Monday, 31 October 2011

More on the Turkish Violence in European Cities at the Weekend

I think this is another view of the demonstration in Paris yesterday. The Turks burn a flag. Not sure which one. Probably a PKK flag.

You have to ask what Europeans have done to merit the (now seemingly routine) violent disruption of our city life by aggressive Turks and Kurds? It happened this weekend. It happened the weekend before. This is over a quarrel in Turkey. Are European governments helping either side? No. So what is the logic of protesting in European cities?

Here is a clip from Turkish television that shows some of the violence.

One 18-year-old Turk apparently later died of the injuries sustained in these scuffles.

Cyprus Condemns Turkish Violations of Human Rights at UN

Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael condemned Turkey’s violations of human rights in Cyprus, while speaking Wednesday to the Third Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

According to an official announcement, Hadjimichael said in his speech that Turkey has violated in 1974 basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, in addition to violating Cyprus’ independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As Hadjimichael noted, in relation to its population, Cyprus has the highest percentage of displaced persons in the world.

The Permanent Representative added that since 1974, the UN has adopted a series of important resolutions, calling on Turkey to respect its obligations under international law.

Instead, he said, Turkey continues to commit mass violations of human rights in Cyprus, by violently maintaining the division of people and of territory and by having displaced almost one third of the population, as well as by illegally exploiting Greek Cypriot properties.

Moreover, Hadjimichael also referred to the continuous grief of families of missing people, whose fate cannot be established due to Turkey’s refusal to provide information, as well as to the continuation of the illegal settlement of the Turkish-occupied territories, with the transfer of more than 160,000 people from Turkey. Finally, the Ambassador also noted the ongoing destruction of cultural and religious heritage in the northern part of Cyprus.

All these violations, he said, have been condemned constantly in a series of UN resolutions, as well as in decisions issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He referred to the recent report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay and added that according to ECHR, Turkey violates 14 articles of the European Convention of Human Rights.

On the issue of altering the island’s demographic composition, by continuously transferring settlers from Turkey, Hadjimichael noted that this affects the settlement of the Cyprus problem and it constitutes a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention and a war crime under the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

He said that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep tayyip Erdogan, while on an illegal visit in occupied Cyprus last July, referred to this policy of population transfer from mainland Turkey, warning the Turkish Cypriot population not to oppose it.

On the issue of missing persons, Hadjimichael expressed his appreciation for the work conducted by UNFICYP and the Committee on Missing Persons but underlined the lack of cooperation by Turkey, which he said is also noted by the Secretary-General himself in his report.

Regarding the enclaved Greek Cypriot population that remains in the northern part of Cyprus, Hadjimichael said that they continue to face serious violations of human rights, particularly with regards to their freedom to exercise their religious rights, the right to transfer property to their rightful heirs and the right to education, which is being compromised through numerous cancellations of appointments of teachers and book censorship.

On the destruction of cultural heritage, Hadjimichael said that almost 575 churches as well as other Christian monuments and cemeteries have been knowingly destroyed and desecrated, with the most recent example being the demolition of the church of Ayia Thekla last May.

The Permanent Representative of Cyprus noted that the President of the Republic of Cyprus is striving for the last three years, through direct talks, to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.

A basic element for the successful conclusion of this process, he said, is the immediate termination of human rights violations in Cyprus. As he put it, the aim of the Cyprus government is the restitution and support of fundamental human rights and basic liberties, for all its citizens.

He said that in order to achieve this aim, the Turkish occupation of a large part of the island of Cyprus must be terminated and UN resolutions need to be respected.

This is of vital importance, not just for Cyprus, but for the credibility and the moral standing of the UN itself, Hadjimichael concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.
Source: Famagusta Gazette

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Massive Unemployment Among Turkish Immigrants in Austria

[The orange lines show what percentage of the employed are of immigrant origin in various Austrian cities.
The blue lines show the percentage of the unemployed who are of immigrant origin.
The red line shows the percentage of unemployed of immigrant origin for Austria as a whole.]
Often they come in accompanied, sometimes with half the family in tow. The women sit there mutely, the veil pulled over their faces, while the man at their side speaks. If the counsellor manages to get a few words out of them, often it reveals broken German.

Turkish girls and women are among the most difficult clients for employment counsellors. Three quarters have only completed the period of mandatory schooling - and even that not always completely. "One day they go to school, then not again", says Inge Friehs, "because it's clear in advance they're supposed to marry and become housewives."

Friehs describes only one facet of the disquieting overall picture: among the clients of the employment service people of immigrant origin are heavily overrepresented. At 31.4% their share of those who are unemployed in Austria is almost twice as high as their share of those who are employed. In Vienna immigrants represent "only" 32 percent of those in employment, but almost half of job-seekers. Of the unemployed young people in the city, those of foreign origin represent as many as 70 per cent.
Source: Der Standart Via: SOS Heimat

Friday, 28 October 2011

Turkey's Churlish Acceptance of Israeli Earthquake Aid

It is testimony to the severity of the earthquake in Turkey that after two days of turning down foreign assistance and, in particular, desperately needed help from its nearby former friend Israel, Ankara has finally relented. The Jerusalem Post reports that after several rebuffs of Israeli overtures the Turks reached out to the Jewish state via its embassy. Tonight, a plane will carry the first of several loads of equipment to Turkey. But anyone believing this gesture marks a thawing of relations between the two countries is probably mistaken.

The first plane sent to Turkey from Israel was a civilian plane chartered by the Defense Ministry. The most logical explanation for this otherwise puzzling decision not to use a military aircraft is that despite backing down from their refusal to accept Israeli help, the ban imposed on Israeli military aircraft flying in Turkish airspace at the time of the Gaza flotilla confrontation between the two nations may still be in place. The alacrity of the Israeli response to Turkey’s need will, like most good deeds, probably go unrewarded as the Islamist government in Ankara continues to make a pitch for leadership of the Muslim world based on its hostility to its former strategic ally.

Last December, when Israel was dealing with forest fires in the Carmel Forest in the northern region of the country, many hoped the fact that Turkey sent a plane to help put out the flames would help both sides smooth over their dispute. But though Israel was properly grateful for the Turkish gesture, relations have worsened as Ankara has fully embraced the Hamas regime in Gaza. While one would hope Israel’s eagerness to help would soften the hearts of the Turks, given the commitment of the Erdoğan government to a pan-Islamic foreign policy that would return Turkey to the position of preeminence it had during the Ottoman era, seems to preclude a rapprochement.

Had their needs been less severe, it is entirely possible Turkey would have stuck to its refusal to accept Israeli help. But given the reports of terrible damage, homelessness and the inability of the government to get aid where it is needed in a timely fashion, it appears Erdoğan had no choice to but to break down and let the Israelis bring in assistance.
Source: Commentary

ECHR Rules in Favour of Armenian Genocide Scholar Taner Akcam

Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Turkish government's prosecution under Article 301 of its penal code with respect to Dr. Taner Akçam's public views on the Armenian Genocide violated Akçam's right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

Dr. Akçam, the holder of the Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair for the Study of Modern Armenian History and Armenian Genocide at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, became the target of threats and harassment for expressing his views and publishing his findings on the Armenian Genocide. A close friend to the late Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist assassinated in January 2007, Dr. Akçam knew all too well the dangers of speaking about this taboo subject in Turkey. Before he was gunned down in broad daylight, Hrant Dink was also prosecuted under Article 301. The Court acknowledges this connection and in its decision notes "it was widely believed that Hrant Dink had been targeted by extremists because of the stigma attached to his criminal conviction for 'insulting Turkishness.'"

Responding to public horror and international condemnation upon Dink's demise, the Armenian Assembly worked with then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden (D-DE) who spearheaded legislation calling upon Turkey to repeal Article 301. At that time, Senator Biden stated that "Hrant Dink was a leading voice in Turkey's Armenian community and an eloquent advocate for human rights, press freedom, and democracy." Chairman Biden also told the Assembly that "his assassination was an outrage and a tragedy. Hrant's legacy deserves the Senate's respect. His murder demands our action."

In its verdict today, the Court honors Dink's legacy in its conclusion that "the criminal investigation commenced against the applicant [Taner Akçam] and the standpoint of the Turkish criminal courts on the Armenian issue in their application of Article 301 of the Criminal Code, as well as the public campaign against the applicant in respect of the investigation, confirm that there exists a considerable risk of prosecution faced by persons who express 'unfavourable' opinions on this matter and indicates that the threat hanging over the applicant is real."

The Court further concluded that changes to Article 301 and the replacement of the term "Turkishness" by the words "the Turkish Nation" made "no change or major difference in the interpretation of these concepts because they have been understood in the same manner by the Court of Cassation...[in other words it] does not introduce a substantial change or contribute to the widening of protection of the right to freedom of expression."

Welcoming the court's decision, Dr. Akçam commented that "Turkey should learn that facing history and coming to terms with past human rights abuses is not a crime but a prerequisite for peace and reconciliation in the region. I consider myself as a part of Turkish civil society, which fights for a truly free and democratic Turkey. This cannot happen if Turkey continues to criminalize discussion of the Armenian Genocide." He added: "You cannot achieve reconciliation and peace with Armenia with the existence of this kind of poisonous law or continue to deny diplomatic relations."

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer

Another take on the Turks marching in Germany at the weekend.

50 Years of Turkish Colonisation in Germany

50 Years - Built Up Together

This week is the 50-year anniversary of the Anwerbeabkommen (Recruitment Agreement) signed between Germany and Turkey. It was this agreement that paved the way for the colonisation of Germany by aggressive Muslim aliens. The terms of the agreement required the aliens to leave after no more than two years. Now, 50 years later, they're still there. And they've brought their sisters and brothers and aunties and uncles and cousins (often for marriage purposes).

Although many ordinary Germans would now consider this process of Turkish colonisation to be the greatest disaster in German history after Hitler, Germany officialdom is intent on celebrating it.

Here we see two genocide celebration posters from Hamburg, with slogans in German and Turkish. These were photographed in the local subway.

50 Years - Together We Are Germany

Source: PI

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Turkish Cypriots Agree to Repeal Ban on Homosexuality

Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has agreed to repeal a ban on homosexuality in the northern part of Cyprus.

It comes after an outcry over the arrest of three men accused of "conspiring to have a sexual intercourse against the order of nature".

The men's case was taken up by UK Tory MEP Marina Yannakoudakis who met with Eroglu last week.

She was visiting Nicosia as a member of parliament's high-level contact group for relations with the Turkish Cypriot community.

She said she had received assurances from Eroglu that the Turkish Cypriot community was seeking to repeal the ban and that he would sign the repeal into law.

Following the meeting, she said, "It's not illegal to be gay anywhere else in Europe; it's not illegal to be gay in Turkey.

"Chapter 154 of the penal code is an anachronism and needs to be repealed.

"All Cypriot adults should have the right to engage in consensual sex, be it with the same or different gender. I hope that Eroglu will keep the promise he made to me to rescind the ban and I will keep the pressure on him until he does."

The northern part of Cyprus is the last place in Europe where homosexuality is still illegal.

The recent high-profile arrest of the three gay men has once again brought the issue into stark focus. Violations of the law can result in a prison-sentence of up to five years.

During her visit, the MEP held meetings with leaders from both sides of the 'green line' including Republic of Cyprus president Dimitris Christofias and Alexander Downer, special adviser of the UN secretary general on Cyprus, as well as Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties and trade unions.

She also held what she called a "particularly poignant" meeting with the committee for missing persons in Cyprus, who thanked the deputy for her work in parliament raising awareness of the fate of those missing.

Yannakoudakis said there was a "great deal of pessimism" about the future of the peace negotiations between the two sides.

She said, "While Greek and Turkish Cypriots continue to talk, issues such as exploration for natural gas in waters off Cyprus have slowed progress.

"I do not believe that drilling should be halted, nor should it be used as an excuse to apply the brakes to the peace process. If natural gas were to be found it would benefit all communities in Cyprus," she said.

She hopes that the two sides can make progress at further talks at the end of October.

She said she saw "further evidence" of bi-communal cooperation at a crisis centre which deals with fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

She also met with the crime and criminal matters committee, which is also made up of Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

"There are still concerns, however, that EU aid is not getting through to the northern part of Cyprus. I was told of about €27m which was cancelled by the Turkish Cypriot authorities due to worries about its location near a military base.

"While progress on a political settlement may have slowed, I saw many examples of how the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities are working well together."
Source: The Parliament

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Savage Turkish Nationalism on Display Across Europe


Yesterday I posted videos showing aggressive displays of Turkish nationalism in Stuttgart, and Amsterdam over the weekend. That seemed bad enough. But it's now clear many other European cities were rocked by virulent displays of Turkish nationalism at the same time, many culminating in violence. The videos on this page do not show the violence, only the main parts of the demonstrations. But the primitive, aggressive nationalism of the Turks is there for all to see.

The video above shows Turks in the German city of Hagen. After marching through the city, about 150 of the Turks advanced aggressively on a Kurdish cultural centre. Kurdish youths emerged from it and engaged them in a pitched battle. There was hand-to-hand combat and stones and roof slates were also thrown. The police had to summon reinforcements then deploy tear gas and use their truncheons to get the situation under control.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Turkish Grey Wolves on the March in Europe

The video above shows the Turkish Grey Wolves on the march in Stuttgart yesterday. They were protesting against recent Kurdish PKK attacks. Although they claimed to be demonstrating in favour of peace, making the Turkish fascist Wolf salute, which you see many of them doing, is a curious way of calling for peace.

The text on the image at the end reads:
The Europe of our children and grandchildren will no longer be the Europe we know.
Source: PI

For more on the spread of the Grey Wolves in Germany, see here.

On Saturday, militant Turks were also on the march in Saint-Étienne in France. During this demonstration "for peace" they smashed up a shop owned by a Kurd.


The shop owner was interviewed by a French newspaper:
"We do our work here. I employ nine people. We don't get involved in politics or religion. I'm not a representative of the PKK. We are in France here. Let them demonstrate against the PKK!"

He is still asking "why the police didn't intervene. They told me they didn't have enough people. This evening, I'm afraid for my family. Who knows if they're going to come back and set fire to the place?"

The Turks were really showing their true colours this weekend! They also attacked police and smashed up a Kurdish Community Centre in Amsterdam. There are even rumours that shots were fired. This video from the Vlad Tepes site where you can find additional information. In this video, too, you see them making the fascist wolf salute.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Boris 'The Turk' Johnson Sensitive About his Great-Grandfather

Ken Livingstone has claimed Boris Johnson threatened to "punch his lights out" during the last mayoral campaign, after Livingstone had suggested his rival's Turkish great-grandfather might have been a British spy.

In his autobiography, published on Monday, Livingstone chronicles the mounting tension during the 2008 mayoral race. Publication comes months before he faces a rematch with Johnson at the 2012 mayoral election in May.

In the book, titled You Can't Say That, Livingstone dismisses his Tory rival as a politician used to "getting away with it" through humour when responding to difficult policy questions. But he says Johnson's "mask slipped" a couple of times during the campaign.

Livingstone recounts an appearance on the BBC's Question Time with Johnson: "After Question Time the cameras were still on us as a smiling Boris draped his arm around my shoulders and said, 'If you carry on talking about my great-grandfather I'm going to punch your lights out.'"
Source: The Guardian

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Greek FM: Our Efforts Intensified Turkey’s Isolation

Greece has managed to raise awareness among its counterparts and intensify the isolation of Turkey on the issue of exploratory drillings of the Republic of Cyprus in its EEZ during the UN General Assembly, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Stavros Lambrinidis has said.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs, on the contacts he made on the sidelines of the 66th UN General Assembly, the minister said that in the absence of arguments, Turkey tried to militarise the debate around the issue and made rhetorical threats.

Lambrinidis said that during his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, they exchanged views on the Cyprus issue and Turkey's behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the same issues he also had meetings with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu.

As he said, in all of his other contacts during the UN General Assembly, he pointed out ''the deep concern of Greece over Turkish actions and statements, that destabilise the situation in a critical period for the entire region of Eastern Mediterranean.''

The Greek Minister reiterated that Nicosia has the sovereign right for exploration and exploitation of its natural wealth, guaranteed under international law, which cannot be questioned by anyone.

He also noted that there were clear statements by the European Union, the United States and Russia on the issue.

Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.

Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based “Noble Energy”, off Cyprus’ south-eastern coast.

The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.

Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
Source: Famagusta Gazette

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Why Does Europe Receive so Many Asylum Claims from Turkey?

The UNHCR published its Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries document yesterday. It makes interesting reading vis-a-vis our Turkish friends. As the table above demonstrates, on average Europe receives more than 1500 requests for asylum from Turkish citizens each quarter. Why is a country being seriously considered for EU membership when it generates so many requests for political asylum?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Turkey Does not Understand What it Means to be a Candidate Country for EU Membership

Turkey does not understand what it means to be a candidate country for EU membership, Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis has said, clarifying at the same time, that Ankara’s commitments to EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus, are not negotiable.

...Replying to questions, she said Cyprus has made representations about Turkey’s explorations within Cyprus’ EEZ by Turkish seismographic vessel Piri Reis and the Norwegian research vessel 'Bergen Surveyor”, adding that Cyprus has made representations both to the Norwegian and the French governments since a French company is also involved in cooperating with the Norwegian company.

She said that these representations are primarily addressed to the UN and the Security Council, “which we constantly keep updated with all developments,'' he said.

Asked to comment on Turkish newspaper Sabah reports according to which Turkey has proposed to Cyprus opening the port of Mersin to Cyprus-flagged ships in exchange of opening a chapter in its accession process which remains closed due to the Cyprus problem, Marcoullis said that this is a very old proposal.

“Things are clear. In 2004 the EU demanded that Turkey signs and implements the Ankara Protocol, which requires the opening of all Turkish ports and airports to Cyprus. There is no question of negotiating,” she said.

Of course, she continued, ''Turkey is known for haggling, but it must understand that the EU is not an issue for negotiation. It is a matter of specific rules and procedures which each candidate country must follow. ''

Asked to comment on statements by Turkish Minister Responsible for Europe who described the Greek Cypriot side as the Trojan Horse of Israel on the issue of natural gas, the Minister said that such statements prove that Turkey has not realized what it means to be a candidate country for EU membership.

She said that ''the candidate country must adapt to the EU and not the other way around. It seems, ''she added,'' they have not understood this very basic element which governs the relations of all candidates with no exception, irrespective of the difficulties they face.”

“The road to EU membership is not an easy one, it is difficult and requires difficult and serious decisions,'' she said.

Turkey, she said, has to decide if it wants to proceed at all costs, adding that it will also have to pay a political cost since it should certainly recognize the Republic of Cyprus, meet its commitments to the EU and implement the Ankara Protocol.

In conclusion she said that this road is not determined by Turkey but by the EU and if Turkey wants to move on then it should follow this precise path.

Turkish troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974. Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

Drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ has begun and is being carried out by Houston-based “Noble Energy”, off Cyprus’ south-eastern coast.

Following Nicosia's decision to begin drilling in its EEZ, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.

Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
Famagusta Gazette

Monday, 17 October 2011

German Foreign Minister Urges EU to be Fair to Turkey

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has criticized the European Union in its negotiation process with Turkey, saying it should act more fairly during the accession of candidate’s negotiations to join the bloc.

The “European Union should act respectful and fair to Turkey in the negotiation process,” Westerwelle said during a visit to Turkey yesterday.

Westerwelle met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Istanbul yesterday, with Westerwelle and Davutoğlu later holding a joint pres conference.

Westerwelle said Turkey’s accession process to the EU should go on without a break.

“Once the train has stopped, it is very difficult to get it moving again. Therefore, the train should not stop and the next chapter, which is the competition chapter, should open soon,” Westerwelle said, adding that they talked about the German foundation issue during his meeting with Erdoğan.

The Turkish prime minister has accused German foundations of indirectly supporting the local administrations run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Davutoğlu corrected the question of a journalist during the press conference regarding the German foundations and said Erdoğan did not say the German foundations were financing the terrorist group.

Westerwelle said they cleared away any misunderstandings regarding the issue of German foundations. “Both German foundations and German banks are highly appreciated in Turkey,” Westerwelle said.
Source: Hurriyet

Sunday, 16 October 2011

"Turkey will move toward membership despite EU's discouragement"

See the astounding arrogance in Bagis' remarks below. Turkey is like a persistent beggar who hassles you for cash while you're trying to enjoy a meal in an outdoors restaurant with friends, won't take no for an answer and constantly tries to convince you he would be doing you a favour by taking your money.
Although the European Union's approach toward membership candidate Turkey is not encouraging at all, Turkey will not lose its appetite and determination for full membership in the union, EU Minister Egemen Bağış has stated.

“The EU's attitude towards us is like a teacher who does not want his student to pass the class. The same attitude can be seen within the latest progress report, too,” Bağış said in an interview with the Aksiyon magazine, referring to the progress report on Turkey which was released by the European Commission last week.

The European Commission urged the EU to continue talks with Turkey, but said no progress had been achieved in the last year. It also expressed concern about tensions between Ankara and EU-member Greek Cyprus.

“However, we are no longer considering the EU as a teacher. Turkey is no longer a student that accepts a ‘well done' from the EU whenever it performs successfully. Whether they appreciate the reforms carried out in Turkey or not, we will continue making progress on the way in which we assume is the right way for us,” Bağış said.

The EU minister replied in the affirmative when asked whether it was possible to say “Turkey is becoming Europeanized despite the EU.”

As the EU talks drag on, Turkey has failed this year to open even one new chapter, or policy area, of the 35 that a candidate country must complete before it can join the bloc.

Turkey opened accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, but has been able to open talks on only 13 out of 35 chapters thus far. Talks have been provisionally completed only on one chapter. Eight chapters are blocked by the EU due to the Cyprus dispute, while France, which opposes Turkish membership, also blocked talks on five other chapters that it says are directly related to accession. France and Germany oppose Turkey's membership due to cultural differences, and many in the EU fear that Turkish accession will spark an influx of immigrants from Turkey.

“As a matter of fact, the latest progress report confirms that there has been progress at various levels on a majority of the chapters, even on chapters which have not been opened due to political reasons. This shows how Turkey is successful and resolute. Turkey is aware of its own experience, power and potential. It will continue making progress in this way,” Bağış reiterated.

According to Bağış, the EU, which has become weaker both politically and economically, needs new members, and Turkey, with its young population, can heal the problems stemming from Europe's steadily ageing population.

“While Europe's total economic growth was 1.5 percent in 2010 and as the growth of Germany, which has Europe's most successful economy, stood at 3 percent in 2010, Turkey's growth in the same year was 8.9 percent. While Europe is shrinking, Turkey is rapidly growing,” Bağış said.

The latest progress report by the European Commission appreciates Turkey's economic success, saying that Turkey's functioning market economy should be able to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the union in the medium term, provided that it accelerates the implementation of its comprehensive structural reform program.

“In 2010, the Turkish economy grew by 8.9 percent vis-à-vis 2009, driven mainly by strong domestic demand. The rapid economic expansion continued in the first half of 2011. The private sector, in particular the industrial sector, remains the main driving force behind Turkey's rapid expansion. Robust economic development allowed strong employment growth and a sizeable drop in unemployment. Budget performance was better than expected, and the consolidation of public finances is on track. Privatization has gained momentum. Trade and economic integration with the EU remained high and Turkey strengthened its presence in new markets,” the report said.

Bağış, meanwhile, warned that the economic crisis in Europe was fueling extreme political parties, including racist parties. In an apparent reference to the rise of Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, Bağış said this rise was related to the Dutch people's economic concerns.

“That is why Turkey wants to help Europe economically. We believe that we will have a partnership with Europe like we had in the past. So, we are ready to help Europe not to let it be dragged into extreme and racist waves,” Bağış said.

In October 2010, a minority Dutch coalition made up of Liberals and Christian Democrats took office, aiming to curb immigration in exchange for support for its austerity agenda from the anti-immigration Freedom Party. At the time, Turkey expressed concerns over the new government in the Netherlands, which has had to rely on an anti-Islam party, headed by anti-Islam leader Wilders, for support.

The Netherlands are among the countries that resist Turkey's full EU membership, and racist attacks against ethnic Turks in the country have been on the rise in recent years.
Source: Today's Zaman

Friday, 14 October 2011

European Commission Says Turkey Needs Further Reforms

The European Commission (EC) presented its annual Progress Report on Turkey on Wednesday (October 12th), arriving at positive and negative conclusions regarding Turkey’s stalled EU accession process.

On the political front, the EC welcomed the progress made following the September 2010 constitutional amendments, especially ensuring civilian oversight of the military as well as strengthening an independent judiciary.

Still, further judicial reform is needed, the report says, citing the ongoing Ergenekon trial, the KCK case, and a backlog of criminal cases. While the Ergenekon trial is considered an opportunity to reinforce democracy, “serious concerns” over the conduct of investigations, judicial proceedings, and the criminal procedures threaten its legitimacy.

Another important concern of the Commission is the high number of violations of freedom of expression and freedom of press resulting in widespread self-censorship in the media.

“The imprisonment of journalists, and the confiscation of an unpublished manuscript in connection with the Ergenekon investigation, fuelled these concerns,” the report says.

Emiliano Alessandri, a transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, told SETimes that the report is bolder than in the past in pointing out areas of serious lack of progress, or even regression, such as freedom of expression.

In the report, the Commission invites authorities to accelerate the process of drafting a new civilian constitution, although it warns that the “prevailing political climate lacks an adequate dialogue and spirit of compromise between political parties”.

“A new constitution would cement the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities and address long-standing problems, including the Kurdish issue,” the report underlines.

Cyprus was deemed to be the most critical part of the report. Turkey’s support for negotiations between the leaders of the two communities is welcomed and encouraged to further a peace settlement on the island.

However, Turkey is criticised for not fulfilling its obligations under the Additional Protocol by extending the Association Agreements to Cyprus and removing all obstacles to the free movement of goods with that country.

The EU notes that Turkey has performed very well in its foreign policy in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, but its relations with Israel and Cyprus are criticised in the report.

“Most importantly, I believe the European Commission has come to terms with the fact that Turkey is literally becoming a soft power in its region, and that this does not necessarily contradict the European interests,” Professor Ayhan Kaya of the European Institute at Bilgi University told SETimes.

“Turkey is actually reminding EU circles that it is now the most efficient agent of the ‘transformative effect of the EU’, which the EU itself has forgotten for the last decade,” he said.

“Turkey’s more independent foreign policy could make the strategic partnership alternative look more attractive to Ankara than full membership,” Alessandri said.

In a nutshell, “The European Commission, as a stakeholder in the policy of enlargement, has done all it could in this report to avoid unnecessary criticism, while pointing out areas where alignment with the EU remains insufficient,” Alessandri added.
Source: SETimes

Thursday, 13 October 2011

EU Eases Visa Rules for Turks

ISTANBUL—The European Union on Thursday eased visa procedures for Turkish citizens, just a day after Turkey again raised onerous visa requirements for its businessmen and citizens as a key source of friction in the relationship.

Under changes announced Thursday by the European Commission, EU consulates in Turkey will now have uniform lists of documents they can ask visa applicants to provide.

Turkey, which started negotiating for EU membership six years ago and has had a customs union with the bloc since the mid-1990s, has become increasingly impatient as the bloc has eased visa requirements for countries in the Balkans and elsewhere, but not Turkey.

Responding to the move in a phone interview Thursday evening, Turkey's EU minister Egemen Bagis—who had attacked Brussels over the visa issue Wednesday—welcomed the move, but said it wasn't enough.

"This is a very good first step, but the point we want to get to is for Turkish citizens to be able to travel to Europe without a visa," Mr. Bagis said in a phone interview. "Turks are the only citizens of a country negotiating for [EU] membership who need a visa to travel to the EU."

Mr. Bagis said the commission had promised him that further partial steps would follow, namely that in future Turks would be able to get multiple-entry, instead of just single-entry, visas to the EU's visa-free Schengen area, and that offices would be set up in Turkey to ease the process. EU citizens don't need a visa to visit Turkey.

Resistance to easing visa restrictions for Turks has come from EU governments rather than the European Commission, Turkish officials say. Turkey has a population of 74 million and income levels much lower than in core EU countries. Governments have worried over a potential flood of Turkish immigration that would be politically unpopular at home.

Turkey's economic success over the past decade, which has seen gross domestic product per capita triple to around $10,000, played a role in Thursday's decision, according to Mr. Bagis. "It is not enough to be right, you have to be strong and Turkey has become stronger," Mr. Bagis said.

Turkish businessmen in particular have long complained that while their exports and investments are welcome in the EU, they are not. The EU is by far Turkey's largest trading partner.

"We know cases when Turkish businessmen were prevented from coming to fairs in Europe or were given only two or three-day visas for one-week events," said Bahadir Kaleagasi, Brussels-based international coordinator for TUSIAD, Turkey's main business association. "Countries could even require for land registry documents."

An EU official said the change had been in the works for some time and was designed to address such complaints.

"Some countries could ask for marriage certificates. Military certificates could be asked from young men who were suspected of trying to escape [compulsory military service in the] Turkish army," said Erwan Marteil, Counselor in the European Commission's Ankara office.

The new rules on visa documentation entered into force immediately Thursday and will apply to all of the Schengen visa area, which covers more than 25 European countries, including several such as Iceland that aren't EU members.
Source: Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cyprus on the World Stage

by Daniel Pipes

Cyprus, an island near Turkey and Syria of roughly 1.3 million inhabitants, finds itself on the cusp of momentous change. As it belatedly makes its grand debut on the world stage after domestic Greek-Turkish communal issues have consumed its first 51 years of independence, it faces both great opportunity and great danger.

The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" controls 37 percent of the island's land area.
That communal problem originated in 1570, when the Ottoman Empire conquered the island and its almost entirely Greek-speaking Orthodox Christian population. Over the next three centuries, immigration from Anatolia created a Turkish-speaking Muslim minority. British rule between 1878 and 1960 left this situation basically unchanged. At the time of Cypriot independence in 1960, Turks constituted one-sixth of the population.
Cyprus was hardly the only territory rife with ethnic tensions that London eventually abandoned in frustration – think of India, Iraq, Palestine, and Sudan – but it was the only one where it retained a permanent role for itself and brought in patron states, namely Turkey and Greece, as guarantors of the newly-independent state.

This mischievous arrangement heightened tensions between both the two island's two communities and their patron states. Those tensions boiled over in 1974 when Athens attempted to annex the whole of Cyprus and Ankara responded by invading the island, seizing the northern 37 percent of the island's territory. Greek annexation fizzled but the invasion led to the establishment of a nominal "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), which is maintained today by some 40,000 troops from the Republic of Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of settlers have since emigrated from Turkey, fundamentally altering the island's demography.

Cyprus remained thus for 35 years, divided, deadlocked, and largely ignored by the outside world, until two recent developments upended the island's obscure if unhappy status quo.

The Noble Corporation's Homer Ferrington rig, built in 1985, has begun drilling in the Aphrodite gas field off Cyprus.
First, the AK Party came to power in Turkey in 2002 with an aggressive program of regional domination. It initially kept this ambition in check but with a heady electoral success in June 2011, followed immediately by its seizure of political control over the Turkish military, this intent emerged in full blossom. The drive to regional domination takes many forms – from escalating tensions with Israel to the prime minister's triumphal tour of North Africa – but with a specific focus on increasing Turkish power in the eastern Mediterranean. AKP ambitions have thus transformed the Turkish occupation of Cyprus from a sui generis problem into one aspect of a larger issue.
Second, the June 2010 discovery of gas and oil reserves ("Leviathan") in Israel's Mediterranean Sea exclusive economic zone, right near the Cypriot EEZ, suddenly made Cyprus a player in the world energy market. Cypriots talk of 300 trillion cubic feet worth US$4 trillion. Such numbers attract covetous gazes, especially from Ankara, which demands (via the TRNC) its share of future gas income. Further, the AKP's escalating anti-Zionism combined with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's strategic ambitions suggest Turkish claims extending to Israeli-controlled waters.

In conjunction, these two developments – growing Turkish ambitions and possible gas deposits in the trillions – link Cyprus and Israel in self-defense. Leading Greek Cypriot figures in the government, the media, and business told me during a just-concluded trip to the island about their urgent wish to build economic and security relations with Israel.

The Piri Reis, Turkey's only maritime research ship, is being escorted by Turkish naval ships as it trolls the Cyprus exclusive economic zone.
In the economic realm, a ranking government official proposes five projects: a joint pipeline from the gas fields to Cyprus, followed by a liquidification plant, a methanol plant, a 1,000 megawatt electricity plan, and a strategic reserve, all located in Cyprus. A media tycoon suggests selling the gas reserves to Israel and letting its companies bear responsibility.
In the security realm, several interlocutors proposed a full-on alliance with Israel. Cyprus would gain from Israel's much greater military, economic, and diplomatic prowess. Israel, which has already made protective efforts on behalf of Cyprus, would benefit from access to an airbase at Paphos, 185 miles (300 kilometers) from its shore, belonging to a European Union member.

Such an alliance would terminate the Cypriot legacy of non-alignment and low-key diplomacy designed to convince governments not to recognize the TRNC, though that strategy, arguably, has not brought it much benefit.

In the face of an over-confident and possibly messianic Turkish leadership that increasingly betrays rogue attributes, Washington, Brussels, Athens, and Moscow have important roles to play in encouraging Cypriot-Israeli relations and thereby diminishing the likelihood of AKP-led Turkish aggression.

Mr. Pipes (, president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, recently visited Cyprus to deliver the Thoukidides Think Tank's inaugural lecture. © 2011 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
Source: Middle East Forum

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dutch Representative Denounces Turkey at OSCE Meeting

Remarks by Wim Kortenoeven, Dutch delegation to the OCSE conference in Dubrovnik, 9 October 2011 (meeting on security in the Mediterranean area).

Mister chairman,

I am addressing this meeting on behalf of the Dutch Party for Freedom.

As we speak, the peace in the Mediterranean is being threatened, by Turkish imperialism, by dangerous dreams to re-establish the Turkish Caliphate that was abolished in 1923.

We are witnessing the death of Kemalism, the positive ideology that transformed Turkey into a valuable, responsible and respected member of the international community.

But now, Turkey is sliding into the abyss of Islamic extremism and authoritarianism. This is visible on the inside and on the outside.

For instance: the freedom of speech in Turkey is increasingly suppressed. Many journalists have been jailed for speaking out. The Turkish cartoonist Bahadir Baruter is to be tried for renouncing Allah in a cartoon. He might get a year in jail for that.

Cyprus, a member State of the European Union, has been partly occupied by Turkey since the brutal invasion of 1974.

And now the Erdogan regime is turning Turkey into a predator state, a rogue state, that apparently also wants to seize the oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Reserves that it does not own.

Threats are being issued in the direction of Cyprus. Strong Turkish military forces have been deployed on and near Cyprus.

Mister chairman,

Turkey, a member state of NATO, is also increasingly belligerent towards the Jewish State of Israel. Threats and baseless accusations are issued against Israel – ever more frequently. And provocations are rampant. Israeli freighters are harressed by Turkish warships.

Turkey also objects to Israel’s legitimate desire to drill for natural gas in its own exclusive economic zone. Turkish warships are backing up threats against Israel’s sovereignty.

A simple mistake in this combustible situation might spark a military confrontation.

Also troubling and dangerous are Turkey’s sympathy for the Hamas terror organization and Turkey’s attempts to undermine Israel’s legitimate right to supervise the maritime routes to Gaza.

Mr. Chairman,

The situation is extremely dangerous.

This irresponsible Turkish policy of threats, insults and provocations, this macho bellegerency, needs to be urgently adressed. As it is a clear and present danger to peace and security in the Mediterranean and even beyond.

Therefore, I urge you to ad this Turkish threat to peace and security to the agenda of the Winter session of the OSCE.

Thank you.

Kortenoeven later gave a brief description of the meeting and the reaction his remarks provoked.
Dear Editor,

Sorry for the delay, but I was ‘on the road’ until now. Yesterday afternoon in Dubrovnik, I delivered a speech at the OSCE meeting on peace and security in the Mediterranean (you received the text). I did not make friends with this. But it had to be said, As no reference had been made to the Turkish agression. And that is absurd, considering that the OSCE is dealing with peace and security in Europe.

All delegates were busy with the so called Arab spring and/or with bashing Israel. I was the only one referring to the Turkish agression.

And the Turks responded with villainous accusations against me (I had issued an ‘anti peace declaration’) and a vicious attack against Israel: shooting innocents in the head and in the back, point blank, on the Flottilla ship last year.

There was complete silence when I spoke and I got no applause. And a wave of resentment engulfed the hall after I had finished. And even my Dutch colleagues (of the ruling Christian Democratic Party) distanced themselves from me – publicly, in a very harsh statement. The world is in state of denial.

Best wishes,
Wim Kortenoeven,
MP, Party for Freedom
The Netherlands
Source: Tundra Tabloids

Monday, 10 October 2011

Turkish Colonists in Germany Claim German Teachers Give Their Children Low Marks Because of Prejudice

Turks laughably claim their children get poor marks at school not because they are stupid, lazy or disruptive, or can't speak German properly, but because of 'prejudice' among the teachers. They claim German teachers give their children lower marks for the same quality of work.
Most parents of ethnically Turkish children in Germany say they are dissatisfied with the way their kids are being educated, according to a survey seen by Der Spiegel magazine.

The survey of 1,256 parents of children between 3 and 18 years old by the Allenbach Institute and commissioned by the Vodafone Foundation found 59 percent believed their kids were not given the same opportunities as ethnically German children. A full 63 percent said they believed teachers had pre-existing prejudices against children from minority backgrounds, the magazine reported.

A slight majority (51 percent) also felt that their children were unfairly graded by teachers, even if they were achieving as highly as their ethnically German peers. A majority also felt language barriers were a major reason for what they felt was their children’s unfair treatment.

Previous research has shown that children from immigrant backgrounds fare poorly in Germany’s school system compared to their ethnically German peers, although there has been disagreement over the reasons. Suggested reasons range from low expectations among teachers to poor German language ability among some minority young people.

A 2009 article in the American University Law Review reported that between two thirds and three quarters of children of Turkish origin were assigned to the lowest of Germany's secondary schools – the Hauptschule – compared to just one third of ethnically German children.
Source: The Local

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Calls French President Sarkozy 'Totally Hopeless'

Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış called French President Nicolas Sarkozy “totally helpless” after Sarkozy called for Turkey to recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide.

Bağış repeated his earlier remarks saying, “It would be better... if Mr. Sarkozy abandons the role of historian and looks for the ways to solve the economic problems of the European Union, of which his country is a membe.” Bağış said, calling Sarkozy’s recent remarks “attempts to abuse the domestic politics” of France. Bağış also said Sarkozy is trying to hide his loss of support in France.

Bagis said yesterday that Turkey’s EU negotiations had begun after a unanimous vote by the EU. Within this vote was also France’s vote. Turkey’s EU process can end only if the 27-nation bloc unanimously votes to end the process, he said.
Source: Hurriyet

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Yesterday was the anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, in which the Turkish fleet was obliterated by the Christian Holy League. To commemorate it, here is G. K. Chesterton's poem Lepanto.



White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard,
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips,
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young,
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain—hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri’s knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees,
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be;
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,—
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, “Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done,
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces—four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not ‘Kismet’; it is he that knows not Fate ;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey in the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.”
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still—hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michael’s on his mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip’s in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that, is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial, and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John’s hunting, and his hounds have bayed—
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that swat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight forever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Sarkozy Tells Turkey to Acknowledge Armenian Genocide

President Nicolas Sarkozy warned Turkey on Friday that it might soon become illegal in France to deny that the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was genocide.

Sarkozy, in Armenia, his first stop on a visit to the Caucasus, called on Turkey to make a "gesture of reconciliation" and recognize the killings as genocide.

If it does not, he said, France "will consider it must go further to amend its legislation to penalize this denial."

Sarkozy warned the measures could be adopted in "a very brief" timeframe but said the comments were not an ultimatum.

The challenge by the president of France -- which opposes Turkey's bid to join the European Union -- drew an angry rebuttal from Ankara on Friday.

Turkey's Foreign Minister said France should confront its colonial past before giving lessons to others. The French "do not have the right to teach Turkey a history lesson or call for Turkey to face its history," Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference.

Armenia, backed by many historians and world parliaments, says some 1.5 million Armenians died during the upheaval that accompanied World War I, and calls it genocide.

Ankara rejects the term genocide and says large numbers of both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks were killed.

Sarkozy courted some 500,000 Armenian diaspora votes in France and angered Turkey before his election in 2007 by backing legislation that would prosecute those who denied the deaths were genocide. The measure was rejected by the French lower house of parliament.
Source: Reuters

The demand was immediately rebuffed by Turkey.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's call for Turkey to recognise the World War I-era massacres of Armenians as genocide was rejected Friday by Ankara's European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis.

Sarkozy would do better to concern himself with getting France out of its economic crisis than to play historian over the Armenian question, Bagis said during a visit to Sarajevo, the Anatolia agency reported.

"It would be better... if Monsieur Sarkozy abandons the role of historian and puts his mind to getting his country out of the economic gulf in which it finds itself and comes up with plans for the future of the European Union," he said.

"Our mission, as politicians, is not to define the past or past events. It is to define the future," he added.

He accused Sarkozy of exploiting the Armenia question for electoral reasons in the run-up to next year's presidential election, he said.
Source: AFP

Turks Claim They Have Secured Assurance That NATO Will Not Share Intelligence with Israel

Turkey has said it trusts on promise of NATO member states on keeping its intelligence within the alliance and not sharing it with Israel, Turkey’s new foe.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz told reporters following NATO’s Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels that one should trust on NATO member states’ pledge that they won’t use the intelligence they gather from NATO’s early warning radar system in the southeast of the country that will serve as part of the alliance's missile defense system.

Yılmaz also warned that this intelligence cannot be used outside NATO member states, referring to Israel.

Turkish-Israeli relations badly damaged after Israeli naval commandos stormed Mavi Marmara ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza to breach the naval blockade, killing nine Turkish civilians. Turkey demands official apology, compensation to families of the victims and lifting Gaza blockade. Israel claims its soldiers acted in self-defense.

Last year, Turkey’s leaders also repeatedly asked NATO during the alliance summit in Lisbon not to share intelligence it gets from radar systems with Israel.

Turkey agreed to host the radar in September as part of NATO's missile defense system aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from neighboring Iran. Ankara claims the shield doesn't target a specific country and had threatened to block the deal if Iran was explicitly named as a threat.

A military installation in Kürecik has been designated as the radar site, according to Turkish government officials. Kürecik in Malatya province lies some 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of the Iranian border.

In September, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said the United States hopes to have the radar deployed there by the end of the year.

Yılmaz stressed that the primary reason for NATO’s early warning radar system is to maintain the security of Europe. Yılmaz also added that by the radar system, Turkey is also protecting itself.

Yılmaz said no one has a right to object a project which is only for defense purposes and said no any NATO state member should tell “no” when asked to protect other member states.

Yılmaz said he had a chance to have talks with his British, Canadian, Australian and Afghan counterparts and said all of them stressed Turkey’s increasingly influence in the region and asked for more cooperation.
Source: Today's Zaman

'German' Football Player of Turkish Descent Doesn't Want to Play Against Turkey

Remember all those articles during the World Cup about how much Germany had benefited from immigration thanks to the multicultural background of the football players in its national team. As the French World Cup experience demonstrated, this "vibrant multiculturalism" also brings problems, one of which is disloyalty. Here we have one of Germany's supposed star players who is reluctant to play against the team from the country his ancestors came from. He claims he is injured. Is the injury real, or is he feigning? What the article doesn't mention is that many of the Turkish supporters who booed him in Berlin last year were German residents and even German citizens.
One of Germany’s high-profile ethnic Turkish footballers, Mesut Özil, has asked to sit out Friday’s match against Turkey to avoid angry Turkish fans – but has been told he has to play.

I love Turkey as much as I do Germany,” he told Turkish daily newspaper Radikal.

“Even though we have already qualified, for me this will be the most difficult match of the competition.”

But the German Football Association (DFB) rejected his request to sit out the match, saying it could encourage bad habits, Radikal reported.

German-born Özil is often held up as a brilliant example of integration, yet when he first played for Germany against Turkey last year in Berlin he was booed by Turkish supporters, one of whom held up a placard reading, “We could’ve been cheering for you, Özil!”

The 23-year-old midfielder told Radikal on Wednesday that the booing last year had scuppered him, and that he had asked the DFB to sit out Friday’s match at Istanbul’s Türk Telekom Arena.

Although Germany has already qualified for the Euro 2012 finals, Turkey needs to do well in order to go through and Özil could face a sea of angry Turkish fans if things do not go their way.

Most of the player’s extended family still live in Turkey, so he explained to Radikal that he was aware of the prejudices many Turks still hold against him and that he would expect to be jeered at again.

His father Mustafa also spoke with Radikal.

“Özil is no different from [German born, Turkish players] Nuri, Hamit or Mehmet, but circumstances took them to the Turkish team and him the German. I wish people would accept his decision,” he said.

“In Germany today there are Turkish politicians in the Bundestag and Turkish professors in the universities. We Turks came here 50 years ago as guest workers and brought skills to contribute to the country. My son is a part of this and Turkey should be proud of him.”

Yet Özil sat out training on Wednesday, citing Achilles tendon pain, and has yet to train with the squad. Coach Joachim Löw has said a decision would be made about his fitness on Thursday; just 24 hours before the match.

Undefeated so far, Guus Hiddink’s team qualified following a 6 – 2 victory against Austria, and will be heading to the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year. Riding on a wave of nine consecutive victories, Hiddink said “I can see very few weaknesses [in the German team].”

However Löw admitted, "We have in fact a few question marks over our players," as key strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are suffering from injuries. Their potential absence from the field could benefit Turkey, whose ticket to the finals still hangs in the balance despite two home wins in their string of six undefeated matches.

Turkey needs a better result against Germany than Belgium gets against Kazakhstan.

Turkish Left-back Gokhan Gonul said, "We know the power of Germany; they come with an unbeaten record in the group. We know it will be difficult, but not impossible."

Özil told Radikal that he hoped, “Turkey reaches the next round in the Euro 2012 competition.”
Source: The Local

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Why Is Erdogan Attacking Germany's Foundations?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leveling targeted attacks against German political foundations, accusing them of supporting the Kurdish PKK. But the foundations view the attacks as merely part of a calculated plan to criminalize legal Kurdish organizations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is well-known for the tough and occasionally undiplomatic tone he uses with foreign politicians. The most recent to experience his wrath was Israel's government. But now Erdogan is attacking German political foundations with a presence and projects in Turkey -- and in no uncertain terms.

Erdogan is accusing several foundations of supporting the "Kurdish terrorist organization PKK," the Kurdistan Worker's Party. Several days ago, he spoke of a single foundation, accusing it of collaborating with local officials of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) -- a legal political party that managed to win 36 seats in the Turkish parliament in June -- and of issuing loans to companies with PKK ties.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Erdogan went even further. He alleged that German foundations are using loans to Kurdish BDP officials to get aid to the PKK. "The German foundations have unfortunately been doing similar things for a long time, but German officials have yet to respond to Turkish complaints," he said. In other words, Erdogan was no longer concerned about a single foundation, it was now "the German foundations" in general.

In Turkey, it is no minor matter to be charged with supporting the PKK -- especially when the man leveling the charge is the prime minister himself. In such cases, state prosecutors are quick to draw up an indictment like the ones that have put thousands in jail on similar charges.

Cries of Dismay

Appalled representatives of German political foundations are rejecting the accusations. For example, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a think tank associated with Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has labeled the claims as "absurd." Officials in both Turkey and Germany with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is aligned with the Green Party, said the accusations "are lacking any basis in fact," adding that "foundations don't issue loans nor do they finance any infrastructure projects."

Eberhard Pohl, Germany's ambassador to Turkey, has made similar statements in recent days. He has stated that any loans issued to municipalities or to support infrastructure measures in Turkey can only come from KfW, Germany's government-owned investment bank, or the German development organization GIZ. Granted, in addition to supporting a number of different projects in other Turkish cities, the GIZ has backed ones bringing new sewer tunnels and wastewater treatment plants to the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, which has the largest population of Kurds. But it has always only done so after getting the approval of the responsible Turkish ministries. He said it is simply impossible that money was channeled from the projects to the PKK. Representatives of foundations also pointed out that they cannot legally provide any loans in Turkey.

A Complicated History

At first glance, it seems puzzling that Erdogan would be launching such a massive attack on German foundations at this point in time. Still, conflicts revolving around German political foundations are nothing new in Turkey. The involvement of foreign organizations in Turkish affairs has always been a thorn in the side of many, particularly with Turkish nationalists. Already in 2002, the foundations were forced to defend themselves against accusations of espionage and of having sought to destroy the Turkish economy. At the time, the charges had to do with foreign support for a citizen's initiative opposing a gold mine on Turkey's western coast that was using cyanide to leak gold out of rock. The matter ultimately found its way before the Ankara State Security Court, which acquitted foundation representatives tried on espionage charges.

The foundations continue to work with mostly civil-society groups and, of course, also with some based in predominately Kurdish areas. The Heinrich Böll Foundation primarily supports projects related to women's issues, but it also engages in talks with politicians from the Kurdish opposition. Foundation CEO Ralf Fücks defends these activities as being the only way to foster dialogue aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Undercutting Foreign Support

Ulrike Dufner, the head of the foundation's office in Istanbul, views Erdogan's current accusations as an attempt to "stir up nationalist emotions." In fact, she believes the attack is targeting the civilian Kurdish opposition much more than German foundations themselves. Ralf Fücks, who happens to be in Turkey at the moment for talks, backed her opinion, saying: "Erdogan intends to criminalize all collaboration with the Kurdish BDP, the Kurds' legal civilian opposition."

It is a view that seems to be supported by the fact that, in two days alone earlier this week, 150 Kurds with ties to the BDP -- including mayors and municipal representatives -- were arrested. The charges are always the same: allegedly being a member of a secret PKK organization trying to use legal means to wrestle control in predominantly Kurdish areas and erect a parallel structure to the state. Over the last two years, a total of 4,000 Kurds have been arrested on these charges. At the moment, roughly 3,000 cases are being heard involving predominantly elected Kurdish municipal politicians.

"The government's strategy is evidently to cut off these Kurds from international support," Fücks said, adding that this is the actual reason behind attacks on the foundations. For that reason, Dufner considers it unlikely that state prosecutors will be showing up in her office any time soon. "On its merits," she said, "the charges are just too weak for that."
Source: Der Spiegel

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Is Turkey Going Rogue?

In a Middle East wracked by coups d'état and civil insurrections, the Republic of Turkey credibly offers itself as a model thanks to its impressive economic growth, democratic system, political control of the military, and secular order.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan effectively bought the June 2011 elections by pumping credit into the Turkish economy.

But, in reality, Turkey may be, along with Iran, the most dangerous state of the region. Count the reasons:

Islamists without brakes: When four out of five of the Turkish chiefs of staff abruptly resigned on July 29, 2011, they signaled the effective end of the republic founded in 1923 by Kemal Atatürk. A second republic headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Islamist colleagues of the AK Party began that day. The military safely under their control, AKP ideologues can now pursue their ambitions to create an Islamic order.

An even worse opposition: Ironically, secular Turks tend to be more anti-Western than the AKP. The two other parties in parliament, the CHP and MHP, condemn the AKP's more enlightened policies, such as its approach to Syria and i ts stationing a NATO radar system.

Looming economic collapse: Turkey faces a credit crunch, one largely ignored in light of crises in Greece and elsewhere. As analyst David Goldman points out, Erdoğan and the AKP took the country on a financial binge: bank credit ballooned while the current account deficit soared, reaching unsustainable levels. The party's patronage machine borrowed massive amounts of short-term debt to finance a consumption bubble that effectively bought it the June 2011 elections. Goldman calls Erdoğan a "Third World strongman" and compares Turkey today with Mexico in 1994 or Argentina in 2000, "where a brief boom financed by short-term foreign capital flows led to currency devaluation and a deep economic slump."

Sending the Mavi Marmara to Gaza amounted to an intentional provocation.
Escalating Kurdish problems: Some 15-20 percent of Turkey's citizens identify as Kurds, a distinct historical people; although many Kurds are integrated, a separatist revolt against Ankara that began in 1984 has recently reached a new crescendo with a more assertive political leadership and more aggressive guerrilla attacks.

Looking for a fight with Israel: In the tradition of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein, the Turkish prime minister deploys anti-Zionist rhetoric to make himself an Arab political star. One shudders to think where, thrilled by this adulation, he may end up. After Ankara backed a protest ship to Gaza in May 2010, the Mavi Marmara, whose aggression led Israeli forces to kill eight Turkish citizens plus an ethnic Turk, it has relentlessly exploited this incident to stoke domestic fury against the Jewish state. Erdoğan has called the deaths a casus belli, speaks of a war with Israel "if necessary," and plans to send another ship to Gaza, this time with a Turkish military escort.

Stimulating an anti-Turkish faction: Turkish hostility has renewed Israel's historically warm relations with the Kurds and turned around its cool relations with Greece, Cyprus, and even Armenia. Beyond cooperation locally, this grouping will make life difficult for the Turks in Washington.

Asserting rights over Mediterranean energy reserves: Companies operating out of Israel discovered potentially immense gas and oil reserves in the Leviathan and other fields located between Israel, Lebanon, and Cyprus. When the government of Cyprus announced its plans to drill, Erdoğan responded with threats to send Turkish "frigates, gunboats and … air force." This dispute, just in its infancy, contains the potential elements of a huge crisis. Already, Moscow has sent submarines in solidarity with Cyprus.

The Leviathan gas field is the largest of several found recently between Cyprus and Israel.

Other international problems: Ankara threatens to freeze relations with the European Union in July 2012, when Cyprus assumes the rotating presidency. Turkish forces have seized a Syrian arms ship. Turkish threats to invade northern Iraq have worsened relations with Baghdad. Turkish and Iranian regimes may share an Islamist outlook and an anti-Kurd agenda, with prospering trade relations, but their historic rivalry, contrary governing styles, and competing ambitions have soured relations.

While Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu crows that Turkey is "right at the center of everything," AKP bellicosity has soured his vaunted "zero-problems" with neighbors policy, turning this into a wide-ranging hostility and even potential military confrontations (with Syria, Cyprus, and Israel). As economic troubles hit, a once-exemplary member of NATO may go further off track; watch for signs of Erdoğan emulating his Venezuelan friend, Hugo Chávez.

That's why, along with Iranian nuclear weapons, I see a rogue Turkey as the region's greatest threat.
Source: Daniel Pipes

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Turkish Schoolchildren Ruining German Education System

There are an estimated 3-4 million Turks living in Germany. Their conduct there gives us a good idea of what the rest of Europe could expect if Turkey ever succeeded in getting into the EU. The Turks in German schools are characterised by low educational performance and a high propensity for violence. Often they terrorise German children. This article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung traces the roots of their problem behaviour to the backwards culture of their parents and country of origin.

Not long ago, I posted an interview with Thilo Sarrazin in which he argued that Islamic culture leads children from Muslim families to perform poorly at school and therefore in later life. This article confirms his hypothesis.

The points made about Islamic/Turkish culture (its authoritarianism, orientation towards the collective rather than the individual, denigration of girls), although mentioned here in an educational context, also have significant implications for the rest of society.
Around a third of the immigrant children living in Germany have problems in school. Educational researchers Ahmet Toprak und Aladin El Mafaalani [of Turkish and Syrian extraction] have now investigated the reasons for their poor performance and disciplinary difficulties on behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Institute. Their behaviour to now has been “irritating, disconcerting and socially undesirable,” it says in their study about “Muslim children and youths in Germany.”

According to the analysis of the authors, lack of success in school is due to a number of cultural and familial factors. One relates to the early childhood upbringing. While German parents generally know that the basis for success in school is found at home, in families of Turkish origin no “pre-education” in line with school requirements takes place. They pay little attention to the development of the linguistic, motor and cognitive abilities of their children to prepare for school. Displaying a helpless trust in authority, they rely on schools to teach their children what they need to know. They barely know the education and training system, write the authors, overestimate the function of the school and renounce their own educational responsiblity for successful learning. Because that is what they know from their countries of origin: “There what children learn is up to the teacher alone. Parents never get involved in the school’s education,” says Mafaalani, who is an educational researcher and also a teacher himself.

Children under strict control

“On the other hand, if there are difficulties with the children, a teacher in Turkey or an Arab country will never turn to the parents,” says Toprak, who is professor of educational science at the Fachhochschule Dortmund. “When that happens in Germany, the parents think the teacher is incompetent. They see him asking for help as a sign of weakness.” From the other perspective, teachers interpret the parents’ lack of involvement as disinterest.

Another reason for the difficulties in school is that the aims of bringing up a child are significantly different in poorly educated immigrant families from Turkey compared to those of ordinary Germans: children are first of all supposed to fit into the community they were born into, believe Turkish parents. Obedience to elder family members, respect for authority, maintaining family honour and following the religious rules of Islam are right at the top of the scale of objectives, as the authors demonstrate through interviews. Children are strictly controlled, even spoon-fed, told off and even beaten. The tendency to idolise boys and get girls involved in housework, and otherwise neglect them, still exists.

Longer group learning

German parents, by contrast, want to raise their children to be self-conscious, educated, independent personalities. While, according to the study, individuality is a highly-prized value for them, it makes Turkish parents afraid: Here it’s all about the collective – family and country of origin – rather than the individual. Independence and self-determination, which are called for and promoted in school, are not upbringing objectives, the very opposite: out of fear that children will behave too permissively in a “western” environment, they are very strictly disciplined.

The different intensity of disciplinary measures at home and at school also creates problems for the children: “Turkish children are used to getting into real trouble when they do something forbidden at home,” says Mafaalani. “When they do something crazy at school and the teacher only softly calls on them to show insight and understanding, they don’t take him seriously.”

…Even the motives for founding a family differ in families of Turkish and Arab immigrant extraction compared to the majority society, as the authors describe. They differentiate between “economic-utilitarian” motives (insurance for old age, contribution to family budget), “psychological-affective” motives (joy, emotional reinforcement) and “social-normative” motives (status increase, continuation of family name). Among Turkish and Arab parents, the utilitarian view of children predominates. Even the desire for sons is based on the fact that in Islamic cultures they remain part of the family and support the parents, while girls become part of another family upon marriage. The career preferences of the parents for their children are therefore ambitious: even children with a Hauptschule recommendation [certain class of German secondary school, generally not for the top performers] should be doctors, lawyers or engineers. When the parents become aware that the prerequisites for this are not present, there is great disappointment. In their perception “the German school system” is then to blame for not helping immigrants enough.

To come to grips with this school misery, the authors argue that nurseries should no longer assume that they will be educating “pre-trained” children, but should orient themselves more strongly to heterogeneous learning groups. Solving conflicts without violence and desirable social behaviour should also first be practised there, so that children who have learned other ways of solving conflicts at home do not continually rub others up the wrong way. Whole-day schools offer better opportunities for this than half-day schools. The authors also argue – and this is very unusual for a study from the Adenauer Institute – that there should be longer group learning, that is that nursery should continue until the 6th year so that immigrant children have more time to make up their deficits. Ideally, though, the upbringing style of the parents could be changed in the direction of a supportive, discursive behaviour, says Mafaalani, but in his view that plan would have little prospect of success.
Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Monday, 3 October 2011

For Europe, a Bridge Too Far to Turkey

Many of the articles that have appeared recently about Turkey's prospects of joining the EU have had a pleasantly valedictory tone about them.


BRUSSELS — There was always, at least for its critics, something preposterous about the idea of Turkey entering the European Union.

It meant, in their eyes, Europe literally extending its frontiers to the borders of Iran, Syria and Iraq, and the E.U. adding to its membership a predominantly Muslim country whose population would soon give it the biggest number of seats in the European Parliament. As for Turkey’s government, its uncertain relationship with democracy was exemplified by 57 journalists in jail — more, at last count by international watchdogs, than either China or Iran.

Now, at an increasing pace over the last six months, Turkey is portraying itself as a regional power in the Middle East, threatening to send its ships to challenge Cypriot or Israeli gas exploration rights in the Mediterranean, talking up “an axis” with Egypt, and warning of a “real crisis” with the E.U. if it allows the Republic of Cyprus to hold, as scheduled, its six-month rotating presidency next year. To its backers in Europe, this Turkey can no longer look much like an idealized bridge to a world beyond clashes of civilizations.

In the opposite direction, surveying a weakened and divisive Europe, whose resolve and forthrightness are in question as it stumbles from nonsolution to nonsolution of its economic and financial crises, the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, insists his country has accumulated as much political influence internationally as the entire E.U. combined.

So? In the very short term, Turkey’s new stance gives Europe (with Germany and France opposing full Turkish membership) a respectable alibi and respite from an issue it cannot easily solve. But in the process, the door closes on the goal of integrating Turkey into a European-led geopolitical and economic order.

“The majority of Europe welcomes the moment, thinking, ‘Great, the Turkey thing is off the table,”’ said a Brussels official whose country backs Turkish entry. He added, “We think Turkey is worth it, and that they’re a real risk if they sail off into the distance.”

All the same, a new distance has unspoken pluses.

The apocalyptic notion of Europe being overrun by Turkish Muslims, brandished by right-wing populists like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands — Turkey’s rapidly growing population is approaching 80 million — is deflated as a hysteria-making political argument.

Reality also says the European Union couldn’t handle two existential issues at one time. The magnitude of the problems represented by Turkish entry into full-fledged membership (Germany talks instead of a “privileged partnership”) appears incompatible with the E.U.’s unresolved issues of debt and deficit, an economy nearing standstill by the end of the year, and an intensifying discussion of the need for greater economic governance.

The Obama administration, so far, can praise Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “great leadership,” be happy that Turkey will be part of a U.S. antimissile defense system, and disregard Mr. Erdogan’s Putin-style remark that there are only “presumptions” about Iranian nuclear weapons intentions.

Yet the question of Turkey’s new engagement in the Arab world, its falling out with Israel, and general bluster is a more intimate one for Europe. Some Europeans would like to minimize the problem.

The Brussels official who found a majority of E.U. members liking the idea that Turkey’s entry seems shelved for now — I spoke to a cabinet minister from another E.U. core country who agreed — described Turkish assertiveness as “tactics, not strategy,” and part of an expression of Turkey’s irritation with Europe’s resistance to it.

The Finnish foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja, has pointed in the same direction and asserts, “Turkey doesn’t have the means for its policy.”

But if you take Turkey’s Middle East power ambitions as serious — and not blowhard fantasizing — then it is the Turks who are forcing the E.U. to turn away from its candidacy. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said, “A Turkey that wants to become a regional power must build up its political and economic influence on the waterways from the Agean to the Adriatic and from the Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf.”

The leading German research organization for international politics and security affairs, SWP, takes the point. It published a paper two weeks ago, titled “Turkey on a Course of Confrontation,” whose introduction reads, “Ankara is looking to pick a fight in the Mediterranean not only with Israel and the Republic of Cyprus, but also with the European Union.”

The same week, Mr. Gul, while rejecting anything short of full E.U. membership during a visit to Germany, sounded provocative about his hosts’ approach to Turkish immigration. He described as a violation of “human rights” a German regulation requiring spouses of Turks living in Germany to pass German-language competency tests before taking up residence.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Erdogan, as a guest of Angela Merkel, had an imperative-type message for Turkish immigrants: “Integrate yourselves into German society, but don’t assimilate.”

Finding an overall response to the new circumstances is not easy.

Last week, NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, both chose to praise Turkey’s “stabilizing role in the region” and dodge the issue of its charter member’s warning that it might send its navy toward non-NATO Cyprus to block its exploration for gas. He said the alliance “as an organization is not going to interfere in these disputes.”

On this matter, at least — if it sees a measure of immediate comfort in Turkey talking itself out of closer association anytime soon — the E.U. can ignore an active Turkish challenge to a tiny member’s sovereignty only at the expense of its self-respect.
Source: New York Times