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  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Daniel Pipes: Will Turkey's Military Emulate Egypt's?

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.That is the important question asked today by Steve Coll:Will Egypt's counter-revolution inspire Turkey's fragmented, avowedly secular military—which once dominated the country's politics, via coup-making—to reorganize and reassert itself? Could the military do so if it tried? … recent events in Egypt will surely stir and tempt Atatürk's heirs in the opposition.My take: It is hard to imagine, given how the top Turkish brass submitted so meekly to AKP control and permitted the imprisonment of so many of its members that, at this late date, it will find the gumption to challenge Erdoğan & Co.If there were to be a revolt, therefore, it would more likely come not from the ranks of the generals – who carried out all of Turkey's prior coups d'état – but from some disgruntled colonel fed up with his superiors' supine responses to Islamist domination and inspired by Sisi's bold action in Egypt.

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Daniel Pipes: Islamism's Likely Doom

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved. As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities -- sectarian (Sunni, Shi'ite), political (monarchical, republican), tactical (political, violent), or attitudes toward modernity (Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood) -- and cooperate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because "all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Shari'a)."

  • Originally published 06/19/2013

    What Turkey's Riots Mean

     To assess the future of Islamism in Turkey, watch the economic indicators.

  • Originally published 06/17/2013

    Edhem Eldem: Turkey’s False Nostalgia

    Edhem Eldem is a professor of history at Bogazici University.ISTANBUL — THE demonstrators who have filled the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities for nearly three weeks complain that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P., has adopted an increasingly authoritarian attitude that threatens basic freedoms. They also resent his tendency to meddle in the personal lives of citizens — by condemning abortion or trying to control the sale and consumption of alcohol.But Mr. Erdogan isn’t the first Turkish leader to have flirted with authoritarianism and social engineering. This is important to remember, since many of his opponents tend to hark back to a nostalgic past, best illustrated by the profusion of Turkish flags and images of the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Ottoman History at Stake in Taksim Square

    Credit: Wiki Commons.In November of 2012, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reacted to criticism of the planned renovation to Taksim Square in central Istanbul by invoking history. "We are working to bring back history that has been destroyed," he said this week, in reference to the demolition of the barracks in 1940. "We will unite Taksim with its history."

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Politics slow archaeologists in Turkey

    It used to be easy for foreign archaeology teams to get excavation permits in Turkey. This year, though, dozens of scientists are still waiting for government permission even though the dig season has begun. Some suspect that politics and nationalism are in play.On the surface, the mood is buoyant at the annual archaeology conference in southern Turkey. Eager academics, more than a few of them clad in khaki vests and breathable pants, engage in animated conversation as they network and discuss their pet projects. Outside, a warm sun is shining.But looks are deceiving. For many of those present, the future is filled with uncertainty. The Turkish government in Ankara has still not granted annual permits to many of the excavations that the careers of the scientists present depend on. And there is concern that the reason for the delay has much more to do with the state of Turkey's relations with the West than with the merits of the projects in question....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    Archaeology strains German-Turkish relations

    An argument between Germany and Turkey about ancient treasures is escalating. Turkey wants its treasures back, but German archaeologists say Turkish sites are being exploited for tourism.Archaeology often has a lot to do with politics - the current argument between Germany and Turkey is a prime example. Hermann Parzinger, head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, last December accused Turkey of displaying "almost chauvinistic behavior." In reply, the Turkish culture minister Ömer Celik told German news magazine "Der Spiegel" that he demanded an apology, and he asked for five ancient objects to be returned that are currently shown in museums in Berlin. He claims they were taken out of Turkey illegally. Parzinger rejects any accusations of illegality for three of these objects: In December 2012, he said that the torso of the Fisherman of Aphrodisias, the sarcophagus from the Haci Ibrahim Veli tomb and a 13th-century prayer niche were all acquired legally.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Historian Taner Akcam says Armenian border should be opened for normalization of relations

    As the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approaches, historian Taner Akcam suggests Turkey open its borders with Armenia as a step to normalize relations between the two countries. Talking to Today’s Zaman Akcam claims that the Armenian issue cannot be solved unless diplomatic ties are established.Akcam, who describes the 1915 events as “genocide,” says that Turkey should stop wasting its time with the argument that 1915 was not genocide “by exploiting people’s ignorance about this matter and creating an unnecessary debate.” He argues that 1.2 million Armenians were forced to relocate under the rule of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) during the Ottoman Empire.He also argues that thirst, hunger and diseases were among the main reasons for the deaths, but the groups that were forced to migrate were intentionally led to take the longer routes and were not provided water and food during their journey....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    'Gate to Hell' found in Turkey

    A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.Known as Pluto's Gate -- Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin -- the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    With Obama as broker, Israelis and Turkey end dispute

    JERUSALEM — Under persistent prodding from President Obama, Israel and Turkey resolved a bitter three-year dispute on Friday with a diplomatic thaw that will help a fragile region confront Syria’s civil war, while handing the president a solid accomplishment as he closed out his visit to the Middle East.

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Main street revealed in agora of Smyrna

    A part of a street similar to the Arcadian street in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in İzmir (Smyrna) has been uncovered during excavations at a nearby historical agora.The excavations in the area are being carried out under the leadership of Professor Akın Ersoy and his team. He said the main street, which begins from the Faustina gate and continues to the port, had been found to the researchers’ surprise. “We have also found a fountain on this street. The fountain has a statement that praises a benefactor for his support for the ancient city of Smyrna.” Ersoy said they had also located a multi-echelon staircase on the street. “The continuation of this staircase goes to an area covered with mosaics. This ancient street is 80 meters long, but it reached the sea. This is the most important street in the agora for the entrance of goods. Just like in Ephesus, the street blocks water and has a very good sewer system. Visitors are prohibited from entering the area at the moment. When the work is done, tourists will be able to walk on this street just like in Ephesus....

  • Originally published 03/01/2013

    UN: Erdogan "wrong" to link Zionism with fascism

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for comments linking Zionism with fascism.“The secretary-general heard the prime minister’s speech through an interpreter,” Ban Ki-moon’s office said in an e- mailed statement today. “If the comment about Zionism was interpreted correctly, then it was not only wrong but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilizations is based.”Kerry, who’s visiting Ankara, said he raised the comments directly in his meeting with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. Such remarks are unhelpful to the search for peace in the Middle East, Kerry told reporters in the Turkish capital. Kerry was headed for a meeting with Erdogan after the press conference.Turkey’s ties with Israel, once a close military ally, have been strained since Erdogan called Israel’s military operation in Gaza that began in December 2008 “a crime against humanity.” Ties reached a low when nine Turks were killed in an Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in 2010....

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Bones found in Turkey are probably those of Cleopatra's half-sister

    Long-buried bones and a missing monarch. Add some historical notoriety and modern technology and you have a heck of a captivating, science-driven story. Just this month, it was announced that bones found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, belonged to King Richard III. DNA evidence, according to the lead archaeologist at the excavation, proved this “beyond a reasonable doubt.”...

  • Originally published 02/08/2013

    Picturing James Baldwin in Exile

    1964 portrait of James Baldwin. All photos courtesy of Sedat Pakay.Being out . . . one is really not very far out of the United States . . . One sees it better from a distance . . . from another place, from another country.-- James BaldwinJames Baldwin (1924-1987), the renowned American novelist, essayist, playwright, civil rights advocate and social critic, was an outspoken advocate for equality and respect for all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. His novels include Giovanni’s Room, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and Another Country, but he may be most remembered for his powerful essays, often reflections on the timeless American obsessions with race and sexuality, found in his books such as Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time and Nobody Knows My Name.

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Is Turkey Leaving the West?

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Credit: Wiki Commons.Originally posted on DanielPipes.orgRecent steps taken by the government of Turkey suggest it may be ready to ditch the NATO club of democracies for a Russian and Chinese gang of authoritarian states.Here is the evidence:

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