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Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category

Negli ultimi sei mesi ho avuto la fortuna di vivere, studiare e lavorare in Turchia. Vivere a Istanbul è un’esperienza che tutti dovrebbero fare almeno una volta nella vita e mi ritengo fortunato nell’ aver scelto di vivere nel lato asiatico, nella vivace e bella Kadıköy, dove c’è anche uno dei migliori ristoranti della città, Ciya (e per me che ho lavorato in passato come cuoco queste cose hanno sempre un peso notevole). Già conoscevo questo paese ma chiaramente viverci aiuta a capire meglio alcune dinamiche, anche se devo dire che le idee di fondo che mi ero fatto non le ho cambiate tanto (anche se uno non vive normalmente in un posto, leggere buoni libri sulla storia, cultura e politica di quel paese aiuta in genere).

Ad ogni modo, le proteste delle ultime due settimane hanno riattizzato ferocemente l’attenzione dei media globali su un paese di cui si parla tanto ma di cui si capisce sempre troppo poco. Su Limes Online ho provato, ad inizio settimana, a raccontare la mia percezione analitica di quello che è successo. Essa è tendenzialmente diversa da molte idee apparse in giro, in particolare sulla stampa italiana dove si è fatta passare l’idea che questo fosse un paese sull’orlo della rivoluzione (non vi dico le telefonate allarmate dalla famiglia). Come ha detto bene una mia amica americana che vive in Italia: “puoi dirmi cosa ne pensi? i media americani ne parlano poco ma qui sembra che la Turchia stia per implodere”. No, la Turchia non sta per implodere. Ha solo qualche difficoltà – che è strutturale, cioè di lungo periodo- nel gestire, veicolare e assorbire il dissenso.  Ma direi che i sensazionalismi e le letture “orientaliste” (e ve lo dice uno che non è un grandissimo fan di Said) basate su uno scontro titanico islamisti vs secolaristi nuociono alla comprensione: di questo paese in genere e dei fatti di Gezi nello specifico.

Per l’articolo completo su Limes, clicca qui

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The title does not refer to an old ’80s song (actually, a very good song) by Ultravox but concerns the latest developments of the EU enlargement. Yesterday, the commission released its opinions on enlargement and candidate countries. The state of this complicated “endless love affair” (for candidate countries) can be summarized as follows:

  • Croatia: 2013 is the magic number.
  • Montenegro: wow, get in! Good boy, homework well done last year. Let’s start with justice however, the easiest thing first, we (the EU) like to keep things simple.
  • FYROM/Macedonia: Get ready for our date but with no date darling, my Greek wife is jealous, she cannot listen to your name.
  • Iceland: We are warm, you are cold. How does it work?
  • Serbia: Yes, maybe. But you know: no Kosovo, yes party.
  • Albania: Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly. But.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: what?
  • Kosovo: again, what?
  • Turkey: no, thank you. But we (the EU, again) cannot (and do not want to) say that openly. Please, turn more Middle Eastern so we (the EU, again and again) can blame you. Adieu!

More on that: EU Official Press ReleaseReuters, WSJ 1, WSJ 2, RFE, Bloomberg 1, Bloomberg 2, Novinite, The Economist, BBC, EU Observer, Radio Srbija, Hurryet.

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So, if there was an award for the “diplomatic dispute” of the year, the rising tension in Israeli-Turkish relations would indisputably win the prize, although 2011 is far from being over yet.  The expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the freezing of military cooperation could seriously represent the start of a new era of geopolitical balances, changing substantially the strategic architecture of the wider Mediterranean, as the Israeli-Turkish alliance was one of its cornerstones since the late ’90s.  Following, some views on these fundamental developments:

Meliha Benli Altunışık, Murat Yetkin, Nuray Mert  and the results of a poll concerning the Mavi Marmara issue in Turkey on Hurryet;

Ali H. Aslan, Emre Uslu, Yavuz Baydar and a more general view on Turkish foreign policy by Etyen Mahçupyan on Today’s Zaman;

Soner Çağaptay on the Jerusalem Post;

The links between social protests, the Turkish affairs and the Palestianian UN Bid and another piece calling on the Israeli government to express regret to Turkey, “a small price to pay for such a strategic asset” on Ha’aretz;

and again: ORSAM, Carnegie Europe, INSS, Eurasia.Net.

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On the 29th of July 2011, Turkish Chief of General Staff, Gen. Işık Koşaner, resigned. The heads of the Army, Gen. Erdal Ceylanoğlu; the Navy, Adm. Eşref Uğur Yiğit and the Air Forces, Gen. Hasan Aksay, did the same. Gendarmerie Forces Commander, Necdet Özel, did not resign and he was swiftly appointed the new chief of General Staff.

Usually, in Turkish Republican history, the militaries used to force governments to step down by a variety of means, from true coups to more sophisticated “post-modern coups”. In 2007, the army attempted to influence political developments by publishing what has been known as the e-memorandum, a General Staff’s statement aimed at  interfering in the election of Abdullah Gül as President of Turkey. However, reactions and outcomes to that were rather different than what the military expected, marking a first evident setback in politics for them.  This time, it was a group of top militaries commanders who stepped out of their jobs simultaneously, a first ever event in Turkish history. This development has stirred up a major crisis within Turkish politics but it has opened also a new political era in Turkey.

Following, some views on these developments: a piece by Soner Çağaptay; Yavuz Baydar for Today’s Zaman; another article by Today’s Zaman; a “poker” of analyses by Hürriyet; Sabah;  the National Turk; the Peninsula; the Wall Street Journal; the Washington Post.

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