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U.S. Works With Turkey on ISIS But Is Wary of iIs Politics

Submitted by Emily on Wed, 2015-08-26 08:33

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Mon, August 10, 2015 US Consulate Attacked in Istanbul; Attacks in Southern Turkey

Turkish police special forces on patrol following the attack. (Photo: © Reuters)

Turkish police special forces on patrol following the attack. (Photo: © Reuters)

The U.S. consulate in Istanbul was among several targets attacked in Turkey August 10. No one was injured in the attack on the consulate and a woman was arrested following a firefight with police.

Separately, four police officers were killed in an earlier strike against a police station in the mainly Kurdish province of Sirnak.

Shortly afterwards, militants shot and killed a soldier in a helicopter.

Also in Istanbul, prior to the attack on the consulate, a bomb went off in the Sultanbeyli district, injuring three policemen and seven civilians.

So far there is no evidence that the attacks were linked. 

Turkey blamed ‘separatist terrorists’ for the attack, which is used by the government as shorthand for Kurdish militants.

Turkey has recently entered the regional war, bombing both Islamic State and Kurdish targets in Northern Iraq. Turkish airstrikes prompted the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to declare and end to a two-year ceasefire.

Kurds also blame Turkey for turning a blind eye to the slaughter of Kurds by the Islamic State and allowing thousands of jihadists to enter Syria via its poorly policed borders, while preventing Kurds from joining their fellow nationals to fight against ISIS.  

America on Sunday moved six F-16 fighter-bombers to the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey to take part in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State.

The fact that Turkey’s late decision to attack ISIS and allow U.S. planes access to its territory coincided with Turkey’s decision to bomb the Kurds led Foreign Policy to speculate Has the US Just Sold Out the Kurds?

It is equally possible the attack on the consulate was carried out by the Islamic State, which is known to have operatives in Turkey. ISIS is already at war with the United States and may have wanted to punish Turkey by attacking the U.S. Consulate. 

These attacks mark an escalation in Turkey’s involvement in the regional war. It remains to see how the government will respond, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may use these attacks as an excuse for a fresh crackdown on the Kurdish population. 

Tue, July 28, 2015 'May I Cut Off a Head as a Wedding Present?' - ISIS: 'Yes'

The defector, identified only as Leena.

The defector, identified only as Leena.

An Islamic State defector from the Hisbah (the Islamic State religious police) told a shocking tale of petty power plays and a cult of vicious violence.

Leena (not her real name) told The Mail Online “'I was horrified by what I saw, the brutality and corruption. I left because I saw so many terrible things, so much destruction, beatings.”

She fled the would-be Caliphate after her boss, a female ISIS judge, was given over to another female judge, for beheading.

She said “Um Abdullah was married with four children. She was kind.

“If the woman brought to her was poor she would give her a very small fine. One time she had to sentence a woman to a beating, so she beat the woman with her pencil so it would not hurt but still be within the law.

'But there was another judge, a Tunisian, Roaa Um Khotaba al-Tunisi, she was a real monster. She was married to a Libyan fighter and he was killed in battle in Kobane. The ISIS leaders said she should marry again because she was young, maybe 30.

“For her wedding present she asked the emirs to cut off the head of a kuffar, an unbeliever. Her request went to the top of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who considered it for a long time. 

“Finally he said she could have a prisoner beheaded, but it had to be a woman. At about the same time my judge, Um Abdullah, disappeared. She had been accused of being a spy, working for the Saudi Intelligence Services. She was captured and taken to jail.

“The Tunisian, Roaa Um Khotaba Al-Tunisi, asked for head of Um Abdullah and she was sentenced to death. When I asked others in Hisbah what she had done I was told not to ask, for my own safety.”

Leena said “You can imagine how frightened I felt because I was her writer [clerk]. I feared I would be next, be beheaded. I don't know if she is dead or alive but I fear the worst.”

She also spoke about the role of foreign converts in the ISIS administration. She reported there are five British women in the Hisbah¸ who receive preferential treatment compared to local jihadists. They were allowed to carry guns and would travel around the Caliphate. All five were converts and had only been Muslims for a few years.

Although she was initially entranced by what she saw as the romantic idealism of the foreign fighters, she later described them as rapists, looters and thieves only after “money, gold and slaves.”

She spoke about a woman sentenced to 80 lashes for speaking to a man in a shop, even though the man was her husband and many other abuses of power. She convinced her husband to flee, and the family fled Syria with their young children.

She now lives on the run, since ISIS operates in southern Turkey, and its operatives may kill her and her family.

She said “We cannot stay in Turkey. There is no work for Syrians and ISIS murder people here. We will go anywhere we can be safe, maybe Europe.”

Mon, July 27, 2015 Turkey Opens War Against Kurds, Bombs PKK & ISIS

A Turkish air force jet. (Photo: © Wikimedia Commons)

A Turkish air force jet. (Photo: © Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey has joined the air campaign against the Islamic State, but used its jets to bomb Kurdish forces affiliated with the PKK as well as ISIS.

Over the weekend Turkey responded to an Islamic State suicide bombing on the border town of Suruc, which killed 36, by bombing ISIS targets in northern Iraq. While they were there, they also bombed seven different PKK sites in Northern Iraq. Casualty figures are unknown.

This is the first attack against the PKK since peace talks began in 2012.  The Kurds are the majority in areas of southern Turkey, as well as parts of Syria, Iraq and Iran. They are the largest stateless minority in the world. The PKK fought a three-decade war against Turkey which killed 40,000 people and was only ended in 2012.

The PKK have killed two Turkish soldiers in retaliation. PKK Spokesman Zagros Hiwa said “Turkey has basically ended the cease-fire.”

The Turkish government is also suppressing domestic dissent, detaining some 1,000 people in Ankara who demonstrated for peace over the weekend.

America has drawn fire for supporting Turkey against the Kurds, who have hitherto been the only non-sectarian ground forces holding out against the Islamic State in northern Syria and Iraq. U.S. sources stood by Turkey’s right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from the PKK.

The PKK claimed responsibility for killing two Turkish police officers last week, angered that the Turkish government has not done enough to prevent terrorist attacks by the Islamic State. Those killed in Suruc were volunteers on a mission to reconstruct Kobane, which had been devastated by an Islamic State attack earlier in the year.

Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter the Islamic State said: "We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful 'solution process' for a just and sustainable peace."

Turkey has now agreed to allow coalition aircraft to bomb the Islamic State from its territory, something the U.S. has been requesting for a long time. The U.S. denies allowing Turkey to bomb the PKK in exchange for access to Turkish air bases.

NATO is now holding an emergency meeting at Turkey’s request to discuss ISIS and the PKK. 

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.” 

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