Wed, April 29, 2015 Muslim Brotherhood Leader Denies Armenian Genocide

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi added his support to the denial of the Armenian genocide.

He made the remarks after Turkey angrily responded to requests that it recognize the murder of 1.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians beginning in 1915.

The cleric, whose TV show Sharia & Life has some 60 million viewers, said “there is an increasingly vicious campaign by some countries to pressure Turkey to take responsibility for the alleged Armenian genocide in 1915.”

This year marked 100 years since the genocide, which has never been acknowledged by Turkey, despite ample historical evidence, including first-hand accounts, proving that genocide took place.  

Yet Qaradawi slammed attempts to raise awareness saying “attempts to distort history by exaggerating the number of Armenians killed in the 1915 incidents while downplaying the Ottoman fatalities will not bring Turkey's supporters to succumb to these campaigns.”

The Turkish paper the Daily Sabah, which reported Qaradawi’s remarks, also denied the Armenian genocide. The paper is aligned with Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).  

It presented an alternative version of history which read

“The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire took sides with the invading Russians and staged revolts.

"The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.”

Although Armenians have long been lobbying for recognition, the issue came to the fore recently when the Pope called the Armenian Genocide “the first genocide of the 20th century,” prompting Turkey to recall its Ambassador to the Vatican.  

Wed, February 18, 2015 Turkish Women Take to Streets to Protest Gender Violence

Murdered psychology student Ozgecan Aslan. (Photo: © Reuters)

Murdered psychology student Ozgecan Aslan. (Photo: © Reuters)

Elliot Friedland

Protests have spread across Turkey in response to the rape and murder of a young student on a bus in the southern seaside city of Mersin. In Mersin itself, several women chained themselves to railings before they were confronted by law enforcement officers.

Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old student, got on a bus home last Wednesday. Her mutilated corpse was found on Friday and the driver, Suphi Altindoken, confessed to stabbing her to death, chopping off her fingers and then burning her body. Local media reports say that Aslan used pepper-spray in self-defense when Altindoken attempted to rape her, prompting his brutal assault.

Altinkdoken denies the rape charge, despite admitting to the murder. Her body was found dumped in a riverbed.

Violence against women has risen considerably in Turkey since the currently ruling Islamist AK party took over in 2003. Erdogan and his top officials have made several remarks about the role of women their "ideal society." One of the key tenets of Erdogan’s Islamizing vision for Turkish society is the relegation of women out of the political sphere and solely into motherhood.

According to a new report which has just been released by Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policy, 40% of Turkish women suffer from domestic abuse.

It is AKP policies that have encouraged and fostered the hostile cultural environment in which events like this can and do take place.

In July 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that women should refrain from laughing in public because it’s immodest.

In November 2014 Erdogan drew ire for his comment that Islam defines the role of women as motherhood, adding, “You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”

In 2010 he had gone much further, telling a delegation of women’s rights activists “I don’t believe in equality between men and women.”

The proliferation of such attitudes among the elite leads to indifference to and collusion in the oppression of women by those in positions of power. This murder case has seen an outpouring of women sharing their personal stories of oppression and sexual abuse on Twitter.

They have reported the callous indifference of the police to sexual assault, and victim blaming from officers who told one woman who reported her rape: “No wonder if you wear that skirt.”

Erdogan expressed his shock and horror at the murder of Ozgecan Aslan and said he would follow the case. Yet, he also lashed out at protestors, accusing them of exploiting her death for political gain, saying, “They are supposedly protesting by dancing to her death. What is that about? Say a prayer, if you know how to.”

His brief remark shows a knee-jerk hostility to the irreligious and a paranoid eye quick to find fault with any alleged motive.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the opposition Republican People’s Party, took issue with Erdogan’s record, saying, “This political administration doesn’t allow women to breathe. They interfere in everything.”

For female protesters on the streets across Turkey, the oppression and abuse have become too much to bear. 

Video: Female protesters in Mersin

Woman's Murder Sparks Outrage in Turkey

Submitted by Emily on Tue, 2015-02-17 12:21

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Turkish Police Use Water Cannon on Protesters Decrying Religion in Schools

Submitted by Emily on Mon, 2015-02-16 09:26

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Thu, February 12, 2015 Domestic Violence in Turkey at 40% Says New Gov't Report

Turkish women protest against domestic abuse (Photo: © Reuters)

Turkish women protest against domestic abuse (Photo: © Reuters)

A new report has concluded that 40% of women in Turkey suffer from violent abuse from a spouse or family member. The report, compiled by Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policy, has not been published, despite having been ready for some time.

The global average of domestic violence against women is around 30%.

The report was obtained by the President of the Federation of Turkish Women's Associations Canan Güllü and submitted to the parliamentary Violence Against Women Commission. The findings were reported by the Turkish daily paper Today’s Zaman.

Violence against women in Turkey has skyrocketed since Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan began ruling. According to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, from 2003, when Erdogan took power, until 2010, there was a 1,400 percent increase in the number of murders of women.

Last year there were at least 287 cases of women being murdered because they asked for a divorce.

This is despite Turkey’s legislation against honor violence. Instead of being killed by their families, women and girls are often forced to kill themselves instead when they are deemed to have brought shame upon their families. The families do not want to send a son to prison as well as killing a daughter.

This attitude is reinforced by the ruling elite.

Professor Aysel Çelikel, head of the Support for Contemporary Living Association, or ÇYDD, cited the root cause behind the alarming rise in violence against women saying, “Women’s rights are going backward as much as [Islamist] conservatism is increasing in society.” 

In July 2014 Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that women should refrain from laughing in public because it’s immodest.

In November 2014 Erdogan drew ire for his comment that Islam defines the role of women as motherhood, adding “You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”

In 2010 he had gone much further, telling a delegation of women’s rights activists “I don’t believe in equality between men and women.”




Sun, January 25, 2015 Man Kills Wife in Turkey for Having Second Baby Girl

(Photo: © Reuters)

(Photo: © Reuters)

A 29-year old father was given an aggravated life sentence in Turkey after killing his wife for giving birth to a second baby girl, instead of a boy.

The honor killing – done through electrocution – was premeditated. Veysi Turan bought insulated gloves and cables, among other equipment, to kill his wife the day after the birth.  In addition, while Turan was murdering his wife, 32-year old Mubarek Turan, he phoned the police and spoke to them as he was murdering her. The transcript, which was published in full, read as follows:

 “I killed someone,” Turan said to the police operator. 

“Who did you kill?” asked the operator, a police officer. 

“I am killing my wife right now,” said Turan.

“Did you kill her or are you killing her?” the officer asked. 

“Well, she isn't dead yet. But I am killing her if the murder is halal (permissible in Islam),” Turan said. 

The officer then asked if the suspect had a problem with his wife. 

“I am telling you that I killed my wife but you are asking what the problem was,” Turan replied. 

“I closed her mouth as she is in the throes of death,” he then said.

At which point the police operator snapped into action: “OK, wait. I am sending a unit.”

During the trial, Turan's lawyer admitted that his client killed his wife because she gave birth to “a girl once again.”

The prosecutor criticized the police for failing to stop the murder, saying, “If a police officer with a high persuasive capacity and training were on the phone, (the woman) would be alive today.”

According to Turkish government figures, after the Islamist AK party rose to power in 2002, the rate of honor killings in Turkey increased alarmingly in the deeply religious segments of the Turkish society, turning Turkey into a leading country afflicted by honor killings.

Turkey is now ranked as one of the worst countries to be a womanForty percent of Turkish women experience some form of physical violence in their lives, a rate much higher than that in Europe or the U.S. 

Professor Aysel Çelikel, head of the Support for Contemporary Living Association, or ÇYDD, cited the root cause behind the alarming rise in violence against women saying, “Women’s rights are going backward as much as [Islamist] conservatism is increasing in society.” 

Teen Suicide Bomber Who Blew Herself Up at Turkish Police Station Radicalized Thru Social Media

Submitted by Emily on Sun, 2015-01-18 12:06

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Mon, December 29, 2014 Turkey: Hamas Terror Head Speaks at Ruling AK Party Event

Turkey's Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan shaking hands with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. (Photo: © Reuters)

Turkey's Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan shaking hands with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. (Photo: © Reuters)

Khaled Mashaal, the head of the terrorist organization Hamas, made a surprise appearance in Turkey on Friday, at the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK party) annual general meeting on December 27.

At the general congress meeting of the ruling Islamist party in the town of Konya, Mashaal delivered a speech praising Turkey's leaders and damning Israel. He congratulated the Turkish people "for having Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan" and praised Konya as the "city of heroes."

At the same conference, the AK party unveiled a new campaign song in honor of Davutoglu, the current Prime Minister, praising him as the grandson of the Ottomans. The Ottoman Empire at its peak ruled most of the Middle East as well as large parts of Europe and northern Africa.  

The lyrics of the song read, "Who is the man? Who is the brave, the righteous and the honest one? Who? Who? Davutoğlu Ahmet Hoca, a wise man, a brave man." 

They continue, "The whole world knows him / He has no problem with history. / He is a true grandson of the Ottomans."

This is not the first time that the Turkish leadership has praised their Ottoman heritage. Davotuglu said in a speech at the beginning of November that "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] has been entrusted with us by [Muslim caliph] Hazrat Omar. Al-Quds has been entrusted to us by [Ottoman Sultan] Yavuz Sultan Selim and [Ottoman Sultan] Süleyman the Magnificent. Al-Quds has been entrusted to us by the last soldier of the Ottomans."

It should therefore come as no surprise that Davotuglu is being praised as the grandson of the Ottomans at the same AK party conference that Hamas head Khaled Mashaal called for the destruction of Israel saying, "Inshallah [Allah willing], we will liberate Palestine and Jerusalem again in the future."

Palestinian flags can be seen very prominently in the music video which accompanies Davotuglu's campaign song.

The AK party's understanding of Turkey's Ottoman past is bound up in the same Islamist romanticized notion of the caliphate espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an affiliate – that is, to re-establish the caliphate that was abolished in 1924.

At the same time as putting forward an Islamist platform, Erdogan and his AK party are cracking down on civil liberties and dissent in Turkey. Last week a new law was proposed which would allow the prime minister and the communications minister the right to block access to or remove content from any website they declare as endangering “national security and public order.”

Yet despite introducing fresh legislation to curtail freedom of expression and rounding up and arresting many prominent opposition journalists, on December 26, Erdogan made a statement saying that Turkey has the freest press in the world.

"Nowhere in the world is the press freer than it is in Turkey," Erdogan said in a televised speech. "I’m very sure of myself when I say this."

Campaign Video for Davotuglu

Thu, November 27, 2014 Hamas in Turkey Planned Attack on Jerusalem Stadium

Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, which Hamas was planning to attack.

Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, which Hamas was planning to attack.

A large Hamas terror ring, run from a command center in Turkey has been detected and foiled, according to an announcement made by Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet.

On Thursday the Shin Bet announced that it has arrested more than 30 Hamas members across the disputed territories who had been planning to carry out multiple attacks on targets in Jerusalem and around the country. Targets included the light rail service and Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem's largest soccer stadium.
The Hamas operatives were selected while studying in Jordan and trained either in the Sinai or in the Gaza strip.

Palestinian Authority officials told The Times of Israel that Saleh al-Arouri, a  senior Hamas operative who was deported by Israel to Turkey was the mastermind behind the operation. They charged that Turkey and Qatar allow Hamas members to operate with impunity within their respective territories and support them in carrying terrorist attacks out against Israel and undermining the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli intelligence has reportedly concluded that Turkey has been the top financial sponsor of Hamas since 2012, with Erdogan arranging for the transfer of $250 million to the terrorist group annually. Another report puts the figure at $300 million. The funding comes from private sources he is close to and not from the official budget. Turkey is also said to have trained Hamas security forces in Gaza through non-governmental groups.

Qatar, the other half of what the Al-Arabiya Institute for Studies called "the Qatari- Turkish regional axis supporting political Islam" is also a major backer of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, lives in Qatar and even gave an extremist sermon at its Grand Mosque. The U.S. once blocked a $400 million aid package from Qatar to pay 44,000 employees of the Hamas government in Gaza.

Tue, November 25, 2014 Turkey's Erdogan: Islam Says Women Are Not Equal to Men

Turkey's Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan (Photo: © Reuters)

Turkey's Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan (Photo: © Reuters)

Elliot Friedland

Turkey’s Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has said that “Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women [in society]: Motherhood.” He added that, “You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”

Erdogan went on to say, “Sometimes, here they say ‘men and women equality.’ But ‘equality among women’ and ‘equality among men’ is more correct. 

He made the remarks in a speech delivered to the Women and Justice Summit hosted by the Women and Democracy Association in Istanbul. His statements echoed those made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in April when he said that gender equality was “one of the biggest mistakes of Western thought.”

Violence against women has skyrocketed since Erdogan’s Islamist AKP party began ruling. According to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, from 2003, when the AKP party took power, until 2010, there was a 1,400 percent increase in the number of murders of women. Turkey also has very poor economic equality between the genders. Data from the World Economic Forum showed that in 2013, Turkey ranked 127th among 136 countries in the gender gap index of “economic participation.”

Erdogan made other troubling remarks in the speech. In reference to a recent court ruling against a proposed privatization of a port, he criticized the country’s judiciary and said that laws are not nearly as important as whom the ruler is.

“However, there is a beautiful saying that some attribute to Confucius, while others attribute to [Islamic caliph] Omar: ‘No matter how bad laws are, if they are held by a just sultan then they lead to fine results; no matter how good the laws are, if they are held by a brutal sultan then they lead to injustice.' Here, we see the same thing.”

Some commentators have said that this remark is further evidence that Erdogan ideally would not like to be the president in a democratic country, but rather the  caliph of and heir to the Ottoman Empire.

In the Turkish Ottoman Empire, as in contemporary Islamism, there was no separation between religion and state. Erdogan's  remarks against women are well grounded in Islamist thought.

For example, in Saudi Arabia -- where sharia (Islamic) law is the state law -- women are legally subordinate to men. The kingdom's male guardianship laws forbid women from travelling, doing business, marrying, divorcing, opening a bank account and even undergoing certain medical procedures without the permission of their male guardian (which can be their father, husband, son or even grandson).

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, the caliph was the spiritual leader of all Muslims worldwide, as well as the temporal leader of the Ottoman Empire’s vast territories. One of the caliph’s powers as the spiritual and political successor to the founder of Islam, Mohammed, was the power to declare jihad. This power is currently being exercised by the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

During the First World War, the Turkish Caliph Mehmet V exercised that power in a 1915 fatwa where he declared jihad against all "infidels" in the Ottoman empire. This fatwa was aimed at the British and French, but also the Armenian Christians living within the empire. 

At least one and a half million Armenians were slaughtered wholesale in genocide by Turkey -- a genocide that Turkey has never apologized for, compensated victims of, or even acknowledged.

The official fatwa authorizing the jihad reads,

“It is necessary that they [all Muslims] should know from today that the Holy War has become a sacred duty and that the blood of the infidels in the Islamic lands may be shed with impunity (except those who enjoy the protection of the Muslim power and those to whom it has given security and those who are confederate with it)."

(The exception was put in for German soldiers, with whom the Ottomans were allied in the war.)

This is the same empire of which Erdogan said, “We were born and raised on the land that is the legacy of the Ottoman Empire. They are our ancestors. It is out of the question that we might deny that presence.”

Erdogan has supported regional Islamist movements for years. He has repeatedly expressed sympathy and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, putting him at loggerheads with Egypt’s President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi.

At a rally last year he used the Muslim Brotherhood "raabia" hand sign to express support for Egypt's anti-government Brotherhood protestors. At the time, Al-Arabiya reported that Turkey has “become the regional hub for the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organization.”

The Muslim Brotherhood has been designated as a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Erdogan’s ally, the Muslim Brotherhood, also wants to restore the caliphate, just as the Islamic State is attempting to restore the caliphate. Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna said at the group’s fifth conference: “The Muslim Brotherhood has placed the idea of the caliphate and the work to reinstate it at the top of our priorities.”

While differences between the various Islamist factions are real and important, the fundamental goal remains the same: the establishment of a Islamic caliphate which governs the entire world, in which women are legally subordinate to men and where sharia law is the state law.

Turkish money was given to Hamas to wage their jihad against Jews. The Turkish border has been open to Islamists wishing to cross to wage jihad in Syria, yet closed to Kurds wishing to aid their beleaguered fellow Kurds in Kobane. Recently, Turkish soldiers stood by and watched while the Islamic State attacked Kobane

Erdogan’s comments about women and his comments about the sultan are two facets of the same Islamist ideology. He is as firmly committed to Islamism now as he was in 1998 when he was arrested for reading a poem saying, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”


Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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