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12 June 2013


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Edward Amame

It's difficult to find a political class anywhere on the planet today that's managing the urban/rural dynamic effectively. It seems to be breaking down just about everywhere, including here in the U.S.

William R. Cumming

IMO a cogent argument can be made that the US FP of last several decades has helped destroy progress in women's rights in MENA! Perhaps am wrong.


And Erdogan has greatly misjudged the Turkish populace's support for his policies regarding Syria. The civil war in Syria is polarizing Turkey. According to a recent study by MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center, based in Ankara, only 28 percent of the Turkish public supports the prime minister's policies on Syria. As the war goes on and its effect on the Turkish economy and security grow worse, it will become a greater factor in Turkish politics.


Sounds exactly like Obama's pick in Egypt.

Alba Etie

Col Lang
And it appears that Erdogan continues to support al Nusra in Syria too - despite the civil unrest . Trying to keep up with the religious politics of the ME & SW Asia -does Erdogan & the APK with Morsi , and the MB line up in a coalition against the West , sooner rather then later ? Though different societies both Turkey & Egypt seem to have a similar politic dynamic going on right now. Both Egypt & Turkey at one time were considered unquestioned allies of the USA yes? How much of the political dynamics of either Turkey or Egypt could Washington DC have influenced to further our own national interest ?


Yes, like Mayor Bloomberg having his cronies blacklist politicians who don't toe his line on citizens rights:



EA: That dynamic has been unstable since Ancient Athenian democracy. I think the tragic "flaw" of democracy, particularly in the age of Twitter, is our unrealistic expectations only magnify. Some of Athens worst decisions were made after Athens adopted "radical democracy." Athenian democrats sent an expedition to Sicily with three commanders. Disaster followed.


Did anyone see this about fake protesters? http://www.jonathanturley.org/2013/06/12/turkish-police-caught-staging-fake-riot-by-protesters/



NBC reports from Istanbul were particularly befuddled last night. Their talking points don’t explain why the riots continue in a democratic elected neo-liberal state. American media ignored the ethnic riots in Sweden. Let’s see. In recent years, riots have also broken out in Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, UK, Ireland, and France. Economic factors from austerity in Europe to increased cost of food in Egypt are involved. But, the main reason is increased inequality and disrespect. Our genes demand that we be treated fairly. If we’re not, we humans protest; especially, if we feel that what’s rightfully ours is unfairly being taken away.

Peter C

I know of 4 people who have canceled their visits to Turkey in the fall, there goes several thousand dollars in foreign exchange. If Turkey remains unstable, and in all likely hood it will. Kiss of the Tourist season for 2014 too.

A close work associate from Turkey with family agricultural land holdings dating back 200 hundred years is contemplating selling and moving the operation to U.S. farming. In his estimation Turkey will go backwards economically. His family has endured the ups and downs of the political winds too many times now. Political stability if you are a modern farming operation is key. The ability to access markets though out the European zone is critical. The ability to purchase modern equipment and maintain the equipment parts, and skilled labor are key. Access to inputs, fertilizer and such would be problematic. If massive unrest and warfare break out the large irrigation systems would be destroyed or severely disrupted.

This will not end well.

Medicine Man


I sincerely hope you're right about Erdogan being in over his head. From the outset I've been worried about how a coup in Turkey would go over in the US. The President seems to have a certain starry-eyed romance with the concept of populist reform and the easy "dictatorial military vs elected government" is unfortunately a narrative that will sell easily to lazy US media and its hordes of credulous customers.

I find myself hoping that the US will have limited ability to interfere in Turkish politics in the near future.


Perhaps the Colonel could correct me on this, but weren't Islamist power grabs dealt with in the past by the military rolling in and arresting everyone?

While the decimation of the officer corps is part and parcel of this not happening yet, I also wonder if the Turkish officers are worried that the US will take its usual binary "democracy gud/everything else BAD" view of things and they'll be sanctioned.

Considering the depth of experience in this administration is that of a puddle in an Arizona noon, I wouldn't blame them for worrying about Obama bleating tired platitudes about democracy when they try to save their country.


Sweden was an awesome example of how things are breaking down.

Immigrants riot, and the police say their taking a hands off role.

Locals form groups to protect their stuff, and the police arrest them for 'racism'.

You cannot make this stuff up.


“This is the man that Obama and Kerry want for an ally?  Pl “

Although, the sultan has been serving the interests of US, he at times appears unreliable (i.e. spat with izies). So, it maybe, certain powers are looking for a better servant. Gullen, who supposedly has relations with certain US agency, would likely see the unrest help bring about a more compliant sultan.

However, Erdogan and his popularity should not be under-estimated. One would hope, once the sultan's head is cracked, that perhaps he would change and pursue more of an independent policies for the benefit of Turkieh and not for outsiders.

The beaver

I guess you see agents provocateurs in all those protests - be it G8 or in such situations. M.O to round up as many protesters as possible to make both the police and govt look good to the population.


WRC: Sadly, you are right.


VV: I'm waiting for one--just one--western government to be declared illegitimate because of rioting. Notice when people riot on Greece against EU policies they are "bums" but if they riot in Instanbul they are civil rights activists. Can you imagine the body count in the USA if rioters threw Molotov cocktails at police?

Tom S.

How has the Obama administration been different from its predecessors in supporting Erdogan? Or Ozul?


If the Swedish LGBT community were to protest immigrants taking damaging thier property and assulting thier way of life the surealism will have gone full circle.


One would hope the US pursued policies for the benefit of the US, not allies - real or self-declared; nor ideological positions of national security advisors and UN representatives.


I do not agree that the way Emine Erdogan dresses is indicative of plans for future women's rights infringements in Turkey on the part of her husband.

A good percentage of the Turkish women population dresses this way and increasingly so among the urban youths for the past 2-3 decades. The Hijab ban of secularist Turkey ( and Tunisia) has actually been fought for blocking access of women to schools, political and government positions- including working as doctors and nurses- thus infringing upon their rights rather than improving their human rights, that is why the ban was ammended in the area of higher education. It is simple: some Muslim women want to wear a headscarf and mosdest clothing, and be part of society on their own terms; wearing a headscarf does not automatically mean that women are forced to wear it or that they are victims of society.


The orientalist argument of seeking to improve women's rights in Muslim-majority countries is unfortunately not that tranparent, and often reflects Western prejudice rather than objective culturally- sensistive assessment of needs.


Here is a picture of Ataturk with his headscarf and Jilbab wearing wife in the 1920s; one cannot say that, based on her dress, Ataturk was about to drag the country into the Islamist dark ages.




"does not automatically mean that women are forced to wear it"

IMO they will be forced to wear it if she and her husband have their way. pl


Part of the problem is viewing Turkey through the Kurdish lense. Erdogan was perceived as less hard against the Kurds. The Kurds are the darlings of the Western media and leadership in recent decades. They can do no wrong, have done no wrong, and always just wanted a little self-determination. Kurdish participation in massacres of Armenians isn't commented on. Indeed, Kurdish raids and victimizing their non-Kurdish Christian neighbors or exploiting them in feudal hierarchies is never discussed. Kurdish apathy towards self-determination for centuries is also never really considered. Why didn't Saladin make a Kurdish state when he had the chance? That's right, because nobody cared back then. Ethnic rivalries in the pre-Modern ME did exist, but they were less national movements and more clan-tribal clique court squabbles and grabs for patronage and political spoils.
American fetishization of democracy is also a problem.


Col Lang,

The amendment to the Article 10 of the consitutionnal law relevant to the wearing of headscarf in institutions of higher learning has gone further to affirm the principle of none-discrimination :“Equality in Front of the Law” and proclaims that “everyone, regardless of distinctions of language, race, color, gender, political belief, philosophical conviction, religion, ethnicity, and like grounds, is equal in the eyes of the law.” Furthermore “women and men possess equal rights. The state is responsible to ensure that this equality becomes effective.”

This amendment which was carefully negotiated and an improvement on the previous article of the secular republic in all aspects actually ensures that no parties can propose laws that force inequal treatment esp. on women from Sharia extractions. If there are any ambiguities left in this article they are not able to be resolved from top, they need legal processing that is built in the system already. The fear that RTE and his wife "single-handedly" will change the constitution is fearmongering from hardline secularists.

Babak Makkinejad

The so-called secularist will ban women from wearing hejab (any form of it) and the religious will ban women without hijab.

Never occuring to them to leave women alone to make a free choice.

Erdogan was sent to jail when he was mayor of Istanbul because he was too Islamic; Karbschi - the mayor of Tehran - was sent to jail because he was not Islamic enough.

Erdogan, however, could make a come back - not so Karbaschi.

There is something about the clothing of women that they feel they must control, one way or another. Perhaps it all has to do with who controls the fertile womb?

And these are the 2 most advanced Muslim-majority countries.

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