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03 June 2013


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 Ishmael Zechariah


This might not yet be the time and the hour but the temperature in Turkey is definitely rising. Had they not pulled the police back from Taksim over the weekend,the issue would have been different. The photographs at the following link might be of interest:

These images are not being reported on Turkish TV channels or the mainstream media. Unfortunately for Tayyip and his fellow kleptocrats the matter grew too large to be cloaked and the internet/smart phone channels punctured their censorship.

Some secularists along with the army command would prefer that Erdogan & Co. leave after losing an election. Some hope that the collapse of their Syrian gambit might also hasten their end. It might be possible that the "democracy-loving intellectuals" who voted for this fellow might wake up after this. I doubt it. Some of us think this will result in civil war. I hope we are wrong.

Ishmael Zechariah

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Senator McCain and the other neocon mouth pieces "are going to(paraphrasing Sec of Defense Rumsfeld) have a hard slog " ahead of them to orchestrate another ME misadventure .
The lessons from Iraq are still very much on the majority of American's minds . I would also wonder if the same dynamic is not at play in Turkey - it looked like early on Erdogan would have liked to go to Syria in some way . Recalling the Article Five conversations that different NATO members were having about the time the Patriots were deployed along the Turkish Syrian border. Its looks like to me that the rank & file Turks do not want to go to Syria either. Surely there are other dynamics going on in Turkey too - Perhaps the secular moderates are making a come back in Turkey . I wonder if the AKP will lose seats next election in Turkey ?


Well, its fortunate and right that I be first to comment on this post.

I was in Taksim Square Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2 night and day. I got gassed twice, but not really effected since I had goggles, safety mask with wet rags inside, my construction hat and lemons, milk etc, and which I gave away to those who needed it.

I had never seen anything like it, not even during LA riots, Nevada Test site Protests or Grateful Dead concerts.
I will post my more detailed observations later, but one thing is absolutely certain. Police intended to kill, punish, hurt, intimidate using any and all means in their possession to the extent that they get away with it against peaceful protesters.

Turkey is on a crossroads and this is a benign revolution which seems to be succeeding in shaking the system.


IZ: Democracy loving intellectuals? You mean the people who made it illegal to wear a headscarf at university? Or a crime to criticize Ataturk?

Turkey "liberals" seem to have the problem that every near-democracy (including our own) has: We confuse "controlling the discourse" with "freedom" and "legitimacy" with "our man winning".

Pre-detemined outcomes validated by elections is the essense of Blair-ism, the pseudo-democracy rampant today.

The beaver

More pictures:


Qatar and KSA helped Bahrain during its uprising , will they do the same for Erdogan?

Doha was not selected for the short list bid for the Olympic games of 2020 but Istanbul is on the list together with Madrid and Tokyo.


Kunari: Are you fighting for a system with judges that can be appointed by the PM and/or Legistature (instead of the current system where the judges perpetuate themselves)?


Kunuri: forgive my ignorance of Turkish politics but are the police (or that section that attacked the protestors) self-identify as Islamists or do they see themselves as protectors of the constitution and of government? In effect, what motivates them to enforce Erdogan's orders?


Ishmael Zechariah,

My on-the-ground opinion is that it will not come to civil war, people here have too much to lose.
An overwhelming majority of Turks are level headed and have an admirable quality, common sense. It applies to the rich, poor, young, old, men women etc. The latest demonstrations attest to that, its manner and timing. I even expect a gesture of support for the demonstrators from AKP supporters and the party base. Personally, I have seen many, many head-scarved young girls during the demonstrations last weekend. Many, many common people I talked to were upset, at the least at the behavior of the police and freely admitted having voted for AKP consistently, but no more.

Tomorrow labor Unions are going on strike and coming over to the symbolic Taksim Square and Gezi Park nearby to express their solidarity with the protesters. Funny thing is, they were denied their May 1 demonstrations by the authorities citing as reason the deep foundation holes dug all around the square constituted injury risk. Not one protestor fell into those holes during all that mayhem, under fire, in panic, running for cover. But hundreds are injured when shot at by gas canister rounds at close range. Tear Gas. Beatings. I have access to photographic evidence, but too busy now to provide links. Fortunetely internet is full of them, a basic Google search would get anyone there.

Medicine Man


Good luck and God bless. If possible please try to post here occasionally with updates.


Is the US likely to be an obstacle to the Turkish military exercising their constitutional mandate to remove the AKP?



IMO the BHO administration with its talent for imbecility will back Erdogan. pl

Farmer Don

When I was there a couple years ago, the majority of people appreciated the good economy and low inflation that came with the Erdogan government, they were willing to put up with a pull back of some of Kemal's reforms on the other side of the Erdogan coin.

If this has changed, the next election should change the government also.

I am hopeful that the long experiment of a Muslim believing country with a democratic secular government will not come to a bad end.

Winston Tanner

re: “It is in our strategic interest to see Bashar Assad go,” he said."

Really" Why?

I suspect the Israelis have some blackmail material on Johnny Mac (and a number of other Senators and Representatives).


FD: Democratic "democratic" secular government? Erdogan was imprisoned by that "democratic" secular government for reading poems. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

Ishmael Zechariah


The "democracy loving intellectuals" I was referring to are those who voted for RTP/AKP, thinking that "mild Islam" or "democratic Islam" are possible. Now that the democratic credentials of the RTP/AKP are being established they may have other thoughts.

I, personally, prefer libertarians to liberals.

Ishmael Zechariah



The police force in the last 10 years have been transformed into RTE's and his administrations's Palace Guard. I suspect the motive for this is to create a loyal, well armed and trained entity in case the Army attempts to use its advantage in weapons and popularity among the Turkish people to threaten his autocratic rule, as in the past, rightfully or not. He succeeded on one side by discrediting and outright jailing close to 100 active duty or retired generals and officers of all ranks on questionable evidence and a distorted judicial process. His supporting move was to bring the Jandarma, paramilitary forces charged with maintaining law in the country side, under the command of the Interior Minister, appointed by him, instead of the Army, as the Jandarma has always been a part of.

Serious evidence exists that the Police is now dominated by followers of the charismatic, but contraversial Fethullah Gulen. He may be an Ayetullah Khumeyni, or a benign religious leader bent on saving the world through love and peace, whether he is an moderate Islamist, or a cult leader is unclear to everyone including myself. I try to decipher his rambling speeches full of quotes from Quran, a strange form of rhetoric that borders on dictation, appeals to what is written before, etc. from Pennsylvania where he lives in exile, admittedly for health reasons, but how it is that he received a Green Card by interference of several US Senators and members of the House of Representetives is beyond me.

The police are made up of young people unemployable anywhere else in the vibrant economy of Turkey and are paid better than captains and colonels in the Army. Their training is patently American, no doubt about that to my discerning eye. Nowadays they even move like American security professionals and manage a convincing Weaver stand when they pull their guns out. Last weekend I watched their tactical manevouring and command and control. It was brilliant in its efficiency and discipline. So what's going on? Gulen has RTE's back, he is his protégé. Police is loyal to RTE and the poor kids with high salaries now target practicing with their gas launchers are graduates of religious schools. No wonder they see the young hippies I saw last weekend protesting as enemies and definitely have strong, instilled convictions, training and a motive to keep their well paying jobs.

Latest contravercy here is the RTE government's attempt to provide the police with heavy weapons. Ahhh, for what, fighting hippies with rimless glasses? Or laptops and iPhones? The internet and phone lines were blocked in Taxim square last weekend just a few hours before every time the police executed a brilliant combining arms attack on the protesters, formidable armored water cannon trucks advancing with supporting squads of riot police with multiple launch gas cannons, firing incredible barrages of gas, helicopters hovering above and armored patrol vehicles covering flanks. And forcing the crowds into shops and houses, gassing them inside arresting those who came out and even gassing the Metro station as people were coming out unaware of what was going on outside and above.

But the irony is, RTE administration is under a real threat now, not from the Army which he fears, but from the decent, enlightened, fair and honorable Turkish people who are hell bent on not to yielding to tyranny under the guise of democratization, Erdogan style. A deputy of parliement has grudgingly admitted today that RTE succeeded in uniting the opposition that they themselves could never achieve. Turkish people are very patient and extremely tolerant to being pushed around. But once awakened and provoked, which is always very slow, they get their way. Often its not peaceful, but this time it is different, it seems that dictum that a peaceful, resolute and righteous passive stand will necessarily produce the desired effect sooner than later. It is evidenced by the enthusiastic support this movement is receiving from around the world. I apologize for misspellings and unavoidably hastily constructed sentences and errors in my exposition since I have precious little time for editing my comment.

Babak Makkinejad


Does anyone know what the main demands of the protestors are?



I am hardly fighting. If I did, my style of fighting would be detrimental to the ideals and the style of those opposing tyranny here in Turkey. I am supporting them by informing you all here or elsewhere as best as I can, for my American ideals and world view coincides with theirs, much to my delight.

The issue of the procedures for the appointment of judjes can be resolved later on after the main issue is decided.


Ishmael Zechariah,

Really,"democracy loving intellectuals" in Turkey are those who can tell which way the wind blows more accurately than most. That is why they prosper. The air is full of gas now in Istanbul, but I am already hearing and seeing a lot of sniffing. For example, the complete turnabout of Turkish Media and its well groomed commentators from completely ignoring the events of the first three days, to now resolutely spinning the events. Its a beginning.

The beaver

For those who don't know Gulen:

I read somewhere that he is P---ed with RTE because of the peace pact with the Kurdish group PKK > He does not approve .

Ishmael Zechariah


Point well taken. You might also consider those as part of the imperial order of kleptocrats.

Please accept my respects for taking part in the fight. As Inonu said, "There is no salvation for a country where the honorable folks are not as daring as the dishonorable".


Babak Makkinejad,

For your information Sir.


Many more connecting links in these pages, please utilize.


The west should cautiously back the idea of a secular state, even if currently run by an increasingly autocratic Islamist. The alternative that would emerge in a revolution isn't secularlism, it's more likely deeper Islamisation with Erdogan as a real dictator.

There are two nuclear plants being built in Turkey: One in partnership with Russia, and the the other with Japan. Both those countries surely want Turkey stable, with a strong government, to protect their investments. Revolution means all investment flees the country, for good.


"The police are made up of young people unemployable anywhere else in the vibrant economy of Turkey and are paid better than captains and colonels in the Army." This is not shocking given your statement previously that "The police force in the last 10 years have been transformed into RTE's and his administrations's Palace Guard. "

I sure hope the army realizes this is a group of brownshirts whose job is not going to be beating protesters but beating them.

Alba Etie

We here at SST have come to value your & IZ's first hand reporting from Turkey . Reports here are that their is a substantial split between Erdogan & Gul about the uprising -is that true ?
Stay safe and thank you for taking time for us here at SST .

William R. Cumming

Perhaps I am wrong but I understand Kemal hung over 400 Mullahs from lamp posts. Not sure how they were tried or selected!

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