Wednesday, October 27, 2004
-----------------------Odds and Ends
Understatement of the day:
"Maybe there has been some miscommunication between us."
--Prime Minister Erdogan on the high poll numbers in Europe against Turkey in the EU
Somewhat good news: Polls in Greece actually less negative than France. Possible reason: France's gains from Turkish membership are limited, whereas Greeks may feel our government (State/Military) would have to tone down its machismo outlook.
bad news: Greeks are reporting an increase in violations of their air space.
funny story: Christopher Hitchens was for Bush less than a week ago, now he's for Kerry (scroll down)
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
-----------------------Minority Report (cont'd)
The same people that raised hell over the report now sent in a request asking for it to be returned. One of complainers said "the best thing about the report is that the back pages are empty. " They claim that the procedure in which the report passed through the commission was not legal, and that changes were made to the report after it was approved. My theory: they didn't attend the meetings or pay attention until the report was made public, and then they freaked out. These guys are also blaming the foreign minister Abdullah Gul for appointing the people that prepared a report that "attacks the country" and "creates new problems" instead of fixing the existing ones. The governor of Diyabakir put in his support behind the report saying, "Turkey has to solve its problems through debate, not by pretending they don't exist." (Hurriyet)
Meanwhile, the TV and Radio content regulators (RTUK) announce that the police are aiding them by scanning channels that RTUK can't reach (probably in the east). In other words, the police will likely be reporting broadcasts that are deemed to encourage separatism. (Hurriyet) And knowing what broad definitions may be used to define separatism, this looks like to be another self-fulfilling prophesy.
Fikret Bila, a Milliyet journalist, declares he wants a "Turkey that doesn't take the written word to court" after he was taken to court for writing a book about Ankara's relation with the Iraq war. The claim is that some things in the book are classified information. (In Turkish)
Update: Peter Boyer on Wolfowitz in the New Yorker, Hitchens' response
Monday, October 25, 2004
The non-cable TV channel CNBC-e, which is kind of a Turkish Bloomberg on economy during the day, American sitcom channel by night, and upper tier film channel by late night, was forced to push back "Angels in America" to a later time (10->11pm) when gov. content regulators realized that the show was about "a bunch of homos". Where were they at with that godawful Will & Grace? Then I went to check what the so-called Kuran thumpers in Iran were showing on their TVs. To my surprise people were watching LA Confidential and Gangs of New York. Wtf? Oh wait, Kim Basinger and Cameron Diaz are edited out of the entire movie, nevermind.
-----------------------That Rug Tied The Room Together
Fetih Bolayir, the chairman of something called "Toplumsal Dusunce Dernegi" (lit~Social Thought Association) and also member of the government's Human Rights Commission accused his own chairman of presenting a "Minority Report" that makes "horrifying" attacks on the secular democracy of the country and encourages separatism. He demanded that charges be brought against the chairman of the Human Rights Commission and those responsible for putting together a "document of treason". The chairman, Kaboglu, countered by saying that more than half of those attending the meetings voted in favor of the report. (in Turkish) Things began to get weird earlier in the week when the report was released, then later the lock to the room where the Commision held its meetings was changed. The government ministry complained that the public saw the report before they did. Kaboglu said nothing was made public before informing them.
Erdogan apparently said that the Cyprus issue and EU membership are not related. If you think about it for three seconds it makes sense. But if you think about it for a second longer it's almost laughable. It makes sense because the acute apathy shown towards Cyprus as a whole after the referendum leads one to think that the EU couldn't really give a shit. That's possibly true, but even they are going to be forced back into caring for one blindingly obvious reason: Turkey does not recognize The Republic of Cyprus, which happens to be a member of the EU (fancy that). Recognizing existing EU members obviously has nothing to do with becoming an EU member...olives and oranges, man. (But we do recognize Cyprus when we're hosting shitty singing contests like Eurovision. Let's mention that!)