This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Turkish Democratic Freedoms

"Unfortunately, those fake intellectuals say that the state is carrying out a massacre. Hey you, fake intellectuals! You are dark people. You are not enlightened. You are dark and ignorant to the point that you do not even know where the southeastern or eastern regions are [in Turkey]."
"Today we are faced with the treason of the so-called intellectuals, most of whom get their salaries from the state and carry the ID card of this state in their pockets."
"You are either by the side of the nation and the state or by the side of the terrorist organization. We will not get permission from those so-called academics. They should know their place."                                                                                                                      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, January 12, 2016
Some of the signatories of the "Academics for Peace" petition in Turkey pose in front of a banner reading, "We will not be a party to this crime." The 1128 original signatories of the declaration have been subjected to sustained attacks and threats from the Turkish government and nationalist groups - Uzay Bulut, The Gatestone Institute
Russia is busy bombing Aleppo, determined to continue to bring the advantage to Syrian President Bashar al Assad in the civil war that has raged for almost five years with Sunni Syrians decrying their disadvantaged status in a country ruled by a Baathist Alawite regime that has elevated the Shiite minority to ruling status. The various rebel groups unified under a collective had succeeded in their efforts to take possession of large parts of Damascus and Aleppo suburbs which became targets for the regime's chemical attacks, barrel bombs and military sieges of civilian enclaves.

Russia's entry into the conflict, bringing its air force and ground troops into the areas of most concern to Assad has turned the tide in the Syrian tyrant's favour. Not only have Russian bombs displaced even greater numbers of Syrian civilians from their homes and creating new tides of refugees, but it has now aided in the bombing of a number of hospitals, among them one operated by Medicines sans Frontieres, and another a children's hospital, with ample casualties to satisfy the bloodlust of the regime.

Enter Turkey, whose president sees enemies wherever he looks, in every direction, from Russia, to Syria logically, and above all, the various Kurdish groups living in Syria and Iraq illogically, most particularly Turkey's own Kurds whose leaders have been agitating for decades for recognition and autonomy leading to full sovereignty for their 30 million-strong Kurdish population straddling Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Mr. Erdogan has few quarrels with Iraq's Kurds, but harbours a deep fury against those of Turkey and Syria.

And he has decided to once again persecute and militarily target Turkey's Kurds and Syria's as well. The Syrian Kurds have set up their own autonomous enclave alongside the Turkish border, keeping Islamic State at bay. They have the full support of the Western and Middle East powers who have trained and armed them. And Turkey, a NATO member, has chosen to wage war against the very people who have been most effective in their response to ISIL's advancing carnage; the very same fighters whom Erdogan's NATO colleagues support.

Those Turks who deplore their government's senseless attacks against Turkish Kurds, view his actions as little different than those of Syria's President targeting his own Sunni population for extermination. The intellectuals and researchers who have signed a petition against the conflict levelled by Turkey against its own Kurdish citizens, as well as those across the border in Syria, have been labelled as traitors by their president, and persecuted to the extent that many among them have been dismissed from their jobs, while others are threatened.

"We declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state," reads the declaration signed by 2212 people inside Turkey whose conscience will not permit them to stand idly by and say nothing as the blood-letting goes on, along with 2279 intellectuals and researchers from outside the country. All appealing for a return to peace. In response, Turkish media, under the thumb of the regime, have called for punishment for those being described as traitors.

"This is the full list of the academics that signed that declaration of treason", outrageously wrote the newspaper Yeni Akit, a display of dreadful incitement for Turks to respond to the activism of these people by seeking them out and visiting violence on them; else why publish their names? The newspaper further wrote: "Fire these men!"describing the academics as "perverts with diplomas", "whores who call Muslims 'sons of bitches.'" They were also characterized as "gay-loving", and "Armenian-lovers".

In a bid to try to protect themselves, the academics have appealed for legal assistance, demanding that reports including threats and insults be blocked to the public. In response to this entirely reasonable demand, a criminal court in Ankara rejected the demand. The court responded with the legal opinion that the reports and expressions rested within the "freedom of the press". And Turkey's vicious campaign against the Kurds goes into overdrive, with Erdogan ignoring pleas from France to stop, and American refusals to view the Kurds as terrorists rather than allies.

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