For the past few years, the international Muslim Brotherhood has found a welcoming home in Ankara in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, U.S. Islamist organizations have also turned to the Turkish regime for collaboration and support.
On September 18, a Washington, D.C.- based organization, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), hosted an event in New York City with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “US-based Muslim Brotherhood supporters have a busy week coming up,” the Middle East analyst Eric Trager noted. “They’re hanging with Erdoğan on Monday, protesting [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] Sisi on Wednesday.”
Turkish despot Recep Tayyip Erdogan often seems to fancy himself a world-striding figure capable of bullying anyone, anywhere he likes. As the world saw this past May, when his security forces launched what police called a “brutal attack” against peaceful demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., opponents of his dictatorial regime have good reason to fear for their safety, even in America.
Tuesday afternoon, however, Erdogan saw that his self-regard was no match for liberty buttressed by resolve: the Middle East Forum (MEF), a Philadelphia think tank, rejected his demand to disinvite a Turkish dissident, Emre Celik, from addressing a conference of thirty members of the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, that MEF sponsored — at NATO’s suggestion, on September 19, 2017.
Turkey’s schools have begun the new academic year with a controversial curriculum that leaves out the theory of evolution and brings in the concept of jihad.
For Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government, the idea is for a new “education of values”.
Critics have denounced new textbooks as “sexist” and “anti-scientific”, and complain of a major blow to secular education.
“By embedding a jihadist education of values, they try to plague the brains of our little children, with the same understanding that transforms the Middle East into a bloodbath,” said Bulent Tezcan of the secular, opposition CHP party.
When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington, D.C. this past May, he was greeted outside the home of the Turkish ambassador by a small group of protesters concerned about his crackdowns on civil rights and antagonism towards Turkey’s Kurdish population. Within minutes, his bodyguards sprang into action, accompanied by others in the Turkish posse, beating and kicking the protesters – who included women and senior citizens. A 61-year-old woman later told the Guardian she had feared for her life after guards punched her in the face, and when 60-year-old Turkish-American Reza Dersimi tried to assist her, he, too, was assaulted.
Since 2015, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been attacking Kurdish-majority areas in the country.
A 2017 World Heritage Watch report details the destruction of one such town, Suriçi (Sur), as follows:
“[C]urfews were declared six times for several days each from September 2015. These curfews were 24-hour-a-day blockades and led to clashes between Turkish state forces and Kurdish rebel groups, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people and serious destruction of the affected area. The last ongoing curfew from 11 December 2015, accompanied by the use of heavy military weapons such as tanks, mortar and artillery by the government, was the most devastating one. Numerous historical buildings and monuments – as well as the integrity and authenticity of Suriçi – suffered damage and destruction.”
The clashes have taken their toll on Turkey’s Christian population, which is caught in the crossfire.
On Feb. 6, 1935, Turkish women were allowed to vote in national elections for the first time, and eighteen female candidates were elected to parliament – a decade or more before women even in Western countries such as France, Italy and Belgium. Eight decades later, Turkish women look like unwilling passengers on H.G. Wells’ Time Machine traveling back to their great-grandmothers’ Ottoman lives.
Turkey’s strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once proudly said that “Women should know their place,” and that “Gender equality is against human nature”. His deputy prime minister said that women not to laugh in public. It was not shocking to anyone when Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policies found in 2016 that no fewer than 86% of Turkish women have suffered physical or psychological violence at the hands of their partners or family. According to the ministry’s findings, physical violence is the most common form of abuse: 70% of women reported they have been physically assaulted.
Joe Robinson far left
A former British soldier who travelled to Syria to fight against Isis faces up to 16 years in prison after being charged with terror offences in Turkey.
Joe Robinson, 24, was arrested on the beach while on holiday with his fiancée and her mother in the coastal resort of Didim last month.
Turkish media reported that security forces had found photos of Mr Robinson on social media showing him wearing military fatigues alongside members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
Despite pleas from the U.S. government to free a North Carolina pastor who made Turkey his home for more than two decades, the Turkish government has charged Andrew Brunson with attempting to destroy the country’s constitutional order and overthrow their parliament.
Brunson has been sitting behind bars since last year, swept up in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s engulfing purge of perceived enemies. Hurriyet reported that the new charges against Brunson came from a different court.
The culprit claimed to be an ISIS terrorist after being tackled by police.
Conflicting reports claim he has been captured – while others say the man was shot dead.
According to reports the terrorist ran into a police station and attacked officers.
At least one was killed.
Turkey has begun construction of a 90-mile wall along its frontier with Iran as part of moves to bolster the country’s security, it has emerged.
Pictures show huge concrete blocks being moved in to position along the border in Agri province in a bid to halt the infiltration of Kurdish militants and illegal smugglers.
The construction project will also eventually see a wall along parts of the Iraq border and comes as Turkey continues work on its 566-mile barrier along its frontier with Syria.
But I thought walls were bad?
In Turkey, academics are currently at the mercy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who demands their compliance and threatens dissenters. After last July’s failed coup (for which Erdogan blamed an American scholar), a series of emergency decrees have specifically targeted Turkish academia. One would think this assault would raise ire from the ivory towers, but as Turkey slides deeper into totalitarianism, academia yawns. The failure of many professors to stand up vigorously and publicly for what they profess is especially notable in those whose careers are focused on the demonization of Israel through various attempts to destroy Israel by suffocating it economically.
All right, it is summer break and everyone is off doing research, writing novels and looking for grant money. But Erdogan’s crackdown is not new. Most of it was ignored until January 2016 when he targeted a group of Turkish scholars who called themselves “Academics for Peace” for producing a petition demanding that the Turkish government “end the massacre of the Kurdish people.”
Their number is just 17,000 in a population of 80 million (0.02%). They are full Turkish citizens. Most come from families living for centuries in what today is modern Turkey. They pay their taxes to the Turkish government. Their sons are conscripts in the Turkish army. Their mother tongue is Turkish. When someone asks them where they are from they say they are Turkish — because they are Turkish. Nevertheless, the Turks think of them as “Israelis” — not because they are not Turkish, but because they are Turkish Jews.
The members of Alperen Hearths — a bizarre name for a youth group — are also Turkish. They speak the same language as Turkish Jews and they carry the same passport that proudly sports the Crescent and Star. The members of this group, however, think that they are Turks but that Turkish Jews are not.
The Alperen group fuses pan-Turkic racism with Islamism, neo-Ottomanism, anti-Western and anti-Semitic ideas. It promotes an alliance spanning Central Asia to the Middle East based on “common historic [read: Turkish] values”.
The Jews should appreciate how good they had it under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday after Israel responded to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on the Temple Mount crisis by reminding him that the days of the Ottoman Empire are over.
“We condemn the presumptuous statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel regarding the remarks of our president on the recent developments at al-Haram al-Sharif [the Temple Mount],” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hüseyin Müftüoglu said. “At the Ottoman era, communities belonging to different religions and sects lived in peaceful coexistence and enjoyed freedom of worship for centuries. In this context, Jews would be expected to know best and appreciate the unique tolerance during the Ottoman era.”
Frosty relations between the two Nato partners have chilled further in recent days over the Turkish authorities’ recent wave of arrests.
A German citizen, Peter Steudtner, and Amnesty International’s Turkey director, Idil Eser, were among those detained.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, flew home early from a North Sea holiday to announce a “re-orientation” of the country’s policies towards Turkey.
“We want Turkey to be a part of the West, or at least remain in its current position, but it takes two to tango,” he said at a press conference in Berlin.
A very carefully worded diplomatic threat.