Kategori arşivi: Uncategorized

Turkey’s Distorted Priorities (2)

August 6, 2020

Merriam-Webster defines “crystal gazing” as,

“1: the art or practice of concentrating on a glass or crystal globe with the aim of inducing a psychic state in which divination can be performed,

 “2: the attempt to predict future events or make difficult judgments especially without adequate data.”

In Turkey, one does not have to concentrate on a crystal ball or read coffee cups to predict the future. Because everything is in plain sight. Data can be inadequate but more than enough to show basic trends. And, coming events cast more than their shadows before. Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Polarization Continues Unabated

July 27, 2020

The sermon delivered by Professor Ali Erbaş, the President of Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), at the opening of Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque has rightly aroused indignation, anger among those who remain attached to Turkey’s founding principles and Ataturk’s legacy. Because he said, “The property of endowment is untouchable according to our belief, the ones who touch them are burned; the condition of the person who endows it must be realized definitely, those who do not realize it are going to be cursed.” Okumaya devam et

The Hagia Sophia: Balance Sheet of the Past Week

July 19, 2020

It has been a week since the Hagia Sophia was reconverted to a mosque through the annulment of the government decree of 1935 which had turned it into a museum. The change was presented as an auspicious development not only for the people of Turkey but also the Islamic Ummah and the world. Yet, the Islamic Ummah has so far remained silent. Not a word of approval or support from any member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which presents itself as “The Collective Voice of the Muslim World”. There were no congratulatory telephone calls, no messages. The Secretary General of this pseudo-entity has not uttered a word either. “Pseudo-entity” because the OIC has remained invisible in the face of a decade of fratricide. Okumaya devam et

The Hagia Sophia

July 10, 2020

“Turkey is a bridge between East and West” is a widely used metaphor to define not only Turkey’s location between Asia and Europe but also its history, identity, culture with its blessings and contradictions. The city of Istanbul represents all of these.

A Turk may take a cup of coffee on the shores of the Bosporus, without thinking of the other side being Asia or Europe and centuries-long competition for the control of this strategic waterway. Because, a constant parade of passenger boats, tankers, cargo ships, naval vessels moving in both directions is always a beautiful spectacle. A foreign visitor may be more aware of the fact that across the blue waters of the Bosporus lies another continent.

Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula is different. There, with monuments of the Roman, Byzantine and the Ottoman empires, history engulfs everyone on a journey of thousands of years. Okumaya devam et

Sad Times for Democracy

July 5, 2020

China had a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s. Xi Jinping became president in 2012. In April this year, the National People’s Congress approved the removal the two-term limit, effectively allowing him to “remain in power for life”.

China is one of world’s leading powers. Henry Kissinger has said, “No other country can claim so long a continuous civilization, or such an intimate link to its ancient past and classical principles of strategy and statesmanship.” However, without even an interlude of democracy in its history, China has failed to make progress in that direction and President Xi’s two terms in office are no exception. Okumaya devam et

Turkish-French Tensions Over Libya

June 29, 2020

Two weeks ago, France accused Turkey of harassing a French frigate off the coast of Libya while it carried out checks on a Turkish ship that it suspected of breaking the UN arms embargo. Turkey denied the charge. A week later, President Macron said, “I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President Erdogan I consider today that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya and is in breach of all commitments it took during the Berlin conference.” Turkish officials reacted. NATO is now investigating the incident at sea. Okumaya devam et

Turkey Needs to Pivot to Diplomacy

June 22, 2020

Ataturk was the hero of our War of Independence, the founder of the Republic and Turkey’s greatest ever reformer. His motto was, “peace at home, peace in the world”.

Suffice to say, we no longer have peace at home. Our democracy is in steep decline and we are polarized like we have never been.

Neither the world is at peace. Particularly in the Middle East internal strife and proxy wars are taking their toll on the unfortunate masses. Okumaya devam et

The Day of Reckoning

June 15, 2020

The end of the Cold War raised hopes for a more peaceful and stable world with the “international community” collectively confronting global challenges. This proved a myth. After three decades, all we hear now is Cold War II, which essentially means that world’s major powers have failed to redefine their self-centered foreign and security policy priorities and their relationships. Okumaya devam et

Confrontation over Hong Kong

May 26, 2020

In April 2017, President Trump hosted his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for a two-day summit at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. After their meeting, Mr. Trump spoke of “tremendous progress” in the U.S.-China relationship. A year later, the Trump administration announced sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports. The trade war escalated with more tariffs and Chinese retaliation. In December 2018, the chief financial officer Huawei was arrested in Canada at Washington’s request. The trade war intensified. In November 2019, President Trump signed a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters.

At present, the focus is on Hong Kong because China plans to push through, at this year’s China’s National People’s Congress, sweeping national security laws for Hong Kong to bar subversion, separatism or acts of foreign interference against the central government. Critics say this will effectively end the territory’s democracy and autonomy. Okumaya devam et

The Syrian Quagmire

May 18, 2020

Syria’s relations with Moscow have traditionally been close and steady. Russia operated a military base in Tartus for more than four decades. In the mid-1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher Warren Christopher, believing that this offered an opportunity to move Syria away from Russia, went to Damascus 24 times always to leave empty-handed. Okumaya devam et