Displaying items by tag: Turkey
President Erdogan is giving signals of an imminent cross-border large-scale military incursion into Syria. Military equipment is on the frontier, and artillery shells now pound positions held by Syrian Kurdish armed forces. Senior officials and analysts believe operations against the groups will commence soon, hoping to conclude before the NATO summit on 29 June. ‘We will crack down on them suddenly overnight’, Erdogan told reporters. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it will coordinate with Syrian troops to fend off any Turkish invasion. An SDF commander said Damascus should use air defence systems against Turkish planes. Turkey’s vowed new offensive will be on areas controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, a key part of the SDF. Syria warned Turkey there will be no compromise on territorial integrity. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organisation. Syrian Kurdish forces are backed by Washington, and co-ordinated with Syria and its ally Russia. See
The EU is finding it difficult to decrease its dependence on Russian oil and gas. One alternative is the proposed EastMed pipeline, which would carry natural gas extracted from fields under the waters of Israel's and Cyprus's exclusive economic zones to Greece and from there to other European countries. The pre-feasibility studies of the pipeline, conducted from 2015-18 and paid for by the EU, found that the project is ‘technically feasible, economically viable and commercially competitive’. The US under secretary of state for political affairs, meeting with her counterparts in Turkey, has said that more pipelines are needed in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, the USA prefers to steer business to Turkey rather than to America's democratic allies, Cyprus, Israel and Greece. Algerian gas pipelines are also acceptable to the Americans, but the long-planned EastMed pipeline is not.
On 25 April Turkish philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala was found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to life without possibility of parole. He had spent the last 4½ years in prison without being convicted. The sentence is the most severe to be given. He will be in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. He said, ‘The aggravated life sentence demanded against me is an assassination that cannot be explained through legal reasons.’ Human Rights Watch said the sentence was ‘the worst possible outcome to this show trial’. Amnesty International said, ‘We have witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This verdict deals a devastating blow not only to Osman Kavala but to everyone who believes in justice and human rights activism in Turkey and beyond. The decision defies all logic. Prosecuting authorities have repeatedly failed to provide any evidence that substantiates the baseless charges. We call for his immediate release as he appeals these draconian verdicts.’ See
January 2022 looks very different in contrasting corners of the Middle East and North Africa - from wealthy Gulf nations to countries in crisis like Afghanistan and Yemen. SAT7 analysts see hopeful signs of nations beating swords into ploughshares, but too few leaders are using their power, or lessening their grip on it, for the good of all. An important positive trend we will see continuing from 2021 is renewed diplomacy by key players and rivals in the region. The UAE reached out to Turkey with a $10 billion investment olive branch. Both countries are looking to de-escalate the tensions which have resulted, for example, from their military support for opposite sides in the Libyan conflict and their opposite policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has also sought to ease tensions with Egypt and began 2022 with a new rapprochement with Armenia. For the full briefing click the ‘More’ button.
‘Because my surgery was delayed while I was in prison, my left upper tooth, palate, cheekbone and lymph nodes were removed. The bottom of my left chin is now empty. Bone was taken from my leg and placed on my face. According to an MRI, the tumor has spread to the back of my eye’, said Ayşe Özdoğan, whose ‘crime’ was working at a dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement. She was jailed for nine years for being ‘a member of a terrorist organisation’. Torture, ill-treatment, and lack of medical care for sick prisoners, are widespread in Turkish jails. Rooms are arranged with no security cameras. No torture detection can be made. When prisoners filed a criminal complaint about being beaten, a disciplinary investigation was launched against them for insulting the officer and the president.
In South Africa a woman is killed every four hours: ‘Our bodies are crime scenes’. Ornate advertising posters of men accused or convicted of murdering women cover the walls of Argentina’s capital. The word FEMICIDA -woman killer- screams out in large black letters under each name. The posters, and thousands of protesters outside Argentina’s Supreme Court in February, reveal the rage over rampant levels of violence against women. In Turkey’s cities last year thousands rallied, demanding the government does not withdraw from a landmark treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. Globally, trends of female journalists being threatened with physical violence, rape, kidnapping. and other abuses are rising. In Spain’s strawberry fields, migrant women face abuse from bosses who routinely sexually harass and exploit them, when they are attempting to support themselves and their families back home. Also see
It is estimated there are over 18,000 Grey Wolves in Germany, five times more than the number of members of Germany’s neo-Nazi party. The Grey Wolves movement is a Turkish version of Aryanism opposed to anyone who is not Turkish or Sunni Islamic. It is anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-American, anti-Armenian, anti-Kurdish and anti-Greek. Its objective is to establish a new world order based on Islam and led by Turkey. Members are opposed to the assimilation or integration of Turkish immigrants into Western society, and its supporters are responsible for a large number of murdered political opponents and members of minorities in Turkey and abroad. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union is working with this group, although it preaches that right-wing extremism is the greatest danger in Germany. Associations linked to Grey Wolves strive for a moderate appearance in their external presentation and tend to cultivate their right-wing extremist ideology internally.
Armenian-Lebanese Vicken Euljekjian, a civilian prisoner of war captured when Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno-Karabakh and seized new territory, has been indicted on three counts: participation as a mercenary in a military conflict, committing terrorism, and illegally crossing into Azerbaijan. These charges are falsely leveled against Euljekjian. They are part of the joint attempt by Azerbaijan and Turkey to justify their genocidal actions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2020, with the support of Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries. The brutality of the invasion demonstrated an intent of ethnic-religious cleansing towards Karabakh’s Armenian Christian community, whose presence in the region predates the Islamic Turkish presence.
In 1915 two million Armenians lived in Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000. Successive regimes deny that there was such a thing as an Armenian genocide. Turkey now appears intent on reigniting the hatred by helping Azerbaijan wage war on Armenia in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, which erupted into armed conflict in late 2020. Turkish mercenaries and their Azerbaijani partners have ISIS-like behavior. They tortured beyond recognition an intellectually disabled 58-year-old Armenian woman before murdering her. Her family identified her by her clothes. When a random pedestrian was asked, ‘If you could get away with one thing, what would you do?’ She looked at the video camera and smiled saying, ‘What would I do? Behead twenty Armenians.’ 24 April was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, marking the start of the period in which Ottoman Turks massacred 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. On 27 April that Turkey said relations with the US had sunk to a new low after Joe Biden formally acknowledged that Armenians suffered genocide 100 years ago.
A Turkish court sentenced Syriac priest Father Sefer to two years and one month in prison on terrorism-related charges. This sentence comes just over a year after Father Bileçen was detained alongside twelve others on the charges of aiding the PKK, an internationally recognised terrorist organisation. Father Bileçen said, ‘Two members of the organisation came to the monastery asking for food, and I gave it. It was detected afterwards, and the gendarmerie commander met me through the metropolitan bishop. I did not deny it. I wanted security measures to be taken so that this would not happen again. But no security measures were taken.’ Nevertheless he thought the case was closed. Christians in rural Turkey are caught in the middle of the Turkey-PKK conflict and no matter how they respond - they lose. Religious charity is being criminalised.