Monday, February 2, 2009

Turkey Trot: archive

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Sharia Finance Watch: "Turkey VS. Turkey-A must read!," by Soner Cagaptay - FROM TODAY’S WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE

The jailing of two retired Turkish generals over the weekend has heightened tensions between the government in Ankara and its critics. The generals are among 21 people whom police have detained over the past week, including a senior industrialist and a prominent journalist, on suspicion of plotting a coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Interestingly, the interrogations occurred as the chief prosecutor appeared before the constitutional court to make his case that the AKP be shut down for violating the state’s official secularism. While this showdown immediately revived the cliché of the “real Turks” of the AKP fighting off the “secular elites,” this is not a case of the pious, popular masses versus an irreligious intelligentsia. Both Turkeys in this power struggle are religious, both are wealthy, and both are equipped with powerful media and security assets. Still, the outcome will have a profound effect on Turkey’s future direction. (...) The struggle is for Turkey’s soul, specifically whose vision should win the age-old debate in Turkey between religion and politics. Secular Turks want (...) >>>

Updated: 9th July 2008

CNN: "'Plotters' seized as tension mounts in Turkey"

Political tensions rose Tuesday across Turkey as police seized two retired generals, a prominent journalist and others accused of plotting to overthrow the government and prosecutors undertook a court case to ban the Islamic-rooted ruling party. The developments dramatize the sharp and serious political tensions between the country's Islamic-rooted ruling party -- the Justice and Development Party, or AKP -- and its outspoken critics from the nation's secularist establishment. Since autumn, police have been arresting and jailing people accused of being part of Ergenekon, an alleged plot to overthrow the government. During the effort, there has been harassment of journalists, and news reports have said many people are being held without charge. (...) >>>

Updated: 2nd July 2008 - Update 15th July 2008 >>>

Middle East Forum: "The Case Against Turkey's Ruling Party"

Sometime this summer, Turkey's Constitutional Court will decide whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) violated the "principles of a democratic and secular republic" that undergird the Turkish constitution and should be barred from politics. Across the Turkish political spectrum, most officials expect the Court to rule against the AKP, thus dissolving the party and banning Erdoğan and his closest aides for at least five years.
Although the prime minister, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, and influential AKP advisers have tried to depict this as the unjust outgrowth of a dispute over headscarves in public universities—and perhaps even a "judicial coup"—the case is legitimate. (...)

Europe's (...) failing to encourage the creation of an alternate check-and-balance mechanism to replace the military's traditional role as guardian of the constitution, however, the EU committed diplomatic malpractice. Erdoğan seized the opportunity to run roughshod over Turkish secularism and democracy. (...) >>>

Updated: 30th June 2008

CNN: "Turkish court faces power curb after scarf ruling"

Turkey's parliamentary speaker has proposed a new constitution and the re-establishment of an upper house of parliament to reduce the power of the country's top court. Koksal Toptan's suggestions come after the Constitutional Court on Thursday rebuffed an attempt by the Islamic-oriented government to lift a ban on Muslim head scarves in universities.Toptan's suggestions appear to be aimed at rearranging the sharing of power between the judiciary and Parliament and immediately drew the ire of the main secular opposition party. (...) >>>

Updated: 7th June 2008

... if a Turkish court can defend democracy against bringing about its own demise, why can't Europe? What part of 'suicide' is so hard to understand? ...
BBC: "Court annuls Turkish scarf reform"

Turkey's highest court has blocked government moves to allow college students to wear Muslim headscarves. The Constitutional Court said that a vote by parliament to ease a ban on scarves being worn on campuses violated the constitution's secular principles. The government argues that a headscarf ban stops many girls being educated. But much of the secular establishment resisted the move, seeing it as a step towards allowing Islam to figure more largely in Turkish public life. The ruling, by a panel of 11 judges, could foreshadow the outcome of a separate court case in which the ruling AK Party (AKP) could be banned for anti-secular activities. (...) >>>

Updated: 6th June 2008

... curious where Europe is while Turkish journalists are thrown in jail as
Sharia encroaches? Read "Hegel's Legacy: historical events, not democracy" ...
Memri Turkey Blog: "Turkish MP: “Detentions, Sound Of The Footsteps Of The Coming Shari’a”"

Independent MP Kamer Genc described the detentions of Ilhan Selcuk and Dogu Perincek as “shocking” and “grave” and said that this is the sound of the footsteps of the coming Shari’a. (...) The independent MP Ufuk Uras reacted to Ilhan Selcuk's detention by saying that such threatening actions against journalists are hurting the public conscience and creating concerns about the judiciary. (...) >>>

Updated: 21st Mar 2008

Memri Turkey Blog: "CHP Leader Baykal: “Turkey Dragged Into Dangerous Clashes; AKP Is Building Its State Within The State”"

Leader of the main opposition [CHP] Deniz Baykal reacted to the detentions of Turkey’s prominent, senior journalist/writer Ilhan Selcuk, former Istanbul University president and one of the country’s best known surgeons Prof. Kemal Alemdaroglu, and Dogu Perincek the leader of a political party, among other media personalities.
In a televised speech, Baykal said, “The AKP has already completed the process of partisan appointments and it is reaping the benefits of having its people in all the ranks of the state. Now it is building its own state within the state. This process is not consistent with democracy and the rule of law. (...) >>>

Updated: 21st Mar 2008

International Analyst Network: "Turkey’s Islamic overturn ", by Ioannis Michaletos

The past 5 years have witnessed the political dominance of the AKP party (Adalet Ve Kalkinma Partisi) in Turkish politics. Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul are often considered by Western analysts to represent a version of the Christian-Democrats of the European political systems. What is actually happening is a virtual takeover of the state apparatus of Turkey by a new brand of Islamists, albeit not identical with the Middle Eastern ones, but rather of a national Turkish-Ottoman idiosyncrasy. (...) In short the leadership in Turkey is pretty much aware of the web of transactions (...) There is a substantial list of evidence that Ankara does not feel constrained by its NATO membership and/or Westward orientation (...) >>>

27th Dec. 2007

- Related: Memri Turkey Blog

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