R E T U R N O F T H
E O T T O M A N S
MILITANT TURKEY - THREATENING ALL AT HOME AND ABROAD
MER - WASHINGTON - 10/12:
There is tremendous repression, oppression, militarism and torture in Turkey these
days. All very much encouraged (regardless of what is said in public) by both the U.S. and
Israel with their new "Ankara Pact" -- the importance of which we have focused
upon previously. The Arabs are so weak, and Turkey is getting so strong now that the
Americans and Israelis are working so closely with the Generals, that the militarist Turks
feel they can start pushing everyone around. A clash with Syria still might come
regardless of all the Arab "diplomacy". And at home there is still growing
repression to prevent people from expressing themselves in the most basic ways.
Journalists are arrested and beaten for publishing articles about what is really going on
Students are fearful to speak up in any way. And even Muslim women are being increasingly
harassed and punished -- government jobs and even school registration now prohibited to
those who choose to wear a simple headscarf. On Sunday in Washington at the White House a
small group of 50 or 60 Muslims, organized in the usual haphazard Muslim Student
Association (MSA) way, marched outside the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue to protest
Turkish repression. They then held prayers and had a few interesting speakers in Lafayette
Park. MER-TV was there and will put some of the speakers on our weekly cable TV next
month. As MER editorialized earlier this year, what's going on in today's Middle East is
nothing less than the "return of the Ottomans", The following two short articles
are from the AP a few days ago. Things can be expected to get worse, probably much worse,
in the months to come.
TURKISH PREMIER THREATENS TO "POKE OUT THE EYES" OF SYRIA
ANKARA, Turkey (AP - 10/11 - By Selcan Hacaoglu) -- Turkey's prime minister said Sunday
his country had a duty to "poke out the eyes" of Syria if it doesn't stop
harboring Kurdish rebels.
Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's harsh words, reported by the Anatolia news agency, raised
the stakes in Turkey's face-off with its neighbor.
Ankara accuses Syria of harboring Kurdish rebels who are fighting for autonomy within
Turkey. It has demanded Damascus to end its support to the rebels and extradite their
leaders. Syria denies the claims.
There were unconfirmed reports of a Turkish troop buildup along the Syrian border. Both
Iran and Egypt are trying to mediate an end to the crisis.
Yilmaz was quoted by Anatolia as saying that "if Syria does not come to its
senses, it is our incumbent duty to bring the world down on them .. It is our incumbent
duty to poke out the eyes of those who have eyes on our territory."
Yilmaz spoke in southern Kahramanmaras province to a crowd that replied with cries of
"Down with Syria!" Anatolia reported.
Also on Sunday, State Minister Metin Gurdere said Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan
had left Damascus for Armenia. "Armenia should also watch its step," Anatolia
quoted him as saying.
Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations. Armenia accuses Turkey of the
genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. Turkey denies
committing genocide and says the deaths were caused by civil war.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa will leave for Turkey on Monday in the latest bid
by Egypt to calm the mounting crisis. He also plans a trip to Syria.
Moussa is expected to relay messages between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Turkish
President Suleyman Demirel, Egypt's news media reported Sunday.
MUSLIMS MARCH TO PROTEST SCARF BAN
PEACEFUL MARCHERS ACCUSED OF "UPRISING"!
ANKARA, Turkey (AP - 10/11 - By Selcan Hacaoglu) -- Thousands of Muslims demonstrators
joined hands and marched Sunday throughout Turkey to protest a ban on Islamic-style head
scarves in schools and public offices. Police shot and killed one person in an argument
over a traffic jam caused by the protests.
The Anatolia news agency said the shooting took place in the eastern city of Elazig,
when a group of soccer fans on their way to a match got stuck in a traffic jam caused by
the demonstration. It said police opened fire, killing a 25-year-old soccer fan and
wounding two others.
The marches in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and at least eight smaller towns and cities were
the largest demonstration against the ban since universities last month refused to
register women who failed to submit ID photographs with bare heads.
Protesters, mostly women in scarves or black Islamic chadors, carried banners reading
"We Want Our Right To Education Back," and "Respect Belief, Free
Since chanting anti-secular slogans in Istanbul is illegal, demonstrators there clapped
or blew on whistles instead.
The government had declared the nationwide protest illegal and Deputy Premier Bulent
Ecevit told NTV television it was an "uprising" by people hiding behind young
girls. Several hundred people were reported detained nationwide for taking part in the
The ban on head scarves is enforced at the urging of the military, the guardian of
Turkey's secular regime. The military regards scarves as a political statement and radical
Islam as a threat to Turkey's secular system.