Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HONORING A STATE SPONSOR OF TERROR AND MURDERING KURDISH WOMEN

"When we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy it implies, then the "division" of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form."
~ Simone de Beauvoir.


Goran at Zanetî has an excellent report on Memphis and it's decision to honor the repressive Turkish regime during its annual international festival in the month of May:


The decision by the Memphis in May organizers to honor Turkey especially at such an unusual time might be astonishing to anyone who has the slightest clue about what has been going on in Turkey. Advocates of human rights might even go as far as to describe such an “honoring” as not only sad, but also abhorrent. Turkey has a long history of gross human rights violations but 2007 and 2008 have carried some of the worst in most recent years.

[ . . . ]

Just this year, as it has frequently made its way across the news ticker (making it hard to believe the Memphis in May organizers could have missed it), the Turkish military has been bombing the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Pointing to rebel bases high in mountains that create a natural border for Turkey and Iraq, the Turkish military has begun campaign of aggression against the region. Although Turkey claims to only target rebels, video and local reporting has shown that Kurdish civilians have been frequent targets, and in many cases, the only targets. Since December, the Turkish military has bombed many villages, bridges and other infrastructure, killed countless civilians, and has even launched ground invasions leading to more civilian casualties despite no recent provocations by rebels. Furthermore, the Turkish government has so far rejected all peaceful attempts negotiated by rebels through the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq even when American military officials suggested it as the only solution Turkey should be seeking.


Goran also names the congressman from Memphis, Steve Cohen, as the arrogant genocide-denier that he is. As for me, I'll add him to the list of Deep Staters in America.

Gordon Taylor has also posted his first Kurdish post at his new digs, The Pasha and the Gypsy, and he focuses on "compulsory self-administered honor killings" in North Kurdistan:


. . . The Turkish government, in response to demands from the European Union, has considerably stiffened the penalties. (Note that only demands from the EU got them to do it.) Life in prison is now the mandatory sentence. But this hasn't stopped the honor killings. Now the girls are required to kill themselves.

Think of it: "You have dishonored us. Only you can cleanse this stain from our family. Kill yourself." Now try getting it as a text message on your cell phone. That's the opening of a 17 July 2006 story from the New York Times. The girl in the story, Derya, got as many as 15 of these text messages a day from her uncles and brothers. In the end she got lucky and found a women's organization in Batman, her home town (pop. 250,000), that took in girls like her. But that only happened after she had tried without success to drown herself in the Tigris River and hang herself with a rope. (An uncle cut her down after the last attempt: presumably not the same uncle who initially texted her and told her to off herself.)


He also mentions the rise in male Kurd suicides in the TSK. Of course we know that the terrorist TSK has a long-standing tradition of making Kurdish deaths in the military look like suicides. Gordon also writes about the Kurdish mother who refused to call her son a "martyr" after his death in the mountains near Bingöl. Her point about Erdoğan's sons studying in the US should be augmented with the information that at least one of them avoided military service altogether by doctoring up medical records in secret. After all, military service is not a place where you take it easy, eh, Tayyip?

As regards honor murders, whether "self-administered" or not, things are not much better in South Kurdistan, as reported in the UK's Independent, via AlterNet:


. . . [R]ecent calls by the Kurdish MP Narmin Osman to outlaw honour killings have been blocked by fundamentalists. "Honor killings are not actually a crime in the eyes of the government," said Houzan Mahmoud, who has had a fatwa on her head since raising a petition against the introduction of sharia law in Kurdistan. "If before there was one dictator persecuting people, now almost everyone is persecuting women.

[ . . . ]

The stoning death of Ms. [Du'a Khalil] Aswad led to the establishment of an Internal Ministry unit in Kurdistan to combat violence against women. It reported that last year in Sulaymaniyah, a city of 1 million people, there were 407 reported offences, beheadings, beatings, deaths through "family problems", and threats of honor killings. Rape is not included as most women are too fearful to report it for fear of retribution.


Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful!

KurdishPress has something on the terrorist TSK's recent lies about its bombing of South Kurdistan, but don't you believe it. Remember what Münir Paşa said. While we're on the subject of the terrorist TSK, consider the irony of the MGK (read: TSK) giving permission for a "closer dialogue" with the KRG while the TSK continues to bomb South Kurdistan.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SEBAHAT TUNCEL AT CUNY

DTP Parliamentarian from Istanbul, Sebahat Tuncel, speaking at CUNY on 28 February 2008:






To the comrade who sent the link: Gelek sipas, hevala!

TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST DTP

"In Sakarya they attempted to organize a massacre similar previous events in Sivas, Maraş and Çorum."
~ Ahmet Türk.


Over the weekend there was a terror attack against 1500 DTP members and supporters which resulted in the death of one person from a heart attack. Let's take a look at something from Zaman:


Democratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group chairman Ahmet Türk said on Tuesday his party will not take part in parliamentary sessions for an unspecified period of time to protest an attack on a DTP festival in Sakarya on Sunday. Members of Alperen Ocakları, the youth branch of the Grand Unity Party (BBP), allegedly perpetrated the attack.


According to Ahmet Türk's remarks as carried in Özgür Gündem, there is no mention of a DTP boycott of parliamentary sessions but Akşam mentions a two-day boycott on Wednesday and Thursday.

Notice that the ülkücüler who carried out this terrorist operation against DTP are associated with the BBP. The BBP is an ultranationalist party that broke with the MHP over religion. The BBP are ultranationalist but religious, and are the expression of Turkish-Islamic Synthesis. Even more interesting, all of those involved with Hrant Dink's murder (including Ogün Samast and Yasin Hayal) were also involved with Alperen Ocakları. According to Wikipedia, the Alperen Ocakları originally went by the name Nizam-ı Alem Ocakları. It would be very interesting to know if this particular ocak has any links to the Nizam-ı Alem group that Turkey was sending to Chechnya:


Today the most active group aiding the Chechens is a branch of the Gray Wolves movement called Nizami Alem, or "universal order." Nizami Alem is an ultra-nationalist group created from a split in the official Gray Wolves political party, known by its initials MHP.

Nizami Alem accuses the Gray Wolves of not being sensitive enough to Islamic thought. For its part, Nizami Alem maintains strong ties to the more radical Muslim groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.


Well, of course we all know that Tayyip maintains strong ties to Hamas. More on Nizam-ı Alem and Chechnya here and then there's more on Nizam-ı Alem in relation to Hrant Dink's murder.

As a piece of trivia: BBP leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu has been invited to the UK by the British government and will address the House of Lords on Wednesday, on the subject of Turkey and Islam. It would be nice to know if the hevals in the UK could round up a protest against terrorist Yazıcıoğlu at the last minute.

The Zaman article did manage to distill the essence of Ahmet Türk's remarks, which was that this was a provocation by ülkücüler on the order of the Maraş, Çorum, and Sivas Massacres. The comparison with the Sivas Massacre is particularly chilling because the Alevi victims were trapped in the Madımak Hotel and surrounded by rabid Turkish-Islamists (not at all unlike the members of BBP's Alperen Ocakları/Nizam-ı Alem), who set fire to the building. This resulted in the deaths of 37 people.

Zaman quotes Ahmet Türk as saying that 500 DTP members were inside the wedding salon in Sakarya, but according to Yeni Özgür Politika, 1500 DTP members were present. Bianet confirms the number and has a fairly decent report of the terror attack in English.

It goes without saying that the Sakarya governor and the police stood to the side, wringing their hands and crying, "Alas!" during this act of terrorism against DTP. DTP parliamentarian from Urfa, İbrahim Binici, repeatedly called for an ambulance when it became apparent that Ebubekir Kalkan was suffering a heart attack. Repeatedly, Binici was told that there were too many people around the wedding salon so that it could not arrive in time to save Kalkan. This was willful murder on the part of both the Sakarya governor and the police because they refused to take control of the crowd of ülkücüler terrorists.

We know exactly what the governor and police officials do to clear crowds of Kurds celebrating Newroz in Van and Hakkari, so let no one tell me that they couldn't have applied the same violence against their associates in Alperen Ocakları. We also know exactly how the police treated Alperen Ocakları member Ogün Samast after he ". . . killed the Armenian."

Ufuk Uras, the ÖDP parliamentarian who has consistently stood in solidarity with DTP, had the best comment on the situation in the Akşam article:


"The Sakarya incident is a typical Ergenekon activity and I don't know whether nationalism is making people stupid or whether stupid people become nationalists."


Well said, Ufuk Beg.

Monday, April 28, 2008

WATER, ARMENIANS, KURDS

"Since we did not come to the terms with what Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians went through, the Kurdish problem, the May First celebrations, the Alevi problems persist as individual paranoids."
~ Erdoğan Aydın


It is widely known that North Kurdistan is an internal colony of the Ankara regime. It is also widely known that states hold on to colonies in order to exploit the resources of the colonies, resources that properly belong to the colonized.

With that in mind, here's another example of the Ankara regime's exploitation of North Kurdistan's resources, from AlterNet:


In March 2009 the Turkish government will host the fifth World Water Forum against a backdrop of what is probably the most sweeping water privatisation programme in the world. As well as privatizing water services, the government plans to sell of rivers and lakes. Turkish social movements, who hosted their own conference in Istanbul last month, suspect the Government is using the World Water Forum to push through this highly controversial agenda.

Previous sessions of the World Water Forum, held once every three years, have faced opposition from civil society groups who consider it an illegitimate, flawed platform for discussing solutions to the world's water problems. The Forum is controlled by the World Water Council, a private think-tank with close links to the World Bank and private water multinationals. This criticism is likely to become even more intense in the run-up to the March 2009 Forum, given the host government's radical privatisation push.

[ . . . ]

Tahir Ongur from the Istanbul branch of the Chamber of Geology Engineers (TMMOB) explained that the government not only wants to privatize drinking water supplies, but also the water resources themselves. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler has announced that rivers and lakes will be sold to private companies, for periods of up to 49 years. The government believes that allowing private firms to build dams in rivers and lakes which they also own is the best way to overcome water shortages, both for drinking water and rural irrigation. As part of this unprecedented privatisation offensive, the government aims to rush through a constitutional reform before the March 2009 World Water Forum. The main target is Article 43 of the constitution, which limits private control of coastal lines, rivers, lakes, etc. and underlines that the public interest should take priority.

Diren Ozkan from Save Hasankeyf criticised the continued proliferation of destructive large scale dam projects in Turkey. A particularly shocking example is the Ilisu dam site on the Tigris River, which will drown the ancient town of Hasankeyf and many nearby villages, displacing 78,000 people, mainly Kurds. The dam will cause tremendous environmental destruction and flood hundreds of ancient sites.

Abdullah Aysu, President of the Peasants' Federation, spoke passionately against government policies for privatising agricultural irrigation. The plans to replace management by rural cooperatives with a system of concession rights sold to private firms would have disastrous consequences for subsistence farmers and their communities, who would lose their rights to local water resources. Groundwater in rural areas is seriously depleted due to uncontrolled drilling, but commercialization is not the answer. The only real solution to these problems, Aysu explained, is to shift to a more natural model of agriculture, which he described as "ecological democracy."

[ . . . ]

Water privatisation is not an entirely new phenomenon in Turkey. There are private water supply contracts in Arpacay and Corlu, as well as widespread outsourcing and subcontracting of the water supply across the country. In the city of Antalya, French water giant Suez pulled-out six years into a 10-year contract after the municipality rejected their demand for another price increase. The prices had already risen 130 percent and the company had failed to invest what was promised.

[ . . . ]

The Turkish government hopes to use the World Water Forum to advance its sweeping privatisation plans, described by one conference speaker as "market fascism." On this background, one can only wonder how the World Water Council, the think-tank controlling the Forum, made the decision to give the Turkish government the role of Forum host for March 2009. On their website, the organisers of the World Water Forum in Istanbul "call upon the international water community to make concrete proposals so that better management of the resource may contribute to achieving the entirety of the Millennium Development Goals." The deeply irresponsible water policies of the Turkish host government reveal the emptiness of the World Water Council's feel-good rhetoric.


Meanwhile, at Bilgi University in Istanbul, there was a debate on the Armenian Genocide, in particular the 24 April 1915 round-up of Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. I would have liked to attend this debate just to hear Eren Keskin and Ragıp Zarakoğlu. From Bianet:


Giving the opening speech, the IHD branch president Gülseren Yoleri stated that the genocide claims were still neither discussed nor accepted and the same was the case regarding the Kurdish problem.

“They could not live in their own land, nor die in it. They made enemies out of Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Greeks, the neighbors.”

Stating “the mentality of the Committee of the Union and Progress continues”, [human rights lawyer and Kurdish activist Eren] Keskin added that “If we do not discuss the Committee of the Union and Progress, the Special Organization (Teşkilat-i Mahsusa), Şemdinli incident, 6-7 September pogrom of 1955 against Greeks in Turkey and the latest Ergenekon incident, we will not get very far.”

Saying “I think that there is a generation that represents an enlightened conscience, like the hundreds of thousands who walked behind Hrant”, [journalist and writer Erdoğan] Aydın likewise added that “Since we did not come to the terms with what Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians went through, the Kurdish problem, the May First celebrations, the Alevi problems persist as individual paranoids.”



Hevallo also has something in honor of the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as well as a not-to-be-missed glimpse into the real life of Kurds in Turkey.

Seriously. Don't miss it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

THE CONSTITUTION AND IMPEACHMENT

"The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
~ US Constitution, Article II, Section 4.


Here you go. Bear in mind that the speakers in this video, nor the audience, are a bunch of flaming red left-wing types. They're the same kind of people who voted the Bush regime into power--American conservatives.

Is there a constitutional case for the impeachment of the Bush regime? And while they're at it, they might as well impeach all of Congress, too, since the şerefsiz Congressional leader, Nancy Pelosi, immediately after the mid-term elections, said, ". . . Impeachment is off the table."

Included is a discussion of the loss of basic rights for everyone within the US, as a direct result of the actions of the American president. Think PATRIOT Act. Think Military Commissions Act. Think Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Think John Yoo.

Watch and see. Runtime slightly over an hour.


Friday, April 25, 2008

ONGOING OPERATIONS IN NORTH KURDISTAN

"As repeatedly recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, peoples who are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination have the right to use force to accomplish their objectives within the framework of international humanitarian law. Such lawful uses of force must not be confused with acts of international terrorism."
~ Geneva Declaration on Terrorism.


More war news from North Kurdistan:


Between 14 and 22 April at least 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in North Kurdistan and many more wounded. Six HPG guerrillas have been martyred.

According to HPG: "On 22 April, fascist Turkish army forces began an operation in Uludere area, Beste, and Sêgırkê villages. Our guerrilla forces implemented an operation in the morning at 0730 hours against a military convoy which was carrying reinforcements; A Scorpion-type military vehicle was greatly damaged and six infantrymen were killed. Even though there were killed and wounded soldiers within the Scorpion-type vehicle, their numbers are not clarified yet."

On 21 April, four Turkish soldiers were killed in the Zagros region, and two were wounded. Another Turkish soldier was killed in the Oramar region of Hakkari and two wounded on 24 April. On 20 April, Turkish troops began a military operation in the Kağızman region of Kars. In this operation, 5 guerrillas were martyred. In an HPG statement, it was noted that even though the Turkish army has losses, it does not have exact numbers.

On 14 April, in the Benavya area of Cudi Mountain, around 1630 hours, a TSK unit was targetted by guerrilla forces. In this operation one soldier was killed and several wounded.

On 15 April, the fascist Turkish army began an operation in Gabar Mountain, Çırav area. On 17 April, around 1600 hours, there was a clash between guerrilla forces and the fascist Turkish army. In this clash, one guerrilla was martyred.

On 16 April, a retaliation operation was conducted in Besta area, Kanibotke, by HPG guerrillas for Halil Uysal and his comrades. The operation targeted a TSK unit and in this operation 11 Turkish soldiers were killed and ten wounded.

Since 11 April, the TSK conducted an operation in Mardin's Bagok and Ömeryan areas. On 11 April, the guerrillas conducted an operation against a TSK unit. Three soldiers were killed and two wounded. On 18 April, Bagok's Şehîd Xelil area, two Turkish soldiers were killed.

TSK operations are also ongoing in the Dersim-Erzincan-Bingöl areas.

On 21 April, one Turkish soldier was killed and two wounded in Çukurca, Hakkari, and in Şemdinli, Şirnak/Şenoba, five Turkish soldiers were killed and 7 wounded. One of the seven suffered severe wounds.

Compiled from sources: HPG: 6 asker öldü, HPG: 20 asker öldürüldü, Çatışmalarda 12 asker öldü, Yaşamını yitiren 6 gerillanın kimliği açıklandı.

Meanwhile, TSK continues bombing South Kurdistan, now including portions of Dohuk and Hêwler regions in addition to Xinere and Xakurke areas. In Dohuk's Amediye district, the Nêrwe, Rêkan, Zêwe, and Nihêl areas have been heavily bombed. Unfortunately, there is no detailed information from those areas at this time. Hêwler's Megesor district, Mizuri Bala region is also being bombed, along with Hewler's Soran district, Sidekan, the Xinere, Lolan, Sinin regions are under attack. Many villages have been bombed by the Turkish military according to regional sources. HPG guerrillas have confirmed the information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

HİLMİ AYDOĞDU CONVICTED AND BANNED

"A person who openly incites groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another based on social class, race, religion, sect or regional difference in a manner which might constitute a clear and imminent danger to public order shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one to three years."
~ TCK, Article 216.


Some commentary on the NYTimes article documenting the tight relationship between the Pentagon and the worthless American media, from Salon's Glenn Greenwald:


I was hoping to write about the fallout from the NYT's Saturday story regarding the media's use of Pentagon-controlled "independent" military analysts, but there hasn't really been any fallout at all. Despite being accused by the NYT in a very lengthy, well-documented expose of misleadingly feeding government propaganda to their viewers and readers, virtually all media outlets continue their steadfast refusal to address or even acknowledge the story. How can "news" organizations refuse to address -- just completely ignore -- accusations which fundamentally indict their behavior as "journalists"?

As I noted on Sunday, the most striking part of the roughly-7000-word article was that several of the most guilty news outlets -- CBS, NBC and Fox -- just outright refused to answer the NYT's questions about their use of military analysts, what they knew about their analysts' dealings with the Pentagon and the defense industry, and what procedures they use (then and now) to ensure that they don't broadcast government propaganda disguised as independent analysis. Identically, other news organizations not explicitly mentioned by the NYT article but which used some of the tainted sources (such as The Washington Post) have similarly failed to address their role in disseminating this Pentagon-controlled propaganda.

[ . . . ]

. . . [N]ow we have what is by all metrics a huge new story regarding more fundamental media failures (at best), and they collectively invoke the Kremlin-like methods of Dick Cheney -- they refuse to comment, refuse to reveal even the most basic facts about what they did, and do everything possible to hide behind the wall of secrecy they maintain. They don't even feel the slightest bit obligated to say whether they have any procedures to prevent manipulation of this sort in the future. And those classic information-suppressing tactics are all being invoked by news organizations -- which claim to be devoted to disclosing, not concealing, scandals, corruption and facts about how our political institutions function.

[ . . . ]

Whatever one's views are on the media's proper role and its obligations to its viewers and readers (if any), this is a major story by any measure. These media outlets were either duped by the Bush administration and their own sources into feeding government war propaganda to their audience, or were knowingly complicit in doing that.

The fact that they simply refuse to account for their behavior -- hiding behind "no comment" walls of obfuscation or issuing cursory, empty statements -- demonstrates rather conclusively that they are in the business of doing everything except revealing relevant news to their audience. It's really the height of hubris, and unmistakable proof of their core corruption, that not even a front-page, lengthy NYT expose can cause them to address their central, ongoing role in uncritically disseminating government propaganda about the weightiest of matters.


Contrary to the propaganda in Western media, recent Turkish airstrikes in South Kurdistan have not hit any Kurdish freedom fighters. According to Firat News, however, the following villages were bombed Tuesday in the Xakurke region: Elmuşa Seri, Elmuşa Xware, Kewet, Derwa, and Spiyaran. The bombing began at 1615 hours and lasted some 45 minutes.

Also this week, Hilmi Aydoğdu was convicted for saying, "The two sides in this war would be Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq. There are some 20 million Kurds in Turkey, and the 20 million Kurds would regard such a war as an attack against them. . . Any attack on Kirkuk would be considered an attack on Diyarbakir." From Asharq Alaawsat:


A Turkish court on Tuesday convicted a Kurdish politician of inciting hatred and sentenced him to 15 months in prison for suggesting that Kurds would fight Turkey if it ever attacked Kurds in Iraq.

Hilmi Aydogdu was found guilty of threatening public safety after he warned Turkey against taking any action in the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

Aydogdu, leader of a local branch of a pro-Kurdish party, made the comments last year amid suggestions that Turkey could take military action to prevent Iraqi Kurdish groups from seizing control of Kirkuk.

The court in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey, also barred Aydogdu from holding public office. Aydogdu was expected to appeal the verdict.


More news on that in English from KurdPress.com. Yeni Özgür Politika adds that charges for similar statements made by Sabahattin Korkmaz of TEVKURD were dismissed by the Diyarbakir Criminal Court No. 6, yet Diyarbakir Criminal Court No. 8 convicted Aydoğdu and banned him from politics for the same charge. As explained by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, one of Aydoğdu's lawyers, Aydoğdu's statement contains nothing to "incite hatred" but merely explains the reality of what would happen in the event of a Turkish attack against Kerkuk.

Does anyone think that the Şemdinli bombers were charged with "inciting hatred"? What about all those security forces who murdered civilians during the Amed Serhildan? Or those security forces who murdered Ferho and Fatma Akgül? What about Hrant Dink? Have his murderers been charged with "inciting hatred" . . . . even when Ogün Samast shouted, "I shot the Armenian" immediately after pulling the trigger? What about Malatya, the priest murdered in Trabzon, priest knifed in Izmir . . ?

Nah, I didn't think so either.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IF IGNORANCE IS BLISS . . .

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
~ Elbert Hubbard.


Been meaning to post this for a while. Abandon hope all ye who enter here because the future is truly bleak:


I teach a seminar called "Secrecy: Forbidden Knowledge." I recently asked my class of 16 freshmen and sophomores, many of whom had graduated in the top 10 percent of their high-school classes and had dazzling SAT scores, how many had heard the word "rendition."

Not one hand went up.

This is after four years of the word appearing on the front pages of the nation's newspapers, on network and cable news, and online. This is after years of highly publicized lawsuits, Congressional inquiries, and international controversy and condemnation. This is after the release of a Hollywood film of that title, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

I was dumbstruck. Finally one hand went up, and the student sheepishly asked if rendition had anything to do with a version of a movie or a play.

I nodded charitably, then attempted to define the word in its more public context. I described specific accounts of U.S. abductions of foreign citizens, of the likely treatment accorded such prisoners when placed in the hands of countries like Syria and Egypt, of the months and years of detention. I spoke of the lack of formal charges, of some prisoners' eventual release and how their subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. government were stymied in the name of national security and secrecy.

The students were visibly disturbed. They expressed astonishment, then revulsion. They asked how such practices could go on.

I told them to look around the room at one another's faces; they were seated next to the answer. I suggested that they were, in part, the reason that rendition, waterboarding, Guantánamo detention, warrantless searches and intercepts, and a host of other such practices have not been more roundly discredited. I admit it was harsh.

That instance was no aberration. In recent years I have administered a dumbed-down quiz on current events and history early in each semester to get a sense of what my students know and don't know. Initially I worried that its simplicity would insult them, but my fears were unfounded. The results have been, well, horrifying.

Nearly half of a recent class could not name a single country that bordered Israel. In an introductory journalism class, 11 of 18 students could not name what country Kabul was in, although we have been at war there for half a decade. Last fall only one in 21 students could name the U.S. secretary of defense. Given a list of four countries — China, Cuba, India, and Japan — not one of those same 21 students could identify India and Japan as democracies. Their grasp of history was little better. The question of when the Civil War was fought invited an array of responses — half a dozen were off by a decade or more. Some students thought that Islam was the principal religion of South America, that Roe v. Wade was about slavery, that 50 justices sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1975. You get the picture, and it isn't pretty.


Read the rest.

Now you know that Miss Teen USA, South Carolina, was no aberration.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

KURDISTAN: BIRTHPLACE OF CIVILIZATION

"The GAP development project of which these dams are part is destroying a heritage which belongs to the whole of humanity and contravenes the most basic professional standards. Governments and companies involved with these projects are ignoring its serious implications: the destruction of such diverse cultural and religious heritage in a State with a history of severe cultural repression. Turkey's progress on cultural rights for the Kurds and others has been an object of scrutiny in recent years; the EU must consider cultural destruction on this scale in that context."
~ Maggie Ronayne.


Hoşyar Zebarî's in Kuwait calling PKK a "terrorist" organization for his master, war criminal Condoleezza Rice, and her boy, Ali Babacan. I guess Zebarî forgot that the KDP is also a "terrorist" organization. More from the pimps at the US Department of State.

I hope they gave Zebarî a dog biscuit and patted him on the head after his performance.

Check out Hevallo's call for the use of words as weapons, but don't stop there. Take up his challenge and engage in counter-psyops by spreading Kurdish truth. Along that line, there are two new blogs online. The first is Gordon Taylor's new blog, The Pasha and the Gypsy, where he will cross-post his articles from Progressive Historians. The second new blog is X-Kurdistan and it is in Turkish for the moment, as I'm told.

For something a little different . . . The Guardian has an article on an archaeological site in North Kurdistan (Southeast Turkey) that is dated 7,000 years older than Stonehenge and 5,500 years older than the first Mesopotamian cities:


As a child, Klaus Schmidt used to grub around in caves in his native Germany in the hope of finding prehistoric paintings. Thirty years later, a member of the German Archaeological Institute, he found something infinitely more important: a temple complex almost twice as old as anything comparable on the planet.

"This place is a supernova," said Schmidt, standing under a lone tree on a windswept hilltop 35 miles north of Turkey's border with Syria. "Within a minute of first seeing it I knew I had two choices: go away and tell nobody, or spend the rest of my life working here."

Behind him are the first folds of the Anatolian plateau. Ahead, the Mesopotamian plain, like a dust-coloured sea, stretches south hundreds of miles. The stone circles of Gobekli Tepe are just in front, hidden under the brow of the hill.

Compared with Stonehenge, they are humble affairs. None of the circles excavated (four out of an estimated 20) are more than 30 metres across. T-shaped pillars like the rest, two five-metre stones tower at least a metre above their peers. What makes them remarkable are their carved reliefs of boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions, and their age. Dated at around 9,500BC, these stones are 5,500 years older than the first cities of Mesopotamia, and 7,000 years older than Stonehenge.

Never mind wheels or writing, the people who erected them did not even have pottery or domesticated wheat. They lived in villages. But they were hunters, not farmers.

"Everybody used to think only complex, hierarchical civilisations could build such monumental sites, and that they only came about with the invention of agriculture", said Ian Hodder, a Stanford University professor of anthropology who has directed digs at Catalhoyuk, Turkey's best known neolithic site, since 1993. "Gobekli changes everything. It's elaborate, it's complex and it is pre-agricultural. That alone makes the site one of the most important archaeological finds in a very long time."


Referenced in The Guardian article is the find of an 11,000-year-old mural in Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria) near the Firat River and northeast of Aleppo. Another dig is going on about 120 miles east of Riha (Urfa), again from The Guardian:


Vecihi Ozkaya, the director of a dig at Kortiktepe, 120 miles east of Urfa, doubts the thousands of stone pots he has found since 2001 in hundreds of 11,500-year-old graves quite qualify as [something even more dramatic]. But his excitement fills his austere office at Dicle University in Diyarbakir.

"Look at this", he said, pointing at a photo of an exquisitely carved sculpture showing an animal, half-human, half-lion. "It's a sphinx, thousands of years before Egypt. South-eastern Turkey, northern Syria - this region saw the wedding night of our civilisation."


It would appear that the finds at Djade al-Mughara and Kortiktepe are approximately the same age as the newly discovered temple at Gobekli.

Just imagine, then, what might be found at Hasankeyf if a proper archaeological dig were established there. Now imagine what will be lost at Hasankeyf as the global fascists press on with their plans for the Ilisu Dam . . . and may they be damned for it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE GLARINGLY OBVIOUS

"The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent. . . Of course, it is possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions..."
~ Gore Vidal.





In case there was still any doubt in your mind about who the ringmasters really are:


Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

[ . . . ]

Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

[ . . . ]

Over time, the Pentagon recruited more than 75 retired officers, although some participated only briefly or sporadically. The largest contingent was affiliated with Fox News, followed by NBC and CNN, the other networks with 24-hour cable outlets. But analysts from CBS and ABC were included, too. Some recruits, though not on any network payroll, were influential in other ways — either because they were sought out by radio hosts, or because they often published op-ed articles or were quoted in magazines, Web sites and newspapers. At least nine of them have written op-ed articles for The Times.

The group was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business. James Marks, a retired Army general and analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, pursued military and intelligence contracts as a senior executive with McNeil Technologies. Still others held board positions with military firms that gave them responsibility for government business. General McInerney, the Fox analyst, for example, sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks.

Several were defense industry lobbyists, such as Dr. McCausland, who works at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, a major lobbying firm where he is director of a national security team that represents several military contractors. “We offer clients access to key decision makers,” Dr. McCausland’s team promised on the firm’s Web site.

Dr. McCausland was not the only analyst making this pledge. Another was Joseph W. Ralston, a retired Air Force general. Soon after signing on with CBS, General Ralston was named vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed by a former defense secretary, William Cohen, himself now a “world affairs” analyst for CNN. “The Cohen Group knows that getting to ‘yes’ in the aerospace and defense market — whether in the United States or abroad — requires that companies have a thorough, up-to-date understanding of the thinking of government decision makers,” the company tells prospective clients on its Web site.


Read it. This is also why both the Washington Post and the LA Times sat on the conflict of interest inherent in the appointment of Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston as "PKK coordinator". Then there was this, from Playboy:


[Robert J.] Stevens has boasted that Lockheed Martin not only creates the technology, it makes military policy as well. He told The New York Times in November of 2004 that Lockheed stands at "the intersection of policy and technology," which, he observed, "is really a very interesting place to be. We are deployed, entirely in developing daunting technology" that "requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technology." He acknowledges "this is not a business where in the purest economical sense there's a broad market of supply and demand."


If there's not a "broad market of supply and demand," for your product, then what's a good capitalist to do? Create a market:


The Pentagon is paying Lockheed Martin to try to predict insurgencies and civil unrest like the weather. It's part of a larger military effort to blend forecasting software with social science that has some counterinsurgency experts cringing.

Lockheed recently won a $1.3 million, 15-month contract from the Defense Department to help develop the "Integrated Crises Early Warning System, or ICEWS. The program will "let military commanders anticipate and respond to worldwide political crises and predict events of interest and stability of countries of interest with greater than 80 percent accuracy," the company claims. "Rebellions, insurgencies, ethnic/religious violence, civil war, and major economic crises" will all be predictable. So will "combinations of strategies, tactics, and resources to mitigate [against those] instabilities."


Watch for a lot more false flag operations in the future.

In case you missed it, last month at Wired, there was a short report on a Pentagon study to "recruit or hire bloggers":


A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers."

Since the start of the Iraq war, there's been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs -- and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops' time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, "Blogs and Military Information Strategy," offers a third approach -- co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. "Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering," write the report's co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.

Lt. Commander Marc Boyd, a U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman, says the report was merely an academic exercise. "The comments are not 'actionable', merely thought provoking," he tells Danger Room. "The views expressed in the article publication are entirely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, USSOCOM [Special Operations Command], or the Joint Special Operations University."


In light of the glaringly obvious, whole-hearted co-opting of the mainstream media with the Pentagon's Propaganda Plan, it's impossible to accept US Special Ops Command comments that the idea of recruiting bloggers as merely a "thought-provoking" academic exercise.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

WAR NEWS FROM NORTH KURDISTAN

"We have taken up weapons only to defend ourselves,” said Avesta. “If they attack us again, we are ready to defend ourselves."
~ Sozdar Avesta, PKK.


Lest we fall into the trap of believing that PKK only operates in South Kurdistan (Northern Iraq), here's some news of operations in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, where the TSK has intensified operations with the advent of spring:


On 16 April TSK implemented a military operation against Amed state's Martyr Kendal region in Malagır, Serê Duavê. During the operation, guerrilla forces attacked a unit of TSK around Şelima village at 1900 hrs; at least two soldiers have been killed and three wounded. At Gabar mountain, again our guerrillas hit enemy forces effectively. In addition, in Sirnak, the fascist army forces deployment continues.

HPG statement on operations at Gabar:

Four soldiers killed in Gabar Mountain operation

1. On 10 April, the fascist army's forces implemented an operation in Gabar Mountain's Şehit Yılmaz and Fındıkê regions. In the operation that our forces executed at 0100 hours, two soldiers were killed and six wounded from one TSK unit

2. On 16 April, the fascist army's forces implemented an operation at Gabar Mountain, in the Tepê Aslan, Şehîd Aydın, Komando Tepesi, and TRT regions, At 0800 hours guerrilla forces attacked a unit of TSK, and in this operation at least two soldiers were killed and seven wounded.


The result of the recent clashes in Amed: 5 soldiers killed; 9 wounded.

Since 14 April to date, there has been a clash between our guerrilla forces and fascist army units in the Şehîd Remzi and Şehîd Kendal regions. On 14 April, in the Sehit Kendal region, Şehîd Baran area, our guerrilla forces implemented an operation against a TSK unit, and in this operation, one soldier was killed and 3 wounded at 0430 hrs. In addition, on 18 April, during the ongoing operation in the Şehîd Remzi region, a TSK unit, which was positioned on Hasan Değer ridge, was hit by our guerrilla forces and in this operation four soldiers were killed and six wounded. During the post-operation phase, enemy forces picked up their dead and wounded with two Sikorsky-type helicopters. The operation is still ongoing.

On 15 April, the fascist Turkish army units implemented an operation against the Gelıyê Gurdıla and Karnê regions at Gabar Mountain. During this operation, there was a clash between our guerrilla forces and fascist army soldiers, and in this clash our guerrilla Hamza Erkendi (Hamza Erkendi; Ridvan Alagaş; 1983/Adana (Siirtli); Şefika/Mehmet; 1999; photo left) was martyred.

Operations at Agri Mountain and Besta region

1. On 18 April, the fascist Turkish army units implemented an operation against Agri Mountain Kırê Demirkapı area. The TSK retreated on the same day.

2. On 13 April, fascist Turkish army units implemented an operation in Besta. During the ongoing operation, on 16 April, our guerrilla forces began an operation against one unit positioned in the Gevişkê area at 0230 hrs. Despite the fact that the enemy has losses, there is not yet accurate information. The operation is still ongoing.

Earlier in the week, Danish PM Rasmussen had words about the conviction of DTP mayors for the letter they sent Rasmussen:

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday criticized a Turkish court's conviction of 53 mayors for backing the outlawed PKK separatists, over a letter they wrote him in 2005, the AFP reported.

Rasmussen said in a statement it is incomprehensible that a letter of this kind can lead to a guilty verdict.

"Turkey wishes to join the European Union, and we therefore expect that it adopts the same norms (in regards to freedom of expression) as the EU," he said. "This is a case that Denmark and the EU are watching closely and we have emphasized this to Turkey," he added.


From Hürriyet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS

"I love them because they were the only ones who stood up to the Turkish incursion and defended Kurdistan."
~ Goran Faris.


PKK wins hearts and minds in South Kurdistan, from IWPR:


Abdulla Saeed walks to a makeshift tent a few kilometres from his deserted home. He hums a classic Kurdish song as he follows his donkey down a mountainside in northeast Iraq.

Saeed, 61, is ferrying clothes and other essentials to eight members of his family who fled their home following a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK, rebels in February.

[ . . . ]

There is no official record of the damage that has occurred in northern Iraq as the result of the ongoing conflicts. However, locals say the recent Turkish incursion damaged dozens of villages in the area.

Around 160 families from six villages in Zharawa district near the Qandil mountains fled the fighting and now live in an improvised camp, according to Azad Hasso, the district head.

Mohammad Muhssin, a local Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP, official, said the fighting also uprooted around 150 families from their villages close to the Turkish border in the Amedi area, northeast of the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil.

Muhssin said five bridges have been destroyed in Amedi. “People from more than 200 villages used those bridges. Now the roads have been cut,” he said.

Villagers said they faced economic hardship as a result of the clashes.

Hassan Wssu Marf, 59, from the village of Razga in the Qandil range, said he left his home several months ago.

"We can't go back to raise our livestock or to take care of our orchards,” he said. “It’s terrible."

Yet despite the damage and suffering caused to civilians, public support for Kurdish rebels – particularly the PKK – remains high.

“They are Kurds and demand their own rights,” said Saeed. “Neither Iran nor Turkey wants [the fighters] along the Iraqi border because [they] prevent them from destabilising Iraq.

I want [the PKK] to be victorious,” said Goran Faris, a 25-year-old secondary school teacher in Sulaimaniyah, the largest city in northeastern Iraq.

I love them because they were the only ones who stood up to the Turkish incursion and defended Kurdistan.”


Interesting . . . it looks like the Christian jihadis (see the freaks in this video) are lending a helping hand to Turkish Islamists:


War makes strange bed fellows, especially in Turkey, where a dispute over creationism vs Darwinism has created an unusual alliance between the country's Islamists and conservative Christians in the US.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution, in layman's terms, proposes that life descended from organisms through "survival of the fittest." Creationism holds that life was created by an all-knowing being, that is, God.

Creationism advocates from the US traveled to Istanbul May 2007 to meet with their counterparts, seeking to galvanize their link in the fight to bring creationism to schools and universities in their respective countries. The meeting was endorsed by Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas, a member of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

[ . . . ]

The May meeting is part of a growing battle for the hearts and minds of Turkey's youth. In fact, conference organizer Mustafa Akyol told ISN Security Watch, in Turkey the creationism-evolution debate is more extensive than it is anywhere in the world.

Akyol is also a member of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, established by Fethullah Gulen, leader of a wealthy Islamic sect that bears his name, the Gulen Movement. Gulen lives in self-imposed exile after fleeing charges of subverting the state, or more specifically, of attempting to "undermine secularism" in Turkey. After long trial, he was acquitted in 2006 but the case has since been reopened, despite the fact that he is said to actually be in the good graces of the current government.

Gulen has an influential network of TV and newspaper interests in Turkey along with close ties to the government. It is rumored he even has the ear of Turkish President Abdullah Gul.


Gülen has far more than just "the ear of . . . Abdullah Gül". The AKP is run by Fethullacı, and the Fethullacı have been pressing for the same kinds of stupidity as their allies, the Christian Jihadis:


The Gulen Movement, along with other creationist advocates, has been lobbying with increasing success for school textbooks to put creationism on equal footing with Darwinism.

[ . . . ]

The involvement of US Christian groups in Turkey in the battle against Darwinism has a long history. In 1985, the Dallas-based Institute of Creation Research collaborated with the then-Turkish government to introduce creationism into the country's school curriculum.

According to Dr Ozgur Genc, a professor at Bosphorus University and a leading opponent of creationism, its introduction was part of a wider state policy called the "Turkish Islamic synthesis."

The country's military rulers at the time, who had seized power in a 1980 coup, wanted to encourage religion to undermine the then-strong support in the country for left-wing ideas.


It's too bad some of the Deep Staters that have been killing Christians in Turkey can't be turned loose against the Christian jihadis. If such were the case, those two groups could fight it out and we might be able to avoid Dark Ages v.2.

From the Liar-Liar-Pants-On-Fire Department:




Come on, now, Condi . . . we know you're lying. Sibel Edmonds called you out on your "outrageous lie" regarding 9/11:


About two weeks before Condoleezza Rice appeared before the 9/11 Commission she made the statement, "We had no specific information." And I told the press that that was an outrageous lie. That was printed on the front page of The Independent [UK] and several other papers here. And what she did during the hearing was very interesting. She corrected herself saying, "Well, I made a mistake. I should not have said 'we.' I should say that I personally did not have specific information." And that is exactly what I stated. "We" includes the FBI, and therefore I can tell you with 100% certainty that that is an outrageous lie.


CYA as White House National Security Advisor; CYA as Secretary of State. If picked up by McCain as a running mate, CYA as VP.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

OSMAN BAYDEMIR CONVICTED

"You should know well, all the world should know well, the people of Diyarbakir should know well. The wish of my heart, the wish in my heart is: “IF ONLY I WOULD BE IN THEIR PLACE. IF ONLY THEY HAD NOT DIED TODAY”. Friends, my dear people, my honorable people, we have to listen to each other. The wish of my heart, of the friends and allies around me, is only if the poison in the bomb would come into my eyes, not into those of my people. I wish no stone would touch your nails, but they come to my head."
~ Osman Baydemir, during the Amed Serhildan.


Amed's (Diyarbakır) wildly popular mayor, Osman Baydemir, has been convicted of "'praising crime and criminals' following remarks he made during deadly unrest in the "city in March last year," according to Hürriyet.

Of course, it was not in March of last year (2007) that the Ankara regime unleashed violence on Amed, but the year before, in March 2006. Here's a list of those murdered by the Ankara regime during the Amed Serhildan.

To see what it was that Baydemir said, check his press release and a transcript that was entered into evidence by the public prosecutor.

Defense minister Vecdi Gönül dropped another $7 billion into the pockets of the American corporate welfare defense industry at the ATC conference this week.

However, some people are missing from the conference:


Turkey's four-star generals, including Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun, have reportedly declined to participate in the annual four-day American-Turkish Council (ATC) meeting, which started in Washington yesterday, in reaction to US criticism of the Turkish military's ground offensive into northern Iraq in late February.

[ . . . ]

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will also not be taking part in the meetings, during which US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will make the keynote speech on April 15.

This is the first time a US secretary of state will deliver a speech to an ATC meeting. During these meetings, Turkish-US relations on military, economic and political issues are discussed with the aim of furthering cooperation between the two NATO allies, the same sources said.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan should have attended the meeting with Rice delivering a speech, said a government source.


The missing are the result of the embarassment felt by the Turkish general staff when it ordered "retrograde operations" to remove its land forces from South Kurdistan in February. But this doesn't mean that diplomatic types haven't been dispatched to assuage tender Turkish ego:


The Turkish military's February ground offensive into neighboring northern Iraq to fight outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists based there showed Iraqi Kurds the value of staying inside a united Iraq, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad said Tuesday.


Oh, sure it did! That's why the Southern Kurdish leadership has made it clear since at least 2005 that South Kurdistan would remain part of Iraq because an independent Kurdish state would not be viable. Nice try, Mr. Crocker, but that dog won't hunt. Imbecile.


"Up to 2,000 Turkish elite commandos and special forces attacked PKK positions inside a 10-mile zone on the Iraqi side of the border between Feb. 21 and 29. Turkish and U.S. officials qualified the move as a military success. . . "


And those "elite commandos and special forces" could only stand a few days' worth of combat in Kurdistan's mountains, whereas PKK guerrillas have spent many, many winters in those very same mountains. That doesn't sound like a "military success" to me. Instead, the word "limp" comes to mind.

Let us hope that one day those "elite commandos and special forces" will be roasting in hell with their brother Bolus.


Gordon Taylor has dug into the Özgür Gündem interview with Cüneyt Ertuş and his father:


. . . "On March 22," said Cuneyt, "I went down to the market. I didn't know that Newroz events were going on, and I found myself in all this confusion. The police came right to me and collared me. Three policemen. Then they started manhandling me. First they twisted my arm. My arm went out of place [dislocated]. Then they took me to the Emniyet headquarters in a police vehicle. In the van they continued beating me; 3 or 4 of us were riding together. Inside the vehicle they called us "kufur" [infidels: an insult] and continued to hit us." At the station, Cuneyt recounts, the beating continued with kicks and truncheons aimed at the genitals.

And so it continued. At the station, for hours, the detainees were all kicked, beaten, and insulted. "Apo's [Abdullah Ocalan's] bastards" was one of the more choice insults, along with the opinion that they were no better than "filthy infidels." After the first day's interrogation Cuneyt was let go. "I couldn't sleep," he said, "from the pain in my arm."


To read the rest of Cüneyt's misadventure, check Gordon's new post at Progressive Historians.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DTP MAYORS CONVICTED AND TERRORISTS IN DC

"Many Americans, due to the effective propaganda and spin machine of Turkey’s agents in the U.S., and relentless efforts by high-level officials and lobbying groups on Turkish networks’ payroll, do not know much about Turkey; its position and importance in the areas of terrorism, money laundering, illegal arms sales, industrial and military espionage, and the nuclear black-market."
~ Sibel Edmonds.


Turkey has convicted 53 of the 56 DTP mayors for their letter to Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen in defense of RojTV:


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A Turkish court on Tuesday found 53 Kurdish mayors guilty of praising a criminal group because they asked Denmark to let a television station with alleged links to Kurdish guerrillas continue to operate there.

The mayors described the case against them as a free speech issue, but Turkey views Kurdish rebels as terrorists and believes Europe is not doing enough to curb sources of support among Kurdish expatriates. Most of the mayors are members of the Democratic Society Party, a political group that faces possible closure for alleged links to the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, which seeks autonomy for the large Kurdish population in southeast Turkey. The case against the mayors will be used as evidence in the case against the party, said Muharrem Elbey, a lawyer for the Kurdish mayor of Diyarbakir, the biggest city in southeast Turkey.

The state is divided over whether the possible scrapping of a party with 20 seats in Parliament would strengthen the rule of law or push a new wave of alienated Kurds out of the political mainstream and into guerrilla ranks.

The court in Diyarbakir sentenced the mayors to two months in prison, but later commuted the sentence to fines of 1,835 Turkish liras (US$1400 or ¤900), citing the mayors' good behavior during the trial. Three other mayors were acquitted. The mayors said they would appeal.

The politicians were indicted in 2006 after writing to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to request that the Roj TV station be kept on air in Denmark. Turkey says the station is a propaganda machine for the rebels.

Turkey has been under pressure from the European Union to strengthen the rights of Kurds, a non-Arab people distantly related to the Iranians. They constitute about 20 percent of Turkey's population of at least 70 million.

Rebel commanders often joined the station's broadcasts by satellite telephone from mountain hideouts in northern Iraq, and the station broadcasts images of rebels training or attacking Turkish soldiers. The rebel group, also known by its Kurdish initials PKK, has been listed by the European Union and the United States as a terrorist organization. The mayors have denied supporting the PKK rebels.

"The mayors' letter was an appeal for a Kurdish-language television station to remain on air," said Elbey, who represents Diyarbakir mayor Osman Baydemir. "They never praised the content of the broadcasts." Elbey said that if the appeal fails, he will consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The court's decisions are binding on Turkey.

The prosecutor initially wanted the court try the mayors for aiding and abetting the PKK, but reduced the charge to praising a criminal group. The earlier charge carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.


What the hell . . . every Kurd might as well join the guerrillas because there is certainly no political avenue open under the Ankara regime.

Meanwhile, that ugly cow who heads the US State Department praises Turkey for its "free speech." The cow also stresses that Turkey must respect the rights of religious groups (i.e. the AKP), but fails to make any comment on Turkey's racist anti-Kurdish policies, including the closure case against DTP.

It appears that there's a huge gathering of terrorists this week in the whorehouse known as Washington DC. The American-Turkish Council (ATC) is holding its annual conference, where the American military is squeezing Turkey for another phony amnesty "to rehabilitate and reintegrate PKK members who did not get directly involved in terrorist activities and who thus do not have blood on their hands":


Stressing the need to improve a comprehensive approach in Turkey's fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a senior US commander has suggested that this approach should also include elements which could help rehabilitate at least some members of the organization.

[ . . . ]

The fight against terrorism is "neither an ethnic nor a religious struggle" but is "solely directed against extremists who use violence," Sattler was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.


Is he talking about the Americans?


Elaborating on what he meant by focusing on "a comprehensive resolution," Sattler said he hasn't suggested a general amnesty, the Anatolia reported. He added, however, that research could be carried out on how to rehabilitate and reintegrate PKK members who did not get directly involved in terrorist activities and who thus do not have blood on their hands. Sattler noted that he understands that outlining and carrying out such research would be very difficult. Turkey and the United States, although not being able to agree on every issue every time, are two allies who can sit around the same table and find a common ground through dialogue, he added.


So who, exactly, would this bogus amnesty benefit?

Perhaps General Sattler would be better employed in finding a way to control the 100,000+ rapists he sent to Iraq than talking about PKK. After all, these were the same people who sent a Lockheed Martin director to "coordinate the PKK" for Turkey, and through that "coordinator", PKK's offer of a political solution and a ceasefire were rejected out of hand, and Turkey was sold $10 billion worth of F-35's.

While we're at it, let's not forget Ralston's close ties to the ATC:


Included in ATC’s management, board of directors, and advisors; in addition to Turkish individuals of ‘interest;’ is a dizzying array of U.S. individuals. The ATC is led by Ret. General Brent Scowcroft, who serves as Chairman of the Board; George Perlman of Lockheed Martin, the Executive Vice President; other board members include: Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Ret. General Elmer Pendleton, Ret. General Joseph Ralston, Ret. Col. Preston Hughes, Alan Colegrove of Northrop Grumman, Frank Carlucci of Carlyle Group, Christine Vick of Cohen Group, Representative Robert Wexler, Former Rep. Ed Whitfield…Basically many formers; statesmen, ‘dime a dozen generals,’ and representatives.


Of course, what would an ATC conference be without the presence of Joost Lagendijk:


The reason why Europe did not oppose Turkey's ground operation into northern Iraq was its "expectation of passing on to the civilian part of the solution following the military part," Lagendijk said. However, "the civilian operation hasn't been launched yet," he added.


No, the reason why the EU did not oppose Turkey's land operation was because, after thousands of years, it still hasn't figured out how to grow a pair.

Don't lie, Joost, old boy; the civilian operation was launched on Newroz and you damned well know it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

AMENDING CENSORSHIP

"Did you ever hear anyone say, 'That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me?'"
~ Joseph Henry Jackson


Check Gordon Taylor's latest post, which he calls a "mish-mash" of news. Some of it, however, is very important news, such as the release of Cüneyt Ertuş from prison. Now when is the regime going to charge the fascist police who were filmed breaking Cüneyt's arm? I doubt very much that there will be charges or, if there are, they will be delayed, delayed, delayed until the whole case is lost in the infinite bureaucracy that is Turkey. Obviously these cops knew they'd face no punishment and that's why they broke the kid's arm in front of TV cameras.

Among many other items, Gordon has a link to a BBC article on Ragıp Zarakoğlu's trial. There's an update on this at Info-Turk:


Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance N2 decided to wait until article 301 is amended in the case against publisher Zarakolu. Zarakolu was charged under article 301 for publishing George Jerjian's "The truth will set us free."

Zarakolu is charged with “insulting the state and the republic” and “insulting the memory of Ataturk” (prison sentence for seven and a half years.) Trial will continue on 17 June.

Translator Atilla Tuygan is charged with “insulting Turkishness” and “insulting the armed forces” for translating Prof. Dr. Dora Sakayan's book "Memoirs of an Armenian Doctor-Garabet Haçeryan's İzmir Journal."

AKP submitted its drafts amending article 301 and article 305 "acting against fundamental national interests" to the Chairing office of the Parliament on 7 April.

Draft proposes the phrase “Turkish nation” to replace “Turkishness” and “Turkish republic” replace "the republic.” The upper limit for prison sentence will be reduced from three to two years. This makes it possible to postpone the execution of the sentences. (antenna-tr.org, April 10, 2008)


The last paragraph makes a joke of postponing the trial until June because Zarakoğlu is charged with "insulting the state and the republic". So that means what, that Zarakoğlu faces two years' imprisonment instead of three?

If you scroll down the Info-Turk article you come to another one on Article 301 by activist Şanar Yurdatapan:


1. It is meaningless to discuss “amending,” or correcting the bits and pieces of this article.

2. Since such an article has no place in a democratic society.

3. The reason of existence for the article is “to stop criticism” in the pretext of “preventing insult.”

What are the main points of those who defend the article?

1. Anyone can swear at the state and the nation. Should they be allowed to do that?

2. The western countries have similar articles too.

3. The article does not punish ‘criticism’. Look at the last sentence added to the article.

4. Abolishing it would not be a solution since there are certain institutional sensitivities. Let us solve it through amending it.

5. Outside pressure is high. We can not let them say, “They abolished it because the EU put pressure.”

6. If we amend it then they will say amend article 305, 318, 216, or 288, there is no end to it.

Let us answer one by one:

1. There are other articles preventing insult and they are adequate. Moreover, so what if an individual swears at the mighty state? It can be a subject to a court case when an adult insults at another adult. However, what would you say if an adult broke the head of a kid because the kid swore at him? The punishment of insulting the state should not being imprisoned, but being reproached and not being taken seriously by the society.

2. If the western democracies still have similar articles, it is a shame on them. Let us set an example. It is true that similar articles exist in few countries, but those articles are the relics from the times of totalitarian regimes, those countries are not even thinking about using those articles against their writers and journalists. Nobody has ever thought of trying Nobel prise winner author Günter Grass who said “he was shamed to be a German” and moved to another country.

3. Yes there is a sentence at the end, which says “criticisms” would be outside the scope of the law, but what is it good for? Prosecutors and judges set the limits of criticism according to the limits of their own minds, and when any of them decides “This exceeds the limits of criticism” that is it. Elif Şafak stood trial over the words of a fiction character. Orhan Pamuk got almost lynched, Hrant Dink was lynched. All of that happened during the period of article 301. Who has been protected by the last sentence?

4. What does “certain institutional sensitivities” mean? Let us speak clearly. The army is at the top of the list of those who resist the amendment of article 301. Many cases against journalists and writers have been filed on the complaints of the Office of the General Chief of Staff anyway. Is the Office of the General Chief of Staff under or above the Office of the Prime Minister? Is not the Turkish Parliament above all of them? So the law makers will want to abolish an article but will not be able to do it? How can we accept such a regime as a democracy?

5. The mentality of “we can not do it since those and those put pressure” can work wonders. What if The Association for Kemalist Ideas noticed that and holds mass “Respect head scarf” rallies to create pressure against the ban on “the head scarf”? If this article had been removed when the new TPC was prepared, there would have been neither so many scandals nor any pressure from the EU. (Orhan Pamuk would be in Turkey and Hrant Dink would be alive.)

6. Of course they will, we will, let us say it now. Abolish article 299 and 300 too. (301’s siblings) Abolish 305 and 318 too, amend 216 and 288 … etc. etc… Abolish Anti-Terror Law, you promised that while making the new TPC anyway. Abolish, amend, change all antidemocratic laws and articles; the Constitution, the Elections Law, Law on Political Parties, The Law on Internet, Pres Law, Penal Procedural Law, Penal Execution Law… We will continue saying and demanding these until Turkey, which is not even ruled by the superiority of the codes becomes a country, which is ruled by the superiority of the law.


Then follows a long list of people who've been charged under Article 301. If half the people in Turkey thought like Yurdatapan, there might be some hope.

Don't forget to check Hevallo to see who the US considers as "terrorists".

HPG has released the identities of two guerrillas killed by defenders of fascism in Amed (Diyarbakır), Zara area on 10 April:




Şehîd Nemirin!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

US-TURKEY RELATIONS

"Disinformation is most effective in a very narrow context."
~ Frank Snepp.


Ever hear of the RAND Corporation? Well, you should know something about it. Here's a little something from Sourcewatch:


The RAND Corporation, according to the corporate web site, is a "nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis."

"Covert foreign policy became the standard mode of operation after World War II, which was also when Ford Foundation became a major player for the first time. The institute most involved in classified research was Rand Corporation, set up by the Air Force in 1948. The interlocks between the trustees at Rand, and the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations were so numerous that the Reece Committee listed them in its report (two each for Carnegie and Rockefeller, and three for Ford). Ford gave one million dollars to Rand in 1952 alone, at a time when the chairman of Rand was simultaneously the president of Ford Foundation."[1]

"Two-thirds of Rand's research involves national security issues. This is divided into Project Air Force, the Arroyo Center (serving the needs of the Army), and the National Defense Research Institute (providing research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies). The other third of Rand's research is devoted to issues involving health, education, civil and criminal justice, labor and population studies, and international economics."[2]


Basically, it's a think-tank for global elites, and there is some suspicion that the RAND Corporation had a hand in developing--(if not actually writing) HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007--an act that is as vague as the old Turkish Article 301 and AKP's new, proposed revision of Article 301.

Among the rats that list the RAND Corporation on their resumes are Dov Zackheim, Zalmay Khalilzad, Laurent Murawiec, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Note, also, that RAND regularly publishes unclassified as well as classified reports for those with the proper security clearances.

With that in mind, here are some excerpts from a recent report written by RAND on potential future US-Turkey relations. Many thanks to the friend who passed this information along.


Summary

In the future, Turkey is likely to be an increasingly less-predictable and more-difficult ally. While Turkey will continue to want good ties with the United States, Turkey is likely to be drawn more heavily into the Middle East by the Kurdish issue, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the fallout from the crisis in Lebanon. As a result, the tension between Turkey’s Western identity and its Middle Eastern orientation is likely to grow. At the same time, the divergences between U.S. and Turkish interests that have manifested themselves over the last decade are likely to increase (see pp. 7–14, 17–19).

Given its growing equities in the Middle East, as well as the current strains in U.S.–Turkish relations, Turkey will be even more reluctant to allow the United States to use its bases in the future, particularly the air base at Incirlik, to undertake combat operations in the Middle East (see p. 29). President Turgut Özal’s willingness to allow the United States to fly sorties out of Incirlik during the 1991 Gulf War was the exception, not the rule. Since then, Turkey has increasingly restricted U.S. use of Incirlik for combat missions in the Middle East. Thus, the United States should not count on being able to use Turkish bases, particularly Incirlik, as a staging area for combat operations in the Gulf region and the Middle East (see p. 25).


[Mizgîn note: Incirlik may be a red herring anyway, since there have been reports that the US has established a military base on Korek Mountain in the Diyana district of South Kurdistan and is in the process of establishing a similar base, with Turkish assistance, in Yüksekova district.]


Moreover, given the importance of the Kurdish issue for Turkish security, Turkey has strong reasons to pursue good ties with Iran and Syria (see pp. 11–14), both of which share Turkey’s desire to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey’s growing energy ties with Iran have reinforced interest in that particular relationship.

[ . . . ]

In the near term, however, the most important source of potential discord between the United States and Turkey is likely to be over how to deal with the terrorist attacks the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) conducts from sanctuaries in northern Iraq (see pp. 7–11). The number of Turkish security forces the PKK has killed has risen dramatically over the last year. Domestic pressure, especially from the Turkish military, has been growing for Turkey to take unilateral military action against the PKK. The landslide victory by the Justice and Development Party in the July 22, 2007, parliamentary elections has strengthened Erdogan’s hand politically and bought him some breathing room diplomatically. But if the attacks intensify in the aftermath of the elections, Erdogan could again face growing domestic pressure to take unilateral military action against the PKK (see pp. 10–11).

[ . . . ]

In short, the United States will need to get used to dealing with a more independent-minded and assertive Turkey—one whose interests do not always coincide with U.S. interests, especially in the Middle East. The Kurdish issue in particular could cause new divergences. How the United States handles this issue is likely to be a litmus test of the value of the U.S.–Turkish alliance in Turkish eyes. If the United States fails to take action to deal more resolutely with the PKK issue, U.S.–Turkish relations are likely to deteriorate further, and anti-Americanism in Turkey, already strong, is likely to grow.

The United States should also be careful not to present Turkey as a “model” for the Middle East, as some U.S. officials have been wont to do. This irritates many Turks, especially the Westernized elite and military, who fear that it will weaken Turkey’s ties to the West and strengthen the role of Islam in Turkish politics (see p. 31). At the same time, the idea of Turkey as a model does not resonate well with the Arab states in the Middle East, which continue to resent Turkey’s role as a former colonial power in the region.

[ . . ]

Turkey's Changing Security Environment

The end of the Cold War had a major influence on Turkish foreign policy. During the Cold War, Turkey concentrated primarily on containing Soviet power and strengthening its ties with the West. The end of the Cold War removed the Soviet threat and opened up new opportunities and vistas to Turkish foreign policy in areas that had long been neglected or off limits to Turkish policy: the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Middle East. No longer a flank state, Turkey found itself at the crossroads of a new, emerging strategic landscape that included areas where it had long-standing interests and/or historical ties. Turkey sought to exploit this new diplomatic flexibility by establishing new relationships in areas it had previously neglected, above all the Middle East and Central Asia.

In addition, the locus of threats and challenges to Turkish security has shifted. During the Cold War, the main threat came from the north—from the Soviet Union. Today, Turkey faces a much more diverse set of security threats and challenges: growing Kurdish nationalism and separatism; increasing sectarian violence in Iraq that threatens to spill over and draw in outside powers; an increasingly assertive Iran that may acquire nuclear weapons; and a weak, fragmented Lebanon dominated by radical groups with close ties with Syria and Iran. Most of these threats are on Turkey’s southern periphery. As a result, Turkish attention today is focused much more intensely on the Middle East than in the past. This is where the key challenges to Turkish security are located.

[ . . . ]

Security Challenges

The most important external challenge Turkey faces today is Kurdish nationalism. The Gulf War (1991) greatly escalated the Kurdish problem.1 Many American policymakers view the Gulf War as the heyday of U.S.–Turkish cooperation. For many Turks, however, the war is, as Ian Lesser has noted, “the place where the trouble started.”2 The establishment of a de facto Kurdish state in Northern Iraq under Western protection gave new impetus to Kurdish nationalism and provided a logistical base for attacks on Turkish territory by Kurdish separatists in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The U.S.–led invasion of Iraq (2003) exacerbated Turkey’s Kurdish problem. From the outset, Turkish leaders had strong reservations about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They had no love for Saddam Hussein, but Saddam provided an important element of stability on Turkey’s southern border. Turkish leaders feared that his removal would lead to the fragmentation of Iraq, the growth of Kurdish nationalism, and an overall decline in Turkish security.

The aftermath of the invasion has seen Turkey’s worst fears come true. Iraq has degenerated into sectarian violence; Iran’s influence in Iraq and regionally has increased; and the Kurdish drive for autonomy—and eventual independence—has been strengthened. As a result, Turkey today confronts the prospect that an independent Kurdish state will emerge on its southern border. Turkish officials fear this could strengthen separatist pressures among Turkey’s own Kurdish population.

Since 2003, Turkey has faced an escalation of PKK-led separatist violence. The PKK has waged a guerrilla war in southeastern Turkey since 1984, often launching cross-border attacks from sanctuaries in northern Iraq. The violence subsided after the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999. But in June 2004, the PKK took up arms again. Since then, the violence has escalated dramatically. In 2006, over 600 people, many of them members of the Turkish security forces, were killed in PKK-related violence.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has repeatedly called on the United States to provide military assistance to help eliminate the PKK threat. However, Washington has been reluctant to take military action for several reasons. First, the United States needs all available forces to fight the insurgents in Iraq and train the Iraqi security forces. Second, the United States regards the Iraqi Kurds as essential to keeping Iraq together as a unified state. If the Iraqi Kurds were to pull out of the present Iraqi coalition, the situation in Iraq might degenerate into all-out civil war. The United States has thus been reluctant to push the Iraqi Kurds too hard.3

The U.S. reluctance to take resolute action to eliminate the PKK threat—or to allow the Turks to take unilateral military measures against the PKK—has accentuated strains in bilateral relations and is one of the principal causes of the growth of anti-Americanism in Turkey. According to a German Marshall Fund poll, among Europeans, Turks have the lowest approval rating for President George W. Bush’s handling of international policies, with only 7 percent approving and 81 percent disapproving. The strongest negative feelings toward U.S. leadership were also found in Turkey, where 56 percent of respondents viewed U.S. leadership as “undesirable.”4

Turkey is also concerned about the reports of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq to incorporate the city of Kirkuk and adjacent areas into areas under its control. Kirkuk sits on one of the world’s largest oil deposits.5 Several hundred thousand Kurds that Saddam Hussein had forcibly evicted as part of an effort to “Arabize” Kirkuk after the 1974 Kurdish uprising have returned to Kirkuk over the past several years to reclaim their land and homes. Turkey fears that Kurdish control of Kirkuk’s oil wealth would enable the Kurds to finance an independent state. Ankara has thus opposed the Kurds’ effort to “Kurdisize” the city and incorporate it into the Kurdistan autonomous region.6 Instead, the Turks want the city to have a special status and want all ethnic groups, not just Kurds, to share power there.

Ultimately, Turkey’s Kurdish problem cannot be solved through military means. It can only be resolved through a political dialogue between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish leadership because only the Iraqi Kurdish leadership is in a position to deny the PKK assistance and sanctuary. In the 1990s, Turkey made several military incursions into northern Iraq against the PKK. None of the strikes succeeded in eliminating the PKK.


[Mizgîn note--While it's true that Turkey's Kurdish "problem" cannot be solved through military means, it is not true that it can "only be resolved through a political dialogue between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish leadership . . ." because this vehement desire on the part of the US cuts out the 20 million Kurds that reside in Turkey from any meaningful dialogue. Those 20 million Kurds not only have representatives in the PKK, but they also have representatives in the Turkish parliament and it is those Kurdish representatives that the great democratic US is attempting to bypass. In addition, the Iraqi Kurdish leadership is in no position to bargain for those 20 million because it has little to no concern for those 20 million. Example: There was no statement from Mesûd Barzanî on the recent Turkish brutality against Turkish Kurds at Newroz, but Barzanî did condemn Syria's murder of 3 Kurds in Qamishlo during the same period. To continue to ignore the just demands of 20 million Kurds in Turkey will be to continue the instability and violence in The Region, no matter how deep US fantasies on the matter go.]


While resolving the PKK issue will not be easy, the Iraqi Kurds have a number of reasons to be interested in easing tensions with Ankara. One is economic. Northern Iraq depends heavily on Turkish trade and investment, which is estimated to be about $3 billion.7 A decision by Turkey to curtail or stop this trade would badly damage the economy of northern Iraq.

Moreover, relations between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds have not always been bad. During the 1990s, both Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq, and Iraqi President Jallal Talabani closely cooperated with Turkey against the PKK.8 Thus, enmity between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds is by no means foreordained. Indeed, there are sound geostrategic and economic reasons for close collaboration between the two. Both sides would benefit from a reduction in current tensions.

However, while the Erdogan government favors opening a dialogue with the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, the Turkish military is opposed to opening a dialogue with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders on the grounds that the two leading Iraqi Kurdish groups, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, headed by Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani, are supporting the PKK materially and politically.9 Given the key role the Turkish military plays in Turkish politics, especially on sensitive issues of national security, the government will need the military’s support—or at least its acquiescence—for any initiative to succeed.

However, the AKP’s overwhelming victory in the July 22, 2007, elections may strengthen Erdogan’s hand politically and buy him some time to pursue diplomatic initiatives aimed at reducing the PKK threat.10 At the same time, the Turkish military knows from its experience in the 1990s that military means alone will not resolve the PKK problem. Indeed, a military strike or incursion into northern Iraq risks seriously exacerbating Turkey’s difficulties. It would further strain relations with the United States and the EU and increase the number of recruits for the PKK. It could also intensify unrest among the Kurds in Turkey. The military may thus be willing to cut Erdogan some slack— at least temporarily.


[Mizgîn note: So either this was written this before the February land invasion by TSK or the February land invasion fiasco was purposely left out of the report. If it had been mentioned, RAND could have added that the TSK's experience with failure vis-a-vis land invasions has once again been reinforced for it by the PKK]


However, if the PKK steps up its attacks in the aftermath of the July elections, domestic pressure could again grow for Erdogan to take military action against the PKK.

Iran

Iran presents a longer-term security challenge. Iran’s growing regional influence since the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a concern in Ankara. So is the prospect that Iran might acquire nuclear weapons. At the same time, Turkey has a strong incentive to maintain good ties with Iran. The two countries share a common concern about the growth of Kurdish nationalism. This has led to an intensification of cooperation in the security field. During Erdogan’s visit to Tehran in July 2004, Turkey and Iran signed a security agreement that branded the PKK a terrorist organization. Since then, the two countries have stepped up cooperation to protect their borders against guerrilla attacks by the PKK and its affiliates.

[ . . . ]

Syria

During much of the 1980s and 1990s, Ankara regarded Syria as a major security threat because it provided support and a safe haven for PKK terrorists. In October 1998, relations reached a crisis point when Turkey threatened to invade Syria if Damascus did not cease its support for the PKK. In the face of Turkey’s overwhelming military superiority, Syria backed down and expelled PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and closed the PKK training camps on its soil.14

The expulsion of Ocalan and the closing of the PKK training camps contributed to a gradual improvement in relations. This rapprochement has been driven by a mutual concern about preventing the emergence of an independent Kurdish state. (Syria also has a substantial Kurdish minority on its territory.) The intensification of ties has gained considerable momentum in the last several years, particularly since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Turkey has been reluctant to see these ties jeopardized.

As with Iran, Turkey’s preference for engagement has conflicted with the U.S. desire to isolate Damascus and caused tensions in relations with the United States.15 However, recent U.S. efforts to establish a dialogue with Syria may reduce frictions with Ankara and bring U.S.–Turkish approaches to Syria in closer alignment.

[ . . . ]

Turkish Perspectives

Finally, the United States has strongly supported key Turkish strategic priorities outside the defense realm. For example, construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline is a key Turkish strategic priority designed to bring Caspian oil to world markets via a terminal on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Washington has also strongly backed Turkey’s bid for EU membership and supported Turkey’s struggle against he PKK separatists much more vigorously than have Ankara’s European allies.

[ . . . ]

. . . For many Turks, the PKK is the litmus test of the value of the U.S.–Turkish security partnership. If the United States fails to address Turkish concerns about the PKK more resolutely, strains in U.S.–Turkish relations are likely to increase, and security in the Middle East will become even more precarious.

[ . . . ]

Implications for the United States

In the future, Turkey is likely to be a less predictable and more difficult ally. While it will continue to want good ties with the United States, Turkey is likely to be drawn more heavily into the Middle East by the Kurdish issue, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the fallout from the crisis in Lebanon. As a result, the tension between Turkey’s Western identity and its Middle Eastern orientation is likely to grow. At the same time, the divergences between U.S. and Turkish interests that have manifested themselves over the last decade are likely to increase.

Given its growing equities in the Middle East, Turkey is likely to be even more reluctant in the future to allow its bases, particularly Incirlik, to be used to undertake combat operations in the Middle East. President Özal’s willingness to allow the United States to fly sorties out of Incirlik during the Gulf War was the exception, not the rule. Since then, Turkey has increasingly restricted U.S. use of Incirlik for combat missions in the Middle East. The United States should therefore not count on being able to use Turkish bases, particularly Incirlik, as a staging area for combat operations in the Gulf and Middle East.

Moreover, given the importance of the Kurdish issue for Turkish security, Turkey has strong reasons to pursue good ties with Iran and Syria, both of which share Turkey’s desire to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey’s growing energy ties with Iran have reinforced interest in that particular tie. Thus, Turkey is unlikely to support U.S. policies aimed at isolating Iran and Syria or overthrowing the regimes in either country. . .

[ . . . ]

In the near term, however, the most important potential source of discord between the United States and Turkey is likely to be over how to deal with the terrorist attacks the PKK conducts from sanctuaries in northern Iraq. The number of Turkish security forces that the PKK has killed has risen dramatically in the last several years. Domestic pressure, especially from the Turkish military, has been growing for Turkey to take unilateral military action against the PKK. The AKP’s landslide victory in the July 22, 2007, parliamentary elections has strengthened Erdogan’s hand politically and bought him some breathing room diplomatically. But if the PKK attacks intensify in the aftermath of the elections, Erdogan could again face growing domestic pressure to take unilateral military action against the PKK.

[ . . . ]

In short, the United States will need to get used to dealing with a more independently minded and assertive Turkey—one whose interests do not always coincide with those of the United States, especially in the Middle East. The Kurdish issue in particular could cause new divergences. How the United States handles this issue is likely to be a litmus test of the value of the U.S.–Turkish alliance in Turkish eyes. If the United States does not address Turkish concerns about the PKK more resolutely, U.S.–Turkish relations are likely to further deteriorate, and anti-Americanism, already strong, is likely to grow.


For the whole report, see this .pdf.

Here's something on promoting Kurdish rights:



For more information, check MideastYouth and Alliance for Kurdish Rights.