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More Military Arrests in Turkey For ‘Feb. 28 Process’

Feb 27, 2013 | Comments Off

Two former generals, and three lower-ranking soldiers, were called to testify in Ankara on Wednesday [Feb. 27] regarding their role in the “February 28th Process” — the so-called military coup which deposed former Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan in 1997.

Just minutes before the day turned to Feb.28, the court announced its decision to arrest former land forces commander retired Gen. Erdal Ceylanoglu, well known for ordering tanks to parade on the streets of Ankara, as well as retired Maj. Gen. Yucel Ozsir. Thursday marks the 16th anniversary of the alleged coup.

There was a growing tension in that part of Ankara after the Iranian ambassador attended an event called “Jerusalem night” on Jan. 30, 1997, and that the staged theater was perceived as targeting the main pillars of this secular democracy and aiming at the alliance that it’s a member of.

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Turkey Can Improve Democratic Record for EU Bid

Feb 26, 2013 | Comments Off

ANKARA Turkey — Turkey’s effort to join the European Union is still far from being realized. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has justifiably expressed his frustration with this, which was set as a state policy since more than a half-century ago. As he is, however, openly lambasting the country’s past at any given opportunity, starting from the military coups to the generals’ role in policy-making; from the alleged state restrictions that prevented pious Muslims like him from practicing Islam to the previous governments’ economic failures, the Europeans take even a more critical look at Turkey — coupled with all of the things that Erdogan has been critical about this country’s past as well as the size of its population, belonging to a different culture, tradition and religion.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/turkey-eu-bid-issues-human-rights-democracy.html#ixzz2MUsgLmpH

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How Is Kurdistan Different From Palestine?

Feb 25, 2013 | Comments Off

After Al-Monitor’s Mustafa Akyol opened the debate by asking, “Is there a Turkish Kurdistan?” and another contributor, Cengiz Candar, continued the conversation with “part of Turkey’s territory is Kurdistan,” it may actually be time to ask yet another question: Why is Kurdistan different from Palestine?

This is not to suggest that there is any copy-paste parallel between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Turkey’s Kurdish issue, but the obvious fact is that since Ottoman times, both Palestine and Kurdistan have defined lands without borders. Neither has ever claimed sovereignty in any time in history, nor have either’s people been regarded as a nation.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/kurdistan-palestine-differences.html#ixzz2MUsI0GX5

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Iran’s Foreign Envoy Slams Turkish Media

Feb 22, 2013 | Comments Off

When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams the Turkish media, which is quite often, the world listens. Therefore, there is no reason to be surprised about either Bahman Hosseinpour, Iran’s ambassador to Ankara, blaming the Turkish media for the rocky state of relations with Turkey, or the silence of Turkey’s ruling party in return.

When Erdogan portrays the Turkish media as an obstacle to his success in domestic and foreign affairs, it prompts others to see the Turkish media under an unfavorable light.
To recap, Hosseinpour attended a farewell reception in his honor on Feb. 19. According to Hurriyet, the ambassador said, “There are some who want to damage ties between the two countries [Iran and Turkey]. Be careful that your writing should not damage ties.”

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/iran-ambassador-attacks-turkish-media-bahman-hosseinpour.html#ixzz2MUrqPwyI

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Hamas Leader Meshaal Pays ‘Secretive’ Visit to Turkey

Feb 21, 2013 | Comments Off

The state-controlled Anatolian News Agency reported on Tuesday, Feb. 19, after Hamas’ political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal left Turkey that he had met with Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan the day before, at the prime minister’s office in Ankara, to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation efforts.

“It was learned that Meshaal informed Erdogan about the efforts and the substance of the reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions,” the news report said. “It was also stated that Prime Minister Erdogan told Meshaal, ‘It is of great importance that the process to reconcile the Palestinian factions continues without interruption, and that it will also impact the peace process positively.’”

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/hamas-leader-khaled-meshaal-secret-turkey-visit.html#ixzz2MUrN7nTg

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Turkish Parliament’s Tuesday Meetings Raise Political Temperature

Feb 20, 2013 | Comments Off

Tuesdays are “Bashing Day” for the leaders of the political parties in the Turkish parliament. Every Tuesday at their party gatherings, they go on the attack, fiercely accusing one or the other of working against the best interests of Turkey, selling it off to foreign interests or paving the way for an independent Kurdistan. The regularly scheduled speeches by party leaders can sometimes border on hate speech. One should therefore not be deluded into thinking — or even hoping — that any of these leaders can speak the language of helping or healing needed to promote the resolution of issues by consensus. The parliamentary party meetings on Tuesday, Feb. 19, are prime examples.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/turkish-politics-parliament.html#ixzz2MUqvxDbh

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Turkey Launches Ship to Support Offshore Energy Exploration

Feb 18, 2013 | Comments Off

With the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean bringing Turkey’s old and new rivalries together, the Ankara government is taking slow but steady steps toward a comeuppance for them. Only time will tell whether the effort will yield productive results.

On Feb. 17, Turkey launched the Tubitak Marmara, its first domestically produced oil-exploration vessel, some two weeks after the Barbaros Hayrettin, a newly purchased 3-D seismic exploration vessel, docked at Istanbul, on Feb. 1.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/turkey-israel-oil-gas-exploration.html#ixzz2LLC0eR6O

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Turkey Needs Policies, Not Politics, In Dealing With the PKK

Feb 15, 2013 | Comments Off

“If it is going to end the bloodshed, if it is going to stop the tears, we are ready to pay the price for it,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Feb.15. He was personally delivering the message at Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters that to find a solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue, he intends to move ahead with the latest initiative engaging Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) imprisoned in Imrali since 1999. Turks are confused and distrustful of the initiative, with many doubting that it will finally lead to the PKK disarming.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/pkk-kurdish-settlement-erdogan.html#ixzz2LHM03pLO

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Turkey Committed, Frustrated With EU Process

Feb 14, 2013 | Comments Off

Delivering the opening remarks at the Turkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting [Feb. 14] in Ankara, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek said: “Our goal is full membership to the EU. We will never accept any other status, or an alternative. If in fact there is any other preference, there is no need to keep Turkey waiting.” Turkey’s chief negotiator with EU, Egemen Bagis, also gave the same message with a strong emphasis. In return though, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, asked for calm in rhetoric. “Bashing the EU, European Parliament and member states is not the way for constructive dialog,” she said.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/erdogan-akp-impede-turkey-eu-membership.html#ixzz2LHO35IAU

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New Turkish Airlines Uniform: Eye of the Beholder

Feb 13, 2013 | Comments Off

As a rising star, Turkey has two popular brand names. The first is the country’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the other is Turkish Airlines. Whether or not one is critical of the ruling party’s policies, Erdogan’s name has worldwide recognition, and he sets the image for present day Turkey — a conservative family man, a pious Muslim and married to a woman dressed under Islamic code and covered from head to toe. In fact, since the Erdogan government came to power over a decade ago, the spouses of nearly all cabinet members follow Emine Erdogan’s dress code, as does the first lady, President Abdullah Gul’s wife.
But Turks reacted fiercely last week when they suddenly learned that Turkish Airlines planned to change its flight attendants’ uniforms. Although it’s unclear how the airline decided to give the job to Dilek Hanif, a well-known haute couture designer, Turks active on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, first focused their criticism on the selection process of the designer. She was publicly slandered by other famous Turkish designers and ordinary people on the street, but it remains unclear what expectations Turkish Airlines set for her. Turkish media reported that Hanif says the uniforms are not yet finalized, and that she has no clue how pictures were leaked to the social media.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/turkish-airlines-conservative-uniform-change-erdogan.html#ixzz2LHNXExfG

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