Climate change guilty of doing too little

The past decade was America‘s hottest on record. They are seeing more droughts, floods, and wildfires than ever before and these days low temperatures have many blocked.  Though still lots of Americans are not convinced they too should try to reduce waste, pollution and should use less of the earth’s resources just like there is plenty-fold.

A vast array of physical and biological system...

A vast array of physical and biological systems across the Earth are being affected by human-induced global warming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good to see a president who dares to call onto the citizens and to warn them that they may not stay blind, because

Climate change is happening, and the effects are visible all around us.

But a lot of people still have questions about climate change:

what it means, how bad it really is, and what we can do to fight it.

Still too many do not want to see what is going on in nature. They prefer to put their head in the sand. How climate change will impact on the world, and what must be done to avert a catastrophic four-degree rise in global temperature, many governments only offer obfuscation and excuses.

Denial: Australians burying their heads in the sands of Bondi Beach to send a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the dangers of climate change.

Denial: Australians burying their heads in the sands of Bondi Beach to send a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the dangers of climate change.

To be fully committed in the fight against climate change, we all have to understand why it’s such a serious issue.

We may see or hear that there are state organisations like Fish and Wildlife Service officials who try to get a good federal protection and present listings and have distributed guidelines on how to best log forests without harming bats for example. These recommendations suggest restricted logging from April through October, which led to push-back from the forest industry. That timber industry in the whole of America keeps cutting trees like nothing and each day football fields of green lounges disappear. where is the state control and why can not they catch the limber thieves?

The "burning embers" diagram above w...

The “burning embers” diagram above was produced by the IPCC in 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the meantime lots of people do heat their houses like saunas in Winter and cool it like freezers in Summer, whilst the factories fill the air with fumes of all sorts.

Unless global emissions peak and decline in short order, the world will pass a point where global warming can be limited to two degrees.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report calculated the remaining amount of carbon dioxide humans can emit and still have a likely chance of limiting global warming to less than two degrees. It comes to about another 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

In 2012, global emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane were around 54 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. To meet that “carbon budget”, UNEP calculates global emissions must be no higher than 44 gigatonnes in 2020, and 42 gigatonnes in 2030.

But current climate targets don’t stick within these limits. World leaders are currently committed to targets that imply global emissions will be 52 to 54 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, and 56 to 59 gigatonnes in 2030. UNEP says that leaves an “emissions gap” between where we’re headed and where we need to be.

In the West of Europe many people and governments are realizing the gravity of this problem, and are already taking action on the issue. In the wake of the historic joint climate announcement by the U.S. and China at the beginning of this month, the importance of American leadership in the fight against climate change cannot be understated.

Lots of Americans live in imaginary Pollyanna Land in the United States, much like the rest of the so-called developed world.

We’re the biggest, the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most noble. We’re a shining city on a hill, a beacon of justice and morality, righting wrongs, fighting evil everywhere, and guiding the world to the promised land of unlimited growth, wealth, and opportunity.  {Battling Environmental Depression: Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene}

Fortunately, a majority of Americans believe that climate change is real, but there’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation out there.
That’s why it’s critical that every opportunity is taken to set the record straight, and to make sure that everyone’s as informed and knowledgeable about it as possible.

Energy efficiency improvements could prevent 22 to 24 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions between 2015 and 2030, UNEP estimates, with new energy efficiency policies reducing energy demand by about five to seven per cent.

The Great Barrier Reef lies off the coast of Q...

The Great Barrier Reef lies off the coast of Queensland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the world wants to wait to much for what North America is doing, though the American president last week called on Australia’s youth to rise up and demand more action to combat climate change, remarking that

“incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened”.

The future of the Reef is an international issue therefore the world could see the US President, Barack Obama, talking about his desire for his grandchildren’s generation to still be able to enjoy the Reef in the way that we’re able to today. Knowing how to plan and manage the best outcomes for it is of the upmost importance.

On Sunday, Premier Campbell Newman said he was not about to “criticise our guest” but added that Mr Obama had relied on misinformation and he would tell US officials about what was “actually going on with the reef”.

In response the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop replied the Reef was

“not under threat from climate change because its biggest threat is the nutrient runoffs agricultural land, the second biggest threat is natural disasters, but this has been for 200 years”

Until now Prime Minister Tony Abbott has tried to limit the extent of discussion of climate change, but he has revealed he raised the issue during a bilateral meeting with French President François Hollande.

After years of arguing that Australia should only move faster once major polluters also moved, like so many other countries think, he has now described climate change as

“an important subject”

and one

“the world needs to tackle as a whole”.

The declaration followed one-on-one talks with his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, in Canberra ranging across trade, security and the need for binding emissions targets. But he said individual country commitments to reduce carbon pollution must not come at the expense of jobs and growth or they will inevitably fail.

The apparent shift from climate change resister to global action advocate came as he added the giant European Union to his priority list for a free trade agreement and called for greater intelligence sharing with the French on counter-terrorism, and the difficult issue of foreign fighters travelling to and from Iraq and Syria.

Mr Abbott said Australia and France were working side by side to defeat the Islamic State organisation in Iraq but pointedly added that “we’ve got more to do particularly when it comes to intelligence-sharing on the question of foreign fighters”.

“Climate change is an important subject. It is a subject that the world needs to tackle as a whole. Yes, each country has to do its bit to tackle the emissions problem. We are all doing what we can, Australia as well, and we need a strong and effective agreement from Paris next year.”

Mr Abbott said on Wednesday.

Obama rallied the world’s leaders and tried to organize action to slow carbon emissions and climate change. He announced a $3 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund. The GCF helps developing countries curb carbon emissions and deal with the effects of climate change such as heat waves, mudslides and rising sea levels. Japan also announced a $1.5 million contribution during the G20 Summit. On November 20, at a meeting in Berlin, many other wealthy nations pledged money to the fund.

Continuing his efforts to portray climate change as a global problem in need of a global solution, Obama spoke to an audience at the University of Queensland about environmental responsibility. The crowd applauded every time Obama mentioned climate change. He asserted that the Asia-Pacific region had more at stake from extreme weather and rising oceans than any other part of the world. {Obama Champions the Great Barrier Reef Despite Resistance}

For the North Americans Dr. John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy is willing to do everything he can to help.

Ask Dr. John P. Holdren anything you want to know about climate change, and forward this to anyone you know who has questions, too.

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Please do find:

  1. What have we done to the planet?
  2. The importance of improved energy efficiency to meet climate objectives
  3. What if the climate change problem were instead treated as a moral issue
  4. Battling Environmental Depression: Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene
  5. Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene
  6. Headlines by picking time scale
  7. Ecobuild 2015
  8. Harvard students sue for fossil fuel divestment
  9. Rising Seas Threaten Jokowi’s Maritime Plan
  10. Student Activism is a Catalyst for Change
  11. Fisheries data & statistics expert position at IMARES, The Netherlands
  12. Push for fossil fuel divestment gains momentum
  13. It took only two days for Abbott’s ‘conversion’ to climate change to be exposed
  14. Come on man, get on with it
  15. Abbott finds his French Connection on emission controls (Video)
  16. Buffalo’s 2014 November Snowstorm


Posted in Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Warning, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too much food is being wasted

It is very good the Belgian government at last thinks “Too much food is being wasted”

"Waste No Food... Food is Wasted... Food ...

“Waste No Food… Food is Wasted… Food is Wasted. Demonstare Thrift in Your Home. Make Saving, Rather than Spending, – NARA – 512511 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our so called civilised world should be full of shame for producing so much waste and for throwing away such good food. When we may believe the figures,each year, four billion tons of food is produced in the world, one-third of which is thrown away.

The Flemish should look in their own bosom, being responsible for some 120,000 tons of food being wasted every year in Flanders. The average household with two adults and two children could save €300 a year by eliminating food waste.

I still wonder how it comes we can not get big tomatoes ‘flesh tomatoes) big apples or formless courgettes or cucumbers. Why do all those bananas do have to be so big and uniform?

I do not notice much of the various undertaken plans to reduce food waste by the government of Flanders and look forward to what the Flemish parliament will do to push the food chains to sell more ‘out of  standard from’ food or the so called 3stars quality food. Let them bring that food that they want to throw away on the market cheaper and have the customer decide what he wants.

Parliament specifically calling for action to ensure that food is not wasted simply because “it doesn’t look good” is fine, but they also should stimulate the customers to be more careful with their choice and with their requests for certain looks and for certain products in or out season.

The motion to cut down on food waste was tabled by Groen MP Bart Caron in support of a campaign launched by the Belgian aid charity 11.11.11. on World Food Day last month and backed by CD&V, N-VA, Open VLD and SP.A.

Caron said:

“We’re calling on the government to consult the sectors involved so that a binding code of conduct is introduced to prevent unfair trade practices that lead directly to food waste,”

Your food is the best - Don't waste it - NARA ...

Your food is the best – Don’t waste it – NARA – 513725 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Flanders industrial base shrinks by a quarter (
    The daily De Tijd says that the demise of industry in Flanders is part of a global shift. In 1991 36% of the world’s manufacturing was done in Europe, while the figure for Asia was 8%. Roles are now reversed with Europe responsible for a quarter of the world’s industrial production and Asia good for 31%.
  • Flemish Parliament calls for new food waste initiative (
  • New Belgian government sworn in after months of talks (
    After five months of talks, a new centre-right Belgian government has been sworn in.At the age of 38 francophone Charles Michel is the country’s youngest prime minister since 1841.

    He has put together a four-party coalition, which brings a Flemish separatist party into government for the first time.

  • Clashes in Belgium as 100,000 protest against new government (
    Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon during clashes with demonstrators Thursday, November 6, as at least 100,000 people marched through Brussels in the first mass protests against the new government’s austerity measures.

    Protesters danced on the top of overturned cars and threw paving stones and fireworks during the protest, which opposes economic reforms announced by Prime Minister Charles Michel’s centre-right coalition.

    Riot police armed with clubs and shields charged the rowdiest groups of demonstrators, who also set rubbish bins on fire and made makeshift barricades, AFP journalists witnessed.

Posted in Economy, Environment and Ecology, Food, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The truth about the creation of the Greek state in the 19th century

Marcus Ampe:

Mussolini (left) and Hitler sent their armies ...

Mussolini (left) and Hitler sent their armies to North Africa and into Egypt against the British (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As often with historic writings we can see that they are written from one site, shedding a light from the victor, presenting themselves always better than the other.
Can you imagine what the history books would look like when Germany would have won World War II?


Take note of:

  • violence + attitude towards violence – normal fact of life.
  • historians tried to delete or massage one side of the history, while keeping the opposite side’s in full, and often adding to it.
World war ii era greek comic

World war II era Greek comic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • 102-year-old Knoxville vet says he’d do it again (
    Did you know a 102-year-old veteran lives in Knoxville?

    Luke Hardin served in the Army during both World War II and the Korean War.

  • Walk on Water: A Film About World War II Set In 2005 (
    Most of us are the children or grandchildren of the generation that fought in World War II—we have the luxury of thinking about the war as history. In the great 2005 movie Walk on Water, we watch as the descendants of both German and Jewish grandparents grapple with their predecessors’ actions in the present.
  • Antique Technique Properly Dating Your Signs (
    Humans are a perceptive species, with the ability to process data at an incredible speed. Each day, we are bombarded with information, the majority of which comes from various types of signage. Advertisements, street signs, and business signs are just a few of the different inputs that people absorb each day. Hence, the ability to evaluate and discern the validity and era of the signs we are confronted with is a valuable skill. For example, a sign that reads “Carriage Parking Here” is probably a bit dated and can be disregarded. But what if you’re confronted with content that’s a bit more vague? A sign that says “Warning: Carriages Cannot See Pedestrians” is harder to place along a timeline, especially when posted near a store that rents carriages.
  • Sen. Blumenthal to present World War II vet with medals nearly 70 years later (
    The long wait is almost over for a Connecticut veteran who did not receive military medals for his World War II service nearly seven decades ago.

    U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is set to finally present the medals to 91-year-old Vincent Meli at a senior home in Greenwich on Monday morning.

  • Local vet shares his memories of World War II (
    Ed Clark, of Medford, Mass, who served in World War II all over Europe: from the Battle of the Bulge, to Remagen to the occupation of Berlin.  He came home with a lot of memories — and his typewriter: A deep maroon Royal portable, called an Aristocrat, which he’s had since he was 16 years old.
  • Veterans Day – 2014 (
    In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.
  • Comfort Women (
    The level of denial in Japan over forced prostitution, rape, and colonized Korean “comfort women” in World War II is remarkable. Instead, the Japanese government’s narrative is that Japan is the victim in this story.
    At some point in studying various cultures of the world you come to the conclusion that the portion of the population that we now refer to as wingnuts in the US is present in every human population everywhere. It appears to be a genetic component of humanity and to have evolved very early in species development. You’d think that in the long and varied span of human history there would be some instances in which the wingnuts managed to, through rage and fury, kill all of themselves off in some ill-advised war. And there are a few remote tribes here and there where that may have happened and the survivors are predominantly of collaborative, empathetic natures – but in most cases through interbreeding the wingnut genes appears to have been revived and to thrive. At the same time, the wingnut genes also never survive as the majority of the population, probably because doing so insures their self-destruction.
  • NC library donates Nazi photos to Holocaust Museum (
    A collection of photographs of Nazi Germany during World War II now belongs to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., after spending decades in North Carolina.

    The Perquimans County Library donated three volumes that depict Germany in 1939-41, The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reported ( The volumes have a German title that translates as “Greater Germany in the Affairs of the World.”

    Most of the photo albums were prepared as gifts for Nazi party leaders and contained photographs of German cities, official construction projects, art works, and Nazi activities, according to research by the Library of Congress.

  • NC library donates Nazi photos to Holocaust Museum (
    The opening page of the 1939 volume includes a credit to Henrich Hoffman, who served as Adolf Hitler’s official photographer. Hoffman served four years in prison after he was captured in 1945. He died in 1957.

    The books were donated to the North Carolina library by Clement Jordan on behalf of his son, Joseph, who served in the Army after World War II. It wasn’t clear exactly how the Jordans came across the books.

  • After World War II Great Briton is Reduced to Little Briton (
    Hitler and the Second World War however sounded the death knell of the empire. In retrospect the victory over Germany was a Phyrric victory. Just 2 years after the end of the war, Great Briton was reduced to little Briton as the Empire collapsed like a pack of cards. Hitler thus in a way had the last laugh. Even in defeat he had achieved the impossible, the dismemberment of the Empire.

Originally posted on Rove Monteux:

The following is a documentary named 1821, in full as broadcasted by Greece’s television station SKAI, with added subtitles in English; 1821 refers to the Revolution of 1821, the Greek War of Independence (Ελληνική Επανάσταση) against the Turk control, a control established since 1453, following the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire.

Among others, the documentary points out the multinational nature of Greece’s past, the lack of real links to what once was the Classical Greece, and the state of affairs of a state created by and based on western ideals of having a glorious representation of its own past, and the role that religious institutions played in uniting ethnicities that would, otherwise, have never co-operated in order to achieve such.


One very interesting point made by the documentary, is the violence, and the attitude towards violence in those days, with it being…

View original 119 more words

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To freeze the fighting in Aleppo

Uprootedpalestinians’s Blog writes:

English: Khusruwiyah Mosque in Aleppo, Syria F...

Khusruwiyah Mosque in Aleppo, Syria in better times(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Turks supported most armed groups in northern Syria, but gave Turkmen groups special treatment. According to an opposition source on the ground, “the weapons supplied to these groups were from the beginning advanced weapons that are superior to other groups’ arms.” These groups are estimated to have 4,000 fighters in Aleppo and the countryside at present, though previously, they had more than 7,000 fighters.

The most prominent of these groups are the Liwaa Ahfad al-Fatihin, Liwaa al-Salajiqa, Liwaa al-Sultan Murad, and Liwaa al-Sultan Abdul-Hamid. They are deployed in the districts of Sheikh Fares, Bustan al-Basha, al-Halak, Baaydeen, al-Sakhour, and al-Haidarieh.


Initially, the group was aligned with Turkey. Its leader Sheikh Tawfiq Shihab al-Din then shifted his allegiance to Qatar (and the United States behind it) in April, after a visit to Doha. Upon his return, he split from the Army of Mujahedeen and changed his group’s name from Nur al-Din Zinki Brigades to Nur al-Din Zinki Movement, and forged an alliance with Hazm.


Opposition sources on the ground told Al-Akhbar that the leaders of these three groups held meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Turkey, before the coalition began air strikes against ISIS. One of the sources said, “Hazm and Zinki in particular receive direct US guidance, even in the simplest matters, such as telling their fighters not to grow beards.”

Read more >Map of regional and international influence in Aleppo

English: Bastion of the Citadel of Aleppo, Syr...

Not much is left over from the Bastion of the Citadel of Aleppo, Syria , seen here when it was still a witness of the cultural past (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Turkey warns of threat to Aleppo from Assad, fears new refugee influx (
    Ankara has been pushing for the U.S.-led coalition to broaden its campaign to tackle Assad as well as Islamic State, arguing there can be no peace in Syria if he remains in power.

    “We are watching the developments in Aleppo with concern. Though the city is not on the verge of falling, it is under extreme pressure,” Davutoglu told reporters late on Tuesday after meeting Turkey’s top generals.

    Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city before the war, has been split roughly in half between opposition groups in the east and government troops in the west. Assad’s forces have slowly encircled rebel positions this year trying to cut supply routes.

    Davutoglu said Assad’s forces were committing “large massacres” by barrel-bombing areas northeast and west of Aleppo under the control of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella term for the dozens of armed groups fighting Assad.

    “If Aleppo were to fall, we in Turkey would really be confronted with a large, very serious, worrisome refugee crisis. This is why we want a safe zone,” he said.

  • Turkey warns of threat to Aleppo from Assad, fears new refugee influx (
    Turkey already hosts more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war and has been pushing the United States and its allies to create a safe haven for refugees on Syrian territory. Any such move on the southern fringe of its border would require a no-fly zone policed by foreign jets.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has criticised the U.S.-led coalition’s focus in recent weeks on the predominantly Kurdish border town of Kobani, which has been besieged by Islamic State for more than a month, and warned its attention needed to be turned to other parts of the conflict.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said this week that Aleppo, the “bastion” of the opposition, was almost encircled by Assad’s forces and that abandoning it would end hopes of a political solution in Syria’s war.

  • Turkey warns of threat to Aleppo from Assad, fears new refugee influx (
    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Syrian forces of committing massacres in and around Aleppo and said Turkey would face a major new refugee crisis if Syria’s second city were to fall into his hands.

    As U.S. warplanes bomb Islamic State forces in parts of Syria, President Bashar al-Assad’s military has intensified its campaign against some rebel groups in the west and north that Washington sees as allies, including in and around Aleppo.

  • Local ceasefires best way to ease Syrians’ suffering: researchers (
    Local ceasefires in Syria may be the best way to ease the suffering of civilians in the absence of a political solution to the three-and-a-half year conflict, researchers from the London School of Economics said Monday.

    In a report that looked at more than 35 local negotiations across Syria since the start of the crisis, they said the international community should support such solutions, even if they have sometimes been problematic.

    While two rounds of peace talks between the government and the political opposition this year failed to halt the war, local ceasefires have brought some relief.

  • ‘ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally’: Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation (
    A reluctant former communications technician working for Islamic State, going by the pseudonym ‘Sherko Omer’, who managed to escape the group, told Newsweek that he travelled in a convoy of trucks as part of an ISIS unit from their stronghold in Raqqa, across Turkish border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February, in order to bypass their defences.
  • Assad says local ceasefire initiative “worth studying” (
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that a proposal by an international peace mediator to implement local ceasefires starting in the northern city of Aleppo was “worth studying”, state media said.

    United Nations Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura has cited the northern city of Aleppo as an obvious candidate for “incremental freeze zones” to stop localised fighting and allow better access to aid.

    “(Assad) considered the de Mistura initiative worth studying and trying to work on in order to attain its aims to return security to the city of Aleppo,” the state news agency said.

  • ‘Common enemy’: Former ISIS member calls Turkey an ‘ally’ in fight against Kurds (
    Turkey’s role in the fight against ISIS in Syria may be even more complicated than expected: a former Islamic State member reportedly claimed the country routinely communicates with the group, letting it cross the border to fight Kurdish troops.

    In a report by Newsweek, the former Islamic State communications technician – dubbed “Sherko Omer” in order to protect his identity – said the extremist group considers Turkey an ally as it continues to battle Kurds in Syrian towns like Kobani.

    “ISIS and Turkey cooperate together on the ground on the basis that they have a common enemy to destroy, the Kurds,” he told the magazine.

  • Syrian army planes bomb northern town killing 21 – monitor (
    Syrian military helicopters dropped barrel bombs and warplanes launched air strikes on the town which lies northeast of the city of Aleppo, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
  • Will Aleppo finally fall? (
    “Last year, it wasn’t clear the regime would fight with all the resources and resolve necessary to keep [Aleppo],” one commentator in the city told me. “But they have.”

    Rebel ranks are weakened by infighting and distracted by other fronts against the Islamic State (IS) group that now controls large swathes of northern Syria, including a strategic approach to Aleppo.

  • Has The Islamic State Peaked? (
    Is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria finally beginning to feel the pressure?  The first signs are emerging that a combination of coalition airstrikes and more assertive Iraqi and Kurdish forces are forcing ISIS to change its behavior and inflicting serious losses of both territory and fighters.

    Analysts tell CNN it is too early to say ISIS has “peaked.” It controls vast areas of northern and western Iraq, as well as much of northeastern Syria, and exercises draconian authority in areas as far apart as Anbar in western Iraq and Aleppo province in northern Syria. ISIS also continues to pick up endorsements and pledges of allegiance from other jihadist groups, most notably in Libya and Egypt.

Posted in News and Politics, Thoughts of others | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RIA Novosti: The West’s Turkey Problem

Marcus Ampe:

The reason why NATO had closed its eyes for the flirting of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Islamic terrorist friends may be questioned, but probably their eyes were more focused on Ukraine for having a buffer-zone and a close ear to Russia and perhaps they wanted to blame Turkey later to having have made the wrong choice so that they could not be said to have rejected Turkey for union with the European Union.

To take note:

  • Turkey was always a rather unlikely member of “the West.” > very strangest of bedfellows.
  • Turkish-Western partnership designed to counter a Soviet threat no longer exists
  • Turkey has changed radically
  • becoming simultaneously wealthier (on paper), more democratic, more religious, more self-confident, and more illiberal
  • structural changes put into place by Erdogan helped stoke the country’s best-ever run of economic growth
  • Turkey’s political system retains some genuine weak points
  • more democratic in both form and practice than it was during the 1980’s and 1990’s,
  • “double-standards” EU has already accepted Christian or post-Christian states located in continental Europe as full-fledged members countries, despite them having been substantially poorer than Turkey.
  • Any reservations from Brussels about Turkey’s democratic credentials are of very recent vintage.
  • it has also become much more openly Islamic = real reason for Turkey’s growing distance from the West is precisely this (genuinely popular!) religious awakening.
  • As Turkey reformed + gradually removed the army’s veto => political system would become more Islamic.
  • Erdogan + his social conservatism, a traditionalism increasingly at odds with an ever-more socially progressive EU.
  • Turkey actually moved further away from European integration
  • chief lesson: EU should never make rhetorical commitments that it has no intention of honoring.
  • in current “war against terror” Turkey’s interests are simply not in alignment with those of its putative allies.
  • Turkey decided fight against ISIS is inadvisable.
  • openly warring with the Islamic State=> expose itself to a withering campaign of terrorism that would wreak havoc with its economy
  • NATO alliance actually faces a far more significant threat from the potential departure of Turkey.


  • Turkey expects fulfilment of promises made by EU – Erdogan (
    Turkey is expecting fulfilment of the promises made by the EU, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Oct. 31 at a joint briefing with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, the Turkish agency Anadolu reported.

    Erdogan said given the trade turnover between Turkey and France, and the economic relations in general, Turkey believes that France will be its greatest friend in the EU.

    Turkish president, speaking of stagnation in the talks on Turkey’s accession to the EU, said his country expects that the EU will fulfil its promises.

  • Opinion – Turkish President Erdoğan complains of cacophony in US – POLITICS – Hurryet News – Turkey – John Gelmini (
    Washington would like to overthrow the regimes in Syria and Iran but knows that public opinion will not yet stand for another ground invasion after Afghanistan and Iraq.

    ISIS and its financial backers want to build a global Caliphate but until they directly threaten American interests, Obama will do nothing, even though the Pentagon and the US military are ready for what comes next; they see the bigger danger and would act more robustly if they were allowed to do their job.

  • Turkish Youths Put Hoods Over Heads of U.S. Soldiers During Assault in Istanbul (
    Shocking video has surfaced which shows Turkish youths assaulting U.S. soldiers in Istanbul. As one Turk demands U.S. soldiers get out of Turkey, others hurl objects at the soldier, another sprays what looks like paint, and still others momentarily cover the man’s head with a hood before he takes of running from what is clearly a mob:
  • On the Ottoman Empire, Shariah Law and Turkey (
    The idea that Shariah is very strict, that it’s very severe, that it’s inflexible, is a mischaracterization. It’s a recent, Western mischaracterization. Literally, Shariah means “God’s plan of right existence.” There are as many Shariah interpretations as there are human beings, because your interpretations of God’s plan and my interpretation of God’s plan are going to be different. So Shariah is plural.
    Secularization in Turkey, beginning with the Young Turks, was a top-down, authoritarian movement. There was always yearning for traditional conservative values among the people, especially in rural areas. But the military, which played a major role in Turkish politics, kept those ideas under control. In the late 1990s, when Turkey was negotiating to become part of the European Union, it was forced to adopt more democratic, more nonmilitary policies. Erdoğan and his allies saw an opening and, once elected, pushed the Army back to its barracks. With the army weakened, Islamist ideas, which had never disappeared, flowed back into public life.
  • Muslims found Americas, says Erdogan (
  • Turkey: Public ‘Dislike Israel More than Isis, Hezbollah and Hamas’ (
    The Turkish public have a more unfavourable view of Israel than that of terror groups Islamic State (Isis), Hezbollah and Hamas, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

    Of those surveyed, 86% held an unfavourable view of Israel and only 2% had a favourable view of the country. In comparison, 85% had an unfavourable view of extremist groups IS and Hezbollah, while 80% had an unfavourable view of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

  • Christopher Columbus Did Not Discover America Says Turkish President (

    In a speech on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Christopher Columbus did not discover America. In fact, according to Erdogan, it was discovered by Muslims almost 300 years before Columbus ever landed. Erdogan went on to say that Columbus mentioned a hill on the coast of Cuba that has a mosque standing on top of it. He said that a mosque should be built by Turkey on top of the hill that Columbus spoke of. He said he would like to speak to his “Cuban brothers” about it.

    These comments were made in an address at a conference of Latin American Muslim scholars in Istanbul. According to Erdogan, Islam was prominent before Columbus arrived in the 15th century. He said that Muslim sailors landed in 1178 on the coasts of America and that contact between Islam and Latin America goes back as far as the 12th century.

  • Russia, Turkey Inch Toward Improved Relations (
    Russia and Turkey established the High Level Cooperation Council in 2010, which has met four times and may convene its fifth session in Turkey before the end of the year. Russian and Turkish officials appear to consult regularly on significant regional issues. In October, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Islamic State. Although Moscow and Ankara do not always agree on how to proceed on issues, their communications appear to be far more regular and substantive than Putin’s exchanges with any other NATO member, especially after the alliance shut down the NATO-Russia Council earlier this year. After an inquiry by Al-Monitor, the Moscow Times debunked media reports circulating in social media citing the paper as the source of a story about a contentious conversation between Putin and Erdogan that ended in mutual threats.

    Perhaps most remarkable is that while Erdogan continues to press Putin about the Crimean Tatars and their priorities, Turkey has abstained from Western efforts to punish Moscow over Ukraine, maintaining a rather moderate tone. This stands in stark contrast to the other governments most directly affected — namely, the Central European NATO members — which have tried to push NATO and the United States into doing more and which in many cases are seeking US and NATO troop deployments on their territory.

  • Muslims discovered America, says Turkish president (
    “It is alleged that the American continent was discovered by Columbus in 1492,” Erdogan said. “In fact, Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178.”

    “In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba,” Erdogan said, adding that he’d like to see a mosque built on the hilltop today.

    Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus’s writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus, an Italian, made his expedition in 1492 on behalf of the Spanish crown.

  • Mikdad: Turkish, French attempts to implement schemes against Syria is doomed to failure (
    Syrians who are united against terrorism would not forget that the Turkish regime has supported, financed, armed and harbored the terrorists in Syria and it was involved, with the American and Israeli intelligence, in manufacturing the so-called the” Arab Spring’ to pave the way for the establishment of the Erdogan Ottoman caliphate .

    The Deputy Foreign Minister lashed at Erdogan and Hollande hysteria as their terrorists were approaching to collapse in Aleppo, adding that their role in supporting the terrorists’ crimes in Aleppo was uncovered.

    Mikdad said that those who want the continued presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists in Aleppo are standing by terrorism and the killers.

Originally posted on 2012: What's the 'real' truth?:

Since the news seems to be a bit slow today, I’ve taken the time to focus on the situation in Turkey, and this article seems to give us some perspective. Turkey’s role in the developing situation in the Middle East is not to be taken lightly. ~J

The West’s Turkey Problem

Ever since the electoral triumph of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development party, Turkey has changed radically, becoming simultaneously wealthier, more democratic, more religious, more self-confident, and more illiberal.
13:03 05/11/2014

Mark Adomanis

View original 985 more words

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Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire

Catherine Shakdam, Editor in Chief of The Levant, just published Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire on the back of the ‘black army’?  In this interview Catherine suggests that ISIL, that ostensible “Islamic extremist” group backed by Israel and its proxies, seems to be destabilizing the precise territory that the Zionists are planning to take over to create “Greater Israel” stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates.

and looks on Ashura, a major Muslim holiday.

He writes:

Shia Muslims commemorate the slaughter of a good ruler, the Prophet’s grandson and legitimate heir Hussein, by the evil S.O.B. Yazid, by beating their chests and backs with light chains. I wouldn’t mind seeing Americans likewise beating themselves every November 22nd to commemorate the murder of a relatively good leader, JFK, by a bunch of evil SOBs including LBJ, Allan Dulles, George H.W. Bush, Cord Meyer, James Jesus Angleton, Meyer Lansky, and very likely David Ben Gurion. And I wouldn’t mind seeing Americans beating themselves with HEAVY chains every 9/11 to mourn the murder of the American dream by a bunch of neoconservative scumbags who make the Elders of Zion look like small-timers.

According to Opinion – Analysis of Crash it was not only Western pressure that impelled the Ankara government to take the reluctant step to come closer to ISIS, but recent serious rioting by Turkish Kurds, appalled by their government’s policy of isolating their fellow Kurds beyond the border, which left 35 people dead. Turkey has allowed European jihadists, including more than 500 from Britain, to pour across its borders to join ISIS.

At first neutral observers gave Erdogan the benefit of the doubt. But Turkey had become a pass-way or gate-way for many Islamic fighters from Belgium, Holland and Great-Britain. A Londoner and an inhabitant from Vilvoorde in Flemish Brabant have been recognised as the beheaders on some IS-videos.

The West could see how the Islam faith was pressed on to the people of Turkey and how the principle of secularism had become only a political fetish. It had been used as a pretext by the army to overthrow four elected governments since 1960.

The enforcement of secularism, too, had become intrusive and oppressive, going far beyond the principle of separation of religion and state to the point where it resembled the French obsession with “laïcité”. Turkish girls wondered why they could freely wear the hijab on a British campus but not at any Turkish university.

said the writer of Turkey complicit with ISIS; unfit to join EU in 2014, October 29.

There are many who think that the Turkish government would not be using terror and religious radicalism as a tool, a commodity to assert, serve and carry its goals, can be very mistaken, I think.

When we look into the past we can find many examples where leaders of group managed to indoctrinate others, with or without force. Religion very often was misused to get more power. The Roman Catholic Church does not go free, having had European nations waging a series of wars against the so-called “infidels of Islam,” looking to reconquer the “holy land.” For many Christians those men who went to war are often still considered brave man.

The Crusades, the words themselves inspire thoughts of bravery, chivalry, and the quest for glory in the name of Christianity for God himself.  {The crusades: holy war or struggle for wealth}

Many decades the Crusades, the Conquest of South and North America were presented as the solution against the heathen indigenous people. Children at school learned those war were necessary to protect the right religion.  Today we see also such people who do believe they are going for the right religion. As volunteers many from West Europe offer themselves up for the good cause. They are convinced, like many Turkish people believe, that the Islam is endangered by the West. Islam needs safeguarding according to them from the bad influences of the capitalist West.

Today our world also faces a “holy war”, which is sold to the masses. The men behind the scenes also promise the followers of their only right true religion that they will be able to gain their heaven, able to enter the paradise as a  martyr and having their people to come to live in the land of “milk and honey”.

As it now appears – or, if you will, as the United States has portrayed and even confirmed – Turkey, under the leadership of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has manipulated and crafted radicals into a veritable army in order to manifest its longing for regional domination, by way of resurrecting the Ottoman Empire.

Foreign Correspondent of The National Piotr Zalewski remembers us that Ahmet Davutoglu, Mr Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser since 2003, who soon became foreign minister in 2009 said:

We are the new Ottomans

Mr Erdogan, like a wolf in sheep-clothes was an eager disciple and partner, to make the case for re-establishing Turkey’s bygone glory. The quiet thinker and the fiery populist often invoked Turkey’s Islamic heritage and anti-colonialist discourse.

English: Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Diyarbakir, T...

Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Diyarbakir, Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1998 Syria was considered the enemy and the two countries were on the verge of war. Just over a decade later they were holding joint cabinet meetings. With the other Arab befriended nations relations went for the better. How more the Islamisation took place in Turkey how more friendly and good willing the neighbourhood Islamic nation were offering a free hand to Turkey.

Turkey got to know very well its place and Mr Davutoglu was not afraid to say publicly:

“Not a leaf will stir in the Middle East without Ankara hearing of it and responding,”

According to Piotr Zalewski all the leaves stirred at once, in the spring of 2011. Caught by surprise but eager to be on the right side of history and to deepen Turkey’s regional footprint, Mr Davutoglu and Mr Erdogan backed the popular uprisings in Libya, Egypt and Syria.

They broke with the entrenched leadership and embraced the Islamists, with whom they had shared a common ideological lineage. The AKP itself had been built on the ruins of an overtly Islamist party, of which Mr Erdogan had been a leading member.

says Piotr Zalewski

Certain that Syria’s Bashar Al Assad would fall like Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak, Turkey went so far as to open its southern border to the anti-regime rebels. Rhetoric began to outpace reality.

In 2012 Mr Davutoglu said:

“Whatever we lost between 1911 and 1923, whatever lands we withdrew from, we shall once again meet our brothers in those lands between 2011 to 2023,”

and referring to the World War I era and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire:

“We shall break the mould shaped for us by Sykes-Picot,”

he said a year later.

Catherine Shakdam writes:

If a theme was to be found when discussing Turkey, both the word Ottoman and Islamic would adequately describe which directions President Erdogan has veered his country toward and more importantly which goals he wishes to achieve.

Just as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came to symbolize the rise of Turkey as a modern republican state, President Erdogan is fast becoming a poster child for neo-imperialism.

The very existence of the Free Syrian Army has also been pinned down to Turkey, raising some questions regarding the group’s intentions, motivations and methods, as described by Aron Lund, editor of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace’s Syria in Crisis Blog in, “The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist.”

We all should be well aware of the position Turkey and President Erdogan wanted to take and how so many members of the government might be linked to terrorism. Also a lot of Turkish civilians gained quite a lot with the ongoing war in the neighbour country.

Catherine Shakdam who is a political analyst with over 7 years of experience and of which her writings have appeared in a number of publications, among which Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye, Majalla, Foreign Policy Association, Yemen Post, and the Guardian UK warns:

As lines have been blurred between ISIS militants, the Free Syrian Army and Turkey itself, all three appear as extensions of one another, the manifestations of the same will to engineer the inception of an Islamic state whose reach will encompass the MENA region and recreate the long lost Ottoman Empire.


Please do find out more:

> Broadcast November 5th, 10-11:00 a.m. Central (1500 GMT) on, archived here.

> Ashura-JFK-9/11 and the beauty of Shia Islam

> Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire on the back of the ‘black army’?

> The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist


  • Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire on the back of the ‘black army’? ( + > Is Turkey attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire on the back of the ‘black army’? (uprootedpalestinians)
    Turkey, a keen supporter of the now-vilified Muslim Brotherhood has been thus far in a position in which it can shrug off allegations its state policies have been crafted in a manner that benefits the terrorist group the world has come to know as the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” or the “black army” in some circles. It has done so by arguing that it stands for democracy and freedom.
  • The Paradox of Arab Democracy (
    Iraq, Syria and Jordan have been at the very heart of the Arab Levant since the fall of the Ottoman empire (about one hundred years ago). Each one of these “nation-states” was constructed and adapted to the needs of the victors in WWI. They were led by the dictatorial strength of sectarian minorities, whose legitimacy was crafted artificially in the halls of the League of Nations and the foreign offices of European colonial powers. Iraq became a Sunni-dominated monarchy and then, following its overthrow, a minority Sunni dictatorship. Syria has been led for the last forty years by an Alawi ruling family who came to power in a military coup.
    For many years, the politically disconnected Sunnis (a majority within a majority in Syria) had no avenue of political recourse other than the mosque. The same was true for the Shia in Iraq. But even here, the brutality of these two regimes knew few limitations. As the government-sponsored massacres of the 1980’s showed, any protest against the Assad regime (even in the mosque) would be met with a most savage response. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was one of the most brutal dictators in world history. His overthrow was a great moment for Iraq. But the zigzags in American policy doomed the Levant to dictatorship. And so it went. As the people in Syria called for democracy and a civil state through non-violent protest, the demonstrators were met with snipers, torture and rape. Into the mayhem and chaos, any hope of human rights through citizenship in a civil society faded. With the advent of armed struggle, outside powers (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the Gulf states) and the Assad regime itself made certain that a return of the most radical Islamism became the new reality.
  • Centenary of the Ottoman Empire’s Entry into World War I ( (video)
    100 years ago, the Ottoman Empire bombarded two Russian ports, entering the war on the side of Germany and Austria. Below is rare footage of Ottoman forces operating during the war.
    The Ottomans lost, and victorious France and Britain carved up the Middle East into countries like Syria and Iraq, which have now fallen apart.
  • This Week in World War I, November 8-14, 1914 (
    Mesopotamia, an ancient land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, had been part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, although it had never been completely under its control. The region held important reserves of oil around Basra in the south and around Mosul in the north. It adjoined Persian oil fields that were the Royal Navy’s primary supply of fuel oil.
  • European Union To Honor Zionist War Criminal George H.W. Bush (
    George H.W. Bush the Zionist war criminal is being honored by the European Parliament to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.  H will receive the Robert Schuman Medal at his presidential library.
  • Bush 41′s Team Discusses Berlin Wall’s Fall, ISIS’ Threat (
    Baker and Scowcroft also told the moderator, Bush School Dean Ryan Crocker, that the building of good relationships with other countries during that time made it easier for President Bush to build a coalition to take on Iraq when it invaded Kuwait, sparking 1991′s Gulf War.
  • Old wine, new bottles (
    Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, George H.W. Bush, then president of the United States of America, issued this heraldic proclamation: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one, sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America.” History had ended, the American nirvana had begun. The Cold War ‘victory’, a liturgical chant with Western leaders, brooks no denial. Retreat, however, points frequently to an unfinished contest.
  • The Ottoman Spring (
    What became known as the Young Turk Revolution brought euphoria and optimism to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious populations of the Ottoman Empire, who were enticed by the CUP with the promise, rooted in the rhetoric of the French Revolution, of ‘Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.’
  • today’s birthday: David Ben-Gurion (1886) (
    Ben-Gurion was one of the founders of the state of Israel and its first prime minister. Born in Russian Poland, he immigrated to Palestine—then part of the Ottoman Empire—at the age of 20 hoping to fulfill the Zionist aspiration of building a Jewish state in historic Israel.


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Turkey witnessing a surge in xenophobia

NATO member and European Union applicant, Turkey is witnessing a surge in xenophobia, according to new research by Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Findings of the new survey coincide with an increasing amount of conflict along the country’s southern border and strained diplomatic relations with neighbors and allies.

Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz of Taraf and Al Monitor says the anti-foreigner sentiment isn’t reserved for Western countries alone — the traditional source perceived antagonism among Turks.

Ottoman empire

Ottoman empire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cemil Cicek, speaker of the Turkish parliament, expressed concern Nov. 17 that the international community would begin a smear campaign in 2015 against Turkey, marking the centennial of the lost Armenian lives at the end of the Ottoman Empire. While Turkey has accepted the 1915 events as a “massacre,” it contradicts the international community that calls it a “genocide.” Since the 1980s, Turkey has also been lobbying foreign parliaments, and especially the US Congress, not to make any binding or nonbinding decision declaring it a genocide.

Erdoğan addresses the members of parliament du...

Erdoğan addresses the members of parliament during a heated debate at the Turkish Parliament about democracy and the democratic initiative. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Erdogan trys to collect political gains by highlighting the dark parts of Turkey’s history  — attacking the CHP, the single-party era and therefore its new leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is from Tunceli (formerly Dersim) in the process. Erdogan wanted to embarrass Kilicdaroglu by creating the impression in the nation’s eyes that he was acting against the people of his own hometown by leading a party that had given the order to bomb the uprising in Dersim in 1937, ending so many innocent lives. He hoped that it would bring him votes. He was right. Erdogan has not lost any election since he came to power, but the town of Tunceli voted against him in the 2010 referendum and the CHP won the town’s local elections in 2011.

According to diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz 75 percent of those surveyed said they were anti-American, but an equal 70 percent said they were anti-Russian and most Turks are against Saudi Arabia and China; they’re against NATO; they are against the EU.

The shift also coincides with Ankara’s recently strained or suspended diplomatic relations with neighbouring Syria, Iraq and Iran, and differences with some Western allies over the conflict in Syria and the fight against Islamic State militants.

The perceived sense of isolation on the world stage that Turkish citizens report in the survey, says political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Suleyman Shah University, is the result of the Turkish government campaign that fuels public hostility toward the world.

“The government is pumping this idea of splendid isolation, which they call ‘worthy loneliness’ — a bit like Russia, by the way — trying to making its case, but of course no avail,”

said Aktar.

Analysts say Turkey’s suspicion and even outright hostility toward outsiders is nothing new. Throughout much of the 20th century, for example, Turkish schoolchildren were taught that their country was surrounded by enemies, and that collapse of the Ottoman Empire was the result of collusion among Western and Arab countries.

According to Aktar, that sentiment, along with the post-WWI occupation of Turkey by European countries, still shapes the national psyche.

“It goes back to the early 20th century, when Turkey was reborn from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire and the country was occupied,” he said. “Mustafa Kemal and his friends ended the state of affairs and created a new country. So there is a huge suspicion of anything which comes from the West, a sense that of being surrounded by enemies all over. It’s of course very worrisome.”

Politicians in Turkey are much aware of the rising nationalism and do not mind using this to their advantage.

“There is this perception they are guarding Turkey against nefarious outside plans. Erdogan himself was reviving imagery pertaining to the First World War, so as you see we have this being utilized at the highest level of the policy in Turkey.”

Semih Idiz notices.

Last month President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Western meddling in the region was akin to the iconic World War I British army officer known as Lawrence of Arabia, who led an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. President Erdogan warned Turkey was facing the dangers of a new Lawrence of Arabia.

Today there may be found a good climate to manage the plans for creating a renewed strong Ottoman empire with links to a Islamic Caliphate so that it can counter Europe, America and China. As such Ankara is not interested in fighting IS but has in the past already provided combat material to them.

Syria and Iran would probably wish the Kurds who want autonomy and the ability to govern themselves well and feel a sense of good riddance. In Iraq, it comes down to control of the northern oil fields, so Iraqis will not be quite so sanguine. Russia was originally assigned administration of ‘Kurdistan’ but after the Revolution, the new government denounced all Tsar signed agreements, and the British quickly rushed in to seize that former Russian-ruled region. So now could be again an opportunity to take back what they think is theirs.

The Turks who are not so keen of the Kurds, though I found their attitude had much improved since 1992, will be very careful in engaging the Kurdish Peshmerga to fight against ISIS or other forces. But for all of the cruelty heaped upon both Kurds and Armenians, the Kurds are still stateless.

French philosopher-writer Bernard-Henri Levy maintained that the battle against IS was

“the moment of truth, the now or never, for the (NATO) alliance and the system of collective security that was established in the region in the aftermath of the Second World War.” {Shame on Turkey for Choosing the Islamic State over the Kurds}

“If Turkey stands down a third time — if Kobani becomes the name of yet another Turkish default, this one inexcusable — its future in NATO is in doubt,”

Levy said.

Western diplomats in Ankara sounded out by Al-Monitor admitted that there is frustration with Turkey among Western governments over the reluctant, almost standoffish, position Ankara has taken in the fight against IS. They pointed out that it’s a long shot, however, to look at this and argue that Turkey should be expelled from NATO.


Find also preceding posts:

Turkey inbetween two visits

Turkey anno 2002 #1 Aspendos

Turkey anno 2002 #2 Antalya and Side inside out

Turkey a wolf in the sheep house of the European Union


  • Opinion – Turkish President Erdoğan complains of cacophony in US – POLITICS – Hurryet News – Turkey – John Gelmini (
    Dr Alf says he struggles to find logic in Erdogan’s position and sees conflicting signals emerging from Washington’s position.He is right on both counts.

    President Erdogan of Turkey is trying to rebuild the Ottoman Empire, using Qatari and Kuwaiti money and assistance from Saudi Arabia, whilst pretending to be Washington’s ally.

  • No Chance Turkey Will Be ‘Kicked Out of NATO’ (
    The US-led fight against the Islamic State (IS), and in particular the battle for Kobani, the predominantly Kurdish town in northern Syria that is shouting distance from the Turkish border, has turned into a “stress test” for Turkey’s NATO membership, if one is to go by some Western opinion-makers.
  • Diplomatic Crisis Looms as Turkey Steps Into Cypriot Controversy (
    Turkey’s decision to dispatch a warship to Cyprus to protect an oil and gas research ship is threatening to provoke a diplomatic crisis.Greek Cypriots have suspended island unification talks and called for Ankara’s EU bid to be suspended.

    And on Friday, Greece has warned NATO partner Turkey not to intimidate Cyprus over Turkish efforts to develop off-shore natural gas fields.  The Greek intervention is the latest ratcheting up of regional tensions over the disputed energy fields.

  • Turkish-Cypriots: EU Resolution Condemning Turkey Is Unacceptable (
    As “unacceptable” and “one sided” characterized the self-proclaimed Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus the European Parliament’s joint resolution that was passed on Thursday and condemned the ongoing Turkish violations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In an announcement, the so-called Ministry assumed that the Turkish-Cypriot community should have the right of speech in the European Parliament, while at the same time stressed that the decisions taken by the European Union on the issue do not commit Turkey to take any actions.
  • EU: Turkey should ‘show restraint’ in Cyprus gas row (
    European Union leaders expressed ‘concern’ about renewed tensions between the Greek Cypriot administration and Turkey over marine exploration for oil and gas.The Greek Cypriot administration said in the first week of October it would block Turkey’s accession talks in the EU in response to Ankara’s hydrocarbon exploration in waters that the administration claims as its territory.

    Leaders of the 28 EU member states urged Turkey to “show restraint” and to “respect” the Greek Cypriot administration’s “sovereign rights” in these waters.

    The Greek Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of violating the law of the sea with its exploration vessel.

    Turkey rejects Greek accusations of sea law violations and Ankara has vowed to continue hydrocarbon explorations off the island.

    “The Barbaros ship will continue to make its seismic studies [off Cyprus] … nobody should try to create a crisis,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference after holding a briefing meeting with Energy Minister Taner Yıldız on the issue on Oct. 21.

    “We have the right to conduct seismic studies there, according to agreements signed between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. We will always use this right,” Davutoglu said.


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Turkey anno 2002 #2 Antalya and Side inside out

Antalya, Turkey.

Antalya, Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With it 378,726 citizens in 1990 Antalya looked a vibrant city were I was very well treated in a very modern hospital, though I had paid for an all in hotel only my wife and son could stay there while I was bounced the first week to the care of doctors and nurses and afterwards had a few weeks only allowed to have rice water and not much food, so having all the niceties passing my eyes.

Attaleia or Attalia, later also knows as Adalia was founded in the 2d century BCE by Attalus II, king of Pergamum to locate ‘Heaven on Earth’. They found this glorious stretch of coast with deep-blue sea under spectacular cliffs backed by the Taurus Mountains ideal. The well-pleased monarch founded the forerunner to Antalya. Christians know it from the Acts 14.25 as the port from which Paul and Barnabas sailed to Antioch. Above the marina – on the site of the old Roman port the old centre of Antalya, Kaleici brings a pleasant area with red-roofed Turkish and Greek houses, threaded by narrow cobbled streets. Luckily it is not ruined by the many restaurants and small hotels and shops where they men stand outdoors to call you in.

Konyaalti street, Antalya, Turkey.

Konyaalti street, Antalya, Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top photo subjects are here too the ancient witnesses, like the Roman triumphal arch commemorating the visit by Hadrian along with the 13th Century Yivli Minaret and the originally Roman Clock Tower. You also might take in some sightseeing from the tram which runs up and down the seafront to the city’s main beach at Konyaalti, and the Antalya Museum, packed with wonders from the region’s Roman and Greek sites.

Antalya with clock tower -2002

Antalya with clock tower -2002

The city passed under the control of the Seljuk Turks in the 13th century and in the 15th century was annexed by the Ottoman Empire.

Situated on a steep cliff, Antalya is a picturesque city surrounded by many ancient ruins; there is a notable archaeological museum. With its airport it is a gateway for South Turkey’s coastal resorts.

Besides the summer crowd, more people are buying second homes or retiring in Antalya, which has helped boost the population from about 600,000 in 2002 to an estimated 790,000. Summer visitors bring the population to 2 million – and in 2008 nine million tourists descended already on Antalya to make the most of a 35-mile stretch of beach that includes the classical site of Side and Belek, a burgeoning golf resort.

The 21st century has witnessed crucial alterations in terms of economic structure, growth strategies and global problems. New economics featuring knowledge based sectors faces some crucial social, economic and environmental problems with the effect of population increase, aging, changes in disease structures, increase in the demand of natural resources (Tepav, 2012).

Recently, there have occurred many progresses in the health sector in Antalya. There are international biomedical companies mostly situated in Antalya Free Trade Zone. High agricultural production also enables biotechnology clusters to be formed. Besides the existence of West Mediterranean Agricultural Research Institute, Akdeniz University Research Centre for Agricultural Biotechnology and Suleyman Demirel University Biological Control Research and Application Centre would support the formation of biotechnology cluster. {Significance of Biotechnology Clusters in Terms of Sustainable Development and Clustering Proposal for Antalya Province, Turkey}

English: Antalya, Turkey, foggy morning

A danger facing every popular area is the ‘building up to the stars’ -Antalya, Turkey, foggy morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was the time that “housesharing” was in so some handy persons tried to lure people to buy a houseshare so that they could every year be sure to find a place waiting in the sun. In 2009 the Bank of America said that Turkish property offered a ‘safe haven’ during these difficult times. Turkey looked set to be one of the property success stories, were I could find many of my acquaintances having found their holiday home.

Because the southern coast also has great international appeal, buyers are not so reliant on the British market — as has proved so disastrous on the Costas — for rental or re-sale.{Talking Turkey; from Istanbul to Golf Getaways in Antalya, the Prospects Are Sunny, Says Mark Hughes-Morgan}

Antalya 2002 port CCI18112014_0003

Port of Antalya 2002

An other ancient Greek city on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, which attracted a lot of buyers is the resort town and one of the best-known classical sites in the country Side. It lies near Manavgat and the village of Selimiye, 78 km from Antalya) in the province of Antalya. Located on the eastern part of the Pamphylian coast, which lies about 20 km east of the mouth of the Eurymedon River, the ancient city is situated on a small north-south peninsula about 1 km long and 400 m across.

Side 2002 from the air CCI18112014

Postcard view from the air of Side – 2002

Most likely in the 7th century bCE Side was founded by Greek settlers from Cyme in Aeolis, a region of western Anatolia. It was the most important port of ancient Pamphylia, originally situated on the Mediterranean Sea coast; it now lies inland. Though it was founded by Aeolian Greeks, a peculiar non-Greek language was spoken there. Alexander the Great occupied it (333 bCE).

Side – Vespasian Gate – Photo Ingo Mehling 2012

Antiochus III the Seleucid king and the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire, ruled over the region of Syria and large parts of the rest of western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century bCE. In 191 bCE, however, the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Asia Minor. The Romans followed up their success by invading Anatolia, and the decisive victory of Scipio Asiaticus at Magnesia ad Sipylum (190 bCE), following the defeat of Hannibal at sea off Side, delivered Asia Minor into their hands.

In the 1st century bCE, Cilician pirates made Side their chief slave market. The ruins include the remains of a colossal theatre, built on arches and considered one of the finest in Anatolia.

The consul Servilius Vatia defeated these brigands in 78 BC and later the Roman general Pompey in 67 BC, bringing Side under the control of Rome and beginning its second period of ascendancy, when it established and maintained a good working relationship with the Roman Empire. {“Side – History of the City”}

Wonders of antiquity in Side - 2002

Wonders of antiquity in Side – 2002

We entered the site from among the well preserved city walls and through the main gate of the ancient city. It is said that the modern road follows exactly the course of the ancient avenue, although the marble columns that were once used do not exist any-more. A few broken stubs can be seen near the old Roman baths. Two avenues of the Corinthian style can still be found with at the left side the remains of a Byzantine Basilica.
The remains of a public bath have been restored and now serve as the Museum. This building is situated before the agora, on the right side of the street. At the Museum, Roman period statues and sarcophagi are on display and very nice duplicates of statues can be bought.
The remains of the agora can be seen on the left side. This was also the place where pirates sold slaves.

File:Side TH au.JPG

Walls of the ancient theatre of Side – Photo KaHe 2006

Behind the agora you shall find the theatre with 2° Century remains of a monumental gate and a restored fountain at the entrance. The skene of the 15,000 people seating capacity theatre is in a bad state. It was also used in the late Roman period for gladiator fights and in the 5-6°century CE is also was used as an open air church, close to the Temple of Dionysus of the early Roman period.

The colonnaded avenue used to extend up to the harbour. This part of the avenue is now beneath the present town of Side. Near the harbour there are two temples side by side. One of these has been dedicated to Apollo and the other to Artemis. 6 columns of the Apollo Temple have been restored and re-erected. In front of the temples was a Byzantine Basilica.

Detail of temple in Side  - 2002

Detail of temple in Side – 2002

Lots of people coming to visit these sites did find their hotel in Alanya, the last major resort on the Turkish riviera which reaches by a scenic road turning north toward the Taurus Mountains (Toros Dağları) which divides the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau and Konya through banana plantations. Alanya’s pride is its sandy beaches and the great fortress that crowns it.

Taurus Mountains, Mr Marcus Ampe & Mrs Marjolein Pronk in Anatolya province 2002

Taurus Mountains, Marcus Ampe & Marjolein Pronk in Anatolya province 2002

Familie Ampe-Pronk In het Taurus gebergte - Taurus Mountains 2002

Family Ampe-Pronk- Anatolya Taurus Mountains 2002

When in the region you must also go to visit the spectacular Kurunlu waterfall, a haven for more than 100 bird species who dart around this natural wonder. The hidden cave at the back of the waterfall is a popular place for tourists. .

Revisiting Turkey we saw the many progressive changes for the good but also a lot of changes going back in time, having again more women totally covered and diminished in the street-view. It also showed that it was still too poor, and will cost the rest of the EU too much.

At Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey the first Formula One race to take place in Turkey got the press while Turkey was not willing to open its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Cyprus. Turkey says it will not do this until the EU takes steps to end the Turkish Cypriot community’s economic isolation. The EU also says that Turkey’s efforts to bring its laws into line with European standards have slowed down. It has especially called on Turkey to repeal a law which it says undermines freedom of speech.
EU officials talked about possible Turkish membership in 10 to 15 years and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso used the phrase “15 to 20 years”.

Some EU states are keen to ensure that Turkey does not feel that the door is being slammed in its face, and that membership remains a real possibility in future.

Other member states have always been rather cool about the idea of Turkish membership.

In Turkey, there was some impatience with the EU’s demands for reform, and fear that its insistence on minority rights for the Kurds would cause the country to break up. Several Turks would loved to see their country in the EU and being able to travel around freely. Membership of the EU’s single market is a big incentive, as well as the freedom to travel or work in other countries, without applying for a visa.
The European Commission published a progress report in 2004, which gave Turkey the thumbs up. Then, in December 2004, the 25 EU leaders said the talks should begin on 3 October 2005.

This deadline was met, just about, when the foreign ministers of all 25 EU states reached a last-minute agreement on a text setting a framework for the negotiations on the evening of 3 October.

Ten years later its seems we are even further off of having a commitment of trade unifications and of closer European Union co-operation, let stand unification with Europe.



Preceding articles:

Turkey inbetween two visits

Turkey a wolf in the sheep house of the European Union

Turkey anno 2002 #1 Aspendos


Additional literature:

  1. Talking Turkey; from Istanbul to Golf Getaways in Antalya, the Prospects Are Sunny, Says Mark Hughes-Morgan
  2. Antalya, seen by The Mail on Sunday (London, England) , March 19, 2006  
  3. 6 Things You Must Do in. Antalya
  4. Antalya; 6 Things You Must Do In
  5. Antalya, Land of the A- Listers Where You Can Still Pick Up a Flat for [Pounds Sterling]35,000; Tycoon Creates a Property Boom in Turkey’s Budget Resort
  6. Blinded by the Whites; Jo Fernandez Checks out Antalya’s Hip Hillside Su Hotel as It Gears Up for This Month’s SunSplash Music Festival
  7. Significance of Biotechnology Clusters in Terms of Sustainable Development and Clustering Proposal for Antalya Province, Turkey
  8. Turkish Tee; Neil McLeman Tests the Course for Antalya’s PS4.4m Golf Tournament


  • from wikipedia: Defeat and dissolution (1908 – 1922) of the ottoman empire (
    the treaty ultimately led to the Turkish War of Independence, when a new treaty, the treaty of Lausanne was accepted by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkish nationalists, and which effectively brought into being the modern day republic of Turkey.
  • Upcoming Travels: Backpacking to Turkey and Iran (
    The time has come for me to indulge in two of the oldest empires of the Middle East and two very beautiful countries (I haven’t been there as yet, but am saying this based on what I see, read and hear). This will be my first trip to Turkey and Iran and I plan to stay for roughly one month in each country. The idea is to stretch my visa as much as possible. The initial plan was to take the Trans-Asia express train from Ankara to Tehran, but because of unrest at the border, I have decided to fly this time around.
  • Ottoman embroideries, culture spellbind audience (
    Renowned Turkish archaeologist Alper Yurdemi delivered a lecture on Ottoman embroideries and culture here at Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology (Heritage Museum) on Monday.
    The lecture titled “Ottoman Embroideries: Meeting Point of Ottoman Palace and Popular Culture” was organised by the embassy of the Republic of Turkey.
    The audience was left spellbound when they came to know that he has been collecting Turkish handicrafts since the age of 8. At present, he has around 9,000 items in 17 separate collections, including 1300 items of Ottoman Embroideries which is the largest collection in Ankara.
  • The Ottoman Spring (
    What became known as the Young Turk Revolution brought euphoria and optimism to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious populations of the Ottoman Empire, who were enticed by the CUP with the promise, rooted in the rhetoric of the French Revolution, of ‘Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.’
  • About Events – Turkish Fashion Show held in the Tbilisi History Museum (
    Georgia hosted a month-long Days of Turkish Culture festival in October, celebrating all things Turkish as a way to celebrate and promote its close cultural ties with its neighboring nation. The festival opened with a fashion show at the Tbilisi History Museum featuring clothes belonging to the Ottoman Period.
  • Party Planner: Turkish Dinner Party (
    This weekend, treat friends to a feast that offers a deliciously modern take on traditional dishes. Our menu features recipes from author Rebecca Seal’s new cookbook, Istanbul, inspired by her travels to the diverse city. Set a table with colorful dinnerware and embroidered linens, and pull off a bold, unforgettable dinner party.
  • Wed 11/12 (
    Watch the Ottoman Empire demonstration then complete the Ottoman Empire: Breaking Up is Hard questions
  • They Look Like Scenes from Fantasy Movies, But These 20 Images Showcase Romania (
    Bucharest, is the sixth largest city in the European Union. Romania emerged within the territories of former Roman Empire province Dacia as the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia formed in a 1859 personal union. It gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, and at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. Continue reading for more pictures.
Posted in Culture, Dagboek = Diary, History, News and Politics, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey anno 2002 #1 Aspendos

In the palindrome year, the first since 1991, a few moths after the 17th FIFA World Cup and months before Turkey’s 15th general election was held on 3 November 2002 following the collapse of the DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition led by Bülent Ecevit, we revisited Turkey.

The first World Cup held in Asia, having had  Turkey surprisingly finishing 3rd place was still resounding in some cities. But also a realignment of the Turkish political landscape could be felt. It would be bringing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) – a party with an Islamist pedigree – to power.

Although the AKP is an offshoot of the Islamist Welfare Party (RP), which was banned in 1997 for Islamist activities, the electorate sees the party as a new force and not necessarily Islamist. Various secular parties, courts, media outlets, and nongovernmental organizations viewed the party with suspicion due to its leaders past affiliation with RP. Yet, AKP’s moderate, non-confrontational rhetoric over the year 2001 had made it attractive to a diverse array of voters ranging from Islamic to rural nationalists and moderate urban voters.

AKP attracted many moderate urban voters, who were appalled by the inefficient and corruption-ridden governments of the 1990s, as well as by the political instability and economic downturns that characterized this decade. Many voters turned to AKP, which marketed itself as new and untainted by the legacy of the 1990s. AKP promised to deliver growth and stability, as in the Turgut Ozal years of the 1980s, a decade to which most Turks now looked back with nostalgia.

Erdogan at that time reaffirmed that AKP would not intervene in the lifestyles of the people, would maintain the country’s European orientation, and would integrate Turkey with the rest of the world, but today we see something different.

The ex-currencies of all euro-using nations had cease to be legal tender in the European Union and the Turks were preferring the new tender instead of their unstable currency.

The International Criminal Court was established (on July 1) though it seemed in Turkey lots of injustice still went on behind doors and they were not so much interested in the European way of thinking and jurisdiction. Several floods ravaged Central Europe, but did not touch us in the damp climate of Antalya.

Beach of Kemer, Antalya, Turkey

Beach of Kemer, Antalya, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Turkish Riviera, which stretches from Marmaris in the west to the province of Hatay near the border of Lebanon may be the summer playground on the Mediterranean Sea, for me the capital of the Turquoise Coast was perhaps too damp, good for holidays on the beach, which is not our cup of tea, but had us miles from the mountains and interesting hiking grounds.

The Karain Cave, about 16 miles from Antalya, has yielded artifacts dating from 30,000 bCE. The area probably has been inhabited continuously since about 50,000 B.C., in the Middle Paleolithic period, but Antalya is much younger.

In case you want to experience something out of the ordinary the old places are the once to visit not only once, but like we to go back for. Belek with its the Hadrian Gate, in Turkey’s Antalya Province, is oozing with ancient history. The ancient Greek city of Perge and the 2,000-year-old great amphitheatre of Aspendos that still hosts open-air festivals should not be missed. The impressive remnants of the Roman occupation of the towns brings history back to life.

Aspendos ancient city is the city situated on the road turning to the North from 30 km of the Antalya-Mersin Highway near the Village of Belkıs (also used as “Balkız” or “Belkız” in the Anatolian language) in Antalya. Strabon, for this city, says that it was founded by the immigrants coming from Argos under the leadership of the Thracian oracle Mopsos coming to Pamphylia after the Trojan War and that it is a favorable place for shipping.

On the coins of the 5th and 4th centry B.C. obtained in the excavations, it is seen that the city was called as Estwedia. On the bilingual (bilinguis) epigraph found in Karatepe, it is read that the Antique City was founded by Asitawandia from ancestry of Mopsos. This indicates that the name of Estwedia was transformed from Asitawandia on the Hittite epigraphs.

Having been the most important city in Pamphylia the remnants of the high quality life and great wealth from a trade in salt, oil, and wool can still be felt. Aspendos became a cultural centre of the Hellenistic and Roman periods and achieved its heyday in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. The remnants for which it is possible to see in this region still today belong to this age. The traces of Aspendos belonging to the age prior to the Roman period could not be found so far today.

On the eastern side of Acropolis (the area founded on the top of the city and on which there were located major buildings in ancient Greek and Roman cities), you can find  the best-preserved theatre of antiquity, with a diameter of 96 metres (315 ft), which provided seating for 7,000.

A marvelous place to bring theatre performances: Aspendos - 1992 Marcus

A marvellous place to bring theatre performances: Aspendos – 1992 Marcus – Photo by Marjolein Pronk

On the door lintel of the theatre (in architecture; upper threshold of the doors and windows), there exist epigraphs in Greek and Latin language. On these epigraphs, we learn that the theatre was built by the Architect Zenon, a native of the city and son of Theodorus, in the period of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161 – 180), though some say it was already built in in 155. Even if nearly the entire theatre was built on vaulted and arched foundations, a small part of it was based upon the eastern side of Acropolis (the area founded on the top of the city and on which there were located major buildings in ancient Hellenistic and Roman cities). The exterior of the theatre is bonded with conglomerate blocks and the door and window frames are made of cream colour limestone.  It was presented to “the gods of the city and the imperial authority” by the brothers Curtius Chrispinus and Curtius Auspicatus.

It lost its glory but was repaired by the Seljuqs, who used it as a caravansaray, and in the 13th century the stage building was converted into a palace by the Seljuqs of Rum.

In order to keep with Hellenistic traditions, a small part of the theatre was built so that it leaned against the hill where the Citadel (Acropolis) stood, while the remainder was built on vaulted arches. The high stage served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The scaenae frons or backdrop, has remained intact. The 8.1 metre (27 ft) sloping reflective wooden ceiling over the stage has been lost over time. Post holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theatre. These masts supported a velarium or awning that could be pulled over the audience to provide shade. {Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning (First ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.}

Aspendos 1992 Marjolein

2,000-year-old great amphitheatre of Aspendos – 1992, Photo by Marcus Ampe

Ankara Opera House (Opera Sahnesi) home for the Devlet Opera ve Balesi, first among three opera and ballet venues in Ankara

Ankara Opera House (Opera Sahnesi) home for the Devlet Opera ve Balesi, first among three opera and ballet venues in Ankara

My colleagues from Ankara ( Turkish State Opera and Ballet) had spoken with awe of that theatre, so we could not miss it. The national directorate of opera and ballet companies of Turkey, Devlet Opera ve Balesi, had under Atatürk‘s personal guidance sent many talented young people to Europe for professional training, who, upon their return during the 1930s, became teachers of music and performing arts at the newly established Musiki Muallim Mektebi in Ankara (opened in 1924) and Darülelhan in İstanbul. In the seventies we also had a lovely exchange and could be surprised for the allowed modernism.

 19 th Anniversary, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, 2014

19 th Anniversary, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, 2014

From 1994 they organise the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival (Aspendos Uluslararası Opera ve Bale Festivali) in a similar tradition as Verona with popular operas such as Aida, la Traviata, Attila, classical ballets as Spartacus (1995),  Leyla, don Quichote (1997), Bayadere, Notre Dame de Paris, and presented a.o. in 2000 the Best of Bolshoi.

Aspendos FInternational Opera & Ballet Festival 2014 Notre-Dame de paris performance

The gypsy girl, renown for her talent in dancing Esmeralda dances with Quasimodo, who has been often mocked and regarded as monstrous because of his appearance

The fact of being held at an antique theatre like Aspendos, whose history goes back to 166 CE, gives a distinct meaning to the International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival.
The audience, among whom % 70 are foreign tourists, has been seeing and hearing the performances with the great acoustics of the theatre which is made excellently by providing the cutting-edge calculations of the age. The sound is transmitted to the audience in the most natural way and there is no need to use high-tech (sound-acoustic, electronic) systems in the festivals and art events performed in this place. This proves the architectural genius of Zenon.

2,000-year-old great amphitheatre of Aspendos - Revisited 2002, Photo by  Marcus Ampe

Enjoying the ancient city in Pamphylia, Asia Minor, located about 40 km east of the modern city of Antalya, Turkey – 2,000-year-old great amphitheatre of Aspendos – Revisited 2002, Photo by Marcus Ampe

Aspendos theatre from the stage area - 2012 Photo by Ukiws

Aspendos theatre from the stage area – 2012 Photo by Ukiws

The sitting lines for the audience (cavea; auditorium; theatron) is built wider than the Stage Building (skene) and is divided into two by the horizontal passage (diazome dividing the sitting lines of the theatre) . There are forty-one sitting lines in total as twenty of them are in the lower part and twenty-one of them are in the upper part of the diazome. The lower sitting lines are divided into nine sections with ten stairs (kerkides), the upper sitting lines, as for, are divided into twenty sections with twenty-one stairs. The sitting places are made of limestone. The audience reach to the sitting lines through the vaulted entrances on both sides of the stage building. The upper parts of the entrances are arranged in the from of chambers and reserved for the notables. The uppermost sitting line is in the form of column gallery and settled on the partly cradle vaults according to the slope of the hill. The brick repair seen herein belongs to the Seljuk period.

Aspendos Roman theatre - Photo Adrian Schneider, 2003

Aspendos Roman theatre – Photo Adrian Schneider, 2003


Preceding articles:

Turkey inbetween two visits

Turkey a wolf in the sheep house of the European Union

To be continued: Turkey anno 2002 #2 Antalya and Side inside out


  • Erdoğan in Paris: I won’t let Assad to destabilize my government (
    Speaking in a joint press conference with his host French counterpart, François Hollande, the Turkish megalomaniac president reiterated his previous positions towards the Syrian crisis by saying that Turkey will do its best to remove the Syrian embattled government of  Bashar al-Assad which he called “the root of all Middle-East’s mishaps.”
  • Turkey complicit with ISIS; unfit to join EU (
    It was not only Western pressure that impelled the Ankara government to take this reluctant step but recent serious rioting by Turkish Kurds, appalled by their government’s policy of isolating their fellow Kurds beyond the border, which left 35 people dead. Turkey has allowed European jihadists, including more than 500 from Britain, to pour across its borders to join ISIS.This complicity by a NATO member state and aspiring applicant for membership of the European Union in furthering the interests of the worst jihadist terrorist organisation to surface so far demonstrates the impassable gulf that exists between Turkey and the West. It also reflects the creeping Islamicisation of Turkey that has taken place under the rule of the AKP party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
    We misunderstand why ISIS operates with impunity inside Turkey, to the extent of attempting the abduction of a Syrian rebel leader on Turkish soil a few days ago. We fail to understand why Erdogan should demand a no-fly zone over ISIS-threatened territory when ISIS has no aircraft and warplanes are its opponents’ chief weapon. More widely, we cannot understand why Turkey, whose territory is 97 per cent in Asia, should join the European Union.
  • Radical Turkish Leftists Attacked Three US Sailors In Istanbul (
    Today’s attack on three Sailors from the USS Ross in Istanbul is reprehensible. We are certain the vast majority of the Turkish people and the Government of Turkey do not condone this act against these representatives of a friend and ally.
  • Attack on U.S. sailors by Turkish mob caught on tape ( (video)
    Three U.S. sailors on leave in Istanbul, Turkey, were attacked by around 20 people Wednesday in an act the American embassy called “appalling.”The incident was filmed and posted online, with the video showing the group of men throwing objects at the sailors and then chasing after them, with one saying, “We define you as murderers, as killers… and we want you to get our of our land.”
  • Turkish President Butts Heads With Cafe Smoker (
    The sight of Erdogan wagging his finger at the smoker as crowds of curious onlookers took pictures with their phones triggered a backlash on social media, with his opponents seeing it as evidence of an increasingly authoritarian nature.
  • Turkey’s Diminished Influence in the Middle East (
    Not long ago, at the height of the Arab Spring, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (now President of Turkey) enjoyed the adulation of the masses throughout the Arab world, and a close friendship with U.S. President Barack Obama. A revival of a neo-Ottoman Empire was not far from the mind of Erdogan and his Foreign Minister (now Prime Minister) Ahmet Davutoglu. It was Davutoglu who proclaimed neo-Ottomanism as a policy, and a new order in the Middle East.As the year 2014 comes to a close, Turkish influence in the Middle East has seen a sharp decline. It was outvoted in its quest for a seat at the United Nations Security Council despite its intensive lobbying of the UN’s 193 member nations. Turkey lost out to Spain. Counter lobbying by Egypt and Saudi Arabia helped defeat Turkey’s efforts. Turkey’s reluctance to take action against the Islamic State (IS) has put it under international pressure. Its refusal to help the besieged Syrian Kurds in the city of Kobani (on the Turkish border) resulted in violent Kurdish demonstrations in Turkey offsetting the gains made by the AKP party with the large Kurdish minority. In addition, Turkish passivity in the face of Kurdish suffering engendered contempt for Turkey.
  • ICC Decides NOT to Investigate Israel for War Crimes (

    The international criminal court (ICC) will not prosecute over Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, in which 10 Turkish activists died, despite a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed”.

    The chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said there would be no investigation leading to a potential prosecution because the alleged crimes, including the killing of 10 activists by Israeli commandos, were not of “sufficient gravity”.

  • 11.12 Turkish Radicals Initiate another “Workplace Incident” Against American Sailors on Shore Leave (
    I guess our “allies” in Turkey no longer view our soldiers or sailors as friends to their new found Islamist Republic as this attack, which could only happen with the tacit approval of the government and Turkish intelligence services illustrates:
  • The status of Turkey’s women plummets (
    While those prone to excuse Erdoğan and his corrupt, Islamist regime sometimes suggest that this huge jump simply represents greater reporting in the first seven years of his reign, Turkish parliamentarians say that is not the case: the jump simply reflects the sense of impunity so many of Erdoğan’s religious followers have when it comes to a belief that, like the president himself, they are now above the law.
  • The Kurds in Turkey and the Fight for Kobani by Veli Sirin (
    The world has watched the town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border, where the Wahhabi terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State” [IS], also known as ISIS, ISIL, and, in Arabic, the “Daesh,” are fighting the Kurdish peshmerga, a word meaning “those facing death.” The Turkish authorities, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Islamist Justice and Development Party [AKP], have stood among the ambivalent observers of the battle for Kobani.
Posted in Ballet + Dance/Dans, Culture, Dagboek = Diary, History, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey inbetween two visits

Three years after our visit in 1992 Turkey hoped to find a connection with the European Union willing to have it become a member.

Nikolas Sarkozy was not the only politician who dared to speak out loud that “Turkey has no place in Europe.” Angela Merkel her party favoured a “privileged partnership” with Turkey – a concept that has signified little, other than a desperate desire for Ankara to stay outside the union.


Eu-turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 2005 EU poll has shown that only 35 percent of European citizens were sympathetic to the idea of Ankara joining the bloc. For many citizens the country was to much bounded to the Islamic faith, too far away from our Judean Christian values. Countries were Catholicism was going strong were annoyed with certain conservative attitudes of the Turks and Moroccans living in their country and were afraid more of such conservative Muslims would come to live in their surroundings. Since 1950, parliamentary politics had already been dominated by conservative parties but going into the 21st century it looked like Turkey was even become more conservative and more Islamic minded than before.

In Belgium and Holland people were not so afraid fro the Islam culture yet but were more concerned about the human rights in Turkey and the consequences for the democracy when such a huge country would be part of the European Union.

Lots of people thought that a lot of European politicians had megalomania wanting a member that was closer to Asian culture than Western culture. They found that the EU can’t have it that two too different ways of political thinking and handling of people could be allowed.

On the street of Bursa on our 1992 Turkey tour

On a street of Bursa on our 1992 Turkey tour

In Turkey itself the country was facing a demand for a better life, i.e. demand for housing, demand for job, demand for school, and lots of people left the rural country to find their luck in the cities. The migration to more productive parts of the country however, puts out of order urban life and disintegrates the urban system. In Turkey, especially after 1950ies, there is migration and sometimes this migration has been containing very big numbers in terms of population. Besides, after 1990ies, Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey has given out migration, especially via the city of Diyarbakir. The migration, from the city and the region to west side of Turkey, like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, used Diyarbakir as a stopover. In addition of being a stopover point, Diyarbakir not only gives out migration but also get in migration. Thus makes Diyarbakir a city that has no history in social life and in urban culture.

The leftist parties, the most notable of which is the Republican People’s Party (CHP), with a stable electorate, draw much of their support from big cities, coastal regions, professional middle-class, and minority groups such as Alevis. Many Alevis refer to an “Alevi-Bektashi” tradition, but it seems that they are not as such very restricted, but having more a syncretic religion, combining diverse religious beliefs and holding on to Turkestan and  Anatolian folk culture. (The Alevi Turks may be considered as part of Twelver Shia Islam (believing in twelve divinely ordained leaders and that the Mahdi or prophesied redeemer of Islam, will be the returned Twelfth Imam, coincidinge with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa)).

In 1992 in the rural areas traditional dress could be found more than in the cities

In 1992 in the rural areas traditional dress could be found more than in the cities

When we went to do our round-trip in 1992 we could find a lot contemporary women in public places. Like Mustafa Kemal had surrounded himself with women in Westernized clothes as examples for the modernized Turkish woman the politicians around the turn of the century surrounded themselves with traditionally clothed women. Mustafa Kemal in many of his speeches had openly criticized the face veil (peçe), but not the headscarf, but by now the migrated people protested against the  Westernised women.

I agree that also during the reign of Kemal Mustafa national and Sunni Islam was promoted, but it was requested to be evolving in time and to be rendered compatible with the modern nation-state. In this respect, Kemalists somehow became heirs to the Ottoman Young Turks’ instrumentalist and reformist approach to Islam. Perhaps because the Muslim imams did not like the opening to the modern clothing, the government had to implement an  Anti-Islamic dress-code, through the strengthening of Law 4055 in June, 1942.
In the beginning of the Inönü-period, Kemalist women were used as instigators for criticism of the headscarf, appearing in media and in public accusing Muslim women wearing the çarşaf of carrying out acts of deception and fraud. {Yücel Bozdaglioglu: Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity, New York, Routledge, 2033, page 46}

At our Turkey round trip in 1992 with tourists in Ephesus

At our Turkey round trip in 1992 with tourists in Ephesus

The regime of Demirel and the Adalet Partısı (AP) was not originally anti-religious, as they allowed graduates of the Imam Hatip-schools admittance to universities and other higher educations. Demirel later changed his view on Islam and became a staunch defender of Kemalism in the 1990ies.

Having the militant secularists persuading the Higher Education Council YÖK to issue a regulation in 1987 forbidding female university students to cover their heads in class brought forth that more women started to react the Kemalist idea and against secularisation. Having this rule, which also later on was taken in certain Belgian schools, did not solve the question, but caused the opposite.

On television we could see pictures of Turkish women who were officially banned from both public and private educational institutes, such as universities, and from attaining jobs in public administration while wearing a headscarf. It was their reaction against their not being allowed to wear Islamic dress which made more Europeans afraid an entrance of Turkey in the European Union would also be an entrance for the Islamic dress with many restrictions for women in public places. The fear of having so many extra voters in the Union, who could demand more constraint for an Islamic dress-code, made many more reluctant to have Turkey becoming a member of the European Union.

Having those students stripped of their headscarf in front of university entrances or having them to emigrate to Europe or the US to pursue higher education made things worse. It also prompted several embarrassing situations where female students at Turkish universities were arrested by the police for causing “stirrup” by refusing to undress on campus, or female students having to hide their hair under knitted caps or even under artificial wigs.

The most serious Kemalist opposition against the Muslim headscarf happened in the 1990ies where Turkey found herself in the middle of the Cold War destabilization and
had to balance between political pressure from the Middle East and EU demands for westernisation.

It looked like the majority of Turkish people were not interested to come under or adopt Western culture. They saw they could use modernisation in the industry and loved to see their economy and  technology developing as in the United States of America or as in Europe. But concerning the law, politics, lifestyle, diet, clothing, language, alphabet, religion, philosophy, and values they did not want to come under a European spell.
Internally, the Kemalitsts felt pressure from the many religious parties who had gained foothold among not just rural voters, but also Kurdish voters and voters from the former
Kemalist pool of intellectual elite in the cities.
The government outlawed several Islamic movements and parties, forcing religious activists  to use political creativity to circumvent the constitutiońs prohibition against religion playing a part in politics.

The AKPartı [AKP (Turkish Justice and Development Party)] became such a party, officially merging Turkish nationalism with spiritual values and campaigning against corruption and poverty, but whose leading members belong to the Muslim elite, for instance former Istanbuli mayor Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a close friend of Muslim activist Şule Yüksel Şenler and himself a former student at a Imam Hatip school.

Still, Islamic activism became politically organized on a more serious level in the 1990ies, riding on the wave of recent liberalization of civil society. Islamic radio and TV-stations,
newspapers, associations and parties emerged every where in the first half of the decade
with the military elite and the Kemalists worrying about “foreign influence”, i.e. fear of Iranian or Arab political and economic influence on Turkish politics. so, at our 1992 tour we could see the modernity of the Turkish Republic, but a decade later it looked we had gone back in time for certain things. At the airport security was much better and everywhere it was much cleaner and felt also much safer, not being troubled by kids wanting to rip you off.

To secure the power of Kemalism and political secularization, the military manoeuvred the removal of an Islamic-oriented prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, in 1997 through a series of lawsuits, seen by analysts as the fourth coup d’état in Turkish history since WW II.

Merve Safa Kavakçı.JPG

Sunni Merve Safa Kavakçı , professor at George Washington University and Howard University in Washington D.C.

In 1999 Turkish female politician Merve Kavakcı became elected Member of Parliament for
the recently established Virtue Party. Due to her headscarf members of the Democratic Left Party prevented her to perform her parliamentary oath. Kavakcı was never allowed to take her oath, her seat was left empty, practically denying her constituents (voters) their representative rights.

Kavakcı́s name and picture was removed from the annals of Parliament. A state prosecutor investigated whether she might be put on trial for provoking religious hatred by appearing veiled in Parliament, and later the Turkish republic stripped Kavakcı of her Turkish citizenship allegedly because she had become a US citizen during her stay abroad.

A member of a well-known Muslim family, Kavakcı then used her academic knowledge and international connections to raise political awareness to the pledge of religious Turkish Muslim women, criticizing openly on an international level the failure of Turkish constitutional legislation to provide and secure basic human rights to Turkish women, revealing the Kemalists ́abuse of democracy in a time, when “democracy” became almost a religious concept internationally.

In 2007, Kavakçı won the legal case when the European Court of Human Rights found that Kavakcı’s expulsion from parliament was a violation of human rights.

Other Muslim activists, like the student Nuray Bezirgan and Mine Karakas got the attention from Europeans and human right watchers. The political basis The Kemalists went for had been built on concepts of modernism and secularism in order to bring about national unity and Western-style progress, but now it seemed to bring more division not only in their own country, but also from abroad, from Turks, Kurds but also form other religious and non-religious people came controversial reactions. Turkey got international accusations of abuse of human rights and political reactionary hegemony towards minorities (mainly Kurds) and religious citizens. The very conservatism managed to get sympathisers from outside Turkey to spit on the country. The international pressure gave the Muslims encouragement and all the more reason to go for more religious rules for all the Turks. During the election campaign of 2007, the AK Parti and now Prime Minister Erdoĝan promised the lifting of the headscarf ban from all public institutions. The headscarf-bearing wives of other AK Parti-members started to speak out in Turkish media about the headscarf ban. Erdogan’s daughters, who had to study in the US because of the headscarf ban on Turkish universities, also spoke publicly for the first time in 2008. The failed attempt by the Turkish Kemalists to ban the AK Parti and 71 of its leading members through court indictment did probably encourage much of Turkey’s Muslim intellectual elite and leaders to speak out against the headscarf ban, or to simply ignore it by showing up in public situations that would have prohibited such a violation of protocol before 2008. clearly the headscarf had become a problem connected with issues such as democracy, freedom of expression and equal rights for education.

The women had to wait until January 15 2013 for the Turkish Higher Education Board (YÖK) introducing a bill to the Turkish Education Ministry to remove the headscarf ban for academics who are teaching at Turkish universities. The reason for the bill was the fact that

“YÖK is of the opinion that discrimination based on gender, religion or background is not acceptable.”

The bill also stated that

“students in institutions of higher learning cannot be discriminated against for their political views, religion, language, race, gender, and choice of dress or any other reason.”

Though by the years the street-view had changed a lot, having lots of women not daring to come onto the street in contemporary Western attire. The Islamic religious leaders got more and more to say and had their stamp pressed on the contemporary Turkey.

All the reason more whey Westerners do have to question if it really would be a good choice to have such a different culture than ours being a member of a union where openness of mind, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech are so important. With the reforms going on now in Turkey it is understandable that people get alarmed and worried that an Islamic gulf could flow over West Europe.

Ankara had achieved some good reforms – including greater economic liberalization, increased political control over the military, and had strengthened independence of the judiciary, but now it looks like the religious groups get more hold on the system and that Islamic Law comes to govern the country. something which can not be allowed to happen in the European Union.


Preceding articles:

Turkey anno 1992 #1 Turkey in pictures

 Turkey anno 1992 #2 1992 Turkey analysed:

Turkey a wolf in the sheep house of the European Union


Find also to read:

  1. Turkey Is Too Important to Leave Completely out of the European Union
  2. Headscarf deputy stripped of Turkish citizenship
  3. Turkish-Kurd Tensions Spill into Europe’s Streets
  4. NATO Must Offer Turkey Military Support in Syria Crisis
  5. The Day Turkey Stood Still
  6. Merve Kavakci net


  • The Rift Between Antichrist Nation of Turkey And The West Is Beginning (
    the media is beginning to see two issues: 1) The vision of Turkey’s imperial plans and “vision of the Middle East united by a Turkish brand of political Islam” and 2)  “But unless Ankara aligns itself more closely with international opinion it will become ever more isolated” from western powers.
  • Impunity of the Erdogan Regime (
    During the May-June 2013 Gezi protests in Istanbul and cities around the country, there was widespread excessive use of force by police against demonstrators and improper firing of teargas canisters directly at protesters, leading to scores of protesters receiving serious head injuries and 11 being blinded. One year on from the Gezi protests, very few police officers have been investigated for excessive use of force or improper firing of teargas. There have been numerous flaws in the trials of police accused of killing three of the demonstrators who died. The conviction of a police officer in September 2014 for shooting dead an Ankara demonstrator on June 1, 2013 was a rare moment of accountability. But while convicted of probable intent to kill, a crime punishable with a 25-year sentence, the court reduced the sentence to 8 years arguing that the defendant had faced unfair provocation and had behaved well during his trial. By contrast some demonstrators face possible life imprisonment if convicted.
  • Middle East Forum: How Turkey Went Bad By Daniel Pipes (
    Only twelve years ago, the Republic of Turkey was correctly seen as a stalwart NATO ally, the model of a pro-Western Muslim state, and a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. A strong military bond with the Pentagon undergirded broader economic and cultural ties with Americans. For those of us who work on the Middle East, time in Istanbul, Ankara, and other Turkish cities was a refreshing oasis from the turmoil of the region.
  • Turkey: Enemy inside the gates (
    When Merve Ozdemir walks the streets in Kemerburgaz, a suburb in Istanbul’s northwest, she wears a niqab, the all-encompassing veil that leaves only her eyes visible. She is usually the only one in that attire. Kemerburgaz is one of Istanbul’s more secular neighbourhoods, its residents of mostly Greek and Bulgarian descent, a place where even a headscarf is a rarity. “I’ve been asked if I’m from Syria,” says the 23-year-old wife and mother. “People stop me and demand to see my face because they think I am an outsider, even though I’ve lived here all my life.”
  • Turkish PM unveils tighter security steps after deadly protests (
    Sparked by anger at Ankara’s failure to intervene militarily to help Kobani, the unrest revived bitter memories of the street violence that has punctuated a three decades long insurgency by Kurdish militants against Turkish authorities. It also recalled massive anti-government protests that rocked Turkey last year.”If there are people who want to revive these events, the state and the nation has the power to put them in their place,” Davutoglu told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling AK Party.
  • Turkish PM unveils tighter security steps after deadly protests (
    Sparked by anger at Ankara’s failure to intervene militarily to help Kobani, the unrest revived bitter memories of the street violence that has punctuated a three decades long insurgency by Kurdish militants against Turkish authorities. It also recalled massive anti-government protests that rocked Turkey last year.
    In recent years, Turkey’s western partners have expressed alarm at apparent signs of creeping authoritarianism in Ankara, while President Tayyip Erdogan’s international standing has been tarnished by police brutality towards anti-government protesters and high profile bans of Twitter and YouTube.“The AKP wants to turn Turkey into an open prison,” the main opposition CHP party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told his party’s parliamentary group meeting in criticism of the reform package.
  • Turkey, the Kurds and Iraq: the prize and peril of Kirkuk (
    The modern Turkish government is looking at Iraq and Syria in a way similar to how Damat Ferid did almost a century ago when he sought in Paris to maintain Turkish sovereignty over the region. From Ankara’s point of view, the extension of a Turkish sphere of influence into neighboring Muslim lands is the antidote to weakening Iraqi and Syrian states. Even if Turkey no longer has direct control over these lands, it hopes to at least indirectly re-establish its will through select partners, whether a group of moderate Islamist forces in Syria or, in northern Iraq, a combination of Turkmen and Sunni factions, along with a Kurdish faction such as Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party. The United States may currently be focused on the Islamic State, but Turkey is looking years ahead at the mess that will likely remain. This is why Turkey is placing conditions on its involvement in the battle against the Islamic State: It is trying to convince the United States and its Sunni Arab coalition partners that it will inevitably be the power administering this region. Therefore, according to Ankara, all players must conform to its priorities, beginning with replacing Syria’s Iran-backed Alawite government with a Sunni administration that will look first to Ankara for guidance.
  • Obama’s Coalition of ISIS Allies Refuse To Fight ISIS In Kobane (

    Nearly 200,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes and flee the town, joining 1.5million Syrian refugees already in Turkey.

    Poorly equipped Kurdish fighters — men, women and even children — try in vain with AK-47s to hold back the maniacal hordes of Islamic State fighters, firing the equivalent of popguns against the terrorist group’s modern, heavy-grade, American weapons.

    By yesterday, IS had taken a third of the Syrian Kurdish stronghold of Kobane on the border with Turkey.


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