Not Good For A Secular Turkey

If you thought Turkey was already an unreliable NATO ally, this won’t help.

Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse

The chief of the Turkish armed forces, Isik Kosaner, has resigned along with the army, navy and air force heads.

They were furious about the arrest of senior officers, accused of plotting, shortly before a round of military promotions.

A series of meetings between General Kosaner and PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to resolve their differences.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul moved quickly to appoint General Necdet Ozel as the new army chief.

Gen Ozel is widely expected to be swiftly elevated to chief of the general staff in place of Gen Kosaner. Tradition dictates that only the head of the army can take over the top job.

There has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that parts of the military had been plotting a coup.

See also:
In Turkey, top military figures apparently resign en masse
Turkey’s military has at last stood aside
Turkey’s top generals resign in apparent rift with Erdogan government
Turkey’s military chiefs of staff resign
Turkish military’s chiefs of staff step down
Turkey’s top military leaders resign in protest of staff arrestsTurkey’s resignations, a sign of military decline
Turkey’s military chiefs quit ahead of key meeting
How Turkey’s military upheaval will affect NATO
Turkey’s reset
Analysis: Turkish government strengthens control on military
Government prepares for major overhaul of Turkish military
A Prime Minister’s Push Reshapes Turkish Politics

Traditionally, in Turkey, the military has served as check on Islamist forces and a key to maintaining a secular government.

/obviously, this development represents a substantial consolidation of power in the hands of Erdogan’s Islamist AK party and a big blow to the future of secularism in Turkey

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Just Vote No

Here’s a chance for the secularists in Turkey to push back against Islam.

Turkey’s vote on constitution also a referendum on its premier

The battle between Turkey’s socially conservative, Islam-rooted government and the country’s more secular political establishment will come to a head Sunday, when Turks vote on a package of constitutional amendments in a referendum that is being cast as a judgment on the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A single up-or-down vote is required on 26 proposed constitutional changes. They include uncontroversial steps such as expanding rights for the disabled as well as a more polarizing amendment that would give the executive branch more power in appointing judges and state prosecutors.

The referendum is the most far-reaching attempt to amend the constitution since it was put in place in 1982 after a military coup. The results will shape Turkey’s political outlook as it heads into general elections in the spring. A no vote could bolster the opposition and cost Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) support in those elections. That could lead to a coalition government, which in the past has prompted economic instability.

A yes vote would give the AKP another chance to confirm its mandate and an advantage heading into campaigning for a third term. But it would also mean that the polarization among Turks about the country’s direction will continue to grow.

See also:
Turkey Referendum to Be Closely Watched
Recep Tayyip Erdogan facing crucial Turkey vote
Turks Hold Referendum on Amendments to Constitution
Key issues in Turkey’s referendum on amendments
Judicial referendum divides Turkey
Turkey votes in referendum to amend constitution
Turkey’s Vote A Popularity Contest For Democracy
Turks go to the polls in crucial referendum

This vote is huge, a microcosm for where the world is headed.

/keep your fingers crossed because it’s too close to call

The Incredible Ineptitude Of “Smart Diplomacy”

The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again, but the United States keeps getting fooled time after time after time. Once again, the Iranians have run diplomatic circles around the Obama Administration’s comical and ineffective “smart diplomacy”. If this was a little league softball game, they’d have to invoke the ten run rule.

Iran’s nuclear move may derail U.S. efforts on sanctions

An agreement by Iran to send much of its nuclear fuel abroad clouded prospects for U.S.-led plans to impose further economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear development program.

The proposal, brokered by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during an 18-hour session in Tehran and announced late Sunday, drew a reaction of cautious skepticism from the United States and its Western allies, who questioned whether it goes far enough to address longstanding concerns over the goal of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran says its effort is for civilian energy purposes only, but Western powers believe Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S., French, German and Russian officials all raised questions about the announcement, noting that Iran would still keep more than a ton of its nuclear stockpile and would continue enriching uranium in its centrifuges. But Western leaders also called for further study of the plan, saying it should not be dismissed out of hand.

The agreement appeared to sap some of the momentum for a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, which looked to include restrictions on Iranian government financial transactions. Officials from Turkey and Brazil said the deal removed any need for further U.N. sanctions. The two countries currently sit on the 15-member Security Council, though neither has the power to veto a sanctions resolution.

It remains to be seen whether Tehran was merely trying to avert imminent sanctions or whether the pact could form the basis of a wider accord. In making the uranium transfer abroad, Iran would drop its previous insistence that any swaps should take place on Iranian soil.

U.S. officials face a choice of rejecting the deal and appearing intransigent, or accepting it, potentially allowing Iran to defuse mounting international pressures through an indefinite delay.

The plan calls for Iran to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey under the supervision of both Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, in Vienna. In return, Iran would receive 265 pounds of uranium from France and Russia within a year for use in a small nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat the ill.

Talked Into A Trap

Nuclear Iran: President Obama’s “direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions” has, not surprisingly, led us down a blind alley. Now China and Russia are about to mug us with Turkey’s phony uranium deal.

The White House is learning that its “tough diplomacy” is a boomerang that may soon leave America nursing a very sore lump on its head.

The deal Iran triumphantly announced with Turkey and Brazil on Monday is exactly the kind of development that can give Moscow and Beijing the excuse not to agree to more sanctions. Which would mean that President Obama is left painted into a corner about what to do next to prevent a terrorist regime in the Middle East from getting nukes.

It was all smiles in Tehran as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patted themselves on the back as peacemakers, and clasped hands with the world’s most powerful hater of Jews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His shady re-election nearly a year ago sparked mass demonstrations and the killing of protesters by the Islamofascist regime.

In a regurgitation of last fall’s Geneva agreement that Iran ultimately backed out of, the new “fuel swap” deal would require Tehran to send some enriched uranium to Turkey. After a year, Iran would get some non-weapons-grade uranium back from Russia and France.

But Tehran says it will continue its own uranium enrichment activities, which means that when all is said and done nothing has changed.

As the Sarkozy government in France warns, the Turkey deal does “nothing to settle the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear program.” The new British government says it will continue to push for sanctions; an unimpressed Germany says what matters is Iran’s domestic enrichment.

Even the White House admits the deal resolves nothing. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reaction was to point out that “the words and the deeds of the Iranian leadership rarely coincide.”

But China and Russia, which both have economic and geopolitical reasons to stay cozy with their trading partner, can use this deal to say in answer to President Obama’s charisma offensive designed to get them on board new sanctions: “Problem solved! Give Iran some slack.”

In the coming months, as Tehran continues to block inspection of nuclear facilities, and Moscow and Beijing refuse to approve new sanctions, what does the president do?

Reject what he was willing to accept last fall (because since then Iran has been busy enriching lots more uranium, and that makes it a different ballgame today)?

See also:
Iran’s Nuclear Coup
Iran nuclear fuel swap: how Turkey is complicating US aims
Nuclear swap deal helps prevent sanctions on Iran: Brazilian VP
Israel fears Iran nuclear deal will delay UN sanctions
Iran and Turkey reach unexpected accord on enriched uranium
Iran’s unanswered questions
West not convinced of Iran uranium deal
U.S., allies critical of new deal on Iran’s nuclear program
White House Keeps Sanctions on Table After Iran Announces Nuclear Fuel Deal
Lucy Says: C’mon, Kick The Football Charlie Brown

So, let’s recap, Iran gets to keep working on their nuclear weapons program, full speed ahead, without the threat of any meaningful sanctions and, at the same time, Iran makes the Obama administration out to be an international laughingstock.

/it’s a twofer

Digging Up The Past To Piss Off A Present Ally

It happened 95 years ago and the United States had absolutely no role in it, yet Congress, once again, sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong and has no business being. The predictable diplomatic fallout quickly ensues.

Turkey recalls Ambassador after US vote on Armenia ‘genocide’

One of the worst massacres of the 20th-century came back to haunt international politics yesterday when a powerful Washington panel voted to call the murder of about 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey “genocide”.

After more than three hours of debate, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs narrowly approved a resolution calling on President Obama to “characterise the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide”.

The vote went ahead despite last-minute pleas from the White House and State Department and triggered a furious reaction from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister.

“We condemn this resolution, which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it did not committ,” he said. As Armenian observers applauded the vote on Capitol Hill, the Turkish Ambassador to Washington was recalled.

The Obama Administration may still be able to prevent a full vote in the House of Representatives but yesterday’s resolution threatened to poison America’s relations with its closest Muslim ally. Washington depends on Turkey for access to northern Iraq and in its regional efforts to isolate Iran.

The vote, with 23 congressmen in favour and 22 against, will also jeopardise historic efforts begun last year to create normal diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.

“We are seriously concerned that this resolution approved by the committee despite all our warnings will harm Turkey-US ties and efforts to nomalise Turkey-Armenia relations,” Mr Erdogan added.

Mr Obama promised as a candidate to break with longstanding US practice and start calling the First World War era killings genocide if elected to the White House. He broke the promise last year, refusing to use the word on a visit to Ankara, where he praised Turkey as a model Muslim democracy.

Top defense contractors warn that genocide measure will hurt business

Executives for the nation’s top defense contractors say billions of dollars in business with Turkey could disappear if a genocide resolution advances on Capitol Hill.

Formally recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide could have “unintended consequences,” chief executives for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and United Technologies Corp. warned in a Feb. 26 letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

“There is reason to believe committee passage of the resolution risks a rupture in U.S.-Turkey relations. Alienating a significant NATO ally and trading partner would likely have negative repercussions for U.S. geopolitical interests and efforts to boost both exports and employment,” the letter says.

The executives told Berman that U.S. defense and aerospace exports to Turkey in 2009 were more than $7 billion and that tens of thousands of American jobs depend on “strong relations” between the two countries. It follows a Feb. 24 letter from the Aerospace Industries Association to Berman that expressed similar concerns about the resolution.

See also:
Genocide Vote Riles Turkey
House panel risks Turkey’s ire in approving Armenian ‘genocide’ resolution
Armenian Genocide Resolution Passes US Congress Committee
Turkey condemns US ‘genocide’ vote
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Turkey recalls ambassador after US resolution on ‘Armenian genocide’
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Resolution vote sends the wrong message to Turkey
House Panel Says Armenian Deaths Were Genocide
House committee narrowly passes recognition of Armenian genocide
Turkey recalls envoy after House vote on Armenian genocide
Turkish anger at US Armenian ‘genocide’ vote

Way to go Howard Berman and your House Foreign Affairs Committee Circus! You’ve just alienated a key NATO logistical ally, jepordized billions of dollars in U.S. exports, and threatend tens of thousands of high paying American jobs, all in a single day! Can someone please tell me why the [expletive deleted] U.S. taxpayers are paying these congressional assclowns to damage international alliances and the U.S. economy over something that happened almost 100 years ago, that the United States wasn’t even remotely involved in? I wasn’t even aware that the Ottoman Empire still ruled Turkey.

/hey Howard, what’s on your assclown committee’s alliance busting agenda for tomorrow, chastising Italy for the crucification of Christ, or perhaps condemning Britain and France for the Crusades?

Obama Turkey Trots In Turkey

Remember back during the campaign when it was taboo and tantamount to blasphemy or racism to dare to mention Obama’s Muslim heritage or, for that matter, his middle name?

Obama ‘Muslim’ rumour: Ugly, false and out in the open

Gayle Quinnell is in fact the collective voice of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans whose nativist fears Republicans have been stoking for months. The Americans who have been passing on smear-mails for years.

“Beware,” said the first one I saw, back in January of 2007. “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.”

It went on to reveal that Obama’s African father was a “radical Muslim.” and that Obama himself had studied at an extremist school in Jakarta. Other messages declare Obama refused to be sworn into the Senate on a Bible. Or that he refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance.

The e-mails are patently false, and have been widely debunked. But whisper campaigns are as persistent as the flu.

Clearly — witness Ms. Quinnell in Minnesota — the message has had an effect. Any reporter who’s covered this campaign has seen it.

I heard it in May, as parishioners gathered outside a Baptist church in North Carolina. And I’ve heard it in the highly-educated, genteel suburbs of Washington.

A colleague says he’s encountered the same thing in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Missouri: “It’s usually ‘I know he says he isn’t, but I think he’s a Muslim.’ You hear it everywhere.”

The whisper campaign seems particularly directed at Jewish voters, playing on their fears that Obama might not be pro-Israel enough, or that he is somehow in league with Muslims, read Arabs, read terrorists.

But Jewish readers of the New York Times might have been surprised this week by an article that identified where a lot of this stuff originated: Andy Martin, a conspiracy theorist who once set for himself the goal of “exterminating Jew power.” Martin is apparently fond of filing lawsuits, some of which use even more pungent anti-Semitic rhetoric. He once filed a brief calling a judge a “crooked, slimy Jew.”

Martin evidently isn’t too keen on Muslims, either, and he was one of the first out of the gate questioning Obama’s heritage.

The Times investigation traced the origin of the smear-mail campaign to Martin’s self-published writings. And by the time the presidential race got under way, the e-mails had laid a foundation for organized conservative attacks.

Speakers at Republican events began referring to “Barack Hussein Obama,” with heavy emphasis on their opponent’s middle name.

See also:
Obama’s verbal slip fuels his critics
McCain’s Last Ditch Effort: Tying Obama To Muslim World
Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam

Well, now that he’s been safely elected and speaking to Muslims in an Islamic country, Obama’s suddenly proud of his Muslim heritage.

Obama highlights his Muslim roots in Turkey speech

President Barack Obama launched a major outreach initiative to Islam on Monday, urging Muslims to join America in fighting common enemies.

And signaling the strategic importance of the U.S. alliance with this majority-Muslim country, the president made a sharp retreat from a campaign promise to press Turkey on the issue of Armenian genocide.

“Let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not at war with Islam,” Obama said. “In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”

Obama came to Turkey at the end of a European tour of summits designed to restore ties to nations frustrated with American foreign policy, especially in Iraq.

In a closely watched address to the Turkish assembly, Obama continued a line he started in Europe, admitting American fallibility in an effort to rebuild ties with nations tired of America’s arrogance.

Obama, who downplayed his own family ties to Islam during last year’s presidential campaign, found them of greater use in the Turkish capital, telling a gathering of the Grand National Assembly that “the United States has been enriched by Muslim-Americans.

“Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country,” Obama said. “I know, because I am one of them.”

Obama, a Christian whose Kenyan father was Muslim, was raised partly in majority-Muslim Indonesia.

I guess now that it’s convenient and suits his purposes, Obama can openly embrace his Muslim ancestry, instead of hiding it and demonizing Republicans and anyone else who dared to have the audacity to mention it. In fact, whether it’s Shiite Iran or Sunni Saudi Arabia, Obama seems to be going the extra mile to bend over backwards and suck up to Islamic countries, the same countries that equip and fund terrorists that kill Americans.

See also:
Turkey: Obama’s Muslim Outreach
Arabs, Muslims Praise Obama’s Remarks
Obama speech draws praise in Mideast
Syria Praises Obama’s Mideast Approach
Syria: How will Obama’s message coincide with Israel’s policies?

Obama ends Europe trip with tour of Istanbul mosque

US President Barack Obama visited a landmark mosque in Istanbul on Tuesday, following strong messages of US reconciliation with the Islamic world on his maiden trip to a mainly Muslim country.

Taking off his shoes as tradition requires, Obama stepped into the 17th-century Sultanahmet Mosque in the ancient heart of Istanbul, accompanied by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid tight security in the area.

Two Muslim preachers guided Obama inside the grandiose edifice — better known as the Blue Mosque for its blue tileworks — and the president smiled when they showed him a dome scripture mentioning the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein, Obama’s middle name, Anatolia news agency reported.

In a major speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara Monday, Obama declared that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam” and called Turkey a “critical ally,” earning himself much praise in a country where his predecessor left the US image in tatters.

“Obama conquers hearts,” the popular Vatan newspaper trumpeted on its front page, while the liberal Taraf said the speech marked the end of “the bellicose spirit of September 11.”

Turkey, a “critical ally”, really? Turkey, our NATO ally that totally [expletive deleted] up our Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion plans by denying territorial access to the 4th Infantry Division, which cost us untold American lives in the ensuing invasion improvisation, now they’re suddenly our best buddies?

The 4th Infantry Division was alerted for the Iraq War on January 19, 2003. The Division’s mission was to lead an advance from Turkey into Northern Iraq. Unfortunately the Turkish government did not give their permission for U.S. Forces to use Turkey to attack Iraq, and the Ivy Division had to reroute to the war through Kuwait. Arriving after the invasion had started, the 4th Infantry Division entered Iraq as follow-on forces in April of 2003. The 4th ID was deployed in the northern area of the Sunni Triangle near Tikrit. The Ivy Division became a major part of occupation forces during the post-war period.

Obama should stop apologizing and groveling to Islamic countries that not only do nothing to help us, but routinely work against our interests at the ongoing cost of American lives. It’s counterproductive, they only understand strength and collectively laugh at Obama’s numerous displays of impotent weakness.

/Obama, a turkey in Turkey