Cüneyt Ülsever - English

Who are we?

24 Şubat 2009
Tarhan Erdem and his team conducted the largest field research in Turkey on behalf of the Hürriyet daily. They did one-on-one interviews with 7,000 people in 12 regions (about 44 cities). The study titled, "Who are we? Cultural, Economic and Social Life Style" represents 51 million "adults" over age 15, a subject that is much talked about yet known less. I will summarize some findings today:

51.5 percent of the adult population is male and 48.2 percent is female. The 15 to 34 age group makes up 45 percent! We have a very young population, 8.5 percent of whom are university graduates, 41 percent are primary school graduates, 61 percent are illiterate and 3.6 percent have no diploma. 50.3 percent of the population have primary school or below education. The number of people with a monthly salary over 3,000 Turkish Liras stands at 3.5 percent and 68.4 percent earn 1,000 liras or less. 27.4 percent earn 500 Turkish Liras or below.

86.1 percent of the adult population describes themselves as Turkish, 10 percent as Kurdish or Zaza, 91 percent as Sunni Muslim, and 4.9 percent as Alevi Muslim. 92.3 percent of Turks and 86.7 percent of Kurds or Zazas are Sunni Muslims. 0.4 percent of Turks and 0.9 percent of Kurds or Zazas are Alevi Muslims.

54.2 percent of the participants call themselves pious. 30.3 percent have a religious faith, 12.4 percent are religious fanatics, 1.4 percent of participants are non-believers and 0.7 percent are atheists.

56.9 percent of women wear a traditional headscarf, 13.4 percent wear hijab, 0.9 percent wear a black-chador and 28.8 percent do not wear a headscarf. 71.2 percent of females over 15 wear some sort of headscarf.

The percentage of people who said, "Girls in primary and secondary school should cover their heads," was 32.3 percent. 22.3 percent said, "The legal system should be determined according to religious rules." And 52.9 percent who believed, "Female civil servants should be allowed to wear headscarf."

On the other hand, 58.1 percent of the participants said: "State and religious affairs should be separated." 77.7 percent thought: "The state should support people (Sunni, Alevi, Christian etc.) to practice their religious obligations," And 63.6 percent agreed with the statement, "Turkey should become an EU member."

75.8 percent of participants were concerned about a split in Turkey, compared to 24.2 percent who were not concerned. People who are afraid that a Sharia regime may rule the country someday measure 59 percent. 79.5 percent are afraid of losing traditional values and 82.6 percent are worried about the economic down-turn.

65.8 percent believed: "The Kurdish issue stems from Kurds wanting to have a separate state." 34.2 percent don’t agree with that. 33.6 percent believed that: "The Kurdish issue originates from discrimination against Kurds" and 79.3 percent believed: "The Kurdish issue is being instigated by foreign centers."

According to 79.4 percent of participants, newspapers should be able to criticize the government. 73.6 percent said that newspapers were misinforming people for personal benefits.

The study is full of surprising findings for not only academics, intellectuals, journalists and politicians but also for industrialists, bankers, trade unions and merchants.

I suggest top-level managers of private sector companies discuss the results among themselves. I extend my heart-felt appreciation to Erdem and his team.
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Why is the March 29 election important?

17 Şubat 2009
I have been writing for quite some time that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is spending all his energy on the March 29 local polls and he sees everything through this angle, including the stand-by agreement soon to be made with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, or any vital deal for the economic crisis or the developments in the Middle East that are of a great deal of interest to our foreign policy. He is so very preoccupied with the upcoming elections, so much that he even doesn’t care about the imbalance in foreign politics or the economic crisis. Erdoğan is sincerely sad for the children killed in Gaza but his sincerity toward Hamas is not real at all.

Mr. Prime Minster is exaggerating his "love for Hamas" for the sake of internal politics. Why is he internalizing this election, which has nothing to do with his being in power? Why he is almost obsessed with the local polls? Because he set his mind that March 29 is a turning point!

Is this simply an unjustifiable obsession or is it exaggeration of the thread based on facts that he feels? I think it is both.

Some newspapers are just realizing that since the day I have begun to write, Mr. Prime Minister is extremely disturbed by Numan Kurtulmuş being the new leader of the Saadet Party. The following bothers him:

1) Mr. Prime Minister knows that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and local administrations in particular, have almost totally surrendered to the corruption cases. In this perspective, he is being disturbed by a new file everyday revealed by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP. But Erdoğan is not worried about losing votes to the CHP. I do support the CHP’s moves to normalize the politics but don’t think that the CHP will steal away the votes of conservatives significantly on March 29. The reason is that the CHP needs time to prove itself to conservatives as a party that has excluded them for long. These moves seem something attached to the CHP’s party program later on.

However, people think Kılıçdaroğlu is sincere and the word "corruption" is being uttered with the AKP more frequently. Since the CHP is not staunchly defending laicism this time, attention is directed to the "corruption."

2) At this point, the Numan Kurtulmuş factor comes into play. And the leader of the National View, which was frozen around the 2 percent voting percentage, stands up and stresses, "A woman wearing a headscarf waiting at the bus-stop is different from the other wearing a headscarf and driving a jeep." This excellent allegory hits the AKP in the heart because the women wearing headscarves and waiting for buses at the station realize better every day that they have created the covered woman driving a jeep and that they internalize the Saadet Party since the old days. And they had given up hope on the former Saadet Party officials but now there is this young and dynamic leader ahead of them.

3) The Saadet Party is the one that can best explain to the women with headscarves or to the women in black-chadoors that the AKP, in the last seven years, couldn’t find a remedy for the economy, has worked itself only and deceived people through free coal, food and now white goods distributions. And the very same Saadet Party can also explain that the AKP has already screwed up in the headscarf ban in universities as much as in the co-efficient problem of the Religious High School graduated in the university entrance exam.

The fear of Mr. Prime Minister is not to lose the control to the Saadet Party but to lose considerable amount of votes to them. For instance, if such a development helped Kılıçdaroğlu’s being elected and the Saadet Party to win 8-10 percent of votes, then the AKP is really in big trouble.

Think for a second, the corruption files in the hands of the Istanbul Municipality will be handed over to the CHP and the Saadet Party claims a share in conservative votes!

Can you now see the reason behind Mr. Prime Minister’s uncontrollable anger?
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Hurşit Tolon and Ergenekon

10 Şubat 2009
I have never had a feeling of respect toward the retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon. He, as some other military officers, thought that his uniform makes him who he is and kept roaring in the shadow of the weapons bought by the people’s money that were entrusted to him. After being retired he became the lead actor in the Republic rallies. On the day of his detention, we all got surprised! I don’t think Tolon bares any qualities of democracy. HoweverÉ These are my personal opinions and I don’t have any right to execute him without due process so to speak. Everyone, including generals, prime minister, journalist, author etc., may be taken to the court some day and if is found guilty, he or she will serve time in prison. But my duty is to ask the protection of their legal rights, even if he is a shameless general who monitored my phone calls. So I shouldn’t fall into the trap of hatred and grudge, as some of my friends did. After seven months in detention, Tolon was released over the weekend with the following reason announced by the court: "Due to the lack of evidence that he is a member or administrator of a crime organization, as depicted in the scheme titled the ’Ergenekon Restructuring Document’ that has been posted on various Web sites since 2006 and published in the press since 2001." (The Sabah daily, Feb. 2, 2009)

The said blueprint was previously published in the Aydınlık and Aksiyon news magazines and in the Yeni Şafak daily! What does it mean? This simply means: People behind this strangeness either do not know the meaning of law or they are careless enough not to run a research on the published documents. Perhaps they are seeking revenge or are men of some certain posts.

The Ergenekon case, as one last push to cleanse out Turkey, bringing Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counterterrorism Center, or JİTEM, Susurluk and the Feb. 28 process disgraces to the court was being diluted by relevant or irrelevant complaints of some people. The decision about Tolon has directly sent this case into gutter.

You are arresting a man but failing to write a bill of indictment for seven months. In the end, the court sheds a light on the document that you have as evident and it turns out to be just a report prepared by the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, in 1999 that was published years ago in the newspapers or magazines.

Imagine what a big disaster people keeping a copy of these articles at home were saved from! But unfortunately, the counsel for prosecution had no knowledge of the fact that the said document was already published in the newspapers! The court was informed about the situation by the defense lawyers. If no new evidence is found, it means Tolon was kept for nothing for seven months. This decision will be a turning point in the Ergenekon case. So the detainees will try to invalidate the evidence collected against them, following the footstep of this ruling.

The worst is that the Ergenekon case cutting the public conscience into two pieces will cause people who have provided support to this case to have self-questioning. Those who are found guilty will from there on have the right to question the justice of the court. The case will be perceived as sloppy in collecting evidence, as the one in the shadow of the grudge, and will always have potential reservations for becoming "wrong for right reasons," if a new counsel of prosecution is not formed.
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Anger is sweeter than honey, is it?

3 Şubat 2009
Anger is one of the most difficult feelings that should be controlled by man. It is, however, attractive for one at times. For this reason, there are people who think anger is sweeter than honey.

Anger surfaces if one believe that his is being treated unfairly. Anger is expressed if one feels that injustice is still there.

But, there is no generalization that everyone who is treated unfairly will get angry.

Those reacting against injustice by getting angry have two things in common:

They usually feel aggrieved as a result of their background. Their analytical abilities are not developed enough. Since they fail to give analytical reactions against unfairness, they get angry.

Angry people are easily provoked by their closest circles. For instance, while you struggle against unfairness, if your wife cries and calls the one you get angry a "liar," your anger grows and you may be pissed off more.

It is also a very populist feeling. All people feeling aggrieved somehow will applaud your anger.

Then toadies around you will be pleased to say "You expressed the feeling of millions." According to such intellectual toadies, the late President Turgut Özal made something stupid by opening the door for peace after having a hand-shake with Papandreou of Greece at Davos in 1989, in a period where the entire Turkish nation were irritated by Greece!

Anger, however, is at the same time a backstabber! It makes one "wrong" even if he is right and forces him to make a U-turn. For instance, if you forget that the nation you accused as "you know nothing but to kill!" is one of the nations that give utmost importance to science, then you have to make a U-turn and claim that you only refer to the rulers of that nation.

Another characteristic of a man in anger is that he gets childish, picks up his toy and murmurs on his way out, "I will never come back here again." But after he gets calm, "We’ll think about it," he says.

Psychiatrists say uncontrollable anger is unhealthy. According to specialists, man who cannot control his anger will harm himself and his circle; so he may need professional help in order to overcome this problem.

But the most important thing is that counterparts of an angry man find him unreliable and do not take him seriously.

Specialists suggest one to control his anger because he may harm his addressee otherwise. Angry men, just like the drunk who yelled at his military commanders in the coup period but said "I cussed the commanders at Patagonia," and then made a U-turn, know very well at whom they should be angry.

For instance, they are not angry at the genocide in Darfur, neither are they angered by Muslim Checnians who raided a school and killed Christian children inside. They are not angry even Turkish soldiers are head-sacked, nor are angry at killing Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Smart but angry people know whom to be angry with. They try to manage profit and loss account and place anger into the "profit section." As they make short-term calculations, angry men do not calculate who will pay the price in the long run.

If the other party takes it easy, the angry man will be applauded as "Brava! The man taught him his place," but toadies around the angry man fail to see that he was kissing the other just a while ago!
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Ergenekon’s organic structure

27 Ocak 2009
The crime gang case called Ergenekon consists of many different or alike individuals. As far as I see the main figures of this case are the following: 1) Some of top-tank military members who were granted the irregular war authority by the National Security Council, or MGK, in the past and established the Gendarmarie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Organization, or JİTEM, then, recklessly exploited this semi-legal authority through murders by unknown perpetrators, were apparently carried away after retirement.

2) Some of the active officers cooperating with these retired military officers and police men in active duty. (Possible examples for such cooperation: The Susurluk incident, Hrant Dink murder, Malatya massacre).

3) Retired generals who attempted military coups against the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, but turned down by the Chief of General Staff of the time. After retirement, they lead the way for social uprise in order to turn the society against the government. (Example: The Republic meetings)

4) Civilians and leaders of some political parties who cooperated with the retired generals against the government.

5) Academics, journalists and researchers who make anti-government statements.

6) Those who attempt direct military coups (Example: Figures behind the Feb. 28 process)

7) Neither fish nor fowl witnesses (Example: Tuncay Güney)

Prime evidence obtained so far in the case:

1) Computer records owned by the accused. 2) Phone tapping records. 3) Unearthed weapons.

P.S.: The most concrete evidence is the unearthed weapons; however, the link between these weapons and the accused must be established.

The "Coup Diaries" may become evidence but they are not included in the case yet. There are questions to the figures I listed above.

1) If this case has connections with JİTEM, what will happen to the MGK members of the time and others who worked for JİTEM and who issued the directive "hit!"

2) If the case is linked to the Feb. 28 process, then why have some committers not been touched yet?

3) If this case is linked to the Susurluk incident, then why have the individuals who organized the ties that were exposed in the Susurluk not been reached yet?

4) If the Ergenekon case is a counter-case against the military coups, then why has anyone not made an attempt to abolish the political immunity bestowed upon the coup-makers in a Constitutional article?

5) Apparently, the accused generals, who looked for the approval of the chief of General Staff of the time, gave in and said "Yes, Sir!" when they were refuted by the top military commander. Is this the way for making a coup d’etat? Why did these people who accused former Chief of the General Staff Hilmi Özkök of collaboration with religious backwardness and by-passing him not complete the coup attempt?

6) What are the suspects being accused of personally? What are the crimes that they committed personally?

Could the approach of the Star daily’s Mehmet Altan and the Sabah daily’s Emre Aköz like, "I don’t care about personal accusations or daily incidents. I don’t care about the essence. But I do care about the general meaning" be legal, rational and conscientious?

7) Could the conscience be mend by the logic of the Zaman daily’s Mümtazer Türköne who says, "If the former secretary general of the MGK is under arrest, then the Prosecutor definitely knows something?"

Turkey has caught an excellent opportunity for cleanse out. But the rule of law can only be achievable by a case in accordance with the rule of law. I ask respect for the legal rights of a general shamelessly wire-tapping me?
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Obama and a new period

19 Ocak 2009
First an important note: Friends of Hrant Dink sent a message; I am signing and publishing here. "It’s been two years that our colleague Hrant Dink was murdered viciously.
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I am going nuts

13 Ocak 2009
If I don’t lose my mind during the Ergenekon crime gang case and related investigations, I will never lose it. I am confused more every day. Let me ask you this question first. Who did tell the following? *(...) Who is İbahim Şahin whom the former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz as well said, ’he is the leader of killers?’ Şahin (...) is a hero who fought for 10 years exactly against the bandits of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, up in the mountains in the East and Southeast. He was injured three or four times but never gave up. Şahin continued his struggle..." Answer: Nazlı Ilıcak. She is waging a war against gangs and poking the ammunition dump that was explored in the light of a sketch drawn by Şahin into the eyes of people who are having reservations about the Ergenekon!

An article by Rıza Zelyut titled "Nazlı Ilıcak was Şahin’s guard," and published in an online newspaper (Sol Birlik -- www.solbirlik.net) includes excerpts from Ilıcak’s article published in the Akşam daily on Dec. 12, 1993. Why is Ilıcak lashing out at Yılmaz? Following the Susurluk incident, Yılmaz as the leader of the Motherland Party, or ANAP, then, said in a letter to president of the time, Süleyman Demirel:

Special Operation Unit is in the body of the Security Department. Some members of this unit are involved in drug trafficking, gambling, racketeering and murdering. Confessions of the killers of Ömer Lütfi Topal are quite interesting. Although they came clean, these individuals were sent to Ankara and are free nowÉ It’s being told that some state officials are given orders by the head of the Special Operation Unit, Şahin, and that several high posts including the Interior Ministry is aware of the situation. There are at least 100 to 120 people involved in such crimes. They are murderers working under the state." Ilıcak’s article was said to be a response to this letter! A friend of mine reading the said online newspaper told me that there is nothing wrong with Ilıcak’s change of attitude so I shouldn’t go nuts about it. My friend says Şahin is the man of the Erbakan-Çiller government at that time. And the government today is against Şahin!

As my friend put, Ilıcak is a journalist of the governments not Şahins!

*All right. But what about the following? After the 10th wave of detentions, all retired generals under arrest were released only Professor Yalçın Küçük was kept! No one knows why the generals were taken in first and released afterward. However, according to my friend this is not a surprise either. My friend points out to the visit of Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who keeps shouting, "The judiciary is independent." "This is normal, quite normal," says my friend talking about the cooperation at the top of the state.

* According to Şahin’s deposition leaked to the press, two active generals assigned him a special task; he was even asked to pick 300 men for the task. I expected the General Staff to fiercely react this outrageous claim. We finally heard a disclaimer toward noon. "In Şahin’s game, every lie is lawful," says my friend.

* Şahin is crazy enough to forget the sketches at home but smart enough to write a book. This is normal too, according to my friend. In our state tradition, there is this İsmet İnönü opening. He was hearing impaired but was said to be hearing whatever suited him.

* "All right. There is an answer for everything. But how could’ve Yalçın Küçük committed a coup?" I asked my friend. "He was to lash people into a fury," my friend said. "How come?" I asked. "While you were watching Küçük on television, what kind of a feeling you were having?" my friend asked me. After I said, "I was feeling agitated," I kept my silence.

According to my friend, the reason is why I am going nuts is that I am clueless. My friend believes I do not understand the sensitive texture that was born out of Turkey’s own historic conditions and based on a tradition of hustle bustle, a blind conflict of interest and bias. This is such a texture that never needs reason and solid information.
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Obama’s first test: Gaza!

6 Ocak 2009
Electing an African-American as the president of the United States is a revolution itself. To elect a member of the minority who are always in struggle with the majority is such a democratic behavior that one takes off his hat to. But if President-elect Barrack Obama a revolutionist is subjected to a test!

I write when occasion serves that in decent states, such as United States, two different mechanisms are at work while main policy of the country is being shaped up: Chefs in the kitchen and waiters in the dining room!

Chefs are the appointed and represent the establishment. Waiters on the other hand are secretaries taking orders from the head waiter and serving U.S. citizens and the world what’s cooking in the kitchen. There are surely good and bad waiters. Some sell the menu very well and cause a bit of change in it while they convey customers’ demands to the kitchen.

But even a selected head waiter cannot change the menu against the spirit of the kitchen. If I must give an example from Turkey, if let’s say it is Antep cuisine, no matter how high the demands are fish never is cooked in the kitchen.

The establishment is the sovereign spirit of a country and is not subjected to elections.

Since he, as an African-American, reached to the summit in the ranch of Anglo-Americans, Obama beyond dispute is the most important persona of the world in 2008. He is certainly a genius in politics, but will play the role of a "good headwaiter" only for he is a Democrat and becomes the president after a "bad headwaiter" such as George W. Bush.

His duty is to protect the interests of the establishment. Obama, however, will try to do this in a more sharing way. He will undertake the role of a gracious imperial state rather than an imposing imperial state, Bush.

Obama will push forward the concept of the "winner United States among equals" instead of a "sole winner United States."

But to turn the establishment upside down as the meaning of the word "revolution" requires will never be his maxim. For instance, Obama will never utter a sentence like "The United States will no longer control the world energy corridors." The otherwise is against the nature of things.

I am of the opinion that as he appointed other waiters Obama immediately proved that he would act in line with the above picture. Some tasks are critical as far as the establishment is concerned. Obama appointed retired navy general James L. Jones, a former commander of all NATO forces, as the national security adviser and kept Robert Gates as secretary of defense and appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

Obama and his team will take over the U.S. administration two weeks later. Some, by referring to his middle name Hussain, blessed him as if a Muslim was elected to lead the country. Everyone expects him to do a lot for aggrieved Muslims, for African-Americans and for other nations.

I on the other hand think that Obama’s being president-elect has already laundered the establishment after the Bush period. And now the same task will continue.

Obama and Clinton! World nations have high expectations of them!

We’ll wait and see. Gaza is there and Obama will be in office in two weeks!
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