Showing posts with label Erdogan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erdogan. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Must Reads: Middle East Minority Perspectives

Some important international headlines to ponder, glued as we've been to East Coast hurricane news and U.S. presidential campaign coverage:

The largest Christian denomination in the Middle East, the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt, named a new leader this weekend, the BBC reports. The photos are inspiring, with an explanation of how the choice among the top-three candidates was left "in the hands of God."

From the New Yorker: An absolutely gripping tale about a U.S. Iraq war veteran who, tormented by a battle where Americans killed civilians including three members of an Armenian Christian family, sought out his victims' relatives now living in California. In a story highlighed by NPR and Charlie Rose, read how Dexter Filkins' interviews at a Baghdad hospital and subsequent stories facilitated forgiveness from the sins of war. Journalism at its best.

Then, a BBC essay on Izmir, the West Coast city once called Smyrna. It is among the Turkish locales flooded with Syrian refugees. This piece addresses what we have been asked to forget: Turkey still is "scarred by wanton killing and destruction in World War I." Fergan Keane writes,
"Gone are the streets in which the voices of Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Levantines and Jews mingled ... prayed and made music and told stories in the narrow lanes of the bazaar and by the glittering water of the Aegean."
That brings us to New York Times review last week of wildly popular Turkish movie, "Conquest 1453," dramatizing the Ottoman capture of Constantinople, now Istanbul. Fascination with the era has launched TV shows and other projects. The author juxtaposes opinion:
  • Says Melis Behlil, a film studies professor at Kadir Has University: “The Ottoman revival is good for the national ego" ... but films like "Conquest 1453 are engaging in cultural revisionism and glorifying the past without looking at history in a critical way."
  • Says Burak Temir, a German-Turkish actor who learned to sword fight and use a bow and arrow for an Ottoman-era show: “It makes me proud to be Turkish.”
Turkey is diligently working to establish its political dominance as Egypt, Iraq and Syria struggle. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan just met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, underscoring tensions as Turkey pushes 2023 membership in the European Union, reports Der Speigel, the German newspaper. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz emphasizes his plans to visit the Gaza strip.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Turkey's Deep State

The March 12 New Yorker magazine is getting some buzz for a piece on Turkey's secular "deep state" that author Dexter Filkin calls...
"a presumed clandestine network of military officers and their civilian allies who, for decades, suppressed and sometimes murdered dissidents, Communists, reporters, Islamists, Christian missionaries, and members of minority groups—anyone thought to pose a threat to the secular order, established in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal, or Atatürk. Friends and colleagues say Erdoğan worried that the deep state would never allow him to govern. But, to the surprise of many, he has pulled Turkey closer to the West, opening up the economy and becoming a crucial go-between for the West with Palestine, Iran, and Syria," says Filkins in this week's edition, the one with Mitt Romney in a car on the cover.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Turkey: Genocide Was In Algeria

French lawmakers have drafted a law that would make it illegal to deny that it was genocide when Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Turkey cut diplomatic ties with France, Turks are protesting and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with, "Approximately 15% of the population of Algeria have been subjected to a massacre by the French starting in 1945. This is genocide." Erdogan called the bill "politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia," according to the two-paragraph story in the Chicago Tribune.

Well, Merry Christmas. All I know is that racism, discrimination and xenophobia brought way too many of our forebears to America.

The BBC states that Ankara says close to 300,000 Armenians died in 1915-1916, while Armenians put the number at up to 1.5 million. The New York Times' reporter in Istanbul writes, "Turkey acknowledges atrocities without any specific death toll, but says that they did not constitute systematic genocide."

The Times piece notes that Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel-winning fiction author from Turkey, recently was fined about $3,700, for telling a Swiss newspaper that "we have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Levant-Obama

President Obama meets with officials in Turkey this weekend, and apparently the Greek prime minister snagged a tete-a-tete while Obama's enroute. (Turkey's English daily,Today's Zaman, should have stories.) News about student violence in Greece gets ever-more absurd each day; Kathimerini quotes a professor who says the main Athens university is "under occupation" by angry students who this week smashed a computer lab with metal pipes and egged the rector. After the 1974 junta, when police killed students there, by law, cops can't enter the campus unless university authorities call them in. And no one seems to want that confrontation. Meanwhile, Turkey is paving roads in Afghanistan, according to President Abdullah Gul's editorial this week in the Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Turkey's Hazelnuts

As Turkey examines its membership in the European Union, it promotes examples that it is a religiously tolerant and multi-cultural place. On my Istanbul to New York flight, Turkish Airlines offered a more patriotic perspective. While munching on flag-draped miracle hazelnuts (The Nut is From Turkey! see photo), documentary-style shorts included one on Mustafa Kemal Attaturk's ascent after the battle at Gallipoli, where the French and English failed to capture Constantinople. And a travel promo advertised a tourist town with Syrian churches as proof of tolerance.
Back on the Internet, Today's Zaman, an English-language newspaper, published a feature saying Turkish authorities are taking land from a 1,600-year-old Syriac Christian monastery. Officials redrew boundaries, apparently because local farmers need more grazing land. The piece lacked a financial analysis and greater context: properties lost by minorites in like fashion over the past 80 years.
Patriotism was on full view when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off at the end of a January Davos conference panel where Israel's President Shimon Peres demanded, "What would you do if someone was lobbing rockets into your country? Pres. Erdogan was later praised by Hamas for saying, "When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill." TheNew York Times and Al Jazeera covered the news; Time magazine later explored ramifications of Erdogan's Davos outburst.