Monday, August 24, 2015

Decline of Dollar and US Hegemony has Accelerated

Decline of Dollar and US Hegemony has Accelerated  

 

Stock Slump Continues With Fury: Dow Sheds More Than 1,000 Points Shortly After Opening Bell

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/08/24/stock-slump-continues-with-fury-dow-set-to-open-week-down-more-than-600-points/

AUG 24, 2015 @ 6:35 PM 

 

Global markets ran red Monday as selling ricocheted from China, through Europe and into the start of U.S. trading.

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed close to 750 points to open down about 4.5%. Meanwhile the S&P 500 was down about 4.4% at the open and Nasdaq Composite close to 5%. Shortly after the opening bell the slide continued with the Dow down more than 1,000 points for a time before rebounding slightly. The Dow's worst one day point loss ever was 777 0n September 29, 2008.

 

The Monday morning beating is a continuation of the downturn that began early last week but intensified as the weekend approached. Thursday and Friday were the two worst days of 2015 for U.S. markets with the Dow diving 358 points Thursday and 531 Friday. As of the closing bell Friday the Dow was down 7.7% for the year, the S&P was down 4.3% and the Nasdaq was down 0.6%. Monday is proving to be even worse.

 

United States

 

http://tarafits.blogspot.in/2014/11/a-short-history-of-decline-of-american.html

 

The ultimate medium of trade exchange is Gold only , so had said the 'legendry 'Alan Greenspan, head of US Federal Reserve , a private organisation .Alan should also be blamed for the exhubrance in the US economy ie derivatisation and influx of US$ 3000 billion as stimulus without gold backing .This money without backing and with little or no interest charged  sloshes around the world's stock exchanges .

 

In 1973 Nixon had gone back on US assurance of giving an ounce of Gold for 35 US dollars on which Dollar as reserve currency was agreed upon after WWII.

 

US economy after WWII was 50% of world economy .Now it is perhaps 40% of which may be 30% is spurious financial economy .  The 1930s US depression never disappeared .By end 1930s when WWII began , US industry was then turned towards  military production, which it continues to do till now and needs excuses to let the industry-military complex rule .And hence one war after another around the world since end WWII .

 

Most of so called US inventions have come out of military based research ie internet , created for military communications, civilian Boeing etc aircrafts out of military aircrafts , to name only two examples out of others.

 

Safe from Nazi attacks during WWII , US produced military hardware and Europe  and others became indebted to US, with UK losing its dominant colonial power role.

 

So US must lose power and dominance like other colonial powers ie UK, French, Ottoman ,Persian etc did whose currencies had become diluted as dollar has been now vis a vis Gold .

 

See Charts below ,

 

http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/2007/0116.html

http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/2007/0112b.html

 

China ;

 

As for China , 50% of its economy is public sector to which banks have given loans , almost as much proportion wise as US 3 trillion stimulus .China has unoccupied buildings and infrastructure .Can a sleek railway line from Beijing to Lhasa return a 10% profit or even 5% .Unlikely . Still China is producing goods which the world needs and its goods can be sold internally .

 

China has trillions of dollars worth invested in  US securities. So the fate of two economies are tied together as of many others with USA , ie wealthy  Gulf states, Japan and you name it.

 

The world economy has been transformed into massive Casino , with US its owner setting the rules .But for how long .Perhaps the day of reckoning has come and the whole world will suffer . 

Re: The second shoe will fall soon ( the first was in Sept 2008)



                                  FOUNDATION FOR INDO-TURKIC STUDIES                     

Tel/Fax; 43034706                                                                  Amb (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh                                                      

Emails; Gajendrak@hotmail.com                                                   A-44, IFS Apartments

KGSingh@Yahoo.com                                                                     Mayur Vihar –Phase 1,

http://tarafits.blogspot.com/                                                                Delhi 91, India.

                                                                                                          5 September ,2012

 

A Short History of the Decline of the American Century & Its Hegemony (2000 -12)

 

"Keynes's collective work amounted to a powerful argument that capitalism was by its very nature unstable and prone to collapse. Far from trending toward some magical state of equilibrium, capitalism would inevitably do the opposite. It would lurch over a cliff," --- Hyman Minsky.

"Capitalism has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells"- Karl Marx

 

"When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had been changed and the whole world been altered." - Ibn Khaldun

"History is ruled by an inexorable determinism in which the free choice of major historical figures plays a minimal role", Leo Tolstoy 

"History is but glorification of murderers, criminals and robbers." - Karl Popper

The author has kept a watch and written about the decline of the American Century and its hegemony since the first anniversary of 11 September, 2001                               

1. CAPITALISM IN CRISIS AND FAILURE OF GLOBALISATION 12 July 2000 http://tarafits-archives-usa-eurasia.blogspot.in/2009/11/capitalism-in-crisis-and-failure-of.html

2.The decline of the American Century   Sept 11, 2002 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DI11Ak06.html

3. The US Empire –Beginning of the End Game   24 Nov, 2006 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15729.htm

4. The Decline and Coming Fall of US Hegemony March 30, 2008 http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m42600&hd=&size=1&l=e

5. Western Military-Capitalist Civilization in Disarray September 25, 2008 http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m47513; http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0386.htm

6. Corporate Culture and Greed Sink the American Republic 17 May, 2009 http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0442.htm

7. Confirmation of Pressure on Dollar and US Decline 8 October, 2009 http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0493.html

8. The Looming Mother of all Economic and Social Crisis 11 May, 2010

http://www.mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/2405-k-gajendra-singh.html, etc

 

9. Post Sept 2008 Crippled Economy & US Strategic Decline

Smoke and Storm Signals, 4 July.2011

http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=11174

 

10. Post Bretton Woods; Emerging Outlines of New International Monetary Order

http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/16527-new-international-monetary.html

 

Amb (Retd) K Gajendra Singh

 http://tarafits.blogspot.com/2011/08/amb-rtd-k-gajendra-singh-cv-post.html

 

 Are Stock Markets Setting Up For A New 'Black Monday'?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-23/are-stock-markets-setting-new-black-monday

Submitted by Secular Investor on 08/23/2015 09:59 -0400

The major U.S. stock market indices finally corrected after a 9-month sideways trend. The 'big' news this week for stocks was undoubtedly that the four indices all closed below their 200-day moving average, which IS an important breakdown.

 

The key observation on the chart below, is the violation of the steep uptrend (highlighted with the rising green dotted line), which started with the announcement of the 'QE infinity' program in the autumn of 2012. We have marked the violation of the uptrend with a red circle. Make no mistake, this is a major event, with potentially a big impact!

Even more so, when we consider recent market conditions and the fierce pullback, things are setting up a lot like the week before the horrific 'Black Monday' in 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial took a punch of -22%! Check this, from Wikipedia:

On October 14, the DJIA dropped 95.46 points (3.8%) (a then record) to 2,412.70, and fell another 58 points (2.4%) the next day, down over 12% from the August 25 all-time high.

 

On Thursday, October 15, 1987, Iran hit the American-owned supertanker, the Sungari, with a Silkworm missile off Kuwait's main Mina Al Ahmadi oil port. The next morning, Iran hit another ship, the U.S. flagged MV Sea Isle City, with another Silkworm missile.

 

On Friday, October 16, when all the markets in London were unexpectedly closed due to the Great Storm of 1987, the DJIA fell 108.35 points (4.6%) to close at 2,246.74 on record volume. Then-Treasury Secretary James Baker stated concerns about the falling prices.

A >20% correction would bring us to 1.580 points on the S&P 500, the previous break-out level! Coincidence? We don't think so...

One thing is clear: the central bank driven QE program had a one-to-one correlation with the stock market. With a supposed 'recovery of the economy' it will be interesting to see how deep this correction will go, and how the monetary masters of the central banks will handle the correction. Is QE4 around the corner? Are we about to experience a Japan-style monetary stimulus leading the debt to GDP ratio to stratospheric levels? The chart suggests caution. Note that the MACD indicator fired a sell signal shortly after the 'QE infinity' program was ended. That was clearly a reliable early warning sign.

The precious metals market, however, is getting very interesting. Gold filled the gap after breaking down below $1,135 in July. This is a strong performance and important for chart analysis.

But didn't most financial insitutions, investment banks, market experts, and other pundits, predict that gold would fall below $1,000 /oz? What about their forecasts?

Those forecasts were meaningless. Consider HSBC, who revised their gold price forecast upward this week, saying gold will be up 10% by the end of this year, worth around $1,225 an ounce.

Only three weeks ago, the same HSBC revised the gold price forecast downwards. On July 27th, the bank said that gold would average $1,160 per ounce in 2015 from $1,234 previously.

How meaningful are those forecasts?

From our perspective, the secular bull market in gold is resuming. We believe there is a fair chance that the trend change occurred two weeks ago, when China 'de-pegged' its currency from the U.S. dollar. Think about it, the second largest global economy said 'goodbye' to the dollar reserve currency. With their massive gold accumulation in recent years, China is more than ever relying on its 'real' monetary reserve, i.e. GOLD.

What happened with the Chinese currency is the opposite of what happened in September 2011. Uncoincidentally, the Swiss National Bank pegged its currency (the Swiss Franc) to the Euro exactly the same month the gold price peaked. The Swiss Franc, being a safe haven currency, was rising too rapidly ... until the monetary planners of this world decided to break that trend. Gold stopped rising in the same month. We believe China did the opposite and instigated the rise in gold prices two weeks ago.

Based on the latest COT data from Friday 21st, it seems that gold's recent rally is only a warm-up. The key indicator in the COT is the net short position of commercial traders, and its rate of change. The good news for gold bulls is that the net short position of those commercial traders is at all-time lows, even after the rally of this month. That means, in our view, the rally has considerable upside potential. With stocks correcting, and stock market optimism index at all-time lows, we believe the potential money inflows into the gold market are significant enough to launch gold prices much higher!

>>> Check Out Our Latest Gold Report!

Secular Investor offers a fresh look at investing. We analyze long lasting cycles, coupled with a collection of strategic investments and concrete tips for different types of assets. The methods and strategies are transformed into the Gold & Silver Report and the Commodity Report.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Abdullah Ocalan; face, heart and soul of Kurdish Resistance for autonomy, dignity and reconciliation.

Abdullah Ocalan; face, heart and soul of Kurdish Resistance for autonomy, dignity and reconciliation.

 

It is an old piece on Abdullah Ocalan (1997) but brings out all aspects of the Kurdish problem from the beginning of the establishment of the secular republic of Turkey by Kemal Ataturk in 1922.

 

 ABDULLAH  OCALAN  AND  THE KURDISH   PROBLEM

        

Abdullah Ocalan (c=j), the convicted Kurdish rebel leader represents the violent face of  resistance  since  millennia by a minority tribe, community or a nation against forced assimilation by majority ethnic, linguistic or religious groups. The death sentence by a Turkish Tribunal was not surprising for; since 1984, Ocalan led PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) rebellion for a Kurdish state in South and East of Turkey has already cost over 35,000 lives, mostly Kurds and includes over five thousand soldiers. Thousands of Kurdish villages have been bombed, destroy-ed , abandoned or relocated  and millions of Kurds have been moved or migrated to shanty towns in South , East and West wards .Added to the migration for economic reasons , it makes half the Kurdish population now resident in Western Turkey .With 1/3rd of Turkish army tied up in South East, the cost of countering the insurgency has mounted to $6 to $8 billion per year , shattered the economy of the region and brought charges of police and military brutality and human rights violations in the West to which Turkey is linked through  NATO and OECD. It has also harmed its chances of joining EU, with which it entered into a Customs Union in 1996. The consequences of Ocalan's sentence carried out or not will be a major defining moment in the history of the Republic. Already April 1999 Elections have highlighted an upsurge of nationalism giving the ultra-nationalist National Action party (MHP), second slot from nowhere and the top slot to Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's Democrat Left Party (DSP) for his successful hounding and capture of Ocalan, further polarizing Turkey's already fractured polity.

 

The problem was brought to a head when late last year Turkey, hoping to give a hammer blow to the Kurdish rebellion threatened war on Syria to force out Ocalan and PKK, sheltered in Syria since 1980s ,as a lever against Turkey for denial of its fair share of Euphrates waters and   irredentist claims over Hatay province  annexed to Turkey in 1939.The situation was defused but a some what isolated Syria had to expel Ocalan , who first went to the Russian Federation and then to Rome looking for asylum .The Italians instead  arrested him on an FRG warrant, the latter sensing further mayhem and the strife by its Kurdish and Turkish populations,   did not extradite him .Nor was he extradited to Turkey causing bad blood between Turkey and EU. In mysterious circumstances  with some Greek assistance Ocalan then disappeared looking for a safe haven but found none .Eventually ,he was apprehended in Nairobi on 16 Feb,1999 by Turkish agents assisted by other countries and brought  handcuffed to a rapturous Turkey .His capture  was followed by violence and demonstrations in Turkey and Europe ,where Kurds number 850,000  among  3 million immigrants from Turkey ( 2 millions in FRG alone of which nearly half a million are Kurds) .

 

Majority of Kurds in Turkey would be satisfied with cultural autonomy but the hounding of Ocalan , touched an emotional chord uniting Kurds all over the world against their persecution over millennia and suppression of their aspirations for autonomy and freedom  The Kurds , an Iranian related people totaling over 25 million straddle mostly the mountainous regions of  Turkey (14 million), Iran (8 million), Iraq (4 million ) and  nearly 1/2 million each  in Syria and  in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia ,have been caught up in ethnic upheavals and  intermingling of Aryan, Turkic and Semitic races going on since two millennia. Descend-in from Medes they were first mentioned as the Kurduchoi who had harassed Xenephon retreating towards the Black Sea 401 BC, whereas the Turks started moving into Anatolia only in 11th Century after the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert. But barring petty dynasties and some principalities in the region, the Kurds, most Sunni Muslims, have failed to carve out a lasting kingdom and Salahaddin remains their greatest medieval hero. They have been kept divided and exploited as pawns by the ruling Persian, Turkish or Arab empires and colonial powers , enjoy-in  autonomy only when the Empires were week .Sunni Ottomans used them to guard the frontiers against Shia Safavids of Iran. Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria might have adversary relations with each other but when it comes to Kurds they close ranks. But throughout history whenever suppressed the Kurds become outlaws and take to the mountains.

 

Belonging to Iranian language family, Kurdish is spoken in 5 dialects and many sub-dialects but the divisions among Kurds are reflected not only in the dialects or the countries they inhabit. Differences among them have persisted throughout history .In N Iraq the Kurds are split among Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Jalal Talabani and Kurdish Democratic Movement (KDM) of Masud Barzani who have been warring with each other since decades. But, even when divided, they have enjoyed some semblance of autonomy, first under the British mandate, then the leftist regime of Brig Kassem and even under the kid glove and poisoned sword treatment of Saddam Hussain, With an almost free run during Iran-Iraq War and then US led protection after the Gulf War the idea of a Kurdish identity while suppressed in the unitary Turkish state has been kept alive across in Iraq

 

The Iranians have manipulated Iraqi Kurds as had the Russians the Iranian Kurds during the 2nd World War encouraging them to declare the Mahabad Republic, which after the Russian withdrawal in 1946 was annihilated. Iran gives shelter and arms to Iraqi Kurds and PKK...In return after the 1979 Khomeini revolution the Iraqis supported Iranian Kurds. But unlike Iraq, Iran and elsewhere, the Kurds in Turkey are the best integrated with other citizens. Unfortunately they have been subjected to growing harassment and discriminations since the Kurdish insurgency began, although they enjoy equal legal rights .Ataturk's right hand man Ismet Pasha, later President had Kurdish blood as did President Turgut Ozal .The former Foreign Minister and the Parliament Speaker Hikmet Cetin, a full blooded Kurd is another of many such examples of prominent Kurds in Turkey.

.

However, the 1990-91 Gulf War proved to be water shed in the evolution of the Kurdish problem. The current nebulous and ambiguous situation in North Iraq emerged when at the end of the War , US President George Bush encouraged the Kurds (and the hapless Shias in South )  to revolt against Saddam's Sunni Arab regime. Turkey, as it would have given ideas to its own Kurds, Saudi Arabia and others were opposed to the idea a Kurdish state in the north and a Shia one in south Iraq The hapless Iraqi Kurds and Shias paid a heavy price. Earlier 1988 gassing of Iraqi Kurds and international media coverage of their pitiable condition, escaping Saddam Hussein's forces in March 1991 led to the creation of a protected zone in North Iraq, now patrolled by US and British war planes. The Iraqi Kurds have since even elected a Parliament, which never functioned. But Barzani and Talabani run almost autonomous administrations in their areas; which allows PKK a free run .Many times Iraqi Kurds have cooperated with Turkish military in its many punitive forays against PKK in North Iraq .But the attitude of Iraqi Kurds to PKK, in spite of differing outlook and philosophy remains ambivalent and their natural sympathy cannot be doubted.

 

President Turgut Ozal, confident after turning around the Turkish economy and  perhaps looking for a larger role in the region by  bringing Iraqi Kurds under Turkish control , softened the rigors against his own Kurds .He publicly proclaimed in1991 that there were 12 million Kurds in Turkey and  allowed them use of  Kurdish in speech and music. Earlier in 1989 acknowledgement of his Kurdish ancestry had ended the legal taboo on the use of word "Kurd" since 1924. The Kurds had to be called Mountain Turks. On this writer's first visit in 1969 to Diyarbakir ,the biggest Kurdish city ,he  was  soon accosted by  urchins singing Kurdish songs and muttering defiantly  'Kurdum !Kurdum' (I am Kurd ) As recently as 1979, when a former  Minister for Public Housing said that there were Kurds in Turkey and he himself was one  ,he was  sentenced  to 2 years imprisonment. In 1924 Kurds were also debarred from adopting Kurdish names so they take on Arabic ones. They, therefore, found Turkish protests hypocrite-cal when Bulgaria forced its Turkish origin citizens to take on Bulgarian names in late 1980s.

 

Not only Ozal but many Turks remain fascinated with the dream of 'getting back' Ottoman province of  Mosul and Kirkuk ; which were included within the borders of  the Republic by the National Pact of 1919.The oil rich Mosul region was annexed to Iraq by the British in 1925 much to Turkish  chagrin. At the same time Turks remain equally apprehensive of an independent Kurdish state evolving in Iraq which will act as a magnet for its own Kurds .In the after-math of the Gulf War Turkey has lost out much instead of gaining. The closure of Iraqi pipeline, economic sanctions and loss of trade with Iraq, which used to pump in billions of US dollars into the economy and provide employment to hundreds of thousands, with 5000 trucks roaring up and down to Iraq, has only exacerbated the economic and social problems in the Kurdish heartland and center of rebellion.

 

Nicknamed Apo (uncle in Kurdish), Ocalan born in 1949 at Amerli, a small town on Euphrates in Urfa was one of seven siblings and claims a Turkish grandmother and some Arab blood too. His family took  the surname of Ocalan ( avenger ) having rebelled against Ataturk's Republic in 1920s .With mixed population in South Turkey , many  people speak Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic. More fluent in Turkish than Kurdish, Ocalan was a bright student and after the usual  religious education in  the  village Mekteb, at which he excelled ,he  won a scholar-ship to  the prestigious Political Science Faculty at  Ankara , a breeding ground for Turkey's intellectuals, civil servants and even politicians .In the heady days of early 1970s after the Paris students uprising, it had become a center of leftism. To begin with, Ocalan was an admirer of Ataturk but the total suppression of ethnic or cultural pluralism as if Kurdish history and identity did not exist and a spell in prison after a crackdown on radical students in 1971, where he met with similar minded Kurdish students, turned him into a hardened Kurdish nationalist.

 

After the first tentative steps in 1974  to initiate a Kurdish liberation movement at Ankara ,  PKK (in Kurdish -Partial Karaka-e Kurdish ) -an alliance of workers , peasants and intellectuals for a democratic independent Kurdistan based on Marxist –Leninist principles was founded by Ocalan with 12 others in the village of Lice in Diyarbakir on 27 Nov 1978 .The circumstances of its origins; tribalism , feudalism , the grinding poverty of the region compared to the growing prosperity in Western Turkey makes Marxism an abiding ideology which attracts poorer but educated youth of both sexes. After unsuccessful. Attacks in 1979 the real violent incidents, which brought recognition to PKK as a terror outfit ,were carried out in 1984 in Spirit and Hacker near the  Iraq-Iran border. From a few hundred in 1984 the number of PKK cadres has now gone up to thousands and had peaked in the first half of 1990s when PKK was churning out 300 fighters every quarter. If the state has used all brutal power at its command the PKK has fought back savagely by  killing  govt village headmen ,guards , teachers ,doctors apart from innocents and the military and police soldiers. Brutal reprisals and killings by security forces brought in thousands of volunteers to PKK.

 

Ocalan left Turkey for Lebanon just before the 1980 military intervention. Afraid that Islamic revivalism and Kurdish nationalism were undermining the state ,the military junta banned major political parties and debarred politicians ,came heavily on media, politicians , students and Kurdish radicals .But the prisons only proved to be academies for new recruits to the PKK cause. Ocalan first contacted PLO leftists but was soon adopted by the Syrians , who provided him a residence  in Damascus  and Bekka valley for training his cadres. He spent some time in GDR , but mostly functioned from Syria and Lebanon .A ruthless and cruel leader, with a charismatic hold over his followers and in spite of  never returning to Turkey , Ocalan is revered by his dedicated followers and feared and obeyed by most. Except for 1993 cease-fire pause the PKK- State violence increased from 1991 and continued unabated till 1996 peaking during the 1992 Navruj  and after the break down of  March 1993 cease-fire.

 

The roots of the Kurdish problem lie buried deep in the Turkish psyche .The seeds were sown during the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Turkish Republic after the 1st  World War. Under the Ottomans ,its Christian, Armenian and other millets enjoyed religious freedom with autonomy in their personal laws and  education .Turks complain that the Christian West used the stick of religion and nationalism in Eastern Europe to break up the Empire during the 19th and early 20th century .The first to leave were the Balkan Christians and in late 19th cent it was feared that even the Kurds might desert like the Egyptians. But the last straw was the revolt by Muslim Arabs , for the Ottomans always were Muslims first and then Turks .In fact the word 'Turk' , untill Ataturk endowed it with dignity ,was used as a term of contempt by the Ottoman elite. Hence Turks manifest a pervasive distrust of any cultural or autonomous move-ment that might lead to fragmentation of the unitary Republic .It revives memories of western conspiracies against Turkey and the ungratified 1920 Treaty of Sevres forced on the Sultan by the First world War victors which  would have divided Anatolia with outright independence to the Armenians and autonomy to Kurds leading to independence and zones of influence for France, Italy and Greece .The Ataturk led War of Independence and a new Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 , undid the Sevres Treaty without any mention of Armenia or Kurds in it–not even their language Kurdish though  it permitted Geeks , Armenians and others to speak their tongues

 

To begin with Ataturk himself had talked of Turks, Kurds, Lazes and others but a  dramatic change came over in 1923 -24 and he opted  for a unitary state .Perhaps because of the British detachment of the Mosul region , ambivalent attitude of many Kurds and minor revolts after the Treaty of Sevres .In 1924, he abolished  the Caliphate and Kurds  were just turned into non-persons ; their language, music, dress and culture ,even use of Kurdish first names made illegal .The conservative Kurds led by Sheikh Said, a follower of Nakshabandis sect ( as are  many  current Islamic leaders like former Prime Minister Necemettin Erbakan ) who had earlier enjoy-ed almost total  autonomy and religious freedom in their domains  rebelled against the ungodly laic state in 1925.The  fledgling Republic, under pressure from the radicals , suppressed ruthlessly the rebellions, some of which lingered on into 1930s The influential Kurdish families were relocated to Western Turkey , which were rehabilitated back only after the introduction of multi- party democracy and slackening of unitary state's heavy hand in 1950s .

 

Turkey's Constitution describes itself as a Laic state, which according to many is more Jacobin than genuinely secular. It is based on nationalist philosophy of Zia Gokalp, himself perhaps a Kurd , who unfortunately used for laic /secular the word "la din" ie anti- religion .After the founding of the Republic ,its Christian minorities were exchanged with Turks from Greece and the remaining squeezed out later, few left in South East are leaving now .So the concept of secularism in Turkey has  become anti religion and  tends to become anti this or anti that and intolerant .The Sunni dominated police establishment  have  regularly harassed the Shiite Alevis ,ironically perhaps the original Turcoman who helped conquer Anatolia and  now the  Kurds. But perhaps the major problem lies in the fatal belief of the establishment; a curious amalgam of military led secular elite and Sunni dominated interior ministry to resolve problems by force as a compromise might be seen as weakness. It considers Islamic revivalism and Kurdish rebellion as two major threats to the security, stability and integrity of the State .But left of Center Social Democrat Party( SHP) then led by Ismet Pashas'  intellectual son Real Inonu (who became Deputy PM in Suleyman Demirel's' coalition Govt in 1991-95) had come to the conclusion in 1990 based on a study that neither Kurdish nationalism nor Islamic fundamentalism posed a threat to the Republican order .Many other subsequent reports have confirmed the same conclusions, underlining that most Kurds  want respect for their identity ,use of Kurdish language for education and Television and cultural freedom.           

 

 Apart from foreign hands , specially of the neighbors ,the Kurdish problem has now acquired complex internal dimensions Attempts to even look at the problem dispassionately have come to naught .Unfortunately Ozal , who helped bring out the problem into open and might have found a solution, died in April,1993. Soon after his death , the unilateral cease fire by PKK , tacitly observed by the Govt  , broke down  when in May, 1993 near Bingol 33 unarmed soldiers were massacred by PKK .The  PKK countered that the State had not keep its 'promise' and had continued to lean heavily on militants . New Prime Minister Chiller's probing attempt in 1974 to look at the Basque model was brushed aside by the military Pashas and new President Demirel, who has not shown as much vision as Ozal in handling the problem.

 

Many analysts feel that under the pretext of guarding Ataturk's unitary state, any solution to the problem has been thwarted by the vested interests, which have also been cited as an obstacle for keeping out the Islamists from power as the former do not wish to share the economic cake with the rising conservative classes from the heartland of Anatolia and elsewhere, who support Islamic parties. There is also considerable leakage in the billions of dollars spent in security operations against the Kurds and scandals crop up from time to time. Like rebellions elsewhere PKK has been accused of funding itself from the drug trade (also from donations, extortions and taxes in Turkey and Europe) but some in the establishment have also been accused of the same charge, with scandals cropping up from time to time .Many, including politicians bemoan of the long shadow over democracy of Turkish military, the self styled guardians of Ataturk's unitary and secular state, making political solutions difficult.

 

Because of Turkey's continued importance for NATO, PKK' s Marxist ideology and Soviet support earlier, PKK remains an anathema to USA but Europeans , specially with Kurdish populations are  more sympathetic to their plight .Peaceful  espousal of the cause has been  allowed by Europeans  in spite of Turkish protests But when the PKK resorted to violence and started attacking Turkish interests as in 1993 ,they  came down heavily. Europe has also provid-ed a safe haven to expelled and persecuted Kurdish MPs and others. Many Europeans ,Parlia-mentarians and others, notably Danielle Mitterand, have extended vocal support to the Kurdish cause raising Turkish heckles and accusations of western conspiracy. But compared to say Kosovo, Europeans in general and USA in particular have been soft on Turkey's human rights record , because of the need to humor an ally , who is also a useful buffer against the volatile Middle East and for its links and usefulness  in Caucasus and Central Asia..

 

Forming nearly 20% of the population ,normally 100 Kurds get elected to the Parliament ,but their cause is not taken up by their parties nor are they  allowed to form a Kurdish party to politically ventilate their grievances . Such attempts have led to harassment ,removal of immunities, jailing and even killings. Kurdish parties like HEP ( Kurdish Labor party), DEP (Democracy party) and HADEP (People's  Democracy party) were obstructed and suppressed  and  their members harassed, jailed and even killed with  radicals across the board setting the Agenda discouraging any peaceful and meaningful discussion in the Parliament or outside .Since early 1990s attempts to  explain the Kurdish view-point through media by newspapers like Ozgur Gundem (Free Agenda) Ozgur Ulke (Free Country) and others were  stopped through harassment , imprisonment ,and even outright murder of  journalists and distributors with connivance or even help from the establishment. Even main line media is punished for writing about Kurds , their problems and even mishandling of the rebellion. When Urfa born popular Kurdish singer Ibrahim complained that he could not sing in his mother tongue he had hell to pay .Kurds and even Turks including famous writers like Yassar Kemal continue to be harassed and imprisoned for writing about Kurds and their problems   .                .             

              But the Govt  reaction before and after the  verdict has shown  some circumspection ,underlining that the law take shall take its course. The Parliament even replaced the Tribunal's third military judge with a civilian one. Although the death penalty remains on the statutes book, since 1984 , of many scores convicted to death , not one has been hanged .The Ocalan verdict will be challenged in the Supreme Court and then goes for ratification via its Judicial Committee to the Parliament and  finally to the President. And then an appeal can be made to the European Court..Any show of leniency in the highly charged atmosphere now seems improbable, but with time consumed in legal formalities  it might be possible to let Ocalan live on .Making him a martyr  would be a terrible political mistake , apart from re-igniting the insurgency..

 

Unlike the violent protests against Ocalan's capture , the reaction abroad after the verdict has been muted and peaceful barring some violent acts in Turkey. No doubt ,Ocalan is in custody  and has  promised peace and to bring down PKK fighters from the mountains. Awaiting a certain death sentence  in the glass cage ,Ocalan's performance  was  sober  and consistent in his defence.. Apart from 1993 conditional cease-fire , he had offered  the olive branch  many times in 1994 and 1995 .The first offer was made in an interview in mainline Hurriyet newspaper in 1990. After the rapturous joy in Turkey at Ocalan's capture and an orgy of celebrations after the death verdict ,there appears to be  now a feeling of the night after the binge ,some  signs of  rethinking and perhaps ,even some softening of attitude towards the Kurds. 

 

Poet philosopher PM Ecevit is opposed  to death sentence on principle. He has initiated steps for partial Amnesty and Repentance Law .The insurgency is now much degraded on the ground. Ideological benefactor former USSR no longer exists. Hafiz El-Assad is more interested in peace with Israel. Greece burnt its fingers in the Nairobi event .There is also a chorus of demand from the West including USA against hanging Ocalan .But political parties have taken  rigid and some irreconcilable positions There is always a danger of  politicians outdoing each other in  whipping up  national fervor for short term political gains ,specially the ultra-nationalist MHP which  has recently arisen  like a Phoenix .Many a times even  when politicians had want-ed to calm down the situation  the establishment puts spanners in the path e g the continued  harassment of PKK in 1993 even  when the state had tacitly accepted the  cease fire and creation of  the Hizbullah with its murderous squads in East .

 

But the Republic instead of resolving problems politically tends to use  legal measures ie  closing down political parties ;not only Islamic but others and  there are military takeovers  or extra-constitutional  threats which force out elected Govts , as  in1971 and 1997 .Is the State  now confident enough to address the underlying, social and economic causes of the rebellion ie  the Kurdish aspirations for cultural autonomy and economic development of the region .Many analysts feel that after 75 years, the Republic has matured enough and is strong enough to  resolve  problems politically. But many a times the Turks have the habit of turning logic upside down .

                                                     Amb (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh. Bucharest. 22/7/99

 

 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ten percent electoral thresh hold and Turkey's Kurdish Problem

Ten percent electoral thresh hold and Turkeys Kurdish  Problem

 

Turkey's Kurdish problem is as old as the creation of the secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman empire in 1922 by Kemal Ataturk, one of the greatest leaders of all times .The scheming Brits kept out the north Iraq Kurdistan out of Turkey, thus leaving a unhealed wound . Islamist Erdogan has done his worst to destroy te republic and the nation .Period.

 

Ten percent threshold was incorporated in 1981, before 2002 to keep Kurds out as a legitimate political party So in 2002 Nov elections it gave AKP a 2/3rd majority with 34% votes .In this year's elections Kurds have crossed the 10% threshold .So Turkey faces the Kurdish problem as a political ,constitutional and even existential problem .

 

Below is an old article on how the attempt to keep out Kurds as a political formation led to AKP getting a massive majority in 2002 .It also covers the ensuing tussle between AKP and the Pashas /military. Never rule out the Pashas in any Muslim country.

 

I shall also circulate an old article on the Kurdish leader Ocalan , now in jail on a Marmara sea island near Istanbul.

                                                                  FOUNDATION FOR INDO-TURKIC STUDIES                         

Tel/Fax ; 0040216374602                                                         Amb (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh                                                       

 Emails; Gajendrak@hotmail.com                                               Flat No 5, 3rd Floor

 KGSingh@Yahoo.com                                                                     9, Sos Cotroceni,

Web site.                                                                                          Bucharest (Romania ).

www.tarafits.com                                                                              10 May , 2003

 

 

 

The simmering tensions in Turkish polity    10 May , 2003
K Gajendra Singh http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EE10Ak01.html

Tensions building up between Turkey's secular elite, led by its powerful armed forces, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has Islamic roots, ever since the latter's electoral triumph last November, have up to now remained under check. This was because of Turkey's preoccupation with more important matters, such as an admission date into the Europe Union, a United Nations-led attempt to resolve the Cyprus problem and the United States efforts to persuade Turkey to join in the war against Iraq.

 

With these issues now either resolved or in limbo, the first battle lines between the two sides were drawn on April 23 when President Ahmet Sezer, a former head of the Constitutional Court, and the top military brass led by General Hilmi Ozkok, refused to attend a reception at parliament house hosted by its speaker, Bulent Arinc of the AKP, to mark National Sovereignty and Children's Day, as hostess Munnever Arinc planned to wear a Muslim head scarf. The opposition, left of the center People's Republican Party (RPP), also boycotted the reception. A last-minute announcement that Mrs Arinc would not attend the reception came too late.

Since the establishment of the secular republic in 1923, Ottoman and Islamic dresses have been forbidden in public places. Many an Islamist women has lost her job or place in university, and some women their seats in parliament, for defying this regulation.

 

On April 30, a statement issued after a meeting of Turkey's National Security Council (NSC), underlined secularism as one of the basic pillars of the Turkish Republic. Reiterating that its "vigilant protection cannot be over-emphasized", it urged the AKP government to protect the secular state. The NSC is Turkey's highest policy-making body and is composed of the chief of general staff (CGS) of the armed forces and top military commanders, the prime minister and his senior colleagues and is chaired by the president of the republic. The CGS is next in protocol after the prime minister and forms one of the three centers of power, along with the president.

In 1997, Turkey's first-ever Islamist prime minister, Najemettin Erbakan, then heading a coalition government with a secular party, was made to resign by the armed forces for his failure to curb growing Islamic fundamentalism. In 1971, the military members of the NSC had forced premier Suleiman Demirel to resign for his failure to implement land and other radical reforms and curb left-right strife. The military also intervened directly in 1960 and 1980, when politicians had brought the country to an impasse.

But after cleaning up the mess created by the politicians and getting a new constitution in place, the armed forces, self-styled custodians of Kemal Ataturk's legacy of secularism, as usual, returned to the barracks. Ataturk had forged the secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman empire after its defeat in World War I.

Arinc, a maverick politician, blotted his copybook earlier when, in a defiant gesture soon after the elections, was accompanied by his scarf-wearing wife to see the Turkish president off on a diplomatic mission. This was noted with concern by the Pashas (as the military brass is called in Turkey)as well as the secular elite. Recently, another minister's turbaned wife turned out to receive the Iranian vice president and his delegation. Then the men and the ladies went to different reception rooms, a practice frowned on by the Westernized secular elite. Wives of AKP leaders, like Prime Minister Recep Tayep Erdogan (even when he was the mayor of Istanbul) , Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and others avoid attending state functions.

The leadership believe that women are "flowers and must find fulfillment at home". Apart from the clash over the wearing of head scarves and long body covering dresses, other differences that have cropped up between the two sides are; the appointment of the AKP's cadre with Islamic leanings to official positions, a plan to amend the Higher Education Board law and proposed radical changes in the constitution, even making it presidential. Recently, the Foreign Ministry sent a circular to its embassies abroad to "support the National View Organizations and the Fethullah Gulen schools". These have an Islamist agenda. The AKP also wants to consolidate and expand its vote. Its backers are upwardly mobile conservative trading and industrial classes from central Anatolian towns such as Kayseri, Konya and beyond, who want a share in the economic cake. This will clash with the interests of the established supporters of the secular establishment.

Some AKP leaders have also publicly criticized the armed forces' annual dismissal of officers with Islamic proclivities and connections, a practice that has been in place since the establishment of the republic. The armed forces have enjoyed autonomy in internal matters and are very sensitive about it. Many a time Abdullah Gul, a moderate, has tried to smooth differences, but the AKP's attempts to strengthen its position in the establishment, help its supporters and challenge the established secular norms have been carried on stealthily.

All these matters were discussed vigorously at the April 30 NSC meeting, which lasted seven-and-half hours. Prime Minister Erdogan, who spoke most of the time on behalf of the civilians and President Sezer, had frank discussions on the question of army appointments and other matters.

However, on one subject both the AKP government and the armed forces agreed - not allowing the US to use bases for its troops in southeast Turkey. The motion, which had the full support of the government, but with 90 percent of Turks opposed to a war on Muslim Iraq and huge crowds protesting outside parliament building and elsewhere, failed to pass muster when nearly 100 AKP deputies voted with the opposition.

Not sure of being able to garner enough support for a second vote and even afraid that the party might split apart, Erdogan did not dare take up the motion again in parliament, despite relentless US pressure and an attractive economic package said to be worth over US$30 billion. Turkey finally agreed to grant the US the use of its airspace only, that too with some conditions.

With Iraqi defenses inexplicably collapsing so easily, many in Turkey, especially the secular establishment, now rue the decision not to go along fully with the US. They would have had around 40,000 troops in north Iraq, with a say in the future shape of Iraq, notably over possible Kurdish autonomy. The Turkish armed forces, with half a century of association with the US defense establishment, left the decision to the politicians at the time of the vote, but later publicly extended its full support to the government motion.

Turkey's November 3 election results had shocked many in the West after they delivered a quixotic two-thirds majority (365 out of 550 ) to the AKP, which had received only a third (34 percent) of the total votes cast. The only other party to cross the 10 percent threshold and enter parliament was the left of the center RPP, which won nearly a third of the seats. Thus other parties remain unrepresented, but independents, polling only 1 percent of the votes, won eight parliamentary seats. Although the AKP was the front runner in pre-election polls, even its leadership was surprised by the magnitude of the windfall. A large number of new and inexperienced AKP deputies have entered parliament, many friends and officials when Erdogan was mayor of Istanbul.

In 1995, Necmettin Erbakan's Islamic Welfare party won 158 seats even though it only polled 21.3 percent of the votes. With great difficulty he formed a coalition government in 1996, which was made to resign the following year. The veteran Erbakan established the first "Islamist" party in Turkey in 1969. It was called the National Order Party, hinting at Islamic order. When it was closed in 1971 after military intervention, he named its successor the National Salvation Party ( like the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria).

When that was banned, too, along with other parties after the 1980 military takeover, Erbakan named the next party the Welfare Party (zakat for welfare). After it was closed by law, Erbakan founded the Virtue Party. When that was also closed and a ban put on Erbakan himself from politics in 2001, Erdogan, Gul and other younger and moderate leaders of the Welfare formed the conservative AKP. They have repeatedly proclaimed that it is not a religious party. Erbakan's rightist followers have formed the Saadet Party led by Recai Kutan, a proxy for Erbakan (it won 2.5 percent of the votes in the recent elections ).

The outgoing ruling coalition parties were decimated, each getting much less than 10 percent of the votes. They were entirely responsible for the result with their mis-governance which saw a record 10 percent fall in Turkey's GDP in the preceding year, adding millions more to the ranks of the unemployed. The elections also saw the exit of the last of the dinosaurs, outgoing prime minister Bulent Ecevit, who along with Demirel, Erbakan and Turgut Ozal, all nearly 80 years old, had dominated Turkish political life over the past 40 years.

The quirky election results are an excellent demonstration of the maxim that errors tend to add up in the same direction. Turkey's d'Hont electoral system, based on the German pattern with a very high threshold, was selected to provide stability to governments in a highly fragmented polity. Apart from the fond wish that each party leader has of seeing others not crossing the 10 percent threshold, there appears a tacit understanding not to lower it to 5 percent as Kurdish parties, on the basis of their strength in the southeast, who consistently manage to cross the 5 percent mark, can be kept out of power. Kurds form over 20 percent of the population, with many supporting left of center parties.

The Pashas were clearly unhappy with the election results. After waiting for some time, they declared, "We will continue to protect the republic against any threat, particularly the fundamentalist and separatist [Kurdish] ones." Erdogan had been banned from contesting the elections because of a 1999 conviction for reciting a poem at a political rally which said that "Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracks, believers are our soldiers." To begin with, both Sezer and the Pashas expressed opposition to amending the constitution to enable Erdogan to stand for bye-elections and take over as prime minister from Abdullah Gul. But later they relented.

To soothe the anxiety felt in the West over the AKP's massive victory, Erdogan and other party leaders went on a charm offensive, reiterating that the AKP was a conservative and not an Islamic party. Its leadership had no connection with the banned Islamic Welfare party of which they were once members. They did not even meet Erbakan now, they said. No changes were planned in Turkey's secular dispensation. They redoubled their efforts to take Turkey into the European Union (unsuccessfully) and stood by the International Monetary Fund's program to sort out Turkey's dire economic problems.

The West and the US were relieved to see the AKP's English-speaking leadership in Western suits (having seen the rise of Islamic parties in Pakistan with its fierce-looking bearded mullahs in last year's elections while many AKP ministers are highly educated with backgrounds in economics and management.) It helped the AKP establish its credentials as a conservative party with which Europe and the US could do business. Further legal reforms that have to be carried out in Turkey to meet EU norms will usher in greater freedom of expression, specially for the Kurds, and improve the country's human rights record. The changes will make it difficult for the secular establishment to ban the AKP and other parties with Islamic inclinations or those promoting the Kurdish cause. EU leaders have openly said that the military's role in Turkish politics must be reduced to qualify it for membership.

Tussles between the armed forces and religious political parties are nothing new in the Islamic world. In 1992, the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria, on the verge of electoral victory and bringing in Sharia law and doing away with elections, was banned, leading to violence that is still smoldering. There is a constant battle between Islamist parties and the armed forces in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Since 1923 Turkey has had a laic (secular) constitution, which, according to many, is more Jacobin than genuinely secular. The country is a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and it has a customs agreement with the European Union. But with its 67 million Muslims, Turkey is unlikely to be admitted into the EU any time soon, which is basically a Christian club. At the Copenhagen EU summit in December last year, France's former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing said that admitting Turkey "would be the end of the European Union" because Turkey has "a different culture, a different approach, a different way of life - it is not a European country".

Preceded by modernizing and Westernizing reforms during the last century of the Ottoman rule and nearly 80 years after Ataturk's sweeping reforms, Turkey's experiment in democracy goes wobbly from time to time. Ironically, it is invariably put back on the rails by the armed forces.

A Muslim majority state (99 percent) it is closest to a modern secular democracy in the Muslim world. Its half a million strong armed forces is a stabilizing factor in a turbulent region. But Turkey is now tending to look more to the east after the runaway success of the AKP. For stronger economic and political linkages with the east, AKP leaders have visited Turkic-speaking states in Central Asia, and also Iran, Syria (in spite of US frowns) and other neighbors recently.

The US wants other Muslim countries in the region and elsewhere to become secular democracies, so it will be keen that Turkey serve as a good, stable example. From their viewpoint, they certainly don't want the armed forces to have to intervene once again.

K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.

(©2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact content@atimes.com for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Re: 2011 Turkish Elections Detailed Background info on Turkish political situation.Rise of Islamists and dictator Erdogan



On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:13 PM, gajendra singh <kgajendrasingh@gmail.com> wrote:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Turkish Voter Reigns in Riyadh Supported Islamists



Turkish Voter Reigns in Riyadh Supported Islamists

Constitution Meddling Would Challenge the Military

  "We have spoken, and now it is time for the people to speak," PM Erdoğan. 

People have ; against fundamental changes in the Constitution .

Economist Magazine, London ,"The best way for Turks to promote democracy would be to vote against the ruling party." "Erdoğan's victories over the army and judiciary have given him too much power and would now allow him to "indulge his natural intolerance of criticism" and feed his "autocratic instincts," it warned.

  "There is much to admire, internally and internationally, about the new Turkey. But peaceful revolutions can overreach themselves too, and it is vital that Turkish society is able to place some limits around Mr Erdogan's formidable ambitions. imperious ways, which include the jailing of journalists and a punitive approach to media organization with the temerity to criticise him. ,"The Guardian. 

"In Turkey no PM can keep his reign for more than a decade "Adnan Menderes (prime minister from 1950 to 1960), who was hanged in 1961 by the junta after the first coup d'état.

  2011 Election Results

Of over 50 million eligible voters in Turkey's population of 73 million, 84.5% cast the vote on 12 June. With 99% votes counted the ruling Justice and Development party ( AKP ) would got around 50% of votes but with likely 326 seats ( in a house of 550) will not be able to even put amendments for referendum except with support from the opposition. AKP had won 341 seats in 2007 with 4% less votes and two-thirds majority, 365 with only 35% votes in November 2002 elections , when it burst on the political scene , stunning everyone including itself . The party will form a government on its own a 3rd time running, while after the 1980 military coup , almost all earlier ones were coalition governments.

  Unless a party gets 10% votes ,it cannot get a seat in the Grand National Assembly. This high threshold has been passed to keep out Kurdish parties. In 2002 , nearly 49% of votes went waste. The 10% threshold creates piquant situations .It has kept out two major parties formed by Suleyman Demiral and late Turgut Ozal both prime ministers and then presidents . 

The main opposition Peoples Republican party (RPP) with 26% of votes will get 135 seats, 23 seats more than last time. RPP , established by the founder of the republic Kemal Ataturk had last won maximum seats in 1973 , 185 seats out of 450 ,and headed a coalition under late PM Bulent Ecevit .  The extreme nationalist National Movement Party (MHP) won 54 with 13% votes, but lost 17 seats.

 

To overcome 10% high threshold, Kurds fight elections as independents and have won 36 seats with 6.6% votes .They will join the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a Kurdish party , which had endorsed them .They can form a parliamentary group, the quorum being 20 deputies. Officials accuse BDP of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).  

 

The new Parliament will have 78 women deputies , the highest ever , compared to 50 in the last one. One of them is Leyla Zana ,a Kurdish icon, many times imprisoned but defiant.

 

"The people have won-- will make a liberal constitution altogether," Erdogan. 

A chastened Erdogan , AKP's driving and dividing force conceded that 'The people have won." "We will embrace everyone, whether they voted for the AKP or not," he added in a speech at his party's headquarters late Sunday. "I say that if the main opposition and other opposition parties approve, we will sit and talk, and we will have dialogue with the political parties outside the Parliament, non-governmental organizations and associations. We will make a liberal constitution altogether. The east, the west, the north and the south will find themselves in this constitution." 

 "This new constitution will be addressed to every single individual in Turkey. In the new constitution, every citizen will be "the first." This constitution will focus on peace. This constitution will be the constitution of the Kurd, of Turkmen people, of Alevis, of all minorities, which means all 74 million people. This constitution will be for fraternity, for sharing, for unity and solidarity." 

RPP leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu said late Sunday that the party has come out stronger from the election as a result of opposing Erdogan's plans for changing the Constitution. He said the party gained 3.5 million new voters in six months, and the highest percentage of votes since the Sept. 12, 1980 coup.  RPP protects minorities like the Shia Alevis , almost 10% of the population, mostly those who came as conquerors from central Asia . 

Kurds have greater faith in RPP than in NMP and AKP ."The Kurdish issue is the No. 1 problem in our attempt to become more democratic," said a graphic designer in Istanbul. "Having this problem and talking about democracy is absurd." Kurds remain dissatisfied . PKK rebellion organized by Abdulla Ocalan , now in prison for life since 1999 ,has cost nearly 40,000 lives including 5000 soldiers and creating problems across the board . 

Till mid 1980s ,Kurds had to call themselves Mountain Turks .Kurds cannot organize education and media in Kurdish language freely . During WWI the British occupied oil rich Kirkuk in Kurdish north Iraq after a ceasefire and instigated rebellions in Turkey's  Kurdish south east. It forced Ataturk to disenfranchise Kurds , a people who have inhabited the region straddling Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria and total around 25 million, much before the arrival of the Turks into Anatolia. 

The author first visited south east Turkey and Diyarbakir , biggest Kurdish city first time in 1969 and was greeted by young boys singing Kurdish songs .He then made many visits, the last visit to Diyarbakir and the region was in 1997, when the rebellion was in full play

."I'm a military officer and I'm driving this taxi on weekends," said Ahmet Zorlu, when asked about his voting priorities. "That's enough of an answer." This sums up the views of the opposition to AKP and its policies by secular elite which includes the judiciary, the military and the intelligencia in the media and the academia.  

Fifty seven year old Erdogan born in Rize on the Black Sea coast ,but grew up in lower middle class Istanbul .On the international stage, he often cuts an awkward, slightly defensive figure - tall, but stiff and unsmiling; at home , he comes alive, responding with jokes, sarcasm and even poetry to the crowds of supporters who throng his rallies. Turks in the teeming cities or small Anatolian towns love his combative charisma. Now that Turkey does not need Israel as an ally , his willingness to condemn Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians ( who during Ottoman days were faithful subjects ) has not only strengthened his Islamic base, but also made him a hugely popular leader among masses in the Middle East.

  AKP's opponents are worried about Erdogan's cult of personality and ambitions which has turned into hubris, that threatens the very democracy his party strengthened when it came to power in late 2002.  All are uneasy about Erdogan's plans to transform Turkey's political system from a European parliamentary model to a US style presidential system with a strong executive branch, under him.

  Turkey, currently the 17th economy in the world (and which aspires to be one of the top 10), has an 8.9% growth rate, making the Turkish economy the most dynamic among European countries. It's no wonder Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed in a television interview that "Turkey is like a giant which has woken up." But 17% of Turkish population lives below the poverty line, and unemployment is around 12% .But this is still much lower than in Europe and no financial institution has gone bankrupt in the last decade in Turkey. 

In a public-opinion poll before the elections it appeared that the most worrisome element in the Turks' daily life is neither PKK terrorism nor the EU harmonization, but poverty and unemployment.

  While the economy appears to be a grand success, with GDP per head more than doubling during AK's time in office, Mehmet Simsek, the finance minister, concedes that the economy shrank sharply in the recession of 2009.But it bounced back last year. As for the risk of overheating, Simsek admits that the economy is "very hot", but insists that it is now cooling fast. The economy has serious weaknesses. A splurge of consumer spending combined with a big inflow of foreign capital has widened the current-account deficit to a gaping 8% of GDP . Were the foreign money (from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf ) suddenly to dry up,Turkey could easily find itself heading into a bust once again. Fiscal policy should have been tightened more and sooner. 

The Economist had criticized Erdoğan and AKP party for its "authoritarian" tendencies before the elections after a polarizing campaign. In its last Thursday's article, entitled "Turkey's bitter elections," The Economist drew attention to Erdoğan's proposals to change "the ministry for women" into "the ministry for family and social policies," along with seven other Cabinet jobs. 

"It is now official: women should have babies and stay at home," the magazine quoted Turkish feminists as saying in response to Erdoğan's statements earlier that week. The magazine also noted that this conservative move "set off alarm bells among those who recall the AKP government's previous efforts to criminalize adultery and Mr. Erdoğan's calls for women to have at least three children." Erdogan also attempted to introduce "alcohol-free zones" and control sale of liquor .

  Economist is not my favourite read as it echoes Washington line in better English .The author has lampooned its writes on so called Rose Revolution in Georgia ie US franchised street revolutions for regime changes and on other matters .But this time around it had a point.

Erdogan was tried for utterances "Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracks, believers are our soldiers," convicted and jailed for 4 months. He had also said "Thank God, I am for Shariah," "For us, democracy is a means to an end." (Shades of Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria) and, "One cannot be a secularist and a Muslim at the same time." So his drive and passion makes people uneasy and scared .

Yesil Surmaye aka green money from Saudi Arabia 

But why is the corporate Western media silent and not exposing the Yesil Surmaye aka green money from Saudi Arabia , poured into Turkey in direct massive gifts from mid 1990s and as investment in central Anatolia , stronghold of the AKP , from where its leadership originates ,in towns like Konya ( Iconium) of whirling dervishes and Kayseri (Caesarea Mazaca) 

The author was desk officer in External affairs dealing with Turkey from 1967 before serving as  first secretary /CDA (1969-73 ) and then as ambassador ( 1992-96 ) and finally as freelance journalist (1996-98) .He was selected for Ankara in 1988 but his posting was cancelled after agreement by a feudal minded Jat minister ,who hated Rajputs and misled late Rajiv Gandhi . ( Watch this space for more) 

During 1990s I used to be surprised by the prosperity in these barren harsh lands brought about by Saudi gifts and investment .I came to know President Abdullah Gul , a sober balanced politician compared to Erdogan. 

"There was this young man, with 1960s Turkish matinee idol looks, smiling to attract my attention, in that throng of media and TV cameramen around us. Suddenly the penny dropped. Yes, a few weeks earlier while I had a few drinks at my First secretary's flat in Ankara, he sipped lemon water. He was very keen to meet with me. So, I now went over and shook his hands. That was in end 1992. 

"And the young man was Abdullah Gul, recently home after a stint (7 years) at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah and put in charge of foreign affairs by Najmettin Erbakan, President of Islamist Welfare party. Most ambassadors in Ankara avoided looking up Erbakan, but I kept my promise. Hence the media attention.
 http://www.boloji.com/analysis2/0559.html

When it seemed in 2007 that Erdogan would go for the Presidency , millions poured out in protest against him in Turkey's capital Ankara , commercial and cultural metropolis Istanbul and Mediterranean port of Izmir , the historical Smyrna .

  I did not have a chance to meet with Erdogan , then a very successful mayor of Istanbul, who made his name for honesty .Of course unlike almost all non-Islamist parties , which had become mired in corruption ,Erdogan did not need bribes . As early as August 2001, Rahmi Koç, chairman of Koç Holding, Turkey's largest and oldest conglomerate commented on CNN Türk that Erdoğan has a US$1 billion fortune and asked the source of his wealth. Erdogan has remained silent. 

According to WikiLeaks, Eric Edelman, the then U.S. ambassador to Turkey, wrote in a cable to Washington on Dec. 30, 2004. 

"We have heard from two contacts that Erdoğan has eight accounts in Swiss banks; his explanations that his wealth comes from the wedding presents guests gave his son and that a Turkish businessman is paying the educational expenses of all four Erdoğan children in the U.S. purely altruistically are lame." " "--an anonymous source told [him] that Erdoğan and [the source] benefited directly from the award of the Tüpraş privatization to a consortium including a Russian partner.", said Edelman in another cable.(The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation, or Tüpraş, is the state petroleum refinery. A Russian-Turkish consortium paid nearly $1.3 billion for the privatization of the country's largest-capacity refinery in 2004.) Edelman also listed former ministers Abdülkadir Aksu, Kürşat Tüzmen and Istanbul provincial chairman Mehmet Müezzinoğlu as the most corrupt politicians in Turkey. 

These allegations were hotly denied by Erdogan but have refused to die down.

AKP came to power in 2002 on the strength of its image as fresh and honest party amidst a sea of corrupt establishment parties, but since then AKP's own finances appear to have become murky , blurring the distinction between business and politics. Turkish domestic and foreign policy is influenced by the influx of "green money," from governments like Saudi Arabia and wealthy Islamist businessmen in other Gulf Emirates.

Some Turkish professional bureaucrats, businessmen, journalists, and even politicians raised the question of Saudi money flowing into AKP coffers through green money business intermediaries. "The problem is Saudi Arabia. If you solve that, then our problem is solved," one independent parliamentarian told Rubin.( Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute in an article "Green Money, Islamist Politics in Turkey" for the Middle East Quarterly of 2005 ) A former member of the AKP concurred: "Before the 2002 election, there were rumors that an AKP victory would lead to an infusion of $10-$20 billion, mostly from Saudi Arabia. It looks like the rumors came true." 

While Turkish journalists and officials acknowledge that Saudi investment in Turkey and Turkish politics has increased since 2002, the exact nature of the investment is murky and circumstantial. Prior to the AKP's 2002 election victory, Abdullah Gül criticized state scrutiny of the Islamic enterprises, accusing the secular government of acting unfairly. Between 1983 and 1991, Gül worked at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Islamic banks—and especially those sponsored by Saudi Arabia—regularly channel money to Islamist enterprises. On November 9, 2004, Deniz Baykal, leader of the parliamentary opposition RPP , accused the AKP of trying to create a religion-based economy. It is also affecting Turkey's foreign policy.


Some Turkish economists suggest that after 11/9 Saudi and other Persian Gulf citizens' liquidated their U.S. holdings Some bankers estimate that individual Saudi investors withdrew between $100 and $200 billion. One Turkish economist suggested that, even if Saudi citizens moved $20 billion to France, $10 billion to Lebanon, and $6 billion to Switzerland, there would still be ample funds left to invest unofficially in Turkey. The money may support legitimate businesses. But, if both the investor and business fail to declare it, then such funds might remain immune to taxation and regulation. Various estimated of the green money infusion into the Turkish economy is between $6 billion and $12 billon.


It may turn out to be a wise move , with the US economy in decline and talk of temporary debt default and dark allegations of missing gold in Fort Knox.US debt now amounts to $14 trillion ,as much as its GDP , of which according to one source 41% is contributed by 'Financial industry" , along with a stimulus of  $ 2.8 trillion which exists only on computer screens .S and P believe that US does not deserve AAA classification for investment .Let us see when the house of card would begin to collapse . 

Much of the money enters Turkey "in suitcases" with couriers and remains in the unofficial economy. Even when deposited, banks ask no questions about the origins of the cash. "Money laundering is one of the worst aspects of Turkish politics," a former state planning official said. Political parties across the political spectrum have illegal slush fund. Under the AKP, the unofficial economy has grown exponentially. 

Official Turkish statistics provide some clue to the scope of the problem. Between 2002 and 2003, the summary balance of payments for net error and omission category—basically unexplained income—increased from $149 million to almost $4 billion. This is an eighty-year record error. In the first six months of 2004, an additional $1.3 billion entered the system, its origins unaccounted. According to Kesici, an economist there could be as much as a $2 billion overestimation in tourism revenue. 

Riyadh wants to build up Turkey as a powerful Sunni state to counter Iran's influence.USA and Europe also support that view .Hence so little in Western media about Saudi Green Money's role in Turkish politics .But so far Ankara has followed a rational policy regarding Tehran. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, its historical enemy ,which had forced Ankara to join NATO in 1950s , when Moscow demanded return of two Turkish provinces in north East and role in 1936  Montreux Convention that gives it control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles ,Turkey , a regional power with the largest military after USA in NATO , feels free to pursue an independent foreign policy.


 Rise of Islamists in Turkish Republic

It was Nacemettin Erbakan who founded the very first Islamist National Order party (NOP) in 1969, when prime minister Suleyman Demirel, his class fellow in Istanbul's Engineering school, refused him an Assembly slot. When NOP was closed in 1971 after the regime change, Erbakan established National Salvation party (NSP) and was twice deputy prime minister in 1970s coalition governments. After the 1980 takeover, the military banned all parties. Later when restrictions were removed Erbakan established the Welfare party, in which Abdullah Gul and Erdogan were prominent young new comers.

Erdogan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in 1995 and was apparently a great success. In the 1996 coalition headed by Erbakan, Gul became a State Minister .In 1997 the military forced Erbakan to resign for not curbing Muslim fundamentalism. Later Erbakan's party was closed and he was banned from political activity. 

Erdogan's jail experience following his conviction mentioned earlier was traumatic and a turning point. He and others like Gul saw the futility of fighting against the secular establishment on an open Islamic agenda. In 2001 they established AKP and the rest is history , but is full of controversies. Many AKP sympathizers felt and claimed that like moderate Christian parties in Europe ,it could also become a moderate Islamic party , but these hopes have been belied 

.

Adnan Menderes and his hanging ; an echo from the past.


Since the creation of the republic in 1923 , Turkey was ruled by Republican People Party (RPP ). In spite of his wish and some attempts to introduce multiparty democracy, Ataturk gave up when Kurdish revolts and Islamic obscurantism reared its head. .

But after WWII , in which following Ataturk's advice ,under his successor Ismet Inonu ,Ankara remained neutral ,there was pressure on Turkey to introduce multiparty democracy .So before the first elections in 1947 , a new Democrat party was formed by Adnan Menderes and a former PM Celal Bayar .


Menderes , son of a wealthy landowner, born in 1899 in Aydin ,had fought against the invading Greeks and was a trained lawyer .His efforts to establish a political party in 1930s were obstructed  so he joined Ataturk's RPP and became a deputy. In 1945, he was expelled from the party with two other colleagues because of opposition to nationalisation policies .

Democrat party made its presence felt in 1947 elections but in the 1950 elections, DP won 52% of the votes in the first free elections in Turkish history on 14 May (in which votes were cast in secret and counted openly), Menderes became the prime minister and later won two more free elections, one in 1954 and the other in 1957. No other politician has ever been able to win three general elections in a row in Turkey. Except again NOW!

Coming after an austere and dreary Jacobinistic secular era of Ataturk ,Menderes more tolerant towards traditional lifestyles and different forms of practice was liked by the masses. He had campaigned in the 1950 elections on the platform of legalizing the Arabic language and Muslim call to prayer which was banned . He re-opened thousands of mosques across the country which were left abandoned . In one of his speeches, he said that members of parliament could bring back Sharia law if they so desired. 

His economic policies after the earlier years of affluence , helped by US grants , brought the country to insolvency due to an enormous increase in imports of goods and technology .Menderes was most intolerant towards criticism, so he instituted press censorship and had journalists arrested.  He also  attempted to oppress the opposing political parties and to take institutions such as universities under his control. His policies annoyed the armed forces and even venerable Inonu , Ataturk's right hand man and successor who was insulted . Having lost power and pelf since 1950, the military was most upset .

Menderes became a strong headed politician but was very popular among the masses .His survival from an air crash near London in 1959 further added to his charisma .But he was over taken by hubris and upset too many sectors of the society and polity, specially the military and his political opponents .A young colonels coup under Cemal Gursel led to the overthrow of Menderes government .He was tried and hanged along with two ministers .Many compare it to the later hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto , who was hanged by Gen Zia ul Haq , selected by Bhutto himself , since it was feared that if Bhutto was returned to power , he would seek revenge on Gen Zia.


There are many shades of similarity with Menderes , so Erdogan better heed history .


Turkish media corporatized and beholden to the Ruling party


Media like elsewhere ,led by USA, has been captured by corporate houses ( half a dozen control 90% of media in US). Turkey used to have a vibrant press with a number of national papers till some years ago. Now it is difficult to get unbiased news in Turkish media .There has been a consolidation of ownership to just a few business houses . The Doğan Group, for example, owns not only well-known dailies like Hürriyet and Milliyet but also Radikal, Posta, and the Hurriyet ( oldTurkish) Daily News among others. Together these capture perhaps 50 percent of total Turkish daily circulation. In addition, Doğan Group television stations like CNN Türk and Kanal D have perhaps a 20 percent market share.


The problem is not that Doğan companies always tow the party line. Many Turkish journalists produce hard-hitting analysis. But a number of journalists complain of self-censorship. The same media barons who own a large portion of the press have branched into other sectors where they are more dependent on government largesse. "Everyone is vulnerable—economically and politically—if they oppose the government," a businessman explained. It is foolhardy to annoy the government. The Uzan group which opposed AKP was decimated.


The Guardian wrote a piece on 30 September, 2010  on the curbs on media ever since AKP took over in 2002, Erdogan has been accused of seeking to quash dissident voices. In August 2010 Bekir Coskun, a militantly secular columnist for a mass-circulation daily, Habertürk, was sacked under pressure from the government .There has been a steady dismissal of anti-government journalists from the mainstream media which has reinforced the view that Erdogan is intolerant of criticism. In September 2009, Aydin Dogan, was slapped with a huge fine for alleged tax fraud (with accrued interest, the fine stands at $3.7 billion).


"Under AK the press has been declared the enemy," says Ferai Tinc, who runs a media watchdog. According to the International Federation of Journalists over 40 Turkish journalists are in jail and around 700 others face trial, many of them Kurds accused of spreading separatist propaganda. One, Irfan Aktan, was sentenced to 15 months in prison in June for quoting a rebel of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Mehmet Baransu, an investigative reporter who has exposed a string of alleged coup plots and episodes of army incompetence, has faced 40 separate court cases and received six convictions in the past 15 months. The government has gone back on promises to ease tough media laws.


Erdogan likes to recall, hundreds of journalists (again, mostly Kurds) who were imprisoned or kidnapped at the height of the PKK insurgency in the 1990s. Many died in so-called "mystery murders" thought to have been carried out by rogue security forces. Yet few in the mainstream press uttered a peep, for fear of falling foul of the generals. Corporate media bosses often buckle under state pressure to protect their business interests. Today almost everybody, be they Kurdish, secular or anti-army, are under pressure. "The net," concludes Mrs Tinc, "has widened like never before."


Military in Politics ;Struggle between Miri and Piri in Muslim countries


In mid 1990s a British journalist was going on and on against the role of military in Turkish politics .Finally I said when and what the Windsors or its earlier incarnation German Saxe-Coburg and Gothadid for the United Kingdom .Still a family and its hangers on along with its perennial feudal landed elite and an incrementally added economic elite rule over the masses differentiated as ' we and they' . Yes , with little to do except cutting ribbons the British Royals provide endless media gossip of extramarital and other , even sordid affairs with salacious details to satisfy the citizens like circus in Roman empire .'They' become teachers , bank tellers ,waiters , nurses, read weather news on BBC ,the junior commissioned officers parading proudly with pieces of bronze and coloured ribbons , and sent to die in Iraq, Afghanistan and Malvinas (Does not British Govt mouthpiece BBC describe Kashmir as India administered and 2611 terrorists as gunmen)


Of the oldest of the three revealed religions, Judaism's only state since ancient times , Israel , founded on leftist tenets has since morphed into a rule by Zionist-Military oligarchy. Christians after centuries of warfare in Europe managed to create secular polities which are still underpinned if not haunted by sectional religious ideologies. In the last of 'the Book' based polity Islam, the lines between the Mir and the Pir ,the temporal ruler and spiritual ruler still remain blurred ,contested and changing. 
 
After the 1979 revolution in Iran , Shias created the ideal but mythical office of Imam in the person of Ruhoallah Khomeini . The status of the Imam was evolved into the doctrines of intercession and infallibility, i.e., of the faqih/mutjahid .But the Iranians have since found that a system based on the concepts of 7th century AD was inadequate to confront and solve the problems of 21st century.


Prophet Mohammad was both the religious leader and military commander. But the Arab Caliphs lost out on power by 10th century to the Turkish slaves from central Asia who formed the core of their fighting forces .The Turks raised the minor title of Sultan to a high rank who literally became a protector of the Caliph , left with only spiritual powers. Even this role was seized by the Ottoman Sultans ruling from Istanbul..


Turkey, known in the past as Asia minor and Anatolia , which comprises most of  today's  Republic is located at the juncture of Asia ( and connected to Central Asia via the Caucasus), Africa and Europe ,with the straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles separating Asia and Europe .Ruled in the  past by Achaemenid Persians  ; Greeks, Romans and Byzantines ;and then by Muslim Seljuk and  finally Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, the inhabitants of Anatolia have tough identity problems ( Perhaps 15% only are migrants from central Asia , mostly now Alevis and many times victims of Sunni Muslim establishment ). So there is a spiritual and psychological dichotomy between the Europe oriented elite ( with perhaps many originally of European ethnic origin) at the head and a conservative oriental majority in the body politic of Turkey.


Ataturk cut the Gordian Knot of Secular and Religious


After the modernising and westernising reforms and measures during the last century of the Ottoman rule , after  the collapse of the Ottoman empire , Ataturk cut the Gordian Knot by disenfranchising Islam in the Republic . It included the abolition of the Caliphate , closure of various tariqas aka Sufi and other brotherhoods ,with Whirling Dervishes of Rumi's Konya becoming  tourist attractions , change over for Turkish language script from unsuitable Arabic script to Roman script , excluding Arabic and Persian words and adding French and English words The Fez and Ottoman loose trousers were banned and replaced by western hats and caps with European style jackets and trousers .So do not be misled that wearing of western clothes has transformed the thinking of Anatolians into western thinking and mores .Ataturk also decreed that the 6 century AD magnificent Byzantine St. Sophia Church , which was converted into a mosque by the addition  of  minarets  in 1453, after  Ottoman Sultan Fethi had conquered the city of  Constantinople be turned into a museum .In Topkapi Museum you can gaze at the doors from Mecca , dresses, swords etc of Prophet Mohammad and the Caliphs .( in mid 1960s , loss of a few hairs of Prophet Mohammad in Hajratbal in Kashmir had created an ugly situation)

Since the establishment of the republic , Turkey has witnessed three coups d'état -- in 1960, 1971 and 1980 -- and in 1997 the military forced a coalition government to step down. 

The 1960 and 1980 were full-fledged coups , when the armed forces took over power , brought out a new Constitutions and handed power back to the politicians . The 1960 coup was a colonels coup with Gen Gursel at its head .He had to exile the head strong colonels , led by Col Alparslan Turkesh ( who later founded the Nationalist Movement party now led by Bahcheli) out of Turkey as they had planned to rule the country .

 

The 1971 half coup was by a memorandum by the National Security Council (NSC) , under pressure from junior officers and changed the regime . Suleman Demirle was replaced by Nihat Erim to carry out socialist reforms .The 1997 quarter coup forced the first ever Islamist PM Erbakan heading a coalition government to resign and make way for a new secular government. The author then based in Ankara in 1971 and 1997 was a witness to the events .


Changing role of the National Security Council


Following the 1960 coup, the 1961 constitution transformed the earlier innocuous National Defense High Council into the National Security Council.  The president of the republic, instead of the prime minister, was made its chairperson, and "representatives" of the army, navy, air force and the police became its members, apart from the prime minister and four other ministers. The council became a constitutional body and offered "information" to the Council of Ministers (cabinet) concerning the internal and external security of the country.  After constitutional amendments following the 1971-1973 military intervention, it has submitted its "recommendations" to the Council of Ministers.

 

The 1982 constitution, a less liberal product and the result of the 1980-1983 military intervention, further strengthened the NSC's role by obliging the Council of Ministers to give priority to its recommendations.  Threats from military members of the NSC made then premier Suleyman Demirel resign in 1971, and the first-ever Islamist premier, Necmettin Erbakan, then heading a coalition with a secular party, was forced to leave in 1997 for not curbing increasing fundamentalism in Turkey.  Both the times, direct military takeovers were avoided.  The military intervened directly in 1960 and 1980 when politicians had brought the country to an impasse. Before the 1980 coup, hundreds of people were killed in daily violence while the politicians had abdicated responsibility by refusing to even elect a president of the republic .But after cleaning up the mess and getting a new constitution in place, the armed forces, as usual, returned to their barracks.


Trials and badmouthing of generals who were forced to carry out the 1980s coup is irrational and like disturbing the hornets nest .There would be a blow back . 


The Turkish armed forces have traditionally enjoyed total autonomy in their affairs and are very sensitive about it.  Their chief of general Staff (CGS) ranks after only the prime minister, and along with the president forms the troika that ruled the country. Turkish people have great respect and regard for its armed forces and trust them more than the politicians.

When I returned to Ankara as head of mission in 1992 , I praised the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly for putting up a brave front during the military's attempt to get Gen Faruk Gurler elected as the President of the Republic in 1973 .He said yes ,but the politicians had to pay a heavy price ie banning of mainline political parties and their leaders and their imprisonment .

 

The inhabitants of Turkey always a very passionate people , influencing and influenced by outside philosophy and ideas ,have a tendency for vendettas , a habit inculcated after half a millennia rule by tribal customs of Ottoman ruling elite and earlier the Seljuk from central Asia .

 

Conclusion


While there were many reasons , historic , economic and organic for the decline and fall of the Ottoman empire , but with the taking over of the holy places in Mecca and Medina and the title of the Caliph, began the era of decline .Immediately there was an increased influx of Mullahs , Shiekhs and orthodox Islamic habits and beliefs  , which soon opposed study of modern science and knowledge .The Ottoman society and elite became closed to new ideas while the Europeans made progress in science and new ideas and technology ; industrial and military.

The central Asian Turks , many of them Buddhists , were cosmopolitan and not Salafist .Many wives of the Ottoman Sultans in the beginning of the empire were Christian princesses , who were allowed to keep their Church in the harem .Some of the Ottoman Sultans were brought up as Christians boys in childhood by their Christian mothers till they were taken away from the harem to be trained as Gazis and warriors of the faith .


As in Ottoman era , so now ,the increasing influence of Saudi money and obscurantist ideas would not be beneficial and the Turkish society will regress into old habits .The controversies and fights over the veil or 'Ergenekon' mystery and trials are only symptoms of the battle .It suits US led West to keep Muslims backward and divided .The funding of conservative Muslim regimes and groups was used by the British and taken up by Washington after WWII, with Riyadh now the western bagman , to keep the thousands of Princes rolling in wealth and some in sin . Look at the mal-influence of Saudi money and ideology on Pakistan and elsewhere.

So what is happening in Turkey is a struggle between the Mir and the Pir ,the temporal ruler and spiritual ruler ,which still remains blurred ,contested and changing in most Muslim countries. Coming into power of AKP is retrograde development .There will be many ups and downs and episodes, some even bloody, before a balance is achieved, if at all, but not any time soon .

.

K.Gajendra Singh 14 June, 2011,Delhi 

K Gajendra Singh served as ambassador of India to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he was ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. Apart from postings in Dakar, Paris, Bucharest , the author spent his diplomatic career in North Africa , Middle east and Turkic countries ( ten years in Turkey in two tenures ).He spent 1976 with National Defence college , New Delhi , established the Foreign Service Institute for training of diplomats ( 1987-89), was chairman / managing director of IDPL , India's largest Drugs and Pharmaceuticals company ( 1985  and 1986 ) and while posted at Amman( 1989-92) evacuated nearly 140,000 Indian nationals who had come from Kuwait. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.