Category : Turkey

AFP correspondents Bülent Kiliç+Ozan Köse on the situation in Turkey–Nothing will be as before

A line has been crossed in Turkey. You had people who were standing up to the military, but once they stopped the soldiers, they didn’t stop themselves. They lost control. And now they feel they can do whatever they want.

This happened in Istanbul, not in Aleppo. In Aleppo, there is no law, there are no rules, there is anarchy. We’re still in Turkey here. You’re a democracy fighter, you have stopped the army, that’s fine. But once you stop the army, once the soldiers give up, you stop and you tell the world, look what we have done. And they didn’t.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I am preparing for anything. It’s not easy for me. This is my home. I shoot conflicts in other countries and then I come back home. But now I’m preparing for anything to happen in my home.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Turkey

(Law & Religion UK) Frank Crawford–Turkey, the rule of law and freedom of religion

The recent failed coup attempt in Turkey raises lots of questions, most of which are well beyond the scope of this blog. However, there are two matters that are very much our concern: freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the more general issue of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Turkey

Prayers for Turkey in the Midst of an Apparent Attempted Military Coup

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, Turkey

(Express) Turkey seizes ALL Christian churches in city and declares them 'state property'

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash freedom of speech and religious movement.

The state-sanctioned seizure is just the latest in a number of worrying developments to come out of increasingly hardline Turkey, which is in advanced talks with the EU over visa-free travel for its 80 million citizens.

Included in the seizures are Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, one of which is over 1,700 years old.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Turkey

(FT) Elif Shafak–Turkey’s vote against Christmas

Today religion is solid and that hybridity is lost. We are divided into mutually exclusive cultural zones. In Istanbul, as we near the new year, different neighbourhoods have adopted visibly different attitudes towards Christmas. As one drives from one area to another it is easy to tell which municipalities are run by the CHP, the main opposition party, and which by the AK party, the government. The glittery decorations and lights are almost always in the CHP areas. The only exception are the shopping malls, of which Istanbul has too many. Inside these are gigantic Christmas trees; and, in front of those trees, nowadays, angry protesters.

“We are not obeying a toy-distributing Santa, we are the followers of Prophet Mohammad,” reads one of the signs held by protesters. Another displays a verse from the Koran, plucked out of context and deployed for particular political ends. The protesters claim they are delivering God’s words to the ignorant.

Early in the year the Saadet (Felicity) party ”” a religious-based political party ”” called Santa Claus “a sinister and dirty project”, adding that “western colonialism tries to invade culturally what it cannot invade militarily.”

Through articles and distorted images, Santa Claus is vilified in Islamist newspapers. The situation is highly ironic given that the original St Nicholas was born in the town of Patara in Turkey in 260AD and to this day is regarded as part of Turkish history and culture.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology, Turkey

(NYT) Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Girls to Join their Movement

…Grainy security camera footage showed Khadiza and her two 15-year-old friends, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, calmly passing through security at Gatwick Airport for Turkish Airlines Flight 1966 to Istanbul and later boarding a bus to the Syrian border.

“Only when I saw that video I understood,” Ms. Khanom said.

These images turned the three Bethnal Green girls, as they have become known, into the face of a new, troubling phenomenon: young women attracted to what experts like Sasha Havlicek, a co-founder and the chief executive of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, call a jihadi, girl-power subculture.
An estimated 4,000 Westerners have traveled to Syria and Iraq, more than 550 of them women and girls, to join the Islamic State, according to a recent report by the institute, which helps manage the largest database of female travelers to the region.

The men tend to become fighters much like previous generations of jihadists seeking out battlefields in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. But less is known about the Western women of the Islamic State. Barred from combat, they support the group’s state-building efforts as wives, mothers, recruiters and sometimes online cheerleaders of violence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Europe, Globalization, Islam, Marriage & Family, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Turkey

(CSM) ISIS recruiters cause anguish in conservative Kurdish town

White-on-black Islamic calligraphy still adorns the establishment that the Islamic State used to recruit fighters and bombers in this town in southeast Turkey.

Known as the Islamic Tea House, it was a hub for bearded men in tunics, who lured young men for explosives training in Syria before complaints from the community led police to shut it down.

“It wasn’t exactly a tea house, but they did drink tea among themselves,” says Mahmoud Tunc, a chatty boy with a whisper of a mustache who works at a tiny tea shop across the street. “They were a carbon copy of the IS guys you see on social media. Even if you put a Quran in front of them, they wouldn’t read it. They would just parrot their stupid ideology. They were not harmful to us but they were very harmful to Adiyaman and Islam.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Turkey, Violence, Young Adults

(Ed West) For modern-day Assyrians their present is under attack from Isis, as is their past

The historian Tom Holland tweeted…[yesterday] morning: ”˜What ”ª#ISIS are doing to the people & culture of ”ª#Assyria is worthy of the Nazis. None of us can say we didn’t know….’

There are a few thousand Assyrians in Britain, many of whom were given right of entry because their grandfathers fought alongside the British in two world wars. They are immensely proud of their heritage, and fond of the British Museum where so much of it remains safe; can one imagine how they feel watching footage of these savages destroying what their ancestors built and which they hoped to pass on to their descendants?

There are currently Assyrian troops fighting alongside the Kurds on the front line with Isis, but they are short of weapons. They say they have got little military support from the West, just as they have received little political support in the past; before the latest crisis broke out Assyrians in Iraq campaigned for a safe haven in the Nineveh Plains where they and other minorities, namely the Yazidi, could protect themselves inside the country. Without support from the Americans, the Baghdad government would not agree, and in light of recent events it seems like a reasonable request now.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iran, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Turkey, Violence

(Independent) Flood of jihadi volunteers to Syria is 'unstoppable', warns Turkish Prime Minister

The tide of foreign volunteers crossing from Turkey into Syria to fight for Isis cannot be stopped, the Turkish Prime Minister has warned, with authorities unable to close the porous 510-mile border between the two countries.

Ahmet Davutoglu, whose government has been accused of not doing enough to stop jihadi fighters from Britain and other countries crossing into Syria, told The Independent that Turkey could not put “soldiers everywhere on the border”. He added: “In any case, there isn’t any state on the other side [of the frontier].”

Turkey plays a crucial role in the Syrian crisis because of its long border with the country, part of which is now controlled by Isis. Mr Davutoglu described how Turkey’s close relations with Bashar al-Assad ”“ “I visited there 62 times in 10 years” ”“ soured in 2011 when “Assad started to kill his own people”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Travel, Turkey, Violence

Heartwarming NBC Video– Syrian Refugee Children Find Hope and Laughter in a New School

The school was started just two years ago by a woman who couldn’t look away after feeling like ‘the whole world let them down.’

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Education, Europe, Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Violence

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Syrian Refugees in Turkey

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: Southeastern Turkey shares a 500-mile-long border with Syria. On this day, the view into Syria looks quiet, peaceful even. But just a few miles from here, Syrian government forces, rebel groups and ISIS are waging a brutal battle for control. So far, nearly 1.6 million Syrians have sought safety in Turkey, and more are coming every day.

SAVAS METIN, Kimse Yok Mu: They escaped from this conflict with their own clothes. They couldn’t bring any kind of stuff, their belongings, together with them. They just escaped. They left everything behind.

LAWTON: Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in March 2011, nearly 11 million people have been forced to flee from their homes. Almost eight million are displaced inside Syria, while three and a quarter million have ended up in neighboring countries. Daryl Grisgraber focuses on the Middle East for the advocacy group Refugees International.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology, Turkey, Violence

(EN) Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch sign Christian unity declaration

Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, have signed a Joint Declaration reaffirming their desire to overcome the obstacles dividing their two churches.

The Catholic and Orthodox church leaders also deplored the dire situation facing Christians and all those suffering in the Middle East.

They called for an appropriate international community response, the Vatican news service said on November 30 on the third day of Pope Francis’s visit to Turkey, where around 98 percent of the people are Muslims.

“We express our sincere and firm resolution, in obedience to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians, and above all between Catholics and Orthodox,” the declaration said.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Turkey

Anglican Minister Engin Yildirim of Church of the Resurrection, Istanbul, Meets the Pope Yday

Rev Engin Yildirim, from the Church of the Resurrection (a Turkish language parish in Istanbul) has sent details of a privileged meeting when he and other Christian clergy greeted Pope Francis on Saturday 30 November 2014 during his official visit to the country.

Read it all and make sure not to miss the picture. For those interested in the background of the parish you may read more here and the parish website is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Turkey

(Reuters) Pope to visit Turkey as region's Christians flee Islamic State persecution

Pope Francis will travel to Turkey next month, the Vatican said on Tuesday, his first visit to the predominantly Muslim country which has become a refuge for Christians fleeing persecution by Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria and in Iraq.

During his three-day visit, the pope will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. He will also meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the Orthodox churches that make up the second-largest Christian church family after Roman Catholicism.

“The Holy Father will visit Ankara and Istanbul from Nov. 28 to 30,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Turkey, Violence

(FP Blog) You Can’t Understand How Beleaguered Kobani Is Until You See These Maps

Turkey is warning that the city of Kobani, which sits on the Syria-Turkey border, could at any moment fall to fighters affiliated with the Islamic State. That development would represent a huge setback for the U.S.-led air campaign in Syria and could portend a humanitarian catastrophe. Kurdish forces are warning of a possible massacre if Kobani falls to the Islamic State, which would solidify the group’s control of a large chunk of territory along Syria’s border with Turkey.

Kobani is now the sole remaining Kurdish-controlled town along a huge stretch of the Syrian border. To understand how isolated it is from the rest of the country, consider the map below. Syrian Kurds have in recent weeks been battling with Islamic State militants elsewhere in Syria, but it is in Kobani where that fighting has entered a key phase, as the militant group attempts to consolidate its rule in the north. Kobani is the small blot of yellow due east from where the Euphrates crosses into Syria.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Turkey, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence