Monday, October 20, 2008

Turkish Daily News: "Maintaining Turkey's democracy," by Bruce Fein and Ali Koknar

Monday, October 20, 2008


Democracy is not a suicide pact. No nation is required to be too weak to defend its own democratic dispensation. Accordingly, the Republic of Turkey should not be faulted for its pending initiative through chief prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya to ban the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, before the Constitutional Court featuring all the trappings of due process. According to Yalcinkaya, the DTP is a virtual appendage of the Maoist terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has been responsible for the deaths of a grim 15,000 Turkish civilians and security force members. Most of the PKK's civilian victims are other Kurds who repudiate their assassinations. The DTP openly endorses the PKK's secessionist aims and violent methods.

Banning political parties that aim to sabotage the constitutional order is not anti-democratic. Democracies ranging from Germany to Israel have proscribed parties for celebrating racism or violence. As the U.S. Supreme Court explained in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), the whole purpose of a Constitution is to place certain fundamental values beyond the reach of popularity contests.

But Turkey should not hamstring itself with a Hobson's choice between banning the DTP and doing nothing. Even if legitimate in a democracy, banning a political party jars with the idea of democratic representation, i.e., voters should decide which candidate or party best represents their political interests. Turkey's Constitutional Court displayed statesmanlike creativity in recently refusing to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, but instead imposed a stiff financial penalty for its flirtation with contra-constitutional principles. That precedent suggests that Turkey's parliament should likewise widen the range of legal options for challenging the DTP, informed by the U.S. example, in seeking to cripple or defeat terrorism.

Full Article

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Turkish Daily News: "Lincoln McCurdy - Fostering Turkish-American ties"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lincoln McCurdy has been involved with Turkey since the late 1970s when he was at the US Consulate General in Istanbul. Today he is president of the Washington DC-based Turkish Coalition of America

ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

Some people who work in Turkey for the U.S. government fall in love with the country but most, however, are unwilling to risk their future by staying. Lincoln McCurdy is not one of them. He has been involved in U.S.-Turkish relations since the late 1970s. He told the Turkish Daily News, "I had served as the commercial officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul in the early 1980s, and when my assignment came to an end I resigned from government service to work in Turkey as a consultant for a major American bank."

"When I returned to the US I was involved in establishing the American Turkish Council (ATC), a trade association that promoted commercial, defense and cultural relations between the United States and Turkey. I served as its first executive director and later as president. After leaving ATC, I was the senior advisor for the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TACCI) in New York for two years."

"In 2006, I worked with several concerned Turkish Americans in exploring ways on how to encourage more Turkish Americans to become involved in the U.S. political system and to highlight the achievements of Turkish Americans. Consequently, due to the complexities of U.S. law, two new Turkish American organizations emerged in February 2007."

The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), for which McCurdy serves as president, was established as a charitable U.S. organization for the purpose of fostering a better understanding of the Turkish American community through public education. It is supported entirely by private donations with offices in Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC.

Full Article

Friday, October 3, 2008

Obama & McCain Agree: Turkey Is Not On Their Agenda

Bruce Fein, Resident Scholar for the Turkish Coalition of America discusses Turkey's non-role in the 2008 election:


Regardless Of Election Results, Relations Between Turkey And U.S. Will Remain Strong, President Gul
Published: 9/27/2008
ANKARA - Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Friday that "regardless of the election results on November 4th, the relations between Turkey and the United States will remain strong and stay as it is now."
Speaking live to CNN International tv channel at the New York Stock Exchange, Gul said that Turkey went through an economic crisis in the year 2001, a crisis that is identical to the one that the U.S. is going through now.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Shahin Abbasov: 9/30/08
Economics may hold the key to breaking the stalemate in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Turkish and Azerbaijani officials reportedly are seriously mulling the possibility of Armenian participation in the long-planned Nabucco pipeline project as part of a comprehensive Karabakh peace pact.

Turkey is leading efforts to energize the Karabakh peace process. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani officials met in New York on September 26 to discuss the Karabakh issue and other security matters. That meeting kindled hopes that a settlement could be achieved by the end of 2008.

Although details of the recent discussions have been scarce, some experts believe that the three sides have probed a possible bargain under which Armenia would become part of the Nabucco pipeline plans, in return for a greater degree of flexibility concerning Yerevan's position on Karabakh.

Full Article

Related: Bruce Fein on this issue