"Unfortunately, they do not represent the Turkish public. The Turkish public has not filled the streets with demands of democracy and freedom. They were leftists, Armenians, Kurds and those intellectuals who favor multiculturalism."
~ Selami Ince, on Hrant Dink's funeral.
~ Selami Ince, on Hrant Dink's funeral.
Well, the good news is that the boys in TİT (Turk Intikam Tugayi--Turkish Revenge Brigade) have learned how to use email, from Bianet:
Agos newspaper received an e-mail threat today. Founder of the bilingual newspaper, Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink was gunned down by an extremist nationalist last Friday.
Lawyer of the newspaper Fethiye Çetin said they immediately filed a complaint about the threat, which was signed as Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT), a notorious clandestine group responsible for several killings of leftist militants during 1980's.
"This is their last efforts to intimidate us. We'll do what's necessary and won't tolerate such threats", said Çetin.
Reminding the hundreds of thousands who gathered for Hrant Dink's funeral yesterday, "We'll overcome these obstacles in solidarity", she said.
The e-mail message threatens of a bomb attack to the newspaper, which continued receiving such threats even after Dink's assassination.
The bad news is that TİT is still allowed to exist, but that's the inconsistency that lies at the heart of Turkey's version of democracy. Another inconsistency is the fact that Article 216 of the new TCK (Turkish penal code) is selectively applied. Here's a brief description of Article 216, again from Bianet:
Article 216 (new form of Article 312) - Instigating a part of the people having different social class, race, religion, sect or region to hatred or hostility against another part of the people in a way dangerous for the public security: up to 3 years (if committed by the means of media, to be increased one-half).
So why is it that the producers, and everyone associated with the airing of the Turkish TV series "Valley of the Wolves," is not slapped with Article 216? Check it out, from TNA:
Top Turkish TV series "Valley of the Wolves," whose portrayal of alleged "deep state"-mafia ties hit a responsive chord with viewers, also ends up promoting violence, according to a new study by a young scholar.
Zeynep Gultekin from Gazi University's Radio, Television and Cinema Department did her master's thesis on the series, examining the "mafia series as a product of pop culture."
[ . . . ]
Gultekin studied 55 episodes of the series for its relation to pop culture, characters, presentation of violence and nationalism, and TV's role in reflecting the truth
[ . . . ]
In the 55 episodes examined, Gultekin found 145 instances of curses and insults, 296 shouting incidents, 174 threats, 149 insinuations, 113 denigration, 124 humiliating remarks, and 122 instances of mocking.
The thesis underlined that violence and its methods were clearly shown in the series, as in only 55 episodes weapons were used 145 times. Furthermore in 226 scenes weapons were shown, in 111 clashes occurs, 411 people were shown being killed, and 152 were shown injured. Gultekin also counted 137 attacks, 147 beatings, 155 slaps, 110 acts of torture, three rapes, 191 acts of harassment and four kidnappings.
Gultekin argued that the series highlighted nationalistic ideologies by using crescent, flag and map images. She also counted nationalistic elements within 55 episodes. The Turkish flag appeared in 216 scenes, while Turkish maps appeared in 299 scenes and the crescent was seen in 117 scenes.
According to the thesis, words relevant to nationalistic ideologies were also used hundreds of times. "State" was used 246 times, while both "country" and "nation" were uttered 128 times. "Turkey" and "freedom" were said 163 and 112 times respectively.
"Polat Alemdar is the protagonist of Valley of the Wolves, with his bravery, good will, and self-sacrificing and honest character," said the thesis. "Alemdar always wears a black suit and white shirt, drives luxury cars and shows the gun he carries in nearly every scene, and he is depicted as a 'character with positive values' since he can do anything for his nation."
Gultekin claimed that the series even praises violence and carrying arms.
In her thesis' conclusion, Gultekin argued that pop culture works must be prepared with utmost care as televisions are instruments of mass communication.
And people wonder why there's a problem in Turkey? Why Hrant Dink was murdered? Why residents of Trabzon almost lynched prison protestors, mistaking them for Kurds, while police stood by to watch the show? Why someone like Yasin Hayal only gets 11 months for bombing McDonalds? Why ultra-nationalists accuse "outside forces" for the murder of Dink or why the blame is placed on the Armenian community? Why we all know that this murder has changed nothing?
A headline in the right-wing newspaper Tercuman said that those who aren't proud to be Turkish "should clear off and leave." The article ran a day after a threat against Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk by a handcuffed suspect charged with inciting the murder of Dink.
Turkey's largest nationalist party responded to the mourners' chants by posting its own slogan - "We are all Turks" - on a digital display outside a local party branch in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.
And in a chilling sign that the suspects have their supporters, a fake bomb was left outside the Turkish parliament building saying they should be set free, CNN-Turk reported Thursday.
Who, then, is most worthy of charges under Article 216?
In other news, CNN-Turk had an interview with Nicholas Burns, US Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, the third-ranking position at the US State Department. In addition to being impressed by the TC's "strong statement condemning this [Hrant Dink's] murder," he issued the usual platitudes about how Dink's murder was despicable, an act of terrorism (a phrase to promote US business policies), and that the perps should be brought to justice. Burns also managed to avoid the question about a resolution on the Armenian Genocide in Congress, something that the State Department will oppose as bad for American business interests . . . particularly with regard to the war industry.
Burns reiterates the US position on Kerkuk because there is no way that the US will relinquish control of Kerkuk's oil to Turkey and, at the same time, reiterates US support for Turkey over Kurds. Nothing new there.
The interview concludes with a question about Maxmur, and Burns replies that the US wants to clear out Maxmur by dumping the Kurdish refugees from Turkish-occupied Kurdistan into Turkish prisons for their political beliefs:
First of all, we are standing with Turkey, with Turkey, in support of Turkey in the battle against the PKK. The PKK is a vicious terrorist organization. It’s been sanctioned by the United States. We are Turkey’s partner in convincing other countries, European countries, to take a tough stance against it and we are going to support the Turkish Government in insisting that the number of attacks against Turkish soldiers and civilians be diminished. As you know, we are working with the Turkish and Iraqi Governments to try to see if there is a solution to these attacks and to this problem. The Mahmour Camp has been a source of support in some respects for the PKK and we must not allow that to continue. So, frankly, it was a very important first step for the U.N. authorities….with the Iraqi authorities; excuse me with the assistance of the United States to make an inspection of that camp, that is a first step. We will do more and ultimately our country believes that the Mahmour Camp should be closed. The people should be repatriated back to their home countries, many of them are Turkish citizens. And if the PKK continues to use Mahmour for support, or for any other reason, then I think there will be a great initiative to try to close that camp as soon as possible.
Working for one of the world's largest terrorist organizations--the American government--Burns is definitely in the know about terrorist organizations. In this statement we see that the US agrees to stand by Turkey even though an American raid on the camp last week turned up not a single bullet. It's also contrary to the UN's findings since the American raid:
A UN a census in the Mahmour refugee camp in northern Iraq on Friday declared the camp "civilian," though Turkey has long argued the camp has become a political propaganda and recruitment center for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The census followed a security operation of Iraqi security forces backed by the U.S. military on the camp on Jan. 17, which was welcomed by Ankara. The Turkish Foreign Ministry stressed that Mahmour had completely fallen under the control of the PKK and lost any humanitarian role.
"We expect, in line with our call for elimination of the terrorist PKK/Kongra-Gel presence in Iraq, that these steps will continue and will yield results," the statement said.
However, an official from the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told the press in Mahmour that following the operation early this month, Friday's census proves the civilian character of the camp. "From now on the UN will have a stronger role and control over the camp," Marco Roggia said. He added that identification card of the residents will be renewed following the census.
Because Turkey falsely claims that Maxmur is a PKK camp that has "lost any humanitarian role," it will imprison and torture all the refugees if they are forcibly "repatriated" with US assistance. Although Maxmur camp leadership says that the refugees are ready to return to their homes in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan as soon as a general amnesty is granted, it's doubtful how many would voluntarily return. For one thing, the TC cannot be trusted so any amnesty plan that is cooked up will be questionable. For another, the refugees may not be able to return to their homes anyway. In December 2006, Human Rights Watch issued a report on Turkey's compensation law to return IDP's to their villages. HRW found that the law was created as a ruse to fool the ECHR and avoid embarrassing international court rulings:
Since the ECtHR announced its decision in the İçyer case, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the implementation of the Compensation Law by provincial damage assessment commissions. The damage assessment commissions appear to approach their task in a much more grudging and arbitrary way, resulting in absurdly low compensation amounts. For example, in a recent decision by the Diyarbakır damage assessment commission, a family that has had no access to its house, crops, or silkworm business since they were destroyed by soldiers in 1993 was offered a total compensation amount of 5,000 Turkish Lira (TL) (US$3,350).
[ . . . ]
Damage assessment commissions appear increasingly to apply arbitrary and unjust criteria in calculating compensation, sometimes in defiance of the law’s own implementing regulations. These calculations appear consistently to favor the government and to be biased against the victims of government abuse.
Commissions manipulate government compensation scales to whittle down the value of family homes—by calculating house values on the basis of values for cowsheds, for example. In the region where most displacements took place, income was primarily earned through animal husbandry, but in defiance of the law, damage assessment commissions will not compensate any losses associated with livestock. They also implement a host of invented “rules” in order to exclude applicants and diminish state liability.
Thus, the Compensation Law is being implemented in a manner that directly undermines the stated purpose of the law and the government’s express intent. It also undermines the possibilities for displaced villagers to obtain just compensation and hinders their ability to return to their pre-war homes.
There you have it, another inconsistency with respect to law and democracy, things which are utterly meaningless in Turkey.
Back in Ankara, US Ambassador Ross Wilson is also in denial over the reality of the Kurdish situation, from TNA:
Wilson argued that successful action against the PKK is possible through stopping financial and other support that comes to it from Europe, and cooperative action by Turkey and Iraq, including the Kurdistan regional government in the north, to better secure the border. Wilson said "this partnership and cooperation would not only abolish the deep disappointments and intimidate the PKK terrorism, but would also bring an end to the problem or at least put an end to the international elements of the problem."
Wrong. The situation of the Kurds under Turkish occupation is a political problem which will not be solved by attempts to cut off funding or to secure the border. There is no possible way to "intimidate" PKK or end the problem until there is a political solution, and the US knows this. But the US also knows that it cannot control the region unless it continues to foment instability, which has been the status quo for decades. The US intends to continue this strategy with no concern for the price paid on the ground, in order to maintain US hegemony and keep Lockheed Martin stock at an all-time high.
Notice too that Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston will arrive in Turkey this coming Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss more business opportunities with Edip Baser. This follows the signing of a joint memorandum with the US for the Lockheed Martin JSF program last Thursday, which should bring in over $5 billion for the Turkish economy:
Earlier, a senior procurement official said that Turkey expected to obtain a work share worth more than $5 billion for its local defense industry in the manufacture of the F-35s."We have so far secured a local work share worth $4.2 billion," said the official. "With the addition of some more contracts, we expect to be well over $5 billion."
The bulk of local work is due to go to Tusaş Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkey's main aerospace company, which for example will manufacture the center fuselage for 400 F-35s.
Peace does not pay.
By the way, a little bird sings to me that Lockheed Martin's "special envoy for coordinating the PKK for Turkey," some Turks, and their Iraqi partners met today in South Kurdistan to talk about the refugees at Maxmur, and then they visited the Maxmur camp. Sounds to me kind of like Heinrich Himmler and his henchmen visiting camps.