Another man dies in Istanbul – wounded and ignored by the police

Berkin Elvan died in March

Yesterday High School Dev-Genc (a left group amongst high schools) staged a protest in Okmeydani. I don’t know why yesterday.

Police shot and killed Ugur Kurt who had nothing to do with the protests but was at Okmeydani Djemevi for a funeral (see previous post).

Yesterday evening, people were out on the streets protesting Ugur Kurt’s killing, when another man (who remains unidentified) was shot in the head by a tear gas canister and this morning he was pronounced dead.

Sadly, this is a vicious cycle familiar to Turkey and elsewhere: someone dies, people protest, one of the protesters gets killed, people protest, one of the protesters gets killed…

What’s unbelievably sad is that this man was shot and lied on the road, according to reports by 45 minutes, when the police did not allow anyone to come to his help.

These pictures show, he lied there long enough for his blood to flow down to the police officers, as if pointing towards his killers. This is unacceptable and the responsibility of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said “Berkin Elvan died and that’s that [get over it]” “I am in awe of how patient the police are” and its his government and judicial system which made sure that the police photographed and filmed as killing Ethem Sarisuluk last summer in Ankara walked free.

And now, the society is being pushed to a bigger drive between Alevi and Sunni. I just hope people will be smarter and more patient than RTE and his police and not fall for these provocations.

ignore edilen adam 2 ignore edilen adam 1












For more in Turkish:

Turkey’s Erdogan again threatens to ban social media

20th March 2014 –  (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday repeated his threat to close down social media platforms including Twitter in Turkey and said he did not care about the potential backlash from the international community.

“We will wipe out all of these,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally in the northwestern province of Bursa.

“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)


The End of Erdogan

16th March 2014 – By Henri J. Barkey. It is hard to imagine how in any society a Prime Minister caught on tape firing journalists because he does not like their point of view or instructing television stations to stop the broadcasting of an opposition leader’s speech in parliament could survive. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of corruption allegations that have been leveled at this particular PM’s ministers, their families, and most critically at him and his own son.

Welcome to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. While he’s indirectly conceded the interference with the freedom of the press, the Prime Minister and his stalwarts have engaged in a scorched-earth strategy of blaming a vast conspiracy for the attacks against him. Never mind that ministers have lost their jobs and their sons have been arrested (along with a state-owned bank CEO). Never mind the millions of dollars worth of cash found in houses owned by all these figures, or the taped conversations leaked to the public, mainly through social media outlets, revealing that judicial investigations have been ongoing for sometime. Forget all that: It is not the alleged thieves, crooks, and their enablers who are at fault, but the accusers. So goes the logic in Erdogan’s Turkey. There’s nothing wrong with having millions of dollars and euros stashed at your home or office or elsewhere, and sweetheart deals with shady businessmen are perfectly okay. It’s questioning these practices that is the real threat to the nation.

At the heart of the conspiracy, it is claimed, is a “parallel state” led by Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric who sought refuge in the United States in 1999 when he was persecuted by the then-dominant Turkish military establishment. Gulen and Erdogan had earlier formed an alliance against this common enemy. But now, with the military forced back into its barracks, they have turned on each other. For Erdogan and his supporters this vast conspiracy, instigated by Gulen and his presumed followers in the judiciary and the police force, is aided and abetted by a slew of villains. These include, Americans, Jews, Israel, Germans, neocons, CNN, Financial Times, a variety of international and domestic banks, the Council on Foreign Relations. Even the Queen of England, if you can believe it, has nothing better to do with her time than plot the downfall of the Turkish Prime Minister and his supporters. Why, exactly, would all these people have it in for Erdogan? It’s a mystery, of course.

But let’s set aside these fantasies, at long last. The truth is that Erdogan is the principal and lead actor in his own demise. As good a politician he has been up to recent times, these allegations somehow caught him by surprise. He has been the unchallenged leader of Turkey for a decade. No one has dared cross him, and no one has figured out how to beat him. The opposition has been weak, and the resources he has marshaled have enabled him and his party, the Justice and Development Party, AKP, to build a formidable patronage network that encompasses a vast segment of the Turkish press, business groups, lots of NGOs, think tanks, and segments of the bureaucracy. The money that he and his family members have allegedly collected has not merely gone toward self-enrichment, but also toward financing and building a monumental network of individuals and organizations whose only loyalty is to Erdogan.


It’d be better if Erdogan stayed silent

Amberin Zaman on Al Monitor said Erdogan’s silence on Berkin Elvan shows absence of moral compass:

We assume she wrote the article before Erdogan was asked in a TV interview about Berkin Elvan and effect of his funeral on foreign exchange rates.

The PM says “Turkey has moved on from those days [when things like this had an economic effect]. These things will pass by like the wind. They tried in the summer too but it [stock exchange] balanced itself. Because the foundation of Turkish economy is now safe.”

We wish he stayed totally silent about Berkin. We are ashamed of this man.

Turkey threatens to ban social media sites

Turkey’s embattled prime minister has warned that his government could ban social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already tightened his government’s grip over the Internet, generating criticism at home and abroad about rights in the EU-hopeful country.

“There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30… including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook),” Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview.

Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has come under mounting pressure since last week, when audio recordings were leaked in which Erdogan and his son allegedly discuss how to hide vast sums of money.

The Turkish premier dismissed them as a “vile” and “immoral” montage by rivals ahead of key local elections on March 30.

07/03/2014, The Telegraph


In the meantime, President Abdullah Gul said facebook and twitter cannot be closed down” – interesting divergence of views there…again…

Corruption or noble cause?

Postmodern theories suggest that there are no facts, but only “competing narratives.” We may disagree with the ultimate rejection of claims of reality, but cannot dismiss the importance of “narratives” for understanding politics. It may sound odd, but the recent political crises in Turkey are indeed a very good case of “politics as competing narratives.” The recent grand corruption case is not a corruption case in the minds of many in Turkey, not because the ordinary supporters of the government are fanatics and/or fools and not because PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the ultimate manipulator or a kind of snake charmer. In fact, he is, but that is not and cannot be the whole story.

The PM and his party are currently trying to manipulate public opinion by presenting the corruption case as an attack against not only himself and even his government, but as an assault or plot against Turkey. It sounds and indeed it is the ultimate chutzpah, but after all, it works, and we need to understand how it works to be able to make sense of politics in Turkey. I am not sure if it was hypocrisy on behalf of the founders of the governing party to denounce their Islamist past and to redefine themselves as conservative democrats that they turned their back on their Islamist roots when they felt powerful enough, or whether it is because the AKP could not cope with the challenges of governing Turkey and foreign policy, leading it to seek to take refuge in its previous, simplistic, Islamist understanding of politics. No matter which version is true, it seems the AKP turned to base its politics on an Islamist-nationalist mission at some stage, and the PM and his close circle is not only trying to manipulate public opinion, but genuinely believes what he says in terms of his new Islamist discourse. 

According to this discourse, there is no corruption but there is a wicked plan to ruin “the finances of the noble cause.” “The noble cause” is assumed to be rescuing the Islamic world from deprivation and submission to the West under the leadership of Turkey, with Erdoğan as its leader.  

It is now clear that it is not secular law and justice or even jurisprudence, but Islamic law that is of relevance for Erdoğan and the leadership of the party, as well as for many of his supporters. In their eyes, “the deals with businessmen” are legitimate, since the corruption probe has been denounced by the Islamic scholar (who is accepted as a religious authority by Erdoğan) on Islamic grounds that “financial help from businessman can be accepted for the public good even if it is offered for financial deals.” Nevertheless, it is not only that the PM, the government and many AKP supporters are Islamists and, being so, do not genuinely acknowledge just a secular law, as well as a secular political system and institutions, but also believe in Islamic legitimacy.

As for Islamism, it is not a religious narrative with reference to politics, but a political narrative with reference to religion, while there is not one but many Islamist narratives. The new AKP version is based on a narrative of “a success story of the new Turkey and its great Muslim leader who is being targeted by global powers and their native collaborators.” 

Finally, the corruption case is no corruption case, but a confrontation of competing narratives in today’s Turkey. Turkey managed to overcome some aspects of the democracy deficit resulting from the politics of “secularism at the expense of democracy” under AKP rule, but now it is time to overcome the politics of “democracy at the expense of secularism.”

You see, after all, postmodern theorists have a point: Unless we agree on a narrative (a “secular democracy” narrative in this case) we cannot even define corruption as corruption!


Nuray Mert, Hürriyet Daily News