Turkey: Black Sunday for Freedom.
Turkey: Chuck Press that offends the Palace into the Bosphorus!
Some time ago it was claimed that Turkey was an example of democratic, tolerant and pluralist Islamism. That the Erdogan governments had established a more open country – at least in comparison to the nationalist Atatürk parties and military regimes. Western leaders praised Erdogan’s pro-market policies. It was suggested that political Islam was evolving a home-grown democratic culture, with parallels to European Christian democracy.
How long ago this seems now!
The 2013 – 2014 protests in Taksim Gezi Park indicated that not everybody in Turkey admired or accepted the politics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The crack down on media outlets associated with the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (whose politics have been critically examined on Tendance Coatesy, Gulen Movement, an Islamic Opus Dei?) perhaps marks the moment when Erdogan has passed beyond the threshold of authoritarianism towards – crazed – dictatorship.
Turkey’s President has drawn ridicule internationally for claiming that Islamic explorers discovered the Americas three centuries before Columbus, and for his Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işı’s assertion that it was Muslims who first found that the Earth is round.
Erdogan’s Palace has equally drawn attention to himself, “It is reportedly larger than the White House, the Kremlin and Buckingham Palace: Turkey’s new presidential palace spreads over some 50 acres of forest land, boasts 1,000 rooms, an underground tunnel system, state-of-the-art anti-espionage technology and a blend of modernist and medieval architecture. The ornate palace reportedly cost more than $350 million.”
A third bridge across the Bosphorous has been named after the 16th century Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim – responsible for massacring tens of thousands of members of the liberal religious group the Alevis. Selim was in many ways a forerunner of today’s Islamist genociders (1)
Plans to teach the old Ottoman language (in a form of Arabic script) indicate that the country’s leader looks to its own imperial past, rather than to democracy.
Turkey has been accused of playing an ambiguous game in Syria, covertly supporting jihadists and other Islamist reactionaries.
Earlier this year the Turkish state restricted use of Twitter alleging it was “biased” and had been used for “systematic character assassination” of….Erdogan.
Now there is this.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) shows no signs of reigning Erdogan back from his actions.
Monday’s newspapers cover the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials across Turkey
The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
On Monday, Turkish media outlets largely covered the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials in 13 provinces across Turkey.
All the people detained are alleged to have links to the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his so-called “Gulen movement.”
MILLIYET headlines “December 14 Operation,” and says the operation has been on Turkey’s agenda for a while. The total number of people in custody has risen to 25 since the crackdown began.
The daily said police took Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Zaman daily, into custody. There were some formal difficulties with detaining Dumanli initially, due to the lack of a necessary document.
Dumanli, who is a staunch critic of the government, dismissed all the allegations against him, and protested his innocence in a speech at the daily, before he was taken away by the police.
ZAMAN runs with the headline “Black Day for Democracy,” changing its logo and the whole front page into black, and says December 14 marked the worst day in Turkey’s history for freedom of speech.
The daily said the detainees were taken into custody after Parliament passed a law that enabled prosecutors to detain the people based on reasonable suspicion.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said he has ordered the detention of 31 people on charges of forgery, fabricating evidence and forming an alleged crime syndicate to overthrow the government. Earlier, it was reported that the prosecutor’s office had given the order for 32 detentions, but Salihoglu revised down the figure to 31.
Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Media Group, is another senior media figure who was detained earlier in the day.
Producer Salih Aslan and Director Engin Koc of a Samanyolu TV series were also taken into custody in Eskisehir province and sent to Istanbul, police said.
The front page of Monday’s HURRIYET reads, “First the Headline, Later Detention,” referring to the ZAMAN daily’s editor-in-chief holding an editorial meeting for Monday’s paper at 3 a.m., and then being taken into custody at midday.
The Zaman newspaper is alleged to be close to the so-called “Gulen movement.”
Turkish newspapers also covered Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s remarks about the wave of arrests across the country on Sunday.
VATAN quoted Davutoglu on its front page: “Those who infiltrated state institutions and wiretapped the president and prime minister must know that their actions have consequences.”
In December 2013, an anti-graft probe targeted several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.
The government then denounced the December probe as a “dirty plot” constructed by a “parallel structure,” an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country’s institutions, including in the judiciary and the police.
Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained on charges of eavesdropping on Turkey’s top officials, disclosing highly-sensitive information, forming an organization to commit crimes, violating privacy, illegally seizing personal information and forgery of official documents.
(1) From Ottoman Persecution of the Alevis (Wikipedia).
“Typical persecution methods
From the early 16th century the Ottoman administration was specialized in “chasing” Qizilbāshes. This century was perhaps the most harsh century for the Alevis (Qizilbāshes). They were persecuted for both sympathizing with the Safavid struggle, but also because of their “heretical” beliefs. In order to capture Qizilbāshes the Ottoman state used several methods.
Being “Qizilbāsh” was a crime on its own and Qizilbāshes were kept under constant surveillance. Some of the most frequently used surveillance and persecution methods in the Ottoman Empire were:
- Persecution based on others’ reports / notifications.
- Open or secret persecution.
- By asking people who were regarded as more “credible” or “objective”, for example officials or Sunnis.
Typical punishment methods
The Ottomans also had different methods of punishment against Qizilbāshes. Most of the punishments took place by fabricating a reason to kill them.These false accusations were often led into the formal procedures to make them seem more realistic.In cases where the accused Qizilbāshes had many sympathizers or relatives, the Ottoman regime tried to avoid riots by not killing too many at a time.
Some of the most common punishments were:
- Expulsion: Many Qizilbāshs were expelled to Cyprus and cut off from their villages and families, but the Qizilbāshes who were halifes were executed immediately. The most typical displacement locations were Cyprus, Modon, Coroni, Budun(?) and Plovdiv.
- Imprisonment: Some were also jailed and then usually expelled to Cyprus to cut them off from their families.
- Forced labour: A second method of punishment was to send Qizilbāshs for forced labor on galleys (Kürek mahkumiyeti) where they should work as oarsmen.
- Drowning: Some Qizilbāshes was executed by being drowned in the Halys River (Kızılırmak)
- others were executed “on the spot”. Other times Qizilbāshswere executed with the sole purpose, to deter other Qizilbāshs and give them a “lesson”.
- Execution: This method, often termed siyaset or hakkından gelme in the Ottoman archives, was perhaps the most widely used method of punishment of Qizilbāshes.
- Stoning: Although stoning was normally only used against people who had committed adultery, this punishment method was also used on Qizilbāshes. There is an example of a Qizilbāsh named “Koyun Baba” who was stoned because of his faith.