Etiket arşivi: Turkey

Lessons From the Recent Past

September 15, 2020

Last week, fires destroyed Greece’s largest migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, leaving more than 12,000 people without shelter. It was a tragedy, a stark reminder of West’s misguided interventions in Libya and Syria, and Europe’s second major problem after Covid-19, the refugee issue.

Okumaya devam et

Tensions Between NATO Allies Greece and Turkey

September 7, 2020

The following is from “OECD Economic Surveys, Greece” of July 2020:

“Greece has responded swiftly to the pandemic and has effectively limited infections, but the economy has been hit hard… Before the pandemic hit, the Greek economy had been expanding for over three years at just below 2% average annual growth…

“The COVID-19 shock risks exacerbating Greece’s long-standing labor market challenges. The employment rate has increased over the past six years but is still one of the lowest among OECD countries. Women and the young continue suffering from low employment rates. The lack of prospects has pushed many talented young people to emigrate, lowering the country’s entrepreneurial and innovation potential. Poverty and material deprivation, while improving, are high, especially among the young and families.”[i] Okumaya devam et

Lebanon and Middle East’s Vicious Circle

August 15, 2020

On August 4, only two days before the 75th anniversary of the dropping of world’s first atomic bomb, Beirut experienced its own Hiroshima. Exactly a month ago Turkey had its own tragedy when 6 were killed and 97 injured in a fireworks factory blast. Although the devastation and the death tolls are incomparable, underlying reasons are the same: mismanagement and negligence.

These, of course, are only part of the fundamental problem of the Middle East, the lack of democracy with its many subtitles. Prominently among them are: Okumaya devam et

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

An Ultimatum That Boomeranged

(Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç)[i]

The people of Turkey held their breath on the eve of the deadline set in the ultimatum  President Erdoğan served on the Syrian regime promising severe military punishment if  its forces  were not to withdraw to lines drawn in the so-called “Sochi agreement” between Russia and Turkey.  Evidently, there was no way that the regime, still recognized by the UN as the legitimate government of Syria, could heed this warning as it would amount to yielding its hard-won sovereign territory to Turkey’s control. More so, such withdrawal would have been hailed by some jihadist armed groups, listed by the UN as terrorist organizations,  which have taken most of the civilian inhabitants of the Idlib province as hostage in their quest to winning a rump of Syria to be dismembered. The regime, its air force largely under Russian command and control, reacted to the Turkish ultimatum not by resorting to terse and rejectionist rhetoric but unleashing a bombing campaign resulting in massive loss of life not recorded outside Turkish territory since the Korean war. Okumaya devam et