Terrible Twins: Turkey, Brazil and the Future of American Foreign Policy
Published on: June 5, 2010
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  • K2K

    “For President Obama, the hardest part may be to give up on the dream of global multilateral solutions to the world’s big problems.” There is no sign of any kind of rethink, so it looks like a very tense two years. The only glimmer of a rethink is the sudden vigor just this week in building US relations with India, with Hillary’s op-ed in the Times of India and Obama’s sudden announcement of a trip in November, just after cancelling his 2nd attempt to visit Indonesia and Australia..

    Turkey and Brazil are taking advantage of Obama’s reluctance to be the world’s sole super-power, compounded by the real structural weakness of America’s economy.
    This is not 1945-48, when a reluctant but economically strong America was able to take the baton from a prostrate Great Britain.

    Turkey is the real threat to stability, not Brazil.
    Turkey is in NATO. Who would want to depend on Erdogan’s Turkey for mutual self-defense? Here is hoping the White House is reading the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal on Turkey’s radical shift today.

    The US relationship with Brazil could be greatly improved if more attention was paid to resolving Brazil’s trade disputes, which generally make the U.S. look like a protectionist bully (sugar ethanol).
    Guess we have to wait and see who succeeds Lula.

  • What your astute analysis leaves out is the question: What do these new kids on the block stand for? Just being ‘not America’ is a momentary fashion that leads down a narrow, dark path.

    The problem with Turkey and Brazil — especially Turkey — is that the society will eventually become the same old form of oppression the world has known since the dawn of time. The elites will benefit by the new riches and a few technocrats will achieve middling riches, but the majorities will be under the thumbs of their fattened rulers.There will be minimal freedom, ingenuity, invention or motivation. Probably the standard of living will rise. But don’t expect the countries to produce any ideas or ideals anyone else in the world wants.

    Can you imagine hordes of people all over the world wanting to move to Turkey or Brazil? Can you imagine Turkey or Brazil will come up with better ideas about how to live which people will want to emulate?

    I suspect they will be states which achieve a modicum of wealth but will eventually wither away and disappear because … well, they don’t stand for anything other than ‘We are not America.’ Ozymandius.

  • Marty

    Well said, Professor.

    But, how cn one have any confidence that Obama and his team of nincompoops will get it?

  • fw

    Notwithstanding my differences with their approach, I’m probably going to make a contribution to J Street, only because I think Netanyahu and his associates have proved themselves incapable of handling these crises with aplomb.

    Having said that, I find it kind of maddening that stories like the following, from the United Nations itself, seem to get no traction in the world press:

    First, Hamas raids and robs and shuts down local NGOs in Gaza. What if Israel had done this? And how is Hamas portrayed as a legitimate governing body, with genuine concern for the welfare of Palestinians?:


    Second, after the governments of Ireland and Israel reached an agreement to ship the goods delivered on this latest ship attempting to breach the naval blockade of Gaza, the activists refused to accept the plan, just as they refused the first time with the Marmara. They are seeking confrontation:


  • Kit

    “The problem with Turkey and Brazil — especially Turkey — is that the society will eventually become the same old form of oppression the world has known since the dawn of time. The elites will benefit by the new riches and a few technocrats will achieve middling riches, but the majorities will be under the thumbs of their fattened rulers.There will be minimal freedom, ingenuity, invention or motivation. ” Sidney Raphael

    Sounds like what the United States is turning into.

  • fw

    On the “my reading list is already too long” front, Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish Nobel Laureate who was essentially chased out of Turkey, has made the fading of the old secular establishment in Turkey a central theme of his work. His novel “Snow” is long, but does convey the flavor of the culture in Eastern Turkey.

    Machado de Assis is a great, still somewhat obscure 19th Century Brazilian writer, who is widely in print. “Epitaph for a Small Winner” is a fun read, definitely in the European tradition.

  • 1.618

    The conclusions that some of the commentators and the writer of this article give here are based in wrong assumptions. Some of the political elite of USA thinks that the way they see the word affairs and more importantly the new world order that they enforce is the only acceptable to the world and the best one. From now USA will see more and more that the world don’t have the same view and simply don’t like the order USA prefers. IN The new multi polar world USA still will be the most powerful state specially in the areas of military and science. But also there will be more forces . The case is here will USA stick with the policy of the world policeman ( even if Obama said it left it) and telling other countries what to do or will concentrate to making alliances with other powerful states. The case of Turkey is special because it is involved Israel. We see now that only USA sticks and defends Israel while Israel is becoming the only real problem of world peace. USA interest is to become the part of solution not the problem itself. In the Political arena The main longterm strategic threat to USA are BRIC , and united EU but in cultural and civilization arena the most important opponent now and ever is the billion Islamic civilization. The question is now who will be the partner of Islamic civilization. The one that will make alliance with it will be the next world power. USA defends Israel so is going to the opposite road. Imagine a partnership of USA with the Islamic world against the emerging powers . In this context Turkey wants through the confrontation with Israel to force USA to lessen the ties with Israel and in a middle time when USA strategic attention will move back to the Caucasus in the direction of Russia and China together to work. The next move of Russia and a European power would be a great war crises in the Balkan even if now it is not imaginable.Israel is also a factor to be considered because all the attention is now on them and if from the pressure make a compromise a blow to their grand strategy of Greater Israel will be given so a new big conflict will move the attention from them. . Through it EU will collapse and Russia will gain time to prepare. USA grand strategy will have a short time blow. All the time USA will try to balance the Europe so more time will be lost . Also Russia and China will raise their influence in the Latin America through a more powerful Brazil . Germany and England are the unknown elements. Back to the theme here I think USA shouldn’t be worried with the problem of Iran, Turkey or Brazil. In stake is the world order that USA wants and other powers try to ruin it. I recommend that the intellectual elite to let these countries to work against the Order while at the meantime USA to start a new order of a changed economy so they will be caught unprepared. Britain is an experienced force and is already thinking as are some elites of USA. EU with no idea of solution of its problems has now embraced the right wing idea of Islamophobia. USA is in move.

  • nadine

    “…President Obama is going to have to use power to get his way rather than relying on sweet reason and the power of his ideals. He’s going to have to persuade countries that going along with the United States is better than defying us, and to do that he’s going to have to think about how to make people pay when they make the wrong choice. Otherwise his great ideals will not come to fruition. He can kiss non-proliferation goodbye, for starters, if he can’t stop Iran from getting the bomb.”

    But President Obama went to the UN and declared that no country had the right to tell any other country what to do. We’re just one of the gang now, out of the superpower business. Obama is actually stupid enough to believe this will lead to a peaceful outcome, instead of encouraging every wannabe regional hegemon to start rattling their sabres.. I’m afraid he’s going to have to learn otherwise the hard way, despite your good advice, Mr. Mead.

  • K2K

    Before you waste your money in a donation to J Street, you might want to stop blaming Netanyahu for everything, and re-think Turkey’s role in the Marmara:
    from the Jerusalem Post (whose reporter Khaled Abu Toameh covered the Hamas shuts down and loots six Gaza NGOs): “…IDF forces piloted the Rachel Corrie to the port of Ashdod early Saturday evening after boarding the ship earlier in the day.

    None were harmed in the military operation as the international activists on the ship cooperated with the boarding party. The activists went as far as lowering a ladder to the soldiers patrol boat to allow them to board, army sources have revealed.

    The boarding of the Rachel Corrie containing activists and aid for Gaza was described by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday as a quiet operation. Netanyahu was quick to distinguish between the boat of Irish and Malaysian activists and the Turkish-sponsored Mavi Marmara which was boarded May 31 in an incident that left nine dead and scores wounded.

    “The different outcome we saw today underscores the difference between peace activists who we disagree with but respect their right to express their different opinion and flotilla participants [on the Mavi Marmara] who were violent extremist supporters of terrorists,” said Netanyahu. …”

  • fw

    One thing that occurs to me, and I would defer to Walter on whether it has any significance, is that there are large numbers of Iranians and Brazilians in the United States, comprising a highly talented professional class. In the case of Iran, they are the children of the generation that fled the revolution in 1979, many of them formerly wealthy, but still of means and highly ambitious, professionally and politically. In the case of Brazil, it is many of the wealthy who left because of the terrible crime that engulfed the country for several years, and I would imagine are not totally sympathetic to all of Lula’s agenda.

    I wonder if these expats will have any role in future political developments. Many of the Iranian-Americans I know have organized themselves to protest the crackdown in Iran.

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  • fw

    K2K, I don’t disagree with Netanyahu’s account of the facts. Only, inaccurate as the popular conception of events may be, based on false reportage skewed by hatred of Israel, Netanyahu still has to accommodate himself to the reality of how his actions will be perceived. Ultimately, that has at least as much bearing on the situation as the fact of Turkey’s clandestine patronage of Hamas.

    It’s a critical distinction.

    Netanyahu has already, with plenty of forewarning, allowed multiple crises to occur that has completely jeopardized the relationship between Israel and the U.S., despite the fact that many or even most people know what actually transpired. He has allowed the megalomania of those two idiots Yishai and Lieberman commander the apparatus of state security there. It cannot continue.

    These are slow-motion punches telegraphed in advance to Netanyahu, and he has still allowed himself to get slammed in the jaw.

    I detest Hamas, Hezbollah, all the disingenuous Palestinian agitators and their fellow-travelers in Europe. But Netanyahu is losing to them. It’s pathetic. Time to bring in someone new.

  • nadine

    fw, Netanyahu has not “allowed” crises to develop – it is Obama who has changed the longstanding rules of the American-Israeli relationship in a way that was designed to demand things that he knew no Israeli PM could deliver. Obama wanted to bring down the coalition government and bring in somebody soft and spineless like Tsipi Livni. Blaming Netanyahu for “allowing” the crisis to form is like blaming him to “allowing” the Turkish flotilla to set sail. It’s factually false and morally obtuse.

  • K2K

    Thanks nadine. I would add that, in Israel, Defense Minister Barak is endangering what is left of support for the Labor Party.

    Today’s Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has an interesting pastiche of articles that suggests Erdogan may be over-reaching with his support of Hamas and threat of a complete break with Israel. The dots include the need for another Cyprus to gin up nationalism in order to get the controversial referendum passed in September that will amend Turkey’s constitution in ways to weaken the military and independence of the judiciary.

    Brazil is such a separate situation that it is unfortunate to conflate Brazil with Turkey.
    The U.S. has so much opportunity to work with Brazil. Obama should change his support for sugar ethanol import tariffs that really are unfair trade barriers.

  • SC Mike

    Give money to J Street? They can’t even count! Give it to Hezbollah or Hamas. They can’t count either, but will get the job done.

    It sure looks like the Obami are cool to Israel and are quite uninterested in asserting much of any US interest on Israel’s behalf, so what better time for our once-upon-a-time ally Turkey to take on Israel along with some help from other bad guys in the neighborhood? Iran is willing to lend a hand with the next Gaza-bound relief flotilla, suggesting to me that the missiles they shipped recently through Syria into Lebanon have been checked out and are ready to go. Israel may have to recall one or two of its subs from the Persian Gulf to help out closer to home, so we’ll have a real pressure cooker coming on real soon.

  • valwayne

    Another way of stating what was in the article is that Obama’s foreign policy of bows, apology, and appeasement is a total failure if not outright catastrophe. If the U.S. won’t lead others will fill the vacuum. Our friends are dismayed and our adversaries are gleeful as they all move to take advantage of Obama’s weakness!!!

  • Archimedes

    Well written article with astute insights to the shifting sands beneath the current world power structure.. I realize due to the size of the article limits the level of the particulars that can be explored, many of which I see has been covered by the commenters above. If I may so bold as to add a few of my own observations, if for no other reason that to add a little water to the pool of thought.


    Is a lost cause and only nominally a member of the wester alliance called NATO, which is itself a relic of the Cold War paradigm that no longer exists. Europe’s interests in many cases begin to divert from those of the Americans, and incresingly that gap makes itself apparent. With the possible exception of the Brits, those whose ideological bent is more like our own are fond in what Rumsfeld called “new Europe”, unfortunately with the fracturing of NATO”s cohesion and “old Europe’s” dereliction in adding to the common defense, when push comes to shove agaisnt a resurgent Russian imperialism, they will be beond the range of our already strained committments.

    You mention that Turkey is no longer as wary of their northern neighbor, given the scope of their efforts to reach out to Russia I think that may be an understatement. It would appear rather that the Turk’s current interests are more aligned with Putin’s than ours. I my estimation Turkey should be expelled from whatever is left of NATO, methinks that it is no longer pruden to be sharing intelligence, methods and proceedures with a country openly demonstrating greater affinity with those that mean us ill thatn they do with us. Its embrace of Tehran and rejection of Tel Aviv alone show this to be problematic.


    I am in concurrence with your asertion that we have mismaged our relations with latin America badly. We mistakenly took our eye off that ball after the end of the Cold War when our policies were oriented to halting malignant interests, but afterwords neglected to advance beneficial ones.

    The currnet adiministration’s abandonment of Aribe in Columbia has demonstrated to its neighbors that the US has become an unreliable ally and promotes their looking to others whose interests run contrary to our own.

    In Brazil Lula is a problem, his syndicalist tendencies more closely align with Chavez that ours, as we have seen by his efforts on behalf of Zelaya in Chavez’s bid to expand his sphere of influence through instigation of a Honduran coup.

    But Lula’s term will expire and fresh blood will take Brazils helm soon, the Brazilian people are secular, industrious and have prossbly the least xenophobic culture on earth. They are indeed a rising power with assets to be immense wealth generating entity and should be are our natural partners in the hemispere. On top of this there is a sizable Brazilian contingent that has immigrated to the states and has thrived in our culture which should work to only enhance the relations between our counties.


    The end of the Cold War has had a fragmentary effect on the nature on nations, ethnicities and cultures since the beak up of the USSR. One need only look at the former Yugoslavia as a case example and it is exponentially increasing as the bi-polar structure of the Cold War fades into history.

    Whatever the evils of that bi-polar power structure, it had an inhibiting effect on the medium and lasser powers aligned with them, those imposed restraints are now absent. As such an each man for himself philosophy amongst nations will naturally be come more prevelant rendering the “world order” increasingly volatile and dangerous.

    Under thes circumstances and what looks to be a regressive world economy that we have not witnessed since the 30’s taking shape and our means to provide an umbrella and the reach our influence thus lessened, perhaps it might behoove us to pull back from many but our most vital committments around the globe.
    To strategically ascertain which alliances are most certain, like the Brits, Aussies, Canadians, Japanese and Israelis, and foster relations with those who have a mutual inteterst in countering potentially hostile regimes, like the Indians. Under Bush 43 alot of framework for a US/India/Japan tripact was developed that could be expanded upon. Beyond these, we need a dramatically increased focus on our standing in latin America, in particular Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico to maintain regional stability in our own hemisphere. In a world that looks to be on the brink of chaos perhaps more attention to our own back yard would be the best use of limited resources.

  • Hypnos

    The fact that nobody was killed on the Rachel Carrie, or on the other 5 ships of the flotilla, was because the IDF didn’t approach the ships by firing on them from helicopters before unloading the commandos, which is what propelled the activists to fight for their lives with what they could find (there were absolutely no weapons on the Marmara, only standard ship tools and kitchen implements), thinking the commandos would just shot them in the back of their head if they peacefully laid down. Besides, who lays down while a hail of bullets is raining on a ship’s deck?

    Had the Israelis approached the Mavi Marmara as they did the other ships and the Rachel Carrie, nothing would have happened.

    No amount if evidence tampering and inquiry rejecting will challenge this fact.

    And one might want to remember that when Hamas murdered 10 Israeli citizens, the IDF retaliated by killing 1500 palestinians. Now Israel murders 9 Turkish citizens, and all Turkey does is expel diplomats, and somehow they are the threat?

    “But nothing like this would happen if Hamas recognized Israel and worked towards peace.”

    Right. You know, there is a Palestinian territory ruled by a peaceful entity that recognizes Israel and strives towards peace. It’s called the West Bank.

    What it gets is constant colonization on the part of Israel, walls coming up trapping Palestinians in what are essentially reserves in their own country, and their capital, East Jerusalem, being gradually cleaned of Arab residents. If giving up arms and recognizing Israel is all it takes, why isn’t the West Bank an indipendent Palestinian territory yet? Why does its settler population continue to grow in what is by all definition an illegal act of colonization?

    The problem with some Americans is that they look at the Arab-Israeli conflict as a struggle of Arab totalitarism against Jewish democracy. Leaving aside how really undemocratic a state based on ethnicity can be (anyone remembered ethnic disenfranchising was called when South Africa did it), that is not what this conflict is.

    The Arab-Israeli conflict is now (it wasn’t before; it wasn’t in 1967; is is now) is the last great anti-colonial struggle of the 20th century. And in that struggle, the Palestinians are on the right.

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  • William

    I have lived in Brazil for ten years and am watching the present economic boom, and the resulting cultural changes, from up close. Foreign policy is only just beginning to become an issue that the voting public pays any attention to. Lula’s embrace of Iran and refusal to criticize Chavez are not playing well.

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  • FF

    Presumably you bring up Turkey and Brazil because of those two countries’ attempt to get a deal with Iran on enriched uranium. On that specific issue, the Turkish/Brazilian plan has slightly more chance of success than the US sanctions regime. It at least deserves a hearing.

    I think Turkey likes to act as an honest broker and gets very upset when its motives are called into question. From the West’s point of view, players that are independent but reliable are worth cultivating. They’re frankly more useful than stooges. Brazil and Turkey may not yet be reliable but it’s worth nudging them in that direction.

  • Carolina Almeida

    Mr. Mead writes this pearl of a statement: “Brazil’s Lula was long a radical and unacceptable figure to the Brazilian establishment; his entry into power meant that a new kind of Brazilian (poorer, less well educated, more internally focused, often darker skinned and left leaning) was coming on scene”.

    So Mr. Mead does not like poor, uneducated, darker skinned people in positions of power? He´s only showing his prejudices and he is of course entitled to that. Unfortunately he does not explain why Brazil (or Turkey, or any other country for that matter), independently of whether it is ruled by rich or poor people should have a pro-american foreign policy. Simple logic should tell us that Brazil should have instead a pro-Brazilian foreign policy – define and defend and her own interests, not American interests. But maybe this is simply too difficult to understand for an American academic sitting inside his ivory tower. This article seems to be no more than a pathetic whining over the natural and inevitable decline of relative American power in the world.

  • mike flynn

    …OR… it could be the world is weary of USA foreign policy being an extension of tel aviv’s.

  • Peter

    The root problem is is that the people of countries like Brazil and Turkey are not at all consusive to forming a democratic republic that works.

    The national interest of those countries were best served when the elite called the shots.

    Meaning? Give them time. Brazil & Turkey will soon enough screw things up — it’s be fubar time. Watch and see.

    Oh …. and that that happens, look for Brazil and Turkey to come running for Uncle Sam to save them from the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. They’ll come arguing that it is in the U.S.’s national interest to sacrifice for them. Hopefully we’ll have leadership by then that will see though that thread-bare rational and direct U.S. policy to U.S. the national interest.

  • In fact, the problem of Lula is that he wants to have *personal* friendships with *everyone*. He tries to be a friend of Shimon Peres, of the PLO, of Bush, of Sarkozy, of everyone. And he has a profound personal admiration for Obama.

    Another problem is that in fact the President of Brazil has very, very little power, and the Congress, specially the Senate, is something politcally conservative.

    And, Brazil is not antiAmerican per se because the biggest comercial partner of the country is the United States. Take a look at the board of the company that controls Anheuser-Busch .

    But Brazil is not an American colony and people aren´t willing to lose money because the United States does not like certain country.

    And I´m sure that whoever wrote that article does not know wich city is the capital city of Brazil.

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  • fw

    Gee, Hypnos, so glad you’re against ethnic nationalism.

    Could you do us a favor, get in touch with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 self-described Islamic countries, fifty-seven Islamic countries, and tell them they’re all going to have to disband, since apparently, one—1—Jewish country is too many?

    And while you’re at it, please inform the Saudis that they will have to discontinue they’re policy of banning all non-Muslims from Mecca and Medina–it’s racist, and ethnic, and chauvinist. And tell them they’re going to have to let the Jews come back to Medina, since, when Muhammed destroyed the Jewish community there, it was ethnic cleansing.

    Thanks, bright guy!

  • Too bad pingback quotes the material before the link. But I’ll rectify that with the material after it:

    “It seems fair to say that Mead has completely misread the situation. Why has there been a “strong reaction” to the raid on the aid flotilla? It isn’t because Turkey is “moving decisively away from its longtime partnership with the United States,” and it isn’t even because the AKP government is bent on undermining the relationship with Israel. There has been a strong reaction because eight Turkish citizens were killed on a Turkish-flagged civilian ship in international waters by the armed forces of its ostensible ally while on a basically peaceful aid mission. “

  • JC

    Um, 8 Turkish citizens died. This was more that died in Israel, from all the thousands of rockets fired at Israel from Hamas, in Gaza.

    So less deaths for israel, justified the 2008 Israel response, while these 9 deaths, any outrage in Turkey, isn’t about the deaths, but about ‘wanting to move away for the U.S.”?

    Very very strange thinking here.

  • A valuable and sensible argument and a very important one. American conservatives have to begin to think like this. While I must admit to having a built-in knee-jerk reaction to the idea that so many countries who have benefited from our largesse over the years should feel the need to turn away from us, it’s relatively easy to understand. And it’s healthy. To put it in the rawest of terms, nobody wants to be someone else’s punk forever. The more “favors” you do for someone, the more indebted, and then resentful, they become. It’s not ingratitude, it’s human nature driven by the survival instinct.

    And of course America hasn’t always operated with the other guys’ interests ahead of our own. Not that it should, but there’s no doubt we’ve meddled globally in ways that have come back to haunt us.

    What I have become curious about is Lula’s economic success in Brazil. I didn’t expect that from a socialist, and once I saw it happening, I was equally surprised to see him pull a stunt like one embracing the Iranian holocaust denier. And then he continues to maintain his “relationship”–whatever it really is–with Chavez. Lula’s gotta be one clever fellow to be playing all these characters against each other while ruling over a robust emergent economy as an alleged socialist.

  • Donlast

    To suggest that Israel is one of the main obstacles to peace is just nonesense. It is meaningless. The Israeli issue is about existence. The Palestinians, Hamas, Syria et al, are not concerned about their existence only about Israel being non-existent. Rail as much as you like against Israeli, about their supposed military incompetence, blindness, arrogance, or whatever else you can cull from Roget’s Thesaurus, the fact is they will fight, and fight viciously, if their existence is threatened. They have the means to do it. That is a visceral fact. So Turkey may find they have taken on more than they bargained for in aligning themselves with Iran and Islamic extremism.

  • valentin

    So what? Turkey and Brasil are trying to assert themselves as regional powers, we have seen this film many times, repeatedly. Being the core of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey was even a great power for several centuries, while Brasil with its vast territory and abundancy of resources is logically looking for a better place under the sun. Boosting economic and political power ,however, won’t help the intelligent modern individualist , the “deep” man, to find the ever more difficult solutions for his/her existence. Primitive and outdated ‘powers” , be they regional or great, are irrelevant. They may pose an imaginary threat only to some Western aparatchiks, who believe that economy and power play are all that is of consequence, and are deeply distrustful of the power of the free individuals to invent modernity.

  • fw

    Hey, here’s those peaceful Turks, bombing the hell out of the Kurds today:


    And as The New York Times made clear, negotiations between Turkey and Israel were taking place for weeks to try to avert what happened. But Erdogan would not rein in the flotilla, arguing they were outside government purview.

    And Norwegian Shooter, quoting the American Conservative, whose platform is based on hatred of Jews, Blacks, Latinos and Gays, is really superfluous. We know what they are going to say about anything Israel does.

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  • Interesting piece over the weekend about how left- and right-leaning Israelis have come together in defense of their country over the blockade incident. It counters and somewhat negates Peter Beinart’s article about how younger American Jews have a more cavalier attitude about Israel than their parents, and therefore are pretty much indifferent to Israel’s continued existence. That may serve his narrative, but is it true? Of course they don’t have the sense of urgency about Israel that those fleeing the German camps had, but young people do grow older…and wiser. (I just searched for the piece but didn’t find it, sorry.) Bottom line, Israelis have rallied to the center over the blockade issue.

    Apparently, Erdogan at a recent conflab on the continent of the neverending conflab, Europe, sought out Shimon Peres and to his face accused Israel and Israelis being “killers.” Without bothering to get into the Turk’s impressive and legendary reputation for brutality throughout many centuries, this comment propeled Erdogan to the top of the mountain of Muslim achievement worldwide. Whoopeedoo!

    But then cheap thrills always have been easy to come by, that’s why they’re cheap.

    I’m still confused about the “botched” Israeli intervention at sea. What if the IHH members on the offending vessel had set out to achieve such a result, regardless of how they had to accomplish it? To say it wouldn’t be the first time Hamas-types have engineered such a setup…well, DUH! And what if the “American” on board, who was shot four times in the head and once in the chest was shot by IHH-Hamas types with or without being told he would ahead of time? Wouldn’t be the first such instance of radical Islamic suicide in the name of duty. And what if some of those who were killed, if not all of them, were there for that purpose? Suicidality in service of religious/political motivation? Wouldn’t exactly be the first time. Who has the corpses? If Israel, autopsies should clarify. If not, we may never know. Bottom line, if IHH/Hamas wanted these results ahead of time, they would have planned as such.

    Okay, here’s a piece just googled from Reuters. Israelis did preliminary examinations, but not autopsies–those were done in Turkey. Hmmm…and Michael Oren, author of the exceptional Six Days War, says some of the ammo is not Israeli standard issue. Double hmmmm…


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  • Marco

    I’m surprised by the level of ignorance and lack of knowledge demonstrated by some of the commentaries to this article—basically a pure reflection of how we develop our foreign policies.
    We need to remember that not too long ago, the “sophisticated” European powers looked at the “savage” Americans as we today look at these emerging powers. Mind you that the reluctance, inexperience, and timidity of the same “savage” Americans is what enabled the “sophisticated” Europeans to become what they are today. Therefore, let us not be dismissive of others’ abilities and capacity to seize the moment and take advantage for their own betterment. That is what we, as a country, have been doing since the beginning of the Second World War.
    It is also interesting to note the indifference and arrogance of some of the commentary and the degree of irrelevance some have placed upon the leaders of these emerging powers, who have overcome the oppression of the dominant elites in hopes of changing the status quo.
    The time has come for us to prioritize and redirect our path if we are to remain a dominant power for even just a little while longer. History tells us that, to date, no power was maintained through the use of the sword.

  • I must say, comments for this blog are improving in general. Specifically, not always:


    Where does the NYT make clear negotiations between Turkey and Israel on the flotilla broke down due to Erdogan’s intransigence? Your link is to an unconfirmed web report of Turkey bombing Kurds.

    The American Conservative doesn’t write articles and I’d really be interested in seeing its “platform”. I quoted Daniel Larison, not “them.”

    superfluousI do not think it means what you think it means.

    tom kinney,

    You continue to get everything wrong. Israelis coming together has nothing to do with younger American Jews. Beinart didn’t say they “are pretty much indifferent to Israel’s continued existence.” Bottom line, Israelis have become more and more similar to Avigdor Lieberman, not moving to the center. The pro-peace left has collapsed in Israel.

    You are still confused. “American” in scare quotes? What does that mean? When you have some evidence HAMAS killed anyone on board, let me know.

  • My confusion probably comes from the wonderful six months I spent hitchhiking through 10 consecutive Muslim, mostly Arab countries over a period of 6 months on three continents, and the subsequent time I spent in college studying the Arab language and Arab and African history, Mr. Shooter. Not to mention that I really enjoyed my time in the Mideast and unlike all the bloviating leftists at the time, mid-60s, who couldn’t wait to taste the fruits of the Israeli Kibbutzim as next only to the heavenly nectars of Russian and Chinese communism, I was one of three out of a hundred or so who choose not to enter Israel through the Mandelbaum Gate as I wanted to further explore the Mideast, and if you had an Israeli stamp on your passport, you wouldn’t be allowed to come back into Arab Muslim countries. Another inconvenient truth to the anti-Israel crowd.

    Of course that was then. Since, the left’s love affair with the Kibbutzim and with the Israelis, early socialists who wised up, has ended and been replaced with this odd and viral vituperation toward Jews that originally prompted the the phrase, “never again.”

    The congenital hospitality of the Haj as practiced in every Arab and/or Muslim country I traveled through, is something to behold, as they truly practice what they preach, but what I appreciated the most was that although the deep-seated American/Israeli alliance was abhorent to Arab Muslims, street Arabs almost always treated me as an individual, not as a representative of a country they thoroughly disliked.

    But the palpable and murderous hatred of Israelis and Jews by Arab Muslims–one that has since spread to almost all developing countries due to such propaganda as that which too many in the west now endorse–in general was as hard to stomach then as it is today. The framed, flower-festooned photos of Hitler lovingly placed in Syrian bazaar kiosks; the blacking out of Israel as a non-entity on the Mideast map in the Damascus youth hostel; the need to refer to Israel on Arab streets by the code name “Disneyland” so as to avoid being confronted by locals…those things were hard to stomach also.

    That this hatred toward Israelis and Jews has spread from the Mideast–where it had been dropped off earlier by Nazis and Vichy French who exerted considerable influence there during WWII–is thanks largely to leftist westerners and leftists in general, and has happened in large part because of those who haven’t honestly looked at the (perhaps inner-driven) source of their hatred.

  • It’s good to see Sam Huntington’s “paradox of democracy” back even if Sam has gone unmentioned. I am sure he is smiling from his neo-Puritan pew in the cathedral of heaven. And let me just add that this realist (me) has managed to live without Whiggish fantasies for some time now. It has been hard, like dinner with no dessert. But I’ve done it.

  • fw

    Norwegian Shooter, Daniel Larison is the in-house ideologue for a group of loosely affiliated white supremacists who contribute articles to it, and have since its beginning. The late Sam Francis wrote for it, after arguing that a television advertisement showing a black man flirting with a white woman was offensive, and losing his job, at the Washington Times, Steve Sailer makes a career of purporting to show that non-whites are dumber than whites, which is why Hurricane Katrina killed so many people—they were, in his view, literally too stupid to leave, Scott McConnell, the publisher, has written sympathetically about the white nationalist movement in the United States, specifically in a profile of Jared Taylor, and in many articles on white nationalist website VDARE, Pat Buchanan, a co-founder of the magazine, needs no introduction, Justin Raimondo has argued ad nauseum that the Mossad was responsible for 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, Philip Giraldi writes incessantly about how Jews are treasonous, Peter Wood has written about how legalizing gay marriage will increase pedophilia, the magazine devotes issues to arguing whether Latin Americans are prone to criminality, et cetera, et cetera.

    And Daniel Larison is used there as the prolix front man, portraying the whole group as a host of misunderstood lovers of peace. And by the way, Daniel Larison reviles Abraham Lincoln as a fascist warmonger, as do a lot of his paleocon fellow travelers. Do you agree?

    Please. Theirs is a view that America belongs to white, European Christians, and white European Christians alone. Maybe you share their opinions, in which case, why bother with this website?

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  • tom kinney, I enjoyed your travelogue, but I would respect a reply to my questions.

    fw, Guilt by association, nice. And undocumented guilt as well. I’ve read Larison for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve seen him refer to anyone other than Buchanan, and him not very much. Prove at least one of your claims and I’ll pay attention.

    No, I don’t agree. Abraham Lincoln was our greatest war president because he was an anti-warmonger. Have you ever read the Gettysburg Address? Got any questions for me that aren’t idiotic?

  • fw

    I said just above your comment, that “Daniel Larison reviles Abraham Lincoln as a fascist warmonger.” Not me.

    You need to be a little more careful with your reading.

    Being a principal on the masthead, and defending their philosophy–see the recent back and forth with Ross Douthat–is not guilt by association. It’s guilt.

    And yes, the magazine has a platform, a philosophy, and a general uniformity of views, which Scott McConnell occasionally tries to conceal by bringing in non-typical contributors.

    But if you are serious, Norwegian Shooter, then take a good long look, read their early credos at the American Conservative, read about paleoconservatism generally. It is essentially a racial movement, with a few fig leafs to dress it up as something mainstream. But it is an ideological magazine, founded with an express purpose of eliminating perceived Jewish influence in government, closing our borders to immigrants of color, preventing a trend toward greater acceptance of homosexuality, etc.

    I’m not going to do your research for you; it’s all out there on the web. If you’re serious, then you can find it.

  • Fine, you’re right. I was dumbfounded by the stupidity of the charge. Do you have any evidence Larison believes Lincoln was a fascist warmonger? Recent back and forth with Douthat about what? Larison criticizes Douthat all the time.

    “But it is an ideological magazine, founded with an express purpose of eliminating perceived Jewish influence in government, closing our borders to immigrants of color, preventing a trend toward greater acceptance of homosexuality, etc.”

    No, it is incumbent on you to provide evidence for such an outrageous claim.

    Btw, on the original post, Scott Horton and Andrew Sullivan agree with Larison. Do you have a long list of wild accusations about them, The Atlantic or Harper’s?

  • fw

    I don’t have lists of accusations. I have lists of facts.

    Here’s a start for you:



  • Was that so hard?

    “The problem with Lincoln, of course, is that he was a nationalist and a centralist who trampled on the Constitution and waged a war of aggression against those whom he regarded as his fellow citizens.” And he called Lincoln a “unconstitutional despot.” That’s the extent of it. (95% of the article describes a debate between other people’s views of Lincoln.)

    I don’t see any fascism there, in fact, most of the article talks about how Lincoln was obsessed with equality, which is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Warmonger, I’ll partially agree with your characterization, and disagree with Larison. I would be interested in reading him justify these statements, I poke around for any.

    One of the things that I admire about Larison (and I don’t agree with him on anything about domestic policy, but he stays pretty clear of it), is that he never writes claptrap such as Douthat can produce at the drop of a hat. Larison’s response to this “irony” is here. His original post Douthat quotes is here.

    Ignoring all the other associations you list, show me how Larison has “a view that America belongs to white, European Christians, and white European Christians alone” or that he agrees with your view of the magazine’s “purpose of eliminating perceived Jewish influence in government, closing our borders to immigrants of color, preventing a trend toward greater acceptance of homosexuality, etc.””

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  • I can’t talk about Turkey, but as a Brazilian citizen I must say that Lula’s foreign policy does not reflects the Brazilian society interests. In true, we see down here the foreign policy of actual government as a disaster. These people – Lula includes – are acting based on simple ignorance and absence of study and planning.

    Some time ago a Brazilian engineer was kidnapped in Iraq, and Brazilian diplomatic corp invited the same Turkey to help on negoctiations. These people just forgot that Turkey had given bases for N American aircrafts to atack Iraq territory. The result: the Brazilian engineer was killed, with no more negotiations. 100% wrong!

    By my side, the feelings I have is simple shame, because Lula is showing to the global community the worse Brazilian’s face: people without information, experience or good sense.

  • The article assumes that by defying America, Brazil and Turkey automatically “create space” and breathing room so they can futurely pursue their own interests.

    The article is wrong. Defying American in Iran has no actual benefit to Brazil. It is a populist, left-winged policy. And that’s it.

    2. Moreover, the article assumes a STATIST, REALIST view, as if nation-states behaved as such. It fails to take into account that Brazilian foreign policy is currently NOT based on nation-states, but on a revolutionary movement and alignment of political parties named São Paulo Forum (Foro de São Paulo).

    The actual foreign minister is not Celso Amorim. It’s Marco Aurélio Garcia.

  • KAS1009

    The author equates Israeli interests with those of American interests. This is false.
    Our government needs to start thinking about the interests Americans and align itself with the countries of the future and not theocracies like Israel or Saudi Arabia.

  • E.P.D

    Lula is nothing more than a stupid and ignorant member of PT who is useful to the party that commands and rules Brazilian politics ideologically .Thus, they are destroying what is still left, if there is something left! any bit of respect, honor and tradition that remained in Brazilian diplomacy

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  • Victor Particular

    While GINI Index improves in Brazil, it deteriorates in US. In 20 years Brazil will be be similar to what US will be in 20 years from now. Both societies are similar in some aspects.

    President Lula already said his desire is to be similar to US. By saying that he is actually capturing and translating the desire of the general population. So, I see no darkness in the relationship between Brazil and US, if US accepts that it needs to make its homework in terms of environment, social advances, and most important: respect to the middle east culture and tradition. Because of the very broad racial spectrum in Brazil, that is one thing they learned to respect: the differences among cultures.

    The most danger aspect of US foreign policy is its blind alliance with Israel.

    US is losing its industry. Day after day it becomes more the “Republic of Walmart”.

    A society addicted to consumption of goods, unable of manufacturing for its own needs, unable of generating enough intelectual property as an exchange to support its addiction, and consequently unable to provide good health care to its inhabitants. US is moving toward what Brazil is now, while Brazil is moving toward what US is now.

    The BP oil disaster is an icon of this situation, since it undermines the image of a high tech society it had before.

    US is vanishing… blindly.

  • eumesmo

    You know, it nearly brings tears to my eyes to see the very well thought out and sustainable Pax Americana brought to such sluggish pace by recalcitrant Brazilians and Turks seeking more useless dialog.

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  • Vinny

    Another text where the United States are the victims, the “good guys” that want to make the world a better, peaceful place. And the other countries, like Brazil and Turkey, are just mean wanting to defy the US. Please, the north americans surely have some twisted single-minded view of the world. I believe it’s time for them to see that the US are not as good as they appear to be (to them, of course).

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  • (The information was gathered from the books written by Mehmet Boluk who published three books and investigated AKP fraud and corruptions and was killed in a shady traffic collision in Ukraine on July 12, 2007.)

    Criminal Record for Erdogan’s term at Istanbul Municipality

    1- Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of first instance (neglect of duty) (suspended 4616 times)
    2- 4th Criminal court of first Instance. AKA Billboard case accused of 3 separate bid-rigging along with Ali Mufit Gurtuna and 17 other municipal officers. (merged at 4th High Criminal Court)
    3- 5th Criminal court of first Instance, misconduct (suspended 4616 times)
    4- 6th Criminal court of First Instance, one case (suspended 4616 times)
    5- 7th Criminal Court of First Instance, on the forcibly eviction of the President of Darulaceze (Hospice) Foundation by the police, neglect of duty by acting against court’s decision, he was sentenced to prison for 10 months which was converted to a fine (suspended 4616 times)
    6- 7th Criminal Court of First Instance, on the bid-rigging for transportation of municipality personnel auction (merged at 4th High Criminal Court)
    7- 9th Criminal Court of First Instance, neglect of duty (suspended 4616 times)
    8- 13th Criminal Court of First Instance, insulting the judges by commenting on his sentence for reading a poem by saying “this decision is a tragedy, a disgrace for our legal history” (pending in the Assembly) (suspended 4616 times)
    9-11th Criminal Court of First Instance, misconduct along with Ali Mufit Gurtuna (4616)
    10- 3th Criminal Court of First Instance, on heavy opposition to Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Law No. 2863 (4616)
    11- 4th Criminal Court of First Instance, bid-rigging case together with 58 other municipal officers pending in the assembly
    12-Two lawsuits filed separately: one at 10th Criminal Court of First Instance in 2005, the other at 1st Criminal Court of Peace in 2006
    13-Eyup Criminal Court, bid-rigging for mosquito abatement in Halic and for Gungoren town hall construction (pending in the assembly)
    14-Eyup Criminal Court, bid-rigging for facility constructions, meter reading and advertisements for IGDAS (istanbul gas distribution corp)
    15- Uskudar 2. Criminal Court, Akbil case including 37 defendants (pending in the assembly)
    16- Uskudar Civil Court, sentenced to pay 2 billion Turkish Liras for insulting the deceased former Finance Minister Vural Arikan by calling him ‘drunk’
    17-A lawsuit for neglect of duty and misconduct issued because of an Italian firm’s complaints along with 11 other defendants.
    18-Kartal 2nd Criminal Court of Peace, sentenced to a final 10-month prison on charges of building illegal villa in a forest site (first the sentence converted to a fine then erased from criminal record)

    Erdogan and AKP Frauds

    1. Billboard Case
    Fraud about the auctions for renting billboards located in Istanbul’s main arteries that are favored by major advertising companies.

    Biggest tactic of Erdogan in auctions is to give them first to municipal companies (aka BITs), then transferring them to his supporting people or companies. He did the same in Billboard auction. Billboards that are national and international advertising agencies’ most favorite, were first rented to the municipal company KULTUR AS (Culture Inc), then transferred to INTERPAN, a company run by a religious sect named Naqshbandi at a very low annual price as 30 billion TL.

    A lawsuit was issued in July 2002 on the grounds of corruption in Billboard auctions at Istanbul Criminal Court. Erdogan, Ali Mufit Gurtuna and 25 other municipal managers (a part of them are now AKP members of the parliament) as defendants on this trial for corruption. The defendants also asked to meet the municipality’s loss of $ 100 million. The course of the case is unknown.

    2. Tree Fraud
    Fraud about the auctions for purchase and planting of trees in Istanbul.

    “Two million trees” campaign was Erdogan’s one of the most ambitious projects. But like in his every project, municipal companies are used and the people of Istanbul are robbed. Tree purchase, planting and maintenance work was first given to the municipal company ISTAC. ISTAC subcontracted it to another municipal company called AGAC AS (TREE INC.) and AGAC AS subtracted it to other politically supporting people and companies.

    Trees were imported from Italy at a multiple times higher rate than trees available in Turkey which caused loss of trillions of TL worth in foreign exchange. Thousand of trees were imported knowing that they were not suitable for Istanbul’s climate. And by Erdogan’s order, they were removed at one midnight after all of them died. After the investigations, Erdogan was detected guilty of ‘misusing his authority’, but the case was dismissed after a five-year statute of limitations.

    3. Transportation of the Personnel Fraud
    Fraud about the auctions for providing transportation for Istanbul municipality and its affiliates’ staff. Providing this service was given to a close friend-owned company named Albayraklar.

    The bids were all framed-up and only couple of companies with close contacts with Erdogan were invited, in some, the only company invited was Albayraklar. These auctions were given to Albayraklar with ridiculously low discounts at a rate of 2-3% and they were included in prosecutors’ indictment and inspectors’ reports among other criminal activities such as fake car licensing.

    Despite the fact that Erdogan got away with a lot of these fraud cases because of five-year statute of limitations, he is still in trial for ‘bid-rigging’ about two auctions put out in 1998 at Istanbul 7. Court of First Instance.

    Speaking of Albayraklar, here is an article published in Cumhuriyet newspaper, no comments were added, maybe they would help us understand Albayrak-Erdogan relationship better:

    Favorite Privatization Company Albayraklar

    Albayraklar became famous for the bids they got when Erdogan was Mayor of Istanbul and they become indispensable for privatizations after AKP’s rise to power. 11 people including Albayraklar’s head of Board of the Director, Mustafa Albayrak and his brothers were sentenced for rigging bids put out by Municipality. Albayraklar was banned to enter the auctions for 1 year. However, these sentences were suspended.

    Albayrak brothers started the company in 1980 under the leadership of Mustafa Albayrak by running mini-buses and buses in Istanbul. Providing only bus service till 1994, Albayraklar started to prosper after Erdogan became Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Area. First auction they got was for transportation of municipality personnel, then they start winning other auctions for garbage disposal, construction and subway projects.

    Ministry of Interior appointed Ministry’s Chief of Inspector Board to investigate the allegations of bid-rigging under Clean City Operation. After months of investigations, the investigators reported that they found violations in bids, then the Istanbul State Security Court Prosecutor General’s Office launched an investigation. Istanbul State Security Court ordered Organized and Financial Branch Directorates to make an operation against Albayraklar.

    Nearly 100 people, including Chairman of the Board of Albayraklar, Mustafa Albayrak, Erdogan’s advisors and some of the AKP deputies in the Assembly, were detained.

    After completing the investigation, Istanbul Public prosecutors sued 70 defendants, among them are Erolcan Ozkan, Rasim Isıkaltın, Hüseyin Yildiz, Mustafa Albayrak, General Director of ISKI (Istanbul Water Company) Veysel Eroglu and Erdogan’s advisor Necmi Kadıoglu. They were sued for charges of “organized criminal activity”, “embazzlement” and “fraud”.

    Requesting sentences ranging from 3 to 75 years of heavy imprisonment, the indictment stated that the defendants involved in organized criminal activity to make Erdogan ‘the future Prime Minister’. It is also stated that bids were rigged and agreements were prepared in accordance with the interests of Albayraklar. “A giant organization was created for criminal activity for a political and social cause” was stated as well.

    Later, Supreme Court sent the file on Erdogan and Ali Mufit Gurtuna to a local court which make old and new mayors eligible for lawsuit. Then, this case was merged with Albayraklar’s case.

    Immediately after sending the file to Istanbul High Criminal Court, the defendants under arrest were released at the first hearing. It was remarkable that defendants detained in absent were released without their testimony taken.

    After a while, Erdogan’s party came to power. Immediately after that, the court made the ruling. The court sentenced Mustafa Albayrak, his brothers Kazım and Muzaffer Albayrak, company’s head of procurement department Huseyin Yilmaz, Mehmet Sami Polat, Tamer Öztürk and Osman Temur 2 months 27 days of imprisonment on charges of ‘bid-rigging’ and Council’s Procurement Commission members Basri Saygi, Mustafa Doner, Omer Gaziler and Beytullah Ates were sentenced same amount of imprisonment on charges of ‘neglect of duty’. Then the imprisonment was converted to a fine, then postponed assuming the defendants would not commit any other crime. Gurtuna and other 54 people were acquitted for lack of evidence.

    Lawsuits opened by State Security Court and then sent to high criminal courts after the new law, are still ongoing. But the trials of Erdogan and Gultuna were resulted with such a speed.

    Albayraklar case included 6 parliament members from AKP party, formerly worked at Istanbul Municipality. But after gaining diplomatic immunity, cases of Mustafa Acikalin, Adem Basturk, Idris Naim Sahin, Zulfu Demirbag, Selami Uzun and Mustafa Ilicali are separated. After the elections on November 3rd 2002, Albayraklar became the star as AKP came to power. They began to take bigger bids. They got Eregli Textile, Balikesir SEKA (Turkey Cellulose and Paper factories) and Trabzon port that belong to one of the biggest enterprises, Sumer Holding.

    After adding Balikesir SEKA to privatization list, it was sold to Albayraklar for $1.1 million which is almost a price of an apartment building. With this contract, Albayraklar also got the ownership of 4 trillion TL worth of spare parts, 185 lodgings each worth 20 billion average, an energy turbine worth 2.8 trillion and 47 heavy machinery. Factory was built in 1981 and cost 189 million dollars, SEKA inspectors stated the factory worth $51 million.

    Albayraklar’s third cheap investment through privatization was the port of Trabzon. 6 companies participated in the auction for operating rights for 30 years. 2 companies were eliminated in the elimination round and the port was opened to the auction with $ 21.3 billion. The operating rights for 30 years was sold to Albayraklar for 22 million 400 thousand dollars. Hope you are paying attention to the difference between billions and millions (one zero at least but an important one). So Albayraklar got the port for 1.1 trillion Turkish Liras, while it is stated that annual profit of the port was 2 trillion 850 billion in 2002. Albayraklar never give the port back despite the court’s decision. Balikesir Branch President of the Cellulose Workers’ Union Ismail Deniz, said that the port should be given back to SEKA according to the law.


    4. Garbage Fraud
    Fraud about the auctions for collection garbage and taking them to dumpsters.

    This auction for transporting garbage from transfer areas to dumpsters was also given to Albayraklar via giving it first to a municipal company. Istanbul Municipality bid the job to a municipal company called ISTAC, then Istac bid it to two companies in partner with Albayraklar.

    In 1996 garbage transportation bid was given to Sistem Insaat (System Contruction Corp.) and Gunaydin Kardesler (Gunaydin Brothers) at a price of 7 trillion turkish liras. The same job was bidded again when the investigations were going on in 2002. Albayraklar didnt make an offer and Ceynak company got the job at a price of 6.67 trillion TL. Despite the inflation, the job was bid for a much cheaper price even after 6 years.

    5. Akbil Fraud
    Fraud about the electronic ticketing system implemented to ease transportation in Istanbul.

    The fraud includes all levels and phases of implementation and application of the system. Turkey had its first experience of cyber-embezzlement during Erdogan’s position at the Municipality. Trillions of liras of the Istanbul people were robbed by changing or deleting digital data. The case is still open, Erdogan is accused as the mastermind of the fraud.

    6. IGDAS Fraud
    A serious of frauds about Istanbul’s natural gas distribution company IGDAS, from network constructions to meter reading to advertising works auctions.

    A municipal company IGDAS, which has the monopoly position running all natural gas networks and its distribution in all regions of Istanbul, became the center of biggest fraud activities during Erdogan’s term.

    Network construction bids were given to pro-Erdogan companies for very cheap prices. From printing manuals to printing story and painting books, meter reading, purchase of refreshing towels, many bids involved rigging. Propaganda meetings organized by Erdogan were also financed by IGDAS. As a result, people of Istanbul paid over-priced natural gas bills. The case is still open in Eyup Criminal Court.

    7- KIPTAS Fraud

    Fraud about squandering the funds and the land, which was accumulated by Slum Housing Department to solve the problem of slums in Istanbul and then allocated to a municipal company KIPTAS, by arbitrary applications and bids.

    Slum Housing Department was established to solve problem of the slums in Istanbul so they accumulated funds and land for the project. Then, KIPTAS was chosen to manage these lands and funds. KIPTAS gave the lands to their ally companies in bids and let them build and sell. Its revenue was used for lending money to ally municipalities. They bought land in Adapazari and sold some of it to mayors and politicians of FP (Virtue Party). The capital of this company was supposed to belong to the people of Istanbul and resolve the slum problem, but it was spent recklessly. The buildings cheaply constructed as social housings are uninhabitable. But KIPTAS became a built-sell company selling villas for $200-300 dollars.

    8-ISKI Fraud
    Fraud about ISKI (Istanbul Water and Sewage Company) infrastructure construction, equipment rental, transportation of the personnel and supply of personnel’s clothing bids.

    ISKI was used as a means of making people and companies supporting Erdogan rich like many other municipal companies during Erdogan’s term. Only 5 out of 119 bids were announced by newspapers. 114 bids were made in secret by inviting politically supporting companies. The construction companies were not only from Istanbul but from Gaziantep and Kayseri, common feature was they were all supporting Erdogan and they became the winner of bids. The case is still at Istanbul 4th Criminal Court and under investigation by the Chief of Inspection Board at Department of Internal Affairs.

    9- Subway Fraud
    Fraud about Istanbul Subway’s electro-mechanical system bid.

    The construction began during Nurettin Sozen’s term (August 1992). While excavation work kept going, Erdogan was elected as the mayor. Sozen completed the bid for subway’s electro-mechanical system but left opening the envelopes to the new mayor. Erdogan opened the envelopes, found the prices very high and re-opened the bid.

    Garanti-Koza-Simko-Siemens consortium won the auction, but after 7 months Erdogan canceled it for trivial reasons. The German company reacted to this and bluntly told that Erdogan canceled the auction to give it to one of his supporters. The tender was held for the third time and guess who got the tender? A consortium in partner with Albayraklar.

    The case is still open at Istanbul 4th Criminal court. It was detected that Erdogan abused his authority, but he got away with it by ‘Rahsan Amnesty’ which exempted all the cases before April 23, 1999.

    10-Equipment-rental Fraud
    Fraud about equipment rental by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and its affiliate companies.

    Erdogan launched a new application by leasing passenger vehicles. All measured were taken to assign supporting companies for this project.

    For example, the ad for car-rental for Istanbul Municipality was published in Izmir branch of the Official Newspaper, the job was given to the company that belongs to the former Minister Hasan Aksay’s son Mehmet Emin Aksay in Ankara. The municipality is in istanbul, job ad in izmir, the company assigned in Ankara..

    Not to mention over-pricing.. For example a brand new Renault Spring car’s selling price is 330 million TL and the municipality paid 312 million TL cash for annual rental!… If they paid 18 million more, the car would be theirs.

    Erdogan got away with this case by Rahsan Amnesty as well.

    11-Pesticide Fraud
    Fraud about purchasing pesticide equipment to prevent mosquitoes and houseflies in Istanbul by the Municipality.

    A lawsuit was filed for Erdogan and Gurtuna for preparing the auction for a single firm and for a single product at Istanbul Criminal Court.

    12- Sludge Dam Fraud
    Fraud about transportation of sludge from the Golden Horn to the dam site.

    During the laying of pipes for improving the region, the bid was given to a company for a price 50 times higher than the price offered by Department of Public Works. Due to the fact that this can not be a minor mistake but involved secret negotiations between the municipality and the contractor company, a lawsuit was filed at Istanbul Criminal Court.

    13-Appearing as a dollar billionaire in 7 years, Erdogan says he cannt live on Prime Minister’s salary.

    His wealth was announced as follows on the day he was a Istanbul Mayor candidate: ‘An apartment in Kasimpasa, a co-opt share at Maltepe, 376 square-meters of land at Bolluca-Gaziosmanpasa, 10% of the shares of Burak Food and Trading Limited Company’ (article published on Sabah on Feb 20, 1994)

    His wealth was announced on March 1, 2010: 376 square-meters of land at Bolluca-Gaziosmanpasa now worth $25,448 and a 2000 square-meter land at Guneysu-Dumankaya village worth $6,362. In his bank accounts, after company stock sales, retirement bonuses, retirement and deputy salaries added, he has $1,505,366.47 ) in his bank account. Compared to September 2007 figures, his wealth increased $358 thousand in cash and $120 thousand in loans. Not to mention the wikileaks document about his 8 accounts in Swedish banks.

    7 years later, Rahmi Koc (one of Turkey’s wealthiest man) stated: “Mr Erdogan saved one billion dollars” (August 3, 2001, CNN Turk)

    He bought a dry cargo ship to his son Ahmet Burak Erdogan for $2,323,000. There is still a joke going on about his statement after allegations about how he got all this money, he called the ship a ‘mini-ship’. (If you google ‘gemicik’, you can find out some good caricatures or comments.)
    His other son Bilal Erdoan bought an apartment in the US for $216,000.

    In addition, these two brothers own a villa worth of 1 trillion TL based on ‘deed records’. Erdogan bought a 450 square-foot similar villa in the same area for himself. He says, if he doesnt do trade, if he doesnt get money from trade, he cannt live on.

    14-Minister of Finance, a defendant on trial for fake invoices.
    Defendant Minister of Finance Kemal Unakitan’s son Abdullah Unakitan earns $233 million sitting and doing nothing. But how?

    On April 17, 2003, the customs duty on corn imports decreased by 20%. In august, his son imports 4000 tons of corn. After he is done, on August 8, the customs duty increased back to 45% again.

    He also got involved in importing pasteurized eggs. First, his company, AB Food Ind. and Trade Co. is rewarded by $1,590,550 worth of incentive offers and before he starts business, tax rates on pasteurized eggs is down to 8% from 18%.

    In other words, Minister of Finance works for his own family.

    Again Kemal Unakitan sold his own property to himself and he made 1 trillion 244 billion in 19 months. His company BEM Foreign Trade Inc. bought a real estate at Foca-Izmir for 15 billion TL. Same estate was sold to a private financial company on May 10. 2002 for 1 trillion 260 billion TL. Selling company’s partner is Kemal Unakitan same as buying company’s general manager.. He also got away without paying corporation tax and the company was liquidated.

    15-219 auctions for road making in 13 days.
    AKP government was formed on November 18, 2002. Yet in the first 13 days, till December 31, 2002, there were 219 road making auctions. Total procurement costs were 52 trillion and each auction was set up in a way that it wont exceed 750 billion TL, so they wont have to deal with Court of Accounts on any fraud investigation.

    Why would a government who says they were never involved in corruption tries to escape from Court of Accounts inspection?

    16-AKP supporter got $2 million worth project without an auction
    Operating loading and unloading at TCDD (Turkish State Railroad Co.) Izmir Port which has a $70 million profit annually, was given to Reha Denizcilik (Reha Maritimes Co.) for 15 years without an auction. They have the option to extend the contract for 15 more years if they desire (total 30 years). The company was formed a week before the agreement. One of the biggest shareholder of this company is the Director Manager of AKP Bakirkoy County Rahmi Genc. He leaves the company after selling his shares.

    17-The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, administrated and represented by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency., purchased Ceylan Group-owned Delux Resort Hotel in Antalya for $52 million in exchange for the Ceylan Group’s debt owed to a bank. Then the hotel was sold to a pro-AKP company for $25 million. State had $27 million loss from this transaction.

    18-Minister of Interior’s genious son
    Minister of Interior, Abdulkadir Aksu – (who is alleged in at least one WikiLeaks document to have been seriously involved in illegal activity, ties to the heroin trade, well-known predilection for teenage girls, and his son’s open Mafia links. Ironically after wikileaks documents, he has been assigned to chair of the Wikileaks commission in the parliament to investigate if the allegations are true or not…) – runs an investigation / inspection for Turkey Jockey Club after he is assigned as the minister. Jockey Club hires his son Murat Aksu as company lawyer for a monthly salary of 7.5 billion TL.

    19-Other privatization lootings
    Gemlik Fertilizer Industry Co was privatized for $83,1 million. Only the land the factory was built including 154 housing estates worth $120 million.

    Only a small part of the land of Superbank privatized for $3 million 751 thousand was sold for $13 million 750 thousand.

    Sumerbank founded 50 years ago by Cotton Fabrics Inc. was sold to a 47 partner Joint Venture Group (OGG) for $3 million 741 thousand by the Privatization High Council. The head of the OGG is Manisa AKP Mayor Bulent Kar. The group’s first act is to sell 55 acre portion of a total of 90 acres to KIPATESCO company for $13 million 750 thousand to build a shopping center. Thus company made quadrupled the profit in 4 and a half months. Moreover they have 35 more acres to sell. This also doesnt include the profit made from selling trillions worth of scrap. Bulent Kar clearly stated that the informal agreement between OGG and the Council didnt aim to ease the economy.

    Minister of Transport Binali Yildirim’s son Erkan Yildirim bought a ship for 200 thousand euros in Italy by borrowing money from Santour GmbH in Germany. Binali Yildirim was the General Manager of Santour GmbH before becoming a deputy. In return, A ship owned by Turkey Maritime Enterprise was rented to Santour GmbH without an auction.

    The AKP government sold 14.76% shares of TUPRAS (Turkey Oil Refinary Inc.) illegally to an Israeli businessman Ofer for $446 million after negotiations behind close doors. The shares worth proved to be much higher than this figure in 6 months when an auction was held to sell 51% stake. Council of State decreed the auction as illegal but the ruling never took effect.
    Erdogan claimed he never met Ofer, then he admitted he saw him once. It appears he met him several times.

    Kemal Unakitan met Ofer family multiple times to negotiate for Kusadasi, Galataport (claimed to be one of the biggest looting and re-construction rant but the auction was canceled and trying to re-auction) and Tupras.

    Fundamentalist politics during Erdogan’s term as a Mayor
    1- Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood Organization
    Hosting of Muslim Brotherhood Organization representatives in Istanbul was provided by the municipality and residents of Istanbul. This organization located in Egypt is widely known as supporting international Islamist terrorist organizations. Jordan Branch representative of this organization Mohammed Ashmawey and Egypt branch representative Hasan Huwaydi stayed at Holiday Inn in Bakirkoy, Istanbul. The costs were paid by Ulasim AS (Transportation Inc. ), a municipal company of Istanbul. These were documented by Department of Internal Affairs.

    2- Muslim Community Association:
    Erdogan organized the “Union of Muslim Communities Conference” between May 28-29, 1996 in Istanbul. Necmeddin Erbakan made an opening speech. The expenses of delegates who attended the meeting amounting to U.S. $ 180,000 at Istanbul Eresin Hotel was paid by IGDAS. So technically residents of Istanbul financed the meeting with higher natural gas bills.

    3-International Islamic Union Conference
    Erdogan organized the “international Islamic Association Conference in April, 1997. Costs were met again by the Istanbul Municipality.

    4- Mosque in Taksim Square
    During his term as mayor, Erdogan gave positive messages to fundamentalists and acted in favor of them despite the fact that it made the political atmosphere more tense. Building a mosque in Taksim was one of them. He even issued evacuation notices for the shops nearby. But after his term was over, the project was left uncompleted.

    5- Embracing people dismissed from Armed Forces
    Erdogan embraced non-commissioned and other officers who were dismissed from the Armed Forces by NSC because of their reactionary activities. He tried to give the message ‘I am not afraid of the army’ to fundamentalist segments to gain their favor. He gave office to these people in his municipality.

    6- Hired the people insulted Ataturk
    Erdogan embraced the people who were convicted by a court decision for insulting Ataturk as well. They were given a position including imams preaching against Ataturk and so-called scientists at Istanbul Municipality. They were paid by people of Istanbul. One of Erdogan’s advisors Prof. Dr. Ihsan Sureyya Sirma was also convicted for 1.5 years on charges of insulting Ataturk.

    7- Ugur Mumcu District (District is named after the journalist Ugur Mumcu who was assassinated on January 24, 1999, the case is still unresolved as many other political assassinations..)

    ISKI (Istanbul Water Corp) did not distribute water to this housing site because of the name. They did not provide bus services. They didn’t make roads. General Manager of ISKI told the residents of the district: ‘You wont get any water unless you change the name of the district’. Thanks to the press, the event was publicly heard and the governor got involved and the problem was resolved after a long struggle.

    A word in his majesty Erdogan’s mouth these days is an analogy to ‘Clean Hands Operation in Italy’. He lately forces pro-Ataturk, Pro-Republic intellectuals and dissident writers, illustrators and opposing newspapers to go under a financial investigation, fire employees in TV channels when he doesnt like what they say or write, he has them get arrested, imprisoned, while helping rising new supporting TV channels. One wonders why doesnt he ever let Kanal 7(Channel 7), Kanal 24(Channel 24) and Yeni Safak (New Dawn) newspaper go under financial investigation?

    Lets go back to the days before these companies were founded and check out prosecutors’ indictments and inspectors’ reports. Before November 3rd, 2002 (election day).. 8 experts from ‘the Board of Account Experts’ at the Ministry of Finance written a 600 page report completed in two years. The reports were based on official documents and witnesses. According to the report, there is a $40 million fraud scheme. Some of the people involved were detained. Who were they?

    About 70 people including Former Director General of IGDAS Fuat Sengul, Former Mayor of Istanbul and AKP Chairman Erdogan, Ironi Agency partner and Kanal 7 anchorman Ahmet Hakan Coskun, IGDAS Marketing and Sales Manager Ibrahim Mujdat Oguz, Ironi Agency partners Taci Erdemir and Mehmet Ozhusrev, Lonca Inc. employee Rasim Ozdemir and IGDAS officer Mahmut Yilmaz, IGDAS debt collector Metin Sahin, IGDAS Istanbul Anatolian Regian Branch Assistant Manager Yusuf Aydinoglu.

    Former Director General of IGDAS Fuat Sengul said ‘Why are you arresting just us while you do nothing to our superiors’ (referring Former Mayors Erdogan and Gurtuna) in his interrogation. Mehmet Sisman, who was taken into custody in relation to the front companies Erek Advertising and Er Offset used in payment of 1.5 trillion TL from IGDAS to Ironi Agency, said in his testimony: “Erdogan’s advisor Tufan Mengi called me and he said he needs fake invoices for IGDAS. So i introduced my friend Ayhan Erim, who does this type of work, to Tufan Mengi… I got 5 billion Turkish liras for introducing him”. Now, lets take a look at the report prepared by Civil Service Chief Inspector Candan Eren (He was first displaced, and is now related to Ergenekon and Balyon cases in which it is widely claimed that Erdogan sends whoever is opposing him to jail by using these two major cases) and then presented to SSC.

    The report included allegations that Erdogan was involved in organized criminal activity, bid-rigging in auctions and making preparations for jihad.

    Some of the allegations were committing organized crime, bid-rigging, favoritism, nepotism, overpayment, fraud, working for a secret cause, jihad preparation, embazzlement, oppression, neglecting the laws, failure to comply with money-saving measures in auctions, putting municipality at a huge loss by hiring third part people or companies for jobs that can be done by using municipal facilities..

    Despite the reports and indictments, Erdogan stated in front of the cameras: ‘I am speaking very openly and directly, people who made these allegations should prove us to be guilty, otherwise they are low, dishonest, dishonorable people’. But they were proved guilty and after November 3rd, 2002, they got the diplomatic amnesty.

    Brotherhood of Corruption

    Following list has been prepared as of September 5, 2002, but updated as of January 20,2011.

    Today a lot of names mentioned in this list are members of the parliament and serve as ministers in Parliament, which provides them a diplomatic amnesty. Here is the list of the bureaucrats accused of corruption including Municipal Company General Managers, County Mayors, Municipal Contractors and close friends of Erdogan, who served in the Municipality of Istanbul.

    Kemal Unakitan: Minister of Finance between 2002-2009, still a member of the parliament. He has 9 different cases and charged for organizing criminal activity and embazzlement. Ironic that he got the “Finance Minister of the Year award by a magazine called The Banker.

    Idris Naim Sahin: AKP member of the Board of Founders. Former General Secretary of the Istanbul Municipality. He is a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Akbil and ALBAYRAKLAR cases.

    Mehmet Mustafa Acikalin: Former General Secretary of the Istanbul Municipality. He is a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Akbil, ALBAYRAKLAR and IGDAS cases.

    Akif Gulle: Vice-Chairman of the AKP. Former Head of Department of Personnel at Istanbul Municipality. He is a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Billboard case.

    M. Hilmi Guler: Vice-Chairman of the AKP. He is the Minister of Energy and Natural Sources in the Parliament. Defendant of IGDAS case.

    Adem Basturk: He is again the general secretary of the Istanbul Municipality. He got this job during Gurtuna’s term and dismissed by Minister of Interior inspectors. He was a candidate for the Parliament in the last elections. Defendant of Albayraklar and IGDAS cases.

    Huseyin Besli: Former Press Adviser to the Municipality of Istanbul. Member of the Parliament in 2nd term. Defendant of IGDAS case.

    Hamza Albayrak: Istanbul Municipality, the former Chairman of the Audit Committee. He is a deputy in the Parliament, had lawsuits for misconduct as well.

    Nevzat Pakdil: IETT former Director General. He is a deputy in the Parliament.

    Mehmet Ali Bulut: The AKP member of the Board of Founders. ISTON (Istanbul Concrete Elements and Ready-Mix Concrete Factories Ind. and Trade Co. – a municipal company) former member of the board. He is a deputy in the Parliament.

    Mikail Arslan: Istanbul Municipality, the former Director of Slum Housing Department. He is a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Akbil case.

    Mehmet Mehdi Eker: Istanbul Municipality, the former Director of Veterinary Medicine. He is the Minister of Agriculture.

    Zulfu Demirbag: Istanbul Municipality, the former Director of Road Maintenance. He was a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Albayraklar case.

    Mustafa Ilıcalı: Istanbul Municipality, the former head of Research Planning and Coordination Department. He is a deputy in the Parliament. Defendant of Albayraklar case.

    Ali Mazak: Istanbul Municipality, the former Director of Cemeteries. He was a parliament candidate during 22. term now he is the head of directorate of libraries and museums, istanbul Municipality.

    Selami Uzun: Istanbul Municipality former Head of Control Department which manages municipal police as well. ALBAYRAK defendant case. He is a deputy in the Parliement. Defendant of Albayraklar case and he was facing 36 years of prison.

    Lokman Ayva: Former Disability Coordination Director of the Municipality of Istanbul. Istanbul 3 regional parliamentary candidate. He is a deputy in the Parliement.

    Binali Yildirim: Former Director General of Istanbul Sea Buses. Following the rumors he was sacked by Gurtuna for renting food-stands to his relatives illegally. Now he is the Minister of Transportation and a Member of Parliament from Istanbul.

    Ayhan Bolukbasi: the former Director General of a municipal company Spor Inc. He currently serves as the General Director of Istanbul Sports Activities Administration Trade Corporation.

    Gulsey Erol: Former General Manager of Istanbul Municipality Hamidiye Water Inc. He was a parliament candidate of Istanbul, right now no records of him on internet.

    Mehmet Sekmen: Former Mayor of Kartal. He was dismissed because of charges for fraud and misconduct. He returned to his job after a court’s decision. He became a member of the Parliement during the interrogations.

    Recep Koral: Former Mayor of Gaziosmanpasa. He is a member of the Parliement, he had lawsuits about fraud and misconduct as well.

    Yusuf Tulun: Mayor of Sariyer in his second term.

    Yahya Bas: Former Mayor of Gungoren. Former member of the Parliement. He is expected to be a parliament candidate in the next elections in June, 2011 and he is the head of Gungoren Football Club.

    Nusret Bayraktar: Former Mayor of Beyoglu. He is a deputy in the Parliement.

    Ali Ibis: Former City Council member of the FP. FP Member of the Board of Directors during Erdogan’s term in Istanbul Municipality. City contractor. He is a deputy in the Parliement.

    Nurettin Canikli: He was an Istanbul Defterdar deputy during Refahyol period. It is claimed that he is the one who pushed the button for Akbil fraud. He is the financial coordinator of Albayraklar group and also the AKP member of the Board of Founders. He is a deputy in the Parliement. Thanks to him, Kanal 7 and Albaywaklar was financed by him and Yeni Safak and Kanal 24 are results of these fraud schemes.

    Mehmet Vecdi Gonul: He is a deputy in the parliament for the 3rd term. He was the head of Turkish Court of Accounts (which supposed to inspect government expenses) during Erdogan’s term as mayor of Istanbul. He is Erdogan’s most tristed and respected fellow.

    Zeki Ergezen: He is a deputy in the parliament for the 3rd term. Close friend of Erdogan. His relatives took bids in IGDAS as well as sites for KIPTAS.

    Resul Tosun: He is a deputy in the parliament for the 2nd term. He is a columnist aat Yeni Safak newspaper which belongs to – unsurprisingly- Albayraklar group.

    Hayati Yazici: Erdogan’s attorney. now deputy in the parliament. He was also the lawyer of defendants responsible for burning 37 people live trapped in a hotel.

    Fatih Recep Saracoglu: Owner of ERTE Construction company one of the favorite contractors of Istanbul Municipality. He was a candidate for the parliament. He is also one of the member of AKP Board of Founders.

    Saim Bagbars: Owner of AY-SA and EN-SA contractor companies also one of the favorite contractors of Istanbul Municipality. He was a candidate of the parliament, now called a benovalent holding owner.

    Nevzat Pakdil: Former General Director of IETT (Istanbul Safe Public Transportation Inc). He also got the position General Manager of Personnel and Principles during REFAH-YOL coalition. Now a member of the parliament. He is a defendant of Billboard case.

    Ali Temur: He and Erbakan were sentenced to 1 year in prison for improper use of Treasury funds paid to RP. He showed his residence as Netherlands. Whilce police was looking for him to arrest, he continued his campaign and got elected as a member of the parliament from Giresun. He is still a member of the parliament.

    Halil Urun: He was an advisor to the directing manager of ISKI. He was convicted of insulting Ataturk, which was postponed due to conditional discharge law. He became a member of the parliament, while the lawsuits were issued. Now he is still advising at Istanbul Municipality.

    Cemal Kaya: Under 2. Clean Energy operation the phone records in the reports showed how the AKP descended into the swamp of corruption. According to the phone records, Cemal Kaya, a member of the parliament, calls Ibrahim Selcuk, a businessman and requests to get auctions for Aram Co., the company registered under his wife’s name and he talks about how much discounts they should have, he finds the auctions small and wants to have bigger contracts. The Indictment includes Ibrahim Selcuk’s talk to Idris Naim Sahin (check above) about pressuring Chairman of the Audit Committee Cevdat Malkoc.
    Cevdat Malkoc switched from CHP to AKP, after corruption casesm he resigned from the parliament and he was convicted. He is a member of the parliament again this term.

    Huseyin Celik: Troughout the history of Turkish Republic, a public institution asked for an investigation for corruption allegations against a Minister. Minister of Education opened 62 bids for construction of 135 elementary schools on June 7, 2004. The results are ministry accepted different bid prices for different cities while the schools are supposed to be standard and none of the companies bid the lowest three got any of the bids. Due to bid-rigging allegations, Public Procurement Authority requested an investigation, it was denied in the parliament by AKP votes. He is still member of the parliament, vice-president of AKP and party speaker.

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  • Vinci

    Screw you Guys, Turkey will go it’s Way without the US. Either you are with us or against us. You should have paid Israel to protect your Ass from the Soviets. The US are loosing it’s Grip and not the mention your horrible Finance System which is grounding. Every big Empire has it’s end, that’s how nature is and you have come to your end!

  • FriendlyGoat

    “We may not have the most enlightened policies governing alcohol,….”

    I wonder what those would be——seriously. As it is, we have not only taverns and liquor stores, but liquor departments supporting what seems like most of our drug stores, grocery stores and C-store/gas stations. Where I live, if the stores are selling what they are stocking, then apparently somebody is drinking A LOT. The stocks are pretty amazing in store after store after store. I’m not sure that most of us realize how much the liquor business may be “lubricating” retail outlets that ostensibly exist for other product lines.

    • John Stephens

      Back when I was a cashier at a conveniences store, the owner explained to me that “Beer and cigarettes pay the bills. Gasoline’s just bait.”

      • James Graham

        Back in the day I was told that if it were not for the profits earned on alcohol New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel would operate at a loss.

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