What is this a photo of?

19 Nov

Jeez, you know, I don’t want to be snide, but what’s being photographed here?  Is it the umbrella?  Is it so her children and grandchildren can remember how blindingly white her mandyli always was?  How gracefully the kimono-like folds of her doulama always fell?  The embroidered edges of her salwaria against her elegant pasoumakia?

Why is she, herself, even in the picture?

Vah, but Ayşe Teyze‘s eyes always gliterred when she smiled…   Vah va…

But wait…  Is that Ayşe Teyze?………

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Portrait of a Woman, Istanbul, 1870s Bir İstanbul Kadını, 1870’ler

Ottoman Imperial Archives


WHAT?! They’ve lost it…like completely

18 Nov

US says Israeli settlements no longer considered illegal in dramatic shift



Mike Pompeo takes questions during a press conference in Washington DC Monday. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

I don’t even know what to say.  It’s like mega-dufus and his cabinet get up every morning and think: “What completely, internationally destabilizing, unthought-out, randomly dangerous piece of shit-policy are we going to announce today?”

I won’t be able to blame Arabs (as all of you know I like to do) for even the extremest reactions.

“In making the case for the policy shift, Pompeo repeated some of the language he had used to justify the recognition of Israeli control of the Golan, saying it reflected “the reality on the ground”, and that it arose from the unique facts, history and circumstances” around the establishment of settlements.”

“…it arose from the unique facts, history and circumstances” around the establishment of settlements.”

What does that even mean?

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And while we’re on pork, here’s for the glutenophobic

18 Nov

Sophia Loren - Everything you see I owe to pasta

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I don’t necessarily think I’m against the changing of former churches that had become mosques then museums and then back into mosques again if they weren’t going to be churches again: but I didn’t know, like in the case of the Savior in the Chora in C-Town, that reusing a mosque would necessitate covering up the artwork… See more soon.

16 Nov

How are they going to cover all that beauty without destroying it?  A ruling is expected from a Turkish court this week to allow the church to be used as a mosque again, this, of course, creating a precedent for Hagia Sophia itself.  I don’t mind that but we have to be clear about what happens to the artwork.

Do any readers know what happened to the Hagies Sophies of Nicaea (Iznik) and Trapezounda (Trabzon), both of which have been re-opened as mosques again.?

Somebody, something, UNESCO…has to do something!

(Note : something was up with my WP account for a while no and readers couldn’t “click” on photos I posted to get full size and appreciation.  Some WP tekkies helped me out with this post, but I have to rearrange all the rest too for past posts.  Thanks for your patience.]

Saint-Sauveur_in_Chora_-_Christ_Pantocrator.jph.jpgAnastasis_fresco,_Chora_Church,_IstanbulGenealogy_of_Jesus_mosaic_at_Chora_(1)KariyeCamii-Aussenansichtup_418_churchofst.saviorinchora2Chora_Church_Constantinople_(6)Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 12.18.07 AMSaint_Andronikos_of_Cilicia_at_Chora.jpg

Very old but interesting article about the issue from New York Times 2013:  “From Church to Mosque to Museum Back to Mosque” by Andrew Finkel, an old journalist hand for the NYT, covers mostly cultural, social, artistic life than political, but he does some great work.

 Ἀγαρινὰ σκυλιὰ…

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Jiannena Jew, Romans, Romaniotes, Romioi and us

16 Nov

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 7.33.20 PM

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“Bre haydi S*KTIR” — it unites us in the Jadde world — And an à propos use and PERFECT!!! güle-güle for Turkey’s Presidential state visit: — Βρε χάιντε και γαμήσου — The I had thought the most common such word was HAYDI!

15 Nov

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Some one needs to some research on “hayde” or “haydi” as well.  Apparently it’s used as far as India but has subtly different meaning.  I’ve noticed, for example that haydi in the rest of the Balkans is a little more friendly than the rougher and more dismissive tone it can occasionally have in Greek.

And then there’s the series of other interjections, like: “Vre”, “bre”, “re”, “more”, “morē” (fem.), or just “mo'” as it’s used in my father’s villages.

And there’s the interesting phenomenon that this interjection pops up often in Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian folk-and-popular music — where “morē” probably means “lass” or “lasses” — but uses the Greek feminitive ending “ē”, and not vocative endings of their own languages.  How does that happen?

But these word still have a variety of uses and affective energy that differ significantly for culture to culture.  So many Bulgarian and Albanian songs begin a verse with “morē  dedicated to a girl, usually, who’s giving the singer a hard time.  But to Greeks, too much over use of morē starts sound vulgar, almost like “bitch.”

The world is beautiful!.

No joke.

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Why do US elected leaders have to accept this behavior from a thug? @salamamoussa

15 Nov


Scoop: Erdogan upends Oval meeting to play anti-Kurd film on iPad

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference with President Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a press conference with President Donald Trump. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

An Oval Office meeting yesterday with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a dark turn when Erdoğan pulled out his iPad and made the group watch a propaganda video that depicted the leader of the primarily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces as a terrorist, according to three sources familiar with the meeting.

Why it matters: The meeting hosted by President Trump included five Republican U.S. senators who’ve been among the most vocal critics of Turkey’s recent invasion of Syria and attacks on the U.S.’s Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.

  • Erdoğan apparently thought he could sway these senators by forcing them to watch a clunky propaganda film.
  • The senators in the meeting took turns pushing back on Erdoğan, while Trump sat back and watched, intervening occasionally to play traffic cop.
  • The meeting comes as Erdoğan is trying to avoid sanctions over the purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

Erdoğan’s video “was unpersuasive,” according to a source who was in the room. It depicted members of the YPG (the U.S.-allied People’s Protection Units) and the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the State Department has designated as a terrorist group).

  • After the film concluded, according to the source, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Erdoğan: “Well, do you want me to go get the Kurds to make one about what you’ve done?”
  • Erdoğan got into a heated back-and-forth with Graham over Turkey’s recent invasion of Syria, according to four sources familiar with the meeting. A source in the room said Erdoğan took exception to Graham using the word “invasion” and that Graham also rebutted Erdoğan when he claimed that Turkey had fought ISIS.
  • Turkish officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
  • In a phone interview last night, Graham confirmed he clashed with Erdoğan in the Oval. “The Turkish narrative that they have done more to destroy ISIS, I rejected forcefully, and I let Turkey know that 10,000 SDF fighters, mostly Kurds, suffered, died or injured, in the fight against ISIS, and America will not forget that and will not abandon them.”

Reality check: Trump has said the opposite about the Kurds. He said it’s not in America’s interests to defend them, and that the U.S. should withdraw from Syria so they can fight it out with the Turks. Trump later reversed course, saying he’d leave some troops in Syria, but only to “keep the oil.”

Behind the scenes: A senior administration official said they invited these senators because they have voiced concerns about Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons and invasion of Syria. “It shows Erdoğan that they’re serious about sanctions, and Trump doesn’t have to be the bad guy,” the official said. Another senior official said the president believes “full and frank” engagement with Erdoğan is important.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement that he “made clear to President Erdoğan that so long as Turkey continues to procure or deploy the S-400 air defense system from Russia, the U.S. will not sell F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.” All the senators in the room, including Joni Ernst and Senate Foreign Relations Chair Jim Risch, were unified on the S-400 point.
  • Sen. Rick Scott pressed Erdoğan on “why Turkey should enjoy the protections of NATO when they’re cozying up to Russia,” according to another source familiar with the meeting.

Go deeper:

NYer: “After Six Decades, Turkey Is Now a U.S. Ally in Name Only” — then why is it still treated as one; what does treating a country as an enemy look like?

14 Nov

After a tirade of tweets condemning the House impeachment hearings on the future of his Presidency, Donald Trump spent the rest of Wednesday trying to cajole his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, into coöperating—on anything. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Trump told reporters, with the Turkish leader at his side, in the Oval Office. “I’m a big fan of the President,” he said later, at their joint press conference. Never mind that Trump repeatedly mangled Erdoğan’s name, as he also did during Erdoğan’s last visit, in 2017, albeit mispronouncing it in different ways.

Trump made no tangible headway, even though he dangled the bait of a trade deal worth a hundred billion dollars. The President’s latest foreign-policy flop was not all of his making, however. Under Erdoğan, Turkey has become increasingly brazen in defying the United States, the West, and even the NATO alliance to which it contributes the second-largest force.

In recent years, U.S. officials have complained that Turkey allowed jihadis to slip across its southern border to join ISIS, an Al Qaeda faction, and other militant groups in Syria. Turkey then invaded Syria, this fall, to fight the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia that defeated ISIS. Turkey has also cozied up to Russia militarily. It has coöperated with Iran, and a state-owned bank facilitated a multibillion-dollar Iranian scheme to evade U.S. sanctions. At home, Erdoğan has cracked down on political opponents, the media, business leaders, academics, and even his own military to consolidate his rule. Thousands have been arrested in violation of the human-rights principles of the European Union, which Turkey long sought to join.

“It is fair to ask if Turkey is still really an ally of the United States in anything more than name,” Phil Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as the Obama Administration’s White House coördinator on Middle East policy, told me. “Ten years ago, we saw Turkey as a country moving toward the United States and the West, reforming and growing economically, democratizing and getting the military out of politics, seeking to join the European Union, and working with the United States in NATO from Afghanistan to the Balkans.” But in the past few years, he said, Turkey has moved in the opposite direction. “Turkey remains an important potential partner of the United States, but the days when the United States aspired to a ‘model partnership’ based on common values and interests are over.”

The crisis is the worst in the modern history of relations between Washington and Ankara, Gönül Tol, the director of Turkish studies at the Middle East Institute, in Washington, told me. “Anti-Americanism has always been there, but it has peaked in the last few years,” she said. “An overwhelming majority of people in Turkey think that Russia is a better ally, and that the bigger national-security threat comes from the U.S.”

Turkey and the United States have survived past crises, including tensions over Cyprus in the nineteen-sixties and seventies; the U.S. rejection of Turkey’s arms requests in the nineteen-nineties, citing human-rights abuses; and the refusal by Turkey’s Parliament to let U.S. forces invade Iraq from Turkish soil in 2003. In the past, there were constituencies in Turkey—through military-to-military ties and center-right politicians—that helped mend ties. “Both constituencies are not there anymore,” Tol said.

Since a coup attempt against Erdoğan, in 2016, the military has become more ideological. “It’s very difficult to promote closer U.S.-Turkey ties or NATO-Turkey ties,” Tol said. Tens of thousands have been purged from the military. “If you are seen as pro-NATO now, it could kill your career.” In turn, she said, the Pentagon—especially Central Command, which operates in the Middle East—has grown wary of the Turkish military because the personnel emphasis is on ideology and religious views more than on professionalism.

Since the nineteen-sixties, the two nations—which represent the western and eastern flanks of NATO, the world’s largest military alliance—usually shared views on common threats, whether it was the Soviet Union or extremism. No longer. One of the most contentious disputes is Erdoğan’s decision to buy advanced S-400 missiles—an air-defense system—from Russia. The first missile batteries, which were part of a two-and-a half-billion-dollar deal, were delivered in July; the second delivery was made in September. The U.S. countered by barring Turkey from manufacturing or purchasing advanced F-35 warplanes. (The U.S. fears that the Russian air-defense system could allow Russia to gain access to F-35 communications and defenses if they operated in the same theatre.) No other NATO member buys Russian military equipment, in no small part because the alliance was established to counter Moscow’s influence.

By law, the White House is also mandated—under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, from 2017—to impose sanctions on countries that acquire Russian defense equipment. Trump has not yet imposed sanctions, on the grounds that the system will not be operational until April. At his press conference with Erdoğan, Trump acknowledged that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400s had created “very serious challenges.” The leaders had failed to resolve their differences, he said, but would continue to talk. Washington wants Ankara, at a minimum, to further defer launching the system. Experts think that Erdoğan is unlikely to cave.

The differences between the erstwhile allies are now broad. “The two nations are now in bed with each other’s adversaries,” Tol said. Turkey has worked with jihadi groups in Syria and extremists in Libya, while the United States has partnered with a Kurdish-led militia in Syria. Erdoğan views the Kurds—the country’s largest ethnic minority, which spills into Syria, Iraq, and Iran—as a strategic threat. Kurds have actively participated in politics, but a militant faction, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., launched a violent insurgency in the nineteen-eighties in response to Turkish repression.

The deepening strategic divide between the U.S. and Turkey is reflected in their split over the status of two men with disparate ties to the two nations. For the United States, the most important figure in the five-year campaign to defeat ISIS was General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the nom de guerre of the Kurdish leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Mazloum lost more than eleven thousand troops, men and women, fighting Islamic State jihadis in Syria, in a partnership with more than seventy nations in a U.S.-led coalition. Trump has spoken to Mazloum twice in recent weeks and praised him repeatedly. Last month, a bipartisan group of senators petitioned the State Department to expedite a visa for Mazloum to visit Washington.

At Trump and Erdoğan’s joint press conference, however, Erdoğan called Mazloum—whose real name is Ferhat Abdi Sahin—a terrorist. “So a person like this should not be welcomed by a country such as the United States,” Erdoğan said. Turkey has invoked an Interpol “red notice” on Mazloum; it requires any member state to arrest a wanted person. Prospects of a visit by Mazloum to the U.S. now seem dim.

Turkey and the United States also disagree on the status of an elderly Turkish cleric named Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania’s Poconos for two decades. His followers in Turkey formed the global Hizmet (or Service) movement, which operates modern schools in Muslim communities, fosters moderate Islam, and engages in interfaith dialogue with Christians and Jews. This informal movement reportedly has millions of followers, from Kenya to Kazakhstan. Gulen’s supporters initially helped Erdoğan’s A.K.P. Party rise to power in the nineteen-nineties, and Gulenists gained important positions in government, the security forces, businesses, and the civil service. But Erdoğan grew suspicious of the movement’s political intentions. He blamed Gulen and his supporters for the failed military coup, in 2016. He has repeatedly demanded that the United States extradite Gulen for trial on charges of terrorism and treason. The United States, under both the Obama and Trump Administrations, has countered that there is no evidence that the reclusive cleric was involved in the failed plot. At the press conference on Wednesday, Erdoğan again alleged that Gulen had tried to “destroy the constitutional order of Turkey.” He demanded that the Administration “eradicate” Gulen’s presence in the United States.

Since the coup attempt, Erdoğan’s repression has led to deepening alarm in both the United States government and among human-rights groups. In its annual human-rights report this year, the State Department accused Erdoğan’s government of arbitrary killing; suspicious deaths of persons in custody; forced disappearances; torture; and arbitrary arrest and detention of tens of thousands, including opposition members of parliament, lawyers, journalists, and three Turkish-national employees of the U.S. Mission to Turkey. It also accused the government of closing media outlets; prosecuting those who have criticized government policies; blocking Web sites; and severely restricting freedoms of assembly, association, and movement. “There’s an atrocious crackdown that has escalated since 2016,” Nate Schenkkan, the director for special research at Freedom House, said. Turkey now has the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world. Around a hundred and fifty thousand people have been purged from civil-service jobs “and sentenced to civil death by being blacklisted even from private sources of employment,” he said. The broader political trajectory, Tol said, is that Turkey is “a one-man show now.”

Congress has turned against Turkey. Last month, the House passed a bipartisan resolution, 354–60, that condemned Turkey’s invasion of Syria. On October 29th, the House passed the bipartisan Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act, 403–16, which calls for sanctions on specific Turkish officials connected to the invasion of northern Syria and requires the State Department to estimate the worth of Erdoğan and his family.

“These sanctions are specifically designed to target the Turkish officials and institutions responsible for the bloodshed in Syria without senselessly hurting the Turkish people,” Eliot Engel, a Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said, before the vote on the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act. “After all, it is Erdoğan—not the Turkish people—that is responsible for this horror. Erdoğan is an authoritarian thug.” A similar bill has been introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate.

This bipartisan pressure on Trump led him to take the highly unusual step of inviting five prominent Republican senators to join him for talks with Erdoğan in the Oval Office. Democrats condemned Trump’s decision even to host Erdoğan, and members of Congress from both parties believe the Administration should be sanctioning Turkey for buying the S-400 Russian missiles.

Whatever Turkey does, it cannot be expelled from NATO; the alliance of twenty-nine nations has no mechanism to oust members. Turkey offers strategic advantages for both U.S. and NATO interests because it straddles Europe, the Middle East, and countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. For decades, it offered one-stop strategic shopping. Yet the fraying of the U.S-Turkey alliance has led the U.S. to start “pre-positioning” its assets in other countries and reconfiguring strategy, Schenkkan said. Washington is planning more military ties with Romania on the Black Sea; with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean; and with Jordan and Iraq in the Middle East. When the U.S. flew eight helicopters on the raid that killed the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, last month, the team flew out of Iraq, even though Baghdadi was just a few miles from the Turkish border. “The United States will continue repositioning, taking Turkey’s actions into account,” Schenkkan told me.

Erdoğan, meanwhile, got much of what he wanted out of Trump. The Turkish leader received “the Presidential seal of approval of an Oval Office visit and a chance to press his perspective directly to a President,” Phil Gordon said. “Trump seems to revel in these personal, C.E.O.-to-C.E.O. relationships, though he has yet to demonstrate what the United States is getting out of this one.”


“Recep Bey Goes to Washington” — MOTHER FUCKER FUCKING TURKEY!!! — Why not forget the EU and just join NAFTA instead?

14 Nov

Donald Trump Recep Tayyip Erdogan

US Senator blocks move to say Armenian mass killing was genocide

Actually let’s get real geopolitically.  Turkey probably should drop any hopes of getting into the European Union — for all its faults, the EU still has some integrity — AND IT SHOULD JUST JOIN FUCKING NAFTA INSTEAD. 

Then Erdoğan (and/or Turkey, because let’s not pretend that the kid-glove coddling of Turkey by the United States started with Erdoğan — it’s decades old) could also have Canada and Mexico bend over and take it up the ass whenever he gets horny, or needs someone to get on his knees and chupar his polla whenever he wants a blowjob.

Sorry.  Not retracting or have any intention of asking youse to forgive my French in this post.  It’s just fucking OUTRAGEOUS to see Turkey get EVERYTHING it wants no matter how it behaves domestically or on the world stage.


You can see my post:  Genocide: what is it and why do we need the term? (repost from 2015)

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Nationalism: just something I like to repost now and then

14 Nov


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