Book Prospectus

(May 28, 2005)

The Nazis’ Gifts to Turkish Higher Education and Inadvertently to Us All: Modernization of Turkish universities (1933-1945) and its impact on present science and culture.


Arnold Reisman


In 1933



Reichstag  burning!


                                                                      In 1933


Gates to Istanbul University


Some 15 years later

This is a tale of individuals caught at the crossroads and in the cross-fires of history. Their native lands were in the throes of discarding them. Their lives were saved because an alien country was discarding a societal culture inherited from the Ottomans. Turkey recognized the need to modernize its society while Germany and Austria were literally throwing babies and much more, out with the bath water. The Nazis came to power.  Many of these intellectuals were Jewish.

The book documents a bit of history that is dimly lit and largely unknown. In the 1930s the new republic of Turkey badly needed western intellectual know-how to create a modern system of higher education and to modernize practice in various professions. In the west Fascism was rising. Much of the intellectual capital in German speaking countries involved individuals unacceptable to the new ideology and those for whom the ideology was unacceptable. Most had no other emigration options. For those who did, professional employment was not guaranteed. Turkey extended invitations to these desperate souls.  For certain chits, the German Reich allowed the emigrations to take place.  Germany needed Turkey’s neutrality to keep the Bosporus and Dardanelles open to its navy and shipping at all times – including war times. Throughout WWII the pressure was high to have these expatriates returned to the Reich along with all Turkish Jews. Turkey never caved in.


The system of higher education inherited by the Republic of Turkey in 1923, consisted of a few hundred Ottoman vintage (Islamic) madrasas, a fledgling university called the Dar-ül Fünun, and three military academies, one of which was expanded into a civil engineering school around 1909. With secularization enshrined in its constitution, the new government recognized a need for modernization/westernization throughout Turkish society and established a number of policies to bring this about. Indigenous personnel to do this were not to be had. Starting in 1933 and running through WWII, Turkey provided safe-haven for many intellectuals and professionals for whom the Nazis had other plans.


This book discusses the impact of these émigré professors, on Turkey’s higher education in the sciences, professions, and humanities, and also on its public health, library, legal, engineering, and administrative practices. The multi-faceted legacy of this impact on present Turkish society with all its richness is documented if but in part. Some of the socio-economic reasons for Turkey’s not taking full advantage of the second and third generation progenies of its modern higher educational system, and the ensuing “brain drain,” are analyzed. Lastly, the book briefly addresses the impact on American science and higher education of the Turkish-saved professors, many of whom subsequently re-emigrated to the US.

Acknowledgments:  The author is grateful to an old and dear friend Aysu Oral, for her knowledge of Turkish history, language, and culture, which greatly contributed to finding, abstracting, and translating  much text from Turkish language documents;  to graduate students, Ismail Capar and Emel Aktas who provided some of the Turkish material; the troika of  Eugen Merzbacher, distinguished physics Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Matthias Neumark of Charlottesville, VA, and Andrew Schwartz of Acton Mass., both retired businessmen who provided many insights because they were there at the time, were not too young to understand events nor too old to recall and retell their stories; to Rita and Marek Glaser of Tel Aviv, Israel, also old and dear friends, for searching archival information and contacting Holocaust survivors for personal experiences that are relevant. Clearly, a number of scholars, archivists, and institutions have provided much of the information contained herein. Among these are Anthony Tedeschi and Becky Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services, The Lilly Library, Indiana University; Samira Teuteberg, AHRB Resource Officer, Centre for German-Jewish Studies; University of Sussex; Dr Norman H. Reid, Head of Special Collections, University of St Andrews Library, Scotland and to J. J. O’Connor and E. F. Robertson , Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the same university; Andrea B. Goldstein, Reference Archivist, Harvard; Viola Voss, Archivist, Leo Baeck Institute, New York; Ralph Jaeckel and staff of the von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies, UCLA; Chris Petersen, the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Valley Library, Oregon State University; Stephen Feinstein, University of Minnesota; Rainer Marutzky, Braunschweig Institute for Wood Research; Dr. Klaus Kallmann, New York Natural History Museum (Ret); Prof. Dr. Johannes Horst Schröder, Institut fur Biologie, Munich (Ret); Meg Rich, Archivist and Daniel J. Linke, University Archivist and Curator of Public Policy Papers, Seeley G. Mudd, Manuscript Library, Princeton University; Marcia Tucker, Historical Studies-Social Science Library, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Ken Rose, Assistant Director, Rockefeller Archive Center; Paul G. Anderson, Archivist, Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis; Julia Gardner, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library; Virginia G. Saha, Director, Cleveland Health Sciences Library;  Nejat Akar MD, Professor of Pediatric Molecular Genetics, Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine; Professor Arin Namal, University Istanbul Medical Faculty Department of Medical Ethics and Medical History; Kyna Hamill, Tisch Library Archives, and  Amy E. Lavertu, Information Services Librarian, Hirsh Health Sciences Library at Tufts University; Historian Tuvia Friling of Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel, an expert on Jewish issues in the Balkans and Turkey during the relevant period; Daniel Rooney, Archivist, National [US] Archives and Records Administration; and especially to Ron Coleman, Reference Librarian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who went beyond the call of duty in providing references and did so in a most timely fashion.
Key words: Turkey; History; History of science and technology; Development; Technology Transfer; Educational Policy; Government Policy; Higher education; Nazi persecution; Nazism; Holocaust; Shoah; Migration; Diaspora; Exile.



Arnold Reisman received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from UCLA.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in California, Wisconsin, and Ohio and has published over 200 refereed papers and 14 books.  After 27 years as Professor of Operations Research at Case Western Reserve University, he chose early retirement in 1994.  During 1999-2003 he was Visiting Scholar in Turkey at both Sabanci University, and the Istanbul Technical University.  His current research interests are; technology transfer; epistemology of knowledge generation; meta research; and most recently, the history of German speaking exiled professors starting 1933 and their impact on science in general and Turkish universities in particular.  He is also actively pursuing his life long interest in sculpting.  He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, American Men and Women of Science, and Two Thousand Notable Americans and is a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.

Book Length

Text length and number of visuals are negotiable. Manuscript delivered in nine (9) months or less of contract signing.



  1. Introduction
  2. The Builders

         Architecture and City Planning

  1. The Preservators


Library Science and librarianship


Botany and zoology

  1. The Creators

Performing arts

Visual arts

  1. The Social Reformers



  1. The Healers



  1. The Scientists


Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry

Mathematics and Engineering Science

Philosophy and Science




  • University histories


Ankara University

Istanbul Technical University

Istanbul  University


    1. Problems the emigres encountered


  • Correspondence and memoirs


  1. Legacy left behind

Selected biographies of first-generation Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Selected biographies of second-generation Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Oral histories

First generation: Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Surviving spouses

  1. Turkey’s post-war policies and practices: Effects limiting the legacy’s    

impact potential.

  1. After their re-emigration, Turkey-saved professors’ impact on:

         American science and higher education

German science and higher education




Sample chapters available on request.

Putin: Turkey is governed by a demagogue dictator who supports terrorists

Speaking on the sidelines of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, the Russian president Vladimir Putin accused the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of supporting foreign Islamist rebel fighters in Syria and providing them with medical care and turning turkey to an international hub for global terrorism.


“The Turkish regime became a serious threat to international security and is jeopardizing the regional stability; hence the Russian Federation won’t hesitate to ignore this grave menace and will do the necessary steps to prevent Erdoğan from committing a suicide adventure in the Middle-East,” state news agency Itar-Tass cited Putin as saying on Friday in Russian resort town of Sochi.

The Russian strongman mentioned the ISIS vicious phenomenon, adding that beneath the Saudi-backed terrorist group’s barbaric and brutal façade lies the Turkish and Qatari intelligence agencies that ignited a sectarian war in Iraq and neighboring Syria, claiming tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

Previously having blamed Ankara for deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Syrian Kurdish besieged border-town of Kobani, Putin further criticized the Turkish deceitful Prime Minster, Ahmet Davutoğlu, who recently stated that Ankara would take part in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in only if it ultimately leads to Syrian government’s overthrow.

“If Mr. Erdoğan intends to intervene in Syria only and only to unseat the Syrian president, Moscow will certainly increase the pace of sending missiles and weaponry consignments to its Arab ally,” warned Putin in a stentorian language reminiscent to the Cold War rhetoric.

Meanwhile the Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin blasted Turkey for plotting to replace the Syrian government with a puppet regime since early 2011 and trying to intervene under the pretext of creating a buffer-zone inside the Syrian territory, describing Erdoğan’s latest move to obtain Turkish parliament’s authorization for a possible military action against Damascus as ‘a pathetic charade’.

I regret to see that Turkey’s Prime Minister’s famous doctrine of “zero problems with neighbors” is turned to be “zero friends policy” in the Middle-East, added Naryshkin.

via AWDNews – Putin: Turkey is governed by a demagogue dictator who supports terrorists.

Turkey Is Courted by U.S. to Help Fight ISIS

ANKARA, Turkey — The Obama administration on Monday began the work of trying to determine exactly what roles the members of its fledgling coalition of countries to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will play, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel huddled with the leaders of the one country the administration has called “absolutely indispensable” to the fight: Turkey.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, met Monday with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, to gauge Turkey's willingness to participate in an American-led coalition against the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Credit Reuters
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, met Monday with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, to gauge Turkey’s willingness to participate in an American-led coalition against the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Credit Reuters


But after hours of meetings here, there were no announcements of what the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might do. In fact, Turkish officials meeting with Mr. Hagel eschewed the news conferences that usually accompany high-level visits from American officials.

Rather, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, warned on the state-run Anatolia news agency that weapons sent by Western countries to fight ISIS could end up in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which Ankara considers a terrorist group.

“We have expressed our concerns,” Mr. Cavusoglu said. “It may not be possible to control where these weapons will go.”

Turkish officials raised concern about a host of issues surrounding the coalition, including the safety of 49 Turkish diplomats who have been taken hostage by ISIS, and whether the growing international effort to arm Kurdish fighters in Iraq against ISIS could embolden Kurdish militants in Turkey who have been seeking autonomy for the country’s largely Kurdish southeast. Turkish Kurds with the P.K.K. have fought with Kurdish pesh merga fighters in northern Iraq against ISIS. Turkey is also grappling with an influx of more than 800,000 Syrian refugees — the largest Syrian refugee population after Lebanon’s.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mr. Erdogan on Monday, Mr. Hagel said that Turkish officials had expressed to him their concern about the P.K.K. But, he added, “They didn’t indicate to me in any way that they saw the P.K.K. as a more significant threat than ISIL,” using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

The Obama administration wants Turkey to crack down on the flow of foreign fighters who have used the country as a transit point to Syria to join militant groups fighting there. The United States also wants to be able to use Turkish military bases to begin operations, including airstrikes, on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria if President Obamadecides to attack inside Syria.

“By geography, Turkey is going to be absolutely indispensable to the ongoing fight against ISIS,” a senior defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Because of just where they sit, the access we currently already have militarily and the cooperation we have militarily.”

Mr. Erdogan, at the NATO summit meeting in Wales last week, met with Mr. Obama and said Turkey would become the only majority Muslim country so far to join what Mr. Hagel termed a “core coalition” of 10 countries fighting ISIS. Mr. Obama said after the meeting that he would welcome Turkey’s participation in his coalition.

But Turkey has several times balked at allowing the American military to use its bases for operations in the region — most famously in Iraq in 2003. Mr. Erdogan himself has a complicated relationship with Mr. Obama. The two initially formed a close personal relationship during Mr. Obama’s first term, and Turkey was the first majority Muslim country that the American president visited after taking office.

But the relationship soured over differences on Egypt and Syria, and deteriorated even more when Mr. Erdogan suggested that a conspiracy involving the United States was behind a corruption investigation by Turkish prosecutors that targeted him and his inner circle.

Mr. Hagel said the tensions between the United States and Turkey should not get in the way of joining in the fight against ISIS. “Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs in the relationship, but what’s interesting is it has never broken,” Mr. Hagel said.

“Now,” he added, “we have a situation in the world today that presents a clear and new set of very real threats.” Mr. Hagel said the United States expected that Turkey “will be involved in all of our efforts, as articulated by the president, to build a coalition to deal with ISIL.”

Syria’s refugees: fears of abuse grow as Turkish men snap up wives

Increasing number of women who have fled conflict are opting to marry Turks, many as second, third or even fourth wives
  • The Guardian,
Wedding gowns in a shop window in Reyhanli
Wedding gowns in a shop window in Reyhanli near the main border crossing into Syria. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Sundays usually mean brisk business for Turkish hairdressers. In the town of Reyhanli, on the Syrian border, a small shop is bustling with excited future brides and their relatives waiting to be styled for weddings and engagement parties.

The owner, Hatice Utku, is perming the hair of a woman who looks unusually sombre. Unlike the other customers, she is not accompanied by family members. “A Syrian bride,” Utku explains, sounding slightly disgruntled. “We are getting a lot of those now.” One of her colleagues chips in: “They are stealing our husbands.”

It is three days since Aminah, 27, from Idlib in Syria, first met her 43-year-old Turkish husband-to-be through a matchmaker. “He divorced his first wife and wanted to marry again,” Aminah says timidly. “He has a house and a job in Ankara. My family in Syria has nothing left. He will provide for me.”

Her fiance, a businessman from Ankara, paid about 3,000 Turkish lira (£828) for the introduction to his bride, plus 5,000TL for expenses. The couple communicate through a translator. “He will learn Arabic,” Aminah says. Is she looking forward to her new home in the Turkish capital? She shrugs. “I am happy, I guess. I don’t know.”

Aminah is one of an increasing number of Syrian refugees who opt to marry Turkish men. Women’s rights groups are worried: “A lot of women agree to these marriages out of sheer desperation. All they think about is how to feed their family, how to make ends meet. These arrangements might seem like the only way out, and men exploit this,” says one activist from Gaziantep, who wished to remain anonymous. “At the same time, local women feel helpless and anxious about their own families breaking apart. Women on both sides of the border become victims this way.”

In Kilis, a town where Syrian refugees outnumber local people, a 43-year-old Syrian woman says aid workers from a faith-based charity pressured her to marry her daughter to a Turkish government official, arguing that the man was charitable, had “donated many biscuits” and that “she should be grateful for such a good offer”.

Dr Mohamed Assaf, who works at a Syrian-run medical centre in Kilis, says almost 4,000 Syrian women have married Turkish men in the town since he arrived in 2012. Dr Reemah Nana, a gynaecologist at the clinic, says patients with Turkish husbands sometimes complain about domestic violence, but in general, marriages are happy. Asked about sexual abuse, she concedes: “We hear of cases, but most women don’t want to talk about it.”

Turkish authorities put the number of Syrian refugees in the country at nearly 1 million, a figure projected to rise by the end of the year to 1.4 million. According to the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), women and children constitute 75% of refugees in Turkey, with under-18s accounting for 50%. In a 2013 report, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency stated that roughly a fifth of heads of household – inside and outside of refugee camps – were women. Human rights groups have repeatedly pointed out that women refugees from Syria are especially vulnerable, and that many face rape, sexual abuse and harassment. A recent UNHCR report also underlined the dangers facing lone women refugees.

Like many Syrian refugees, Aminah entered Turkey illegally and without a valid passport, making it impossible to register her marriage. The ceremony will be a religious one, performed by an imam, thus leaving her without any protection or rights in the event of a separation or her spouse’s death. According to Kemal Dilsiz, a matchmaker in a village close to the Syrian border, most Syrian women who marry Turks do so without legal registration. “None of these weddings are official since none of the women have passports,” he says.

The Syrian women that Dilsiz “introduces” to his Turkish customers usually come across the river Orontes, on floats, at 100TL a ride. “I married off around 60 Syrian girls,” he says, not without pride. “Men from all over Turkey call me, looking for a wife from Syria. They say Syrian women are more loyal, more obedient, that they don’t talk back.”

Paid matchmaking, illegal in Turkey, is a thriving business in the provinces bordering Syria. According to one hotel employee in Antakya, marriage tourism is common. “We have male Turkish guests from all over the country,” he says. “They come to look for a Syrian wife.”

“Human trafficking and all problems associated with it – abuse, rape and exploitation – have increased since 2012,” says the women’s rights activist from Gaziantep. “We hear of more and more cases of ‘temporary marriages’, basically sex work, but women are afraid to talk about this openly. It is worrying that the idea of temporary marriages is now being normalised in Turkey. It puts the veneer of respectability and religious approval on sexual abuse and exploitation.”

Dilsiz introduces girls to any man who can pay: “It costs 4,000TL for me to arrange a meeting. Then there are the men on the Syrian side, the wedding, the car – all in all it would cost you around 10,000TL to get married to a Syrian girl.” He claims that Syrian marriage impostors have damaged his reputation, and that he has been hesitant to suggest a “serious bride” for a while. “But if you don’t mind running that risk, I can get you a Syrian woman right now,” he says. “You can marry her for a few months, if that’s what you want.”

Outside a non-governmental organisation in Kilis, several women wait for the daily distribution of nappies and food, discussing wedding plans for their daughters. Hanan, 45, says her 23-year-old daughter will become the second wife of a 35-year-old Turk. “He promised to do the house and his car in her name. She will be better off that way.”

Amina, 60, disagrees. “Don’t marry your daughter to a Turk. I know a family who was promised the same thing, and their daughter was sent away after two months.” Hanan says she has little choice. “He will take care of her, she will be provided for.”

Turkish human rights groups warn that polygamy, outlawed in Turkey almost a century ago but still practised in conservative rural areas in south-eastern Anatolia, is on the rise. Second, third, or even fourth wives – called kuma in Turkish – lack legal protection and are especially vulnerable to abuse.

Fatma, 28, from Aleppo province, married her Turkish husband, a farmer, three months ago. She is his second wife. “His first wife is ill and does not want to have any more children,” she says. Fatma is pregnant with her husband’s seventh child. “I am very happy. His first wife is nice to me, she says she is glad that I am here to help her. We share all the housework.” She pauses. “Though it’s hard to share the man you love with another woman, but what can I do? It’s fate.”

Resentment is growing. Women in border towns and cities accuse Syrian women of luring away their husbands, saying their spouses routinely threaten them with taking a Syrian wife.

At the hairdressers in Reyhanli, several local women express their anger. “Syrian women have broken up many families here,” says Kadriye, 36, who owns a bridal wear business nearby. “Our husbands have become real beasts since the Syrians came. The men now make all kinds of excuses to bring in a second wife. They threaten us because of the smallest things: the food, the housekeeping, anything. Some take wives the age of their daughters.”

Hatice Utku nods. “Domestic violence has increased, too. Women put up with anything nowadays, just to hang on to their husbands. ”

The women’s rights activist explains a worrying trend: “Local women are anxious. The constant fear of losing their husbands puts a lot of pressure on them. Domestic violence, threats, psychological pressure and abuse from their spouses have increased. We notice a rise in mental illness, especially depression, but the topic is not being addressed by the authorities.”

She says her organisation tries to assist Turkish and Syrian women: “We do house visits where we discuss this issue with the women here. We try to convince them to put the blame where it belongs. In order to counter this male opportunism, women from both sides of the border need to stick together.”

Some names have been changed.

There is no Kurdish Nation – it is a Freemasonic Colonial, Orientalist Hoax!



By Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Kurds do not exist. They are an entire Orientalist fabrication – pretty much like Arabs do not exist.

By forging false, fake entities, Freemasons trigger what looks like a fratricidal war, which in reality is not fratricidal properly speaking, but it consists in the true, normal reaction of two or more distinct elements that have been arbitrarily portrayed as one and drawn together. Even worse for the trickery of the Orientalist Freemasonic ateliers, these distinct elements – ingredients of explosive fake states were presented under alien ideological terms and unacceptable philosophical conditions (those declared at the times of the so-called Enlightenment) that could never make of these elements one entity.

  1. Islamic Caliphate & Eastern Roman Empire: multi-cultural mechanisms able to secure the cohabitation of many different nations with diverse cultures

    Islam could easily, effectively and successfully make of different nations (or of two peoples in one specific place) one coherent entity. This was possible even, if there were Christians among these two peoples (or within one people). In this manner, the historical rule of Islam preserved the identity of, and the peace among, many different peoples throughout centuries. One has to note here that Identity is far higher a value than Peace for all nations of the world, because peace with disfigured identity is tantamount to excruciation.

Christianity could do exactly the same thing and the Eastern Roman Empire did so for many long centuries as well – either before or after the emergence of Islam. In the Oriental Empires, freedom of faith, cultural heritage, and national identity were highly revered values – in great contrast with the modern Western World and in total opposition to the Freemasonic Orientalist lies about either the Caliphate or the Eastern Roman Empire.

It was not bad actually to live as a Christian in Omayyad Damascus or Abbasid Baghdad – there were many churches, and Christians were protected and quite often invited to assume responsibilities in high magistrates.

Neither was it bad to live as Muslim in Eastern Roman Constantinople where there was a mosque as early as 300 years after Prophet Muhammad died (around the middle of the 10th c.).

  1. Western Freemasonic Evil unleashed in the Orient

All the evil was unleashed in the Orient, when colonial armies and navies, Orientalist explorers and academia, and heinous Freemasonic swindlers impersonating the Western countries’ diplomats attempted through viciously unethical and overtly anti-Christian methods to expand their influence across the Ottoman Empire, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India in the 18th and the 19th centuries.

To prepare, implement and secure their long-planned, ominous colonial predominance, the Western academia fabricated fake entities that can only generate internal wars because exactly they are not proper entities. Then, they projected these fake entities onto their targets, i.e. the colonized nations. The evil deeds of the Western academia were superbly marketed by Western diplomats, agents, intellectuals, reporters and travelers worldwide as ‘Orientalist academic disciplines’; analytical guidelines were then conveyed to the respective agents and diplomats of the colonial countries for proper execution of the plan, implementation of the fake entities, and diffusion of the distortive sciences among the indigenous nations.

The first Orientalist hoax was that of the Arabic Nation.

  1. There are no Arabs.

    As a matter of fact, there are no Arabs.

The Arabic-speaking part of the populations of Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Western Egypt are indeed Berbers, who gradually forgot Berber languages and spoke Arabic exclusively, because they accepted Islam, and consequently made of their religious language their sole language. This was a long process and the Arabization phenomenon was only of linguistic nature – not ethnic, not cultural.
Similarly, Egyptians are not Arabs, but Hamitic Egyptians or ‘Copts’, if you want, who in different eras accepted Islam and gradually abandoned Coptic language. Egypt south of Assiut was still Christian for almost 300 years after Prophet Muhammad died. Today, there is no ethnic difference between Christian and Muslim Egyptians; literarily speaking, the country is inhabited by Christian Copts and Muslim Copts.

In the same way, the ethnic origin of today’s Sudanese is Kushitic (Kushites being a branch of the Hamitic nations) or Nilo-Saharan; Sudan’s Kushites are Arabic-speaking natives, because after accepting Islam, they gradually abandoned Christian Sudan’s Makurian and Alodian Kushitic languages, which were later forms of Meroitic. i.e. the pre-Christian Sudan’s language which was written in hieroglyphic and linear characters. Linguistic Arabization is indeed a very recent phenomenon for Sudan’s Kushites, because the Christian state of Makuria lasted until the 14th c. and the Christian state of Alodia collapsed only in the late 16th c. On the other hand, the Nubians in the North and other Nilo-Saharan peoples in other parts of Sudan preserved however their languages down to our times, as Arabic is merely a religious language to them.
More importantly, the Arabic-speaking part of the populations of SE Turkey, Syria, Iraq, SW Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Emirates and the Saudi extreme North are not Arabs but Aramaeans (a Semitic nation) who gradually forgot their own Syriac Aramaic language (a major language of Patristic Literature and an international language across the land routes of trade between the Mediterranean World, East Africa, India, and China) and spoke Arabic because they accepted Islam. Their linguistic Arabization was a gradual phenomenon characterized by the affinity of the two languages (Syriac Aramaic and Arabic) and the similarity of the two writing systems, as Arabic originates from Syriac Aramaic.
Last but not the least, the Yemenites and the Omanis are not Arabs, but indigenous Yemenites and Omanis who, after accepting Islam, gradually abandoned their pre-Islamic languages, namely Sabaean, Hinyarite and Hadhramawti, etc. and spoke Arabic. Two modern Yemenite indigenous languages, notably Mahri and Socotri, are descendants of the Ancient Yemenite languages that were of course categorized as Semitic. Mahri is spoken in Hadhramawt (Mahra) and in North Somalia, whereas Socotri is the only native language in the island of Socotra.

The pre-Islamic Yemenite languages are documented with a great number of epigraphic texts dating to back to more than 1300 years before the arrival of Islam; they were written in the indigenous writing that had nothing to do with the pre-Islamic Arabic writing which appears only 300 years before Islam and is provenly a deformation of Syriac Aramaic.

  1. There are no Kurds.

Similarly, there are no Kurds. The notion or concept of a ‘Kurdish nation’ is just an Orientalist hoax, the latest of the sort. In the same manner, the implantation, the imposition and the diffusion of the fake notion, concept, name, identity (and the ensuing behavioral and ideological systems) of an ‘Arab nation’ plunged the wider region into ceaseless strives and wars over the past century, the implantation of the Kurdish hoax is geared only to open the Gates of the Hell across the Anti-Taurus and Zagros Mountains and from the Caucasus to Mesopotamia.

  1. Two distinct nations in Turkey fallaciously called ‘Kurds’

– Zaza vs. Kurmanji
In Turkey, what people in the West call ‘Kurds’ are mainly two distinct nations, notably the Zaza and the Kurmanji. The two nations communicate via two different languages, namely Zazaki and Kurmanji that are as distinct from one another as German is from Armenian. These two nations hate deeply one another, far more than any of them is loathing the ruling Turkish speaking nation of Turkey.

The Zaza, as they are less populous than the Kurmanji, vehemently reject the Western, Freemasonic, Orientalist myth of a ‘Kurdish’ nation, and consider their forced consideration as ‘Kurds’ as an evil political tool to ensure Kurmanji supremacist plots and an otherwise idiotic and primitive, mountainous imperialism.

Both nations undertook short-lived and badly failed rebellions, after Kemal Ataturk put an end to the Ottoman Caliphate and launched the Turkish Republic in 1923; however, those rebellions were purely Islamic, Caliphatic of character and their leaders did not express a ‘Kurdish’ but a Muslim identity.

Among those who are fallaciously categorized as Kurds, few other marginal minority groups live in Turkey – notably the Yazidis.

Similar situations prevail in what is falsely called ‘Kurdistan’ in Iraq and in Iran. True, in Syria, there are only Kurmanji; if they want to achieve self-determination, it is certainly their right, but their state should be named Kurmanji Republic. By no means can such a state encompass territories inhabited by the Zaza. One should also take into consideration that in Turkey, Zaza and Kurmanji live basically in different areas in the southeastern part of the country and that they do not tolerate intermarriages, whereas members of either of these two nations often enter into intermarriage with Turks!!!

  1. Different nations in Iraq that are fallaciously called ‘Kurds’

– Bahdinani

In Iraq, among the first to be erroneously categorized as ‘Kurds’ are the Bahadinani, who are also known as Bahdinani or Bahdini, as they are named after the part of Turkey-Iraq border region that is called Bahdinan where a local principality existed for 450 years (late 14th c. to mid 19th c.) as a tiny buffer zone between the Ottoman Caliphate and Safavid Iran (between the cities of Hakkari aand Amadiyah).

Bahdinani may look close to Kurmanji, but it is not identical. English Wikipedia (that is the richest version of the multilingual portal) does NOT offer an article on the subject, because this version (or rather section) represents the focus of Freemasonic interference, falsification and systematic misinformation. Yet, Swedish Wikipedia seems to be more sensitive and informative on this matter, probably because there may be in Sweden more Bahdinani than Kurmanji, and they never accept to identify themselves otherwise (

The Swedish text reads:

Badinani (även bahdini) där en nordkurdisk dialekt som har inslag av arabiska ord och uttryck. Dialekten talas främst i det tidigare emiratet av Badinan som under 13-1800-talet låg i södra Kurdistan i Irak. Näraliggande dialekter är Kurmancî (som använder latinska alfabetet) och sorani (som använder ett modifierat arabiskt alfabet), men det finns många regionala varianter som ibland är oförståeliga sinsemellan. Badinani använder det modifierade arabiska alfabetet.

A rough English translation of the above text reads:

Badinani (also Bahdini) is a Northern Kurdish dialect that has elements of Arabic words and expressions. The dialect is spoken mainly in the former emirate of Badinan during 1300’s-1800’s low in southern Kurdistan, in Iraq. Adjacent dialects are Kurmancî (using the Latin alphabet) and Sorani (using a modified Arabic alphabets), but there are many regional variations that are sometimes unintelligible between themselves. Badinani uses the modified Arabic alphabet.

The text is clear; beyond the major issue of national identification (or ethnic group identity), there are differences between Bahdinani and Kurmanji at the level of language. However, an even more important difference between the two distinct groups is the fact that Bahdinani is written in Farsi characters (this is what is called ‘modified Arabic alphabet’) whereas Kurmanji is written in Latin characters – something that the Bahdinani traditionalists rightly find abhorrent. This is also revealed in an interesting blog specializing in courses of Bahdinani language (

Assuming that Bahdinanis will accept Kurmanji supremacist attitudes is an outrage. It is tantamount to forcing the Belgians Flemish to be called Dutch, or East Anglia’s English to be called Saxons. None of them would accept.

– The Yazidis

Yazidis are Kurmanji-speaking natives, who mainly live in Iraq and in Armenia (and very few of them in Turkey), but they don’t either consider themselves as Kurmanji or accept to be given the false label ‘Kurdish’.

More importantly, the Yazidis make of their religious difference (they are not Muslims but ‘Yazidis’) the major characteristic of their nation. Yazidis (also known as Yazdanis) have three holy books that all are other than the Quran. Their religion emerged under strong Gnostic impact, but Ali ibn Abi Talib, Islam’s First Imam and Fourth Caliph, is highly venerated among Yazidis. For these reasons, they reject the Kurmandji supremacist attitude in Turkey while they also dissociate themselves from Bahdinanis in Iraq.

It is quite telling that, in Armenia where the Yazidis constitute the main minority of that country, they strictly and obstinately demanded that the local government does NOT name them ‘Kurds’ in any way and under any circumstances whatsoever.

As the Yazidis constitute the majority of the inhabitants in the Dohuk region of North Iraq, I demanded – back in 2008/9 – the creation of the Yazidi Republic with Dohuk as capital, involving also population relocation for the process to be completed. If this occurred in order at the time, they would now make a small state of ca. 1 million people, and they would face no discrimination at the hands of any other government or organized crime like the ‘Kurdish’ peshmerga and the bogus-Islamists of ISIS.

Average people in Western Europe and North America must stop accepting blindly the vicious policies of their governments and wonder the following:

–          Why does tiny Slovenia with a population of 1.5 million people have the right to self-independence and the Yazidis with a population of 1 million people do not have this right?

The answer to this question reveals the dire reality, namely that there are evil plans for the entire area between the Mediterranean and India – and these plans existed for long, having been prepared by the-powers-that-be.

– Sorani

Except the aforementioned, North Iraq is home to the Sorani nation, which is the second ethno-linguistic group, after the Kurmanji, that currently pretends to be ‘Kurdish’. Like the Kurmanji, they never harbored similar ideas in the past, and their political – ideological shift occurred only after two Sorani tribal thugs willingly became dependent on the Western colonial countries in order to obtain weapons.

Gradually, the two notorious thugs, who initially were quite inimical to one another, were bribed enough to forget their tribal rivalry and come under systematic French-UK-US (F-UK-US) guidance or to put it correctly tutelage. At a more recent stage, following Iraq’s occupation by the US, the two corrupt thugs, i.e. Talabani and Barzani, showed a definite predilection for the Mossad only to be subsequently propelled to national Iraqi leadership and spread for Israel’s sole interests a systematic bloodshed against many North Iraqi nations that do not accept to be called ‘Kurds’ – which went deliberately unreported by the world’s biased mainstream media. 

The two ominous persons would be easily disregarded as comical, if they were not dark enough in their secret plans and dangerous enough in their ignorance, servility and corruption. They are the main responsible for today’s chaos in Iraq and for the persecution of other nations either directly in their hands or indirectly in the hands of others.

To put it correctly, Talabani and Barzani are not Kurds at all. They are Sorani nationals, and if they had the honest intention to respect the rights of the other adjacent nations and setup their own Soran national land as an independent country, they would draw respect too.

The major problem in their shameless case is that the Western policy of flattering impotent trash, of making false promises to thugs-turned-national leaders, and of inflating ambitions in the sick minds and evil hearts of viciously materialistic persons brought some results, and the two criminals gradually developed a dangerous Sorani supremacist attitude and ‘Kurdish’ imperialistic viewpoints that do not bode well for the region’s safety, peace and future.


Sorani do not understand either Bahdinani or Kurmanji, but the corrupt and the idiots, who have been bought in the false vision of ‘Kurdish’ nationalism, pretend that it is easy for the native speakers of either language to understand the other. This pretension is false and deeply inaccurate. Spaniards and Portuguese understand one another to some extent, but speaking the truth, they admit that they constitute two different nations.

Certainly the differences between Sorani and Kurmanji are not as big as those between Russian and Chinese, but this is meaningless. We are living at the times when the Catalans and the Galicians demand their self-determination and national independence. Going opposite to this trend guarantees only a bloody future in the wider region between the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

In addition, the differences between Kurmanji and Sorani, which are similar to those between Italian and Castilian Spanish, are definitely exacerbated by the use of different writing systems (Latin for Kurmanji and Farsi for Sorani).

And what would be the point of hypothetically considering today’s Italians and Spaniards as one nation and of arbitrarily merging them into a fictional ‘Latin Republic’?

There is however another dimension to the issue of Sorani nation. Speaking of languages with minimal written literature involves first, lack of grammatical and syntactical standards and second, the survival of several dialects. This is far more relevant to the case of Sorani rather than of Kurmanji. But it will only produce further troubles, if the existing evil plans are materialized.

Sorani is highly variant and the Sorani dialects comprise of the following dialects: Hawleri (in Erbil), Babani, Garmiani, and Jafi in Iraq, and Ardelani and Mukri (or Mukriani) in Iran. These dialects will be the first to be threatened with extinction in an independent ‘Kurdistan’. They will be erased to the benefit of a standardized Sorani, which is a modern linguistic construction to which the vicious enemies of all of these nations, far in the West  and in the darkness of their Freemasonic Orientalist ateliers, attempt nowadays to attach the ‘idea’ of writing Sorani in Latin characters! This now looks like a faraway detail, but within an independent ‘Kurdistan’ it will become decisively explosive.

– Fayli

In addition to the aforementioned, other nations living in Iraq have been fallaciously categorized as ‘Kurds’ as well. The Fayli nation is at times believed to be a subdivision of Luris (which means another nation, as different from the other so-called ‘Kurdish’ groups as Catalans are from Italians).

For very deep historical reasons that go far beyond the limits of the present summarizing article, the Faylis have become an entire chapter of Freemasonic Orientalist speculation and Western diplomatic planning. Here, suffice it to say that the secrecy of Western contacts with the Fayli nation is an age-old mystery and goes back to the Crusades.

What follows in only a brief, perspicacious glance at some recent, still disparate data and random points, which are false enough to make a shrewd observer realize that significant strengths are pulled in the central border region between Iraq and Iran, and in the highly targeted Zagros Mountains region.

The effort to depict the Faylis as a stateless people can be easily identified as a hint for a possible future fake state of Parthia (of which nothing has been publicly said let alone demanded until now)! To promote this concept, which will emulate further colonial divisions and strives, the Orientalist forgers diffuse the paramount falsehood that the ethnic name of the Faylis can be derived from that of the Arsacid dynasty of Pahlavi, which is absolutely false and the related argumentation appears to be nonsensical. As per the vicious forgers, who have recently produced supportive literature, the Faylis are the modern descendents of the Parthians – which is an even more far-fetched innuendo.  

Even more incredible is the number of 6 million of people ( ! ) that the English Wikipedia, the obedient and subservient, global promoter of all Freemasonic lies, dares to ascribes to the Failis in the homonymous entry. This simply means that the secret plans for Iran’s cantonization in the post-nuclear attack period have already advanced up to the level of extreme details, borderline demarcation, and population subdivision parameterization.

The aforementioned number for the Fayli is absolutely ludicrous, as they don’t exceed 400000 upon the most favorable calculations. If there were 6 millions of Faylis in the world, Iraq’s population should be 100 million people, and thus Iran would have 300 million inhabitants. The exorbitant nature of the figure only epitomizes the vicious preparations of what is going to take place after Israel’s long-anticipated nuclear attack against Iran. Cruel dictators-in-the-making are evidently awaiting in the wings only to spread further chaos and death in the Zagros Mountains and from Mesopotamia to Central Asia.

More specifically, Faylis are expected to have been programmed for a definitely calamitous role, when the silly puppets Talabani and Barzani will be swept away by the forthcoming national-religious ‘Kurdish’ radicalization, which will not appear before the proclamation of the fake ‘Kurdish’ state and the arrival of its supposed ‘representative’ in the UN. The hellish nightmare will only come thereafter.

– Gorani

There may be few Goranis in Iraq, but the bulk of this nation lives in Iran. Many linguists attempt to associate them with Turkey’s Zaza in an effort to bring both distinct nations within the ominous boiling cauldron of ‘Kurdistan’, but this is mistakenly obnoxious and fully irrelevant. Gorani as language is very different from Kurmanji and Sorani, and despite some morphological affinities with Zaza, it cannot be associated with it.

If there is an independent ‘Kurdistan’, even at the limited level of today’s Iraqi borderlines, the Goranis will be automatically exposed to severe persecution, grave assimilation, brazen expulsion, and systematic extinction.

– Hawrami, Kakai (Yarsani), Sarli, and Shabak

Iraq is also inhabited – in smaller numbers – by the Hawrami people whose majority lives in Iran. The Hawrami nation is distinct from the Gorani, despite all Western academic efforts of association.

Contrarily, Kakai is a Gorani ethno-religious group that is quite different from the mainstream Gorani Muslims. Kakais follow another religion, Ahl-e Haq, and are rather named Yarsanis in Iran (see below).

The Sarli people are a severely persecuted and often deported small nation whose language has affinities with Gorani. 

Finally, beyond the above, there is also another ethnic-religious group, a Mesopotamian nation that risks facing the same persecution as the Yazidis at the hands of the ISIS fake Muslim gangsters: these are the Shabak who live in Sinjar and around, i.e. west of Dohuk and close to the border point with Turkey and Syria. The Shabak are neither Yazidis nor Muslims. Their religion has some affinities with either, but their language is one Turkic dialect – different from Turkey’s Turkish, Azeri or Turkmen. It is – for those familiar with Ottoman History – a dialect of Qizilbash (today there are only few Qizilbash left in Turkey). Calling the Shabak ‘Kurds’ is tantamount to vicious ignorance and as erroneous as identifying the Chinese as Zulu.

  1. Different nations in Iran that are fallaciously called ‘Kurds’

– Ahl e Haq (Yarsani)

Now, in Iran, except the Sorani and Gorani nations, there are Hawrami, Sandjabi, Kalhori, Malekshahi, Garusi, Laki and other minor nations that are fallaciously categorized as ‘Kurds’. In addition, the outright majority of the Ahl-e Haq (also known as Yarsani in Iran), an ethnic-religious group (like the Yazidis) of basically Gorani speaking people, lives there.

More importantly, Ahl-e Haq do not identify themselves as Gorani – pretty much like the Yazidis, who do not identify themselves as Bahdinani or Kurmanji. Ahl-e Haq total approximately 1 million people, and if they fall into the hands of some criminal groups promoted by the West – like today’s ISIS – they will face the same fate as the Yazidis of Iraq.

  1. Conclusions

From the above, it becomes crystal clear that by calling all these different nations and ethnic-religious groups as ‘Kurds’, the Western academia, the diplomats, the agents, the governments and the mass media of the Western countries commit deliberately a criminal act, which merely heralds a massive, programmed extinction of the aforementioned nations in series of unequivocal fratricidal conflicts that will be automatically unleashed, when precariously formed alliances within the forthcoming fake state of ‘Kurdistan’ will turn one upon the other in search of absolute power, financial treasure, and regional predominance.

As a matter of fact, putting the Zaza, the Kurmanji, the Sorani and the Gorani together within the same state, and calling them with one generic appellation, is tantamount to launching today a fictional ‘Prussian Republic’ with Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Belarus and Russians re-baptized as Prussians! It would explode immediately.

The criminal effort to set up today a fake state called ‘Kurdistan’ out of the aforementioned many different nations would have a parallel if, in 1800, French, English and American diplomats, agents, military, statesmen, and journalists diffused the idea of a ‘Balkan nation’ necessary to co-exist on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire, insisting that there are no differences between Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Macedonians, Muslims of Bosnia, Catholics of Croatia, Slovenes, Vlachians, Albanians, Turks, Pomaks, Roma and Greeks, and that all these nations constitute only one people and must therefore share one country!

Who would not have expected in that case one nation to fight upon the other within that hypothetical ‘Balkan’ state where they would have been arbitrarily and against their own will thrown altogether?

Yet, so many differences exist today among those Balkan nations as among all those who are being disastrously labeled as ‘Kurds’.

  1. It won’t be ‘Kurdistan’, but …. Suicidistan!

The generic name ‘Kurds’ in the modern Western languages originates from the Turkish name Kürt and the Kurmanji name Kurd to which the Latin term Cyrtii and the Medieval Greek term Kurtoi seem to be associated. However, the ancient appellations do not offer any definite identification; we cannot know whether these ancient terms before 2000 years denoted the ancestors of the Zaza, the forefathers of the Kurmanji, the precursors of the Sorani or the past generations of the Gorani who are all unrelated to one another. The same concerns the respective Arabic and the Farsi terms (Akrad and Gord).

In Classical Arabic, the name Akrad (which is therefore wrongly translated as ‘Kurds’ in Modern English) was not an ethnic or national name, but a collective appellation applied to many different nations that inhabited the Anti-Taurus Mountains and the Zagros Mountains, an area also known in Classical Arabic as Jebal (mountains). Similarly, Atrak did not mean ‘Turks’ in Classical Arabic; it meant all the Turkic-speaking nations known, e.g. Seljuq, Ottoman Tukrs, Turkmen, Azeris, Qizilbash, Uzbek, Kazakhs, Uighurs and others. 

And when we have generic names in historical texts written in other languages (like the Arabic term ‘Akrad’) we cannot know to whom they refer; the Soranis? the Goranis? the Kurmanji? For these cases, the reality of an impossible identification forces us to fully reject the historicity of the term involved, as we don’t know to whom it applies. 
With the diffusion of the colonial influence, the use of these two words (Akrad and Atrak) in Modern Arabic changed and started reflecting the criminal, colonial viewpoint, thus meaning basically the non-existing ‘Kurds’ (Akrad) and Turkey’s Turks only (Atrak).

In spite of the identification impossibility, the generic name was systematically diffused and extended among all the other local, regional and international languages and nations in order to effectively confuse all and – in the process – to overwhelmingly promote the evil plans of the Freemasonic Orientalist colonials.

What is even more suspicious about today’s so-called ‘Kurds’, who are merely diverse fanatics and lunatic nationalists of unrelated background (Kumrnaji and Sorani basically), is that we know with great surety that their forefathers never imagined and never envisioned to separate from the Ottoman Caliphate or Safavid Iran, and – more generally – from the state to which they belonged.

Finally, if there is an independent ‘Kurdistan’, it will soon be turn out to be a … Suicidistan. This means that the curse of God has fallen on all those materialistic, bribed and besotted people of the regional political microcosm and that they will all soon vanish as per the Judgment of God. Constantly across History, God used an evil to punish a good person or nation that went astray.

The truth behind the “Turkish model”

The truth behind the “Turkish model”

783473120Contrary to received wisdom, the “Turkish model” was not based on the entrepreneurial potential of emerging conservative businessmen of Anatolia nurtured by market reforms and the Islamic outlook of the government, but on a regulatory framework changed to allow arbitrary government intervention in support of politically privileged entrepreneurs.

With former Prime Minister Erdoğan now firmly installed as President and promising a new Turkey, it is time to take a fresh look at the direction in which the country’s political economy is headed. For over a decade, international media and many academic researchers have presented the “Turkish model” under the “moderately Islamic” Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a success story of economic development and political democracy in a Muslim country – made all the more attractive in an international environment dominated by the fear of radical Islam.

Since 2013, especially after the massive nationwide protests in the summer of that year, this enthusiasm has left its place to more critical appraisals. The media coverage of the country is now dominated by statements of concern about the state of the economy  –  and the increasingly authoritarian character of the regime. The praise, where it still persists, now has a different character. The Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, for example, recently pointed to Turkey (along with Singapore, China, India and Russia) to argue that non-Western countries which are not liberal democracies and “in some cases probably not even democracies” can be highly successful in the global race. However, Orban’s favourable assessment of Turkey’s performance as a global actor was preceded by several alarming accounts of the economy’s weaknesses, such as a huge current account deficit and the very high ratio of short term debt to the GNP.

How did this economic and political success story end up with a conspicuous democratic deficit and alarming economic vulnerability?

A critical assessment of conventional wisdoms that formed the widely accepted narrative on Turkey under the AKP could provide some answers.  It was generally accepted that the AKP was committed to a free market economy where private business development could proceed without relying on government support and without being hindered by political intervention. The extension of industrial production to some Anatolian provinces, where local business people have acquired a more prominent position in an economy previously dominated by big enterprises located in a few industrial centres, has received particular attention. The popular press has published enthusiastic accounts of the rise of “Anatolian tigers,” while the academic literature has investigated the political implications of the changes in the business community. The new Anatolian business people have been praised for their competitiveness and non-reliance on state support, while their Islamic outlook became the subject of studies on the rise of political Islam and the compatibility of Islam with capitalist development and liberal democracy.

These common assumptions have precluded deeper scrutiny of the interfaces between economic and political processes, avoiding several key questions. Has the role of the government in the process of capital accumulation and in business life really become less important after the formation of the first AKP government in 2002? Does the emphasis placed on the emergence of provincial Anatolian capital provide an adequate explanation of the new dynamics of capital accumulation, the changing configuration of business interests, and the new types of alliances and conflicts that characterize the new Turkish business environment?  How do the relationships between politics and business play out in the current political environment?

Retreat of the state or politically supported capital accumulation?

The AKP came to power after the devastating economic crisis of 2001 that clearly signalled that economic institutions and government-business relations had to be radically transformed to ensure economic stability. The market reforms that were introduced after the crisis were designed to separate the economy and politics. In the new regulatory framework, the autonomy of the economic bureaucracy was promoted and the scope of discretionary political intervention in the economy was limited.

Coming to power after the introduction of these reforms, the AKP declared its commitment to the reform process and to the privatisation of the economy. What followed was not, however, the retreat of the state and the affirmation of the self-regulating character of the market economy. Government remained a crucial actor in investments in infrastructure and in the construction sector, which became the engines of growth during the last decade and created immense opportunities for politically supported capital accumulation. Privatisation, particularly in energy and mining, proceeded under public regulation and government-business relations remained a crucial determinant of the profit opportunities that emerged in these areas. The commercialisation of public goods, such as the provision of health services, did not undermine the role of the government in a new system where private provision went together with public funding of the services provided.

During the last decade, there was a frenzy of legislative activity in all these areas. The legislative changes that expanded the scope of political discretion beyond the boundaries set by the regulatory framework, and against the involvement of the judiciary in policy decisions to protect public interests, were especially significant. For example, the Public Procurement Law, a central component of the economic reform process, was changed 29 times in the period between 2003 and 2013, with over one hundred amendments to its scope and applications, as well as revisions in the clauses determining the exceptions which increased from 8 to 19. One of the outcomes of these changes was the limitation of the authority of the independent Public Procurement Agency whose power to investigate controversial public tenders was significantly curbed with a decision taken in 2008.

The Public Procurement Agency was just one of the many Independent Regulatory Agencies that lost their autonomous powers through the last decade. Those operating in other areas also shared the same fate, until 2011 when a government decree practically ended their autonomy by placing them under the authority of the ministries in their respective areas of responsibility.

The expansion of prime ministerial power over the Privatisation Agency was especially important in sustaining the importance of political influence in the process of capital accumulation. Higher courts still tried to intervene to protect public interest in the privatisation process, until their prerogatives in this area were largely eliminated with the constitutional amendment accepted by the referendum held in 2010.

Since 2002, a politically supported process of capital accumulation has led to the emergence of a new group of big business people who have recently made their fortunes not at the local level, as conventional wisdom would have it, but at the level of the national economy by taking advantage of their privileged relations with government authorities. Big business almost never entered political analysis except with reference to old business groups established in Istanbul, and a few other large metropolises which are represented by TUSIAD (Turkish Industrialists and Business Association), whose relations with the government became increasingly tense in the second half of the 2000s. The extensive media coverage of the “Anatolian tigers” diverted attention from the spectacular rise of the new big business actors which were thrust into the limelight by the corruption scandals that erupted on 17 December 2013. While there was a cabinet reshuffle after the scandal, the investigation process was buried under the massive purges in the police force as the government moved to retaliate against what Erdoğan and his entourage called an “international conspiracy”.

As praise for the competitive potential of the provincial small and medium enterprises (SMEs) said to be ushered in by the new market economy continued, it was also overlooked that the newly introduced incentives provided by both central and the municipal administrations, had for the first time in Turkey’s republican history, made the government a significant actor in the economic activities of SMEs. Little attention was paid, in other words, to the changing political context of business activity – in big cities as well as in provincial towns – for business enterprises of all sizes.

The changes in the business environment continued with escalating political polarisation which was reflected in the different trajectories of business associations. TUSIAD, but also the umbrella organisation TURKONFED (Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation) which represents about 10,000 provincial small and medium enterprises, opted for a model of capitalist development that incorporates a regulatory framework where the scope of political discretion would be minimised, as originally intended by the 2001 reforms. Their strategy for foreign economic relations favoured close relations with developed Western countries in general, and the European Union in particular, requiring the establishment of – and respect for – a legal framework where the exercise of discretionary power by the government would be limited. They also accepted organised interest representation by labour and a formal social policy approach in conformity with the prevailing European practices.

Another model of capitalist development took shape as the business actors close to the government opted for an economic strategy that allowed broader scope for discretionary political intervention in the economy. While during the early phases of the AKP government they did not explicitly oppose Turkey’s candidacy to the EU, these associations took an active part in a foreign policy orientation diverging from the country’s traditional Western-looking one. Their approach to industrial relations, as well as to questions of inequality and poverty, was significantly shaped by Islamic norms of moral conduct and social equity.

These choices regarding the institutional framework of the economy, and the strategic orientation of foreign economic relations, are closely related to the economic interests of the actors involved. Rule of law and bureaucratic autonomy are not particularly attractive to business associations that can better pursue their members’ interests in a setting where discretionary political intervention supports some business actors and marginalises others. The competitive potential of the newly emerging business enterprises of different sizes could be better furthered in trade and investment activities geared toward developing, rather than to developed, country markets. On the other hand, the established business enterprises which are at a different stage of capital accumulation and organisational development, are in greater need of institutions that protect private property and well defined rules that enable them to pursue their economic activities and be competitive in economic relations with developed countries. It is this alignment of economic interest and political outlook which explains the formation of the constituency of the AKP and the direction Turkish domestic and foreign policy strategy has taken during the last decade.

Contrary to received wisdom, the “Turkish model” was not based on the entrepreneurial potential of emerging conservative businessmen of Anatolia unleashed by a market friendly and moderately Islamic government, but on a regulatory framework which has been continuously modified to open more space for arbitrary government intervention in support of politically privileged entrepreneurs. This has, at times, involved the alarming use of tax inspections against the opponents of the regime. Environmental concerns, labour rights and attempts to create “decent work” opportunities do not appear among the government’s policy priorities. Neither does respect for human rights and freedom of expression. The regional pattern of foreign economic relations has changed with the increasing importance of non-OECD countries – countries of the Middle East in particular. With the political instability that now characterizes the new regions of economic interest to Turkey, the implications of this strategic orientation are increasingly dubious. This is the context of the now widely acknowledged vulnerability of the economy to external shocks, and the size of the country’s democratic deficit which is at least as high as the deficit of its current account.

Nonetheless, the prevailing economic and political relations are widely contested, and among detractors there are business actors who are still very powerful in terms of their competitive potential and the economic resources at their disposal. Ümit Boyner, the president of TÜSİAD between 2010 and 2013, once said that Turkey was faced with the choice of becoming a smaller China or a greater Finland. She obviously had more than economic policy choices in mind.

Whether Turkey still has these choices after the outcome of the recent presidential elections remains to be seen, especially if business associations once critical of the government decide that acquiescence would be more rational than confrontation. The part of Victor Orban’s statement placing Turkey among non-Western countries without liberal democracies remains valid, but its presentation as a global success story is highly dubious.

This article is based on a recently published book Ayşe Buğra and Osman Savaşkan: The New Capitalism in Turkey: The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014

In Turkey, a Loyalist Government Takes Shape

Consistency is the theme of Turkey’s not-so-new government. Turkish President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed a year’s worth of speculation Thursday when he announced that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would succeed him as prime minister and chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
The decision was fairly straightforward. Davutoglu is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdogan and is therefore unlikely to stand in the way of his agenda, even though Davutoglu would technically be sitting in the more powerful political post. Davutoglu lacks Erdogan’s charisma and may have trouble connecting with the broader Turkish public, raising concerns that he won’t be able to lead the party to a strong enough victory in 2015 parliamentary elections. But Erdogan is also not about to let such issues undermine his perceived mandate to continue leading Turkey with the same intensity he showed over the past 11 years as prime minister.
Cabinet appointments due in early September will probably also reflect this business-as-usual strategy, with Turkey’s national intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, taking Davutoglu’s place as foreign minister. Fidan has been instrumental in the peace process with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and will continue to drive that policy forward as the Justice and Development Party (also known by its Turkish abbreviation, AKP) vies for Kurdish votes. Much to the relief of investors eyeing Turkey after a wobbly year among emerging markets, rumors from the Justice and Development Party suggest that Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek will likely maintain influence over the country’s economic policy in the new government.
What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.
The government taking shape in Turkey shows that Erdogan is not in the mood for experimental politics. Though so far he has the military tamed, he is still in the process of purging his erstwhile allies in the Gulen movement. Perhaps more disconcerting to Erdogan is that he is relying on the weaknesses and inherent divisions within his opposition to sustain his tenure as opposed to being able to rely on his own popularity. With just over half the electorate behind him, Erdogan is looking down the horizon at a number of issues that could cost him.
First, Turkey’s largest export market, Europe, is still looking quite sickly. Meanwhile, Iraq, once a significant and growing export market for Turkey, is again finding itself ravaged by war. Turkey is trying to remain unaligned in the standoff between Russia and the West, remaining willfully blind to sanctions and ready to export to all. For its part, Russia is more interested in punishing Europe and keeping Ankara close, and so it is playing along. But Moscow cannot trust that Ankara will be as cooperative in the future, especially as the two countries start to push up against each other in the Caucasus.
Those foreign policy complications start multiplying the farther south Turkey looks. With a jihadist threat encroaching on what was once considered a haven in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey’s energy gambit in northern Iraq is raising lots of questions. How does Turkey make peace with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and draw the line at Kurdish autonomy within its own borders when, just across the border, Iraqi Kurdistan is trying to use Turkey’s backing of unilateral energy exports to declare independence? How does Turkey reinforce peshmerga forces in northern Iraq against jihadists when those jihadists have been quite helpful in containing Kurdish separatists in Syria? And if Iran’s military is creeping too close for Turkey’s comfort in Iraqi Kurdistan, what would a mobilization of Turkish forces in northern Iraq do to Ankara’s relationship with Arbil, not to mention its own Kurdish peace process? How can Turkey negotiate with Iran over increased energy exports when it is directly undermining Iran’s Shiite allies in Baghdad over Kurdish energy exports?
Regardless of who sits

Why The Worst Is Still Ahead For Turkey’s Bubble Economy

The explosive rise of Turkey’s economy in the past decade is one of the most fascinating growth stories of all time. Since 2002, Turkey’s economy nearly quadrupled in size on the back of an epic boom in consumption and construction that led to the building of countless malls, skyscrapers, and ambitious infrastructure projects. Like many emerging economies in the past decade, Turkey’s economy continued to grow virtually unabated through the Global Financial Crisis, while most Western economies stagnated.

Unfortunately, like most emerging market nations, Turkey’s economic boom has devolved into a dangerous bubble that is similar to the bubbles that caused the downfall of Western economies just six years ago. Though Turkey has received significant attention after its currency and financial markets fell sharply in the past year, there is still very little awareness of the country’s economic bubble itself and its frightening implications.


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Price of Nutella could rise as hazelnut crop devastated by bad weather

Chocolate makers and fans of hazelnut-filled products including Nutella spread may need to brace themselves for price rises, after poor weather devastated hazelnut crops.

Ferrero Rochers and Cadbury's Whole Nut bars might also be affected
Ferrero Rochers and Cadbury’s Whole Nut bars might also be affected

Around 70 per cent of the world’s hazelnut crop is grown near Turkey’s Black Sea coast, but this year’s harvest is likely to be heavily hit after hail storms and frost in late March devastated hazel flowers at an important time in their growing cycle. The price of the nut has subsequently already skyrocketed by more than 60 per cent.

Already faced with the rising price of cocoa, chocolatiers must now contend with the cost of the nuts reaching $10,500 (£6,300) per tonne, compared with $6,500 (£3,900) per tonne in February, according to Michael Stevens, a trader at Edinburgh-based Freeworld Trading, the Guardian reported.

Stevens added that some buyers are living hand to mouth, as contracts pre-dating the frost cannot be fulfilled.

While the extent of the damage is unclear, the Turkish hazelnut industry predicts it will only manage to harvest 540,000 tonnes of its 800,000 tonnes target.

The world’s largest confectionary companies are now likely to be nervously watching the market to decide their next move.

Ferrero, who are behind the moreish Nutella hazelnut spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates buys 25 per cent of the world’s supply of hazelnuts, making it the world’s biggest buyer, according to the Italian Trade Agency. However, the company may not be affected as it recently purchased Oltan – Turkey’s largest hazelnut producer. The Independent has requested a comment from Ferrero UK and Ireland, but has not received a response.

Meanwhile, Mondelez, the US owner of Cadbury – whose hazelnut-stuffed Whole Nut bar is a best seller – declined to tell the Guardian whether it would raise the prices of its chocolate bars.

The potential changes come as manufactures attempt to deal with climbing almond and cocoa prices.

However, while the weather in Turkey has coincided with a drought in California which has sent almonds prices to a nine-year high, cocoa is more expensive due to a changing market. The product is at a three-year high as customers in China and India appear to have developed a sweet tooth.

via Price of Nutella could rise as hazelnut crop devastated by bad weather – News – Food + Drink – The Independent.

World’s Toughest Horse Race Retraces Genghis Khan’s Postal Route

Riders attempt to stay atop half-wild Mongol horses for over 600 miles (1,000 kilometers)


Competitors gallop toward the finish of 2010’s Mongol Derby. Fewer than half of the riders in this year’s race are expected to make it across the finish line.


Ashleigh N. DeLuca

National Geographic


Before most of the world woke up this morning, 47 riders from around the globe had saddled half-wild horses and set out on what the Guinness Book of World Records has called the longest equestrian race on Earth.

The goal—beyond not getting seriously injured—is to ride a 621-mile circuit (1,000 kilometers) of Mongolian steppe in less than ten days.

Fewer than half of the riders are expected to make it across the finish line. The rest will either quit or be carried off the course by the medical team. Broken bones and torn ligaments are common, frustration and bruised egos the norm. Every rider will fall off multiple times during the course of the race, says Katy Willings, the race chief and a former Mongol Derby competitor.

The race route is modeled on the horse relay postal system created under Genghis Khan in 1224, which was instrumental in the expansion of the Mongolian Empire. Guided by a local escort, specially appointed postal riders would gallop more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to a morin urtuu, or horse relay station, where another escort would be waiting with a fresh horse.

At the postal route’s zenith, a letter could cross from Kharkhorin in the east to the Caspian Sea on the far western edge of the empire, a distance of some 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers), in two weeks (an average of about 300 miles, or 480 kilometers, a day). Postal riders continued to deliver the mail until 1949, when the Soviet Union—which then controlled Mongolia—shut down the system in an attempt to erase the history of Genghis Khan from the country.

“The horse stations were not permanent but rather a responsibility that rotated so that each family provided the compulsory service for a month each year or two,” explains Dandar Gongor, 86, a former escort. From the age of 12 to 15, he carried the riders’ mailbags while navigating them to the next horse station.

“You would meet all sorts of people,” he says, referring to the postal riders. “Some were kind and would tell you folk stories while you rode. Others were arrogant and mean. We would let the next urtuu supervisor know what kind of people they were, and this would help him decide if [the postal rider] would be given a well-behaved or difficult horse.”

via World’s Toughest Horse Race Retraces Genghis Khan’s Postal Route.

Turkey’s Leaders Are In Danger Of Scuttling A Major Natural Gas Project With Israel


AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu

Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan

Throughout Israel’s military operation in Gaza, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan appeared committed to outdoing himself in his hyperbolic criticism of Israel. A series of references to Israel massacring the population of Gaza culminated with accusations that Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism.” 

The comments marked only the latest nadir in Turkey-Israel relations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has typically been muted in his responses to Erdoğan’s previous outbursts. But Netanyahu reacted differently to his Turkish counterpart’s latest paroxysm. He called Erdoğan’s comments anti-Semitic, and downgraded diplomatic relations with Turkey to the “minimum required”.

In the scheme of the four-plus year Turkey-Israel feud, this incident might seem to change little. The deal that began with Netanyahu’s apology for the Mavi Marmara snagged on the question of payment, but its outlines remain clear — if the sides can ever move beyond petty insults, that is.

Erdoğan certainly benefits domestically from harsh rhetoric toward Israel, and he is presently in the home stretch of a presidential campaign he desperately wants to win on the first ballot.

All the while, economic relations between Turkey and Israel have never been better — with trade up 39% to $48.5 billion in 2013, and on pace to break that record in 2014. Tourism between the two countries remains strong, and there were a record number of Turkish visitors to Israel in 2013.

It is enough for optimists to look past the histrionics and see relations that are stable and productive, at least beneath the surface.

That analysis may be breaking down, however, when it comes to one huge economic topic: energy, and specifically Israel’s gas reserves.

There is widespread agreement that a gas pipeline from Israel’s fields to Turkey’s ports is the most logical and lucrative export route available. Yet Turkey’s scorching rhetoric has, in Israel’s eyes, undermined its reliability as a partner for new initiatives — even for what is, at core, a mutually beneficial economic project. As a result, a joint venture that by any reasonable measure should commence seems to be indefinitely stalled, to the economic and strategic detriment of both parties.

Turkey’s interest in Israeli gas stems from its rapidly increasing domestic needs. Natural gas consumption has risen threefold since 2001 and rose by a third between 2009 and 2012 before leveling off around 47 billion cubic meters (BCM) per year in 2013.

Russia supplied more than 55% of Turkey’s natural gas, and Iran chipped in nearly another 20 percent. Russia’s market power enables it to extract a high price for its gas, and Turkey’s long term take-or-pay contracts only exacerbate the financial burdens.

In an effort to achieve cost savings through competition, Turkey has actively sought to diversify its supply lines. Azerbaijan currently provides roughly 4 BCM to the Turkish market, with plans to increase its supply to Turkey above 10 BCM in the coming years. Turkey also seeks gas from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) rich gas fields in northern Iraq, though these are unlikely to come online until nearly the end of this decade.

Turkey has factored Israeli gas into its strategy as well. Even with projected increases in consumption to 70 BCM per year by 2025, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, and Israel collectively could help the Turks limit their dependence on Russia and Iran.

Israel would not be some bit player in this scheme.

With fully-funded infrastructure projects and based only on current reserves, Israel could export 22 BCM per year. Even with Egypt claiming 7 BCM per year at present, Israel could conceivably still pipe 15 BCM to Turkey — more than 20% of the Turks’ projected domestic needs a decade from now.

For its part, Israel faces open questions about how Leviathan — its largest gas field — will be funded. In late July, Noble Energy elected to delay until 2015 its decision about investing $6 billion in Phase 1 development. Strictures on reserving gas for the domestic market and the threat of anti-trust intervention to fix prices factored heavily into the decision.

At the same time, only Egypt has emerged as a viable revenue-driving export destination. Yet Turkey’s voracious appetite for natural gas could ensure the profitability of a fully-developed Leviathan field, while incentivizing further development of Israel’s gas industry through exploration.

The country’s direction under Erdoğan endangers this arrangement. Turkey has positioned itself less and less as the mediating, facilitating actor of the late-2000s and early-2010s. An increasingly divisive foreign policy — consisting of fevered perorations after Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s coup in Egypt and an apparent toleration of Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra’s presence on Turkish soil — culminated in Turkey taking its place as Hamas’ deputy interlocutor in negotiations with the U.S. and Israel during the latest Gaza crisis.

Israel has taken note of the Turkish government’s shift. While Israel is not reckless or foolish enough to cancel profitable existing business relationships, future ones — especially in areas of such strategic import, like energy — will attract heavier scrutiny.

Some experts argue that this is sound policy. Why should Israel provide a strategic asset to an openly hostile leader like Erdoğan? Others believe that, while Israel should still pursue the deal, it will not.

They explain that the deal is in Israel’s best interest, so why should it matter who stands at the other end? But, they claim, Netanyahu feels too bitterly toward Turkey’s AK Party government to countenance rebuilding strategic ties and selling them gas.

Whether Israel should or will sell to Turkey, few in Israel believe that a pipeline deal with Turkey is in the making in the near term. Turkey will carry on paying Russia and Iran’s steep fees, and Israel will await word on Noble’s future plans for Leviathan.

This is merely one consequence of the Gaza operation: the non-realization of a deal on natural gas that both sides want — and may desperately need.

Read more:

Turkey’s lopsided presidential election campaign


In this Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 file photo released by the Turkish Prime Minister’s Press Office, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan wave to supporters during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey. Erdogan is the unquestionable front-runner in Turkey’s first direct presidential election on Sunday. And critics accuse him of using his position as premier to make the contest even more lopsided. Erdogan, a skilled public orator who has dominated Turkish politics for a decade, undisputedly enjoys far more popularity than either of his rivals: a newcomer on the national political scene supported by several opposition parties; and a high-profile, ambitious young Kurdish politician. (Kayhan Ozer, Turkish Prime Minister’s Press Office, HO/Associated Press)

By Associated Press August 6 at 6:20 AM

ISTANBUL — Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the unquestionable front-runner in Turkey’s first direct presidential election on Sunday. And critics accuse him of using his position as premier to make the contest even more lopsided.

via Turkey’s lopsided presidential election campaign – The Washington Post.

Why Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be Turkey’s first directly elected president


Recep Tayyip Erdogan is almost certain to be Turkey’s first popularly elected president

When Turkey holds direct presidential elections for the first time on Aug. 10, the people will speak. Turks are eager to be heard following a wave of protests in the last year against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which were followed by a violent police crackdown. Erdogan faces criticism for his authoritarian leadership style, as well as corruption allegations. Yet it is all but guaranteed that he will be Turkey’s first popularly elected president.

Why? It is a numbers game.

AKP policies over a decade improved the country’s infrastructure and raised Turkey’s living standards significantly.

Local elections on March 30 brought the AKP 45% of the vote. The two main Turkish opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party and the Nationalist Action Party, together also received 45% and announced their joint presidential candidate. This move splits the Turkish public about evenly into pro- and anti-Erdogan camps, but the prime minister holds several trump cards.


The first is perhaps the most obvious: The economy has tripled in size since the Erdogan administration came to power in 2002. As the rest of the world suffered from the 2008 economic crisis, economic growth and development in Turkey continued unabated. AKP policies over a decade have improved the country’s infrastructure and raised living standards significantly.

This is why Erdogan continues to enjoy widespread support. He wins because he offers high-speed rail and mortgages. The high-speed rail system he built includes a recently inaugurated line from Ankara to Istanbul that halves travel time from seven hours to 3 1/2. Meanwhile, inflation — historically at dizzying three-digit levels — has come down to single digits, allowing many Turks to buy their first homes using a new mortgage system.


Turkish Prime Minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, poses wearing traditional Turkmen clothes during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara. (Adem Altan / AFP/Getty Images)

The base rallies around this economic success, but it will not bring Erdogan a simple majority; a boost from voters in the Kurdish community at home will.

The prime minister’s charm offensive with the Kurds — who account for 15% to 20% of the country’s population — will secure their votes. The Erdogan administration passed reforms advancing Kurdish linguistic and cultural rights and laid the groundwork for the disarmament and reintegration of Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, militants into Turkish society.

The 2013 cease-fire declared by the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan — a victory that has proved elusive for other parties for more than 30 years — stemmed violence in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast and helped the AKP win local elections in March. Since then, a new law has created a framework for formal peace talks with the PKK, and Erdogan revealed further plans to devolve some powers to Kurdish provinces. The Kurdish nationalist Peace and Democracy Party, which received 6.5% of the vote in March, is thus virtually guaranteed to back Erdogan should there be a runoff.

A year ago, it looked as though protests could bring down the administration, but the political fallout has proved to be relatively modest. Erdogan has a knack for portraying himself as a political victim forced to crack down harshly on those who use lies and conspiracies to undermine his government. He is the man leading Turkey into an ever-brighter, more peaceful future in the face of challenges from a malicious opposition. What he lacks in diplomatic tact, he makes up for in passion. He pushes his vision for Turkey with the conviction that even his least popular decisions hold paramount the best interests of Turkish citizens.

The dark side of this electoral strategy, of course, is that his image as an authoritarian underdog demonizes the opposition and creates a powerful — and dangerous — cult of personality. With that as his shield, he has time to play the numbers. Turkey’s economic successes of the last decade will carry him most of the way to victory, and his campaign focus on the margins will push him over the top. But once elected, Erdogan is likely to consolidate all three branches of government. He will then become Turkey’s strongman president, one elected by Turks themselves.

Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the author of “The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century’s First Muslim Power.” Beril Unver is senior programs officer at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.

via Why Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be Turkey’s first directly elected president – LA Times.

Is ‘Armenian’ an insult? Turkey’s prime minister seems to think so.

By Adam Taylor August 6 at 11:45 AM


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul. (Kayhan Ozer/Turkish Prime Minister’s Press Office via Associated Press)

In a television interview Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained that people had questioned his family background.

“I was called a Georgian. I apologize for this, but they even said [something] worse: They called me an Armenian,” Erdogan said during an interview with NTV, according to a translation from Today’s Zaman newspaper. “But I’m a Turk.”

The comment immediately sparked outrage, with CNN-Turk asking on Twitter whether it was really so “ugly” to be an Armenian and others accusing Erdogan of racism:

Erdogan is known to be a skilled orator, and this may have been just a slip of the tongue, but the history between Armenians and Turks make his comments especially ill-advised. In 1915, during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, soldiers slaughtered hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians living in what is now Turkey. Armenians and historians alike refer to it as a genocide, though Turkey and, notably, the United States have officially refused to use that terminology.

The Turkish prime minister is just days away from his bid to become president and is facing considerable backlash after more than a decade of authoritarian rule. And while his Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials AKP) is known for its combination of capitalism, nationalism and Islamist governance, it has made significant inroads among Turkey’s minority communities.

Erdogan enjoys good support in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of the country, for example, and the AKP has pushed policies that supported Kurdish linguistic and cultural rights. If Erdogan wants to become president, this Kurdish support may well be vital. There are also signs that Erdogan had hoped to reach out to Armenians before his election, with reports that Turkey might open the Alican border crossing between the countries. Erdogan even took a tentative step toward acknowledging Turkey’s role in the mass killings of Armenians, offering condolences for the “inhumane” acts (his comments, while unprecedented, left many Armenian observers cold: One complained that Erdogan had used “euphemisms and the age-old ‘everyone suffered’ denialist refrain”).

Despite this, Erdogan has been criticized for repeatedly talking about ethnic and religious differences in what appears to be a bid to shore up his support among his Sunni Islam base. Earlier this week, he had called on his rivals to be clear about their backgrounds. “I am a Sunni, Kemal [Kılıcdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP] is an Alevi [a branch of Shiite Islam], Selahattin [Demirtas, presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party] is Zaza [a type of Kurdish people],” he said, according to Hurriyet Daily News, later adding. “I respect Alevis. Just as I make my sect public, so should he.”

70,000 or so Armenians still call Turkey home, and many in that community felt marginalized or even threatened before the comments. Erdogan often uses “extremely aggressive and bellicose language when referring to the Armenians or Armenian issue,” Richard Giragosian, an American-born Armenian analyst, told Today’s Zaman in July. Erdogan may have made an unfortunate verbal slip on Tuesday, but to critics it confirms their worst fears.

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

via Is ‘Armenian’ an insult? Turkey’s prime minister seems to think so. – The Washington Post.

Why Turkey Wants Russell Crowe’s Ark

Why Turkey Wants Russell Crowe’s Ark

A small town in southeastern Turkey, which claims to be the resting place of Noah’s famous vessel, hopes a few timbers from the Hollywood blockbuster could draw tourists to the historically rich region.

ISTANBUL—Ravaged by decades of fighting between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish military, an impoverished region in remote southeastern Anatolia is hoping for a boost from Hollywood.

Authorities in Sirnak province say they want to bring the wooden structure representing the biblical ark in Russell Crowe’s recent movie Noah to Turkey and install it on the slopes of the local Mount Cudi to attract tourists. According to Islamic tradition, Noah’s ark came to rest on Mount Cudi, and not on Mount Ararat on today’s border between Turkey and Armenia, about 160 miles to the north-east of Sirnak.

The plan raised hopes of lifting the region out of poverty, but suffered a potentially fatal setback this week as officials from Paramount, the maker of Noah, said the ark from the film had been taken apart after shooting was done. “I’m pretty sure it’s been disassembled,” said Ari Handel, who was a producer and co-writer of the movie.

Now Sirnak is hoping that Crowe’s ark will generate some income for the province of around 85,000 people, which sits on Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq.

Still, authorities in Sirnak said they were determined to go ahead with the project, even if it meant to import just a few wooden parts from the set. “We will do everything we can to make it happen despite this,” Osman Gelis, the head of Sirnak’s Chamber of Trade and Industry, told The Daily Beast on Saturday. “Maybe the government can do something.”

The plan by Sirnak is a sign of a growing confidence by people in Turkey’s Kurdish region that the bloody conflict between rebels and the army may finally come to an end. Since the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), seen as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms to fight for Kurdish self-rule in 1984, more than 40,000 people have died.

“This is very important for us, and we help where we can,” Gelis about the project. “It will be a big plus for our economy. He said he would try to go all the way to the top and get Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan involved. “We will tell him how big this is for us and for religious tourism. We can’t wait” to have the ark, he said.

Years of fighting cut off Turkey’s Kurdish region in the southeast of the country from the economic development in the rest of the country. Sirnak has a per capita income of around $2,600 a year, which makes it the poorest of all of Turkey’s 81 provinces. The countrywide average stands at roughly $11,000 a year.

Now Sirnak is hoping that Crowe’s ark will generate some income for the province of around 85,000 people, which sits on Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq. Locals believe that Noah was buried in the town of Cizre, which lies in the province. An image of the ark is the province’s official symbol.

A spokesman for Sirnak’s tourism and culture board confirmed the project was underway. “We just don’t know yet where to put the ark exactly,” said the spokesman, who identified himself by his first name Sabri. “But it will be somewhere on Mount Cudi. The aim is to attract tourists.”

Cihan Birlik, head of Sirnak’s Cultural, Tourism and Development Association, told Turkish media the Tourism Ministry in Ankara had promised to try and get the movie ark to Turkey.

Birlik said the idea was to create a national park on the slopes of Mount Cudi and put the Hollywood ark in the middle of it. A zoo, recalling Noah’s biblical mission to save animals from the flood, was also part of the project. “Thousands of tourists will flood into Sirnak and Cudi,” Birlik said.

In offering to provide a home for central pieces of a Hollywood set, Sirnak is following the example of the northwestern Turkish province of Canakkale, home to the ancient city of Troy. Following the 2004 movie Troy, starring Brad Pitt, Canakkale bought the Trojan Horse used in the film and put it in a public park.

In the Kurdish area, tourism offers a glimmer of hope in a region crippled by decades of violence. Thousands of villages in south-eastern Anatolia were destroyed as hundreds of thousands of people fled into Turkey’s big cities and to Europe to escape the fighting.

Hopes for peace rose when the Erdogan government decided in late 2012 to start negotiations with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence on the prison island of Imrali near Istanbul. In the ongoing talks, Ocalan is asking for more regional autonomy for Kurdish provinces but is no longer seeking an independent Kurdish state separate from Turkey.

Ever since Ocalan ordered a cease-fire and a withdrawal of PKK fighters from Turkey to bases in northern Iraq as a sign of goodwill in spring last year, the fighting has largely stopped, even though a final settlement to end the conflict once and for all remains elusive. This week, Turkish media reported a major breakthrough in Ocalan’s talks with Ankara’s representatives on Imrali, but the reports were denied by both the government and Turkey’s biggest pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democracy Party (HDP).

Still, there is new optimism in the region. With stunning natural beauty and several important biblical and cultural sites, ranging from the birthplace of the prophet Abraham to spectacular Roman mosaics, the Kurdish provinces have started to attract tourists since the fighting died down. The number of visitors touring Turkey’s Kurdish region rose by 23 per cent last year to 1.5 million visitors, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

A modernization programme for the region’s infrastructure also helps. Since last year, Sirnak province has its own airport, which offers daily flights to and from the capital Ankara and Turkey’s metropolis Istanbul.

In another sign of a newly-found enthusiasm, Sirnak recently organised a bicycle tour around Mount Cudi—something unthinkable even a few years ago, as the mountain was a military no-go zone for three decades. Gelis, the head of the trade chamber in Sirnak, said the region had seen a slight increase in the number of visitors. “But with the ark, numbers will explode.”

– See more at:

Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level

Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level

By Judith Burns

Education reporter, BBC News


Genghis Khan and the Explosion from the Steppes will be one of the new topics on offer if the draft A-level is accredited

The rise of Islam and pre-colonial African kingdoms are among topics on offer in a draft new history A-level, due to be introduced next year.

The course, from exam board OCR, will also include options on Alfred the Great and Genghis Khan.

The aim is to give greater breadth to the fifth most popular A-level subject.

OCR’s head of history, Mike Goddard said the subject had been criticised “for being too repetitive and having a 20th Century Western focus”.

Hitler and the Henrys

Mr Goddard said these criticisms were sometimes unfair but added that: “Hitler and the Henrys can dominate.

“Universities tell us they want incoming students to have greater breadth of knowledge.

New history topics

Alfred and the Making of England: 871 – 1016

The Early Anglo Saxons: 400 – 800

Genghis Khan and the Explosion from the Steppes: 1167 – 1405

Japan: 1853 – 1937

African Kingdoms: 1400 – 1800

The Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire in India: 1526 – 1739

The Rise of Islam: 550 – 750

The Ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire: 1453 – 1606

China and its rulers: 1839 – 1989

The Middle East, Ottomans to Arab Spring: 1908 -2011

“It’s vital that schools and colleges have an opportunity to deliver, for example, the history of pre-colonial, non-Western civilisations, alongside British history.”

The board says the course will continue to include familiar subjects such as the Tudors and Stuarts, Victorian social reform and the rise of Hitler but the aim is to broaden the subject “in time and space”.

Some of the 10 new topics will appear in an A-level syllabus for the first time.

Mr Goddard said the African Kingdoms topic, developed with university experts would “give students, for the first time, the chance to discover the economic and political power of four pre-colonial kingdoms which had far-reaching global trade and diplomatic connections”.

Altogether there will be 58 topics divided into three groups:

world history

British history

historical themes

King Henry VIII is a staple of the A-level history syllabus

Sixth-formers are asked to choose three topics – one from each group.

New subject criteria from Ofqual requires that from 2015 students should take options from across a 200-year range and include the study of more than one state.


OCR says its specification ranges over nearly 1,700 years and includes dozens of states.

The board hopes it might be appealing for teachers to get out of their comfort zones and teach topics that are new to them, using a range of new online resources and support facilities.

Prof Peter Mandler, president of the Royal Historical Society, said the principle of broadening school history was an approach favoured by academics.

“History tells us not so much about who we are as about who we have been and what we might yet be,” he said.

“We welcome efforts by the examination boards to bring recent academic research on hitherto under-explored histories within reach of school pupils.

“It is particularly important not to tell the history of the non-Western world solely through its contact with the West.”

The new course will be submitted for accreditation by the exam regulator Ofqual next month.

If approved it will be taught in schools from September 2015.

via BBC News – Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level.

Top 5 Ridiculous Comments: You Share DNA With These People!

Untitled - 2Top 5 Ridiculous Comments: You Share DNA With These People! | The Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

#2) When you are incapable of making valid, logical arguments to support your position, there is always one thing you can do …. invoke HITLER!

Isn’t that right, Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanof Turkey?

“Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” and a few days later clarified his statement by adding “You can see that what Israel does to Palestine, to Gaza right now, has surpassed what Hitler did to them.”

And it gets worse.