Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

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.

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

UndercoverInfo

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…

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Rojava: The Revolution we do not hear about

February 9, 2015

During the Spanish Civil War, Anarchists took control of towns, organised, until they were crushed by the Fascists.

Syriza has brought hope to Greece, inspired the Spanish to elect Podemos, it may spread further.

Rojava is a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. A revolution we hear little about. Self-organising autonomous networks.

They face attacks from ISIS, but also until recently, Turkey was preventing any support from across the border, except they allow jihadist to cross the border. Crossing the border is not permissible for journalists.

Across the border, supported by PKK in Turkish occupied Kurdistan. PKK for demanding autonomy for Kurds, are branded terrorists by Turkey.

The Kurds have carved out an autonomous region in northern Iraq. The same has happened in northern Syria, except it goes much further and deeper.

All are equal, Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Muslims. Women and men are equal. The women are fighters.

Contrast the Kurds with brutality of ISIS.

It was Kurdish YPG that rescued Yazidis when trapped on a mountainside, surrounded by ISIS.

Gareth Watkins:

The Middle East today is the last place anyone in mainstream western thought would think to look for progressive political thought, and even less to see those thoughts translated into action. Our image of the region is one of dictatorships, military juntas and theocracies built on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, or hollow states like Afghanistan, and increasingly Pakistan, where anything outside the capitol is like Mad Max. The idea of part of the region being not just free, but well on its way to utopian, isn’t one that you’re going to find on mainstream media.

But you’re not on the mainstream media right now, are you?

Along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Northern Iraq, lies a mainly Kurdish area with a population of 4.6 million where a huge social experiment is taking place at the centre of a crossfire between Syria’s dictatorship, ISIS’s collective insanity and Turkey’s ongoing hostility towards the idea of Kurdish autonomy, with the US and NATO looming large in the background. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC) established in the region of Rojava a society that mixes fierce libertarianism (guns are everywhere and there are no taxes – none) and Occupy-friendly anarchist thought with a healthy dose of feminism. While most Kurdish groups, especially those the US is friendly with, would some day like to establish a Kurdish state, in Rojava they have leap-frogged over the idea of the nation state into a more advanced system that they call Democratic Confederalism.

In the cantons of Rojava, there is a small central government with an absolute minimum of 40% female delegates, but most of the day-to-day work of running society happens at a local level, street by street and village by village. Democratic Confederalism’s chief architect, Abdullah Ocalan, says that “Ecology and feminism are central pillars” of the system he has spearheaded, something that you would have to go very far to the margins to hear from Western politicians. In Rojava, men who beat their wives face total ostracism from the community, making their lives in a highly social, connected society virtually impossible. Instead of a police force and jails, ‘peace committees’ in each municipality work to defuse the cycles of inter-family revenge killings by consensual agreements between both sides – and it works.

The only part of Rojava’s experiment that has received any international attention has been the YPJ, the female-only paramilitary forces that have been fighting, and winning, against ISIS and the Syrian Army. NBC, the Guardian and even Marie Claire have all covered the YPJ’s bravery without even paying lip service to the ideology that makes it possible.

It was the YPJ, along with their male counterparts the YPG, that rescued the thousands of Yazidis stranded and encircled by ISIS on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidi community had the misfortune to be based almost entirely inside the area that ISIS has claimed – and they have been a hated minority in the Islamic world for a thousand years, accused of ‘devil worship’. While the US dropped supplies from above, the Syrian fighting groups broke ISIS’s lines and saved tens of thousands of lives. They also successfully defended the city of Kobani when ISIS launched an all-out assault on the city of forty-five thousand with tanks, missiles and even drones. Despite heavy losses, the city remains ISIS-free, though its surrounding villages are still contested.

Crisis forces innovation.

fighters

fighters

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.

Third day of protest in Turkey

June 2, 2013
A man waves a flag with portrait Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as thousands of Turkish youths gather at city's main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, June 2, 2013. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

A man waves a flag with portrait Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as thousands of Turkish youths gather at city’s main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday 2 June 2013. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

What started out as a protest against a shopping mall in a park in Istanbul, is now in its third day with over 90 protests taking place across Turkey.

When the police went in heavy, to crush a protest in a park, people took to the streets. It was the final straw, people are now venting their anger against an unpopular authoritarian Islamic government. They are now calling for the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister and his government, an apology from the police and an end to all urban development.

As with the Arab Spring, social media has a major role to play.

The Turkish government is censoring what the media can show. Please ensure this is widely circulated.

Istanbul Symphony (Op 28) – Fazil Say

June 3, 2012

Note: Concert starts at 16 minutes.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say accused of insulting Islam (via twitter)

June 2, 2012

Turkish composer and international classical and jazz pianist Fazil Say has been charged by a court in Istanbul in Turkey of insulting Islam via a series of messages on twitter.

He is one of several artists facing similar charges. Meanwhile the West is turning a blind eye to a hard-line Islamic government and the creeping Islamisation of what has been a secular society in Turkey.

Fazil Say faces 18 months in prison for ‘publicly insulting religious values that are adopted by a part of the nation’. It is unusual for twitter posts to be the subject of an indictment in Turkey. Some were original messages, others re-tweets.

One re-tweet poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife, likening heaven’s promise of rivers of wine to a tavern and of virgins to a brothel. It referred to a poem by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

Another tweet joked about a muezzin’s rapid delivery of the call to prayer, asking if he wanted to get away quickly for a drink.

Many intellectuals and writers have faced similar charges in recent years, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who last year was fined $3,700 for saying in a Swiss newspaper that Turks ‘have killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians’, a simple statement of fact which successive Turkish regimes have refused to acknowledge.

Orhan Pamuk was forced to flee Turkey. Attacks on him led to an international outcry.

Turkey is to be commended for sheltering refugees from the brutal Assad regime in Syria, but we should not let this hide human rights abuses within Turkey itself.

Pera Palace Hotel

March 27, 2011
View from the balcony - Elaine Street

View from the balcony - Elaine Street

The sun that suddenly rises behind the hills of Pera, over the minarets of the city and the Golden Horn, fills your heart with a crimson joy. Everything that was asleep all night long is waking up now … — Knut Hamsun

Pera Palace Hotel was built in 1892 to serve passengers on the Orient Express. It sits on top of a hill in modern Istanbul with extensive views of the river, Bosphorus and the old part of Istanbul. Passengers on the Orient Express were conveyed from the station, across the river and up the hill in a sedan chair. An example of one such sedan chair may be found in the foyer.

In 1895 Pera Palace was opened with a Grand Ball.

Pera Palace soon established itself as the place to see and be seen.

It was at the Pera Palace Hotel that Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express (1934).

Other famous guests include Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Mata Hari, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rita Hayworth, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, King George V of England, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, President Tito of Yugoslavia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

Room 101, a favourite of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during his many visits, is now a Atatürk museum.

The most recent famous visitor Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. He hosted a St Joseph’s Day Party (Saturday 19 March 2011) and earlier in the day a press conference.

Pera Palace Hotel has been recently renovated to restore it to its former glory. It was closed in 2006 and reopened 1 September 2010. The re-opening coincided with the year that Istanbul had been designated as the European Capital of Culture.

The electric lift inside the hotel was the second only installed in Europe. The first was the Eiffel Tower. British writer Daniel Farson described the elevator:

It is the most beautiful elevator in the world made of cast iron and wood… It ascends like a lady who curtsies. Tourists can not take their eyes off this utterly pretty and aristocrat elevator.

Apart from the Ottoman Palaces, Pera Palace was the first building to have electricity.

A few minutes walking distance from Pera Palace lies Istiklal Avenue, the heart of modern Istanbul. A historic tram mentioned by Orhan Pamuk in one of his novels runs through Istiklal Avenue. At the end of Istiklal Avenue, a funicular runs down to the tram station, from where a tram runs across the river to the old part of Istanbul and the railway station. Or a 10 lire taxi ride, but the funicular and tram is more fun.

Also within walking distance lies the Galata Tower.

Pera Palace is featured in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, with a copy opened at the relevant pages in a display cabinet in the hotel foyer.

Paulo Coelho meets readers in Istanbul
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel
Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul « Historic Hotels of the World – Then & Now
Refurbished grandeur in Istanbul’s Pera Palace Hotel
Istanbul: Afternoon Tea at the Pera Palace Hotel

Turkish coffee

March 21, 2011

One cup of coffee remains in memories for thirty years. — Turkish proverb

Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death and as sweet as love. — Turkish proverb

Turkish coffee is made and served as a way of showing respect and affection for one’s guests.

Turkish coffee is served throughout what was once the Ottoman Empire. In Greece it is known as Greek coffee, in Cyprus as Cypriot coffee.

Coffee was introduced to the Ottomans in 1543, it became so popular so quickly that coffeehouses were opened and small shops opened specializing in roasting coffee. Coffee roasting is called “tahmis”. There is a street called Tahmis in the old part of Istanbul near the Spice Bazaar. Its name derived from the coffee shops located on this street 460 years ago.

Turkish coffee is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans in a small copper saucepan. It is poured into a small coffee cup where the dregs form a layer of sludge at the bottom of the cup.

Sade (sah-DEH) – plain, no sugar (fairly bitter)

Az şekerli (AHZ sheh-kehr-lee) – with a little sugar (takes off the bitter edge; less than a teaspoon per cup)

Orta şekerli (ohr-TAH sheh-kehr-lee) – with medium sugar (sweetish; about a teaspoon of sugar for each cup)

Çok şekerli (CHOK sheh-kehr-lee) – with lots of sugar (quite sweet; two teaspoons of sugar or more)

Put the finely ground coffee beans (about one teaspoon per demi-tasse cup of coffee) into a cezve (JEZZ-veh), a special pot with a wide bottom, narrower neck, a spout, and a long handle. Add sugar (if required|) and a Turkish coffee cup (fıncan) of cold water for each cup of coffee you’re making. Bring slowly to the boil over a low to medium heat, to frothing three times, each time removing from the heat. When the froth reaches the cezve’s narrow neck, it’s a sign to remove the pot from the heat and let the froth recede. Watch the pot carefully else it will boil over.

After the third froth-up, pour a little of the froth into each cup. Bring the liquid still in the cezve to the froth-point once more, then pour it immediately, muddy grounds and all, into the Turkish coffee cups, which are smaller than demi-tasse cups.

Wait at least a minute for the grounds to settle before you pick up the tiny cup and sip. Enjoy the rich, thick flavor, but stop sipping when you taste the grounds coming through. Leave the “mud” in the bottom of the cup.

Serve with a glass of water.

I walked on through the Spice Market in Istanbul and there on the corner of the narrow street beyond is a coffee shop. A long queue as people patiently stand in line to buy their freshly ground coffee.

When I took my friend Jane there she bought some to take home. I also bought some for my friend Sian.

On checking out of my hotel this morning they gave me a small pack of ground coffee from this shop.


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