February 2011

“Free Press Vital for Turkey” Says US Ambassador Ricciardone

Francis J. Ricciardone, the recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Turkey, said at a reception in Ankara on Tuesday that he did not understand how Turkish journalists could be detained while both the government and the opposition talk about the importance of freedom of speech.

Speaking to journalists who asked him his thoughts on the recent raid by the police to Oda TV offices and the detention of four journalists, among them the prominent oppositionary journalist Soner Yalcin, Ricciardone said: "Turkey wants a free press. Turkish people want a critical press even if it is a dissident one. The opposition parties and the government say they support freedom of the press. We are following the process closely. Journalists are being detained on the one hand, while addresses about freedom of the speech are given on the other. We do not understand this. The Turkish people's opinion is important. That is why we are asking you". The Ambassador added that freedom of the press, freedom of speech, along with independent and transparent judicial process are vital for democracies.

Source: Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Turkey, February 16, 2011

Date Posted: February 17, 2011
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Mavi Marmara Delegation Leader Nurettin Sirin Writes From Tehran: “ALLAHUAKBAR! Now Is The Time To Eliminate Israel..!”

In an article titled “ALLAHUAKBAR! Now Is The Time To Eliminate Israel..! sent from Tehran, the radical Islamist activist Nureddin Sirin wrote, “As guests of the International Islamic Radio and Television Union, we are here in Tehran, together with the Mavi Marmara freedom fleet’s mujahedeen, ghazis and families of the shahids, to participate in the anniversary ceremonies of the (Iranian) Islamic Revolution, and to celebrate with unparalleled joy and pride, the ousting of the Pharoah Mubarak through the holy intifada of freedom-loving Egyptian people. We are sending (to Turkey) our proud salutations from this land of revolution.

“We are delivering to you the promising words of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that ‘only a short time is left for the building of a Middle East without Israel or America in it’ and we are praying for the quick arrival of that bright day, when all of us will meet in a free al Quds (Jerusalem). We are sending our salutations to the people of Palestine – that feels the utmost joy for the demise of Egypt’s pharoah Mubarak – and the defiant Muslim heroes of Gaza.”

Sirin ends his article with the following lines:

“(…) Salutations to the shimmering dawn of revolution, that’s upon the world of Islam!

“Salutations to the Free Quds!

“Salutations to a Middle East, without Israel!

WAIT FOR US ISRAEL, EVERYWHERE YOU’RE WAITING,

WAIT FOR US ISRAEL, EVERYWHERE WHERE YOU ARE NOT WAITING..!

Source: velfecr.com, Turkey, February 12, 2011

Date Posted: February 16, 2011
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Turkish Delegation of Mavi Marmara/Flotilla Also in Iran; Ahmadinejad: “Mavi Marmara Opened New Era in the World”

Radical Islamist Turkish internet portal Velfecr reported that Iranian President Ahmadinejad hosted today Turkey’s Mavi Marmara delegation, visiting in Iran to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The introductions were made by the militant Islamist activist Nureddin Sirin and the IHH official Selaheddin Ozer who lead the delegation. Echoeing Ahmadinajad’s earlier words during the celebration ceremonies, Sirin said in the meeting, “We are here today with the longing and the determination to build a Middle East without Israel and America, and to refresh our pledge to continue on the path of the Mavi Marmara shahids. This meeting is a symbol of the unity of the umma, and the brotherhood between Muslims of Iran and Turkey. As the members of the Islamic umma, and as Muslims of Iran and Turkey we will be hand in hand, and all together we will have our Friday prayer in a free al-Quds (Jerusalem)”. Ahmadinejad said, “The blood of these shahids will not be in vain and with their blood we will reach Jerusalem”.

The Flotilla delegation of the “Mavi Marmara mujahedeen, ghazis and families of the shahids” were invited to Tehran by the International Islamic Radio-Television Union. They participated in the February 11 ceremonies and marched chanting anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-Hamas, Hizbullah and Egypt slogans and carried the photos of the nine activists who died aboard Mavi Marmara last May, during the violent clash with Israeli soldiers.

The Flotilla delegation was later hosted by a representative of Khamaney who thanked Turkey’s Muslims for their fight for Islam and for the defense of Palestine and Gaza and said, “Mavi Marmara became a source of pride for all Muslims. The shahids and ghazis are the honor of the umma of Islam. Through resistance and martyrdom they exacted a great blow to the Zionist regime. In the Holy Koran Allah says, ‘Among all peoples, the Jews are the most evil enemy of the (Muslim) believers’. This verse also means that those Muslims who become shahids or get wounded while fighting the Jews are considered better-than-the-best of all mujahedeen and shahids. Therefore I salute the Mavi Marmara shahids, for being higher than our own shahids.”

Source: Velfecr.com, Turkey, February 12 and 15, 2011

Date Posted: February 16, 2011
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Turkish President Abdullah Gul Meets Iranian Supreme Leader Khamaney

Turkish President Abdullah Gül met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamaney and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Tuesday as part of his state visit to Tehran.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz, who is also co-president of the Turkey-Iran Joint Economic Commission, were also in attendance at the closed-door meetings. Gul is in Tehran as the guest of his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the first Turkish president visiting Iran in nine years.

The Turkish president told a joint press conference Monday with Ahmadinejad that the two countries held detailed discussions on key issues of mutual interest and that important decisions were made. He emphasized the brotherly, historic and cultural relations between the two countries. (...)

The Iranian president also took the public opportunity Monday to thank “the Turkish president for his country’s position concerning Iran’s nuclear rights.” He added that Iran and Turkey are determined to strengthen ties both politically and economically.

On Monday, Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu also met his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saaed Jalili to set the road map on negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program.

(...)

Source: AA, Hurriyet, Turkey, February 15, 2011

Date Posted: February 16, 2011
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Obama To Erdogan: “ You are the most important name in the region. I need your ideas”

Large circulation, pro-AKP Turkish daily Sabah reported that President Obama called Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan three times since January 29 and that during their February 12 conversation Obama praised Erdogan and told him, “You are the most important name in the region. I need your ideas. Your statements have made a positive impact on the developments in Egypt”.

Erdogan repeated to Obama what he had said in his speech to the Turkish parliament, that the transition to fully functioning democracy in Egypt should be swift and suggested an international donors conference in order to help Egypt economically. Obama reportedly said in response, “Then, let’s start working on such a conference”.

Source: Sabah, Turkey, February 15, 2011

Date Posted: February 15, 2011
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AKP’s Judiciary Bill Signed into Law

(Script on the Justice: High Courts; Book in Erdogan's hands: Judiciary Bill)

President Abdullah Gul signed the law which increases the number of departments and members of Council of State (Danistay) and High Court of Appeals (Yargitay) and drew reaction of higher judiciary organs. Ignoring the calls for veto, Gul approved the debated law only two days after his meetings with the chief justices of the high courts, who expressed to him their concerns about the proposed changes. Replying questions prior to his departure for Iran, Gul said, "I see no harm in approving the law within the scope of the information and the recommendations I received from my advisors”.

The new law opens the door to politicization of the judiciary, allowing many pro-AKP members (even from outside the legal profession) to be assigned to the bench by the government.

Source: Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Turkey, February 14, 2011

Date Posted: February 15, 2011
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President Obama Spoke Three Times with Turkish PM Erdogan On Egypt

Obama to Erdogan: For heavens sake! Erdo, you be careful...

Erdogan: What's that?! Oh that issue!...Don't you worry Obi my dear. Don't worry, I am boiling the water very very slow...

(frog=the people; burning wood=U.S.A. and EU)

Date Posted: February 15, 2011
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AKP’s New Assault on Freedom of Press in Turkey

At pre-dawn hours on Monday, Turkish police raided the offices of the popular, oppositonary Internet news portal Odatv, as well as the homes of four journalists. Columnist Soner Yalcin of Turkey’s largest circulation, mainstream daily Hurriyet, and the owner of the odatv internet news organ, along with three other journalists of odatv were arrested and taken to detention after their homes were raided by the police and searched for many hours. Odatv is a well-respected, and objective media organ who often criticized the AKP government and was first to publish the background information on governmental wrongdoings. Odatv was also the first media outlet that exposed the ties between IHH and Islamist terrorist organizations.

All computer hardware, documents, books and notes, even music CDs were taken from the homes of the journalists who were charged with allegedly conspiring with the “Ergenekon” organization, to oust the AKP government. Scores of journalists, academicians, authors, intellectuals and dozens of military officers are in prison for over two years, awaiting trial. Most of them do not know what the charges or the evidence against them are.

Source: Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Turkey, February 15, 2011

Date Posted: February 15, 2011
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Sweeping Arrests of 163 Retired and Active Military Officers Shock Turkey

The ongoing arrests of more dozens of military officers, 106 of whom are on active duty, as part of the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) case has shocked Turkey and dominated the local news over the weekend. It is reported that the arrests will severely disrupt the chain of command and promotions within the military.

An Istanbul court approved an arrest demand late Friday evening for 163 suspects in the alleged coup-plot case, including top suspect retired Gen. Cetin Dogan, former commander of the prestigious1st Army, Ret.Adm. Ozden Ornek, former Commander of Naval Forces and Ret.Gen. Ibrahim Firtina, the former commander of the Air Force. Out of the 196 total suspects of the case, 167 were present at the Friday hearing and 133 were arrested unexpectedly, when the court house closed its doors on them. The defendants face between 15 and 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of “conspiting to topple the AKP government”.

(...)

The chief judge of the court handling the case was changed two days prior to the arrest decision, which the defense lawyers are characterizing as an “intervention” into the case by the political authority.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, February 13, 2011

Date Posted: February 14, 2011
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Ergenekon Suspect Professor Transferred Out of Hospital, His Guard, Doctor, Nurse and Two Others Arrested

Baskent University President Prof. Mehmet Haberal, who had been under arrest for allegedly conspiring to topple the AKP government, was being treated in Istanbul University Hospital for heart related disease, when the Criminal Court handling the Ergenekon case ordered the arrest of his guard, two nurses and two others who were near his bed. Later his cardiologist, Prof. Cengiz Celiker, was also detained. Prof. Haberal was transferred to another hospital where he stays in a high-security room with bullet-proof windows.

The arrests came after two court-appointed doctors studied Haberal’s medical file and determined that his condition had ceased to be life-threatening, but this information was not sent to the Court.

Haberal is one of dozens of university professors who have been under arrest for years, awaiting trial.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, February 11, 2011

Date Posted: February 14, 2011
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