Turkey: clashes between PKK, Islamists

Three were killed in southeastern Turkish town of Cizre Dec. 27 in armed clashes between Islamist militants of the Huda-Par and followers of the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H), an arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The fighting began when Huda-Par adherants attacked homes and encampments of the YDG-H followers. Security forces mobilized tanks, but were barred from reaching the conflict zone by defensive ditches dug by YDG-H members beforehand. In the early 1990s, conflict between the PKK and Huda-Par (also known as Turkish Hezbollah) claimed hundreds of lives. Cizre lies on the Syrian border. (Al Arabiya NewsReuters, Zaman, Dec. 27)

Turkey: prison for thoughtcrime?

We've already noted Recep Tayyip Erdogan's unseemly edifice complex. Now his ugly regime takes another step towards open dictatorship. Reuters and BBC News reported Dec. 26 that Turkish police arrested a 16-year-old high school student in Konya on charges of insulting the president, and he may face four years in prison. The arrest came after the youth read a statement during a ceremony to commemorate the killing of a Turkish soldier by Islamists in the 1920s. The accounts portray the statement as favorable to Ataturk and Turkey's secular tradition rather than a direct attack on Erdogan. Neither account provides further historical details on the historical incident (note even the exact year), while Al Jazeera is even worse, merely saying the ceremony commemorated "the killing of a Turkish soldier by armed men..."

Can anyone provide further details?

Erdogan's Ottoman fetish

Al Monitor reported Jan. 22 on the creepily pompous and atavistic ritual that Erdogan displayed when he greeted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his new ultra-ostentatious palace in Ankara, "as 16 men, clad in ancient eastern warrior costumes and holding replica swords, maces and spears, lined up on both sides of the staircase, eight on each side. Some were bedecked in chain mail and helmets, sporting fake mustaches and beards." This is but one of several recent such displays of Ottoman nostalgia.

DW on Nov. 28 noted that Erdogan opened the new palace in defiance of a court order brought by environmentalists concerned over the sprawling sites's impacts, prompting its critics to instead call it "Kacak Saray" (Illegal Palace), a play on the official name Ak Saray (White Palace).

Smelling more like a dictatorship every day, and a particularly wacky one.

Smeagol Tayyip Erdogan?

You can't make this shit up. From AFP, Dec. 4:

A Turkish court has asked experts to analyze the Lord of the Rings character Gollum to decide whether a doctor should be jailed for comparing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the figure, reports said Wednesday.

Bilgin Ciftci is facing up to two years in jail for "insulting" the president after sharing images comparing Erdogan to Gollum, a thin, pale, gangrel creature with a personality split between good and evil in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels and the hugely successful films.

Unable to decide whether Erdogan truly looks like Gollum, the court in the western province of Aydin asked a group of experts — two academicians, two psychologists as well as a cinema authority — to determine whether the comparison was an insult...

Sorry to play the geek here, but anyone who has read the books knows that Gollum's presonality was not really split between good and evil. He was wholly enslaved to the malevolent One Ring of Power. He was split between a wheedling and ingratiating persona ("Slinker") and a cunning and cut-throat one ("Stinker)." Much as Erdogan is split between a wheedling and ingratiating face that he shows to the West as an anti-ISIS ally, and a cunning and cut-throat one that he shows to the Kurds and left-opposition—against whom he connives with ISIS. We don't want Bilgin Ciftci to go to jail—we will extend every solidarity to him. But there is no way you can portray this comparison as anything other than an insult—and a dead accurate one.

Today's Zaman reports that nearly 100 people have been arrested in Turkey over the past 10 months on charges of insulting Erdogan. What a thin-skinned little creep.

Erdogan admires Hitler

The New York Times reports Jan. 1:

Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

Mr. Erdogan, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers, told reporters late Thursday that "there are already examples in the world."

"You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany," he said.

Hard to see how this could be "misinterpreted." Bad timing, coming days after Germany's Human Rights Commissioner Christoph Strässer stated] that Turkey should not receive a "discount" on meeting human rights criteria to join the EU. (Jurist)