This is the fourth and last in a series of articles based in part on eyewitness accounts about the rapidly deteriorating socio-political conditions in Turkey and what the future may hold for the country. The first, second and third articles are available here: First, Second, Third.
In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.
Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.
In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”
His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923. Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.
Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.
With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.
To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.
First, clearing the way: Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.
Second, the need for a culprit: Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.
The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.
Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism: To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.
Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.
Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.
Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.
Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”
Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”
Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.
In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.
There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.
Copyright © Dr. Alon Ben-Meir, Global Research, 2017
Filed under: Al Qaeda, Brotherhood, Erdogan, IRAQ, ISIL, kurds, MUSLIM ZIONISTS, NATO, neo-Ottoman, Reform, sectarianism, Secularism, Turkey, War on Syria | Comments Off on Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire
A woman beheaded in the road. Five headless corpses hanging from cranes.
What the film makes abundantly clear is that the country is a murderous dictatorship which refuses to tolerate dissent
The documentary is based on six months of undercover filming and its footage of beatings and beheadings is disturbing enough. But it also exposes the extremes of wealth and poverty in this oil-rich country.
Furthermore, it tells the story of the men and women who dare to speak out against the Saudi dictatorship, and reveals the terrible price they have to pay for their courage
Filed under: AngloZionist Empire, EU, Human Rights, ISIL, Saudia, sectarianism, Takfiris, Torture, UK, USA, Wahabism At Work | Comments Off on Saudi Arabia Uncovered ; Documentary Exposes the Horror of Life in Saudi Arabia
فبراير 28, 2017
Written by Nasser Kandil,
From Tehran the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri issued two golden equations one is Lebanese and the other is regional. Berri announced that the Arabs and the Muslims who meet on considering the threat of transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by Washington a rude challenge of the feelings of the Arabs and the Muslims, a disgraceful infringement upon the identity of Jerusalem, and a step forward to Israeli escalation that is related with making Jerusalem Jewish and the completion of the displacement of its Arab citizens, as well as an encouragement of the occupation government to go on in further preemptive steps can disable each opportunity for the settlement and ignite the region. Berri wondered what the Arabs can do; he said: why the Arabs and the Muslims do not use the deterrence weapons which they have, which is the prior threat; that they can close their embassies in Washington in case Washington transfers its embassy to Jerusalem.
The deterrence weapon which is put by Berri in circulation has revealed that there are alternatives for the wailing and the begging, as revealing the oil weapons which were used as a deterrence weapon in October War 1973 and have proved their high effectiveness, but this time the fact proves that that the cause of the Arab and Islamic governments is not due to the absence of the alternatives but due to the absence of the wills and the determinations, therefore, the inciting function of Berri’s equation will embarrass the Arab and Islamic governments and will embarrass Washington once launched by Berri, and its turning into common equation in the public opinion, it asks the governments why do not you do that, and will make Washington observe the ability of the governments affiliated to it through bearing pressures of that magnitude, and considering the US interest in exposing these affiliated governments to instability and the fall, in addition, to what will be the consequences of Berri’s equation as launching civil and popular movements that carry the equation to the street as a demand, and turn it into a slogan for preemptive pressure movement against the governments, Washington, and Tel Aviv together.
The second golden equation which was issued by Berri was like drawing a separated line between the fair and the fake election law, by saying we need a law that ensures some of the ambiguity in the results, in response to his description of the situation, that each party tries to calculate his position from the formulas of the laws by measuring his parliamentary share in advance before making the elections. Berri’s equation in Politics is a condition for the correct and the fair law, because it is an election law not a decree of appointments and the going to the elections with expecting some surprises arouse the interest of the enthusiastic voters and will give a meaning for the electoral alliances and a justification for the competition. Because without the ambiguity in the results which stem from adopting any electoral law the law will turn into an ugly deal of partisan and sectarian quota that does not worth the debate and where the law of sixty will be equal to the relative variety on specified circles. This ambiguity grants the overall relativity according to one circle its superiority to the other projects and puts is in the lead as a guarantor of the political, partisan, and sectarian pluralism.
These are Berri’s two golden equations, while the Arab fact and the Lebanese one in particular are bronze.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,
– من طهران أطلق رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه برّي معادلتين ذهبيتين، واحدة لبنانية والثانية إقليمية، فقد أعلن بري أن بإمكان العرب والمسلمين المُجمعين على اعتبار قيام واشنطن بنقل سفارتها من تل أبيب إلى القدس تحدياً فظاً لمشاعر العرب والمسلمين، واعتداء سافراً على هوية القدس، وفتحاً للباب «الإسرائيلي» على خطوات تصعيدية تتصل بتهويد القدس واستكمال تهجير مواطنيها العرب، وتشجيعاً لحكومة الاحتلال للسير بالمزيد من الخطوات الاستباقية لتدمير كل فرصة للتسوية والذهاب لإشعال المنطقة. وتساءل بري عمّا يمكن للعرب فعله، فقال: لماذا لا يستعمل العرب والمسلمون سلاح ردع بين أيديهم، وهو التهديد المسبق بأنهم سيُغلقون سفاراتهم في واشنطن في حالل إقدامها على خطوة نقل سفارتها إلى القدس؟
– سلاح الردع الذي وضعه بري في التداول كشف عن وجود بدائل للنحيب والتسوّل، يشبه الكشف عن سلاح النفط الذي استعمل كسلاح ردع في حرب تشرين عام 1973 وأثبت فعالية عالية، لكن الواقع يؤكد هذه المرّة أن قضية الحكومات العربية والإسلامية ليست بغياب البدائل بل بغياب الإرادات والعزائم، من دون أن تنتفي الوظيفة التحريضية لمعادلة برّي التي ستُحرج الحكومات العربية والإسلامية وتُحرج واشنطن بمجرد إطلاقها على لسان برّي وتحوّلها معادلة شائعة في الرأي العام، توجِّه للحكومات السؤال: لماذا لا تفعلون ذلك؟ وتضعها واشنطن أمام حساب قدرة الحكومات المحسوبة عليها على تحمّل ضغوط بهذا الحجم، وحساب المصلحة الأميركية في تعريض هذه الحكومات التابعة للاهتزاز والسقوط، عدا عما سيترتّب على معادلة بري من إطلاق لتحرّكات مدنية وشعبية تحمل المعادلة إلى الشارع كمطلب وتحوّله عنواناً لحراك استباقي ضاغط بوجه الحكومات وواشنطن وتل أبيب معاً.
– المعادلة الذهبية الثانية التي أطلقها برّي كانت ما يتصل برسم الحدّ الفاصل بين قانون الانتخاب العادل والمزيّف، بقوله، نحتاج لقانون يضمن بعض الغموض في النتائج، رداً على توصيفه للحال بقيام كل طرف بحساب موقفه من صيغ القوانين بمدى قدرته على احتساب حصته النيابية سلفاً قبل إجراء الانتخابات. ومعادلة بري هي في علم السياسة شرط القانون الصحيح والعادل، لأنه قانون انتخابات وليس مرسوم تعيينات، والذهاب إلى الانتخابات مع توقّع بعض المفاجآت هو الذي يمنحها حماسة الناخبين، ويجعل للتحالفات الانتخابية معنى، وللتنافس مبرراً، وبدون الغموض في النتائج التي ستترتّب على اعتماد أي قانون انتخابي يتحوّل القانون صفقة محاصصة حزبية وطائفية مقيتة لا تستحق النقاش ويتساوى فيها قانون الستين بالمختلط بالنسبي على دوائر مفصلة على المقاسات. وهذا الغموض هو الذي يمنح النسبية الشاملة وفقاً للدائرة الواحدة تفوّقها على سائر المشاريع، ويضعها في المقدمة كضامن للتعددية السياسية والحزبية والطائفية.
– معادلتا بري ذهبيتان، والواقع العربي واللبناني برونزيّ، إن لم يكن بعضُه «تنك».
- دبلوماسية «برّي» تسقط عند الخطوط الحمراء
- المستقبل: حزب الله يخيّرنا بين النسبية والنسبية
- قانون «أهل الحلّ والعَقد»… لِمَ لا؟
- «الستين».. بين مراسم الدفن وقيامة «زومبي»!
- فياض: أهمية قانون الانتخاب أنه مفتاح إنتاج السلطة في الدولة
- برّي اختتم زيارته لطهران بلقاء روحاني ولاريجاني
- المستقبل يهرب من النسبية… ومن الانتخابات
Filed under: AngloZionist Empire, Dershowitz, Elections, Future Movement, GCC, Iran, Jerusalem, Judaization, Jumblat, Lebanon, Nasser Kandil, Palestine, sectarianism, Trump, US Foreign Policy, USA, Zionist entity | Tagged: Berri | Comments Off on Berri : Two golden equations برّي: معادلتان ذهبيتان
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif slammed Turkey, describing it as an ungrateful neighbor with weak memory.
Responding to recent accusations of “sectarianism” by Ankara, Zarif said that the Turks have forgotten our stance in the night of coup, which took place last July, despite the fact that the government in Turkey is not Shiite.
The entire world know that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) played the most important role in supporting the region states in its fight against terrorism, Zarif said on the sidelines of a ceremony held in memory of the Iranian foreign ministry martyrs on Saturday, Tasnim news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Zarif described joint efforts by Iran, Russia and Turkey for peace in Syria as a useful experience, hoping that it would lead to neighboring countries’ realization of the benefits of interaction.
“We hope that our neighbors will recognize the benefits of interaction more (than before), remember the realities and know that Iran has good intentions for the region,” he added.
The Iranian top diplomat further reiterated the need for collaborations among all regional countries for countering terrorism and extremism and said fanning “sectarian views” is in no one’s interest.
In a speech at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 19, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized what he called an Iranian “sectarian policy” in the region. Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused Iran of promoting “Persian nationalism.”
On Friday, Zarif said that Turkish officials had been entangled in the consequences of their “past mistakes” and were now attempting to play a blame game by making accusations against Iran.
Source: Iranian media
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- Iran’s Top Security Official Dismisses Reports on Meeting Saudi FM
- Bogdanov: Supplies of Russian Weapons to Iraq Important Factor in Fight against ISIL
- تلاسن تركي إيراني قد يتحول الى حرب إقليمية.. فهل هذه الاتهامات في محلها؟ ولماذا الآن؟
- زيارة فوتيل لـ«قسد»: روايات متناقضة وغضب تركي
- الجيش يدخل تادف ويتابع التقدم في ريف حلب الشرقي
- روحاني مرشّح للانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة
- المقابلة | تعديلٌ «على الطريقة التركية»
- «حصاد الإصلاحيين الضعيف» يهدد الولاية الثانية لروحاني
- قائد القوات الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط يزور «قسد»
- خمسة اسباب وراء زيارة الجبير المفاجئة وغير المعلنة الى العراق.. وما علاقة سورية و”الدولة الاسلامية” فيه؟ واين ايران من كل هذا؟
Filed under: Al Qaeda, AngloZionist Empire, Erdogan, Iran, IRAQ, IRGC, ISIL, neo-Ottoman, Saudia, sectarianism, Syrian Army, Turkey, USA, War on Syria | Comments Off on Zarif: Turkey A Neighbor with Weak Memory
As the Syrian crisis approaches its 6th anniversary, we take a look at some of the Syrian government’s social, political and economic policies. This will not only give an insight into what life has been like in Syria, but it also provides an indication of what values and principles are important to the Syrian government.
Generally speaking, President Bashar al-Assad, and his late father, Hafez al-Assad operated a secular state, allowing all religions to be practised across Syria. The government itself is made up of a range of different religions, although Islam is the state religion.
Access to education has been a championed value in Syria for several decades, with free education being provided by the government, even at universities (although there are some private alternatives available.)
Despite the raging conflict, most schools and academic institutions continue to function in government-held areas. However, the war has displaced millions internally, and in the vast majority of cases, they have moved from areas held by Daesh or other militant groups, to areas under the sanctuary of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied forces.
This has put a strain on facilities, including schools and universities, and many of them are now operating well-above their standard capacity. For example, more than 200,000 students currently study at Damascus University, as it has accepted displaced students from across Syria.
Damascus University, which was founded in 1923, is Syria’s largest and oldest university, and until now, it offers a variety of courses, ranging from Medicine to Engineering.
The war and economic sanctions on Syria’s economy have resulted in a sharp decrease in national GDP, whilst also triggering high levels of price inflation. This has dragged many Syrians into poverty, making basic goods unaffordable. To reduce the financial strain on many Syrians, some schools no longer require students to wear uniforms, as this would be an unnecessary additional cost.
In mid-2010, Syria became the first Muslim country ban the burka and niqab. Specifically, they were banned at public and private universities. The ban was implemented to counter oppression against women, and combat radical Islam. The Daily Mail interviewed a 32-year-old Syrian engineer, named Ahmed, who said: “Hijabs and niqabs have been a symbol of oppression and religious extremism over the past hundreds of years. They have been a tool used by fundamentalist men to repress women.”
The Syrian government, especially when it was led by Hafez al-Assad, decided to preserve Syria’s natural resources for future generations, as opposed to exploiting it for financial gain. This policy may no longer be followed in a post-war context, as Syria looks to rebuild itself, and bolster the economy.
In terms of immigration policy, Syria allowed millions of Palestinians and Iraqis to settle in the country over the past few decades. Very few Syrians permanently left the country, and in most cases, they would travel to Europe for educational purposes, typically funded by the government.
Defending and liberating Palestine is a core Baathist policy, and Syria went to war with Israel on several occasions, eventually leading to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, located in Southern Syria.
However, Syria adopted a pragmatic approach, militarily intervening in Lebanon against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1980s, because PLO forces were massacring Lebanese Maronite Christians. Once again, this further reinforces their commitment to secularism.
Access to healthcare was another core value and policy. According to an article published in the Independent, Syria’s pre-war healthcare system was “the envy of the Middle East,” and the country had a life-expectancy of 75, similar to the UK.
Syria’s pharmaceutical industry was drastically improved and developed over the past few decades, with the successful implementation of Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP), allowing Syria to export its pharmaceuticals to more than 50 countries, while also meeting around 90% of domestic demand for medicaments.
When you look at some the Syrian government’s policies, it is easy to see why President Assad still enjoys support from millions of Syrians.
It is impossible to tell exactly how things will develop once the conflict reaches its conclusion, but we can expect secularism, and access to education and healthcare to continue being the cornerstones of the current government’s policies.
SOURCES: Sputnik News, by Suliman Mulhem Submitted by SyrianPatriot War Press Info Network at : https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/6-years-crisis/ ~
Filed under: Al Qaeda, AngloZionist Empire, Assad, ISIL, Nusra Front, sectarianism, Secularism, Syrian Army, USA, War on Syria | Tagged: Refugees | Comments Off on A Look at Syria Following Nearly Six Years of Crisis