Erdogan Links Alleged in U.S. Documents Before Iran Trial

A trader accused of helping Iran evade sanctions invoked the name of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as part of a scheme that U.S. prosecutors say was supported by Turkey’s government, according to court documents.

U.S. prosecutors in New York have gathered taped conversations and other records that suggest the trader may have sought support from Erdogan. The Turkish president hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, and it’s possible that the trader falsely invoked Erdogan’s name to influence others. The people charged in the case are captured in the recorded conversations, which were introduced Monday in a filing in federal court in Manhattan.

Thoughts following the Catalan Declaration of Independence

Today is a historical day in many aspects. We will test (although a modified version of) the democratic peace theory. We will test if the EU really has values which shape politics, not that politics shape the values (or lead to temporary and changeable values). We will test the clash between legality and legitimacy. And we will see if a developed country can get into armed conflict (i.e. any sort of civil war or large-scale suppression as we see in Turkey, for example).

First let us look at the main hypocrisy. While supporting Kosovo in their declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, today the big guy of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the EU “doesn’t need any more cracks, more splits”1. Why did they support Kosovo, and why are they against Catalonia? In 2008, there was no immediate problem in Kosovo so that independence would be vital or highly necessary, as is not the case today (which is not to say that there was the prospect of a long-lasting peace in Kosovo, as there is not in Bosnia and Herzegovina today). Why having a “value” yesterday which is different than today?

Do Human Rights Actually Exist?

“… one reason why governments found it possible to accept the principle of international concern for human rights [the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] was the expectation that the UN would respect the domestic jurisdiction of states by refraining from intervention in their internal affairs. The declaration, which lacks provisions for implementation and in any event does not have the legal force of a treaty, was compatible with this expectation: it professes to state ‘a common standard of aspiration,’ not a set of enforceable commitments”1.

We like to talk about human rights a lot, but we do not know what should be done when a country does not fulfill its duty and respect the rights of its citizens. The problem, as things stand, and as detailed as I can put, is this:

  1. Every human being has inalienable rights.
  2. Because of the existing world-system, there exists states.
  3. Every human being is FORCED TO have a citizenship, i.e. a legally binding relationship, with (at least) one of these states.
  4. Theoretically we assume that we need states for order and security. Therefore states are assumed to protect (first and foremost) bodily integrity of its citizens.
  5. Yet, as mentioned at #1, human beings have more than only the right to life.
  6. The states are supposed to not only protect but also provide each and every right human beings have.

Judaism I: What do the Chosen People and the Promised Land Mean?

Why did God decide to choose some people, and promise them a land? Did he not have anything better to do?

Moreover, why did he not make a covenant with mankind, but did with Jews only? Can such a discriminatory God be anything good, needless to say the source of morality or such?

The answers are so simple, and here I will try to give them.

#MeToo

Couple of days ago I was out in the night. It was, if my memory is correct, around 12:30 past midnight, and I was walking on one of the main streets of Tbilisi, Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue, behind a girl for around 10 minutes. I was simply following her.

On the corner of the metro station, she turned left. And I followed. She crossed to the other side of the street. I don’t know why exactly, but I could not dare to cross the street with her. But I kept following.

We passed one street. Another. Another. In front of a Russian Orthodox Church, she stopped. Knowing not what to do, I took my mobile out of my pocket and checked as if someone would call me at that hour. She made the sign of the cross to show respect, which apparently is a newly invented Georgian tradition, and went on walking – with me behind.

She, in the end, took one of the streets. I waited there for a minute or two, watching her walking probably to her home, and started walking back to my guesthouse in the end.

I did not say a word to her. I did not touch. I did not try to do anything to her. I was following two other guys, who actually were following her, in case that they would dare to do anything to her. Yes, it was around the center of the city, but who would know?

Populism isn’t Dead. Here are Five Things You Need to Know About It by Cas Mudde

(Originally published at The Guardian. Please visit the page before or after reading the piece here, to show your appreciation to the author and the publisher)

The electoral victories of Emmanuel Macron in France and Mark Rutte in the Netherlands have significantly changed the discourse on European politics. The international media has gone from “populism is unbeatable” to “populism is dead”. Obviously, neither is or was true. In fact, populist parties are still doing better in elections, on average, than ever before during the postwar era. Various European countries have populists in their government – including Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, and Slovakia – while the most powerful country in the world is at the mercy of a billionaire president who has wholeheartedly embraced the populism of some of his main advisers, notably Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.

But at the very least, the rise of Macron has given us some breathing space to reflect in a less alarmist and more rational way on the phenomenon of populism, and draw some lessons for the future. Because, whether we like it or not, in many western democracies populism has become ingrained in national politics and there is no reason to assume this is going to change in the short- or medium-term future. Here are five theses on populism and the lessons that liberal democrats should draw from them.

Why are There so many Terrorists in Turkey?

If you are interested in Turkey or Turkish politics, you might have seen that we have tons of terrorists – including, I believe, even me. But why do we have so many terrorists? Is it normal for a country to have that much terrorists?

Well, of course it is not normal to have a lot of terrorists in a country. The problem is found in Turkish anti-terror law, 3713, article 2. This article reads as follows1:

Those Experts on Turkey…

The more I read analyses about and on Turkey, the more I am convinced that either a) looking from Europe and/or the US, Turkey seems totally different than what it is, or b) those experts and analysts in Europe and/or the US have absolutely no knowledge on at least one of the following: Turkey, political science, sociology, Islam.

The last opinion I read (five minutes ago) is written by Kersten Knipp at DW, and it was no less stupid than the previous ones. Here I want to go over his article, and say a couple of things. The bold parts are from his article, and below are my responses to these parts.

Book Review: Histories of Nations edited by Peter Furtado

2017 | Thames & Hudson Ltd. | 272 Pages

Another very light summer read which left mixed feelings. Having an interest especially in histories of empires, I believed that this book would also, somehow, be a good read. I cannot say that it is bad, yet I cannot say that it is good too.

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