Wednesday, February 09, 2005


more good stuff by Tolga Sezgin (top) and Kerem Uzel at Narphotos....

Kirkuk Like It's 1999

The tools we seem to have for getting the attention of superpowers are unsurprisingly limited. For weeks, the idea of intervention in northern Iraq has been omnipresent in public speeches this side of "boo." This while the likelihood of intervention is almost nil simply because, as Cuneyt Ulsever put it, the likelihood that any kind of intervention will be successful is "close to zero." The machismo is there because apparently it has become the only sure way that we can express our concern. The logic as the government sees it seems to be: if we say we are concerned, the US et al think what we mean is "we don't give a shit". However, if we are screaming bloody murder then the US et al note that "Turkey is concerned". It's a bad rut to be in, not only to not be able to say what we mean, but also to not be able to do what we say. The former diminishes our respect, the latter our credibility. What is concerning is this: prior to the elections and a few months back, we were saying that an independent (or largely autonomous) Kurdistan would lead to civil war. The jury is still out on that. The more essential question is this: Given the choice between an independent or largely autonomous Kurdistan or a civil war, which does Turkey prefer? It seems an odd question to be asking, but it is not so odd if one entertains the possibility that a largely autonomous Kurdistan can come to being without an outbreak of civil war. It is also not so odd when many in the military are feverently against Kurdish autonomy, and that within such a group there may be some make the observation that a civil war will prevent Kurdish independence. But the truth is any such war will accelerate the creation of such a state. What's amusing is that Europe has stayed quiet on this; it's surprising because any kind of Iraq adventure has the possiblity of pushing Turkey back a couple of decades regarding the EU. What does seem clear, for better or for worse, is that preventing the US in launching a northern offensive cemented us in the act of screaming from the sidelines, like a deranged soccer mom....put up, or shut up, I say (on second thought, shut up).

Meanwhile, the presidential council of the Human Rights Advisory board resigns. You may remember me mentioning a press conference a while back where the head of the council, Kaboglu, was outlining the report and a member of the Human Rights Commitee grabbed the report and tore it up on live television.

Ulsever's parse of Rice's speech in Turkey.

From Stratfor Intelligence Brief:

Mustafa Safran, chairman of the Turkish Education Ministry's commission on textbooks, says the country's newest history textbooks will include references to the controversial Armenian "genocide." Armenia has long insisted that Turkey acknowledge that it committed genocide against more than1 million Armenians in 1915, a charge Turkey has denied -- so vehemently, infact, that the topic has been taboo until recently. Textbooks, however, willnow include both Armenian and Turkish version of the events so students canmake up their own minds, Safran said.This essentially amounts to an astounding change in Turkish foreign policyand an enormous concession to Armenia. Diplomatic relations between the twohave been frozen since, in the wake of Armenian independence from the Soviet Union, Turkey closed its border with Armenia -- this was done in a show ofsupport for its Turkic brethren in Azerbaijan over Yerevan's role in theNagorno-Karabakh conflict that began in 1988.

Complementing Safran's surprise announcement was a statement the same day, Jan. 28, from Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian on a Turkish radio station. Oskanian said Armenia no longer considers Turkish acknowledgementthat the 1915 events constituted genocide as a precondition for normalized relations. Oskanian added that Armenia would renounce all claims to territory now within Turkish borders and that the re-opening of borders between the twocountries would be enough to re-establish normal ties. These two announcements are tantamount to an earthquake in the old foundation ofrelations between these two longtime adversaries, and their simultaneous presentation likely signals coordination -- revealing that a serious push is on.

The two sides have been holding high-level secret meetings for several years, sources close to the talks say, to avoid havingnationalists on either side scuttle negotiations before they can make progress. Turkey's EU drive likely has given those negotiations a strong shove forward.


A couple weeks back, Andrew Sullivan goes:

Kudos to the academy for ignoring the execrable "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the pornographic "Passion." Right-wing and left-wing ideologues will be disappointed. But what do they know about art?

Quite a lot actually. After all, Celine appears to have been a rabid anti-Semite and yet he still managed to create a great piece of art with A Journey To The End of the Night. And did Sullivan forget Ezra Pound waxing fascistic after taking a survey of the literary landscape? All this while the so-called academy did not give an Oscar to Hitchcock, the spiritual father of audience button-pushing Hollywood films ("A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake."..."The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.") Loony ideologues may know more about art than rational gay libertarians, and those who failed to recognize their own reverse-countershot "have some pie" Messiah for that matter.


Days of snow in Istanbul, and clear blue skies in Ankara. Something's not right.

"Salzburg has announced a Second Modernism. I am announcing the End of the Second Modernism."-- Alex Ross


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