Tag: Turkey

Turkey’s Southern Border


Turkey has been adamant about preventing the Kurds controlling a contiguous area immediately South of its border with Syria. To that end, it entered Syria and has recently expanded the zone it controls directly (turquoise, labeled Afrin) and perhaps also indirectly (light green, labeled Idlib) in Syria’s North West:

Unisex Maternity Pants and Twerky Turkeys – Perverting Thanksgiving in Style


R> members have observed that large corporations have no compunctions about selling out to the gender-fluid crowd. Well, it’s happened again. The commercialization of wholesome Thanksgiving stuffing is now an excuse to market maternity wear for men – yes, unisex maternity wear. Moreover, the company responsible for this has the temerity to make their sales pitch adorably corny, selling the feminizing clothing as “Thanksgiving dinner pants”:


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Beginning in the early Sixties, and probably in response to the release of two Barış Manço singles in 1962, western popular music began to exert a significant influence on Turkish young people and their musical tastes. By 1965, the Altın Mikrofon imprint was hosting yearly battle of the bands contests, with other labels releasing 7″ […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner pleading guilty to sending obscene material to a minor and discuss how his character might have played a key role in the final days of the 2016 campaign.  They also discuss the ugly beating of Kurdish protesters by the security for Turkish President Erdogan this week in Washington.  And they scratch their heads over why Joe Lieberman is at the top of any list to lead the FBI.

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This Sunday, Turkish people all over the world will be voting, whether to change the country’s constitution to allow its budding dictator, Mr. Erdogan, to extend his term in office, and his powers.  It suddenly occurred to me that this Sunday just happens to be Easter Sunday.  My question is, is the timing of this […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the latest revelations surrounding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and breathe a sigh of relief that he’s already gone.  They also lament FBI Director James Comey’s admission that there is no longer any such thing as “absolute privacy” anymore.  And they discuss Pres. Trump’s decision to nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America shudder at the public assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey and the truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.  They also unload on the 10 faithless electors in Monday’s Electoral College vote.  And they get a kick out of Pres. Obama urging Donald Trump to take it easy in issuing executive orders.

The History of Mosul


I’ve never been to Mosul and so don’t have a good sense of what the city is really like. I thought, though, that the accounts I was reading of the battle to retake the city weren’t especially informative about the city’s history and significance. So I’ll try to offer some background, even though I’m not personally familiar with the city. I’m not an expert, and I may be mistaken about the details — so I’d welcome a bit of help from those of you who know the city’s history better.

mosulMosul, as you can see on the map to the right, is about 250 miles north of Baghdad. The old city was on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient city of Nineveh — the capital of the Assyrian empire, first mentioned in Genesis 10:11: “Ashur left that land, and built Nineveh.” Nineveh is part of modern-day Mosul.

The Battle for Mosul Begins


The offensive on Mosul is beginning. Over the weekend, US and French jets pounded ISIS positions east of Mosul and began shelling ISIS positions, paving the way for a ground offensive. This morning, Kurdish forces began advancing on villages east of the city.

Over the weekend, ISIS killed 53 people in three separate attacks in Iraq, including a suicide bombing in Baghdad. Conditions in Mosul are dire, and will no doubt get far worse; if Mosul is laid waste, another million and a half refugees will pour into the region and beyond. (It’s unclear what the population of Mosul is now; there were two million people there before it was captured by ISIS, but as many as a million have already fled.) 

Victor Davis Hanson explains why the waning months of Barack Obama’s presidency may turn out to be one of the most volatile periods for national security that America has seen in decades.

Turkey and the Western Media


My doctor, who I visited yesterday to renew a routine prescription, knows I lived in Turkey for many years. As I stood up to leave, he asked me if he could ask my opinion. “The coup in Turkey,” he said earnestly. “Was it real? Or did Erdoğan stage it?”

It suddenly occurred to me how strange my experience of all of this has been. I imagined telling him the truth. “No, he didn’t stage it, and interestingly, your question indicates to me that you — like most people in the West — have been the victim of an extremely sophisticated media and asset-recruitment operation conducted by a powerful, multi-tentacled Islamist cult run out of Pennsylvania, you see, one that’s greatly assisted by the laziness, intellectual weakness, and corruption of the Western media.”

The Week in Europe


The GOP convention has probably drowned out the news from Europe in the US, but it’s been a dramatic week. I’ve been unable to take my eyes or my mind off events in Turkey. I wrote this piece for City Journal:

… It will be many years, if ever, before we fully understand what just took place. But some of the conclusions hastily drawn in the Western media make no sense. Many commentators have been quick, for example, to accept Gülen’s intimation that the scale of the purge indicates the coup attempt was staged by Erdoğan himself, in some kind of Turkish Reichstag fire. True, lists of people to purge were prepared long in advance, but that doesn’t mean that Erdoğan staged the coup. It’s no surprise to anyone in Turkey that these lists were ready; the government had already said as much. To understand why, you’d need to be familiar with events in Turkey from the time the AKP came to power to the present, as well as the way, beginning in 2012, the AKP visibly, explosively, and publicly fell out with Gülen’s flock. The president has taken advantage of the coup plot to accelerate a purge, but it doesn’t mean he staged it. Nor is it evidence for Gülen’s involvement, though it would be credulous to dismiss that idea out of hand.

The Plot: A Report from Turkey


OkanI’ll post links soon to a few pieces I’ve written about the failed putsch in Turkey. Meanwhile, here’s an update from my friend and colleague Okan, who was interviewed recently by an Iranian journalist, Sajjad Moosavi. Okan kindly gave me permission to reproduce an English-language version of that interview.

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen and what should we know about him?

A: Fethullah Gülen is essentially an Islamist preacher wrapped in a “moderate Islam” package for human consumption. I say “Islamist” and not “Muslim” because as with many others, such as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gülen’s mission in life is all about using religion to attain wealth and power with the ultimate goal of political dominance. Whether he’s assisted by international actors is a matter that should be investigated; however, it’s clear that the Gülenists partnered with Erdoğan to change the course of the Turkish Republic from a modern, secular direction to one that exploits religion to cling endlessly to power. Claire wrote two pieces about Gülen in which you can find excellent information: Who is Fethullah Gülen and Turkey’s Two Thugs.

History is Written by the Whiners


shutterstock_286385090After reading yesterday’s The Daily Shot — which you can subscribe to in the sidebar — I was eagerly reading up on the Turkish War of Independence, until my head ached. It’s interesting stuff, especially about the end of WWI in the Ottoman Empire. But I quickly got the sense that the Wikipedia article is largely written by Turkish partisans. Lots of stuff about the perfidy of the Allies, their lying about not planning to occupy defeated Constantinople, their bloodthirsty need to shoot unarmed civilians, etc. Eventually, I had to give up.

In the era of Wikipedia, we need to update that old line that “History is written by the winners” (or “victors” as most versions use, but close enough). On Wikipedia, history is written with the side with the biggest ax to grind. Sometimes, as regards the end of the Ottoman Empire, that’s the losing side. Other times, like in the War Between the States, that’s the winning side. It’s whichever side has the biggest number of obsessed partisans, with nothing better to do than get into editing wars on the Internet.

I think that’s largely going to translate into the Left, broadly defined.

Russia Withdrawing from Syria. Your Move, Amreeka…


In a surprise move, Russia has announced that it will be withdrawing its troops from Syria. From the Guardian:

“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defence Ministry to be generally accomplished,” Vladimir Putin announced matter-of-factly on Monday evening, announcing the imminent withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

We Know What’s Happening in Syria


Russian bombing is prompting a mass exodus of terrified Syrians from Aleppo to the Turkish border. Credible estimates suggest 70,000 have fled; they’re the lucky ones: Those who remain are apt to be starved to death. The Syrian army and allied militias, including Iranian militias, will soon cut rebel-held zones of Aleppo off from Turkish supply lines. Russian airstrikes have been hitting villages north of Aleppo on the road to Turkey. Aleppo is on the verge of encirclement, which means hundreds of thousands of souls will be unable to escape. What we’re about to watch live, if we wish to, will probably be the largest siege since the Second World War.

The news that the Syrian government is exterminating detainees is on the front page of The New York Times today. You can read the details here. At some point the world will issue a teary apology to Syrians and there will be memorials to the Syrians and lots of children will hear about the terrible first half of the 21st century, and everyone will ask how this could have happened. If anyone ever says, “We didn’t know what was happening to them,” tell them: Shut up. We did.