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 →
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 →
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 →
“Canal İstanbul”, first introduced to the public as a “crazy project” by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (JDP) Government, has become the subject of an increasingly heated discussion. Among the various aspects of the project currently debated are its environmental impact, the cost, huge private land purchases in the area and last but not least its implications for the Montreux Convention of 1936 regulating passage through the “Straits of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus comprised under the general term ‘Straits’ ”.Okumaya devam et →
In a couple of years, the world could well be speaking of a decade of conflict in Syria in which regional and external powers were involved either directly or through proxies.
The Islamic State remains a threat. Thousands and thousands of jihadist fighters not only from those directly involved but also from distant countries traveled to Syria to take part in the fighting. Their return home has now become a security challenge. Specialist monitors at the UN have warned that a recent pause in international terrorist violence may soon end, with the possibility of a new wave of attacks before the end of the year. What this portends for the clash or dialogue of civilizations remains to be seen. Okumaya devam et →
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (JDP) principal theme in the recent municipal election campaign was “the fight for Turkey’s survival”. The party and its supporters in the media claimed that Turkey was under the siege of external powers which were determined to block Turkey’s path to becoming a global player through an array of conspiracies. Who those powers are, was never spelled out. Nonetheless, Turkish government’s disappointment with Western reaction to the Gülenist coup attempt of July 15, 2016, continuing frustration with the support extended to the PYD/YPG and the s400s/s35 conundrum offer some clues and these only point toward the US and the EU, in other words, Turkey’s traditional Western allies. Okumaya devam et →
On March 31 Turkey had municipal elections. The result was a yellow card for the government. However, the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) immediately asked for recounts in Ankara and İstanbul where, according to initial figures, they lost the mayoralties after more than two decades. Is asking for recounts within the law? Yes, it is. But then government started saying that elected mayors who don’t command the majority in municipal councils, İstanbul being a case in point, would have a hard time governing. Thus, what should be a technical process has now turned into a political controversy whereby the government challenges more than the ballot box and that is pushing it too far. Turkey desperately needs to put this episode behind and turn to its heavily-loaded agenda. Okumaya devam et →
It has been a chaotic year with no or little progress in overcoming world’s outstanding challenges: U.S.-Russia tensions, Middle East turmoil with numerous sub-titles, Ukraine conflict, the future of the JCPOA, North Korea’s nuclear program, migration, trade wars, climate change.
On December 13, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass issued a statement on the conclusion of the first round of UN-sponsored talks between the parties to the conflict in Yemen. He said, “This could not have been done without the United Nations.” The reality is, this could not have been done without Jamal Khashoggi.
November 10, 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of Ataturk’s passing.
Today marks the centenary of the Armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, ending the First World War.
Eleven days before that, the Armistice of Mudros signed on October 30, 1918 had brought about the cessation of hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied powers. The Armistice meant total surrender. Anatolia was in ruins.
And, on August 10, 1920 the Treaty of Sèvres was signed carving up the Ottoman Empire. In the decades leading to the First World War Ottoman Empire’s demise had become a foregone conclusion.
In brief, Ataturk lived only twenty years after the Central powers admitted defeat at Compiègne and eighteen years after the Ottoman Empire became history at Sèvres. Okumaya devam et →
In retrospect, one of EU’s major foreign and security policy mistakes was the blunting of whatever momentum Turkey’s accession process had. It goes without saying that this was also Turkey’s failure. Had both sides acted with foresight, even with an open-ended process, Turkey and the EU could have been at a different point in dealing with today’s myriad of Middle East problems. Turkey would have become a channel for promoting democracy in the region. And, Turkey and the EU would have engaged in more genuine cooperation to deal with the Middle East turmoil, beyond the controversial “refugee deal”.
At present, Turkey’s relations with the EU can at best be described as mutual dislike/distrust. The accession process exits only on paper. Okumaya devam et →