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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:08 am

There is a lot more to democracy than just how 50% of the population vote. There has to be a vibrant, free media and other platforms through which the opposition can make its voice heard. There has to be tolerance for free, open debate. There has to be an independent judiciary, free from political interference. Compare that with the reality on the ground in Turkey under the AKP's increasingly dictatorial regime. I consider that there are around 3,000 political prisoners in Turkish jails at the moment there for no other reason than that they support the values of the secular republic and have been vocal in promoting those values. There has been a deliberate policy of cowing all such opponents to create a climate of fear so that the AKP can take the counterrevolution to the next stage. An 18-year-old woman from Antalya has been in pre-trial detention for months after she was arrested on the Gezi protests and in the indictment filed against her by the public prosecution, one of her so-called offences was to be "wearing a red neckerchief, which symbolises socialism" (which eye witnesses all say was a blatant lie anyway - she was wearing no such thing). How is it possible in a democracy for the wearing an item of clothing that supposedly demonstrates support for a particular ideology to be a crime? Is it not ironic that the same AKP which has been lauded in some circles for making possible the wearing in certain settings in which it was previously banned the Islamic style full headscarf - in Turkey always a clear symbol of support for political Islam (and whose wearing was never a penal offence when Turkey was ruled by the old Kemalist regime, it was simply barred from certain settings) is also criminalising the wearing of attire that supposedly symbolises support for socialism. I am nor sure if it has escaped the notice of contributors here, but the Turkish constitutional court the day before yesterday ordered the release and re-trial of all of the 238 people who were convicted in the notorious trial into the alleged "Sledgehammer" coup attempt. This trial had taken kangaroo-court justice to a new level with the court refusing to hear expert evidence showing that key documents alleged to have been written by the accused had been tampered with at a later date. It seems that in places the people who reworked these documents to make it appear that the accused were plotting a coup even used the Calibri font , which had not even been designed by Microsoft at the time the documents were alleged to have been written (2003) - yet the court refused to take this into consideration when handing down the convictions. I am sure that the only reason the Constitutional Court has ordered a re-trial - apart from the fact that the Constitutional Court is not fully packed with Fettullah Gülen's placemen and does not just pass judgment as it has been ordered to by its political masters as opposed to the courts with special powers where all of these political show trials are held (extreme claim? - think again - a message was intercepted not so long ago from one of the courts with special powers to Fettula Gülen's organisation in Pennsylvania asking how it should rule on a certain matter)- was to save Turkey the embarrassment of having these convictions overturned at the European Court of Human Rights. How is it possible to speak of democracy against the background of these never-ending show trials aimed at cowing supporters of the values of the secular republic into silence as the secular republic is gradually dismantled? How is possible to speak of democracy in a country that imprisons the greatest number of journalists, for no other reason than that they have left-wing and secular beliefs and come out in support of these beliefs in their work? The number of imprisoned journalists is dwarfed by the number of journalists who have been forced out of their jobs after pressure has been applied on their employers by the regime and because their reporting does not meet with the regime's approval. Many opposition newspapers, magazines and television stations have been forced to close after pressure has been applied on them. Surely democracy goes hand in hand with the rule of law? How come Melih Gökçek, the person elected by the ınfamous '50%' to serve as AKP mayor of Ankara, could send bulldozers crashing through the fence of the Middle East Technical University in the middle of one night and see to it that hundreds of trees were summarily cut down there so that a new road could be built through the university campus, a project in opposition to which a huge protest movement had built up - even though there was an current court order granting a temporary stay of execution of the project in question issued by the competent court of the Republic of Turkey? He has faced absolutely no sanctions for this illegal act, not even a word of condemnation form anybody in the AKP. I find it hard to speak of democracy in a country where one of the l
leading lights of an authoritarian regime can ride roughshod over the law with total impunity. Yes, the notorious "50%" did elect the AKP in the last general elections - although there is more doubt about just how fair and free the latest municipal elections in Turkey that appeared to show the AKP's support holding up were, with many individual credible reports of electoral fraud having taken place - but, in my eyes, democracy is about more than just "50%". It is about freedom of speech, open and honest debate, justice and the rule of law.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby zan » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:21 am

Tim Drayton wrote:There is a lot more to democracy than just how 50% of the population vote. There has to be a vibrant, free media and other platforms through which the opposition can make its voice heard. There has to be tolerance for free, open debate. There has to be an independent judiciary, free from political interference. Compare that with the reality on the ground in Turkey under the AKP's increasingly dictatorial regime. I consider that there are around 3,000 political prisoners in Turkish jails at the moment there for no other reason than that they support the values of the secular republic and have been vocal in promoting those values. There has been a deliberate policy of cowing all such opponents to create a climate of fear so that the AKP can take the counterrevolution to the next stage. An 18-year-old woman from Antalya has been in pre-trial detention for months after she was arrested on the Gezi protests and in the indictment filed against her by the public prosecution, one of her so-called offences was to be "wearing a red neckerchief, which symbolises socialism" (which eye witnesses all say was a blatant lie anyway - she was wearing no such thing). How is it possible in a democracy for the wearing an item of clothing that supposedly demonstrates support for a particular ideology to be a crime? Is it not ironic that the same AKP which has been lauded in some circles for making possible the wearing in certain settings in which it was previously banned the Islamic style full headscarf - in Turkey always a clear symbol of support for political Islam (and whose wearing was never a penal offence when Turkey was ruled by the old Kemalist regime, it was simply barred from certain settings) is also criminalising the wearing of attire that supposedly symbolises support for socialism. I am nor sure if it has escaped the notice of contributors here, but the Turkish constitutional court the day before yesterday ordered the release and re-trial of all of the 238 people who were convicted in the notorious trial into the alleged "Sledgehammer" coup attempt. This trial had taken kangaroo-court justice to a new level with the court refusing to hear expert evidence showing that key documents alleged to have been written by the accused had been tampered with at a later date. It seems that in places the people who reworked these documents to make it appear that the accused were plotting a coup even used the Calibri font , which had not even been designed by Microsoft at the time the documents were alleged to have been written (2003) - yet the court refused to take this into consideration when handing down the convictions. I am sure that the only reason the Constitutional Court has ordered a re-trial - apart from the fact that the Constitutional Court is not fully packed with Fettullah Gülen's placemen and does not just pass judgment as it has been ordered to by its political masters as opposed to the courts with special powers where all of these political show trials are held (extreme claim? - think again - a message was intercepted not so long ago from one of the courts with special powers to Fettula Gülen's organisation in Pennsylvania asking how it should rule on a certain matter)- was to save Turkey the embarrassment of having these convictions overturned at the European Court of Human Rights. How is it possible to speak of democracy against the background of these never-ending show trials aimed at cowing supporters of the values of the secular republic into silence as the secular republic is gradually dismantled? How is possible to speak of democracy in a country that imprisons the greatest number of journalists, for no other reason than that they have left-wing and secular beliefs and come out in support of these beliefs in their work? The number of imprisoned journalists is dwarfed by the number of journalists who have been forced out of their jobs after pressure has been applied on their employers by the regime and because their reporting does not meet with the regime's approval. Many opposition newspapers, magazines and television stations have been forced to close after pressure has been applied on them. Surely democracy goes hand in hand with the rule of law? How come Melih Gökçek, the person elected by the ınfamous '50%' to serve as AKP mayor of Ankara, could send bulldozers crashing through the fence of the Middle East Technical University in the middle of one night and see to it that hundreds of trees were summarily cut down there so that a new road could be built through the university campus, a project in opposition to which a huge protest movement had built up - even though there was an current court order granting a temporary stay of execution of the project in question issued by the competent court of the Republic of Turkey? He has faced absolutely no sanctions for this illegal act, not even a word of condemnation form anybody in the AKP. I find it hard to speak of democracy in a country where one of the l
leading lights of an authoritarian regime can ride roughshod over the law with total impunity. Yes, the notorious "50%" did elect the AKP in the last general elections - although there is more doubt about just how fair and free the latest municipal elections in Turkey that appeared to show the AKP's support holding up were, with many individual credible reports of electoral fraud having taken place - but, in my eyes, democracy is about more than just "50%". It is about freedom of speech, open and honest debate, justice and the rule of law.


I totally agree Tim. It should be about honest debate and not the party politics that go on in the UK whilst the RealPolitik goes on behind closed doors. AKP should go but are being backed by the US.....until they decide to get rid of them. This is the reality so perhaps the TCs being aware of all of this are entitled to ask for a more secure deal to lessen the probability of being double crossed again.

Other changes around the world needed as well.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:25 am

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/Archive/20 ... /fular.jpg

I am happy to report an error in the above post. It seems that on 6 February, Ayşe Deniz Karacagil (pictured above, centre), indicted, inter alia, on the charge of “wearing a red neckerchief which symbolises socialism,” along with four other people arrested in the course of the Gezi protests and indicted on similarly ludicrous and unfounded charges, was acquitted by Antalya Serious Crime Court on 6 February after spending four months and four days in remand - surely a punishment of a kind.

I see this as being a victory for the Turkish judicial system which has not yet been fully brought under the political control of the autocratic AKP regime - but you can be sure they are working on it and one day the outrageous offence - in the eyes of Islamofascists - of a woman wearing a red neckerchief (or even being alleged to have done so) will not go unpunished - unless Erdoğan is kicked out in the coming presidential elections.

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turk ... ozgur.html
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:38 am

Agreed, it was the USA that for some reason decided to replace the flawed secular Kemalists with so-called moderate Islam (even though moderate political Islam is a contradiction in terms and moderate religion is what you get under secularism).

As journalist Micheal Jansen has put it:

“The cross-border conflict waged by the radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) is blowback from a policy of promoting fundamentalists that has been adopted for more than half a century by western powers and their regional allies as a counterweight to secular Arab nationalism.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/mi ... -1.1833320

And the same kind of thinking applies with regard to America’s policy towards other countries in the region. It is interesting that if you speak to a secular minded Pakistani about the parlous state that Pakistan has fallen into, they will tell you that in the 1970’s Pakistan was a pretty secular sort of place and it was the Americans that turned it into the country it is today with its policy of support for radical Islam as an antidote to Communism, and you will hear pretty much the same thing said by Turkish secularists.

What can we do about it? Probably not much, but we could at least refrain from praising the AKP regime for supposedly being democratic based on crass arithmetical thinking when it is actually slipping in the direction of outright dictatorship.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:43 am

And, I forget to ask above, can you speak of a regime as being democratic when it summarily removes hundreds of policemen and prosecutors from their posts simply because they are conducting an investigation into a web of corruption on a massive scale whose tentacles stretched to the very top of that regime?
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby zan » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:45 am

Tim Drayton wrote:http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/Archive/2014/2/6/38313_resource/fular.jpg

I am happy to report an error in the above post. It seems that on 6 February, Ayşe Deniz Karacagil (pictured above, centre), indicted, inter alia, on the charge of “wearing a red neckerchief which symbolises socialism,” along with four other people arrested in the course of the Gezi protests and indicted on similarly ludicrous and unfounded charges, was acquitted by Antalya Serious Crime Court on 6 February after spending four months and four days in remand - surely a punishment of a kind.

I see this as being a victory for the Turkish judicial system which has not yet been fully brought under the political control of the autocratic AKP regime - but you can be sure they are working on it and one day the outrageous offence - in the eyes of Islamofascists - of a woman wearing a red neckerchief (or even being alleged to have done so) will not go unpunished - unless Erdoğan is kicked out in the coming presidential elections.

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turk ... ozgur.html



I am glad and the following does not excuse what happened here in any way shape or form but.....


My eldest brother, black sheep of the family (haven't seen him for years. Don't want to) was arrested, in the UK, for drugs. Customs and excise knew they could only hold him for 24 hours so they arrested him on a Friday. The offices close for the weekend. It was a deliberate act so that they could hold him longer and beat the crap out of him so he would tell them who Mr.Big was. He caved in and was released on Monday. Six months later he got another beating from Mr.Bigs guys. He still limps to this day. Nearly broke his back. Maybe he got what he deserved but where is British justice and democracy in this. What happened to the reports of 160,000 Iraqis that got butchered and reported only late one night on the BBC. So excuse me if I say democracy is not the be all and end all in the way Kiks puts it.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby zan » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:51 am

Tim Drayton wrote:And, I forget to ask above, can you speak of a regime as being democratic when it summarily removes hundreds of policemen and prosecutors from their posts simply because they are conducting an investigation into a web of corruption on a massive scale whose tentacles stretched to the very top of that regime?



I believe the same is happening in the UK because of "cutbacks". The police allowing a group of kids to riot and then escalate it. Backlash?? MPs cash claims row. Backlash? BBC and media basically taken over. It all stinks.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby zan » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:01 am

BTW.....If you are wondering what happened to Mr.Big...... He died in a car crash on his way to Turkey. I'll leave you to ponder on that.
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:21 am

zan wrote:
Tim Drayton wrote:And, I forget to ask above, can you speak of a regime as being democratic when it summarily removes hundreds of policemen and prosecutors from their posts simply because they are conducting an investigation into a web of corruption on a massive scale whose tentacles stretched to the very top of that regime?



I believe the same is happening in the UK because of "cutbacks". The police allowing a group of kids to riot and then escalate it. Backlash?? MPs cash claims row. Backlash? BBC and media basically taken over. It all stinks.


Of course it all stinks, but given the size of the corruption involved in that case and the way the regime was able both to silence the investigation and then carry on as though nothing ever happened, the stench coming from that particular affair has a whole noxious flavour of its own.

By the way, I believed that America was behind that corruption investigation and had decided it was the time for Erdoğan to go - the timing was strange given that many of the events involved took place years ago and had been brushed under the carpet until then - so, either I was wrong about that, or Erdoğan has successfully managed to win against America (which seems a little implausible).
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Re: ...moving to City-States

Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:45 am

Tim Drayton wrote:http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/Archive/2014/2/6/38313_resource/fular.jpg

I am happy to report an error in the above post. It seems that on 6 February, Ayşe Deniz Karacagil (pictured above, centre), indicted, inter alia, on the charge of “wearing a red neckerchief which symbolises socialism,” along with four other people arrested in the course of the Gezi protests and indicted on similarly ludicrous and unfounded charges, was acquitted by Antalya Serious Crime Court on 6 February after spending four months and four days in remand - surely a punishment of a kind.

I see this as being a victory for the Turkish judicial system which has not yet been fully brought under the political control of the autocratic AKP regime - but you can be sure they are working on it and one day the outrageous offence - in the eyes of Islamofascists - of a woman wearing a red neckerchief (or even being alleged to have done so) will not go unpunished - unless Erdoğan is kicked out in the coming presidential elections.

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turk ... ozgur.html


I am afraid I slipped up above. Ayşe Deniz Karacagil and the four others were simply released from pre-trial remand. The trial continues and they have to sign on at a police station once a week. It seems that at a more recent hearing a successful application was made for their belongings to be returned, except the notorious red neckerchief, which has been retained as evidence. I would be grateful if anybody can name the article of the Turkish Penal Code or any other Turkish law according to which the wearing of a red neckerchief constitutes a criminal offence. If not, how can it be said that the rule of law applies in a country that arbitrarily subjects somebody to penal prosecution for something that is not defined as being an offence in the law. And, can any country in which the rule of law no longer applies be described as democratic?
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