83

78) list of demands

Occupy Gezi Demands by Taksim Dayanismasi [Taksim Solidarity]


1. Gezi Park will be preserved as it is. It will not be exposed to any further works under the name of a barracks, mall, residential area, or museum, etc.

2. Unarmed and non-violent citizens who are congregating to exercise their constitutional rights will not be exposed to police violence. Those arrested for exercising these rights will be set free. All political, bureaucratic or public staff who have given the order to attack demonstrators exercising their right to assembly, those directing the attacks, and those individuals applying the violence, should be prosecuted in line with relevant legislation.

3. The main aim of the government’s privatisation and environmental policies is to monitor public profit. So that they may benefit the citizens of Turkey equally, the transfer, sale and renting out of public spaces, beaches, waters, forests, streams, parks and urban symbols to private companies, large holdings and investors will end.

4. Democracy does not consist only of going to the ballot box to cast a vote. Democracy guarantees the state itself as every group among the people expresses its needs and complaints without experiencing fear, arrest or torture. This resistance is a struggle for freedom of expression and freedom of thought. Those who want to save the park today have received the same treatment as those who advocated the headscarf yesterday. The Gezi Park resistance refuses every type of oppression.

5. We have seen the television channels, newspapers and news websites whose professional duty is to protect the public good and relay correct information have neglected for days this country’s citizens, youth and elderly who have been coming to Taksim’s Gezi Park to exercise their constitutional rights in a peaceful manner. For the media to have announced our resistance to the people on its fourth day is to disregard their professional duty. In this we call on the media—and especially the media patrons who owe their wealth to the people—to act in an ethical and professional way.

The people who are doing this know their stuff. AKP is history. I agree, a bubble is going to burst in Turkey. They have been trying to finance their deficit by selling off the country.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 1:12 utc | 84

Anonymous @67, you wrote

The evidence for rebels using chemicals are so overwhelming that the corrupt UN/France dont have the nerve to blame syrian government for this.

I am afraid to tell you that is not the case. Whatever lie it takes, you can bet your sweet little tin foil hat they will tell it. Via Australia's ABC News this morning:

France certain chemical weapons used in Syria, says all options on the table

France says it has proof that president Bashar al-Assad's regime is using the deadly nerve agent sarin gas in Syria's civil war.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said laboratory tests had revealed the use of the gas "several times in a localised manner" and that "all options," including armed intervention, were on the table. [...]

France is the first country to say it is certain that chemical weapons have been used, after conducting laboratory tests on blood and hair samples from Syria.

"We have no doubt that the gas is being used... The laboratory tests are clear," Mr Fabius said.

"There is no doubt that the regime and its accomplices are using them.

"A line has been indisputably breached. We will hold talks with our partners on what we must do and all options are on the table," to decide "whether to react, including in an armed manner. [...]

France says the unidentified samples tested by the French laboratory came from two locations: Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, and Saraqeb in the north-west of the country. [...]

Won't be long now before we see a French Colin Powell present to the world a PowerPoint presentation showing how Syrian government forces use old railway carriages to manufacture WMD's.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Jun 5 2013 3:39 utc | 85

AKP is toast - bankers join #occupygezi

Ergun Özen, the general manager of Turkey’s Garanti Bank, joked to a group of protestors that he was one of the “marauders” at Taksim Square, in an open reference to a title picked by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for those who have been involved in the week-long demonstrations across the country.

Özen was speaking to the group which came to the front door of the Garanti headquarters in Istanbul to protest the broadcasting policy of NTV, a channel that belongs to Doğuş Group, Garanti’s parent company.

Özen went down to talk to the protestors while some employees were accompanying him, and declared that the bank was not against the protests.

When the protesters reminded him of the “marauder” quote by the prime minister, Özen said the employees of the bank were also joining the protests after work. “I support the Gezi Park action,” he said. “I am a marauder also.” Özen also said that some 1,500 customers had recently canceled their credit cards. Garanti is one of the leading banks in Turkey in terms of assets, and has 8.5 million credit card customers. Meanwhile, NTV, at the heart of the public criticism for poor broadcasting of the major event, apologized to its employees, according to tweets from inside.

“We made a mistake while trying to maintain a balance in an unbalanced situation,” the management reportedly told its employees. “We know that we have to work hard to regain the confidence of the people. We were wrong, we apologize.” Pictures of a destroyed NTV vehicle were posted by protesters.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 4:49 utc | 86

background - from Wikileaks Stratfor files on Turkey's business groups 2011

Islam, Secularism and the Battle for Turkey's Future

The most prominent media war in this power struggle is being played out
between Dogan Media, owned by one of Turkey 's leading business
conglomerates, and Feza Yayincilik media group, with Dogan's Hurriyet and
Feza's Zaman newspapers respectively at the epicenter of the battle. Dogan
Media is extremely uncomfortable with the shift toward one-party rule
under the AKP, and has publicly proclaimed the need to balance against the
rapid growth of pro-AKP/Gulenist news. After the Dogan group devoted
considerable coverage to a corruption scandal involving money laundering
through Islamist charities in Germany by senior members of the Erdogan
government in 2008, the media group soon found itself slapped with a $2.5
billion fine for alleged unpaid back taxes.

While tax fraud is relatively common in Turkey 's media sector across the
political spectrum, and Dogan Media was no exception, suspicions run deep
that Dogan was singled out as an example to other media of what can happen
to a powerful business tycoon who challenges the AKP. Members within the
pro-AKP/Gulenist media camp counter that Dogan got what it deserved, and
cite the fining of the group as an example of a more democratic society
that no longer shies away from punishing powerful offenders. At this
point, Turkey 's media battles intersect the corporate arena, where a
quiet and brooding competition is being played out between the old
Istanbul elite and the rising Anatolian tigers.

Anatolia Takes on the Istanbul Business Elite

A handful of secular family conglomerates based in Istanbul have dominated
Turkey 's business sector for decades, serving as Turkey 's economic
outlet to the rest of the world. On the other side of the struggle stand
the millions of small- and medium-sized businesses with roots in more
religiously and socially conservative Anatolia . While the
secular-nationalists still enjoy the upper hand in the business world, the
Anatolian tigers are slowly gaining ground.

At present, the Turkish economy is dominated by names like Sabanci, Koc,
Dogan, Dogus, Zorlu and Calik. Dogan Media occupies the staunchly secular
niche of the business sector at odds with the AKP's Islamist-rooted
vision, and has taken a public stand against the ruling party. Sabanci and
Dogus also belong in the staunchly secular group, but tend to exhibit a
more neutral stance in public toward the AKP for business reasons, such as
avoiding the sort of legal battles Dogan has faced. Calik and Zorlu groups
are far more opportunistic: They keep close political connections to the
AKP to secure business contracts and tolerate the Gulen movement, though
they are not considered true believers in the Islamist agenda. The last
category consists of business conglomerates legitimately pro-AKP and
Gulenist, such as Ulker Group and Ihlas Holding.

... there is more in the Stratfor file - also interesting ...

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 4:59 utc | 87

Off topic. But, Qusair has been completely liberated. Currently, watching live video on Al Mayadeen. The central circle Is being cleaned with bulldozers and the Syrian army is placing the flag all over.

Posted by: Hilmihakim | Jun 5 2013 6:09 utc | 88

Turkey, banana republic

Malek ‏@Malek0eid 13m

WHAT MT @ekizilkaya #Ankara confiscated #Akşam,appointed a chief editor his 1. article support mall at #Occupygezi !

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 8:37 utc | 89

Turkish Airline Strike - safety briefing :-))

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 9:54 utc | 90

@debs is dead - your scenario would be valid if the AKP were a united party.

But what we see with Gül in appeasing mode might be more than the usual good cop-bad cop play Erdogan and Gül are used to do.

M K Bhadrakumar has some interesting thoughts on that.

In short. The Gülen movement (which "owns" the police and justice) does not like what Erdogan does. He is getting too powerful. The Gülen movement would like to topple, or at least restrict Erdogan and its favorite player is Gül. I agree with that analysis.

Now add to that some conspiracy. Gülen lives in the U.S. on a CIA sponsored green card. Obama wants Erdogan to wind down the Syria affair. Erdogan is in bed with Qatar while Gül is in bed with Saudi Arabia. Erdogan is unwilling to give up on Syria. Gülen tells his police to create some ruckus in Istanbul to blame it on Erdogan. As that happens the U.S. strongly comes out against Erdogan (six statements within five days). Erdogan, chopped down a bit, may be allowed to continue. But he may also get replaced by some other party figure. If needed it will be easy to find a reason that makes him go

Now that was conspiracy theory and I can't confirm anything of it. But it would fit what we see.

Posted by: b | Jun 5 2013 17:02 utc | 91

b. 91) I think the AKP will split. They are different from the Gülen movement.

Wikileaks cable from 2005

(C) In Kaya's view, AKP is dominated at the national level by people from the Milli Gorus (National View) line, the outwardly-hard-line Islamist political and social movement of Necmettin Erbakan, who was in various coalition governments in the 1970's and was Prime Minister from 1996-97. (Comment: Milli Gorus has a certain presence in the AKP parliamentary group and appears to control a majority of AKP's provincial level organizations. There are other groups in AKP as well -- including followers of Islamist thinker Fethullah Gulen, members of the Suleymanci and other Naksibendi-derivative brotherhoods, former right-of-center DYPers, former center-right ANAPers, leftists, and social democrats -- but none is dominant, according to a broad range of Embassy contacts within AKP. End Comment.) ¶6. (C) According to Kaya, the Milli Gorus group in AKP is divided into two main factions: the Iskender Pasa lodge and the Selametciler. The Iskender Pasa lodge is associated with Erdogan and the three ministers closest to him: Finance Minister Unakitan, Energy Minister Guler, and Transport Minister Yildirim. The Selametciler are close to former PM Erbakan and try to pack local party organizations with their supporters. Kaya added that the AKP party administration in Ankara is not controlled by the Selametciler and the current leader -- a Suleymanci -- tries to balance the various factions within the party. ¶7. (C) Another major source of factionalism within the Ankara AKP is localism, Kaya noted. There are a number of factions based upon where one was born or where one's family came from. These factions include longtime Ankara residents, eastern Anatolians (principally from Erzurum), those with Black Sea roots, and Kurds. The Black Sea faction is weak in Ankara, but strong in AKP's Istanbul provincial organization and in the Cabinet. Erdogan's roots are in the Black Sea province of Rize. In Ankara, the people from various towns in eastern Anatolia have banded together to form one super-faction. ¶8. (C) There is also what Kaya described as a small opposition movement within AKP. The opposition has no leadership and no organizing political principle. It is simply made up of individuals who were not selected to run for office in the March 2004 local elections and those individuals who were overlooked for leadership roles in the party at the provincial, sub-provincial, or local levels. They are trying to organize but in Kaya's assessment they are unlikely to present a significant challenge to the current party leadership.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 18:27 utc | 92

ghezi park philharmonic

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 18:36 utc | 93

Weimar Istanbul


Posted by: somebody | Jun 5 2013 19:10 utc | 94

b (91)

Sure, it's a conspiracy theory but one that would fit neatly along the line events happen to evolve in a widely zusa controlled part of the world.

Concerning Bhadrakumar, though, I have doubts. While there are regions where his proved being quite close to what actually took place, there are also regions where his interpretation is quite off the mark.

Generally speaking I value Bhadrakumar as a smart and very experienced observer whose considerations should be read/heard if only for an additional experienced view. My impression is, however, that he often is the kind of thinker whom while having interesting thoughts and quite some insight into the world of international politics, does not arrive to recognize the decisive "skeletton" along which events unfold.
I remember some occasion where his rather weak knowledge of military aspects kept him away from judging events correctly as well a what seems to be a tendency toward a rather mechanistical view. The latter is no burden but rather an advantage when looking at topics where established diplomatics and rules widely design the outcome; it seems more of a problem though in scenarios where diplomacy either is of the very covert and dirty kind or simply isn't a major route taken and where the major - or becoming major - players aren't solidly rooted in established circles and playing along established lines.

As you yourself show quite clearly the whole turkey issue is a very complex and multi-level one.
At first and bluntly simplified standard democratic sight - and as erdogan would like to have it - his party has most of the votes. But even staying at that simplistic view for a moment the situation quickly unfolds to a considerably more complex one. Actually - and funnily - an important part of that touches the very basic and important - and preferredly ignored in most democracies - question "Is a majority of votes every so many years really the core of democracy - and - basically the carte blanche for the elected politician and parties"?
Most politicians love to think "Yes!" and act accordingly. The really striking part, however, is the peoples answer to that question - it's commonly *not* a loud "No" but rather something like "Yes, *but*" and sometimes, like now in turkey it's more and more a "No, not that extremely".

Coming back to Bhadrakumar and others, the standard toolset of analysis and judgement seems to loose its sharpness rather quickly in a scenario where soccer-clubs, their fans, and their complex relations with eath other as well as with the general society, business and politics turn out to be a de-facto major power.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jun 5 2013 21:36 utc | 95

Turkish Airline Strike - safety briefing :-))

Posted by: somebody | Jun 5, 2013 5:54:53 AM | 90

we cant have our terrorist passengers endangered!

Turkey Facilitates Relocation of Al Qaeda Terrorists from Northern Pakistan to Syria

Turkish Airline Flying Al-Qaeda from Pakistan to Syrian Borders

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey’s national air carrier, Turkish Air, has been transiting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from North Waziristan in Pakistan to the Turkish borders with Syria, sources revealed on Saturday, mentioning that the last group were flown to Hatay on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, 2012.

“The Turkish intelligence agency sent 93 Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists from Waziristan to Hatay province near the border with Syria on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, 2012 and via the Karachi-Istanbul flight route,” the source told FNA on Saturday, adding that the flight had a short stop in Istanbul.

The 93 terrorists transited to the Turkish border with Syria included Al-Qaeda militants from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and a group of Arabs residing in Waziristan, he added.

Posted by: brian | Jun 5 2013 22:48 utc | 96

I don't deny that conspiracies are plotted, but I just don't see that the anti-Erdogan plot has been bubbling anything like long enough for there to be any cohesion between those formerly called 'white Turks' i.e. the old school Kemalists who dominate the upper levels of military & security establishment and the urban dispossessed who make up the alleged 'football gangs'. The football supporters are young yes - but even they can still remember a time when the Kemalists were more oppressive than Erdogan.

Erdogan is a wily populist politician who will have prepared for this inevitable moment. As much as fukusi may want to rid themselves of Erdogan my bet is they will only push for a 'constitutional coup', that is one done within the current political framework. Anything else in such a divided society with no cohesive opposition will simply replicate the chaos of Syria, Libya & Egypt.
If an anarchic Syria scares the beejesus outta oblamblam, imagine what an uncontrollable Turkey would do.
Even the french & englanders would run a mile from that scenario. They may be keen to prevent a non-secular Turkey from reaching a stability that makes blocking EU entry impossible, but they are too closely entwined with Turkey economically and geographically to be able to stomach Turkey catching fire.
The european interference stems from a forlorn desire to revert Turkey to what it was before the rise of the AKP, but once the fools in Paris & London who have been stoking these fires contemplate reality, they will back off.
Foreign intervention alone doesn't get the job done; Libya showed that if anyone doubted it. Foreign intervention plus a domestic opposition whose injustices at the hands of the ruling elite enable them to forget old enmities and work together, are also essential if the regime change is gonna be able to build a new power structure to replace the former one. Saudi Arabia & Qatar can pull all the strings in Turkey they want, it won't amount to much because not only will they be unable to persuade the likes of Gül that a substantive alternative to Erdogan can be constructed, my guess is that recent developments in Syria are gonna have the competing sunni power brokers putting Turkey's regime change on the back burner.

Posted by: debs is dead | Jun 6 2013 0:50 utc | 97

"My point is that the military is not overly concerned about Iran and seemingly not planning for an Iran war. But, the politicians are"

Don't worry, the American military is under strict civilian control!

Posted by: Mooser | Jun 7 2013 18:18 utc | 98

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