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GV-Cross Post: Turkey is Typing….Terrorist and Other Threats to the Nation July 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 7:02 pm

The past two weeks have been tough for the Republic of Turkey as they have been dealing with enemies from within. On July 9th, a terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Istanbul has the authorities stumped as to who is responsible and why. And on Monday the 14th, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor filed a long-awaited indictment on the controversial Ergenekon case against 86 defendants charged with forming a terror group with the aim of a government coup.

Attack on the US Consulate in Istanbul

As noted above, on July 9th an attack against the US Consulate building in Istanbul was carried out. Three policeman were killed as well as three attackers, the real blog buzz, however, is focused on not only why the attack was carried out, but who was responsible, and how it was handled by the authorities.

First, comments on how the authorities handled the situation from Talk Turkey:

What gets me most about this provocation is the scenes of an unorganized and unrehearsed state of the actions of the Turkish security and police immediately following the attacks, as can be seen from the early footage. Get a grip people . . . the whole world is watching . . . Don’t be so inept with your running around aimlessly, and help fill the information void through one voice.

You’ve possibly just prevented what could’ve been a worse attack, and lost three of your own in the process. Show your dignity by displaying some consistency in your professionalism, not only before and during such attacks, but immediately following as well . . .

Now for the question of the day: Were the terrorists going after the Turkish police, which I believe to be the case (with the U.S. as the secondary beneficiary), or was the attack aimed at the U.S.?

Internation Musings expressed a similar sentiment:

Some things sounds weird to me; one of the attackers managed to escape, and what the heck this attack was about? Do I have to believe the Turkish ‘Chaos theorie’ now?

Carpetblogger questioned the “why” of the attack, citing that the location and the plan of operation they chose was unwise:

Seriously, who thought funding the attack was a good idea? Did not the line item for “hiring a random Consulatetaxici to take us and our guns to the U.S. Consulate” raise any red flags with the grant committee? How about a workplan that included “leaping out of a taxi at an armed guardpost and firing indiscriminately”? Even Nib Nedal could have come up with a better idea.

Let us pause to explain how utterly ridiculous the idea of attacking the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is. The Consulate is about 20 kilometers up the Bosporus, stuck on the side of a hill in a typically overbuilt Turkish settlement called Istinye. Surrounded by multiple high walls and built from pale brickwork, the words “prison” and “high school” come immediately to mind. Even though we are not professional terrorists, we can tell that attacking the consulate from anywhere but the air would be very difficult.

Now we come to the difficult question of who the terrorists were, a question that is surrounded by controversy as no group has taken responsibility yet. From The White Path:

Wednesday’s bloody shootout at the American Consulate in Istanbul is still not totally solved. No organization claimed the attack, which left three Turkish policemen dead and two injured. But the evidence collected by the Turkish security forces so far makes it reasonable to assume that there was an Islamist motive in the mind of the attackers. Actually three of them died right on the spot, and the fourth one turned out to be a paid driver. So there is no interrogation-based information. But the police found out that one of the dead terrorists had traveled to Iran and Afghanistan. The other’s father was arrested in 1999 for links with the shadowy “Turkish Hizbollah,” a Kurdish Islamist terror group. The general impression in the Turkish media is that the attackers were at least ideologically linked with al Qaeda. So, this seems to be a case of “Islamist terror.”

In fact, a non-Turkish blog stated that they were convinced the attacks were carried out by Kurdish terrorist groups as well:

It’s only fair to say, by the way, that at the time of typing this, no one is certain that this cowardly cretinous attack is definitely the work of the PKK. But we’ll bet good money that that turns out to be the case.

In the effort of fairness, a Kurdish blogger, Rasti, has also written on this subject. Here are her thoughts as to the origins of the “Turkish Hizbollah”:

It’s also widely recognized that the Ankara regime created Turkish Hezbollah.

As the Ankara regime tried to use Turkish Hezbollah to attempt to crush the PKK and then forgot about it until a shoot-out in Istanbul in 2000, so now it seems to have forgotten about its creation again until the shoot-out today. Could it be that the Ankara regime took a page out of the CIA’s playbook, thinking it would be a very easy thing to control its creature, Turkish Hezbollah, even as the CIA thought it would be a very easy thing to control its own creature, Al-Q?

It’s also widely recognized that other Islamist groups use Turkey, particularly Istanbul, as a staging ground, in cahoots with the Gray Wolves, and that these groups move freely across the borders. Other groups, such as Nizam-i Alem are involved with the Ergenekon gang.

It is very important to note, that the actions and identities of the attackers is still unknown, and there is alot of speculation that is floating around the blogosphere on this subject. In fact, in reference to the above comment by Rasti, there are groups operating in Turkey that further complicate this situation. One of those is the Ergenekon gang, the subject we move to next…

Further Plots Against the Country

The government of Turkey has recently filed charges against 86 people recently thought to be plotting a coup. From Internations Musings:

A top Turkish prosecutor, Aykut Cengiz Engin, has brought charges against 86 people allegedly involved in a coup plot. Of the 86 people 48 are already in custody, so another 38 arrests, who’s next?

“The indictment covers crimes such as forming an armed terror group… and attempting to overthrow the government by force,” Mr Engin said.

A comment on this blog post gave the following sentiment: “I hope that this is the end of the coups in Turkey. Maybe Hurriyet [A prominent Turkish newspaper] still wants to have a coup, but their ‘journalism’ will be under scrutiny as well.” Perhaps this quote will make more sense when you evaluate the press that is coming out of this news story. In a comment conversation on the blog Erkan’s Field Guide the following was said of the news coverage:

Agree. I’m uncomfortable with Cagaptay’s analysis of Turkish politics not only for the slant but also because of the role he has seemingly been assigned by the US media as preeminent explainer. I’ve read previous opeds of his in the WSJ but this is the first I’ve seen in Newsweek. What I find frustrating is that there are far better – and less slanted – analysts. Are they not getting published? And if so why not?

Posted by: PHK | July 14, 2008 08:39 PM

I don’t know. My speculations: 1) it is all about network. Mr. Cagaptay is in US and probably has a better web of connections.
2) in the name of fairness. If Mr. Cagaptay occupies one pole in Turkish politics, Mr. Mustafa Akyol seems to occupy the opposite pole. The latter is published a lot.
but of course, whatever the reason, even in the name of fairness, the readers are offered a very distorted scene while a democratic struggle in Turkey continues…

Posted by: Erkan | July 15, 2008 12:47 PM

In any case, in both of the above situations it seems that the average Turkish blogger is taking a wait and see attitude before forming an opinion….or they could be trying to find something other than news on the television like me and others:

yesterday all tv channels were full of ergenekon talks. for those people who have no idea what this ergenekon is, perhaps it is better they keep it that way. after a two-day run away from the city rush without all those politics talks, ergenekon was the last thing i wanted to care about yesterday so i preferred to watch another episode of the famous and hilarious british series: coupling.

 

GV Posting:Turkey is Typing…Food and Music February 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 5:50 am

I’m reaching in a different direction this week, let’s talk Turkish food and music. Zen in the Kitchen talks about the simple pleasures in eating bread with fresh olive oil. Tastes of Mavi Boncuk gives us a background to the history of the Turkish national drink Raki. And Almost Turkish Recipes shows us what Raki and meatballs have in common:

Tekirdağ, my hometown, is renown for its rakı (Turkish brandy made from grapes) and meatballs. Tekirdağ rakı is famous because although it’s made from raisins everywhere else, in Tekirdağ rakı it’s made from fresh grapes. As for meatballs, the recipe is a mystery. The recipe is not widely known, because nobody in Tekirdağ would make Tekirdağ meatballs at home; you go out to one of the billion meatball restaurants in town for meatballs.

Yogurtland teaches us about Ashura, a desert legended to have been made on Noah’s Ark:

Here is a another traditional dessert from Turkey, which I am yet to find another country in the region to have it in their repertoire. Please let me know if you know any other cultures having this tradition.

Its name comes from Arabic, in which ashura literally means “tenth.” A dessert that is made on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar. Since Islamic calendar is based on moon, it is 10 days shorter than the Gregorian, hence this day as well as every Islamic holiday has a different date every year. One should not confuse this dessert with the day of ashura. Even though it is a custom to cook this dessert on that day, it is not a religious ceremony.

A story of this dessert tells us that it was a meal made in the Noah’s ark, right after the great flood was over. As you can see in the ingredients list, the main items of the dessert are the grains that one can hardly associate with any dessert.

After watching a video on Erkan’s Field Diary, I took a little odyssey on iTunes and found some interesting Turkish podcasts that I would like to share with you. Blog Tarkan Deluxe has posted a podcast with a recent interview with Turkish pop artist Tarkan. Two Istanbul DJs have regular podcasts (both of which are great fun!) Turkish House Mix with DJ Bulut and DJ Murat Uncuoglu.

METU‘s (Middle East Technical University) College Radio Station, Radyo ODTU, has the distinction of being the first Turkish radio station to begin regular internet and podcast broadcasts.

And of course if you want to work on your travel Turkish, you can always study Turkish with Sinan.

Well, that is all I have for you today, 5 podcasts available on iTunes, but there seems to be an emerging Turkish podcast market. The more I learn, the more I will pass on to you. Until next week!

 

linky links January 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 7:03 pm

Although it doesn’t look like it, I have been added a considerable amount of blog links.  I need to work more on the blogs written in Turkish, but I can say that I have a fairly comprehensice list of the Turkish blogs written in English.

 

GV Post-Turkey is Typing…a Follow-Up on the Death of Hrant Dink

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 7:06 am

Today marks a first, well for me at least, today’s article is written in direct response to your wishes, dear reader. Last week, Turkey is Typing focuses on the Death of Hrant Dink by using both Turkish and Armenian sources, and sparked an avid debate on the comments section. Many questions were raised: is this the continuation of Turkish and Armenian animosity? Is Article 301 of the Turkish penal code to blame? Is it Turkish nationalism, ultra-nationalism? Or is it Muslim extremism? I personally doubt that an answer will ever be found, but I stand in awe of the healthy dialog that this tragic event has given birth too.

Prior to his death, no one in the blogosphere was taking about Mr. Dink, now Technorati rates hundreds of blog posts devoted to this man.
Technorati Chart
Google News reports almost 3000 news stories. And the controversy found in the blogs over this issue is just as strong as in the regular news media. For instance, the LA Times ran an editorial that sparked a grassroots letter campaign to the paper’s editor. However, even with Post Global setting up a discussion board, the blogosphere is where the REAL discussion is at. I will cover Hrant Dink’s funeral and commentaries from the Turks, the Armenians, and a few others; and I invite you all to weigh in on the discussion here.

The Funeral and the Turkish Blogs

Thousands of mourners took to the streets for the funeral of Hrant Dink this last Tuesday. Metroblogging Istanbul has photographs of the crowds, as well as the Armenian blogs iArarat and OneWorld Multimedia.

One of the most disturbing things for several Turkish bloggers was the absence of Turkish government officials at the funeral itself.

The Infidel:

This was it. The funeral of Hrant Dink, a kind and loving family man who stood taller amongst giants than most others in his profession, was attended by tens of thousands of people. And the Turkish leadership missed a true opportunity to show the world that politics can be put aside. Erdogan did not attend “due to his pre-determined program that included hosting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi”…. That’s a bunch of bullshit. How about you take Prodi with you, who I’m sure would not have minded Hrant_funeral5 seeing you show your solidarity? Even an appearance of five minutes would have proven this, for God’s sake.

From Talk Turkey:

Today was a historic day in Turkey. A prominent Turkish-Armenian shot to death united the voices of reason during the funeral procession in Istanbul. The people spoke through their silent march down the streets. Thousands of Muslims, Christians, Turks, Armenians, Kurds, and Greeks attended the walk of pride to show the shameless few loudmouths a thing or two about resolve and reconciliation.

However, the leaders of the country were exempt from this happy gathering. They missed another grand opportunity to show the world how real they are. Instead they chose to remain politicians for the day. Coward politicians hoping to cash in on the ‘nationalistic’ wave of votes they chose to sell out for. Or even worse they really did not want to be there out of personal ideals too distant for the display of affection. Too hard to explain, too difficult to understand.

Gulay, Galatasaray and the Dogs:

Do you feel let down
because I do. By the Government of my country especially. Not because I think they should have been represented at Dinks funeral although I believe their presence would have sen a more powerful message than all the cheap and meaningless words they spouted but because of the lack of accountability and responsibility. After all the words spoken this was followed up by no actions.

Turkish Torque points out another issue of contention from the funeral:

Did you know that there is a very specific manner in which a Muslim is supposed to mourn after another Muslim versus a non-Muslim?

If a Muslim is mourning after another Muslim, he is supposed to say (in Turkish) “Allah rahmet etsin,” or, “May God’s grace be upon him.”

But if the deceased is a non-Muslim, then the tradition does not allow the mentioning of “God” and “grace.” Instead, the accepted formula is to simply say (in Turkish) “Topragi bol olsun,” or “May his soil be plenty.”

This distinction is sometimes lost even on some Turks, especially those from a younger generation or those who are not steeped in Islamic traditions.

The issue came to a head after many condolence statements appearing all over the Turkish media that wished “Allah rahmet eylesin” for the late Hrant Dink.

The reaction was swift and strong. An indignant chorus of voices insisted Hrant should be accorded only a “Topragi bol olsun,” but definitely not “Allah rahmet eylesin” since he was not a Muslim. So unfortunately the controversy about Hrant Dink’s identity (is he an “insider” or an “outsider”?) still continues even after his murder.

Many Turkish blogs expressed hope for the future while others mourned for their country. Ignore Me If You Can put it thus:

Is having an opinion in this country dangerous? Will anyone who thinks differently than certain individuals or officials be shot down? Hrant Dink tried all his life to build a bridge between two wounded nations, he never deserved what he got. All those who thrive and beg for peace are being forced into silence. Rest In Peace Hrant Dink.

A Spooky Sense by Garfucious offered the following:

in a sense, hrant dink was being prophet like, fearlessly pounding into our pathetically dwindling vocabulary that “different” is not necessarily “other”. because the poorer the vocabulary, the blunter the mind, the more primitive the thought process, we killed him, too, because we refused, chose not to understand. and no, we were not magnanimous enough to protect that we could not understand. we feared him for ignorance is also cowardice.

then we walked behind his coffin, letting out spiritual gases out of our conscience… we walked behind what put us to shame by dying because living and writing, he could not reach us.

the shameless shunned even the walk. there was a thankful absence of politicians . what few there were, were there apparently more for the protocol than the funeral. during his service hrant once more did a service to his countrymen, showed them how much better things can be without the state as we know it. even the security forces belonged to the people during the procession, not to the state.

so we laid hrant to rest. silent but still spreading meaning to life. we were ashamed of his death but we can’t lay shame to rest…

Me, Myself and Others:

funeral for Mr. Dink was held yesterday with an estimated number of more than 100 000 people attending. Even though i dont approve the very slogan “We are all Armenians”, i fully support the crowd who went there to ask for one simple thing: a better turkey with a more democratic governing.

Yesterday people of Turkey showed that they dont want any more assassinations, they dont want any black days. i just hope this wish will get true in the near future, which i dont feel very optimistic about it. Funeral also showed one more thing. People of Turkey is mature enough to accept everyone as a brother of soil no matter if they are Turkish, Kurdish, or Armenian ethnically. This is something all the turks tried to tell all the time with no one seeming to believe, but i think this incident clearly shows that turks dont see the matters from a racist point of view.

Others expressed more hope, like this from Turkey & My Foreign Perspective:

I believe it has shown that the people of Turkey want something different to come from Dink’s death and lurking inside is the catalyst to bring about more positive changes in Turkey and shaping her society.

It may not be as bleak as some currently hail. Instead what has been revealed is that thousands took to the streets in Turkey to honor a man that since his earlier years has stood for freedom of press rights and speech in Turkey; but more so, they recognize that they deserve real answers about many pressing issues facing their community. It is the Turkish people who are beginning to stand up and speak out more for their own rights, and with it brings some dissension in their questions to the government, and sometimes, the dubious answers.

How many times was this man prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for allegedly insulting Turkishness (not a real word)? And, how many death threats did he receive and even wrote about, yet the government provided no protection to him. Who else has shared in his prosecution under this article that repeatedly in 2006 embarrassed Turkey? Oh, yes, Orhan Pamuk, a 2006 Nobel Prize Winner! Well, Turks are finally finding their voice and I applaud them for it!

And in a further vain of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, this from Turkish Diary:

A very popular online networking site called Facebook has rivaling groups such as ‘Recognize the Armenian Genocide’ group and ‘The Armenian Genocide is a Huge Lie’ group. A much smaller group exists called ‘Peace for Armenia and Turkey.’ But its participants skyrocketed since the murder of Hrant Dink.

The Funeral and the Armenian Blogs

Sometimes someone can manage to do something much better than yourself, and in those instances it is always best to admit that. OneWorld Multimedia has done a phenomenal job covering the death of Hrant Dink, not only in a round-up of the Turkish blogs, but the Armenian blogs and giving coverage of the ceremonies in honor of Hrant Dink in Yerevan Armenia.

The Blogian has a translation of the eulogy given by Hrant Dink’s wife at the funeral:

I am here today full of immense grief and dignity. We are all here today with our sorrow. This silence creates within us a sorrowful contentment.
Today we send off half of my soul, my beloved, the father of my children. We are going to actualize a march without any slogans and without any disrespect. Today we are going to generate immense sound through our silence.

While many Armenians blogs expressed joy over the show of Turkish solidarity during the funeral, there was still suspicions. From iArarat:

Only days after Hrant Dink’s funeral the reality seems to have set in in Turkey. While the funeral was filled with sympathizers who carried signs proclaiming “We are all Armenians” those who beg to differ are letting their voices be heard oh so soon.

Naturally I am a believer in the human goodness, but as it happens I am just as skeptical about human nature, reality being much more complex, than a simplified bifurcated whiteness and blackness. And if we are to believe in the new AP report about the mood on the Turkish street then my initial fears seem to have born out, only it will not command such extensive coverage as did Dink’s murder and funeral. Extraordinariness has a way of attracting cameras and TV crews that ordinariness lacks. It is extraordinary that a hundred thousand or more came out in support of Dink, it naturally made a good story. But how many of the same readers struck by the seeming rapprochement of the Armenian and Turkish communities will want to know about the real state of affairs after the dust has settled, or will even want to care? My guess is not many. How many of them will even remember this after a Turkish charm offensive?

Blogrel had this to say about the unification of relations between Turkey and Armenia:

At any rate, today, of all times, both sides have everything to gain: politically, economically and morally above all, from the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations. Armenia can once again ask for Turkey to lift the blocade, but do it with dignity – associating it with the life-cost of Hrant Dink, whearas Turkey can make a pretty face in front of the whole wide Europe by making the noble gesture and simultaneously solving a couple of other problems of its own, including that of economically developing its eastern regions and thus somewhat stabilizing the Kurdish situation on the mentioned area. And the fact is – when I concider the economic benefits that the open border can bring to thousands of Armenian and Turkish people in newly created jobs and gains resulting from reduced transportation costs of basic goods, I do not care anymore who gains what – for this is what Hrant Dink’s fight was all about – reestablishment of trust and relations between the people of these two countries. Face it – we are here, in this region, with this neighbor countries – and we have nowhere to go!

Cilicia has this to say about the Turkish treatment of Hrant Dink after his death:

How this relate to Hrant Dink is fascinating. In reading Turkish blogs and newspapers on the net, I keep seeing that the reason that Dink was revered in Turkey was because he took a “reasonable approach” on the Genocide. That, or course, it utterly false. Because the insinuation is that Hrant Dink wavered on the facts of the Genocide. In truth, Dink never questioned that there was an Armenian Genocide and certainly worked toward gaining recognition for it. It’s what eventually got him killed. However, where most Turks are missing the point is that he was “reasonable” in how he did not accuse modern day Turks of doing the killings. And, that he was fairly comfortable in his status as a Turkish citizen and professed a great love for the country he lived in. Yet, it can be debated whether he was really that comfortable given his death threats and his recent essay on living like a “scared pidgeon”. The “pyschological torture”, as he put it may seem to refute whether he was really that comfortable. Lastly, he was “reasonable” in challenging the mindset of Diasporan Armenians, as well as Armenian citizens not to equate the Turks of today, with those of 1915. This, I believe, was his boldest act within his Armenian community. And I believe that it was this ideal that endeared him to Turks the most. Of at least, those who knew of him.

Hrant Dink in other blog forums

Cerebrosus World labeled Hrant Dink a victim of “Mind Terrorism”:

Intellectuals think to write, paint and compose to express what their internal ideas while mind terrorists reply them by sending bullets to their chests to shut their mouths and cut their hands. They can’t understand that by their actions they turn their victims to heroes and immortalize their work. Hrant Dink assassinated by someone who shot him dead in front of his newspaper offices In a frequent scene happened to several intellectuals and writers all over the time since the time of the first philosophers since the execution of Socrates , Halage, the failure assassination of the Egyptian novelist Najeb Mahfoze and the assignation of Anna Politkovskaya, who reported the violations of the Russian army in Chechnya . Hrant dink was a controversial man in turkey in the last years. Who established an armeninian-turkish newspaper called Agos which was defending the rights of Armenians who live in turkey . He was an outspoken man who tried to remind the Turk by the massacres and deportations which their grandfather did to the Armenian people. Once he said “There are Turks who don’t admit that their ancestors committed genocide. If you look at it though, they seem to be nice people… So why don’t they accept it? Because they think that genocide is a bad thing which they would never want to commit, and because they can’t believe their ancestors would do such a thing either” . Hrant dink wasn’t an anti-nation Turkish. One of his beliefs that he often underlined the fact that a stronger Turkey would be achieved through the elimination of discrimination. He concentrated on the mismanagement of community institutions, tried to promote obtaining rights through legal means, and was always open to compromise, once noting, “After all, Turkey is very reluctant to concede rights to its majority as well.

Kurdish blogger Rasti writes about the lack of Turkish officals at the funeral:

Who had better things to do? Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who doesn’t “do” funerals on some kind of principle known only to him. Besides, he had better things to do with the Polish president and the Parliament speaker of Turkish-occupied Cyprus. Who else was missing? Parliament speaker Bulent Arinc, Prime Minister Erdogan, and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Apparently they did send the Interior Minister, and that must have served a two-fold purpose: to make sure no more Deep State assassins showed up to further damage Turkey’s international image by blowing away a few more “undesirables,” and to take notes on anyone displaying too much “brotherhood,” so that they could receive a discreet warning later. . . like a bullet in the mail from a non-existent return address.

It’s kind of odd, isn’t it? In the US, the Department of the Interior is in charge of stuff like national parks, water resources, rocks, trees; while in Turkey, the Interior Ministry is in charge of stuff like the state’s assassins.

Where do we go from here?

I’m sure that I have left more questions then answered with this post….and that was my intention. Is the assassination of Hrant Dink enough to foster real dialog within Turkey about the past? Or a dialog between Turkey and Armenia? What are the implications of Turkish government officials being absent from the funeral? Do they represent the majority of popular thought in Turkey? Or is this the sign of a dangerous rise of nationalism in Turkey? These questions I leave to you.

 

GV Post-Turkey is Typing….the Death of Hrant Dink January 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 6:36 am

While normally this column focuses on what only Turkish bloggers are saying, sometimes events happen that warrant the voices of not only Turkish points-of-views but others as well. The Death of Hrant Dink is one of those moments.

As a bit of background- Hrant Dink was a Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos. Convicted in 2005 of “insulting Turkishness”, Dink has been seen as the champion of the Armenian cause in Turkey. He was gunned down in Istanbul, in broad daylight on January 19th. According to news reports, a suspect in the shooting have been detained, but speculation on who is really to blame for this political assassination continues.

“We are all Armenians, We are all Hrant Dink.”

To much surprise (which I will show in a few more paragraphs) citizens of Turkey took to the streets chanting “We are all Armenians, We are all Hrant Dink”. Erkan’s Field Diary reports of widespread Turkish condemnation of the murder and also points out that Dink is the 62nd Turkish journalist that has been assassinated since the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Metroblogging Istanbul has photos of the protests.

The Infidel writes:

Hrant Dink was murdered in a heinous and cowardly way, most likely, by some brainless and lost ultra-nationalist Turkish young man, who I hope will be brought to justice as soon as possible. I am deeply saddened by Hrant’s death because I believe that he had good intentions for Turkey and the Turkish people. Although I don’t agree with everything he said and wrote, it is clear that he was a peaceful activist voicing his norm-opposing views to raise awareness, which is the bread and butter of any democracy. No human being should be persecuted for his/her opinions in any country, but especially in Turkey.

James in Turkey expresses surprise and anger over the shooting:

I am angry. I am angry because there are people out there who seem to think it is perfectly justified to kill a man who speaks contrary views. I have a perfectly clear idea of who I think is responsible, but there is little use in churning out conspiracy theories now. Suffice to point out that it was in a crowded street, on a busy morning. This was no impulsive killing.

Spooky Sense by Garfucious writes a letter to Dink stating: “sorry, hrant dink. not only have they killed you, they’ve also choked your voice.”

Talk Turkey urges Turkey to use this assassination as a beginning point for real discussion to take place about the Armenian Genocide to better Turkey’s chances of getting in the EU:

I am sick and tired of the ‘business as usual’ attitude shown by Turks and the Turkish government up to now and extending even beyond this latest assassination to silence the voices of reason. Wake up Turks in Turkey and abroad! And prepare to not only ‘debate’ this issue (but act on it as well,) of Turkey’s greatest taboo, unilaterally if need be. But settle this once and for all.

Most Turkish blogs choose to show they shock and remorse by placing simple messages of solidarity and obituaries on their sites, such as Mavi Boncuk, the White Path, and Amerikan Turk.

Who Does This Belong To?

The death of Hrant Dink is not just a Turkish issue, but one of concern to many. Michael Levy writing for the Brittanica.com blog sprouts an excellent comment discussion between Turkish and Armenian bloggers with his post:

Though it’s probably asking too much, hopefully Dink’s death will cause a reexamination of the Turkish constitution’s Article 301, which makes it illegal to “denigrate Turkishness,” and the treatment of individuals who hold views that run counter to those of the majority of Turks, and lead to a real debate whereby people who hold such contrarian views–not only in Turkey but elsewhere–can make their claims without fear of prison time or death threats.

Robert Fisk from the Independent called Dink the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian genocide. iArarat, an Armenian blog, described the situation thus:

The murder of Hrant Dink has shocked many. It did not come however as a surprise to many of us who have been closely following political and social developments in Turkey. To many of us the hand that pulled the trigger ending Hrant’s precious life is the same hand that signed the orders to put Armenians of the Ottoman Empire to death en masse. It is a metaphysical continuity, a logical outcome of an ideology that resists tolerance and bona fide towards the other, the outsider, the gavur, the Armenian. And never mind the that the murdered is an Armenian, the political opportunists in Turkey and their hired pens in the Turkish media were quick to capitalize on the tragedy of Hrant’s murder and proclaim that the murder was aimed at the identity of the Turks, their international image and prestige.

The Blogian writes about how Turkey is solely to blame for the assassination while Blogrel (another pro-Armenian blog) only speculates:

It would be interesting to find out if this teen acted alone or had ties to a group. I doubt we will ever know the authentic truth.

It’s been a very difficult news event for me to follow and reflect upon. From what I can gather, this man was very much loved and respected by not only community ethnic Armenians but by the activist/progressive Turkish community.

Blogrel further speculates:

Whilst this is a tragedy, and a great, great loss. I wonder if there are some people who may seek to use this event as both publicity for the Armenian Genocide ( lets face it, it has been on major news screens today) , and also a chance to insult Turkey. I worry that statements like that of Tigran Torosyan do nothing but agitate an already tense situation. It is naieve to consider that the assassination of Hrant Dink should make Turkey not “even dream” of European Union entry. It is also a bad reflection on the Armenian official position – and I am waiting to hear a comment that suggests this is some kind of Armenian perpertration. It is really time for our Armenian politicians to think carefully about the way they react to this murder.

The best source for information on vigils and reactions to the death of Hrant Dink in Armenia is provided by OneWorld Multimedia. The most hopeful post about the shooting and what it’s future implications could be comes from Neweurasia “Hrant Dink- Bringing Armenians and Turks together?” It is an excellent question, one which I hope will be answered sooner rather than later.

 

GV Post: Turkey is Typing…Pamuk and the French October 14, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 6:58 pm

Two things have been the subject of debate this week in the Turkish blogosphere…Orhan Pamuk being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and the passing of a Armenian genocide law in France.

The issue of the Armenian Genocide has always been a hot-topic discussion, with the claims of whether what historically could be considered as genocide or not, and ultimately who is to blame for historical events. For an Armenian point of view on the Genocide and the French Law Banning anyone from saying that it did not happen, visit Thursday’s Central Asia Article on Global Voices.

The general Turkish impression of the Armenian Genocide Bill passed by the French government is outrage.
Ignore Me if You Can Says:

And the law went through. I wonder if France knows what it is getting itself into? Protest are being held all over Turkey and citizens want all relationships between
Turkey and France to cease. They’ve stepped right into it.

The Infidel called the bill “disgusting”.

Erkan’s Field Diary notes the implications that this has on Turkey’s bid for EU membership:

Today has been a sad day. Not always I get sad with broader political happenings around me as I am quite used to politics by now, but I can’t help being upset this time. And many people around me seem to be upset. Anger turned into a kind of despair. A national parliament of a very significant country explicitly takes aim at Turkey. Despite all threats of sanctions, most of the Turks know that they are helpless. This French arrogance at such an highest level will go unpunished. In our bohemian circle in a super smoky café, our chitchat agenda during card playing was that the West has no standards any more. Whatever the Socialists of French parliaments babble, it is just too apparent that they serve for a very strong lobbying effort. If only I could believe in that they really aim to do something good in this life, I would be thinking more positively….This situtation leads to well supported conspiracy theories in the mean time. Even in some intellectual circles some connect the Nobel prize and the parliament vote. Be like Mr. Pamuk and get rewarded otherwise you are condemned… Who can stop the anti-western, anti-EU feelings now?

Me and Others sums up the situation in pointing out French hypocrisy:

the french parliement had already declared that they recognize the armeian genocide as if it is upto them to decide what has ever happened in history, which also makes me wonder why the french parliement doesnt recognize any of the genocides they have commited in africa, if they have an miracle ability of creating facts.

and today the french people accepted the bill which suggests that anyone who says there is not an armenian genocide will be punished severely.

well for a starter, i am saying that there is not a thing such as the armenian genocide. it is a good thing that i am not in france or i would get into really deep trouble. the freedom of speech champions, the human right advocates who love to blame Turkey for anything they grasp into their hands is now blatantly violating the freedom of expression.

And ultimately, the discussion of freedom of expression is what is at the heart of this Turkish discussion. In fact most discussion of the Armenian Genocide bill has been in conjunction with the news of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the reason for that was that not too long ago Orhan Pamuk was going to be put on trial for “Insulting Turkishness” for speaking out publically about the Armenian Genocide. Hakan Aydin from Aydin.net explains the political link between the Nobel Prize:

Many people around the world claim that such is the case for Pamuk’s Nobel Prize, first Nobel Prize awarded to a Turk. Pamuk has been a candidate for Nobel prize since 2002 for his novels, but unfortunately, he is best known for being charged in Turkey for his aggressive stance on issues such as the Armenian claims of genocide: “30000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in this country and no one dares to talk about it except me”.

The law that triggers these charges is not effectively enforced in Turkey for a long time. (This is similar to the law on death penalty in Turkey; even though there was a law that allowed it, there was a de facto moratorium on death penalty as the last execution took place in 1984. The death penalty was completely removed from law in May 2004 Turkey). The charges against Pamuk were dropped eventually without any punishment.

It would be naive to think that Pamuk’s Nobel Prize isn’t politically motivated, as Pamuk is now the third consecutive literature laureate with heavy political baggage. Last year’s winner, British playwright Harold Pinter, is equally well known for his strident leftist politics. The 2004 honoree, Elfriede Jelinek, is a fierce critic of Austria’s conservative establishment.

Athanasia’s Daily notes the pleasure at the Nobel Prize award but with some doubt:

Pamuk is the first Turkish writer who won Nobel Literature Prize. I am quite happy about it. I like him even though I havent been reading him for maybe 3 or 4 years but the prize made me remember him again. So it seems like the next book I read will be one of his.

However dont you think that there is a paradox between the French bill and this prize if the Nobel jury was influenced of Pamuk’s trouble here in Turkey because of the article 301 and his words about the “so-called” Armenian genocide?

Amerikan Turk talks about the duality that Pamuk is seen as within Turkey:

Orhan Pamuk wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, and France passes their coveted armenian genocide bill…
For Armenians, both events are victories. It is Pamuk who spoke openly about genocide, resulting in a court battle for his freedom. For Armenians, he is considered to be one of the “good Turks”, I’m sure. For many Turks, Pamuk is loathed as a treasonous sell-out.

Talk Turkey considers the impact of these recent events on the ability for discussion on the Armenian Genocide to even continue within Turkey:

He [Orhan Pamuk]already noted that what he intended to mean is the need for more open dialogue about this subject.

Besides, his comment did not specifically indicate that Turkey was the responsible party, and even if it had, did he mean for Turkey to be accused of ‘systematic’ killings indicating genocide.

If the legislation passed by France becomes the law, he would be charged according to the above denial of genocide position, and controversy would erupt, more so than it did when involving Turkey, a relatively restrictive country compared with France, as far as Westerners’ perception -real or not.

There has also been speculation on discussion forums that the passing of the French law and the political awarding of the Nobel Prize to Orhan Pamuk might lead to a complete halt of all discussion on the Armenian Genocide.

Despite the controversy, Orhan Pamuk has the honor and distinction of being the first Turk to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and it does say alot for the level of modern Turkish literature. Mavi Boncuk reminds us of that and gives an excellent biography of Orhan Pamuk.

Now the above isn’t the only happenings in Turkey this week, so I made sure to add some interesting links this week to make up for what wasn’t covered.
Interesting Links-
1. New yahoo group called Turk Amerikan Ticaret Merkesi (Turkish American Trade Center)(TR) to discuss various aspects of Turkish business in America.
2. Learn more about Sufi dances from Tarkan Deluxe.
3. A bit of a funny…Turkish Star Trek.

 

GV Posting-Turkey is Typing: Food Blogs October 8, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — turkishblogcount @ 1:29 am

Welcome to the Turkish food blogs edition. Today I would like to cover what I see is the top 10 of Turkish Food blogs in Turkish and English. As of today I have discovered 72 blogs devoted to the wonders of Turkish food, (I am working on compiling a list here) but I suspect that I have only found the tip of this iceberg.

1. Winning the award for the “Most Popular” site is Portakal Agaci (TR)(Orange Tree). This site is an amazing resource as it not only focuses on giving fantastic recipes, but meal planning as well. Although this site is in Turkish, its usefulness is not lost on the English speaker.

2. The award for the “Best Group Food Blog” goes to Mutfaktakiler (TR)(Those that are in the Kitchen), which is about to celebrate its one year anniversary. The blog is in Turkish, however the author’s sites are dual language.

3. There is a three-way tie for “Best Dual Language Food Blog”, our first winner is Yogurtland: excellent translations of everything and wonderful tips about different Turkish foods-

Most of you who has been reading this site might have realized that we, Turks, do not use a lot of spices but usually include another taste-enhancer in our dishes: red pepper paste. Very easy to make, this red pepper paste can be used in nearly every casserole you can think of. You can surely buy it from a Middle Eastern Store or online, but if you have a chance to buy these type of red peppers, I’d suggest trying making them home.

4. Second in our list of “Best Dual Language” is Ober Kedi (Glutton Cat) the focus of this blog is more on food tips than recipes, although I drool each time I look at her deep fried fish recipe.

5. Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook is the third on our list of “Best Dual Language Food Blog”. Binnur’s Cookbook definitely gets my vote for the best organized and functional of the food blogs with categories on all food types and meal planning ideas.

6. Winner for the “Most Innovative Use of Technology” goes to Devletsah (TR) which podcasts all of the directions to the recipes it uses.

7. “Best Photography” goes to Evcini (TR)(House Genie), while the majority of the food blogs do their own photos and are of a great quality, Evcini takes my vote for tops.

8. The award for “Best Coverage of Other Food Blogs” goes to Cafe Fernando who focuses on some of the amazing work other bloggers have been doing as well as discussing the history and culture surrounding his culinary exploits. I highly recommend his post “five things to eat before you die”.

9. “Best Explanation of Turkish Food Culture” goes to Zen in the Kitchen which has been through several encarnations….from a food class, to a book, to a Turkish language blog and now to an English language blog. I recommend her post explaining what makes a Turkish breakfast unique.

10. “Best Sweets Site” goes to Pastaci (TR)(The Baker), just a quick glance at this wonderful site and you will understand why I had to include this one on the list.

There is our list of the top ten Turkish food blogs, please visit my new site Turkish Blog Count for a more extensive list.

And keeping with our theme of offering interesting links each week, I bring you our runner’s up.
1. Ekmek Kokusu (TR)(The Smell of Bread), an excellent site focusing on bread recipes.
2. Caysaati (TR)(Teatime), another sweet site.
3. Yemek Gunlugun (TR)(My Daily Food), is an excellent site with complete meal plans.

 

 
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