Egypt, Turkey, Britain and Syria

This video from Turkey says about itself:

June 4, 2013

Hundreds of protesters opposed to the redevelopment of an Istanbul park continued to occupy the square surrounding the park for a fifth day on Tuesday, despite several days of clashes with riot police sent to evict protest groups and the spread of demonstrations into major cities across Turkey. Human rights organisations say almost a thousand people have been injured in confrontations in Istanbul alone.

Members of environmental, liberal and leftist groups including the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and the public sector worker’s union KESK were joined by traditional foes such as the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a ongoing defiance of government demands to disperse. One protester spray painted a multi-coloured peace sign on the ground, littered with debris of tyres and fencing used to construct a barricade to shield the park from police and demolition. An Egyptian flag suggestive of Tahrir square blew in the breeze while vendors lined up rows of Guy Fawkes masks, synonymous with the Anonymous movement.

By Jeremy Corbyn in Britain:

No lessons learned from past mistakes

Wednesday 03 July 2013

The conflict in Egypt is being played out on screens all over the world as popular opposition mounts to President Mohamed Morsi and his economic failures.

This is compounded by the former Mubarak regime‘s attempt to regain power and Western interests in maintaining Egypt as their close ally – although of course their most important ally in the region is Israel.

The so-called Arab spring was prompted by many complex issues, such as the lack of democracy and free expression in many Middle Eastern and north African countries, but also by the huge economic inequalities and high levels of youth unemployment.

Essentially, many of the demands are economic.

The demonstrators on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria are not looking for market solutions or privatisation of public services.

Similarly, the people on the streets of Turkey and Brazil are also looking for economic and social security rather than an even deeper development of market economics.

Interestingly, the authorities’ responses have been very different.

In the case of Turkey, there has been outright condemnation and repression of the protesters by the Erdogan government, which seems to have made peace with the military. Now lawyers and journalists have been arrested and detained and many of the popular movements in Turkey are under threat, be they Kurdish or Turkish.

The response in Brazil has been very different, where President Dilma Rousseff conceded people’s right to demonstrate from the very beginning, despite the brutal behaviour of the police in Rio and Sao Paulo.

By a series of negotiations her government has now conceded on a number of issues such as transport prices and the need for far greater investment in education.

The approach being taken in Egypt could not be more different and the situation is in danger of spiralling out of control into a civil war.

Interestingly, when questioned about President Morsi in the House of Commons yesterday, David Cameron said it was the duty of leaders to reflect the diversity of opinion within their society – something his government has resolutely refused to do. Indeed his government has systematically dismantled many of the democratic rights and economic opportunities of the poorest in Britain.

British international policy seems not to have learnt the lessons of the past 12 years.

To the bemusement of many, David Cameron told the Commons on Monday that the morale of British troops in Afghanistan was very high, that confidence in the Afghan government was even higher and that the whole experience in Afghanistan had been broadly successful.

It was only under pressure that he conceded that spending of £17 billion, the loss of 444 British soldiers, many thousands of civilians and illegal drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan had left a terrible legacy behind.

Ominously, he was extremely unclear as to what British or US military presence will remain in Afghanistan after the supposed drawdown of forces next year.

The US will want to maintain a massive presence, either by direct troop involvement or by the use of security companies to carry out its policies.

It seems ironic to point out that both Cameron and Barack Obama have both welcomed the opening of a Taliban office in Doha, from which negotiations will be conducted on the future government in Afghanistan.

One is tempted to ask why Tony Blair and George Bush didn’t take up the offer of negotiations with the Taliban in 2001, opting for invasion instead, leading to countless deaths in Afghanistan and the destruction of civil liberties in every Western country that was involved.

As if the lessons have not been learnt of involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Cameron and William Hague are now the big cheerleaders, along with the latter-day Blairite Francois Hollande, in supplying arms to the Syrian National Council to continue the prosecution of the war there.

The war in Syria is in many ways a proxy for the conflicts of the entire region.

The Assad government, with its appalling human rights record, is fighting with Russian and Iranian support against an opposition which is partly funded by Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

While the West claims to want a political solution to the conflict, the signs are that this is the last thing on their minds, preferring instead Western intervention.

If there is a real wish for a political solution, the question has to be asked why the conference in Doha 10 days ago of the GCC countries plus the US and European Union had specifically excluded Russia and Iran.

When put under pressure about this, Hague and Cameron claimed it was the only way of promoting a political settlement in Syria, yet at the same time, they continue to promote the supply of arms by ending the European arms embargo. Nor have they challenged Senator John McCain‘s hawkish demand for a no-fly zone over the entire country.

So far, opposition in the British Parliament by MPs of all parties has meant that Cameron is reluctant to risk a vote in the house on approving arms supplies.

Indeed, pressure by backbenchers from all parties in the Commons has forced a debate tomorrow on the question of how a decision on arms supplies could be made.

The conflicts across the whole region, and indeed Afghanistan, all have their origins in European colonialism and the cynical partition of communities and societies for Western interests at the end of the first world war.

Western interests at that time were strategically economic and sought to ensure trade routes throughout the region and the supply of oil to Western economies.

The interests now are not really very different but what has changed are the popular uprisings that removed so many governments in 2011 and now threaten Morsi’s rule in Egypt.

The one thing that is very clear is that Western involvement will not solve any of these issues. What we need is a foreign policy that does not assume any moral superiority or financial greed.

Jeremy Corbyn is Labour MP for Islington North.

Libyan weapons and foreign fighters are increasingly finding their way to the front lines of the Syrian conflict, where tens of thousands of civilians have died over three years of war: here.

Syria‘s rebels in rift with Aleppo’s civil opposition: here.

Syria Videos: Insurgents Kill & Abuse Captured Regime Fighters in Khan al-Assal: here.

US military leaders have been meeting with regional allies to discuss the next phase of the United States’ proxy war in Syria: here.

10 thoughts on “Egypt, Turkey, Britain and Syria

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  5. PYD call to the international community

    The Diplomatic and Foreign Affairs Office of Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Europe released today another appeal to the International Community to protect multi-ethnic communities in Syria.
    In the appeal the PYD says that “Kurdish political Parties, organisations and Community members in exile earnestly call International Community to protect the civilians – Kurds, Arabs and other Syrian multi-ethnicities, Assyrians, Armenians, Christians – against the brutal ethnic cleansing attacks taking place against the peacefully co- existing ethnicities in the Kurdish region in Syria”.

    Since 17 July 2013, al-Qaeda affiliated armed groups,Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have launched brutal attacks on Kurdish areas and it neighbourhoods in Tel-Abeyd, Serekaniye, Tel- Aran, Tel- Hasel, killing, kidnapping and shelling with heavy weaponry the Kurdish neighbourhoods and calling publically to kill, kidnap and loot Kurds and force them to leave their homes and properties. As a result hundreds of Kurdish civilians have been kidnapped, tortured and their houses have been looted and burned down. These on-going brutal massacres are scattering targeting all Kurdish civilians in Qamishli, Kobani and Afrin areas.

    Since 29 July 2013 two Kurdish towns Tel-Aran and Tel-Hasel and its villages of Aleppo, have been under brutal attacks and massacred, hundreds of innocent Kurdish children, women and elderly people have been murdered and beheaded, survivors eye witnesses conforming that 70 civilians have been killed and tow civilian beheaded and Kurdish homes have been cruelly looted and destroyed and 300 civilians have being kept hostage and their fate still unknown and thousands vulnerable civilians forcibly fled in horror, since then the both towns are under siege and isolated and there are confirmed reports that both towns civilians have been subjected of ethnic cleansing and massacres by those terrorist armed groups.

    The statement adds that “These terrorist attacks on civilians, just for their ethnic identity is an act of ethnic cleansing of ethnic communities who have been co-existing peacefully together and to destabilises the Kurdish regions that have been relatively peaceful in an attempt to evict the people and forcibly impose the rules of the Extremist Islamic state of Iraq and Syria”.

    The PYD also adds that “These armed terrorist groups which are a major threat to the regional and global stability and peace, have been militarily facilitated by Turkey and supplied by the Gulf States. The recent intervention of six military tanks and hundreds of jihadists from Turkey into Tel-Abeyd, Syria, shows the Turkish involvement in the on-going Syrian sectarian war which neither serves the interests of Syrians nor Turkey and its allies”.

    The appeal says “The EU and the US should recognise the Kurdish democratic, secular struggle against the Jihadists Al-Qaida which is a major threat to both the US and the EU”.

    The Kurds and the democratic movement in Syria have successfully managed to administer themselves democratically and peacefully and they have actively sought and contributed to democratic, peaceful change inside Syria. This successful model, adds the statement, shows that Kurds are the major potential player for establishing stability and developing democracy in the region.

    The appeal ends saying that “a comprehensive political settlement to be an effective resolution to end the Syrian crisis and its brutal civil war. Therefore we call on the international community, the UN, EU and the USA to protect multi- ethnic communities in Syria and condemn these inhuman massacres and ethnic cleansing of Kurdish people in Syria”.

    ANF London 08-08-2013


  6. ‘Erdogan heeft door zijn Ottomaanse dromen nul vrienden over’

    OPINIE – Betsy Udink

    De Turkse premier Erdogan heeft zich door zijn emoties en dromen laten meeslepen, meent schrijfster Betsy Udink. De Turkse regering schreeuwt het hardst van allemaal om militaire actie tegen het Syrische regime, maar de Turkse bevolking heeft daar helemaal geen zin in. Onderwijl valt Syrië langs de Turkse grens uiteen in verschillende Salafistische staatjes.

    Turkije heeft het hardst van allemaal geschreeuwd om internationale militaire actie tegen het regime van Bashar al-Assad. De regering van Erdogan heeft gezworen deel te nemen aan elke militaire actie tegen het Syrische regime. Minister Davutoglu van Buitenlandse Zaken toonde zich duidelijk teleurgesteld met het Russische voorstel de Syrische chemische wapens onder internationale controle te stellen. Het voorstel, zei hij, ‘geeft het regime van Assad groen licht voor nog meer massaslachtingen’.

    In de ogen van de Turkse regering traineert het voorstel een oplossing van de Syrische burgeroorlog. ‘Het Russische voorstel mag de vastbeslotenheid van de internationale gemeenschap niet doen verslappen om het regime de prijs te laten betalen voor de chemische aanvallen op zijn eigen burgers.’

    Turkije heeft de afgelopen dagen de troepen aan de grens met Syrië versterkt. Dat was een antwoord op de dreiging van het regime in Damascus niet alleen Israël, maar ook Turkije te straffen als Amerika met raketten Syrië gaat beschieten.


    Aan de andere kant van de poort wappert de groen-wit-zwarte vlag van het Vrije Syrië.

    Maar hier in Karkamis, pal op de Turks-Syrische grens, is er van die militaire activiteiten weinig te merken. De boeren hebben net hun oogst van paprika’s en aubergines binnengehaald. Vandaag rusten ze uit op het dorpsplein in afwachting van het binnenhalen van de rijpe Aleppo-nootjes (pistachio’s). Ze leggen een kaartje, slaan met de triktrakstenen op de houten doos, roken een sigaret en slurpen hun thee.

    Het groepje van twintig Syrische Koerden dat op een muurtje zit te wachten tot de ijzeren grenspoort opengaat, heeft geen geld voor thee. Aan de andere kant van de poort wappert de groen-wit-zwarte vlag van het Vrije Syrië. Daar ligt Jarablous dat in handen is van de Islamitische Staat van Irak en Syrië, een extremistische islamitische beweging die de plaatselijke bevolking terroriseert.

    Karkamis is vanwege zijn ligging millennialang van strategische belang geweest. Al 9.000 jaar voor onze jaartelling was Karkamis bewoond. Bij Karkamis is het relatief eenvoudig de Eufraat over te steken, de rivier waarachter het echte Nabije Oosten begint en die Turkije in Oost en West verdeelt.

    Karkamis is een interessante uitkijkpost voor Turkse inlichtingendiensten om extremistisch-islamitische organisaties als Jabhat al-Nusra en de ISIS in de gaten te houden en een eventueel verder westwaarts oprukken van Syrisch-Koerdische nationalisten. Dat wordt nu gedaan door Turkse drones die vanaf de luchtmachtbasis in Diyabarkir vertrekken.

    Assad uit Damascus bombarderen
    Vóór het Russische voorstel liet Ankara Washington weten dat alleen represailles tegen het Syrische regime niet voldoende zijn. Erdogan wil Assad uit Damascus bombarderen. De Amerikanen zeggen dat ze dat juist niet willen: geen regime change. Zoiets moet volgens hen vanzelf gaan en door de oppositie worden geleid. ‘Een beperkte en tijdelijke aanval op Syrië zal ons niet tevreden stellen’, zei Erdogan vorige week. ‘Je kunt niet een dag of twee bombarderen en dan weer naar huis gaan. De bombardementen moeten het regime dwingen de strijd op te geven.’

    De consequenties van Erdogans harde taal kunnen ernstig zijn, want om het regime te verdrijven zijn troepen op de grond nodig. Maar of hij die stap werkelijk zal zetten, is de vraag. Turkije had ook zonder een resolutie van de VN een gezamenlijke militaire aanval op Damascus gewild.

    Het Turkse parlement is niet om zijn mening gevraagd. Erdogan hoeft dat volgens de Turkse regels niet te doen, en gezien zijn autoritaire karakter valt van hem niet te verwachten dat hij dat, net als Obama, toch doet.

    De Turkse bevolking heeft helemaal geen zin in een oorlog met Syrië: 72 procent is tegen militaire inmenging in Syrië. Ook een groot deel van de mensen die op Erdogans AKP hebben gestemd, is tegen ingrijpen. De oppositie heeft demonstraties aangekondigd als Erdogan toch zijn zin doordrijft. Als de politie dan weer even bruut optreedt als in juni, wacht Turkije een hete herfst.


    ‘Turkije dat dapper een coup een coup noemt, en een slachting een slachting, heeft de wereld een lesje geleerd in democratie en menselijkheid’, zei Erdogan.

    Nul vrienden
    De activistische buitenlandse politiek van Erdogan valt niet goed in Turkije noch in de regio. Bij zijn aantreden maakte minister Davutoglu van Buitenlandse Zaken een nieuwe politiek bekend van ‘nul problemen met de buren’. Maar Erdogan en zijn islamitische partij hebben zich laten leiden door emoties en dromen van herstel van de oude grandeur van het Ottomaanse Rijk met als gevolg dat Turkije nu in plaats van nul problemen nul vrienden heeft.

    Het afzetten van de gelijkgestemde Egyptische president Morsi heeft Erdogan zo aangegrepen dat het lijkt alsof het hemzelf is overkomen. Hij heeft er zijn goede relaties met Saoedi-Arabië en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten mee op het spel gezet. Die twee landen steunden de coup in Egypte en gaven het land miljarden euro’s aan hulp. Erdogan daarentegen ging vreselijk tekeer tegen de nieuwe machthebbers en hun supporters uit de Golf. De Emiraten hebben inmiddels de 12 miljard teruggetrokken die ze zouden steken in een energieproject in Turkije. Dit zou een gevolg zijn van Erdogans activistische buitenlandse politiek. Erdogan ziet dat anders: ‘Turkije dat dapper een coup een coup noemt, en een slachting een slachting, heeft de wereld een lesje geleerd in democratie en menselijkheid.’

    Turkije wordt geprezen om zijn voorbeeldige hulp aan Syrische vluchtelingen: de kampen zijn schoon en veilig, er is medische zorg, voedzaam eten, onderwijs voor de kinderen, douches en wasmachines. Turkije steunt de oppositie onder meer ook met het ter beschikking stellen van kantoorgebouwen in zuidelijke steden. De wapens die de opstandelingen van Qatar, Saoedi-Arabië en de Emiraten krijgen, worden via Turkije aangevoerd. En Syriërs uit de bevrijde gebieden reizen via zuid-Turkije naar de rest van de wereld. Elke keer als ik uit Gaziantep terugvlieg naar Istanbul is zeker eenderde van de passagiers Syriër. Officieel zijn er nu meer dan een half miljoen Syrische vluchtelingen in Turkije. Niet iedereen leeft in een kamp, de meesten wonen in hotels, pensions en appartementen verspreid over het land.

    Wat er ook gebeurt – een aanval van de VS of het onder internationale controle stellen van chemische wapens – Syrië zal niet meer de eenheidsstaat van vóór de opstand worden. Turkije heeft aan zijn zuidgrens nu al salafistische staatjes, te vergelijken met Talibanistans, en een nieuwe Koerdische entiteit, West-Koerdistan, Rojavaye Kurdistane genoemd. Dit grenst aan het vrijwel onafhankelijke Zuid-Koerdistan in Noord-Irak en aan de Koerdische gebieden in Turkije. Met alle gevaar voor de eenheid van Turkije. Nog in 2011 was de grens met Syrië de langste grens van Turkije. Nu is dat de grens met Zuid- en West-Koerdistan.
    Lome zomerdag
    Op het dorpsplein van Karkamis heerst de loomheid van een hete zomerdag. Niemand lijkt zich druk te maken over wat er een paar meter verderop gebeurt, ook niet over Turkse deelname aan een strafexpeditie. De mannen drinken hun thee en roken een sigaret, welverdiend, na het oogsten in de bloedhete zon van de groenten waarvan wij en zij ook ratatouille maken. Hun vrouwen en dochters werken wel door. Die zitten op de binnenplaatsen van de huizen op de grond de bergen paprika’s te ontdoen van de pitjes om ze vervolgens aan een draad te rijgen en in de zon en de wind te laten drogen.

    Amerikaanse toeristen is ernstig ontraden zich in het zuiden van Turkije op te houden. Specifiek is hen gezegd steden als Antakia en Gaziantep te verlaten. Maar in die laatste stad, 127 km van Aleppo en 60 km van de grens, trok de daar verzamelde rest van de wereld zich, zelfs na die waarschuwing, niets aan van het advies. Er waren duizenden buitenlanders in de stad voor een internationale schoenenbeurs, voor een tapijtenbeurs, en voor een congres van cardiologen. In Gaziantep was geen hotelkamer te krijgen.

    Betsy Udink is schrijfster. In 2010 verscheen In Koerdische Kringen (uitgeverij Augustus).
    Bron: Volkskrant 12-09-2013


  7. Pourquoi l’islam politique échoue


    Il y a deux ans, des millions de personnes en Afrique du Nord et au Proche-Orient se sont levées pour obtenir la démocratie, politique, mais aussi économique. Certains annoncèrent alors que l’islamisme touchait à sa fin (1). De même, à la suite de la chute du gouvernement du Frère musulman Mohamed Morsi, provoquée par le soulèvement de 20 millions d’Egyptiens, réapparaît cette question : s’agit-il de la fin définitive d’un mouvement avide de pouvoir ?
    Il est étonnant qu’un an à peine ait suffi pour que les Egyptiens « musulmans » tournent le dos à une organisation qui, cantonnée dans l’opposition depuis 80 ans, apportait une aide sociale aux plus démunis. Mais ceux qui appellent à la patience un peuple affamé ont, eux, la peau du ventre bien tendue.

    Lire l’article


  8. Pingback: Turkish governmental repression of anti-corruption demonstrators | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. L’Express: The key to Paris murders lies somewhere in Turkey

    A year after the murder of Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez in Paris on 9 January 2013, the French magazine L’Express reported on the latest developments in the investigation.

    The report by Eric Pelletier remarks that Turkey holds the key to the murder of three women, and that the portrait of the suspect, Ömer Güney, is becoming clearer.

    The magazine questions who Ömer Güney really is, and points out that; “Judge Jeanne Duyé in charge of the case on the murders, Criminal Brigade and Sub-Directorate of the Judicial Police are trying to unravel the mystery of their only suspect in the killing of three Kurdish women militants on the Lafayette Avenue in Paris on 9 January 2013. They are at least sure of one thing : Ömer Güney is not who he claimed to be the day after his arrest.”

    According to the magazine, Güney portrayed himself as an idealistic sympathizer of the Kurdish cause and obsessed with the idea of finding a wife in Turkey after a disastrous marriage. “I am 100% Kurdish . The only difference with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) fighters and me is that they have a Kalashnikov and I documents. Instead of bearing arms, I carry papers” the magazine quotes Güney as saying after his arrest.

    Remarking that Güney, it was first thought, was a naive activist and not a spy, and moreover, suffered from a brain tumor, the magazine says “But it now appears that the man knows how to compute and is methodical. Moreover, the atmosphere of the interrogation with Jeanne Duye judge has recently hardened as the questions became more specific.”

    Giving details as to what happened on January 9, L’Express reminds that Ömer Güney had gradually become an indispensable member of the Kurdish community and took advantage of his good command of French and his knowledge of the administration. It notes that Güney joined the Kurdish Association of Villiers-le-Bel (Val-d’Oise), after a long stay in Germany between 2003 and 2011.

    “So much so that at the beginning of January 2013, Güney was made available to an icon of the movement, Sakine Cansiz, 54, during his stay in Paris. It was he who had driven her to the Kurdistan Information Centre at 147 Lafayette Street (Xe) where she was shot dead along with two other young activists, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez”, it underlines.

    Providing further details as to what happened that day, the magazine remarks that security cameras in the area helped prove the presence of Güney inside the building at the estimated time of the killings between 12:11 and 12:56.

    “Powder was found on his bag. But he emphatically denies being involved in the killing”, it notes and quotes Güney as saying that “The French state is trying to hide something by putting me in prison”.

    According to the magazine, for its part, the criminal brigade was skeptical. Especially because of the time the crime was committed just days after the official launch of negotiations between Kurdish guerrillas and the Turkish government of Prime Minister Erdoğan. The magazine says “Their suspicions were reinforced by the discovery of the passport of ömer Güney, hidden behind the radio console of his car: the document can trace several trips to Istanbul and Ankara in 2012, including 18 to 21 December shortly before the triple homicide.”

    “A year later, the investigations do not leave much room for doubt: three converging elements support the hypothesis of a political crime. These images show that the young man went to the association in Villiers-le-Bel in the morning of January 8 and photographed 329 membership forms between 4:23 and 5:33 a.m. Two days earlier, he had already photographed accounts tracing the pattern of racketeering activity in the community”, L’Express writes.

    The magazine notes that Ömer Güney’s Turkish friends in Germany, in the region of Munich, whom he met between 2003 and 2011, described him as an “idealist” and favorable to the ideas of the nationalist MHP. The magazine which interviewed Güney’s friend here quotes one among them as saying that “Ömer described the PKK and its supporters as terrorists”, and one other as saying that; “Ömer, just like me, is a right-wing Turkish proud of Turks”.

    Pointing out that the investigation tightens around Ömer Güney’s usual connections in Turkey, the magazine adds that; “The police have isolated 214 calls made by a Turkish phone line in the second half of 2012. Some of them are forwarded to “atypical numbers, likened to technical numbers, whose function or origin can not be determined”. These numbers do not correspond to individual and administrative numbers list. The key to the case lies somewhere in Turkey.

    Source: ANF – PARIS 09.01.2014



    L’explosion du conflit syrien début 2011 annonçait la fin de la stratégie officiellement déclarée par la Turquie de « zéro problème avec ses voisins », mais plus important encore, il a révélé un « agenda caché » dans la politique étrangère turque sous le gouvernement du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan…

    Lire l’article L’agenda caché d’Erdogan


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