The Turkish Conundrum

The Turkish Conundrum  
Monday, 07 June 2010
Baffled by the strict secular culture of their modern state and the European Union’s opposition to Turkish membership, at least not until a decade from now, more Turks feel nostalgia for the glory days of their lost Ottoman Empire. In the recent flotilla incident, off the coast of the Gaza, “a hardcore of 40 Turkish jihadists on board the Mavi Marmara was responsible for the violence that led to nine deaths and dozens of injuries on the flotilla taking aid to Gaza, the Israeli government claimed.”Perhaps, the Turks’ intention was to flex their muscles for the prospect of leadership of the Islamic Ummah and attract the attention of the Muslim world. And the shortest distance to achieve this goal is to wrestle with none other than the most despised state in the Middle East, the State of Israel.  Since time immemorial, the Jews have been victims of hatred and violence by many groups and many nations and have been used as scapegoats.

Israel, in reality, is a culmination of thousands of years of gestation during which the Jewish people, dispersed through much of the world, endured immense degrees and varieties of suffering. The Nazi murderers and their collaborators capped the crimes committed against Jewish people by brutally slaughtering six million innocent men, women and children. But today, Israel is a strong and sovereign state yet, hardly safe. She is surrounded by nations and peoples who are constantly bent on her destruction.

Since 2002, the Turkish military has been slowly losing its once strong grasp over the government of Turkey. The year 2002 was the first time in 15 years that a single party government was formed. Erdogan’s election as Prime Minster in 2002 and again in 2007 shows the huge support the AKP had gained among the Turkish population. This was followed by Abdullah Gul’s election as President in 2007, making this the first time the two most important offices of state were occupied by devout Muslims.

Despite an earlier close relationship between Israel and Turkey, it has slowly begun to fall apart.  Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries to have dealings with Israel, but relations have been strained since the Islamist-rooted AK Party was elected to power in 2002. The tension became obvious when Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage

at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos after a heated debate on Gaza with Israel’s president, Shimon Peres.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

angrily told the Turkish parliament last Tuesday that the “bloody massacre” of at least four Turkish activists among nine passengers slain by Israeli naval commandos was a turning point in the long-standing alliance.

In April 2009, at a joint news conference in Turkey, President Obama

said: “I’m trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey, not just to the United States but to the world. I think that where there’s the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, a predominantly Muslim nation — a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents,” he continued, “that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions — inevitable tensions between cultures — which I think is extraordinarily important.”

In June 2007, the Pew Research Center polled citizens of 47 countries on their attitude toward the US. Turkey turned up at rock bottom, with 83% of respondents holding an unfavorable view of the United States and only 9% of Turks expressing a favorable view, compared to 21% of Egyptians and 29% of Indonesians. In 2000, 52% of Turks expressed a favorable view of the United States. This is not a general result. Only 46% of Nigerians held a favorable view of the United States in 2000, for example, compared to 70% in 2007. Here is the 2005 research on the Anatomy of Anti-Americanism in Turkey by the Brooking Institution

.

There is an important lesson to be learned from the drama presently unfolding in Turkey. Modern Turkey, the only democracy in the Islamic Middle East, was established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

. He abolished the caliphate in 1924, replaced Islamic rules with modern secular laws and barred the mosques from politics. Ever since, the mosque has been fighting and gradually succeeding in dragging Turkey back under its rule. Presently, what the Western mainstream media calls a “mildly Islamist” party rules Turkey under the rightfully suspicious eyes of the secularist heirs of Ataturk, the Turkish military. All kinds of Western leftists loudly proclaimed that there was nothing to worry about, that the forthcoming Turkish election that was going to install “mildly Islamists” as president as well as the Prime Minister is no cause for the millions of Turkish secularists to pour into the streets against such an outcome.

Why all the fuss? After all, the “mildly Islamists” are not all that bad and they are coming to power through free elections, the leftists keep preaching. In reality, even coining the term, “mildly Islamist” is a clear instance of the leftists’ treachery. Being “mildly Islamist” is as plausible as being mildly pregnant. There is no such a thing as mild Islam. It only starts mildly, just the way Muhammad himself started it in Mecca. Then, it builds momentum and settles for nothing less than the total imposition of its dogma and will. Being “mildly Islamist” is only the head of the camel poking into the room, wherever the head of the animal goes, if it is not chopped off, the body eventually follows. And the body of Islam is a disease-bearing body that will infect the healthy secular societies.

The Turkish people demonstrating

against creeping Islamism in their government are still a minority, a minority that has first-hand experience with both secularism and Islamism. They also see the horrors of Islamism next door in Iran and are rightfully alarmed by the ever-encroaching Islamism in their government. They know full well that they must resist the backward march of their country and must do all they can to protect their precious freedom. Do we, in America and the West, have the same sense and the will to forestall “mild Islamism” from evolving into a real Islamism?

Just a sobering note, “Mild Islamism” is already here in our country, the Muslim cab driver the of Minneapolis Airport’s refusal to ferry passengers with alcohol or even those with seeing-eye dogs; Muslim inmates’ demand to be served only halal food ; building of a 13-story high mosque at the ground zero

; Muslim students badger universities for special facilities for their meetings; and, the first ever Muslim Congressman’s oath of office by swearing on the Quran and not the Bible.

Mild Islam is not all that obtrusive, since it is similar to the early stages of pregnancy. Yet, pregnancy it is. And before long the full-term beast will make its appearance. If we don’t want to deal with the beast, we need to prevent the pregnancy in the first place.

By advocating “moderate Islam” on the Turkish model, the United States undermines the secular state founded by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish state after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. That is perhaps the reason why many secular Turkish nationalists despise America just as much as Turkish Islamists.

We do well to pay close attention to the words of Prime Minister Erdogan himself. Speaking at Kanal D TV’s Arena program, Prime Minister Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, “These descriptions are very ugly; it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” And he is right.

Will the West Back the Jihad or Israel?

Will the West Back the Jihad or Israel?

Posted By P. David Hornik On June 8, 2010 @ 12:33 am In FrontPage | No Comments

 

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet [1] this week that “the world is beginning to become aware” of what really happened in the “flotilla incident” in which nine of the “activists” trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza were killed. Namely, that the “activists” on the Mavi Marmara—actually “martyrdom”-seeking jihadists tied to the terror-linked IHH organization [2] with some sort of backing from the Turkish government—fell upon inadequately-armed Israeli soldiers with knives, clubs, iron bars, and guns and forced them to fight for their lives.

Is Netanyahu right that this accurate picture of the events is sinking in? True, Vice-President Joe Biden said [3] Israel “has an absolute right to deal with its security interest…. It’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight—3,000 rockets on my people.’” The Washington Post asked why Israel was taking all the blame and called for [4] Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s role in the incident to be probed. Prospective Republican presidential candidates Sarah Palin [5] and Liz Cheney [6] both came out solidly in defense of Israel.

But, even if some understand that last week’s round of media and diplomatic Israel-bashing over the affair was again baseless and slanderous, it still appears to be too little, too late. There have already been reports, and concerns, in Israel that the next flotilla might be escorted by Turkish naval warships, or include Erdogan himself as one of the passengers. This week Iran, too, is getting into the act, with one report [7] claiming Tehran is already planning to send two aid ships to Gaza, and Ali Shirazi, representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini within the Revolutionary Guards, saying [8] that “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities.”

Bluff? Threats made to keep Israel off balance and keep the spotlight off Iran’s continuing progress toward nukes? It’s impossible to know at this point. But what is clear is that the radical bloc led by Iran—which also includes Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and, increasingly, Turkey—feels all the more emboldened by its successes and by Western weakness. To those successes—which include, along with Iran’s unimpeded nuke program, the ongoing, extensive armament of Hezbollah—can now be added igniting another storm of Western fury at Israel over last week’s incident, which included the usual professions of “shock” by Western leaders, the usual pounding of Israel in the Western mainstream media, the usual cooperation by Western countries with anti-Israeli votes in the Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the Obama administration’s repeated calls—steeped in contempt [9] for Israeli democracy—for an Israeli investigation of the flotilla incident with “international components.”

The West will have to decide whether it wants to keep encouraging the radicals or finally start discouraging them. Regarding Turkey itself, Israeli analyst Efraim Inbar notes [10] that “support in public opinion for [Erdogan’s] ruling Islamic party is in decline.” If that trend persists, as Inbar points out, a new government could well emerge in Turkey’s July 2011 elections—and that could be precisely why Erdogan is now trying to whip up the masses by upping the ante with Israel. When the result of the flotilla-ploy against Israel is that the West indeed turns in wrath upon the Jewish state, it paints Erdogan as a hero in many Turkish eyes and only bolsters the extremist, anti-Western proclivity.

More generally, one doesn’t have to have excessively fine instruments to detect the escalating saber-rattling against Israel by the Iranian-led bloc, with Turkey now adding its voice emphatically. An armed challenge to Israel’s blockade of Gaza could be the match that lights the fuse. Even if some Western leaders appear to regard Israel as a burdensome rogue, not really worth sticking up for, they would have to think about what such a Middle Eastern conflagration would mean for stability, oil availability and prices, and the like. The sides are heavily armed and the stakes are very high.

Standing up for Israel, imparting the sense that it has Western support, calms the winds and keeps war at bay. Raging against Israel for killing nine jihadists in self-defense is a way of telling the radicals that it’s open season.

Obama and Hamas

Obama and Hamas

By Ted Belman

President Obama is not letting the flotilla crisis go to waste. He is using it as a springboard to change U.S. policy regarding Hamas. In his words, uttered in a recent interview by Larry King, “Time to move forward and break out of the impasse,” and “the status quo is unsustainable.” Totally aside from whether it is really unsustainable, one need not wonder how Obama intends to break out of the impasse. He will bring Hamas in from the cold.
It was recently disclosed by Aaron Klein that
The group behind the Gaza flotilla that engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli commandos today counts among its top supporters the friends and associates of President Barack Obama, namely the founders of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of the radical activist organization Code Pink.
Barack Obama should be included in this cast of characters.
The anti-blockade movement was promoted by a Turkish “charity,” IHH, which has been designated as a supporter of Hamas by both Israel and the U.S. One of the backers of this “charity” is Tariq Ramadan, who was banned from entering the U.S. due to his financial support of Hamas. Yet Obama believes that “Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process.”
In April of this year, Obama’s administration lifted the ban on Ramadan. A week ago, the Guardian ran this headline: “Hamas leader says American envoys making contact, but not openly.” And this was before the crises.
But the Obama-Hamas connection goes way back.
From BizzyBlog comes evidence that Obama’s church not only has anti-white, anti-American feelings, but may also have a pro-Hamas bias. The July 22, 2007 Trinity United Church of Christ bulletin reprinted an article written by Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy of the political bureau of Hamas. Originally printed in the LA Times as “Hamas’ stand“, Pastor Wright added a new title, “A Fresh View of the Palestinian Struggle”. The Times was criticized for giving a “Platform To Genocidal Terrorist.” Where does that leave Obama’s church? Marzook is a known terrorist and created an extensive Hamas network in the United States.”
Indeed, where does that leave Obama himself?
During his election campaign, Obama was aided by Hamas-controlled Palestinians manning a phone bank from Gaza. Al Jazeera reported on the story.
Seven days later, on January 27, 2009, Obama allocated $20.3 million for Palestinian migration and refugee assistance. Quite a reward. Why was he bringing Hamas terrorists to the U.S.?
But Obama’s gratitude didn’t end there. One month later, in the middle of a great economic crunch, Obama sent $900 million to Gazans, or should I say Hamas.
So how does Obama intend to end the impasse? An indication may be in President Carter’s written initiative, which he delivered to Hamas a year ago. In it, he proposed talks between the Islamist group and the U.S. without Hamas having to accept all conditions previously laid out for dialogue by the American government.
After the Hamas takeover of Gaza three years ago, the U.S. and Israel decided to impose a blockade on Gaza to bring Hamas down. Hamas started firing rockets at Israel over the next few years to force a change in this policy. This resulted in Cast Lead, in which the IDF attacked Hamas and delivered a major blow. Israel shocked everyone by ending the operation before Hamas was annihilated. It was reported that she did so at the request of President-elect Obama, who was about to be inaugurated.
For the time being, the rockets being fired by Hamas are few and far between, perhaps because Hamas has a friend in the White House. Instead, Hamas has been planning, along with friends of Obama above mentioned and Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, to break the siege with a flotilla…and to make sure to create a sufficient crisis to enable Obama to chart another course more favorable to them, they planned a violent confrontation.
“Ending the impasse” means lifting the blockade. Netanyahu in a recent speech gave Israel’s bottom line, saying, “Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem.” The same, I am sure, goes for an airport in Gaza.
Let’s see how Obama squares the circle. No doubt he will propose some international inspection of cargo, certainly arriving from the Mediterranean and possibly from Egypt. But Israel need look no farther than UNSC Res 1701, which ended Lebanon War II. That resolution was to put a stop to the rearming of Hezbollah. It failed miserably. Why should better results be expected in Gaza?
Ted Belman is the editor of Israpundit. He made aliya from Toronto a year ago and is now living in Jerusalem.

Helen Thomas! Who cares?

Helen Thomas! Who cares?

Ralph Kinney Bennett

Helen Thomas! Who cares?
I was an accredited White House correspondent from 1966 to 2001.  During that time and long since, I have known many to suffer Helen Thomas, but nobody to take her seriously.
She’s a joke.  Can anyone really remember anything she has said or written?  No.  Of course not.
She was a sort of weird press room mascot, trotted out for her embarrassing question to the President ritual while colleagues groaned inwardly and stared at their shoes to hide their rolling eyes.  She was like one of those never-was-a-firemen, who hang around the fire house, becoming a fixture by default, indulged or humored over the years unless or until the nuisance factor gets too high.
Her splenetic Jew-bashing was the most attention she has ever received other than the phony adulation and awards garnered from time to time from bored fellow journalists who realized that, “My God, she’s still around.”
I don’t know why everyone got so animated.  It was Helen Thomas, for crying out loud.  Whatever she did – whatever came off her keyboard or out of her mouth – was like a bear defecating in the woods.  Few have seen it and few would care to.  Boy, if ever there was a candidate for one of P.J. O’Rourke’s “pre-obituaries!”

Increasingly Surprised To Learn That He Is Incompetent As Well” – Dick Morris: Obama Doesn’t Have A Clue

“Increasingly Surprised To Learn That He Is Incompetent As Well” – Dick Morris: Obama Doesn’t Have A Clue

June 5th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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The Hill:

by Dick Morris

Conservatives are so enraged at Obama’s socialism and radicalism that they are increasingly surprised to learn that he is incompetent as well. The sight of his blithering and blustering while the most massive oil spill in history moves closer to America’s beaches not only reminds one of Bush’s terrible performance during Katrina, but calls to mind Jimmy Carter’s incompetence in the face of the hostage crisis.

America is watching the president alternate between wringing his hands in helplessness and pointing his finger in blame when he should be solving the most pressing environmental problem America has faced in the past 50 years. We are watching generations of environmental protection swept away as marshes, fisheries, vacation spots, recreational beaches, wetlands, hatcheries and sanctuaries fall prey to the oil spill invasion. And, all the while, the president acts like a spectator, interrupting his basketball games only to excoriate BP for its failure to contain the spill.

The political fallout from the oil spill will, indeed, spill across party and ideological lines. The environmentalists of America cannot take heart from a president so obviously ignorant about how to protect our shores and so obstinately arrogant that he refuses to inform himself and take any responsibility.

All of this explains why the oil spill is seeping into his ratings among Democrats, dragging him down to levels we have not seen since Bush during the pit of the Iraq war. Conservatives may dislike Obama because he is a leftist. But liberals are coming to dislike him because he is not a competent progressive.

Meanwhile, the nation watches nervously as the same policies Obama has brought to our nation are failing badly and publicly in Europe. When Moody’s announces that it is considering downgrading bonds issued by the government of the United States of America, we find ourselves, suddenly, in deep trouble. We have had deficits before. But never have they so freaked investors that a ratings agency considered lowering its opinion of our solvency. Not since Alexander Hamilton assumed the states’ Revolutionary War debt has America’s willingness and ability to meet its financial obligations been as seriously questioned.

And the truth begins to dawn on all of us: Obama has no more idea how to work his way out of the economic mess into which his policies have plunged us than he does about how to clean up the oil spill that is destroying our southern coastline.

Both the financial crisis and the oil come ever closer to our shores — one from the east and the other from the south — and, between them, they loom as a testament to the incompetence of our government and of its president.

And, oddly, to his passivity as well. After pursuing a remarkably activist, if misguided and foolhardy, agenda, Obama seems not to know what to do and finds himself consigned to the roles of observer and critic.

America is getting the point that its president doesn’t have a clue.

He doesn’t know how to stop the oil from spilling. He is bereft of ideas about how to create jobs in the aftermath of the recession. He has no idea how to keep the European financial crisis contained. He has no program for repaying the massive debt hole into which he has dug our nation without tax increases he must know will only deepen the pit.

Some presidents have failed because of their stubbornness (Johnson and Bush-43). Others because of their character flaws (Clinton and Nixon). Still others because of their insensitivity to domestic problems (Bush-41). But now we have a president who is failing because he is incompetent. It is Jimmy Carter all over again.

Who would have thought that this president, so anxious to lead us and so focused on his specific agenda and ideas, would turn out not to know what he is doing?

The Revolution Within How the Iranian Freedom Institute and the Green Youth can topple the Iranian regime …

The Revolution Within

Posted By Joseph Puder On June 7, 2010 @ 12:06 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

Amir Abbas Fakhravar, 35, is a “graduate” of the infamous Evin prison in Tehran.  His friendly and youthful exterior hides a painful period of torture and isolation for five years – including 8 months in solitary confinement. When you ask Amir about his state of mind following his harrowing experience, he shrugs his shoulders saying “they broke my wrist, my knee, and few bones, but never broke my spirit.”

Fakhravar arrived in the U.S. four years ago and found no coherent voices speaking for the Iranian opposition movement.  “I thought that the Iranian opposition had an organization here, but nothing existed in 2006.” And when he gathered some of the opposition figures, he quickly learned that they had little information about the real situation in Iran.  Even more dismaying, according to Fakhravar, was the ignorance of U.S. policy makers regarding Iran.

With mentoring from Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration (1981-1987), and currently a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and critical help from Philadelphia’s Craig Snider, who has dedicated himself to fight for freedom and democracy for the Iranian people, Fakhravar established the Iranian Freedom Institute (IFI).

The Iranian Freedom Institute – a Washington DC based think tank, has set its goal to inform and educate American policy-makers, and the public in general, on the real state-of-affairs inside Iran.  Utilizing the latest technology, the IFI hopes to influence U.S. policy towards Iran, and simultaneously, educate the freedom-loving people of Iran who are living under a brutal dictatorship.

Affiliated with the IFI is the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) – created by Fakhravar and Arzhang Davoodi, a teacher, writer and the co- founder of Confederation of Iranian Students (who also spent six years in Islamic Republic jails and still has nine more years to serve).  Earlier in 1994 while he was in medical school (he subsequently graduated from law school), Fakhravar helped in establishing the Independent Student movement in Tehran.  Fakhravar and Davoodi proceeded to form the nucleus of an independent worldwide student organization.  In 2002 they organized a student conference and three-years later, they launched CIS [1], which today has a membership of 6200 students.

The Confederation of Iranian Students should not be confused with the Islamic Republic’s student organization cautions Fakhravar, which was created by the mullah regime, paid for by them, and run by them, according to Fakhravar.

One of the CIS’s goals is to bring down the Islamic Republic dictatorship according to Fakhravar.  “We have a three step plan,” he says.  1. Show the Iranian people and the world that the ruling Iranian regime is not democratic but rather a brutal dictatorship.  “We have already succeeded on that part of the plan,” Fakhravar added.

The second goal is to “cut the lifeline of the mullahs in power” by pushing for a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil.  The $83 billion Iran earns from its oil sales is the only revenue that enables the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay for the nuclear program and provide the Revolutionary guards (RG) – the regime’s praetorian guards- with high incomes, which in turn insures their loyalty to the regime.

According to Fakhravar “if the regime fails to pay the RG salaries – which are three times the average, the RG, who have long lost their revolutionary fervor and have gotten used to the ‘good life,’ are more than likely to abandon the regime.”

Oil revenue is also used by the Islamic Republic to fund Hezbollah and Hamas operations against Israel, to subvert the Sunni-Arab Gulf regimes and, to build cells in Latin America. “Our aim is to request that the governments of the U.S. and Canada impose sanctions on North American and European companies who buy oil from the Iranian regime,” Fakhravar stated.  He added, “We also plan to present such proposals to the G-8 and the G-20 to place sanctions on their respective companies.”

The third part of the plan, as Fakhravar sees it, is to build a free, democratic, and secular Iran.  “We need in addition to our existing website to set up Internet, satellite TV, and radio stations in order to educate the Iranian people inside of Iran, and the opposition parties outside of Iran. “

According to Fakhravar, the Iranian opposition groups “are confused and they don’t know what they want.”  He quickly added, “We wrote a manifesto or call it a constitution for a new Iran.”  Fakhravar recruited lawyers from the Green movement as well as a number of judges to draft a new constitution for Iran.

The Green Movement in Iran brought 4.5 million demonstrators into the streets of Tehran last June and Fakhravar is confident that the people of Iran, especially the younger generation, want a change. He reminds those he speaks with that, “The Iranian people have been repressed for over 30 years, and they want freedom.”  Many of the young people in Iran are turned off by Islam as a result of the corruption and abuses by the Islamic regime.  In Iranian schools, Shiite-Islam is presented as superior to all other religions and they are taught that killing Jews, who are presented as sub-humans, is permitted.  Fakhravar has no doubt that the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime would test a nuclear bomb on Israel.

Iran is, however, a nation of young people.  70% of Iranians are under the age of 35 and these young people respect Israel and love America.   In recent demonstrations the young protesters used posters with a modification of the regime’s slogans – instead of “Down with Israel,” they crossed out the word Israel and replaced it with Russia.

During last year’s demonstrations in Tehran following the sham elections which gave Ahmadinejad a second term as President of Iran, the Green Youth shouted “Obama, are you with them (the regime) or with us.”  Obama’s decision to continue to negotiate with the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad Islamic regime gave this evil regime legitimacy, according to Fakhravar.

Asked about where he sees Iran in five years, Fakhravar replied, “We will have a free, democratic and secular Iran.  It will be a friend of Israel and an ally of the U.S. ”

Talking Turkey Where is the apology to Israel — or, for that matter, to the Armenians?…

Talking Turkey

Posted By Dov Fischer On June 7, 2010 @ 12:25 am In FrontPage | 8 Comments

Turkey has been at the center of the now infamous flotilla incident involving a Hamas-connected Turkish “NGO” [1] which attempted to run an Israeli naval blockade off the coast of Gaza. The flotilla was supported financially by Hamas and peopled primarily by their Turkish allies. [2] It was purportedly seeking to transport 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza.  But in fact, Israel supplies Gaza with 15,000 tons of food, medicines, and related humanitarian support every week [3].  There seems to be more here than meets the eye.

Turkey remains a prime transit route for Southwest Asian heroin into Western Europe. International trafficking organizations that operate within the country, from Ankara to Istanbul and beyond, excel at evading narcotics blockades and interdicts. With all the focus on Turks sailing towards the Hamas seas, defying Israel’s determined effort to bar delivery of military weapons and material to the terrorist government that runs Gaza, one wonders how genteel Turkey’s own internal borders have been.  Does her treatment of religious and ethnic minorities model Western humanitarian values? Consider Turkey’s treatment of her Armenian, Catholic, and Kurdish minorities.

Adolf Hitler, a personal friend and ally of Grand Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, the founder of modern-day Palestinian Arab nationalism [4], said in 1939:  “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” [5] Certainly not Istanbul.  For nearly a century, Turkey steadfastly has refused to acknowledge their barbaric genocide between 1915-1918 of 1,500,000 Armenian men, women, and children. Turkey will not apologize or even acknowledge the genocide [6] they perpetrated, assuring that one of the most heinous war crimes of the twentieth century festers unresolved. American President Theodore Roosevelt [7] contemporaneously wrote in 1918: “[T]he Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey is to condone it…[T]he failure to deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.”  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said [8]: “In 1915 the Turkish Government began and ruthlessly carried out the infamous general massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia Minor…There is no reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons.”  In 1981, Ronald Reagan urged in a Presidential proclamation [9] that the lessons of the Nazi Holocaust never be forgotten “like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it.”

Throughout the week, Israel has acknowledged and publicly regretted [10] the loss of human life due to the flotilla incident, even as Israel has explained why she must continue blockading Gaza – namely, because recent experience has evidenced again [11] and again [12] that Hamas supporters will not stop trying to ship rockets, grenades, and anti-tank missiles to Israel’s bordering enemies to launch terror assaults against Jewish civilian communities. Meanwhile, Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide ever happened.

As for the country’s Catholics, Bishop Luigi Padovese, a Roman Catholic bishop, was stabbed to death in Turkey [13] on Thursday shortly before he was scheduled to depart for nearby Cyprus to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.  Three years ago, three missionaries’ throats were cut out [14] in central Turkey. Their deaths were meant to send a message. The men were disemboweled, and “their intestines sliced up in front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body parts were destroyed…Fingers were chopped off…Noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open.” One was stabbed 156 times, another 99 times, and their “throats were sliced from ear to ear,” according to International Christian Concern [15], an American organization based in Washington, D.C.   There is no record of sorrow from Rachel Corrie [16] backers or the IHH.

Under the Turkish Constitution enacted by Kemal Ataturk nearly a century ago, ethnic minorities were barred from expressing cultural distinctiveness in Turkey.  Thus, even as the United States is home to many foreign-language television and radio stations, the Kurdish language was absolutely banned in 1991.  Expressions of Kurdish nationalism continue to be repressed; Kurds in Turkey are restricted from giving their children Kurdish names [17]. Turkey has moved closer to the governments of Syria and Iran [18] in dealing with Kurdish nationalism.  In 1995, Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman ever elected to Turkish parliament, was sentenced to fifteen years incarceration for “separatist speech,” and her political party was barred. While she was incarcerated in Turkish prison, the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize in Human Rights. (By contrast, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset was aboard the Gaza flotilla [19] and returned safely to Parliament after the it was stopped.)  In the 1990s, the Turkish government was spending some $8 billion annually deploying 300,000 troops in southeastern Turkey [20] to suppress Kurdish nationalism.  For numerical perspective, consider that President Obama announced last week that he is dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops to provide administrative support [21] along the porous American border with Mexico.

Turkey killed approximately 25,000 Kurds in the mid-1990s, destroying some 3,000 Kurdish villages during the effort to repress Kurdish nationalism and producing more than 2,000,000 Kurdish refugees.  According to Minority Rights Group International, in a report funded by the European Union, [22] as many as 40% of Kurdish women in Turkey are illiterate and nearly half the children of Kurdish refugees receive no education.  In addition, the government obstructs Armenian and Greek minorities’ school educational efforts.  The Turkish war against the Kurds is so visceral that it threatened Turkey’s willingness to join with American troops against Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda in neighboring Iraq. In an official EU 2006 “Progress Report” on Turkey’s fitness [23] for acceptance in the European Union, it was concluded inter alia that “Turkey [still] needs to significantly improve the situation of fundamental rights in a number of areas and address the problems that minorities are facing.”

Now that the world has been talking Israel for the past week, slowly coming to understand more fully why Israel needs to protect her borders from Hamas state-sponsored terrorism in Gaza, it seems it’s time to talk Turkey.

Dov Fischer is a legal affairs consultant and adjunct professor of the law of civil procedure and advanced torts. He was formerly Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and writes extensively on political, cultural, and religious issues.  He is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine and blogs at www.rabbidov.com [24]

Crisis not ‘wasted’: Obama to nationalize oil companies?

Crisis not ‘wasted’: Obama to nationalize oil companies?

June 7th, 2010

By Drew Zahn, WND

 Will Obama Nationalize Oil?

While management of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has shaken many Americans’ confidence in the current administration, some voices in entertainment, news and academia see the crisis as reason to give the federal government even more power – namely, the ability to take over the oil industry.

The notion is catching on with the public, too. A CBS poll recently tabulated 63 percent of Americans believe the Obama administration should be doing more in response to the spill, and activists working through the SeizeBP.org website are planning protests in 50 cities throughout the week demanding the federal government take over BP, the company that owns and operates the leaking oil drill.

The Seize BP organization is demanding BP assets be nationalized not only to clean up the spill, but also to compensate families affected by what the organization calls “this capitalist-made disaster.”

Since BP’s offshore drill began gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico in April, the Obama administration has deferred to the corporation’s expertise in seeking to stop the flow.

But as the ongoing environmental disaster has extended beyond 40 days and counting, entertainer Rosie O’Donnell, political pundit James Carville and former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich have joined those calling for a federal takeover of the situation.

On her “Rosie Radio” program earlier this week, O’Donnell quoted Carville, who told CNN’s John King, “This president needs to tell BP, ‘I’m your daddy, I’m in charge. You’re going to do what we say.’”

“James Carville said the best thing,” O’Donnell affirmed, adding that she’d like to see Obama say, “’I’m signing an executive order and I’m taking over the BP oil spill.’ Like, boom, boom, boom. Someone has to do it.”

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Senator to Cede Congressional Authority to the Obama EPA

Senator to Cede Congressional Authority to the Obama EPA

June 7th, 2010

 

 

 

 

Senators will soon consider a resolution to pare back an Environmental Protection Agency plan to regulate greenhouse gases – a plan that would raise energy costs. 

On June 10, the U.S. Senate will consider a “resolution of disapproval” regarding a 2009 ruling made by the EPA in late 2009 claiming six greenhouse gases are a threat to public health. This makes these gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride — subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

“The EPA’s endangerment finding endangers our economy and our liberty,” said Deneen Borelli, full-time fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network. “The EPA’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases will affect virtually every aspect of our economy and our lives. In expert opinion, this will result in higher energy costs and job losses while having — by their own admission — virtually no effect on cooling global climate.”

Senate Joint Resolution 26, introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the administrative ruling. This would allow elected representatives to deliberate and pass their own regulations as Congress sees fit.

“I don’t want an unelected bureaucrat imposing rules and regulations on businesses that are essentially a tax on energy and will be passed along to consumers — many of whom are just getting by as it is,” said Tom Borelli, director of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

“Opposition to the cap-and-trade bill that was jammed through the House of Representatives is one of the key positions of the tea parties, and this endangerment finding is cap-and-trade by other means,” noted Deneen Borelli. “Americans are already skeptical enough of lawmakers these days. Watching them pass up an opportunity to do what they were sent to Washington for will restore no lost faith in the government.”

“This resolution is a major indicator of where our republic is headed. Senators will determine if they are going to cede their authority as an elected representative of the people to largely unaccountable bureaucrats,” added Tom Borelli. “While the White House is eager for the EPA to seize regulatory authority, rank-and-file Americans such as those found in the tea party movement are troubled and will be watching to see who will be for and who will be against this massive federal power grab.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-profit, free-market think-tank established in 1982 and funded primarily by the gifts of over 100,000 recent individual contributors. Less than one percent of funding is received from corporations.

Spill tests Obama management style

Spill tests Obama management style

June 7th, 2010

By: Glenn Thrush and Carol E. Lee

 Obama is feeling the heat

Barack Obama has done more to expand government than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, but the Gulf oil crisis is testing his ability to master the federal bureaucracy in a way no other crisis has — with decidedly mixed results.

The first president since John F. Kennedy to take office without executive branch experience, Obama has struggled for the past month to find the right balance between micro- and macro-management as the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has grown into an environmental cataclysm and political disaster.

People who have worked closely with Obama say he doesn’t think like a bureaucrat, is far more interested in changing the way Washington works than in understanding its machinations and isn’t excited by the kind of gears-of-government reforms that interested a previous generation of Democrats, particularly Al Gore.

The Gulf crisis has shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of Obama’s unique management style, which relies on a combination of his own intellect, a small circle of trusted advisers and a larger group of outside experts. But it’s also driven home a more generic lesson all presidents learn sooner or later: Administrations are defined, fairly or not, by their capacity to control stagnant backwater agencies, in Obama’s case the Minerals Management Service, which failed to detect problems with the Deepwater Horizon well.

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