Fear of Vladimir Putin, Islamists and immigration see new iron curtains constructed once again across Europe
‘The “Great Wall of Ukraine” looks nothing like its nickname suggests. It boasts no stone, brick or tampered earth, you can’t walk along it, and there is little chance (one would hope) that parts of it will remain standing 2,000 years from now. It is, however, “a priority”, according to the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, and its intended purpose is simple: to keep Russia out and would-be secessionists in.
Two years ago, the Ukrainians did not need this “wall”. Or, to put it differently, they did not think they needed it. Times, however, have changed. The wall – simply an idea 12 months ago, a political play by Poroshenko in the run-up to elections – is now being marked out. The first stretch of wire fencing has already gone up in Kharkiv, the northern region not far from neighbouring Luhansk, where skirmishes are frequent. The eventual plan, however, is to create something much larger in scale: a boundary to run the length of Ukraine’s eastern land border with Russia, stretching 1,500 miles, and replete with trenches, watchtowers and armed guards. It will take an estimated three to four years to build and $500m (£330m) to fund – a figure of which bankrupt Ukraine is hoping the EU will help to provide at least a portion in support.
It will not be the only fence to go up this year. All over Eastern Europe – from Ukraine, to Poland, to Bulgaria – Soviet-style “iron curtains” are celebrating a renaissance, with boundaries springing out of the ground in places few would have expected half a decade ago, and neighbours separating themselves in new and surprising ways. Poland this month announced plans to harden its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the north – with six watchtowers to be put up this year – in a move indicative of worsening relations between Russia and its contiguous EU states. Meanwhile, further south, in Bulgaria, a fence topped with razor wire is being erected to stretch the length of the southern border with Turkey. The goal, according to the administration in Sofia: to stop the flow of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, and curb the risk of receiving militants from Syria and Iraq.’
‘This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. On April 24, 1915, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic, premeditated genocide against the Armenian people — an unarmed Christian minority living under Turkish rule. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture and forced death marches. Another million fled into permanent exile. Today, the Turkish government continues to deny this genocide, and since becoming president, President Obama has avoided using the term “genocide” to describe it. We’re joined by Peter Balakian, professor of humanities at Colgate University and author of “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response”; Anahid Katchian, whose father was a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide; and Simon Maghakyan, an activist with Armenians of Colorado. We also play a recording of Armenian broadcaster and writer David Barsamian’s mother recalling her experience during the Armenian genocide as a young girl. Araxie Barsamian survived, but her parents and brothers did not.’ (Democracy Now!)
- What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World
- Why Scholars Say Armenian Genocide Was Genocide But Obama Won’t
- On Armenian genocide, go ahead and offend Turkey
- Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
- The Gallipoli centenary is a shameful attempt to hide the Armenian Holocaust
What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World
‘[…] During Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, he explicitly promised that “as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” Samantha Power, author of A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide and now Obama’s ambassador to the U.N., recorded a video urging Armenian Americans to support him because he would acknowledge the genocide: “I know [Obama] very well and he’s a person of incredible integrity. … He’s a true friend of the Armenian people, an acknowledger of the history … he’s a person who can actually be trusted.”
- Why Scholars Say Armenian Genocide Was Genocide But Obama Won’t
- Kim Kardashian urges Obama to call Armenian massacre a genocide
- System of a Down Says What Obama Won’t About the Armenian Genocide
- Why reddit decided to put Armenia front and center on Friday
- White House confirms it won’t call Armenian expulsion ‘genocide’
- 100 years on, Armenians in the Middle East are still on the run
- A century on, 103-year-old Armenian recalls rescue from mass killings
‘When world leaders, including Prince Charles and the Australian and New Zealand prime ministers, gather at Gallipoli to commemorate the First World War battle at the invitation of the Turkish government in April, the ghosts of one and half million slaughtered Christian Armenians will march with them.
For in an unprecedented act of diplomatic folly, Turkey is planning to use the 100th anniversary of the Allied attempt to invade Turkey in 1915 to smother memory of its own mass killing of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, the 20th century’s first semi-industrial holocaust. The Turks have already sent invitations to 102 nations to attend the Gallipoli anniversary on 24th April — on the very day when Armenia always honours its own genocide victims at the hands of Ottoman Turkey.
In an initiative which he must have known would be rejected, Turkish President Recep Erdogan even invited the Armenian President, Serge Sarkissian, to attend the Gallipoli anniversary after himself receiving an earlier request from President Sarkissian to attend ceremonies marking the Armenian genocide on the same day.
This is not just diplomatic mischief. The Turks are well aware that the Allied landings at Gallipoli began on 25th April – the day after Armenians mark the start of their genocide, which was ordered by the Turkish government of the time – and that Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day on the 25th.’
- Erdogan Draws Veil Over Genocide Claims With Gallipoli Commemoration
- Armenian massacre remembrance sparks rift between Turkey and Europe
- Separate ceremonies in Armenia, Turkey underscore years of enmity
- Armenian president says ready to restart reconciliation with Turkey
- Turkey eclipses centenary of Armenian massacre by moving Gallipoli memorial
- Turkey accuses EU of ‘religious fanaticism’ in Armenia genocide resolution
- Erdogan Says Armenia ‘Fixed’ April 24 Date to Coincide with Gallipoli Events
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
‘At seven o’clock on Thursday evening, a group of very brave men and women will gather in Taksim Square, in the centre of Istanbul, to stage an unprecedented and moving commemoration. The men and women will be both Turkish and Armenian, and they will be gathering together to remember the 1.5 million Christian Armenian men, women and children slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks in the 1915 genocide. That Armenian Holocaust – the direct precursor of the Jewish Holocaust – began 100 years ago this Thursday, only half a mile from Taksim, when the government of the time rounded up hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and writers from their homes and prepared them for death and the annihilation of their people.
The Pope has already annoyed the Turks by calling this wicked act – the most terrible massacre of the First World War – a genocide, which it was: the deliberate and planned attempt to liquidate a race of people. The Turkish government – but, thank God, not all the Turkish people – have maintained their petulant and childish denial of this fact of history on the grounds that the Armenians were not killed according to a plan (the old “chaos of war” nonsense), and that the word “genocide” was anyway coined only after the Second World War and thus cannot apply to them. On that basis, the First World War wasn’t the First World War because it wasn’t called the First World War at the time!’
- 100 years later, Armenian genocide still not universally accepted
- Turkey lashes out at pope, EU over Armenia genocide comments
- The Gallipoli centenary is a shameful attempt to hide the Armenian Holocaust
- Do you know the difference between a Holocaust and a holocaust? The Armenians do
- Polish Jew gave his life defining, fighting genocide
- Living proof of the Armenian genocide
‘In the swank shops and tidy cafés that line the new pedestrian zone in Armenia’s capital, there’s barely a hint that nearly everyone here is the descendent of a generation that escaped with their lives in a harrowing flight from Ottoman Turkey in the midst of World War I.
On the eve of the centennial commemoration of what Armenians call Meds Yeghern, or “the great calamity,” posters featuring a violet forget-me-not and a slogan, “We remember and we demand,” dot Yerevan.
The symbol hasn’t caught on, even in government offices.
Yet Armenia, and the slaughter, is at the center of world attention as the April 24 anniversary nears.’
- European Parliament Urges Turkey to Recognize Armenian Genocide
- Turkey lashes out at pope, EU over Armenia genocide comments
- Pope Francis calls Armenian massacre ‘first genocide of 20th century’
- System Of A Down, Armenia’s Favorite Sons, On Facing History
- The Kardashian factor and the G-word
- Polish Jew gave his life defining, fighting genocide
- Armenian Genocide – Wikipedia
‘A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.
The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria. Is this positive or a repeat of past disasters?’
- Avaaz call for a ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria
- Donors pledge $4bn in humanitarian aid for Syrians
- Call for no-fly zone in Syria after ‘fresh war crime’ by Assad forces
- As Syria crisis enters fifth year, UN humanitarian leaders urge end to conflict
- After four years of conflict, Syria is ‘entering the dark ages’
- Humanitarian Organizations Criticized The U.N For Failing To Help Syrian War Victims
- Obama admin: US ‘will protect’ Syrian rebel forces, no-fly zone “under consideration”
- Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
- What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?
- The Humantarian War: The Lies That Led Us Into Libya (Documentary)
Gen. Wesley Clark: “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies to destroy Hezbollah”
- ‘Islamic State’ mystery: The anti-history of a historic phenomenon
- How the west created the Islamic State …with a little help from our friends
- The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a neocon’s dream
- Who’s Funding ISIS? Wealthy Gulf ‘Angel Investors,’ Officials Say
- If the war on terror fuels terrorism, how does the war on terror actually end?
- The ‘war on terror’ – by design – can never end
- Gen. Wesley Clark talks about the post-9/11 “policy coup” at the Pentagon
- The Redirection
Grossly Hypocritical For Egypt, Turkey and Russia to Attend Charlie Hebdo March, says Reporters Without Borders
‘Leaders from Egypt, Turkey and Russia are grossly hypocritical for attending today’s Paris march for the journalists murdered at Charlie Hebdo magazine when they continue to persecute journalists in their own countries, according to a journalists’ charity.
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) says it is “appalled” that leaders of countries including United Arab Emirates were present. It accused them of trying to “improve their international image” while “spitting on the graves” of the cartoonists and journalists.
[…] RWB secretary-general Christophe Deloire said: “It would be unacceptable if representatives of countries that silence journalists were to take advantage of the current outpouring of emotion to try to improve their international image and then continue their repressive policies when they return home.
“We must not let predators of press freedom spit on the graves of Charlie Hebdo.”’
‘2006, Istanbul: As I was being escorted by armed guards through the dimly lit corridors of Umraniye prison to my allocated cell, a prisoner in a queue heading in the other direction pointed me out to his mate.
“That English guy! He insulted the Prime Minister! It was on the telly tonight.”
We reached an iron cell door, which was unlocked, and after my handcuffs were removed, I was ordered to enter. The door slammed behind me, and I heard the key turn in the lock.
The bunk-lined walls of the dark room were lit by a smoking oil lamp and the shadows of a group of unshaven men in undervests who crouched eating with their hands around a table in the middle of the room. They all stared at me.
“What are you in for?” asked a gruff Turkish voice.
“I made a picture ot the Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan with a… with a dog’s body.”’
- Turkey’s Erdogan says media raids a response to ‘dirty’ plot
- Erdogan says Turkish judiciary, other state bodies must be ‘cleansed of traitors’
- Amid silent press, Turkish journalists use social media to condemn editors’ arrests
- Gulen supporters remain defiant despite police raids on pro-Gulen media outlets
- Protests In Turkey Over Arrests Of Anti-Erdogan Media
- Erdogan tells EU to ‘mind own business’ over Turkey arrests
- Black Sunday: The day Turkey detained its prominent journalists
- Erdogan signals fresh moves against Gulen supporters, vows to pursue them “in their lairs”
- Turkish Authors Accused of Criticising Government on Behalf of West
- 400 critics of Erdogan expected to be arrested, says Twitter user
- Turkish MPs pass bill shaking up judiciary, boosting police powers
‘On Thursday, Freedom House published its fifth annual report on Internet freedom around the world. As in years past, China is again near the bottom of the rankings, which include sixty-five countries. Only Syria and Iran got worse scores, while Iceland and Estonia fared the best… China’s place in the rankings won’t come as a surprise to many people. The notable part is that the report suggests that, when it comes to Internet freedom, the rest of the world is gradually becoming more like China and less like Iceland. The researchers found that Internet freedom declined in thirty-six of the sixty-five countries they studied, continuing a trajectory they have noticed since they began publishing the reports in 2010.
Earp, who wrote the China section, said that authoritarian regimes might even be explicitly looking at China as a model in policing Internet communication. (Last year, she co-authored a report on the topic for the Committee to Protect Journalists.) China isn’t alone in its influence, of course. The report’s authors even said that some countries are using the U.S. National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance, which came to light following disclosures by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, “as an excuse to augment their own monitoring capabilities.” Often, the surveillance comes with little or no oversight, they said, and is directed at human-rights activists and political opponents.’
‘Without fail every year, starting around November 10, my #Turkey Twitter feed is jammed with not just the latest news from Ankara and Istanbul, but also Auntie Jean’s turkey recipe and suggestions about how to deep fry the bird without blowing up your house. And every year, on behalf of Turks and Turkey scholars the world over, I plaintively ask the tweeting masses to change #Turkey to #Turkiye, the actual Turkish name for the country that borders Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq and Syria—alas, with no success.
This year, however, basting and brining be damned, I am not going to make my annual plea. In an odd sort of way, #Turkey and #Turkiye have come together for me. That’s because after a mere 90 days as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the man who has eaten Turkey—the country. He is president and de facto prime minister, making him Turkey’s first “Primesident”—sort of like the political version of Turducken. Yet Erdogan’s powers run even further and deeper. He is also, effectively, the country’s foreign minister and chief judge, a prosecutor and big city mayor, university rector and father figure. There is nothing that better represents how Erdogan has gorged on Turkey than the president’s own newly unveiled Ak Saray, or White Palace, with its $350-$650 million price tag, 1,000 rooms and more than 2 million square feet.’
- Erdogan intimidating his people, especially women, with ‘moral values’
- Turkey’s Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men
- Turkey seeks more police authority
- Turkey bans reporting on parliamentary graft body
- Turkish media linked to exiled cleric say they shut out by government
- Erdogan says Muslims discovered Americas
- Erdogan’s palace costs to soar
- Turkey’s New Presidential Palace Is Absurd
- U.S. Sailors Attacked On The Street In Turkey
- Report: Turkish army bans Game of Thrones, requires officers take course on Islam
- Turkey openly threatens Greece to stay away from Cyprus waters
- Cyprus accuses Turkey of ‘provocative actions’
- Pew poll: Israel most hated country in Turkey
- Turkish Leader, Using Conflicts, Cements Power
- Cyprus to block Turkey’s EU bid over gas dispute
- After Gezi: Erdoğan and political struggle in Turkey (Documentary)
- Turkey’s Erdogan comes closer to Russia
- Loyal depositors shoulder Turkey’s Bank Asya while political war rages
‘The Republicans took control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, but much more important than which party took control is the nature of the incoming Senators from the new ruling party.
It’s not an influx of Tea Party members, reluctant to waste US funds on overseas adventures and suspicious of federal power, but rather a series of hawks in the model of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) that seized the reins of power last night.
The new senators are typified by Jodi Ernst (R – IA) and Tom Cotton (R – AR), who campaigned heavy on escalating the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria, as well as being more hawkish at essentially every opportunity.”
- Obama foreign policy faces new challenge
- Obama faces new Congress critical of his foreign policy
- The rise of Joni Ernst — and the return of the Bush-era GOP
- The GOP sweep is no victory for Netanyahu
- Obama Seeks War Authorization for ISIS Conflict Before New Congress Takes Over
- Turkish Media: Democrat losses in Senate might be good news for coping with crisis in Syria
‘[…] The accepted version is that the neo-liberal right and the free market triumphed. But maybe the truth is that what we have today is far closer to a system managed by a technocratic elite who have no real interest in politics – but rather in creating a system of rewards that both keeps us passive and happy – and also makes that elite a lot of money.
That in the mid 1980s the new networks of computers which allowed everyone to borrow money came together with lifestyle consumerism to create a system of social management very close to Skinner’s vision.
Just like in the mental hospital we are all given fake money in the form of credit – that we can then use to get rewards, which keep us happy and passive. Those same technologies that feed us the fake money can also be used to monitor us in extraordinary detail. And that information is then used used to nudge us gently towards the right rewards and the right behaviours – and in extremis we can be cut off from the rewards.
The only problem with that system is that the pigeons may be getting restless. That not only has the system not worked properly since the financial crash of 2008, but that the growing inequalities it creates are also becoming a bit too obvious. The elite is overdoing it and – passive or not – the masses are starting to notice.’
Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola, New Zealand and Spain win U.N. Security Council seats, Turkey bid fails
‘Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola, New Zealand and Spain won seats on the United Nations Security Council on Thursday for two years from Jan. 1, 2015. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Venezuela with 181 votes, Malaysia with 187 votes, Angola with 190 votes.
All three countries campaigned unopposed for their seats after being chosen as the candidates for their respective regional groups, but still needed to win the votes of two-thirds of the General Assembly to secure their spots.
The only contest was between New Zealand, Spain and Turkey for two seats given to the Western European and others group. New Zealand won a seat during the first round of voting with 145 votes. Spain beat Turkey in a third round of run-off voting.’
- Turkey fails in bid to join UN Security Council
- Venezuela elected to UN security council
- Spain wins seat on UN Security Council
- New Zealand wins seat on UN Security Council
- Angola Goes Big On UN Security Council
- Malaysia: How Will It Perform on the UN Security Council?
- Has America Stopped Even Pretending to Care About the U.N. Security Council?
‘[…] The general opinion of the Kurds and their supporters here at the border is that the Turkish government has had a hand in ISIS’ assault on Kobanê. This rumor was confirmed by a member of ISIS with whom we spoke on the phone, a mere two hundred meters from the border with Syria.
My friend Murat and I were walking through the fields when we met a man who explained to us that he had just escaped from Kobanê. He told us how, two days before, he had tried to call a friend who was fighting with the Women’s Defense Forces. But instead of his friend answering, an unknown man picked up the phone and told him that his friend was dead — killed by ISIS — and that this phone now belonged to him.
Murat encouraged the man to try and call the number again, and after it rang a number of times, the same man picked up. Our friend spoke to the ISIS fighter for a while, in Arabic, and then asked him: “how is your friend Erdoğan doing?” The reply confirmed what many here have been suspecting all along: “Erdoğan has helped us a lot in the past. He has given us Kobanê. But now we don’t need him anymore. After Kobanê, Turkey is next!”’
- Battle rages for control of Syria’s Kobane
- Will the West take ‘last-minute’ action to save Kobane?
- ISIS Adds Reinforcements as Kobani Offensive Continues
- Kurds urge more air strikes in Kobani; monitor warns of defeat
- Kurds Still Hold Kobani’s Central Square, But Defeat Looms
- Kurds mourn in Turkey for Kobane battle ‘martyrs’
- U.N. says thousands likely to be massacred if jihadists take Kobani
- Up to 700 trapped in Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, UN says
- ISIS Seizes Large Parts of Kobani as US Increases Strikes
- Kurds bury Kobani dead in makeshift graves over border
- Kurdish Ammo Runs Low in Kobani as Turkey Controls Exit
- Kerry: IS advance on Kobani will not deter coalition
- Kerry: Stopping Kobani Takeover ‘Not a Priority’
‘The European Union reprimanded EU candidate Turkey on Wednesday for political meddling in the judiciary, saying a response to a government corruption scandal has harmed the independence of the judiciary and weakened civil rights.
The unusually harsh language by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive, raises questions about Turkey’s chances of EU membership almost a decade after negotiations were launched.
But in its annual report on countries seeking to join the bloc, Brussels said it still believes more talks are possible, recommending opening discussions on the judiciary and fundamental rights as a way to force Turkey to confront the issue.’
The Impending Fall of Kobani Reveals Failure of U.S. Bombing Campaign: Interview with Patrick Cockburn
Editor’s Note: Patrick Cockburn writes a regular column for the The Independent and CounterPunch. His new book ‘The Jihadis Return‘ is available from OR Books. You can read his article related to the below interview here.
- US Air Strikes Can’t Stop ISIS in the Fight for Kobani
- U.S. and Turkey at Odds as Islamic State Advances on Kobani
- ISIS Dares Turkey to Save Kobani
- Patrick Cockburn: The Siege of Kobani
- Battle for Kobani between Isis and Syrian Kurds sparks unrest in Turkey
- US calls for ‘strategic patience’ after strikes near Kobani
- Pentagon: US Won’t Shift ISIS Campaign Over Kurdish Town
- Turkey: Syrian Border Town Kobani Is ‘About to Fall’ to ISIS
- US Airstrikes on ISIS Not Slowing Advance on Kurdish Town
- Syrian Kurds say air strikes against Isis are not working
- French reportedly discussing Kobani action with Turks
- UN’s Syria envoy calls for international action to defend Kobane
- Kurdish female suicide bomber attacks Isis in fight for Kobani
- Isis raises the black flag: Islamists hail victory over Kurds as battle rages on Europe’s doorstep
‘The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended his government’s efforts to control online speech, telling a press freedom conference: “I am increasingly against the Internet every day.” Mr Erdoğan’s comments came during an “unprecedented” meeting with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI).
The meeting, which also included Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, took place as the Turkish parliament voted on military action in Syria. Turkey’s leaders “aggressively” defended its record on press freedom during the 90-minute conference, and criticised various media outlets for “polarising and distorting coverage of recent events” such as the Gezi Park anti-government rallies.’
- Turkey: Authoritarian Drift Threatens Rights
- Turkey to give telecoms body more powers over Internet
- Turkish PM promises peace with Kurds, active diplomacy
- Dozens of Turkish police detained over ‘anti-government plot’
- New Cabinet in Turkey Mirrors That of Last Premier
- Erdogan sworn in as Turkey president, opposition walk out
- Turkey’s incoming prime minister says country needs new constitution
- Davutoglu: controversial architect of Turkey’s foreign policy
- Turkey’s Erdogan signals no let-up in push for stronger presidency
- Turkey’s Erdogan seeks strong, but pliant successor as PM
‘The secret story of how the outgoing head of the most powerful military alliance landed his job “has everything,” according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“It has the Kurds. It has the destruction of an entire TV station. Corrupt deals between intelligence agencies and the judiciary. The corruption of a Scandinavian country, Denmark. And the head of that country, the prime minister, doing a corrupt deal to get his job,” Assange told teleSUR English in an exclusive interview.
Continuing, Assange lamented the “whole thing, signed off, explicitly by Barack Obama.”
The story with “everything” is now a pending case before the European Court of Human Rights, but it begins two years ago, with the prosecution of a Kurdish language television station in Denmark.’
‘[…] Yo, Blair – what are you doing this time? He is pushing a huge global project in the name of some big guys who care less than nothing that the local people don’t want it.
The scheme is, as always, a case of powerful elites against ordinary people, and guess which side he is for? He is gazing now at Puglia’s southern coasts in his capacity of facilitator of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s president, nominated in 2012 for Person of the Year by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the TAP consortium of energy, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, formed by British oil giant BP (20 percent), Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR (20 percent), Norway’s Statoil (20 percent), Belgium’s Fluxys (16 percent), France’s Total (10 percent), Germany’s E.ON” (9 percent) and Switzerland’s di Axpo (5 percent). It’s a 2,000-mile pipeline transporting gas from Shah Deniz-2, the biggest Azeri gas field in the Caspian Sea, across Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy.’
‘World Bank Turkey Director Martin Raiser on Tuesday addressed design flaws in the EU-Turkey Customs Union agreement that is seen as the biggest obstacle for Turkey in EU economic integration.
Raiser said that although Turkey is a candidate for EU membership, its inability to participate in the decision-making process on the EU’s Customs Union policies increases the risk of Turkish non-compliance with EU legislation.
[…] Raiser was speaking at the “Turkey-EU Custom Union” panel held by the European Union and the Ankara-based think tank Global Research Association, which conducts research into Turkey’s harmonization with EU principles and policies.’
‘When Turkish pupils received their school entry exam results after the end of last term, textile worker and father Halil Ibrahim Beyhan received an unpleasant surprise His daughter had been assigned to a religious high school, like thousands of other students under a new system that caught many parents off guard.
Parents, educators and civil society groups have decried the move as another attack on Turkey’s secular principles by the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing the government of imposing religion on students.’
‘[…] Documents from the archive of US whistleblower Edward Snowden that SPIEGEL and The Intercept have seen show just how deeply involved America has become in Turkey’s fight against the Kurds. For a time, the NSA even delivered its Turkish partners with the mobile phone location data of PKK leaders on an hourly basis. The US government also provided the Turks with information about PKK money flows and the whereabouts of some of its leaders living in exile abroad.
At the same time, the Snowden documents also show that Turkey is one of the United States’ leading targets for spying. Documents show that the political leadership in Washington, DC, has tasked the NSA with divining Turkey’s “leadership intention,” as well as monitoring its operations in 18 other key areas. This means that Germany’s foreign intelligence service, which drew criticism in recent weeks after it was revealed it had been spying on Turkey, isn’t the only secret service interested in keeping tabs on the government in Ankara.’
‘After Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Hector Xavier Monsegur’s Manhattan apartment in June 2011, the FBI gave him a choice: Help take down the international hacktivist collective Anonymous, or go to prison for the rest of your life. He promptly flipped. What followed was a high-profile hacking spree that included attacks on Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the FBI’s own Virtual Academy, among others. Monsegur, better known by his alias Sabu, helped ensnare eight of the world’s top hackers in the process.
Monsegur’s exact role, however, and the FBI’s implicit involvement in the attacks have come under serious scrutiny in recent months. The Daily Dot previously revealed that, contrary to official reports, Monsegur, 30, orchestrated the devastating attack on Stratfor in December 2011. The breach caused an estimated $3.78 million in damages and left thousands of customers vulnerable to fraud. For the first time, The Kernel can now confirm Monsegur also led cyberattacks on Turkey’s government. The revelation further calls into question the role of federal investigators and their apparent willingness to exploit both hackers and major security flaws.’
‘Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies. The details about the duration of possible surveillance and on the decision-making surrounding it go further than first reports earlier this week. Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara on Monday after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years.
Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step. The magazine also cited government sources as saying the BND’s current mandate to monitor Turkish political and state institutions had been agreed by a government working group. That included representatives of the chancellor’s office, the defense, foreign and economy ministries. A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report.’
‘NATO would take all steps necessary to defend alliance member Turkey if it were threatened by Islamic State fighters who have made gains in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.
“We are very much concerned about the activities of the so-called Islamic State, which is a bunch of terrorists, and it is of utmost importance to stop their advance,” Rasmussen told Reuters in an interview.
“If any of our allies, and in this case of course particularly Turkey, were to be threatened from any source of threat, we won’t hesitate to take all steps necessary to ensure effective defence of Turkey or any other ally,” he said.’