Archive for the ‘Turkey and human rights’ category

Westminster carnage, Turkish delight

March 24, 2017

Westminster carnage, Turkish delight, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, March 24, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t know he was going to get so lucky on Wednesday when a threat he issued instantly materialized.

Indeed, the Islamist leader of the formerly modernizing democracy was probably happily amazed at the news of the terrorist attack in London, as it came on the heels of a speech he delivered in Ankara, in which he warned that in “no part of the world, no European, no Westerner, will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully.” This fate would befall them, he said, if they “continue to behave like this.”

Of course, Erdogan was not personally responsible for the rampage of U.K.-born Khalid Masood, who managed to murder four people before being killed by police. Nor had he specified what he meant by claiming the West would not be safe.

He did, however, caution that Turkey is “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honor, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.”

He had a point: Only Erdogan and his goons are at liberty to drag Turkish citizens on the floor.

This was not the point he was trying to make, however. Erdogan denies that he imprisons anyone he considers critical of his regime. But he has to do that when he spends so much time accusing Europe of human-rights abuses.

Meanwhile, the only “human rights” Erdogan really cares about are his own. More precisely, what he most hungers for is power, which he has been ruthless at procuring and making sure not to lose, by any authoritarian means. The failed attempt to oust him last July made this all the more clear, when he took the opportunity of the thwarted coup to crack down on every sector of society, locking up journalists, judges, police and members of the military on bogus grounds.

This is also why he is so intent on winning the April 16 constitutional referendum, which if passed will see Turkey shift from a parliamentary to a presidential political system. Erdogan and others who support the move claim it will make governance more efficient. But the wannabe dictator’s real reason is singular: to enhance and secure his growing reign of terror.

With polls indicating that the Turkish public is split down the middle on this issue, Erdogan took his campaign to the EU, where Germany and the Netherlands in particular are home to many expatriate Turks. Facing reservations from both — though Germany said it would give permission if he made the process more transparent and put a stop to his aggressive and inappropriate rhetoric — Erdogan doubled down, calling them Nazis and fascists.

“They have nothing to do with the civilized world,” he said in a televised address earlier this month. “The EU is fast going toward drowning in its own fears.”

If this assertion has any merit, it is precisely because of rulers and proxies with Erdogan’s ideology. Though he touts his role in the war against Islamic State to show his enlightenment, he is attempting to bring his country into the same dark ages that the Sunni murderers occupy. In other words, Erdogan, who has close ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, has shown time and again that it is only certain terrorists he wants eradicated; the others, his allies, spill the blood of infidels.

Wednesday’s attack at Westminster — whose perpetrator Islamic State claimed as a “soldier” in its call to ill Britons — may not have been inspired by Erdogan’s friends. But Masood’s knife-wielding, car-ramming actions expressed the same antipathy towards Judeo-Christian societal values that all Islamists harbor.

Erdogan ought to know, which is precisely why Europe must take his admonitions seriously and pray he loses next month’s referendum.

This is the Face of Free Speech in Turkey

January 4, 2017

This is the Face of Free Speech in Turkey, Clarion Project, Meira Svirsky, January 4, 2016

barbaros-sansal-hpBarbaros Sansal after the attack (Photo: Video screenshot)

Renowned Turkish fashion designer Barbaros Sansal, beaten and bloody, is in Turkish custody after being deported from northern Cyprus.

Sansal, an outspoken critic of the ruling Islamist AK party, was forced out of the self-declared state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus after making a video on New Year’s Eve deemed to be insulting to Turkey.

In the video, which was uploaded before the jihadi attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, Sansal rails against the “scores of journalists in prison,” “corruption and bribes” and the increased Islamization of the country:

While scores of journalists are in prison, while children are sexually harassed, raped, while corruption and brides [sic?] are everywhere, radical Islamist are distributing shit to you in the streets. Are you still celebrating the New Year? I am not … You know what I will do? I will drink all the drinks in this room and bar. I will drink all of them! Will not leave you a single drop. I will take all my dollars to Switzerland. I will not leave a single penny [in Turkey]. OK? On the other hand, I am in Cyprus. The [North] Cyprus is now in the New Year, as they follow Turkey because of pressure. There is still an hour for the Cyprus Republic to enter the New Year. I will go there and I will celebrate there as well. I will drink there, too. I will drink everything. OK, baby? I am not even kissing you. You carry on with your celebration … in this disgrace, misery and dirt. Drown in your shit, Turkey!

On his Facebook page, Ari Murad, a Kurdish human rights activist and filmmaker, reported that “after the video went viral, Sansal was detained by Turkish Cypriot authorities and then extradited to Turkey. While Sansal was being ‘extradited’ to Turkey, Turkish state news agency AA informed readers of the flight airline and hour of departure.”

Other media picked up the gauntlet as well. A tweet by CNN Turk’s presenter Beste Uyanik said Sansal “must be cut down to size” and “taught his limits,” when he arrives in Turkey.

And so he was.

Waiting on the tarmac was a mob (ostensibly made up of Turkish baggage handlers). Brutal video footage of the attack was captured on a smartphone. Sansal can be seen walking down the stairs of the airplane before falling or being kicked or pushed down them, at which point the mob sets upon him until police decide to whisk his bloodied body away into a waiting car.

Commenting on the attack, the mayor of Ankara Melih Gokcek, tweeted, “Turkish Nation reacted against him while he was getting off the plane. Don’t irritate People Barbaros!” The mayor uploaded the video footage of the attack to his Twitter account as well.

Since the failed coup last summer, 41,000 Turkish citizens have been arrested for suspected links to Islamist cleric Fethulah Gulen, Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s rival and on whom he has blamed the uprising. Tens of thousands more have been relieved of their jobs – in academia, security forces, the judicial system and more.

Erdogan and his Islamist party have used the coup as a carte blanche to clamp down on everyone from secularists to human rights activists, Kurds and anyone else thought to be standing in the way of his perceived goal of re-instituting the glory of the Ottoman Empire.

Along the way, freedom of speech be damned.

As one twitter user Ankarali Jan said succinctly, “The treatment of Barbaros Şansal is intended as a warning to anyone in Turkey with a dissenting opinion, anyone who stands out from the herd.”

Another tweeted, “The treatment of Barbaros Sansal should be a wake-up call to all countries if Turkey requests someone’s extradition. They will not be safe.”

Sansal’s lawyer said his client was injured in his back, kidneys and crotch in the mob attack. He was taken directly to a police station where he was interrogated and formally arrested for “inciting hatred and animosity among the public” and for “insulting” the public, both crimes in Turkey since 2005.

The law has been used to prosecute those deemed to be insulting the president (even children as young as 12, 13 and 16 have faced prison time for this crime). One can be sure it will be used in full force against Sansal.

Erdogan’s true ambitions

November 24, 2016

Erdogan’s true ambitions, Israel Hayom, Dr. Ephraim Herrera, November 24, 2016

(Please see also, Turkey’s Brain Drain — DM)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stances have always approximated those of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, in keeping with that, he protects them. Over the last year, he has strongly condemned the death sentence against ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. He said: “Morsi is the president of Egypt, not [current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi.” Hamas representatives feel at home in Turkey. As early as 2012, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was given a royal welcome by Erdogan and the Turkish foreign minister, and Turkey vowed to work toward having Hamas removed from Western terrorist organization blacklists. So his statement to Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan this week, saying that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, is not surprising at all.

In 2009, Erdogan stormed out of a Davos World Economic Forum panel while hurling blame at late President Shimon Peres: “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill,” he said. Last summer, Erdogan hosted Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, further proof of the total cooperation between Turkey and the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. It appears that it was from Hamas’ office in Istanbul that the cruel murders of three Israeli teenagers near Hebron in 2014 were planned as well as the murder of the Henkin couple last year. Hamas is grateful to the Turkish president. Moreover, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (to which Hamas belongs), sees Erdogan as the next caliph of the Muslim world, the one who will lead Islam’s rule over the entire world.

He has said the following in media interviews: “The Union of Muslim Scholars declares that the caliphate must be established in Istanbul, because it is the [historical] capital of the caliphates. … The new Turkey brings together religion and state, old and new, Arab and non-Arab and unites the ummah [global Muslim community] in Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States and everywhere. The man who is bringing this about in Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. … He is the leader that knows his God, knows himself, knows his people, knows the ummah and knows the world. It is up to you to stand by his side, to pledge allegiance to him and to tell him: ‘Step forward.'”

In light of this, it is no wonder that Erdogan’s opinions on Israel perfectly line up with the Muslim Brotherhood’s stance, which is not bound by logic. For them, Israel behaves toward the Palestinians the same way that Hitler behaved toward the Jews in the Holocaust. It’s also no wonder that “Mein Kampf” is a best-seller in Turkey.

Turkey belongs to NATO and appears to be a moderate state. However, anyone who follows Erdogan’s policies will see that he succeeded, following the failed coup, in cruelly suppressing any domestic opposition, while firing tens of thousands of state employees, imprisoning journalists, shutting down opposition media outlets and violently fighting the Kurds.

Europe, in its innocence, cooperates with Turkey, which committed to stopping the waves of Muslim immigration to Europe. But the price tag set by Erdogan is high and dangerous: visa-free entry permits to Europe for Turkish citizens. If this agreement comes to fruition, the number of Turkish Muslims living in Western Europe is expected to grow quickly. It has been estimated that there are between 2 million and 2.5 million Turks living in Germany and another 2 million altogether in France, Holland, Britain and Austria. It seems they have more to lose than to gain.

The lesson for Israel is clear: Beware.

CAIR, Awad Continue Aggressively Shilling for Turkey

September 10, 2016

CAIR, Awad Continue Aggressively Shilling for Turkey, Investigative Project on Terrorism, September 9, 2016

1822Parliamentarians from Turkey’s AK Party meet with CAIR officials earlier this week.

Awad was interviewed by Turkey’s Andolu news agency after this week’s meeting, which he called important in expressing “the support of the Muslim community for democracy and the rule of law in Turkey,” an IPT translation of his remarks shows.

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A delegation from Turkey’s parliament came to Washington this week to make the case for extraditing Fethullah Gülen, an opposition figure living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.

The Turkish government alleges Gülen was behind July’s failed coup attempt and President Tayyip Recep Erdoğan describes his extradition as a “priority.” Gülen denies any role in the coup and U.S. officials have said the Turkish evidence presented so far is not persuasive.

According to a Turkish press account, the delegation’s second meeting was with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its executive director, Nihad Awad.

CAIR is a tax-exempt charity which presents itself as an American Civil Liberties Union devoted to protecting American Muslims from discrimination in housing, employment and other civil rights.

The visit from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) delegation, however, shows CAIR’s significant emphasis on influencing American foreign policy. CAIR is not a registered lobbying organization and isn’t registered as a foreign agent. Federal law requires registration by people or groups “before performing any activities for the foreign principal.”

CAIR routinely inserts itself into political debates on behalf of foreign entities, including a full campaign aimed at criticizing Israel during the 2009 and 2014 Gaza wars while staying silent about Hamas. Its Detroit director told a rally that being “defenders of the Palestinian struggle” was part of CAIR’s mission.

Awad was interviewed by Turkey’s Andolu news agency after this week’s meeting, which he called important in expressing “the support of the Muslim community for democracy and the rule of law in Turkey,” an IPT translation of his remarks shows.

“We believe in the need for more Turkish visitors and delegations to come to the United States to talk about their experiences and explain their views,” Awad said, “because there is a view against them and a pathological fear of Turkey here. The Turkish government must be aware of the need to employ more efforts to explain what is happening (in) Turkey to American public opinion.”

There’s something pathological at play here, but it isn’t some imaginary fear of Turkey. This is CAIR, an Islamist group created as part of a Muslim Brotherhood network in America, officially rushing to the aid of Turkey’s Islamist and increasingly authoritarian government, a government that itself has been increasingly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

In his comments, Awad publicly acknowledges what he advised an official Turkish government delegation in private to get the desired political outcome.

We previously reported on the immediate support American-Islamists organized for Erdoğan’s AKP immediately after the failed coup. While Erdoğan’s dedicated followers inside CAIR may be comfortable with his crackdown on dissent, a recent New York Times editorial hints many U.S. policy leaders are not.

They believe “that Mr. Erdogan’s roundup of coup plotters looks like an attempt to silence any opposition, that Turkey has behaved outrageously in failing to stop conspiracy theories depicting the United States as a co-conspirator in the coup attempt, that Turkey has produced little evidence to warrant Mr. Gulen’s extradition and that Mr. Erdogan’s autocratic behavior is making him an unreliable ally.”

He has proven unreliable in the fight against ISIS, too. He failed to stop the flow of foreign fighters using Turkey as a way-station to join ISIS and places his fight against pro-Western Kurds above the global threat posed by ISIS.

Erdoğan’s post-coup attempt arrest record, along with a media crackdown and allegations of torture, speak for themselves, if that’s what Awad thinks is part of the “pathological fear of Turkey.”

What it has to do with CAIR’s charitable mission is much murkier.

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario

September 6, 2016

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario, Algemeiner, Ruthie Blum, September 6,2016

turkey-turkey

It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness.

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US President Barack Obama met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday at the G-20 summit in China.

Though the purpose of the two-day gathering was for representatives of governments and central banks to discuss policy issues pertaining to international financial stability, the tete-a-tete between Obama and Erdogan on the sidelines of the forum was not about money. It was, rather, a meeting of the minds on a subject close to the hearts of both NATO allies.

With his Cheshire-cat grin and dead eyes, Obama patted his Turkish counterpart on the back and congratulated him on a job well done. Erdogan had not only survived an attempt to oust him, but had quashed it like a true tyrant. Obama could only look on in awe and envy.

Following their little chat, the two leaders addressed the press at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hangzhou.

“By taking to the streets to resist the coup attempt, the Turkish people once again affirmed their commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey,” Obama said. “I indicated at the time the unequivocal condemnation of these actions and spoke personally to President Erdogan to offer any support that we might be able to provide in both ending the attempted coup, but also in investigating and bringing perpetrators of these illegal actions to justice.”

One form this help is going to take, Obama hinted, is the possible extradition to Turkey of controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims orchestrated the failed coup from his home of self-exile in Pennsylvania.

Obama also extended his “deepest condolences” to Turkey’s victims of terrorism, and said that he and his pal “Tayyip” had consented “to continue pursuing a peaceful political transition in Syria.”

Erdogan also made a statement, calling the president of the United States “Barack,” before launching into one of his usual self-serving rants. Typical of a violent Islamist appropriating the moral high ground, the Turkish president agreed that fighting terrorism is of utmost importance. But the “terrorists” to whom he mainly referred were Gulen and the Kurds. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas — which live by the sword, the rifle and the suicide-bomb are just fine, as far as he is concerned.

Obama did not bat an eyelash, however, indicating that the foreign policy of his nearly eight-year administration is firmly intact. And it still involves being on the wrong side of every conflict, while presenting the bad guys in a favorable light. Turkey is but one of many examples.

Let’s start with the failed coup. Erdogan’s paranoia about Gulen is likely unfounded. If any conspiracy theory is in order, it is that Erdogan himself planned the whole thing, in order to strengthen and legitimize his already suffocating stranglehold on the country.

For years prior to the botched attempt, the Turkish president was gradually purging his society of dissent. No institution was exempt from his wrath, with members of the press and academia being placed under a particularly high-powered microscope. Arresting journalists for daring to publish pieces that exposed his behavior was commonplace well before July 15, the date of the coup. But the practice paled in comparison to what has been taking place across Turkey in the weeks since then. Tens of thousands of citizens whom Erdogan deems a threat to his reign of terror have been fired from their jobs, thrown into prison or both. These include people from the military, the police, the judiciary, the political echelon, the media and the universities.

It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness. As was the case with the foiled Green Revolution in Iran, when the newly instated administration in Washington watched from afar as the regime in Tehran gunned down protesters trying to extricate themselves from the mullahs dictating their every move, the White House once again simply watched from afar, and let the forces of evil wreak their havoc uninterrupted.

We now fully grasp what Obama was up to in 2009 — a total capitulation to the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, culminating in last year’s signing of the nuclear deal with the ayatollahs. What he has in store for Turkey during his remaining lame-duck tenure in office remains to be seen. But it won’t be good.

This he made clear in his declaration of cooperation with Erdogan on the Syrian front. Referring to a joint “pursuit of a peaceful political transition” in the war-torn country not only made a mockery of the millions of dead and maimed citizens whose plight barely elicits a yawn any more, but served as a signal to Erdogan that he can proceed with the slaughter of America’s Kurdish allies as he sees fit. You know, all in the name of fighting the Islamic State group, the only bogeyman on which there is wide consensus.

Erdogan’s cross-border attack, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, was launched on Aug. 24 and is still going on. This “peaceful political transition” is being carried out by Turkish planes, tanks and artillery. But Tayyip’s friend Barack — the real turkey in this tale of woe — forgot to mention it.

Turkey: Child Rape Widespread, Media Blackout

September 3, 2016

Turkey: Child Rape Widespread, Media Blackout, Gatestone Institute, Robert Jones, September 3, 2016

♦ The journalist who reported the rape for the newspaper Birgun, said that that he and the newspaper received countless death threats on social media for reporting the case.

♦ Turkey’s constitutional court in July annulled a criminal code provision punishing all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15 as “sexual abuse”, giving a six-month period for parliament to draw up a new law.

♦ The facts on the ground indicate that the sexual abuse of children in Turkey is extremely widespread and the Turkish state authorities are not acting responsibly.

♦ When Syrian babies and other children, as well as women, are being raped and treated horribly in Turkey, and their abusers go free; when journalists covering these abuses are threatened; when publication bans are imposed on the crimes committed against Syrians, and when criminals are given “good conduct abatement” by courts, Turkey seems to be one of the last countries on earth to have the moral right to demand visa-free travel in Europe or anywhere else.

Turkey has once again threatened to tear up a controversial migrant deal and send hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers to Europe if its citizens are not granted visa-free travel to the European Union within months.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, demanded the EU drop visa requirements for Turkish citizens by October.

Meanwhile, Syrian children are being raped and abused inside and outside of refugee camps in Turkey.

Nine-Month-Old Syrian Baby Raped; Media Blackout Imposed

A 9-month-old Syrian baby was raped in the Islahiye district of Gaziantep on August 19. The baby is the child of a Syrian family who fled the war in Syria, according to the newspaper Birgun. The family, agricultural day-laborers in Gaziantep, had set up a tent in the field where they work.

On the day of the rape, the parents left their baby with an 18-year-old man before leaving to work a field 100 meters away.

When the parents returned, they saw the young man, a Turkish citizen who works as a shepherd, walking away from the tent. The mother noticed that her baby girl had been raped and took her to a local hospital, where the attack was confirmed.

The governor’s office of Antep announced that the young man had been arrested and brought to court.

Huseyin Simsek, the journalist who covered the incident for the newspaper Birgun, said that that he and the newspaper received countless death threats on social media for reporting the rape.

Simsek tweeted:

“Today, a 9-month-old baby was raped in Antep. There is a medical report. I am being sworn at, informed on, and threatened with death.

“The incident is real. The doctors say the baby is 7 or 9-months-old. We will keep on writing.”

Some Twitter users called the reporter “a PKK terrorist”, “a FETO [Gulenist] terrorist”, “a traitor” and “a son of a bitch”, among others. Other users referred to Birgun as “toilet paper” and called for destroying the newspaper building.

When Samil Tayyar, an Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP from Gaziantep, confirmed the rape on his Twitter account, another Twitter user responded:

“Dear MP, such news should not be used. We are shooting ourselves in the foot. We are giving material to the enemy. Be responsible, please.”

He was apparently referring to the recent criticism by Sweden that Ankara was legalizing sex with children.

Turkey’s constitutional court, in July, annulled a criminal code provision punishing all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15 as “sexual abuse”, giving a six-month period for parliament to draw up a new law.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström tweeted on her official account that the “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek tweeted back: “You are clearly misinformed. There is no such stupid thing in Turkey. Please get your facts right.”

Turkey summoned Sweden’s ambassador and displayed a billboard in Istanbul’s main airport that warned travelers against visiting Sweden.

“Travel warning!” stated a large advertisement on display in the departure section of Ataturk Airport’s international terminal. “Do you know that Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide?”

1835An electronic billboard in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport last month displayed: “Travel warning! Do you know that Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide?” It was posted in retaliation for a critical tweet by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström that read: “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse.” (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that Wallström had failed to act “responsibly”.

However, the facts on the ground indicate that the sexual abuse of children in Turkey is extremely widespread and it is the Turkish state authorities that are not acting responsibly.

The Islahiye Penal Court of Peace in Gaziantep has issued a media blackout on the rape of the Syrian baby.

“Until the investigation is finalized, all kinds of news, interviews, critiques, and similar publications regarding the investigation file have been banned in the written, visual and social media as well as on the internet,” the ruling said in part.

30 Syrian Boys Raped at Nizip Camp

The daily, Birgun, also reported in May that 30 Syrian boys between the ages of 8 and 12 had been raped at a refugee camp in the Nizip district of Gaziantep.

The assaults took place, over a period of three months, in the restrooms of the camp, which is run by the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The camp was visited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey’s then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and several Turkish ministers, as well as the mayor of the city on April 23, celebrated as “Children’s Day” in Turkey. The leaders praised the camp, which houses 14,000 Syrians.

A cleaning worker at the camp paid the children for a few Turkish liras to sexually abuse them. The man confessed his crimes and claimed that “it was the children who motivated him to abuse them.”

Eight families of abused children lodged complaints about the attacks. Erk Acarer wrote in Birgun:

“It is understood that some of the families have not lodged complaints against E.E., who sexually abused the children, because they are afraid, since they are asylum seekers in Turkey. That is why they do not want to confront the situation.”

AFAD, the state institution that runs the camp, confirmed the rapes:

“AFAD has taken precautions to prevent the repetition of the incident. Psychological support services have been given to those affected by the incident from the beginning.”

Syrian Children Sexually Abused at Islahiye Camp

Shortly after the scandal at the Nizip camp, it was reported that five Syrian children staying at the Islahiye refugee camp in Gaziantep, and also run by AFAD, were sexually abused by an 87-year-old Syrian national, Ahmed H., multiple times. Again, the authorities of the camp were not “able” to protect the children, whose ages ranged from 4 to 8.

Two of the abused children were his own grandchildren; one was his niece and the other, his nephew. Ahmed H. — apparently before the eyes of everyone — made the children sit on his lap while he sexually abused them.

The crimes were revealed on November 20, 2015, when a person informed local gendarmerie officials of “an elderly man sexually abusing a 2-or 3-year old girl while sitting on his chair in front of the camp.”

The children then told the authorities about the abuse they had been exposed to. The abuse was also proven by surveillance cameras.

On May 3, Ahmed H. was acquitted for the sexual abuse of his grandchildren on grounds that “[t]here was not enough persuasive evidence” for a conviction.

As for his trial for abusing the other victims, he was given “good conduct abatement” by the court due to “his positive behavior during the trial process.”

“The Syrians Staying Outside of the Camps are… Unprotected.”

“The asylum seekers staying at refugee camps are 10 percent of all asylum seekers,” said Mahmut Togrul, an MP from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) for the city of Gaziantep.

“The Syrians staying outside of the camps are going through a real drama. People are staying in the streets unprotected. We tried to tell the authorities, but unfortunately no one does their duty in Turkey and they do not deal with fundamental problems”

“Since the AKP has become preoccupied with its own troubles, Syrians have been left to their fate… We are faced with a vile situation. They admit their Syrian policy has been wrong. If they had not carried out that policy, so many people would not be so devastated now. It is not enough to say, ‘We have done wrong’. They have to solve the problems caused by this wrong policy. The AKP that has left people idle and uncontrolled has to take responsibility of these people.”

“Where Are the 3 Billion Euros?”

In the meantime, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech at the Bestepe National Congress and Culture Center on August 24, saying:

“What did they [the Europeans] say?: ‘We will give the refugees who come to these camps three billion Euros of aid’. Where is it? This year is almost over. Where is it? Not here.”

Reporters and eyewitnesses, however, have revealed that Turkey has allowed jihadists travel in and out of Turkey and has even provided funds, logistics and arms for extremist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Al Nusra Front.

The Turkish government — along with others in the region — has turned Syria into a true nightmare, apparently to expand Sunni Turkish influence over Syria and other countries, and to stop Kurds from establishing a free homeland in northern Syria.

Since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, jihadist terror groups have terrorized millions of people, particularly Alawites, Christians and Kurds, and caused millions of people to flee their country. In despair, many Syrians arrived in Turkey and still live under the “temporary protection” of the Turkish government.

If the Turkish government had not facilitated the rise of jihadist terrorism in the region, however, much of this would not have happened.

Turkey now not only leaves Syrian asylum seekers uncared for and unprotected, but is also blackmailing the EU over the Syrians, whose pain and devastation the Turkish authorities are largely responsible for.

Given the increasingly violent crackdown on the Turkish media and pressures against free speech in the country, it is highly probable that the child sexual abuse cases reported in Gaziantep are just the tip of the iceberg.

When Syrian babies and other children, as well as women, are being raped and treated horribly in Turkey, and their abusers go free; when journalists covering these abuses are threatened; when publication bans are imposed on the crimes committed against Syrians, and when criminals are given “good conduct abatement” by courts, Turkey seems to be one of the last countries on earth to have the moral right to demand visa-free travel in Europe or anywhere else.

Turkey, Europe’s Little Problem

August 11, 2016

Turkey, Europe’s Little Problem, Gatestone InstituteBurak Bekdil, August 11, 2016

♦ Europe is giving signals, albeit slowly, that it may be waking up from the “Turkey-the-bridge” dream. Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmaier said that his country’s relations with Turkey have grown so bad the two countries have virtually “no basis” for talks.

♦ “Italy should be attending to the mafia, not my son,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Typically, he does not understand the existence of independent judiciary in a European country. He thinks, as in an Arab sheikdom, prosecutors are liable to drop charges on orders from the prime minister.

♦ “We know that the democratic standards are clearly not sufficient to justify [Turkey’s] accession [to the European Union].” — Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

Nations do not have the luxury, as people often do, of choosing their neighbors. Turkey, under the 14-year rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist governments, and neighboring both Europe and the Middle East, was once praised as a “bridge” between Western and Islamic civilizations. Its accession into the European Union (EU) was encouraged by most EU and American leaders. Nearly three decades after its official bid to join the European club, Turkey is not yet European but has become one of Europe’s problems.

Europe’s “Turkish problem” is not only about the fact that in a fortnight a bomb attack wrecked a terminal of the country’s biggest airport and a coup attempt killed nearly 250 people; nor is it about who rules the country. It is about the undeniable democratic deficit both in governance and popular culture.

In only the past couple of weeks, Turkey was in the headlines with jaw-dropping news. In Istanbul, a secretary at a daily newspaper was attacked by a group of people who accused her of “wearing revealing clothes and supporting the July 15 failed coup.” She was six months pregnant.

Also in Istanbul, a Syrian gay refugee was murdered: he had been beheaded and mutilated. One social worker helping LGBT groups said: “Police are doing nothing because he is Syrian and because he is gay.”

Turkey is dangerous not only for gays and refugees. A French tourist was left bloodied and beaten by Turkish nationalists after he refused to hold a Turkish flag. Grisly footage shows the gang, encouraged by Erdogan to patrol the streets on “democracy watch,” telling the man “You will be punched if you don’t hold the flag.” The tourist is alone and does not appear to speak Turkish.

Meanwhile Europe is giving signals, albeit slowly, that it may be waking up from the “Turkey-the-bridge” dream. Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmaier said that his country’s relations with Turkey have grown so bad the two countries have virtually “no basis” for talks. He said that Germany has serious concerns about mass arrests carried out by Turkish officials. According to Steinmaier, Turkey and Germany are like “emissaries from two different planets.” Steinmaier is right. He is also not the only European statesman who sees Turkey as alien.

1777Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmaier (right) said that his country’s relations with Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan have grown so bad the two countries have virtually “no basis” for talks.

Erdogan recently threatened Italy that its bilateral relations with Turkey could deteriorate if Italian prosecutors investigating Erdogan’s son, Bilal, for money laundering, proceeded with their probe. “Italy should be attending to the mafia, not my son,” Erdogan said. Typically, he does not understand the existence of independent judiciary in a European country. He thinks, as in an Arab sheikdom, prosecutors are liable to drop charges on orders from the prime minister.

Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, answered Erdogan in language Erdogan will probably will not understand: “Italy has an independent legal system and judges answer to the Italian constitution and not the Turkish president.”

In unusual European realism, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said that he would start a discussion among European heads of government to end EU membership talks with Turkey. He rightly called the accession talks “diplomatic fiction.” Kern said: “We know that the democratic standards are clearly not sufficient to justify [Turkey’s] accession.”

Even Turkish Cypriots on the divided island fear that Erdogan’s Islamization campaign may target their tiny statelet. On August 3, about 1,500 people from 80 groups spanning the political spectrum took to the streets in Nicosia to protest against “Turkey’s attempt to mold their secular culture into one that’s more in tune with Islamic norms.”

All of that inevitably makes Turkey an alien candidate waiting at Europe’s gates to join the club. According to a European survey, Turkey is the least-wanted potential EU member — even less wanted than Russia. Opposition to Turkish membership ranges from 54% (Norway) to 81% (Germany).

Celal Yaliniz, a little-known Turkish philosopher, likened Turks in the 1950s to “members of a ship’s crew who are running toward the west as their ship travelled east.” The Turks were not alone. Erdogan’s “liberal” Western supporters have been no different.