Thursday, June 1, 2017

Turkey for month of May ... the Erdogan madness continues

The Turkish People Have Never Been More "Miserable"

Over the last year, as Turkey's 'sultan-for-life' Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increased his dictatorial powers, so the nation's "misery" has increased to record highs. Soaring inflation (amid a collapsing currency) and stubbornly high unemployment have combined with government crackdowns to see increasingly active protests in the streets.

As Die Welt notes, inflation accelerated to 11.9 percent in April, the highest since October 2008. The rate was well above the expectations of the experts. In particular, the cost of clothing, food, alcohol and transport rose dramatically - in other words, the expenses that the population is experiencing on a daily basis. High percentages cost 22 percent more than a year ago. New taxes on alcoholic beverages have hit the consumer prices. Clothing rose by more than nine percent compared to the previous month. The inflation figures are not the only indicator of economic misery. The unemployment rate has recently risen to 13 percent, the highest since 2010. The infamous misery index, which adds inflation and unemployment, is at its highest level since 2005 at almost 25 percent.

This so-called misery index signals the mood of the population......

107 more judges, prosecutors dismissed from profession in Turkey

Turkey’s top judicial body, the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), has dismissed 107 more judges and prosecutors over alleged ties to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The decision for the expulsion of the judges and prosecutors was made at the HSYK general assembly on Friday....

At least 32 teachers who were earlier dismissed
from their posts were taken into custody as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, on Friday.

Kayseri police raided homes of the teachers in question who are accused of having used ByLock, a smartphone app that Turkish authorities claim to be the top communication tool among Gulen followers.

Turkey has already detained more than 120,000 people over alleged or real ties to the movement.

Turkish justice minister talks FETÖ with US counterpart

Minister asks FETÖ leader Gülen be placed under provisional arrest, and for evidentiary documents to be submitted in court
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Monday met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in D.C and reiterated Ankara's request for the extradition of accused Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) ringleader, Fetullah Gülen.
During the 45-minute meeting, Bozdag asked Sessions to submit in court the evidence Turkey has handed over to U.S. authorities in support of the extradition, and place Gülen under provisional arrest, according to Turkish Justice Ministry sources....

Erdogan urges Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa 
to protect the mosque's Islamic identity
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed Turkey's support for the Palestinian fight against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, calling on Turks to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque often to protect the Muslim identity of the Holy place.

Speaking at the Al-Quds Forum in Istanbul, Erdogan said Turkey places great importance on Palestinians' justified resistance and it will not let Israeli attempts change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

"As a Muslim community, we need to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque often, each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us."

The president added that the international community remains silent on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. "They feel they are immune to any punishment for their crimes, but the international community needs to stand up against them.".......

EU raises human rights in talks with Turkey's Erdogan

Senior European Union officials on Thursday pressed President Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey's human rights record while he pushed Brussels to deliver on promises of visa-free travel to Europe for Turks.

Erdogan's visit to Brussels, where he was also due to attend a NATO summit, comes at a time of strain in EU-Turkey relations.

The EU has expressed concern over Turkey's sacking and jailing of tens of thousands of soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants since a failed military coup last July. It has also criticized a revamping of Turkey's constitution - backed by a referendum - that greatly expands Erdogan's powers.

Turkey says its crackdown is targeting supporters of a exiled Muslim cleric it blames for the coup attempt. It has also accused the EU of frustrating Ankara's decades-old bid to join the bloc. Talks are now effectively frozen and Erdogan has suggested Turkey might walk away from the EU....

McCain, Feinstein tell Turkey to hold guards accountable after DC brawl

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are demanding the Turkish government take responsibility for a brawl involving protesters in Washington, D.C., this week.

“The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans,” they wrote in a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

“Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government,” the pair added.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to these actions at home, and we urge you to hold accountable those members of your staff who violently attacked peaceful protestors in our nation’s capital.”.......

27 dismissed academics detained 
over alleged coup involvement
Turkish police detained a total of twenty-seven academics who were previously expelled from the Izmir-based 9 Eylül University through government decrees, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.

The academics are reportedly accused of having links to Turkey’s Gülen group, using a smart phone application known as ByLock, having a bank account at the now-closed Gülen-linked bank, Bank Asya, and being members of Gülen-linked foundations.....

'Where has grandad gone?': The crushing of Turkish journalists
Turkey's government has hit opposition media with mass arrests and shutdowns. For the family of one journalist, it has destroyed their lives
A police raid at dawn. Then being bundled into a police van and treated like a criminal. Turkish journalists and their families have become all too familiar with this scenario.

On 12 May, Oguz Guven, the web manager at the secular Cumhuriyet newspaper, tweeted out "I am being detained" at 7.15am as policemen took him away from his Istanbul home. 

Guven was then formally arrested on 15 May, for a Twitter post and headline on the newspaper's website that was changed 55 seconds after publication.

The headline was about the death of a chief prosecutor in a road accident. Guven was charged with "conducting propaganda for a terrorist organisation".........

Helicopter crash kills 13 soldiers in Turkey's southeast

Turkey's army said initial findings show the crash of the helicopter was an accident
Thirteen soldiers were killed on Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in southeast Turkey after hitting a high-voltage power line, the army said.

The AS532 Cougar helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from a base in Sirnak province bordering Iraq, killing all 13 onboard, it said in a statement.

"Our hero comrades in the helicopter fell as martyrs," the army said....

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