Archive for the ‘Istanbul’ Category

Tahir Elci: Kurdish lawyer shot dead in Turkey

November 28, 2015

Today, Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist Tahir Elci was shot dead in the street in Turkish Kurdistan.

He was shot dead as he addressed a rally calling for an end to violence by the state against Kurds.

A peaceful protest in Istanbul at his death, was dispersed by the police using water canon and tear gas.

This is the brutal reality of Turkey under Fascist Islamist  dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey, Vladimir Putin has imposed economic sanctions on Turkey, these include restrictions on imports, ban on charter flights and a ban on tour operators offering holidays in Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Fascist Islamist President of Turkey

November 27, 2015

The West turns a blind eye to the Fascist Islamist President of Turkey.

Slow erosion of women’s rights in Turkey.

Clampdown on the media, on journalists and freedom of expression.

Support for Isis. Arms, money, oil and people flow across the border with Syria to support Isis.

Meddling by Turkey has worsened the situation in Syria and Iraq.

Atrocities against the Kurds.

Shooting down of a Russian military plane, which will now incur economic sanctions against Turkey, and probably see the collapse of its tourist industry.

The recent bombings in Turkey were probably orchestrated by Erdoğan.

One of the reasons Greece is in debt, is due to a massive military budget to defend against the threat of Turkey. Turkey has regular, daily incursions into Greek airspace.

Turkey downs a Russian jet

November 25, 2015
Russian SU-24

Russian SU-24

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey. — Vladimir Putin

We do not intend to go to war with Turkey. — Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

If Greece had downed every turkish aircraft for THAT level of airspace violation, today Turkey would only fly kites. — Maria Topalidou

Yesterday the world awoke to the alarming news, Turkey had shot down a Russian military jet. An act of crass stupidity and naked aggression by Turkey.

There was no response from the Russian plane, no missiles fired,  no evasive action, which would appear to indicate the pilots assumed they were safe in Syrian territory.

The bombing of Syria by Russia, an act of crass stupidity and naked aggression. Large numbers of civilians killed, and not an iota difference made to ISIS.

Russia is bombing any opponent of Assad. Assad a brutal dictator who is quite happy to bomb his own people. It is the repression of Assad, marginalisation of Sunnis, that and drought, that has given rise to Isis in Syria.

It was obvious in September, Russia bombing Syria, possible excursions in Turkey, would increase tensions in the region.

The world moves closer to WWIII.

Vladimir Putin has promised strong action against Turkey, but has ruled out military action. It looks like, no Russian tourists to Turkey, which will cause the Turkish tourist economy to collapse.

Turkey, until a bomb attack in Turkey, was supporting Isis. They allow the flow of people, weapons, money and oil across the border. Action by Turkey is to attack the Kurds, the only effective force fighting ISIS.

But the Kurds are only interested in establishing and safeguarding Kurdistan, they are not interested in the rest of Syria.

What happened yesterday?

Turkey says they warned the pilots, that there was an excursion into their airspace. The surviving Russian pilot says there was no warning, and that they were not in Turkish airspace. Americans say Russian plane was in Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds.

The second pilot was shot by Syrian forces on the ground. This was a war crime.

A tiny sliver of Turkish land projects into Syria. This may explain the discrepancy, if it was crossed.

Russian bombers regularly probe UK airspace. They are intercepted and escorted away.  They are not shot down.

Russian submarines enter Swedish waters. Swedish warships drop depth charges.

Had Russia retaliated against Turkey, it would have been an attack on Nato.

Russia has ruled out a military response, instead it will use economic sanctions. A boycott by Russian tourists. Not that will be difficult, as they lack money. Turkish tourist industry will collapse.

There is little support in Nato for Turkey’s action. David Cameron has been stupid enough to offer his support.

If we are to defeat Isis, we need the support of Russia.

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

Turkey regularly enters Greek airspace. Turkish warships appear off the coast of Cyprus.

Turkey says it is not an aggressor. Support of Isis, atrocities against the Kurds, occupation of northern Cyprus, exposes that lie.

In 2012, Turkey accused Syria of shooting down one of their F-4 Phantoms. At that time,  then prime minister and now president Erdoğan jumped up and down and condemned the Syrian military for their rash action. Hmm.

“A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack” were the words he chose at the time, words that will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Turkey is a country where abuse of human rights is the norm.

ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

November 25, 2015


10505328_10154729840000012_6173827095010968907_n Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the…

View original post 3,240 more words

Taksim Square one year on

May 31, 2014
Taksim Square one year on

Taksim Square one year on

One year on, and the same police brutality as was used to clear peaceful protesters from Taksim Square a year ago.

Ten days ago, we had a mining disaster, an advisor to the Prime Minister viciously kicked one of the protesters. The Prime Minister too lashed out at protesters. The mining disaster was dismissed as no great matter.

A brutal dictator who the people must depose.

You, who they call Lord

March 30, 2014

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.


— Abbot Burkhard

Abbot Burkhard is Abbott Emeritus at the Benedictine Abbey at Melk.

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho that he marks St Joseph Day with a party with his friends. Abbot Burkhard is one of his friends. The evening will always have prayers in many languages, many traditions, starting with Portuguese led by Paulo Coelho.

This prayer by Abbot Burkhard, translated from German by Nayla, is from Istanbul.

Synchronicity: The day after Festa de São José I was in Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção talking to the Parish Priest. I mentioned this prayer by Abbot Burkhard. One week and one day later, Paulo Coelho in a tweet, referenced this prayer on his blog.

Hot chestnuts

December 12, 2013
hot chestnuts

hot chestnuts

At this time of year, I used to see vendors on the streets in London selling hot chestnuts. I say used to, as I do not know if it happens any more. I was in London this time last year, and nowhere did I see hot chestnuts on the streets.

A couple of weeks ago, at a Christmas Fayre in Farnham, hot chestnuts on offer, but not traditional hot chestnuts from a street vendor, these were being cooked on a gas-fired barbecue!

The one place I have found hot chestnuts, and where I least expected to find them, was on the streets of old Istanbul.

Everywhere I came across streets vendors, each had an identical stall, but each had his own display of hot chestnuts, each display different.

And the chestnuts? They were delicious, far better than I have ever tasted on the streets of London.

And they were cheap:

  • 100g 3 lire
  • 200g 5 lire
  • 400g 10 lire

Around the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, they tried to rip you off, that is until I pointed out I knew the price, then they backed down.

What I also liked, was the lovely old scales they used to weigh out the hot chestnuts.

I think I had hot chestnuts every day. It was something to look forward to, and made a pleasant snack whilst wandering the narrow streets of old Istanbul

The only time recently I have seen hot chestnuts, was in the old part of Athens, only a couple of stalls. I tried. Expensive and poor quality to what I had found in Istanbul.

Unlike London, where hot chestnuts are found around Christmas time, in Istanbul and Athens, it was March. Whether available all year round, I do not know.

Published on Medium with pictures of stalls.

Tea and cakes in Istanbul

November 28, 2013

Tea and cakes in tiny tea shops in old Istanbul

 tea and cakes

tea and cakes

One of the things I liked in Istanbul, was in the old part, down very narrow streets, tiny tea shops with the most delicious cakes.

Best with a friend, then you can sample more of the cakes and share.

The tea is red, served in a glass, and sweetened. I would not usually drink tea with sugar, but when I tried without, I found it to be very bitter.

What the tea is, I do not know. I asked, but the communication gap was too wide to be bridged.

The cakes, I do not know what they were either, other than they were delicious.

Riot police storm Gezi Park and Taksim Square

June 15, 2013
protester defies water cannon in Istanbul

protester defies water cannon in Istanbul

Riot police this evening have stormed Gezi Park and Taksim Square in Istanbul using bulldozers, water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Peaceful protesters have been brutally attacked by the police on orders of the Turkish Prime Minister.

The Turkish Prime Minister is unfit to hold office and should be toppled.

The mass street protests with a call for the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister began when police brutally attacked peaceful protesters trying to save Gezi Park from destruction for a shopping mall. Tow weeks later, and the police again use violence to clear the park.

Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!

June 11, 2013
Red-eyed protesters streaming to Gezi Park Medical Tent to splash milk on their eyes, tear gas wafting from Taksim Square

Red-eyed protesters streaming to Gezi Park Medical Tent to splash milk on their eyes, tear gas wafting from Taksim Square

Arguing whether to stay in #GeziPark or go to #Taksim ends in chant Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!

Arguing whether to stay in Gezi Park or go to Taksim Square ends in chant “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!”

protesters form human chain to protect Gezim Park and edge of Taksim Square

protesters form human chain to protect Gezim Park and edge of Taksim Square

This morning, the forces of repression, went in very heavy in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, armoured vehicles, water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets.

Advisor to Turkish Medical Association says 10 Head Injuries across Taksim Square from Tear Gas Cannisters fired too low. Most taken to hospital.

Gezi Park Medical Tent reports three broken legs, three head traumas and many overwhelmed by gas. They have their own generator in case electricity is cut.

Lawyers have been dragged from the Court House. When lawyers are dragged by riot police from a Court House, Turkey loses all pretence of a modern democracy.

Turkey tops the list for journalists in gaol. Is Turkey now trying to top the list for lawyers too?.

Last week, the Turkish Prime Minister was calling the protesters terrorists, today he is saying they are part of an international conspiracy.

Please sign the Amnesty International petition.

Please sign the Avaaz petition.

%d bloggers like this: