Tag Archives: Hurriyet

“There is not much confidence and credibility left for Turkey”

Turkish FlagTurkish President Abdullah Gul approves controversial Internet censorship law as an EU delegation to Ankara states that “There is not much confidence and credibility left for Turkey”.

Hurriyet has a piece today on the EU getting fed up with Turkey and Turkey’s attitude towards European values of freedom, freedom from censorship, freedom of information etc.

Amongst other things an EU delegation to Ankara has said (in regards to opening new chapters for Turkey’s EU accession bid)…
“That could happen in a normal-functioning negotiation process, but after witnessing the Turkish government’s move with regard to the HSYK Law, there is not much appetite left for such gestures,” the diplomat said. “There is not much confidence and credibility left for Turkey.”

The list of things that are happening and have happened in Turkey over just the last year are surely enough for any genuine appetite for Turkey to join the EU to be over.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has now approved the controversial Internet laws that allow sites to be blocked immediately without the need for a court order that was earlier passed in parliament following a fight by MPs.

Other major factors are the new judiciary rules, limiting their power and giving more power to the government, a serious attack on democracy in the country.

These moves by the AKP government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan come after members of his government and their family members where investigated for corruption in which 4.5 million dollars where found in shoe boxes at the house of former Halkbank general manager, Halkbank is state-run.
The government responded by sacking and relocating over 5,000 police officers and investigators in a great purge.

What now does the future hold for Turkey? Will it now as many Turkish secularists think, turn towards an Islamic Republic like Iran? An alliance with Russia? Upcoming elections could be interesting but no doubt they will actually lead to another AKP victory.

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EU patience with Turkey running out

Turkish corrupt flagIt often seems like the European Unions patience with Turkey will go on forever, tolerating the blatant lack of democracy, human rights abuses, the illegal occupation of Cyprus and support of Islamic dictators.

So much to the delight of many both inside and outside of Turkey the EU has finally been more direct with its criticisms of Turkey and its leader Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan due to his interference in the current high-level corruption probe griping the country.

Ankara Dec 2013

Ankara Dec 2013

Istanbul Dec 2013

Istanbul Dec 2013

Istanbul Dec 2013

Istanbul Dec 2013

“The latest developments, including the sacking of police chiefs and the instructions to police to inform authorities on investigations, raise serious concerns as regards the independence, efficiency and impartiality of the investigations and the separation of powers,” said a spokesman for Stefan Füle, the European commissioner for enlargement.

More of this from Hurriyet click here.

The Telegraph furthers this by also saying about the ongoing protests and riots on the streets of Turkey’s main cities.

From the Telegraph:

Mr Erdogan has sacked around 1000 police officers who were helping to carry out a bribery inquiry that engulfed the upper echelons of his party last week.

Other officers have now been ordered to brief government officials on the progress of the corruption probe, which critics say will allow suspects to be tipped off in advance.

While the prime minister claims that the probe is part of a politically-motivated smear campaign, the inquiry has already led to a repeat of the anti-government rallies that took place earlier in the summer.

On Monday, the European Union warned Mr Erdogan that he was in direct breach of EU rules safeguarding the independence of the judiciary, which is also a key condition for Turkey’s EU membership bid.

Turkey’s attitude – The EU and beyond

Turkish FlagToday’s news from Turkey (reported here from the Turkish media and here from the UK media) is about comments Egemen Bağış has made. Mr Bağış is the Turkish minister for EU Affairs and chief negotiator of Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union.

Mr Bağış is currently under investigation by Swiss authorities for genocide denial with comments he made in 2012 in Switzerland in reference to the Armenian genocide carried out by the Ottomans in 1915.

Mr Bağış has said that he believes that Turkey will never become a full member of the European Union , citing ‘stiff opposition’ and ‘European prejudices’. There is certainly strong opposition to Turkey’s application to join the EU but it’s not prejudice.

As I have written about before and has been well documented the opposition to Turkey’s application is mainly due to several specific issues such as:

The Cyprus issue
The Armenian genocide
Freedom of speech
Freedom of the press

However some of the opposition is more general, the European Union is a union of countries that share the same or similar values. Yes the union is an economic union, a financial union, a political union but it is also a social union, a union of shared culture and values.

Any European who has lived in Turkey or spent a reasonable amount of time in Turkey will know that Turkey isn’t a European country. This is not about geography, this is about culture, values and attitudes.

I want to focus on the general attitude of the Turkish people and their government (as I have already covered in part about the other aspects)…

The attitude is one of irresponsibility and denial, one of misplaced arrogance. This can be seen both past and present but we cannot change the past so let’s think about the present.
This can be seen by their words and actions in relation to the listed above issues but also from a personal perspective I have seen this when working with Turkish people and living in Turkey (mentioned in previous blog posts).

They have the attitude of male superiority over women, that their influence and history is greater than that of other nations and the complete failure to recognise their own failings at both the individual and national level. The Turkish people fail to accept any global reports that reflect badly on Turkey (such as HDI, freedom of the press etc) saying that they are a conspiracy. It’s hard to provide examples with evidence as these are from conversations I have had personally but here are a few just from the last couple of days (in the news)…

Turkey sets up ‘Turkvision’ because it keeps losing the EuroVision song contest.

Turkey gets humiliated at the EuroBasket (European basketball competition) after it’s best player is sent home for exercising free speech.

Mr Bağış blames Europe for Turkey not recognising and dealing with its own problem (Armenia, freedom, Cyprus etc) because they are ‘prejudice’.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames foreigners for the Gezi Park protests.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames prejudice for not winning the right to hold the Olympic games

Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames anyone and everyone for anything and everything (except himself or his party)

Something the Turkish people should learn is what ‘prejudice’ means:

Prejudice – Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience.

Europe is NOT prejudice because its reasons ARE based on reason and experience.

Turkey’s EU accession bid

Turkey EU flagTurkish newspaper, Hurriyet’s ‘Daily News’, has an article on Turkey’s European Union (EU) accession bid featuring comments from former British foreign secretary Jack Straw (labour) and Turkey’s Under-secretary of the Ministry of EU Affairs Haluk Ilıcak.

The article title is a bit misleading, as is to be expected from today’s ‘journalism’. The article implies that Turkey isn’t that interested in the EU accession bid but just wants to raise Turkey to the same level of European standards but Haluk Ilıcak says “Our aim is to achieve a smooth accession process” (to the EU).

‘Once Turkey succeeds in completing the chapters and improving itself to reach European standards, the actual accession is not that important, and could be debated’

When Turkey completes the chapters and reaches European standards?? Sounds like someone is living in a fantasy land…
Turkey, at its current rate of ‘progress’ will NEVER reach European standards, if you are going backwards you cannot reach something ahead of you!

‘Ilıcak said some of the chapters were politically blocked, but Turkish authorities were doing their bests to tackle as many chapters as possible, seeing them as steps of necessary improvement.’

Political/general blocks…

1) Cyprus, the Turkish military invaded the island and continues to hold half of the country, unrecognised internationally.
2) Adherence to democratic values.
3) Human-rights/women’s-rights record
4) Failure to recognise the Armenian genocide
5) Media censorship, especially ‘Article 301’
6) Territorial border dispute with Greece (Turkey’s inability to secure its borders.

‘Ilıcak added that accession attempts had allowed “democratic reforms to be put into place.”’

Really? Such as? Reforming policy away from democracy doesn’t count as democratic reform!

State Secretary of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Frank Belfarge, one of the remaining guests on Ilıcak’s panel, also spoke on Turkey’s accession, saying a ‘new momentum’ was expected this year.

“A new momentum in the EU-Turkey relations could be achieved this year,” Belfarge said.

Indeed there could be provided that the protesters and demonstrators around Turkey are successful in their attempts to change Turkey into a democratic, secular state, which it isn’t currently.

Meanwhile, former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw said that Turkey had so far had a “torturous” accession process with the European Union.

The countries of the union needed to admit that they have discriminated against Turkey when compared to the remaining accession processes, which have progressed far faster than with Turkey, Straw added, where the union gave “some countries the benefit of the doubt.”

Good use of the word ‘torturous’ Jack! Would that be torture carried out by the Turkish authorities against the Kurds/refugees/protesters etc?

Discriminated against? Oh Jackie boy, you are a twat. Turkey hasn’t been discriminated against, Turkey’s EU bid has been so slow because they discriminate, against non-religious people, because they fail continually to meet EU standards and the country isn’t secular nor a democracy!

Turkey’s attempts at improving itself and catching up with chapters were impressive, Straw added

Yes, it’s very impressive how Turkey continues to go backwards while the rest of the secular world goes forward.

Europe stands for everything that Turkey doesn’t.