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Cengiz Aktar

Appreciating Istanbul in Lille

21 Mart 2009
"Europe Extra Large," or Europe XXL, a four month-long cultural and artistic activity started last weekend in Lille, the capital of northern France. The event is the making of "Lille 3000," a body created following the success of Lille in 2004 as European Capital of Culture.

A praiseworthy organization brought to life thanks to efficient cooperation of local administration, private sector and cultural organizations; the kind of structure "Istanbul 2010" needs.

The European Union did not celebrate the enlargement of May 1, 2004 which closed the parenthesis opened in Yalta in 1945 and reunited the divided continent. Europe XXL is somewhat a small, yet meaningful, response to this disloyalty.

To the more, its slogan and content are surely provocative. A set of cultural and artistic activities to cock a snook at politicians who keep uttering European borders and to focus on the invisibility and fluidity of borders.

Artists from the three Baltic states and the Balkans, in addition to East German, Czech, Russian, Hungarian, Lech, Turkish, Romanian, Slovene and even Kazakh artists participated in the shindig.

It was quite meaningful to allow artists of post-communist-neo-European societies express the feelings and expectations of their environment, at just half an hour away from Brussels

Mayor of Lille Martine Aubry rebuffs the criticism of "having art during crisis." Mass celebrations are salutary practices of developed societies that have become the slaves of economy and money, to question themselves, in addition to collective joy, excitement and hope these celebrations generate. Sharing and dilapidating against accumulating!

Mayor said, "We set out the road by asking the question ’if Europe has still a message to the world’ and here is the result." She deserves to be proud. Europe XXL is a strong expression of a sharing and solidaristic Europe of these crisis times.

’Season of Turkey in France’ is actually given a start in Lille

Aubry is at the same time the first secretary of the French Socialist Party, namely she is the leader of the party. In her opening speech, she pointed at the ignorance and arrogance of the French right regarding Turkey. In France, you rarely hear a sentence like "Istanbul has also something to teach us," as she said.

In fact, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, trying to avoid Turks and Turkey fooling around right before the European Parliament elections of June had moved the "Season of Turkey in France" to July.

However, thanks to Europe XXL, which is an independent organization, the "Season" is given a de facto early start. At least you can be sure that Turks and Turkey will be talked a lot through Europe XXL in the north of France.

In the context of "Istanbul TraversŽe" or "Istanbul All Through", Ali Kazma, İnci Eviner, Sarkis, TsŽ-TsŽ, Osman Bozkurt, Hale Tenger, Atom Egoyan, Hussein Chalayan, Kutluğ Ataman, Burak Delier, Hüseyin Alptekin, Ceren Oykut, Ara Güler, Eric Gongrich, Corey Mc Corkle, Katja Eydel, Deniz Gül, Şener Özmen, Erkan Özgen, Erinç Seymen, Serkan Özkaya unite their creativeness in the second largest Fine Arts Museum of Europe in Lille.

You can check out Europe XXL at www.lille3000.com where you can find the calendar of events, as well as the pics of the stunning opening parade. In any case don’t miss it if you travel to Brussels or Paris; it is just next door.

Otherwise for those in Istanbul, the curator of "Istanbul TraversŽe," Caroline NaphŽgyi, will be at Meyra CafŽ in Cihangir today between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to give an idea about the event.
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The water issue

14 Mart 2009
Let’s look at some dreadful data on the water issue that were collected by the World Wild Life Fund, or WWF, Turkey branch: 

* Each year 250 million people are infected by diseases from polluted water, about five million of them die of such illnesses.

*  Turkey has a 110 billion cubic meters of usable water potential, 16 percent of which is for drinking and using water for other purposes, 72 percent of which is for irrigation in agriculture and 12 percent for industrial use.

*  In order for a country to become rich in water resources, the average per capita water amount should be at least 10,000 cubic meters.

*  With consumption of an average 1,430 cubic meters per person, Turkey is a water-poor country.

*  Canada is the country with the richest water resources with an average of 92,000 cubic meters of water yearly.

*  Jordan, with a yearly average of 138 cubic meters of water resources per person and Israel, with 124 cubic meters, are at the bottom of the list.

*  In the last 40 years, Turkey has lost a total of 1.3 million hectares wetland, equal to the total size of three Van Lakes.

*  The world population has tripled in the last century and water consumption increased six times in the same period.

*  Amount of water consumed by a child in developed countries is 30 or 50 times more than that of a child born in developing countries.

*  Ethiopia, hosting 84 percent of the Nile, needs water.

*  Daily water consumption in Canada is 150 to 200 liters. But it is no more than 10 liters in Chad, Niger and Mali. This is the amount that we consume in modern toilet flush tanks at once.

Not one but four events

The press will duly cover the Water Forum, so let’s have a look to three other meetings, the most important of which is the Alternative Water Forum, www.alternatifsuforumu.org, to be held on March 22 at Santralistanbul.

Organizers begin with a punch-line from the environment minister in charge of economy and industry, Veysel Eroğlu, "Come and invest in water!" The market he points out is worth 60 billion euros, 90 percent of which is about dam construction. Private sector has approximately 1,400 dam projects and the State Water Works Authority, or DSİ, has about 600. These energy and water plants, which will be randomly built on rivers without making any serious impact analysis and cost-benefit analysis beforehand, are the apple of the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, eye. Mr. Minister’s judgment about the projects is clear: "All I am saying is that these plants will be built. No one can stop this. Could there be such a thing? This is the decision of the state, the government." In fact, water has no place in the reckless and environment-unfriendly development model of the government.

Turkey is far away from the environment-related discussions in the world. Reaching water resources is, as a matter of fact, a "Human Right." It is considered to be community property, and life-blood for ecosystems. Water accessibility is not an issue that could be left to the market alone. Not enough numbers of nongovernmental organizations will attend the water forum to address these issues. Most of them have failed to have accreditation. The Santralistanbul meeting will be a response to this drawback.

Endorsed by the Heinrich Böll (www.boell-tr.org) and Latin America Water Tribunal (www.tragua.com) the third activity in advance of the water forum was Istanbul Water Tribunal. The tribunal convened earlier this week at the old Tobacco Depot in the Tophane district, Istanbul, with the objective of making contributions to water-related disputes. The tribunal reinterpreted the law and produced alternative and fair solutions to water disputes. In this year’s session, three cases in Turkey and two cases from Latin America were discussed. Verdicts will be announced today.

The fourth event is "No to Water Commercialization Platform," www.suplatformu.net, which voices, "Water belongs to people and cannot be sold."
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Pathetic local election campaign

7 Mart 2009
And this is nothing new. In countries where local and regional structures have failed to gain autonomy and proper life, as in Turkey, every election is held in an atmosphere of general elections. Problems of local areas are solved by the center only and of course only to a certain extent. Regional structures which function between the center and the local administrations, do not exist in Turkey. Region is feared like a bogeyman in a country obsessed with old French style unitary administration.

A hypercentralized structure cannot devise durable and sustainable solutions for local and regional issues in a sizeable country like Turkey. Today government’s outrageous charity economics is an outcome of this defective structure. And it’s turning into a mechanism of gaining supporters to the governing party is as well an outcome of the malfunctioning. When Justice Minister warns voters that if they vote for parties other than the ruling party their votes will be a waste he avows the absence of a modern local and regional systems.

Although the March 29 local elections are a test for Turkey and for the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, they have elicited a lack of decentralization, a notion from which Turkey is far away, once again.

Women have no place in municipalities

We have jumped from being 84th to 76th in the development index of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. However, we are still not in the "high development level" group. The most striking data the last update has revealed about Turkey is the Gender Empowerment Measure, or GEM, an indicator obtained by the number of female parliamentarians, high level officials, top-level company administrators. Turkey ranks as the 90th ahead of Egypt (91st), Saudi Arabia (92nd) and Yemen (93rd). In the GEM, Turkey has jumped up from being the third to the fourth at the bottom!

We are experiencing the very reason of this ranking actually. All and all, we have 18 mayoresses, only one of which is mayoress of a big city. A decade ago, the number of mayoresses was again 18. Among a total of 3,225 candidate mayors, the percentage of females stands at 0.668 percent. In female local administrators ratio, Turkey is ranked 6 from the bottom but at the end of the forthcoming elections it would reach the first rank, at the bottom evidently.

How women are exploited in an election campaign is self-evident. From headscarf to alms-giving, females are always kept passive. But when it comes to candidacy, female nominees stand no chance of being elected since no quota is applied.

For these elections the Association for Supporting and Training Female Candidates, or KADER, conducted a different campaign, after the one titled: "Is it necessary to have a moustache to be elected" during the July 22, 2007 general elections. The organization made Devlet Bahçeli of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, Deniz Baykal of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wear purple ties and say: "We all three agree: 50 percent female candidates in local elections!"

However, as the parties announced candidates, we saw that none applied the 50 percent female quota. The AKP nominated 18 females; MHP 34; CHP 45; Saadet Party 9; BBP 5; the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party 33; Turkish Communist Party 37; Labor Party 3, Freedom and Solidarity Part 3; The Joint Platform 5; Democrat Party 37; and the Democratic Left Party 52.

Interestingly enough, although Erdoğan issued a directive to all AKP local offices that one of every four candidates should be a female, provinces acted on their own. In rural areas only males have influence and holding municipalities is compulsory for the continuation of their influence. This well-rooted leaning can never be changed by Erdoğan’s directive. No one should forget that the party’s local structures in Anatolia are composed of pragmatic fellows who make use of the AKP, not the other way around.

In conclusion, as the prime minister recommended to ladies, "give birth to three children" but please make sure that they are all boys!
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Environment is a way out of the crisis, a remedy for afterwards

28 Şubat 2009
The solution is to rapidly stop using coal. Whereas many countries are showing sensitivity towards the use of coal, Turkey is the record holder in greenhouse gas emissions, the main source of global warming, with a 74.4 percent increase in the period 1990-2004. In Turkey, power plants fueled by coal produce 20 percent of total gas emissions.

Currently a total of 15 thermal power plants use brown coal processed in Turkey. And these plants are a nightmare for the environment because it is a low-quality type of coal. Sulphur, nitrogen and CO2 are produced during the combustion of fuels. These cause acid rain when they react with water particles in the air, in addition to soil and water pollution. Filters placed on chimneys to keep ash are insufficient most of the time.

According to information provided by Greenpeace-Turkey, there are 47 power plant projects pending. If they are implemented, the country's greenhouse gas emissions will increase 50 percent. We’ll surely become the champion of all times. Our neighbor Greece, who decided to prioritize solar energy over coal and nuclear is certain to be overtaken by the champion!

Energy transmission infrastructures in developed countries was a priority in the implementation of New Deal type programs with a focus on employment and mass consumption, generated in the wake of the 1929 crisis. To increase the production of home appliances with access to affordable electricity, huge infrastructural projects such as 'Tennessee Valley Authority’ were put in place. And today in order to come out of the current crisis, we need environmental infrastructures in a way to encourage renewable energy over fossil fuels and "to care about air, water and soil." That was the core of President Obama's historic speech Monday.

A new paradigm

We should also make investments in green collars. "Green collar" is a term for engineers, farmers, architects and educators working in the renewable energy (wind, solar and geothermal), organic farming and energy saving sectors. Data provided by the American Solar Energy Society, renewable energy and energy efficiency represented 8.5 million jobs in 2006. And as many as 40 million jobs can be generated by 2030. As for Turkey, no proper data exist but it is estimated to amount to 45,000 green collars.

And the third policy we need is energy efficiency and a change in consumption habits. An Open Society Foundation sponsored report made simple suggestions: commuting should be spread around as part of transportation, aged electricity production facilities should be rehabilitated, energy efficiency should be increased, power plants in the Aegean region should develop CO2 capture and storage systems, clean coal technology in coal-based power plants should be prioritized and renewable energy use should be increased. Environment friendly light bulbs and showerheads can also help. Turning off televisions before going to bed in the night and using washing machines and dishwashers at full capacity are some other simple measures to be applied.

Countries that can do these will save their future. However, considering that individual remedies are not the solution, joint decisions and implementations are necessary. Unprofessional approaches by the officials in charge of the environment in Turkey to the gravity of the situation is a sign that this country won't be a part of such joint efforts.

The government’s approach is self-evident. Whoever raises his/her voice against energy sources causing pollution, he/she is being accused of day-dreaming and then of having a hidden agenda. The "Environment Minister in charge of Industry" keeps arguing that such people are against employment and industry and that environmentalists, as a matter of fact, do not want the country to develop, but that we cannot go back to the Stone Age. However, the wind power potential of Turkey, for instance, is about 48,000 megawatts. In this sector, 1 megawatt is being generated by 12 people that means 576,000 jobs!

The current global economic crisis is putting heavy pressure on our production and consumption habits. We have two options: either we do everything in our power to go back to the reckless development model behind the present crisis and therefore to speed up our end, or to find new ways and return from the threshold of the disaster.
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Beyond genocide, the Great Catastrophe

24 Şubat 2009
Developed in the West, the concept of genocide and its meanings are of great importance not only to Armenians but also to western public opinions. For them, the word "genocide" and what it stands for is beyond dispute, time and space. But I am not certain if the concept of genocide is adequate to the task of describing entirely what happened. To overcome the dilemma I propose to go back to those times of horror and the way Armenians themselves described it.

With due respect to the vast knowledge accumulated through genocide studies, I must point out that the notion of genocide remains, as far as the Armenian Genocide is concerned, confined to the understanding and the description of the act as well as the victims of genocide and the committers. The term "Great Catastrophe," which was shaped and used by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in those days to describe what was going on then and which we used in the apology campaign, however, is more evocative of the past events. In fact, the decision of the Committee of Union and Progress to eliminate Armenians, as one of the oldest groups of Anatolia, is a disaster that permanently affected the future of, not only the Armenians, but also all other entities living in the same land. Already torn apart by wars, Anatolia, which lost its Armenians, Assyrians and Roums (Greeks), has become a depleted piece of land that had to struggle with human, economic, social, political and cultural disintegration and decline.

In this sense, the Armenian Genocide is a common tragedy of Anatolia, and even today what is uttered in the villages of Anatolia as part of the old stories is the tally of an unprecedented catastrophe. Yet, I am not convinced that the "genocide" word is sufficient to accurately read the consequences of this irrational decision that Anatolia was subjected to. It is inadequate to explain what happened beside the genocide of Armenians and confines historic understanding of this horrible event. The Armenian history is then taken out of Anatolia and is being revived all around the world through the Diaspora. It doesn’t, however, tell about Anatolia after 1915.

Today the gap between the word "genocide," its cold, eerie and "distant" meanings on the one hand, and the "closeness" of words such as "çart" (massacre), disaster, catastrophe or slaughter on the other, is as deep as the gap between that awful decision of the state taken in Istanbul and the human drama that took place in Anatolia.

In fact, so many different grey areas subsist between the genocide victims and the perpetrators, so many people, including those who had to change their identity to survive, who were indirectly victimized, who saved lives, who simply remained to bear the consequences of the genocide. The Great Catastrophe is the great catastrophe for these people also. Native and individual stories of disasters that have been dug out through nascent historical research reveal the dimensions of the great catastrophe that Anatolia experienced, and witness a disaster that somehow goes beyond the genocide. From this perspective, the Great Catastrophe means more than the Genocide. Again in this sense, if the recognition of the genocide will be a punishment, the learning of the Great Catastrophe would be a virtue paving the way for living together again.

The debates that have started with the apology campaign on December 15, 2008 offer an immense opportunity for us to learn what happened to Armenians as well as their neighbors. Likewise, this year is the centenary of the takeover by the military wing of the Committee of Union and Progress and consequently the beginning of a special political mindset that still continues to hold Turkey in its grip. More centenaries to come, almost every year until 2023 and even beyond, will provide us the opportunity to learn and remember the fate of Armenians, as well as the consequences of that common catastrophe for people of Anatolia. Justice will rule as we learn about the dimensions of the process which has begun a hundred years ago and about what it has cost to all of us.
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Harsh truths from mon chers

21 Şubat 2009
For the last four years the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, continues with their relentless "leadership/mediation" efforts in the Middle East and elsewhere with the assumption that they will be able to pull a foreign policy of their choice despite and against "mon chers." Overblown by cajoling words of some European Union countries who are against Turkey’s accession but happy to push it toward the Middle East as well as the encouragements of former Bush administration in the United States this policy is now near to an end.

Today Egypt, Jordan, al Fath, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates with the exception of Qatar are politely or bluntly saying "no thanks" to "leadership/mediation" efforts of our peacemakers. The position of Israel on future Turkish mediation is not difficult to guess. On the Caucasus front, Russia has turned inwards with huge economic problems but still has no intention to let Turkey in. Potential money lenders like Qatar have no more to lend to anyone. We are back to square "Europe," as always.

But this time there will be more to pay to recover from it as time and energy spent on "leadership/mediation" distracted the government to properly address country’s own problems. Moreover through Gaza/Davos shows friends and brothers are now looking elsewhere. While the population comes and goes between arrogance and inferiority complexes regarding "leadership/mediation successes", Erdoğan’s "sui generis" Kasımpaşa-style of doing foreign policy has shown its limits.

Let’s take as a "worst practice" the post-Davos saga and the remarks of Avi Mizrahi, chief of the Israeli Ground Forces that reportedly came at an international conference. I have in no place to defend Mizrahi who seems to be the mastermind of the Gaza offensive. Besides, he is said to be famous for hawkish attitudes and arrogance. However:

1. Israel did not resort to diplomatic channels for the public outrage against its president but it smartly retaliated to Erdoğan’s Davos move by letting a military top official reply back; i.e. a response by a general organizing the Gaza offensive and who is no equivalent of a prime minister.

2. Against all diplomatic customs, Turkey answered through its General Staff and presented a note verbale only afterwards.

3. While there is nothing to be proud of Turkey’s harsh reactions no one noticed the absence of a counter-note verbale;

4. The Israeli General Staff adopted an ambiguous language against Turkey and did not say a word against what the Ground Forces Commander said; "General Mizrahi said some things that might be construed as critical of Turkey. The army spokesman wishes to clarify that this is not the official position of the army."

Magnifying mirrors

So we are at the end of a virtual world and of a speculative balloon. The AKP wasted the credit Turkey gathered through EU and IMF inspired reforms, since the beginning of the 2000s and made strategic mistakes both domestically and outside as a result of seeing itself on a magnifying mirror. Its policy choices helped nothing but waste of time with some notorious exceptions like the visit of President Gül to Yerevan. Now with the impact of the global economic crisis and the EU anchor vanishing, the credit is evaporating quickly, leaving AKP’s Turkey alone with harsh facts. The new-Ottomanism balloon blew up as all speculative balloons did.

Following the March 29 local polls, the best thing the AKP can do is to refocus on domestic and country’s own external problems. In order to bring the Ergenekon crime gang case to the best conclusion it should bring a new social contract, i.e. the civilian constitution, back to the agenda and revive the EU process.

In this context, we should read and understand the phone call of the new U.S. president to the prime minister accurately. As it’s been told to all foreign leaders that are U.S. allies, the United States welcomed leadership of Turkey. We shouldn’t be dazzled by that. The United States is talking about strategic partnership and referring to Turkey’s responsibility in NATO and in fact asking for more military assistance in Afghanistan. Otherwise the new U.S. approach and potential support need to be properly channeled to our EU bid in particular and to solution making deals regarding Armenia, Cyprus and the Kurdistan Regional Administration in Iraq.
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The Credibility test

14 Şubat 2009
Since March 2005 the Sudanese President Omar al Bashir has been on the radar of the international community. In accordance with the agreement reached between the United Nations Security Council, or UNSC, and the International Criminal Court, or, ICC, regarding the prosecution of nationals of states non-party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, the UNSC requested legal proceedings against al Bashir, based on the Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter (resolution number 1593/2005); in other words, for being a threat to international peace and security.

This was a historic decision pursuant to the agreement between the UNSC and ICC. Due to its economic interests, China, who always sides with Sudan, abstained to veto the Resolution 1593. Immediately after, the U.N. passed a list of 51 suspects including Janjaweed leaders Ali Mohammed Abderrahman and Ali Qusheyb and former Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun to the court. Since the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo prepared his indictment and asked for the issuance of an arrest warrant for al Bashir on July 14, 2008 on the charge of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The arrest warrant could be issued in the course of the month. Hence the international excitement.

It is widely acknowledged that the Khartoum government backed Muslim Arab Janjaweed guerillas in Darfur killed 100,000 civilians as 200,000 more are said to have died of hunger and illness. Besides, over two million people in the region are victims of ethnic cleansing and are being displaced, 250,000 among of whom are refugees living in neighboring Chad. It is widely believed that behind this human tragedy is the Sudanese government that has failed to find a solution to the disaster, that has obstructed U.N. efforts and that has supported Janjaweed guerillas. For this reason, the ICC is going after al Bashir.

However, there is no international consensus over his arrest. Among the decisions of the 12th Summit of the African Union, or AU, held early this month exist the lobbying for the postponement of the Chief ICC Prosecutor’s indictment against al Bashir. Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was elected as AU’s term president for one year, apparently played a critical role in this decision. Qaddafi is claiming to resolve the Darfur issue. On the other hand, some African leaders who may face similar charges are not pleased with the collaboration between the UNSC and the ICC. The institution that can decide on the postponement is the UNCS, where Turkey has been a temporary member since the beginning of the year. We should assess Babacan’s remarks as well as the visits of the Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha and that of the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Mesfin in this framework. The visitors were clearly asking for Turkey’s support in the UNSC, and they apparently got it.

Turkey’s test

The new U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Susan Rice always challenged the attitude of the Bush administration on Darfur. So the United States will most likely veto the postponement of al Bashir indictment. The counter-group led by China and Russia together with the Africans will try to postpone it. The Western group is of the opinion that similar delaying tactics are no good for peace talks and the prosecutor’s request should be endorsed. Peace in Darfur is not on the agenda for long. In fact, clashes continue and the government forces keep bombing refugee villages and opening fire on the joint AU-UN force UNAMID.

Having a seat at the UNSC is not an issue of prestige, as it is thought by some. It is a duty of international responsibility. Positions taken on a variety of international issues before the Security Council reveal the moral standpoint of the member state, its side and its preferences. A hand raised in favor of al Bashir at the U.N. would contradict the government’s moral stance against Israel on Gaza and would position Turkey against the West.
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The balance sheet of Gaza via Davos

7 Şubat 2009
As always, everyone is talking all at once but the general attitude is quite positive. A spirit of national unity regarding Erdoğan’s historic reaction is there. And this is frightening actually. If liberal and openly fascist columnists and politicians are coming together on the ground of national proud, one should get suspicious about it. But we better leave the analysis of this national pride course to social psychologists. What could this state of spirit that appeared as if an atmosphere of a national football game bring Turkey? What this way of claiming its spot in the world not by human development but by rhetorical lash outs, bring Turkey? What would be the consequences of the sentence, "You cannot make rude gestures to our prime minister, especially if you are Jewish," and of Erdoğan’s response to Peres?

The effect for now seems to be an advantage on the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. In addition to those who were satisfied by Erdoğan’s scolding there are said to be others who joined to the choir at the Yeşilköy Airport while waiting prime minister’s epic return from Davos, and who would vote for the government party in the March 29 local elections. Some even are said to be getting prepared to become an AKP member. Polls taken after the Davos incident give similar results. Some other observers keep saying that the Davos incident was a sheer electoral engineering by AKP which is dreadfully concerned to see the negative impacts of the global economic crisis over the local elections.

Following Davos drama some columnists suggested that governments international mediation role is now getting stronger. So they exaggerated a bit and declared that Turkey has replaced Iran in the Middle East. The translation of this new development could be: Since Iran provides financial aid and arms to Hamas so will Turkey from now on; therefore, will include Hamas in its existing military relations with Israel based on the principle of equal treatment! You never know, perhaps Hamas will even have access to Israeli arms via Turkey! This absurd scenario for now is like music to the ear but is waiting for the decisions to be reached after Hamas leader Khaled Mashal’s contacts in the Iranian capital Tehran in the beginning of the week. Most probably though Hamas and Iran have already decided for a role for Turkey as the most eager actor in the Middle East.

Reading foreign repercussions right
Repercussions, perception and the effect of the Davos incident is very different abroad. Arab adoration of Erdoğan stems from his being an unconditional Hamas supporter from now on, not from his efforts as mediator. What I mean by Arabs are those not against Hamas and Iran.

As for the repercussions of the Davos incident in the world, if we sweep negative reactions aside perhaps the only thing that could be registered as income on the balance sheet is that Erdoğan has gone beyond the customary rules adopted since decades by the international community in the face of Israeli arrogance, preferring to remain silent. He managed to speak out the things that have been kept inside by many. But his being straight forward has indirectly cured his government’s chronic mediation disease since 2005 and has placed Turkey into a very different frame. This new frame could be the resurrection of the Islamic caliphate or Erdoğan becoming the new Nasser of the Muslim world, as suggested by some weird commentators.

And plausibility of course. It has been written so many times but it is better to repeat once again. Erdoğan’s ethical move has no equivalent for Turkey. Or it has, regarding hardships Turks/Sunnis/Muslims are subjected to. The Prime Minister is having a hand-shake with Hamas but he cannot do it with the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, in Turkey. Erdoğan’s sensitivity toward the injustice and atrocity in the world is limited with those committed against Sunni Muslims, on one condition though: if they are kept away from Turkey. For instance, Iraqi Sunni Arab asylum seekers are not welcome in Turkey. As for the Muslims slaughtered by Muslims in Darfur, there is a serious discernment problem. The prime minister again mocking the international community hosted a dinner for Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, aide to the Sudanese President Bashir who is being charged for genocide, on Tuesday night. During the bilateral talks, U.N. Security Council member Turkey was apparently asked to ’protect’ President Bashir from international indictment for crime against humanity and it was conveyed to the Sudanese official that Turkey is ready to mediate for bringing peace into Darfur... It’s like a joke, isn’t it?
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