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Thread: Turkey: what is going on?

  1. #21
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Turkey in Radical Revision of Islamic Texts

    While not exactly an Islamic Reformation the BBC is reporting that Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

    The country's powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

    The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad.

    As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia...

  2. #22
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Turkey Seeks Bigger Pipeline Role, Roils Europe It Aims to Join

    From today's Bloomberg news

    Turkey is playing hardball in the geopolitical struggle over an $8 billion pipeline at the center of Europe's efforts to cut dependence on Russian natural gas.

    The nation, which bridges Europe and Central Asia, is trying to profit from its strategic location and become a key part of Europe's energy plan. This might bolster its push to join the European Union -- if its negotiating tactics don't exhaust Europe's patience.

    Europe wants Turkey to be a transit corridor along the Nabucco pipeline's 3,300-kilometer (2,062-mile) route from the Caspian Sea region to Austria. Turkey wants more control: acting as a regional energy hub, collecting gas from the east, buying some domestically at below-market prices and passing on the rest to Europe for a variable fee.
    In January 2006, Nabucco catapulted to the top of the EU's agenda after Russia briefly cut gas deliveries to Ukraine over a price dispute, blocking flows to Europe. Although Nabucco's capacity of 31 billion cubic meters would account for only 5 percent of the EU's 2020 gas needs, it would provide competition and may help lower prices, the EU says.

    ``The Nabucco pipeline is a clear economic and political necessity,'' said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in a March 2006 interview.

    Gas-Rich Regions

    Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and an EU candidate since 2005, has long aspired to link the oil-and gas-rich regions of Central Asia with Europe. Its port city of Ceyhan receives 1 million barrels daily of Azerbaijani oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
    Sapere Aude

  3. #23
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Post Looking at Turkey's historic bartering record

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    From today's Bloomberg news
    I would hope this one is looked at long and hard before being jumped into.

    You know like the difference between the different vendors in a flea market selling the same thing and the guy standing in between you and the very same product he's selling but for much less somewhere behind him. Sure I'll let you pass but you have to buy this first
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    CSIS, 6 Jun 08: Turkey's Shifting Dynamics: Implications for US-Turkey Relations
    Turkey remains a pivotal actor in many important dimensions of U.S. foreign, national security, and economic policy. For more than half a century, a sound relationship with Turkey has been central to advancing U.S. interests in Eurasia and the Middle East and to creating new strategic opportunities for the United States and its other NATO allies. Yet, fundamental changes in their country and neighborhood have altered how Turks view and pursue their interests. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), supported by a new middle class from the Anatolian heartland that has emerged amidst growing prosperity, has eclipsed traditional secularist parties. Many Turks now favor more freedom of religious expression in public life. However, the AKP’s moves to reduce some of the strictures of state-enforced secularism have raised fears of creeping Islamization among the old elite and the military guardians of Atatürk’s republic and triggered a Constitutional Court case seeking to ban AKP and a number of its leaders from politics. Turkish politics are poised to enter a period of turbulence and unpredictability.....
    RAND, 11 Jun 08: The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey
    This monograph describes the politico-religious landscape in Turkey and the relationship between the state and religion, and it evaluates how the balance between secular and religious forces—and between the Kemalist elites and new emerging social groups—has changed over the past decade, particularly since the AKP came to power in 2002. The study also assesses the new challenges and opportunities for U.S. policy in the changed Turkish political environment and identifies specific actions that the United States may undertake to advance the U.S. interest in a stable, democratic, and friendly Turkey and, more broadly, in the worldwide dissemination of liberal and pluralistic interpretations of Islam.....
    Complete 135 page study at the link.

  5. #25
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    Default Turkey at a crossroads

    As the RAND report correctly notes, Turkey is at a turning point:

    The real threat confronting the AKP at the onset of Prime Minister
    Erdoğan’s second term is not a direct intervention by the military, but
    rather a decision by the judiciary to close down the party.
    ..and very likely to turn in the wrong direction, with the secular-Atatürkist "deep state" apparatus banning the party and its key leaders. Given the AKP's relatively impressive record of governance (better than any other Turkish party in decades, I would argue), and its very moderate and democratic Islamism, this is indeed a depressing possibility.

    It also has broader implications: radical Islamist movements are likely to point to the AKP's fate as proof that electoral participation and moderation are pointless. Even when you win elections, increase your vote share in subsequent elections, promote foreign investment, improve human rights, participate in NATO (and send forces to ISAF), try to join the EU, and mediate Israeli-Syrian peace.... you still aren't allowed to stay in power. Why not then turn to violence?

    I've yet to hear Western governments weigh in on this in any significant way. Certainly, EU leverage has declined as EU accession looks increasingly unlikely. It is also hard for outsiders to comment on internal Turkish judicial processes without raising nationalist hackles. Still, it would be a tragedy if the remarkable democratic transition in Turkey was reversed.

  6. #26
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    As the RAND report correctly notes, Turkey is at a turning point:





    It also has broader implications: radical Islamist movements are likely to point to the AKP's fate as proof that electoral participation and moderation are pointless. Even when you win elections, increase your vote share in subsequent elections, promote foreign investment, improve human rights, participate in NATO (and send forces to ISAF), try to join the EU, and mediate Israeli-Syrian peace.... you still aren't allowed to stay in power. Why not then turn to violence?

    I've yet to hear Western governments weigh in on this in any significant way. Certainly, EU leverage has declined as EU accession looks increasingly unlikely. It is also hard for outsiders to comment on internal Turkish judicial processes without raising nationalist hackles. Still, it would be a tragedy if the remarkable democratic transition in Turkey was reversed.
    The (potential) parallels here with Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are interesting. I heard a former DoS official once say, "we really have no idea what the hell they'd be about if they were in power. There's a strong chance that they'd be moderate Islamists, along the lines of the AKP, but no one really knows," and that we should try to find out and then when Mubarak dies press for the whole crappy system (really vestigial Nasserism) to fall on the scrap heap.

    I believe that may have some merit - in the long run I just don't see secular moderates winning in the ME, let alone secular liberals. Moderate Islamist groups may be the least indigestible solution; but as the DoS official says, someone needs to figure out what the heck some of these groups would be like in power.

    I agree also a military coup is highly unlikely - for one, the recent Islamization of the officer corps (no longer highly secular) and the fact that a move against the AKP and another coup would end Turkey's Europe aspirations forever, as well as damage its status as the reliable and stable ME country. . .

    Regards,

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  7. #27
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default EU aside

    A minor point for this thread. The chances of Turkey joining the EU fully are slim, whatever the diplomats say. Leaving aside Greek and Cypriot objections, there is no public support for this extension (not that the public has much impact on the EU) and the EU has got enough to do without adding a huge member.

    I am not convinced accession to full EU membership is what AKP seeks, but the reassurance for maintaining democracy or having a political "comfort blanket" that being part of Europe provides. Very different from the economic aspects.

    davidbfpo

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    I agree also a military coup is highly unlikely - for one, the recent Islamization of the officer corps (no longer highly secular). . .
    I concur that a military coup is unlikely - the pending coup is judicial in nature. However, I believe that you overstate the "Islamization" of the officer corps. Not only do overtly Islamist officers continue to be purged, but as a group the Turkish officer corps remains almost virulently secular, and Kemalist ideology continues to be drilled into them from their earliest days to the end of their careers. That doesn't mean that there aren't such elements within the military - but I feel that that those elements are a very long way from having the power to exert any significant influence over internal or external military decision-making.
    ....and the fact that a move against the AKP and another coup would end Turkey's Europe aspirations forever, as well as damage its status as the reliable and stable ME country.
    Here I believe that you understate the determination of the elite secular Turks to preserve their Kemalist ethno-nationalist identity. This would not be the first time that they've cut off their nose to spite their face (refer to issues related to Armenia, Cyprus, the Kurds, etc.). The move against the AKP is ongoing; it is unlikely to be halted at this point. But, as stated above, it is not the Turkish military that will ultimately remove them from power, but the Turkish judicial system.

    The supreme irony is that the threat of radical Islam in Turkey will likely increase due to the secularists' attack on the moderate and reformist AKP.

  9. #29
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    EDM, 1 Jul 08: Turkish Police Detain Senior Retired Generals
    Early on the morning of July 1, the Turkish police detained 24 hard-line secularists during a series of raids in Ankara and Istanbul. Those taken into custody included retired General Sener Eruygur, the former commander of the Turkish Gendarmerie; retired General Hursit Tolon, the former commander of the First Army; Sinan Aygun, the head of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce; and Mustafa Balbay, the Ankara representative of Cumhuriyet daily newspaper.

    The Turkish media reported that several of the arrests came during police raids on offices belonging to the Association for Ataturkist Thought (ADD), a secularist NGO that was founded in 1989 to promote the ideals of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938), who founded the modern Turkish republic in 1923. The ADD is currently headed by General Eruygur. In the spring of 2007, the ADD was one of the main organizers of a series of mass public protests in which hundreds of thousands of secular Turks took to the streets in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prevent the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) from appointing Abdullah Gul as the country’s president.

    It is thought that those taken into custody on July 1 are being held on suspicion of links to a shadowy Turkish ultranationalist group known as Ergenekon. The group first came to public attention in June 2007, when the Turkish police discovered 27 hand grenades and a small quantity of explosives in a house in the Istanbul suburb of Umraniye. Subsequent investigations eventually led to the arrest in January of retired Gendarmerie General Veli Kucuk, the alleged founder and leader of Ergenekon, and 12 associates.....
    This should really stoke up tensions between the secularist right and the AKP; and the timing is just right. The prosecutor on the party closure case is making his opening statement today.

  10. #30
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default Hurriyet on the July 1 Arrests

    Here's a link to the English story from Hurriyet. This story suggest the arrests are directly part of the Ergenekon investigation.

    And here's the link to the Turkish Daily News story as well.
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  11. #31
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    The Economist, 17 Jul 08: Turkey's Future: Flags, Veils and Sharia
    ....Yet the biggest boost to religious education came from the army itself, after it seized power for the third time in 1980. Communism was the enemy at the time, so the generals encouraged Islam as an antidote. Religious teaching became mandatory. Islamic clerical-training schools, known as imam hatip, mushroomed.

    Another example of how army meddling goes awry is Hizbullah, Turkey’s deadliest home-grown Islamic terrorist outfit. Hizbullah (no relation to its Lebanese namesake) is alleged to have been encouraged by rogue security forces in the late 1980s to fight separatist PKK rebels in the Kurdish south-east. The group spiralled out of control until police raids in 2001 knocked it out of action. But not entirely. Former Hizbullah militants are said to have regrouped in cells linked to al-Qaeda, and took part in the 2003 bombings of Jewish and British targets in Istanbul.

    Banning the AKP could strengthen the hand of such extremists, who share the fierce secularists’ belief that Islam and democracy cannot co-exist. If instead the AKP stayed in power, that would bring Islamists closer to the mainstream.....

  12. #32
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    Default a very important ruling...

    Turkey’s Governing Party Avoids Ban
    By SEBNEM ARSU and SABRINA TAVERNISE
    New York Times
    Published: July 31, 2008

    ISTANBUL — Turkey’s governing party narrowly missed being banned in a court ruling on Wednesday that released months of pressure in the country and handed a victory to the party’s leader, a former Islamist.

    The party, Justice and Development, or AKP, as it is know in Turkish, was kept alive by just one vote — six members of Turkey’s Constitutional Court voted to close it, but seven were required. A ban would have brought down the government, forcing national elections for the second time in a year and pitching the country into chaos.

  13. #33
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    Default What implications ...

    do you think will evolve from this decision.

  14. #34
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Turkey: politicians and generals - what is going on?

    Reading music

    Hours after the country’s entire military echelon, including the Chief of the General Staff, resigned from their posts in a reaction to civilian rulers, the government appointed Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Necdet Özel late Friday as the land forces commander, in a move to end the crisis as swiftly as possible.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.p...ign-2011-07-29
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-19-2012 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Delete Mod's note and move to start of thread
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  15. #35
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Storm brewing?

    From the BBC yesterday:
    There has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that parts of the military had been plotting a coup.

    Investigations into those allegations, known as the "Sledgehammer" conspiracy - appear to be the root cause of today's resignations, says the BBC's correspondent in Istanbul, with the senior military wanting to go ahead with scheduled annual promotions for some of the officers implicated - and the government refusing.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14346325

    When this subject has come up before it has been unclear if the prosecutions are substantiated by evidence or an attempt by the government to undermine the military's role as 'guardian' within Ataturk's principles.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    For the first time in Turkey, a serving general is appearing before a civilian court. The general and other senior officers are accused of seeking to overthrow the government in an alleged conspiracy called "Sledgehammer." Prosecutors claim the investigation seeks to end political meddling by the army, but concern is growing that there maybe other motives behind the four-year investigation
    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/...127772643.html

    The dramatic changes in Turkey’s armed forces killed any hope of reviving Israeli-Turkish military cooperation. The indictments against dozens of officers mean in effect that the army will make no attempt to challenge the government’s Israel policy. Furthermore, following the success of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party in eroding the army’s status, the government will make a concerted effort to maintain this achievement.
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdCo...aspx?id=233666


    In foreign policy, a Turkey satisfied with its Islamic identity would stop considering itself intuitively Western, especially given the resonance of the notion of a politically defined “Muslim world” since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This means an increasingly tense relationship between Turkey and NATO, the symbol of all Western institutions. It also means that Turkey will be open to all sorts of non-Western dalliances. An AKP decision to buy Russian weapons, say, or invite the Chinese to a joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean would be applauded by Turks, including the military.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...jFJ_story.html
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Quick comment

    An AKP decision to buy Russian weapons..
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    davidbfpo

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    Alot of Eastern Bloc weapons Turkey has are ex-DDR acquired at bargain basement prices and sourced from W. Germany.
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    Related?

    Turkish aircraft have attacked 60 sites in northern Iraq used as bases by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in a "successful" operation, military headquarters said in a statement.

    It followed an attack by the rebel group that killed nine Turkish troops.

    The statement said the military would press ahead with strikes until the rebels were "rendered ineffective".
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14570301
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  20. #40
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Too late, IIRC Turkey has purchased Russian weapons before today: MLRS, wheeled APCs and small arms.
    It’s the big stuff like warships and fighter aircraft that counts, where it is just as much diplomacy as it is an arms deal. Then it gets into countertrades, offset agreements, industrial cooperation, etc. Nobody pays just cash in those deals.

    Small arms, APCs, MLRS on the other hand are relatively simple; they don’t require significant foreign training, and spare parts can probably be sourced from other FSU countries. These kinds of deals don’t have that much money and people going back-and-forth, and do not represent a significant shift in relations.
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