2016: “so-called coup” — I could have told you this — in FACT was telling you — back as soon as it was happening

22 Jul

One of the largest, best-armed, highly trained, unsqueamish militaries on earth would never have made such an amateur attempt at a coup.

From Ekathimerini:


The so-called coup in Turkey



Turkey’s armed forces are known for their efficiency. However, officers bungled the “coup” so badly that many question whether it was staged. Critics describe the events of July 15, 2016 as a “self-coup” organized by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to justify consolidating his grip on power. According to former US Secretary of State John Kerry, “It does not seem to have been a very brilliantly planned or executed event.”

We have learned from experience the best practices to conduct a coup:

– Kill or capture the head of government

– Seize control of the media

– Rally public support

– Present someone from among the ranks of coup plotters to reassure the public

Renegade Turkish troops did not follow the script on July 15. When putschists arrived at Erdogan’s hotel in Marmaris, he was gone. They missed his check-out time. Erdogan’s presidential plane was allowed to take off from the Dalaman airport. F-16s failed to shoot it down. CNN Turk and TRT, two of the least watched news channels, were taken off the air. However, other channels were allowed to broadcast. Social media – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – continued to operate. The military did not present someone as the face of the rebellion to assure the public that order was maintained. And while pro-Erdogan imams used muezzins to rally popular support, the putschists instructed people to stay indoors.

Erdogan claimed that the Turkish Grand National Assembly was bombed by war planes. However, crater analysis showed that explosions came from within parliament. Upon returning to Istanbul on July 16 at 3 a.m., Erdogan stood atop a bus in Istanbul surrounded by adoring supporters who were waving Turkish flags and chanting his name. It was a made-for-television moment. “The attempted coup is a gift from heaven,” he proclaimed.

Within hours, law enforcement started arresting political opponents. Erdogan declared an open-ended state of emergency, allowing rule by decree. More than 40,000 people were detained or arrested in the immediate aftermath of the so-called coup. More than 100,000 members of the military, police and judiciary were dismissed.

The education sector, a bastion of Kemalist secularism, was targeted. More than 1,500 university deans were forced to resign and about 21,000 teachers were suspended or fired.

Erdogan also targeted the judiciary, dismissing 2,754 judges, including members of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, and charging a member of the constitutional court with collusion. Detainees were denied legal counsel for up to 90 days.

Pro-Kurdish HDP parliamentarians and Kurdish community leaders were held under bogus terrorism charges. At least 30 governors were fired. Article 301 of the Criminal Code, which makes “denigrating Turkishness” a felony, was used to silence dissent.

Erdogan turned Turkey into a gulag domestically and a pariah internationally. The World Justice Index ranked Turkey 99th out of 113 countries behind Iran and Myanmar.

He also took steps to dramatically redefine Turkey’s international relations, distancing Turkey from the United States. He accused the US of plotting the coup and helping to carry it out. Erdogan singled out General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command for “siding with coup plotters.” His incendiary remarks fueled anti-Americanism, risking the safety of US citizens in Turkey.

Erdogan raged against the US for prosecuting state-owned Halkbank, which was charged with violating US sanctions on Iran. According to Erdogan, “those who could not succeed in the military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, are now making a different attempt against our country.”

After the “coup,” Erdogan intensified an expansionist foreign policy, sending troops to Syria, Iraq and Libya. He repeatedly questioned the Lausanne Treaty for its demarcation of Turkey’s borders. Mock dogfights with Greek air force planes and maritime confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean have become routine.

Did Erdogan stage the “coup” to advance political goals? It’s hard to envision a hoax of such magnitude, especially when the incident resulted in 300 deaths and more than 2,000 injured. More likely, the coup was uncovered; Erdogan let it proceed so it seemed credible, then shut it down.

Erdogan proclaimed that defeating the coup was a victory for democracy. It proved, however, to be a pretext for consolidating dictatorship and purging reformers in civil society.

In 2018, Erdogan called snap presidential and parliamentary elections, leading to constitutional reform that institutionalized sweeping executive powers. Under Erdogan’s dictatorship, Turkey is inexorably declining. Its democracy is in shambles; the economy has cratered. Turkey has become an outlier in Europe and a pariah state in NATO.

A military coup or outside interference cannot bring reform. To rein in or remove Erdogan, the international community should support Turks who aspire to a peaceful political transition.

David L. Phillips is director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University. He served as a senior adviser and foreign affairs expert on US-Turkey relations during the Clinton and Obama administrations. He is author of several books about Turkey, including “An Uncertain Ally: Turkey Under Erdogan’s Dictatorship.”


Serbs and Croats same people?

22 Jul

Ukrainian new anti-Soviet stamps — Lenin

20 Jul

In Guardian: Stamps celebrating Ukrainian resistance – in pictures

BBC: SERBS — gotta love ’em for nutters

9 Jul

Dozens of police and protesters have been hurt in riots that broke out outside the National Assembly in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

The protests began peacefully on Tuesday evening and included students and families, angered by a move to re-impose a weekend curfew because of a rise in coronavirus infections.

Protesters broke into the assembly, prompting police to intervene.

Clashes erupted and police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Far-right nationalists have been blamed for stirring up the unrest and storming the assembly building. Serbian media said they included an MP who has pushed anti-vaccine and anti-5G conspiracy theories.

Serbian President Alexander Vucic on Wednesday condemned what he described as the most brutal political violence for years and appealed for the protests to end, citing the risk of increased infection.

On Wednesday evening police again clashed with protesters, firing teargas as bottles, stones and flares were thrown from the crowd.

Why the protests began?

Serbia saw its deadliest day so far in the pandemic on Tuesday. President Vucic announced in a televised address that there had been 13 further deaths and 120 people were on ventilators, with 4,000 people being treated in hospital.

The situation was most alarming in Belgrade, he said, before imposing a ban on gatherings of more than five people from Wednesday, with a curfew in force from 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Friday until 05:00 on Monday morning.

Mr Vucic said on Tuesday the curfew would apply only to the capital, but he was keen for it to be extended nationally.

However, in a sign that situation was being reassessed on Wednesday, Serbia’s chief epidemiologist, Predrag Kon, said later that Belgrade was improving and a lockdown in the city was “unlikely”.

In a further TV address on Wednesday, President Vucic said a curfew would probably not be imposed on the capital, but stricter measures would be announced. A decision will now be taken by the Covid-19 crisis response team on Thursday.

Serbia has seen a dramatic rise in cases and authorities have announced a state of emergency in several towns and cities.

Opponents accuse the president of lifting the lockdown far too early, in May, allowing football matches with spectators and few limitations on movement ahead of elections on 21 June that Mr Vucic’s party won by a landslide.

Critics also accuse the government of not giving the true number of deaths during the initial weeks of the pandemic. Serbian authorities say there have been 341 deaths and 17,076 cases. Some 300 new infections are being reported daily.

Some restrictions were brought back last week in areas where the virus is most prevalent. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic was booed when she visited Novi Pazar, one of the cities worst hit by the new outbreak

What happened outside parliament

The protests against a fresh curfew began with a mixture of locals, including students and members of the “Don’t let Belgrade drown” citizen movement, which described the gathering as spontaneous. Many of them observed social distancing although not everyone wore masks.

Scuffles broke out between police and protesters later in the evening and shortly after 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT), a large group entered the assembly building, reportedly involving ultra-nationalists and anti-vaccine campaigner Srdjan Nogo. Crowds could be heard chanting “Serbia has risen”.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Many of the protesters outside parliament wore masks, but not everyone

After about 15 minutes, police managed to clear the assembly building, but clashes continued outside. Rocks were thrown, police used tear gas and protesters set police cars alight.

Authorities said 43 police were among those wounded. Rights groups called for an investigation after video showed protesters being kicked and beaten by police with truncheons.

A sour mood in Belgrade

Small-scale protests are common in Belgrade. An atomised political opposition, and more recently an election boycott, means disgruntled citizens have to take to the streets to make their voices heard.

But the protests don’t normally feature police swinging batons and firing tear gas while protesters hurl stones and set light to police vehicles. The scenes reflect a sour mood in Serbia’s capital triggered by Mr Vucic’s warning of a weekend lockdown. Image copyright EPA Image caption Protesters hurled rocks at police as the clashes erupted

Some protesters expressed anger at the government’s rapid removal of restrictions to allow last month’s parliamentary election to go ahead. Tens of thousands attended football matches and nightclubs reopened, signalling that normal life had resumed. The SNS gained the massive majority they wanted, but the Covid-19 infection rate has been rising ever since.

Authorities have placed barricades around the National Assembly to prevent a repeat on Wednesday evening.

President Vucic on Wednesday described the attack on parliament as an illegal, aggressive protest that had more to do with extreme right-wing politics than Covid-19. He said another 11 people had died of the virus in the past 24 hours.

“There are no free beds in our hospitals,” he warned, having said the day before that hospitals in Nis, Novi Pazar, Zemun and other cities were filling up fast.

In a separate development, neighbouring Romania said on Wednesday that it had seen a record number of 555 cases in the past 24 hours. Romania has had more than 30,000 infections but only once, in April, has it seen more than 500 cases in a day.

You used to be able to click on images on WP to enlargen then so readers could enjoy their greater beauty. Does anybody know what happened?

7 Jun


7 Jun

Unfortunately it’s getting so swawped with pilgrims/tourists that I think you are now allowed to only stay one night at each monastery. Something they should do something about. Travelling to a different monastery a day is exhausting plus you don’t get to know any of the massive, beautiful monastery palaces intimately or the feel of a place or meet any of the clergy who are often fascinating and incredibly intelligent.

New header image

5 Jun
Levan Uchaneishvili as Zurab in Paradzhanov’s Legend of Suram Fortress

Estrella Morente – I can’t get enough of this woman right now

5 Jun

Ay bautizaron, bautizaron a una mora y a España se la trajeron , y a España se la trajeron. Ay en la pila, ay en la pila del bautismo Candelaria le pusieron, Candelaria le pusieron.

Ay, they baptized a Moor and brought her to Spain. And in the font, ay, in the baptismal font, they named her Candelaria, they named her Candelaria.


I adore this very hot shot of Joseph Fiennes in “Shakespeare in Love”

4 Jun

And with his coloring you can easily imagine him a Spanish Golden Age poet tormenting himself over a phrase.-


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Food for Thought

4 Jun

Glendalough @Ciaran61215770 – May 1

“The Irish easily recognize the Slavs because they provoke their innate affection, as if they had been friends with them for a long time, and parted with regret.”

— Dragoš Kalajić

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