Diplomatic sources said European Union's chief foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, and Iran's chief negotiator for nuclear talks called Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Monday to confirm that the nuclear talks will be in İstanbul on April 14.
Ashton handles contact with Iran on behalf of the P5+1 group, which is comprised of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- United States, Britain, France, Russia, China -- and Germany. Ashton also thanked Turkey for its contribution to the process.
One of the accords signed is a letter of intent between China’s National Energy Administration and the Turkish Energy Ministry for further nuclear cooperation, but no other information was given. The second is the “Cooperation Agreement on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power.”
[Deputy Foreign Minister Naci] Koru also said Ankara was investigating the shooting incident at the Kilis camp and evaluating “how serious it is and whether it was directed at us.” Kilis Gov. Yusuf Odabaş said the injuries were caused by bullets from clashes on the other side of the border, which erupted when opposition groups attempted to seize control of the border crossing from regime forces. Turkish security forces in no way intervened or used arms, he said. Twenty-one Syrians wounded in the clashes managed to cross into Turkey through a mine-ridden stretch of land. Three died in hospital and another two in critical condition have been transferred to a hospital in the adjacent province of Gaziantep, Odabaş said, adding that crossings from Turkey to Syria had been suspended as a security measure. In the neighboring province of Hatay, police stopped about 300 Syrians when they attempted to march to the border and stage an anti-al-Assad protest. The total number of Syrians taking refuge in Turkey has reached 24,200, the head of Turkey’s emergency agency, Fuat Oktay, said yesterday. Oktay added that a new tent city had been opened in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
The word “consequences” could be stretched up to military action in diplomacy, but as of yesterday the Turkish Armed Forces have not been put on alert yet. Despite holding one of the most active positions regarding the violence used by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria against its own people, Ankara doesn’t want to get involved in a unilateral military action against its southern neighbor; not without a United Nations initiative.
The latest news shows that the number of refugees is increasing. With the rate of this increase, the probability that a buffer zone will be formed inside Syrian territory is also increasing. The official name of this is an invasion of Syria. Take one more step and it means Turkey and Syria are at war.
Just as al-Assad is engaged in a struggle that is impossible for him to win, Erdoğan also is at the point of no return. He cannot say, after this point, “Well, what can we do? If the U.N. cannot do anything, then we will climb to the spectator seats and just watch.”
Because of this, we are sailing to extremely dangerous waters.
The United States said Monday it was “absolutely outraged” by Syria’s apparent attack on a refugee camp on the Turkish side of the border.
“We strongly condemn any attack by the Syrian regime on refugees in bordering countries. We are absolutely outraged by today’s report,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Turkish officials briefing Washington believe “the regime knew that it was firing across the border, that it was pursuing activists and that these were intentional acts,” she said, adding consultations with the Turks about the incident were continuing.
A series of security agreements, including 1998 Adana Agreement, Turkey has signed with Syria over the course of the last decade give Turkey the right to intervene in Syria if the security situation in the country becomes threatening to the national security of Turkey. Turkey may even ask NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that an attack on any member shall be considered an attack on all. The article was invoked by the US for the first time in October 2001, when NATO determined that the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Since the Assad regime allows the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates to launch attacks on Turkish soil and harbors some 1500 to 2000 hard-core PKK militants in areas close to the Turkish border, Turkey can very well utilize the NATO security provisions as a last resort. Özgür Özdamar, assistant professor of international relations at Ankara-based Bilkent University, claimed that the situation has not declined enough to invoke the NATO charter. “We have not come to that point yet,” he said, predicting that Turkey would act according to international law. “Ankara may launch cross border operations to secure a safety area for refugees inside Syria if the wave of refugees becomes unbearable,” he added.
Four people rushed to the Protestant Grace Church in Bahçelievler, Istanbul and physically abused pastor Semir Sertek (58), after forcing him to cite the Islamic testimony of faith.
Sertek had depicted the attack which took place on the night of the Orthodox Easter, April 7th, to Radikal daily as follows:
"Someone knocked forcefully on the door of the church. They were aggravated. When we opened the door, they forced their way in, mocking us. I was troubled. I asked them to come back at the next day but they kept insulting. 'This is a Muslim neighborhood, there's no place for a church' they said. They threatened to kill me if I refuse to accept Islam. One of them cited the Islamic testimony of faith and asked me to recite it. He kicked me on my chest and then they ran. I fell of the stairs."
Relatives of those who were killed, tortured, executed and disappeared during and after the military coup in 1980 apply the court to intervene at the case where two generals are prosecuted.
The case is to begin on April 4th, in Ankara. The Chief of General Staff at the time, Kenan Evren and head of Air Forces, Tahsin Şahinkaya are on trial. They are charged with "acting against state authorities" as defined on Article 146 of the former Criminal Code.
Today, relatives of Serdar Soyergin, who was executed; of Hayrettin Eren, who disappeared under custody and Satılmış Şahindokuyucu, who was killed while under custody filed petitions to intervene at the trial.
Families of journalist Abdi İpekçi, Ankara public prosecutor Doğan Öz and sociology Prof.Cavit Orhan Tütengil--all murdered in during the period to that led to the coup--also applied to the court.
In her petition Serap Soyergin told that her brother Serdar "had been executed following an unlawful trial after the coup".
Nergiz Şahindokuyucu said that her husband was taken under custody on 15 March 1981 by Ankara police. "The police first denied that he was taken under custody and then told that he committed suicide by jumping from a 6th floor window at the station."
Faruk Eren said his brother Hayrettin was taken under custody on 21 November 1980 in Istanbul. "there was a record at Karagumruk police station but my brother disappeared. He was tortured to death and buried without noticing the family."
Işık Karagöz noted that she, her husband and his sister were taken under custody on the day of the coup in Artvin. They were tortured for 45 days. Enver Karagöz was then transferred to Erzurum where he was tortured for 75 more days.
... The torturers did not care about the fathers or the mothers. Obviously, as they hit more strongly, they believed that things were getting better in Turkey. They made a list of people who would be electrocuted every day. I saw one of my friends on the list, a delicate young man named Hasbi. I did not know anybody else in Yozgat back then who wore brilliantine; however, the torturers did some of the greatest harm to him and you could not compare his appearance to times before his arrest.
For some Alawis and Alevis, Mr. Erdogan's rhetoric reflects a religious divide that runs below the surface of Turkish politics and society. "In Turkey, we have not solved our ethnic questions, and democracy has not yet taken hold," said Mehmet Guzelyurt, an Alawite dentist from Antakya. "This is why we know that violence could spark at any time."
"We have been witnessing arrests, detentions, and trial procedures that have been troubling our conscience all over the country for some time. A significant proportion of this oppression, which has reached a frightening scale especially during the last year, is focused on university students.
Today the number of arrested students in Turkey is increasing almost every day. It is nearly impossible to access correct and up-to-date data about the number of arrested students because of new arrests, releases, and disciplinary investigations. It is not the number of arrested students (which is expressed in hundreds) that has to be dwelled upon, but rather the mentality that tries to discipline – and, if it cannot succeed in doing that, then to eliminate – students. Most of the offenses attributed to arrested students are united under the umbrella of “terrorism.” The fact that the evidence of the offense in this context includes such documents as lecture notes, books, and water utility bills found at homes; such activities as issuing a press release, protesting the Council of Higher Education (Yükseköğretim Kurulu, YÖK), attending to meetings or commemorative activities, all of which are within the domain of freedom of speech and association; and such daily life practices as having a haircut, carrying an umbrella, wearing a keffiyeh, dancing the halay, or selling concert tickets makes this picture grimmer ... "
Tonight is the goodbye party for my father-in-law’s sister. She came to Istanbul a month ago from Şırnak because she could not rest nor sleep nor drive from her head the image of her brother in jail. ‘I had so many nightmares,’ she said. So she came to see him for herself. We are sending her back now, but nothing has changed at Kandıra or anywhere else in Turkey. Erdoğan is allowing news channels to interview Kurds on the news again, but still shouting about how the operations against the ‘terrorists’ will continue and Turkey is appearing on news show after news show for having a record number of journalists in jail, all the while talking about how democratic it has become.
How much has changed since Hrant Dink was vilified and killed? The worry of his family in the following pages is certainly something I witness on a daily basis with my in-laws. When I first read this last chapter in the last chapter of Hrant Dink’s life, two things about it unsettled me. One, was that a similar thing was happening to our family. As the book began to reveal in the last batch of narratives I translated, one sentence was pinched out of a series of essays, twisted, and used to launch a smear campaign that led to Hrant’s prosecution, villification, and eventual cold-blooded execution ....
From the paper Akşam ‘Terror Academies! The plans of the traitors have been decoded. In oral lectures at their academies, the BDP teach young men how to be suicide bombers.’ From the Haberinvakti ‘Alarming details have surfaced about the founder of the Academies, Jew-blooded Büşra Ersanlı.’ Or in the Yeniçağ ‘Everyone knows the BDP=the PKK, and the PKK is in a state of war with the Turkish State. Those who make war on the front must also establish security behind the lines.’ Calling Büşra Ersanlı a ‘Jew’ was key—it separated her from that saintly ‘Turkishness’. The same process was being followed as had been for Hrant—call them traitor, accuse them of being anything other than pure Turkish, and then, eliminate them. For weeks, I had this sick feeling that that was exactly what the state planned for mamoste and all those arrested with him. ...
Nothing more to add for today.