Lynx in Turkey, new study


This 2015 video is about a lynx in Turkey.

From Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

Lynx in Turkey: Noninvasive sample collection provides insights into genetic diversity

June 17, 2019

Summary: A team of scientists collected data and samples (feces, hair) from the Caucasian Lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki), in a region of Anatolian Turkey over several years. The results of the genetic analyses indicated an unexpectedly high genetic diversity and lack of inbreeding despite the recent isolation of the study population.

Little is known about the biology and the genetic status of the Caucasian Lynx (Lynx lynx dinniki), a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx distributed across portions of Turkey, the Caucasus region and Iran. To collect baseline genetic, ecological, and behavioural data and assist future conservation efforts, a team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) collected data and samples in a region of Anatolian Turkey over several years. They were particularly interested in the question whether non-invasive samples (faeces, hair) were helpful to discern genetic diversity of the study population. The results of the genetic analyses indicated an unexpectedly high genetic diversity and lack of inbreeding despite the recent isolation of the study population, a result that would not have been obtained with the use of conventional samples. The data also revealed that females stay near home ranges in which they were born whereas males disperse after separation from their mothers. These insights into the genetics and behaviour of the Caucasian Lynx are published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Among lynx species, the Eurasian Lynx has the widest geographical distribution. Previous research has largely focused on European populations, with the result that there is little known about the subspecies in Asia, such as the Caucasian and Himalayan subspecies. “Scientists still know surprisingly little about their ecological requirements, spatial structure and genetic diversity,” says Leibniz-IZW researcher Deniz Mengulluoglu (Department for Evolutionary Ecology). “Our study aimed at collecting baseline genetic, ecological and behavioural data of the lynx population in a mountainous region in north-west Anatolia.” Making use of box trapping and non-invasive faecal sampling allowed Mengulluoglu to extract DNA and conduct genetic analyses on a population scale. The lynx population had also been monitored via camera traps at 54 different stations for nearly a decade.

Looking into family relationships of individual lynx, the data revealed that females stay near the territories in which they were born whereas males disperse after separation from their mothers. Such behaviour is known from many mammals, most likely to avoid inbreeding. “We can conclude from our analyses that territoriality in lynx and philopatry in female lynx can result in low genetic diversity estimates if sampling is done in small study areas via box trapping alone,” says Mengulluoglu. This behaviour — females remaining in close proximity to their mothers’ territory — is called female philopatry, and Mengulluoglu and his team confirmed it for this subspecies. “Using faecal samples that were non-invasively collected, we were able to sample more non-territorial individuals, gaining information about an additional component of this lynx population.” Unless individuals become used to the presence of box traps within their own range (habituation), and thus are ready to enter them, sampling them by conventional means is unlikely. Hence habituation will bias conventional sample collection in favour of resident territorial individuals and their kittens.

A second important finding is that genetic diversity is unexpectedly high in this population. Lynx in north-west Anatolia are isolated from southern and north-eastern populations by a series of natural and human constructed barriers. “Population isolation can be harmful and, for example, lead to a loss of genetic variation. But it appears that genetic diversity is in fact substantial at the moment and matches the diversity found in European endogenous populations,” states senior author Daniel Foerster from the Leibniz-IZW, Department of Evolutionary Genetics. “Management should therefore focus on maintaining the current level of diversity.” As a first step, Mengulluoglu and Foerster recommend identification and conservation of primary lynx habitats and corridors in the region.

“We also need to address threats that can lead to future loss of genetic variation” adds Mengulluoglu. Since this study has set a baseline for comparison with future findings, similar work is needed for the other two Turkish populations in order to determine whether the three big populations are currently connected by gene flow at all, Mengulluoglu and Foerster say. Mengulluoglu is currently working on a long-term lynx monitoring project and the development of a “Turkish Lynx Conservation Action Plan” in collaboration with the Wildlife Department of Turkey.

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Tony Blair whitewashing Turkish Erdogan’s war crimes


This video says about itself:

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is welcomed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before their meeting at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on November 18, 2015.

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Jack Straw gives Erdogan’s wife humanitarian award

Critics say was ‘designed to whitewash Turkey’s war crimes

FORMER Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw has dished out a “humanitarian award” to the wife of Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a ceremony in London.

Tony and Cherie Blair were also keynote speakers at the World Humanitarian Forum, a two-day event ending today that critics say was “designed to whitewash Turkey’s war crimes.”

Rosa Gilbert from the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (KSC) told the Morning Star: “It is a huge insult to see Jack Straw — complicit in extraordinary rendition and torture, not to mention the disastrous war on Iraq — lecture us on ‘humanitarianism’ while handing awards to a Turkish regime that has aided and abetted jihadists in Syria and used their Nato membership to wage a dirty, murderous war on Kurds both in Syria and Turkey.”

In 2004 when he was foreign secretary, Mr Straw is alleged to have authorised the rendition of a pregnant woman to the torture chambers of Libya’s then dictator Colonel Muammar Gadaffi.

The arch-Blairite bestowed a “Changemaker” award on first lady Emine Erdogan yesterday in recognition of her humanitarian work with Palestinians and the Rohingya.

However, her husband is less keen on supporting national minorities in Turkey and Syria, where he has led a crackdown on Kurdish people.

Ms Gilbert alleged the Turkish state was behind the awards ceremony and said that it was “unsurprising to see disgraced politicians like the Blairs and Jack Straw … whitewash Turkey’s war crimes.”

She recalled Mr Blair’s proscription of the Kurdistan Workers Party under the Terrorism Act 2000, a ban that was opposed by Jeremy Corbyn at the time.

“We hope that under Corbyn, Labour has shifted away from the murderous clutches of Erdogan and will support Kurdish socialists,” Ms Gilbert said.

Turkish, Australian rulers quarrel on Christchurch bloodbath


This music video about Australia and the first world war is called The Pogues – The band played Waltzing Matilda.

The lyrics are:

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over

Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ’cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia

But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying

For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla

And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory

And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

After fascist terror attack, New Zealand and Australia stoke tensions with Turkey

25 March 2019

Last week the Australian and New Zealand governments furiously attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his response to the March 15 Christchurch mass shooting, in which Australian fascist terrorist Brenton Tarrant killed 50 people in two mosques.

Addressing a political rally on March 18, Erdogan likened Tarrant’s white supremacist ideology to the anti-Muslim views of Allied soldiers sent to fight the Ottoman Empire in World War I. His comments prompted immediate, belligerent denunciations from the Australian and New Zealand political establishment and media, which glorifies the role of the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in WWI, especially the disastrous attempted invasion of Turkey via the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The Anzac “legend” is a central ideological tool used by Australia and New Zealand’s ruling elite to promote patriotism and militarism particularly amid acute social tensions over poverty and inequality. It has helped create the environment that fuelled the growth of fascist groups and led to the Christchurch massacre.

Speaking to a crowd near the Gallipoli battle site, Erdogan declared that Tarrant’s shooting “wasn’t an individual attack, this is organised,” contradicting claims by New Zealand police that Tarrant acted alone. Turkish authorities believe he was backed by a well-resourced organisation and may have been planning terror attacks in Turkey, which he visited twice in 2016.

Referring to the defeat of the Allies at Gallipoli, Erdogan said anyone travelling to Turkey with views like Tarrant’s would face the same fate. “Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins”, he declared. “If you come again like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers.”

At several campaign rallies, Erdogan has shown excerpts of Tarrant’s video of his horrific attack, in which three Turkish nationals were injured. He demanded that New Zealand bring back the death penalty for Tarrant, otherwise Turkey would “make [him] pay one way or another.”

Erdogan’s statements are aimed at whipping up Turkish nationalism in order to divert growing working-class anger over social inequality in the lead-up to the March 31 local elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is desperately trying to cling to power amid an economic crisis and worsening tensions with the US

The outraged response to Erdogan from Canberra and Wellington, however, is just as reactionary. Neither government condemned or sought to differentiate themselves from Tarrant’s call in his manifesto for Christians to reconquer Istanbul and slaughter Turks, or his threat to “kill Erdogan”. Instead, they sought to whip up nationalist sentiment against Turkey and defend the Anzacs’ World War I campaign.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a bellicose rant, called Erdogan’s speech “highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment”, and an “insult [to] the memory of our Anzacs.”

After speaking with the Turkish ambassador, Morrison told the media he was not satisfied with the “excuse” that Erdogan was engaged in a heated political campaign. He declared that “all options are now on the table”, including expelling Turkish diplomats.

In a highly provocative move, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sent Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to Turkey to “confront” Erdogan. Peters told journalists that Erdogan’s speech “imperils the safety of the New Zealand people”, even though the Turkish president did not threaten peaceful tourists, only violent anti-Muslim extremists like Tarrant.

Peters leads the right-wing nationalist New Zealand First Party, which has a major role in the Labour Party-led coalition government. It has repeatedly scapegoated immigrants for social inequality, low wages and unemployment and demonised Muslims as potential terrorists. Before departing, Peters told journalists he would not retract his previous anti-Muslim statements.

By Thursday Australia and New Zealand had received an “assurance” from Ankara that travellers would be welcome at Gallipoli on Anzac Day. Morrison said he was pleased Erdogan has “moderated” his rhetoric. The [Rupert Murdoch] Australian, however, reported that some in the government “feared [Erdogan’s remarks] could… unleash a wave of jihadist attacks on Australians at home and abroad.”

Anzac Day, the April 25 holiday in Australia and New Zealand, marks the landing of soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. The ruling class in both countries encourages citizens to make patriotic “pilgrimages” to Gallipoli on the day.

The Gallipoli campaign was a disastrous attempt by the Allies to seize control of the strategic Dardanelles shipping lanes. The battle cost the lives of 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders, more than 21,000 British, 10,000 French, 1,300 Indians and more than 86,000 Ottoman soldiers. A further 262,014 people were wounded on all sides. After the war the defeated Ottoman Empire was broken up and its Middle Eastern territories divided between Britain and France.

The slaughter at Gallipoli was part of an imperialist war aimed at re-dividing the world between the major imperialist countries. Australia and New Zealand joined the war as part of the British Empire and as minor imperialist powers in their own right seeking a share of the plunder, especially of colonies in the Pacific region.

The battle is promoted by the Australian and New Zealand ruling class as a pivotal moment in the forging of national identity and militarist values. During the 2014-2018 centenary of World War I, governments in both countries poured hundreds of millions of dollars into museums, monuments, films, books and events glorifying the Anzacs, in order to inculcate respect for the military and prepare young people, in particular, for future imperialist wars.

Anzac Day ceremonies promote not only WWI and WWII, but all wars Australia and New Zealand have joined, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the US-led wars aimed at controlling resource-rich Iraq and Afghanistan, fought on the pretext of defeating terrorism.

Anzac mythology has always falsely justified the imperialist war as the defence of democracy and “our way of life”. Now, however, it is increasingly portrayed as a fight against Islamic “extremism” and a precursor to today’s wars. John King, chairman of the Returned Services League (RSL), told the Australian on Thursday that Erdogan’s speeches were “the sort of hate and extremism” Australian soldiers had fought against.

Damien Fenton, who wrote a state-funded book praising New Zealand’s World War I campaign, has described the war against the Ottoman Empire as “New Zealand’s first taste of jihad.” A Southland Times article in October 2014 reported: “Fenton says it is ‘chilling’ to reflect that Gallipoli was the cradle for the jihad the world is experiencing right now.”

The Australian far-right group United Patriots Front, which was a major influence on Tarrant, heavily promotes Anzac Day and portrays the Gallipoli campaign as part of an ongoing fight against Islam.

The fascist who carried out the March 15 attacks did not develop his views in a vacuum. He grew up during a quarter century of constant wars in the Middle East, accompanied by anti-Muslim racism and militarist propaganda, including the historical lies surrounding the Anzac legend.

The author also recommends:

Australian PM seeks to cover up political roots of fascist attack in New Zealand
[23 March 2019]

After far-right terror attack, New York Times glorifies New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
[21 March 2019]

The New Zealand terrorist attack and the international danger of fascism
[18 March 2019]

Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan attack International Criminal Court


This 29 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

A Top U.N. Judge Has Resigned Over ‘Shocking’ Interference From The White House And Turkey | TIME

A top judge in one of the United Nations’ international courts in The Hague has quit over what he termed “shocking” political interference from the White House and Turkey, the Guardian reports.

From Jurist.org in the USA:

Senior UN judge resigns citing ‘shocking’ interference from White House and Turkey

January 29, 2019 11:36:23 am

Patrick Eckerd

A senior judge at one of the UN courts in The Hague is reportedly resigning over “shocking” political interference from the White House and Turkey.

Christoph Flügge, a German judge, claims that the US had threatened other judges who took steps to investigate the conduct of US soldiers in Afghanistan. He also claims that Turkey had made “baseless” allegations about a Turkish judge, whose tenure at the UN ended after he was arrested and released.

The threats against Hague judges from the White House were made during a speech in September made by national security adviser John Bolton. According to Flügge, Bolton warned that if Hague judges “ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen,” these judges “would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States” and “would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

The speech was given at a time when the UN court was planning to investigate American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. Flügge added that the statements made by Bolton were “consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law.”

In addition to the statements from the White House, Flügge cited interference from Turkey in the form of “baseless accusations” against Aydın Sefa Akay, a Turkish judge who sat on a UN court. Akay was arrested and subsequently released over alleged links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is alleged by Turkish president Erdogan to have been behind a failed coup attempt. This resulted in the UN secretary-general declining to extend Akay’s tenure as a judge.

Flügge told the German newspaper Die Zeit that the UN’s blind eye to Turkey’s interference had set a dangerous precedent, and that the statements from the White House highlighted the danger. He stated that he had concluded in the wake of these developments that the “diplomatic world” saw no value in an independent judiciary.

Being pro-peace, a crime in Turkey?


Chairwoman of the Turkish Labour Party (Emep) Selma Gurkan Photo: Evrensel

By Steve Sweeney in Britain, 22 January 2019:

LEADING communist Selma Gurkan faces a lengthy jail sentence for making anti-war statements as the Turkish state seeks to criminalise all forms of opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian rule.

The Labour Party of Turkey (Emep) general secretary faces more than seven years in prison for “spreading terrorist propaganda” after speaking out against Operation Olive Branch, Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of the peaceful city of Afrin in northern Syria.

Ms Gurkan’s case was heard in an Istanbul court today. Prosecutor Hakan Ozer was seeking a jail sentence, alleging that her speech outside the hearing of two Emep members, Neslihan Karyemez and Bilal Karaman, in February 2018 created a “negative perception” of the Afrin operation.

The pair were among hundreds who were arrested for making statements opposing Turkey’s military offensive, which had started the previous month.

They were detained after handing out leaflets opposing Ankara’s war of aggression against a peaceful people. They were also charged with “spreading terrorist propaganda.”

In court today lawyers demanded time to respond to the charges made against Ms Gurkan and the trial was adjourned until April 24.

Emep insists that it is a legal political party that advocates peace and stands on the side of workers. It argues that criticism of government policy is part of the democratic life of the country.

But Turkey’s authoritarian president has moved to shut down all forms of democracy and opposition; journalists, academics and MPs are among those jailed for challenging his rule.

Despite its legal status as a political party under Turkey’s constitution, Emep was one of 13 organisations banned by the Turkey’s supreme election board the YSK from fielding candidates in March’s local elections, a decision Ms Gurkan branded “totally arbitrary and antidemocratic.”

And the Turkish state, which has shut hundreds of media organisations, including Hayat TV, moved against the party’s newspaper Evrensel last year, issuing a 100,000 lira (£14,470) fine for its criticism of the government’s economic policy.

The fine threatens the future of the newspaper, which has recently been forced to drop pages because high tariffs on imported newsprint has led to increased production costs.

Evrensel remains one of the only newspapers in Turkey reporting on the labour movement and workers’ struggles, and an international campaign been launched to raise funds for its survival.

Emep is one of Turkey’s largest left-wing parties and the attacks are seen as an attempt to silence freedom of speech and the workers’ movement.

Turkish women don’t give up after police repression


The women marching in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Ezgi Görgü

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Women’s rights activists vow continued resistance after brutal police attack

Police hit marchers with batons and pepper spray on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

WOMEN’S rights activists in Turkey vowed to continue their resistance after a march on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was brutally attacked by police in Istanbul.

Thousands took part in the demonstration in Turkey’s largest city, which was part of the global day of action with similar events held in towns and cities across the country.

They were demanding equality in Turkey, where organisers said women face violence, inequality, poverty and job insecurity.

However, lines of police blocked the route to Taksim Square, where demonstrations and gatherings are banned.

As they stood their ground chanting: “We are not afraid, we do not obey”, police moved in attacking the demonstration with batons and firing pepper spray, injuring a number of protesters.

Rape and murder of women has increased dramatically, with at least 329 women killed in Turkey during the first 10 months of 2018 while 342 rapes were reported in the same period.

Women are paid 17.8 per cent lower than men, with an unemployment rate of 14.2 per cent, rising to more than a quarter of women aged under 25.

Despite the shocking figures, Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that it is impossible to discriminate against women, branding sexual equality “against nature”.

The attack marked an escalation by the authoritarian Turkish state, with the march, which takes place annually, being blocked for the first time.

But organisers remained defiant and said in a statement: “We did not stop and obey the people who wanted to cut down our voices instead of preventing the killing of women.”

“We know the value of our rights, our lives, because there is a women’s movement, women’s struggle, women’s solidarity”, it concluded.

Ekmek ve Gul (Bread and Roses) writer Fulya Alikoc told the Star: “It was an open message from the government — we are not going to allow you to do anything on the streets.”

She said it was women who were bearing the impact of the economic crisis in Turkey.

President Erdogan wants to solve the crisis and its effects, within the family”, she said. “So he and his government try to make women’s right to divorce harder.

“This creates even more violent family life for women who have been first to face the rising prices as part of their patriarchal role to ensure feeding family members.”

Turkey remains one of the world’s most unequal societies, ranking 131st of 144 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Index.