Wednesday, May 17, 2006
...this collective guilt and collective revenge attitude has for years been poisoning race relations in this country.Turkey isn't exempt from it either:
It has torn apart other countries around the world, from the Balkans to Sri Lanka to Rwanda. Nor is there any reason to think that the United States is exempt from such polarization.
Five judges were wounded, two seriously, when a gunman shouting "Allah is great" opened fire during a session here of the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, Ankara governor Kemal Onal said.This does not come in a vacuum - there have been several recent cases in which the courts or justice officials appear to have been harassed or attacked for charges against police or military officers. Moderates have argued that establishing a rule of law requires that courts and prosecutors be left alone to do their jobs (but investigated if necessary). [Update: See this article that explains more of the background and the political framework for it.]
Alpaslan broke into the room where the 2nd Chamber of the Council was in session on the eighth floor of the building and unloaded two clips from his automatic pistol, shouting "Allahu Akbar" -- God is Great -- the NTV and CNN-Turk news channels reported.
Prime Minister Erdogan is a representative of those who want religion to have more of a place in public life, whereas the generals seem generally to lean toward the Ataturk policy of secularism and nationalism:
An international symposium marking the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, began yesterday in Ankara. Present at the gathering were President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief Justices Tulay Tugcu, Osman Arslan, and Sumru Cortoglu from the Constitutional Court, the Court of Audits and the High Court of Appeals respectively, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and other high-level commanders, as well as foreign mission representatives in Ankara. Addressing the gathering, Sezer said that Turkish people should do their utmost to preserve Ataturk’s modern, enlightened, secular and democratic republic and follow his principles. Also speaking at the meeting, Erdogan stated that the principle of secularism was a basic and unifying factor of our republic, calling on the public to avoid contentious debate over the matter. Listing “republic,” “national sovereignty,” national state,” and “secularism” as the main concepts of Ataturk’s thought and the Republic of Turkey, Erdogan said that it was everybody’s duty to maintain and develop those preferences.The constitution of Turkey is secularist. For example, women have been thrown out of Turkish universities for wearing headscarves according to Muslim tradition, a rule which dates back to Ataturk. (Yes, that's right. In some respects Muslims have less religious freedom in Turkey than in the United States, where such and action would be completely unconstitutional.)
Former President Demirel on Erdogan's presidential ambitions:
''(PM Recep Tayyip) Erdogan has representation and convincibility problems. He can hardly be elected (as president) when headscarf is being discussed. Will the representatives of 26 percent of our people elect the new president? This is one of the two reasons of presidential election discussions.'' Demirel noted that wives of the recent ten presidents were not wearing headscarves, and commented that it will be regarded strange if the wife of the new president wears a headscarf. According to Demirel, people should elect the president in Turkey.Edgy Adji of Iran preemptively announced that he was not interested in the EU's attempt to draw up a package of incentives, possibly including a light water reactor, in exchange for an Iranian promise to abandon enrichment with the potential of making nuclear weapons:
"We don't need incentives. There is no need to give us incentives, just don't try to wrong us," said the president during the rock festival-style rally.And furthermore, Banzai! Go here for Edgy Adji's Excellent Indonesian Adventures. Dr. Sanity's recent post entitled the "Narcissistic Synthesis" seems appropriate too.
In his speech Ahmadinejad confidently asserted that the Western powers were doomed to fail.
"These bullying powers are nothing and are bound to go away because they stand in the way of truth. They will be defeated and they won't last. This is the divine tradition," he said in his speech in Arak, situated 250 kilometres (160 miles) southwest of Tehran.
Arak is also the site of a planned heavy-water reactor, another source of concern in the West.
"As long as the nation is pious, it will overcome all problems and will humiliate the enemies," Ahmadinejad said.
Turkey seeks strength by building a modernist democratic republic. Edgy Adji appears to be going the other way. As a wild guess, I think Ataturk's name will be celebrated in Turkey long after Ahmadinejad's name becomes a curseword in Iran.
No one cares, everyone sees it for what it is.
Locally, the news was that the father of the accuser was overheard saying he 'feels bad for the boys accused.' Hardly the response of father who believed his daughter was brutally violated.
This is about trying to make a big deal out of what is a local case. Like the women at Augusta deal at teh NYT, this is a created event, now out of control.
As for the whack job in Tehran, we was quoted today as saying that 'within a year or two, history will be destroyed.'
I've been reading MEMRI's series on Iran and Ahmadinejad, and this is consistent with his outlook.
I really don't know why people bother to watch horror movies when we have something this frightening playing itself out in our midst.
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