Sunday, August 31, 2008

─░stanbulite elected Democratic National Convention delegate

Founder and chair of DA Turkey Brooks Emerson. An American resident of Turkey will travel to Colorado at the end of this week to participate in next week's Democratic National Convention as part of the Democrats Abroad (DA) delegation.

Brooks Emerson, founder and chair of DA Turkey and a six-year ─░stanbul resident, was elected one of the 14 pledged delegates (each wielding half a vote) that will join the eight DA members of the Democratic National Committee that make up the 22-member DA delegation at this year's convention.

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Related: MP from AKP: Turkey could work with any US govt [ Full Article ]

Daily News Update - August 31, 2008

Gulf monarchies to boost links with Turkey [ AFP ]

Turkey Slaps Curbs on Russian Export Goods [ Moscow Times ]

Iran, Turkey have made strides to develop ties: Turkish PM [ Islamic Republic News Agency ]

Georgian, Russian FMs expected in Turkey [ Turkish Press ]

Bahraini King suggests rail link between GCC, Turkey [ Zawya ]

Nobel laureate Pamuk publishes new book in Turkey [ Reuters ]

South Dakota teachers receive ancient and modern lessons in Turkey

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Four South Dakota teachers recently returned from a 10-day educational excursion to Turkey sponsored by the Turkish Culture Foundation through the South Dakota Council on World Affairs (SDCWA).

Turkey, famous for its cultural blend of East and West, offered many things for the schoolteachers to experience.

Marissa Kleinhans, Baltic High School; Karen Thaler, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings; Gary Pederson, Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls; and Sally Rice, Edison Middle School, Sioux Falls; joined teachers from six other affiliates of the World Affairs Councils of America for the trip.

The goal for educators was to absorb as much history, scenery and culture as possible in order to relay their experiences to their students.

“Encountering Turkey first hand has been an inspiring experience that these teachers now share with friends and family, colleagues and pupils across the state,” said SDCWA Executive Director Harriet Swedlund.

“They understand first-hand and are finding many opportunities to communicate knowledge of the vital role Turkey has played for centuries as a global crossroad,” Swedlund explained.

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Bruce Fein: Nagorno-Karabakh

Financial Times: "Viewers fall for soap’s Turkish delight"

By Roula Khalaf
Published: August 29 2008 18:58 | Last updated: August 29 2008 18:58
Millions of viewers will be glued to their television screens on Saturday night for the double episode finale of a soap opera that promises to be the highest rated drama on Arab television.

Its actors speak Syrian Arabic, and look like Arabs from the Levant, but Noor is a Turkish import, part of a genre of dubbed series that has become all the rage in many parts of the Middle East this year.

Arabs usually look at Turkey, traditionally staunchly secular and pro-western, from a distance, finding little in common with their Muslim neighbour. But soap operas such as Noor have stirred their curiosity like never before, sending droves of Arabs, particularly Saudis, on holiday to Turkey.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee man faces foreclosure because he didn’t pay parking fine

Milwaukee man faces foreclosure because he didn’t pay parking fine

The ticket went unpaid for four years, eventually amounting to $2,600 in fines


Posted: Aug. 2, 2008

Peter Tubic ignored a $50 parking fine in 2004, and on Monday, it cost him his $245,000 house.

In what city officials believe is the first case of its kind, the city foreclosed on Tubic's house on W. Verona Court after repeated attempts to collect the fine - which over the years had escalated to $2,600 - had failed.

"Our goal isn't to acquire parcels," said Jim Klajbor, special deputy city treasurer. "Our goal is to just collect taxes. . . . It is only as a last resort that we would pursue . . . foreclosure."

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz technically stayed the judgment to give Tubic one last chance to explain why he hasn't paid or even responded, but Sankovitz ruled in favor of the city's foreclosure.

"The city was entitled to a judgment," Sankovitz told Public Investigator on Thursday. "There hadn't been an answer to the complaint."

Tubic takes the blame for disregarding the 15 or more notices he received seeking payment and warning of the pending foreclosure on the house, which was fully paid off, but says he had good reason.

He was physically and psychologically unable to handle the situation, he says.

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Bruce Fein: Sweden's Decision on the Events of 1915 to 1922

PoliGazette on Bruce Fein's Turkey/Armenia Analysis

Bruce Fein Explains the Turkey/Armenia Issue
Armenia, Europe, Turkey — Michael van der Galien, Editor-in-Chief on March 13, 2008

Bruce Fein wrote a great post for the Huffington Post (of all places) about ” the ongoing Armenian dispute with Turkey.” “The quarrel over World War I history in Anatolia — which many have difficulty even finding on a map — has been turned into a special interest issue by the Armenian lobby,” he writes, and American politicians seem all too willing to give in to Armenian pressure.

Political calculations prompted Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to release presidential campaign statements supporting a congressional resolution to mischaracterize tragic events which unfolded during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The two White House aspirants are aping the Armenian resolution initiative of the House of Representatives in the previous Congress, whereby Members would hijack the role of both historian and the World Court in deciding the genocide question; this resolution was derailed by the then House Speaker. The Obama-Clinton pandering to the Armenian lobby betrays the signature Washington habit of making promises now and thinking about them later. It speaks volumes that Senator John McCain, arch enemy of earmarks and sister special interest money, refrained from bowing to Armenian campaign contributions and votes.

For several decades, some outspoken Armenian-Americans have politicized the events of 1915 in lieu of seeking the full truth. By playing their game, Obama and Clinton wander from history, fan the flames of division, and stray ever farther from what they purport to be about: change from past myopia, folly, or pettiness.

He goes on to write that Turkey open its archives (for research) years ago. The Armenian archives, on the other hand, remain closed. Why don’t Armenians open their archives? Well, the reason is simple: Armenians misbehaved tremendously before, during and after the first World War. The world doesn’t have to know that, of course. Those who want to spend time investigating this matter know so nonetheless, but if the Armenian archives contradict the Armenian claims (and propaganda), well, they’ve got a problem.

So, that’s why many people who know a bit about this issue think the Armenians refuse to open their archives (interestingly enough, they continue to say that Turkey has to open its archives, even though Turkey has opened them; it’s all part of the propaganda war).

Fein also writes that if Armenians want reconciliation, they should open up the archives. The problem with this kind of reasoning is, of course, that Armenian lobbyists don’t want reconciliation. They want money and lands.

However; at the moment that Armenia understands that this isn’t going to happen, then - and only then - they might be willing to reconcile with Turkey. In order for that to happen, Fein writes, the US should stop functioning as a mouthpiece for Armenian propagandists. The US shouldn’t be an activist, it should play “the role of facilitator.”

The next president, he writes, should be a person who understands that. Not a person who’s willing to condemn Turkey for something that happened before Turkey existed and who doesn’t understand the difference between a tremendous tragedy with many deaths (on both sides) and genocide.

Well said Bruce.

Turkish Rower Arrives Home from Historic Journey

Seattle Times: Seattle rower 10 days from world record

Reprinted from the Seattle Times Blog:
In December we told you about Erden Eruc, the Seattle man who set off last July on a solo trip to Australia -- in a rowboat.

Nearly 10 months and a big course change later, Eruc is still in the middle of the Pacific, waiting for a resupply that should recharge his extended trip not long after he puts his name in the record books.

On May 10, 305 days into a trip as unpredictable as the typhoon season he's hoping to avoid, the perennial adventurer will have spent more continuous days at sea than any previous solo ocean rower.

First -- the course change. Around mid-February, stubborn weather patterns made the land down under seem unnervingly remote. This online tracker shows where Eruc is headed now -- the Philippines.

"I guess we can say that nature changed course," said Ellen Hecht, a board member with Around-n-Over, the non-profit organization supporting Eruc's quest to circumnavigate the globe by human power, of which the rowboat trip is a part.

Eruc's still battling feisty currents that want to push him more northward than he wants to be. But the key to this trip, Hecht said, is flexibility. "He's going with the flow, so to speak."

Next -- the resupply. In an effort organized by Around-n-Over volunteers, Kenneth Crutchlow of the Ocean Rowing Society International is set to deliver 400 pounds of supplies to Eruc mid-trip.

The resupply, which will include more food, a seaworthy rowing seat and a new beacon is "critical to reduce the complications back to only what nature mounts against me," Eruc wrote in one of many online dispatches he posts via PDA and satellite phone from his seat on the ocean.

If he makes it -- and he intends to -- Eruc will become the first Washingtonian and the first person in history to row solo across the North Pacific, east to west.

But thanks to technology, he's not really alone.

"He calls from the sea," Hecht said, "and it's like you're talking to your next-door neighbor."

To read Eruc's dispatches from the sea and learn more about Around-n-Over and the journey the Seattle adventurer is sharing with students around the world, visit the group's Web site.

P.S. -- Eruc has been nominated for Ocean Rower of the Year by the Ocean Rowing Society International.

Update: This post has changed to clarify Eruc's precise achievements in the rowing community.

Turkish Coalition of America Donates Ambulances to Mexico

Medill News Service: "Turkey, Mexico and a tale of two ambulances"

Turkey, Mexico and a tale of two ambulances

by Becca Milfeld
May 15, 2008

Becca Milfeld/MNS

[Picture] Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan holds the keys to one of the new ambulances that will be used in Tabasco, Mexico.

WASHINGTON – In Turkey they would be called two shiny new ambulans. In the Mexican state of Tabasco, where they’re headed, they’ll go by their Spanish name, ambulancia.

The keys to the two brand-new Mercedes ambulances changed hands on Tuesday, thousands of miles from either country.

In a Capitol Hill ceremony, the Turkish Coalition of America gave the two vehicles worth $60,000 each to the Mexican Red Cross, Cruz Roja Mexicana, as a goodwill gesture.

Representing an odd coupling of countries, the gesture by the nonprofit Turkish organization returned a favor – one dating back nearly nine years when an earthquake hit northwestern Turkey.

The Mexican government contributed significant aid in the wake of the disaster that left approximately 17,000 people dead, according to official counts.

In return, the Turkish coalition decided last year that it would give a gift to the people of Tabasco, the low-lying state along the Gulf Coast that suffered horrendous flooding in fall 2007. Waters there left tens of thousands of people homeless, destroyed most of the state’s crops and ruined businesses.

Red Cross of Mexico President Daniel Goni Diaz, who spoke at the ceremony, emphasized that the Red Cross plays a different role in Mexican civil society than in the United States.

Last year, the Red Cross there was responsible for 1.3 million ambulance trips, representing 80 percent of the nation’s ambulance calls. All were free of charge, he said.

He added that every new ambulance could allow an additional 1,000 trips per year.

The ambulances will be presented in the state of Tabasco at a July ceremony. Among the invited guests of honor are Reps. Solomon Ortiz and Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrats who had helped facilitate the donation. They also attended Thursday’s ceremony, where the two vehicles were dedicated to them.

“We would love to be there when you turn the siren on,” Ortiz said said of the July event.

And then, Ortiz and Reyes joked about who would get to man the siren and who would turn on the lights.

Turkish Journal: Turkish Coalition of America Donates Two Ambulances to Mexican Red Cross

Turkish Coalition of America Donates Two Ambulances to Mexican Red Cross


Ambulances Dedicated to Rep. Ortiz and Rep. Reyes

At a ceremony on Capitol Hill on May 15, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) announced its donation of two fully equipped ambulances to the Mexican Red Cross to be used in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco. The announcement was made with Representatives Ortiz and Reyes, who were instrumental in facilitating this gift, along with representatives of the Mexican Red Cross, the Turkish Embassy and the Mexican Embassy.

Mexico was hit with one of its worst national disasters in November 2007 when the state of Tabasco was hit by a Hurricane, causing massive flooding and the destruction of tens of thousands of homes, schools, as well as the state's crops. The flooding left over a million people homeless with an estimated one-third of them children. The Ambulances are donated to the Mexican Red Cross as a gesture of friendship, in the hopes of a more speedy recovery in future cases of need.

"Turkey lived through a major national disaster in the August 1999 earthquakes. Turkish Americans know firsthand how crucially important international assistance was in saving lives and rebuilding the earthquake struck regions in Turkey. Nations across the globe, the United States and the American people in particular, showed great support and sympathy to Turkey during its dire days," said TCA President G Lincoln McCurdy. "Mexico and the people of Mexico also contributed life saving aid and rescue resources that helped alleviate the suffering of those impacted by this earthquake. This gift from Turkish Americans to the people of Tabasco, Mexico is our way of showing solidarity to victims of natural disasters that affect us all," continued McCurdy.

TCA dedicated the two ambulances to Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-27th/TX) and Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-16th/TX) to recognize the efforts by the two members of Congress, who are deans of the Hispanic Caucus and members of the Turkish Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, to bring together the people of Mexico, Turkey and the United States.

"When natural disasters strike, rescue operations need strong support from the international community, regardless of nationality or religion," said Representative Ortiz. "These ambulances are a symbol of friendship and cooperation, and I thank the Turkish Coalition of America for this goodwill gesture between Turkey, Mexico and the United States," continued Ortiz.

"I applaud the Turkish Coalition of American for providing the Mexican Red Cross with these ambulances. These vehicles will provide much needed emergency care to those communities in Tabasco that continue to suffer as result of last year's devastating floods," commented Congressman Silvestre Reyes.

"During Mr. Lincoln McCurdy's visit to our National Society and knowing about our needs, we established the commitment to arrange for the donation of two ambulances, which will be serving the society in the state of Tabasco," said Daniel Goni Diaz, President of the Mexican Red Cross. "Thank you for this donation that will alleviate the increasing needs of the population in this area.

Also in attendance were the Ambassador of Mexico, His Excellency Arturo Sarukhan and Dr.Burak Akcapar, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Turkish Embassy.


Turkish Coalition of America 1025 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1000, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: 202-370-1399 Fax: 202-370-1398 Email:

Dr Soner Cagaptay: PKK Terrorist Group

Washington Times: Unveiling the PKK

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Unveiling the PKK
Contrary to media reports, the Marxist-Leninist terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) ambition is not regional autonomy in Turkey.
Its goal, as proclaimed in the PKK's Manifesto (Oct. 27, 1978), or self-styled "Declaration of Independence," is an independent socialist state of Kurdistan on territory under the sovereignty of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The chief target of the PKK's terrorism, however, has been Turkey. The PKK has been responsible for about 40,000 deaths there, or 13 times the September 11, 2001, casualty figure in the United States, including a chilling number of fellow Kurds who reject the PKK's violence. In customary parlance, the PKK's banner is treason.
Some media reports also wrongly assert or insinuate that Turkey's citizens who sport Kurdish ethnicity groan under discrimination or oppression that explains or partially justifies the PKK. Turkey's Kurds are equal under the Constitution. They are equal by every political, economic or social benchmark. They enjoy equality in the franchise, the right preservative of all rights. While the vast majority has chosen to support Turkey's mainstream political parties, Kurds enjoy the option of supporting the pro-Kurdish nationalist Democratic Society Party (DSP). In the most recent national legislative elections, the DSP attracted a tiny 3 percent of the vote. A fringe party, the DSP leadership resists renouncing violence and terrorism as a means of political dissent.
Kurds are fairly represented in the corridors of power. They serve at the highest levels of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Kurds have been president, prime minister, and the leader of the National Assembly. Kurds similarly flourish in the arts and entertainment. There is no stigmatizing "ethnic" line or segregation between Kurds and non-Kurds in Turkey. Intermarriage is commonplace.
Kurds enjoy equal access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing, credit and otherwise. Nondiscrimination is the legal and operative rule. And equal access has been matched with equal Kurdish success in these endeavors. While there is no Kurdish underclass, Kurds do reside disproportionately in the less developed areas of southeast and eastern Turkey.
Kurds enjoy the same freedom of political association, freedom of expression and freedom of religion as other Turkish citizens. Turkey's democracy has been responsive to Kurdish special aspirations and grievances. Broadcasting in Kurdish is now permitted, as is private instruction in the many Kurdish dialects. The latter has languished, however, because Kurds in Turkey have preserved their languages and covet fluency in Turkish for the same reason Americans of disparate backgrounds strive for fluency in English.
As previously noted, a substantial percentage of Kurds reside in the southeast, which has historically suffered economic underdevelopment. Over the last decades, the government of Turkey has responded correspondingly by pouring in approximately $20 billion to jump start the southeast with infrastructure or otherwise. Featuring the Great Anatolia Project with 21 dams and 19 hydroelectric stations on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the government's economic development program is reminiscent of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In tandem with the government, private Turkish charities devoted to health care and sister philanthropic endeavors have poured aid into the southeast.
Turkey has also offered an olive branch to the PKK. Amnesty has been offered to PKK members who have not been involved in attacks; and, on Dec. 9 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he would propose legislation broadening the amnesty's reach.
Turkey's Kurds overwhelmingly repudiate the PKK because Turkey's democracy works for them. The number of Kurds attracted to the PKK's Marxist-Leninist terrorism is estimated at 3,000 to 10,000, or a microscopic percentage of Turkey's Kurdish population. The PKK has retaliated against Kurds for their rejection with indiscriminate violence and assassinations. The PKK's degeneracy is further corroborated by its resort to narcotics trafficking to raise funds to support their nefarious tactics and ambitions. According to the French, 80 percent of the heroin in Paris is smuggled into the country by the PKK.
The PKK cannot credibly deny the equality and flourishing of Kurds under Turkey's ever-strengthening democracy. It has no inspiring rallying cry like the American "No taxation without representation." Instead, the PKK embraced Marxist-Leninist claptrap that has been consigned to the dustbin of history to expiate its mindless terrorism and 40,000 deaths.
Most recently, the PKK shed its Marxist-Leninist trappings in favor of equally repugnant and unjustified ethno-nationalist terrorism.
Bruce Fein is resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.

Bruce Fein: Barber to be Executed for "Insulting Islam"

Los Angeles Times: Saudi law may lead to Turk's beheading

The barber was reported to the police for cursing during an argument. Turkey's president has appealed to the Saudi monarch.
By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
3:53 PM PDT, May 29, 2008
JIDDA, Saudi Arabia -- It's a profanity uttered countless times a day around the globe, but a barber in Saudi Arabia faces beheading for the crime of using God's name in vain. Sabri Bogday, a Turk who cuts hair in this Saudi port city, is awaiting appeal on his sentence.

Press reports say Bogday cursed during an argument with a neighbor, who later complained to police. This nation is ruled by a strict Wahhabi brand of Islamic justice that doles out lashings and public beheadings for crimes including murder, rape and heresy.

Bogday has been in jail for 13 months. Turkish President Abdullah Gul has asked Saudi King Abdullah to spare the barber. But the Arab News daily reported that there could be complications hinging on arcane interpretations of religious law by fundamentalist judges.

The newspaper quoted a lawyer as saying: "Some judges consider it heresy and infidelity, and say that the accused cannot repent and so faces the death penalty. Others consider the statement to be disbelief, thus allow the accused to retract what he has said and repent and then set him free. . . . Sentences in these cases are limited and considered rare, because the judgment is not based on something that is written."

The strict imposition of Islamic justice in Saudi Arabia has often drawn criticism in the West. It has also highlighted divisions within the royal family between hard-liners and more moderate members led by the king, who occasionally has intervened to reverse court rulings.

Last year, a court sentenced a rape victim to 200 lashes and six months in prison because she had been in a car with a man who was not a relative when the pair were attacked by knife-wielding assailants.

Abdullah pardoned the woman after the case caused international furor, saying she and her companion "had suffered a level of torture and distress that was by itself enough to discipline them.",0,5743125.story

Bruce Fein: Politics of the Conflict in Cyprus