Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What Turkish Islamists do...

Leading Turkish women targeted by Islamists and government 

The jailing of prominent journalist Sedef Kabas and threats against famous pop diva Sezen Aksu are stirring controversy in Erdogan's Turkey. It's part of a trend that brings Islamists and government supporters together.

Journalist Sedef Kabas and pop star Sezen Aksu

Journalist Sedef Kabas and pop star Sezen Aksu have both been targeted by the government and Islamists

Two well-known women made headlines last week in Turkey, withprominent Turkish journalist Sedef Kabas being one of them.

"There is a very famous proverb that says: A crowned head becomes wiser. But we see that is not true. When the ox enters the palace, he does not become a king; rather, the palace becomes a barn," Kabas said on Tele 1, an opposition television channel. She later tweeted the saying, as well.

The 52-year-old journalist was then targeted by government officials and pro-government groups. Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said Kabas will "get what she deserves for her unlawful words."

"The honor of the presidency's office is the honor of our country. I strongly condemn the vulgar insults made against our president and his office," Turkey's Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun tweeted.

On Saturday, security forces detained Kabas in a midnight raid for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code for "insulting the president" carries a prison sentence of one to four years.

Prosecution for 'insulting the president'

In Turkey, thousands of people have been convicted for "insulting the president" since Erdogan was elected to the office in 2014.

According to Turkish justice ministry statistics, 160,169 investigations have been launched over "insulting the president," with 35,507 cases filed over the last eight years.

The law prosecutes not only journalists, artists and academics, but also ordinary citizens. According to human rights defenders, the article is a serious attack on the freedom of expression.

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Turkey: Journalists in danger

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has called upon Turkey to change the president insult legislation.

"Such a sanction, by its very nature, inevitably had a chilling effect on the willingness of the person concerned to express his or her views on matters of public interest," the court stated in an October 2021 ruling.

Pop star also targeted

Also last week, Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu faced criticism from pro-government Islamist groups after sharing a five-year-old song called "How Wonderful to be Alive" on her Youtube channel for New Year's Eve.

Aksu was accused of blasphemy for singing, "We are heading straight to a disaster/Say hi to Adam and Eve, those ignorant ones" in her song. President Erdogan subsequently threatened the legendary singer and songwriter.

"No one can defame our Prophet Adam. It is our duty to rip those tongues out. No one can say those words to our mother Eve," Erdogan said at last week's Friday prayer without mentioning Aksu's name.

Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, which has been instrumentalized in political affairs during Erdogan era, also made a statement about Aksu's song: "One should be extremely careful and sensitive in every sentence when talking about distinguished holy figures of Islam," Diyanet stated.

Meanwhile, a group of lawyers in Turkish capital Ankara filed a criminal complaint against Sezen Aksu for "insulting religious values."

'A preview of future polarizing rhetoric'

Emre Erdogan, professor of political science at Istanbul Bilgi University

Emre Erdogan is professor of political science at Istanbul Bilgi University

The 68-year-old singer defied threats by sharing a new poem/song "Hunter," which was translated into 35 languages by social media users in one night. In it, she said: "You cannot crush my tongue." 

"I have been writing for 47 years, and I'll continue to write," she added in a Facebook post. Like journalist Sedef Kabas, the Turkish pop queen also received massive support from the opposition, including from politicians.

"Artists will speak out, they cannot be silenced," tweeted Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu from Turkey's main opposition party CHP.

For Emre Erdogan, a professor of political science at Istanbul Bilgi University, as a popular singer for many generations, Sezen Aksu doesn't seem to be a good target for an attack to consolidate AK Party’s conservative voter base.

"Still, it squeezes newly emerging, minor political actors who target the AK Party voter base," he told DW.

"Framing the debate as an attack on Islamic values pushes such actors to advocate for freedom of expression," he pointed out. The president's move prevents such actors from taking a bridge role, he explained.

"This scenario may be perceived as a preview of future polarizing rhetoric until the next elections, in which every single vote will be invaluable," he said.

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As prices soar in Turkey, poverty and discontent deepen

Social media: Battleground for public controversies

Erdogan's divisive language gained momentum after the Gezi Park protests in 2013, when thousands protested the government's authoritarian policies.

Erdogan began promoting nationalist and Islamist discourse to strengthen his policy of polarization after his party's alliance with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Detention of journalist Sedef Kabas and threats against musician Sezen Aksu reflect such dimensions of political polarization.

In Turkey, where society is highly polarized, social media functions as a political battleground. For example, after pro-government groups started tweeting #SezenAksuKnowYourPlace and #SedefKabasKnowYourPlace, supporters shot back with #SezenAksuIsNotAlone and #SedefKabasIsNotAlone hashtags.

As Turkish citizens face severe economic problems due to high inflation, some opposition spheres see the recent developments as a strategic move on the part of the government to divert public attention.

On the other side is the argument that to sustain stability amidst chaos, Erdogan is playing his "religion card" for a more authoritarian Islamist regime in a time of economic crisis.

Anthropologist journalist Ayse Cavdar

Anthropologist and journalist Ayse Cavdar

Anthropologist and journalist Ayse Cavdar, however, diverges from this thesis.

"This is not a move to divert the political agenda or change public discussion," she told DW.

"This is President Erdogan saying to his supporters, 'I take prosperity from you, but in return I give you something greater: Your religious sensitivities are defended by the highest political authority.'"

"This is a bargain where the opposition unfortunately remains silent," she concluded.

Edited by: Sonya Diehn

well known to police means the courts have failed multiple times

This couldn't possibly be caused by the abolition of judicial progressivism.

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Rapaport films brazen thief sauntering out of Upper East Side Rite Aid with bags full of stolen goods while security guard does NOTHING: Actor slams NYC's woke bail reform and says 'we have to put more of these criminals in jail'

  • Michael Rapaport caught footage of a blatant shoplifting incident on Tuesday at a Rite Aid on the Upper East Side in New York City
  • The actor and comedian said he was 'disgusted' by seeing a man fill two bags with stolen goods before nonchalantly strolling past security and leaving
  • The Rite Aid in the video will be closing on February 15, with thefts a major reason, the pharmacy chain announced late December 
  • Rapaport said he thinks Eric Adams could right the ship and that he hopes the new mayor 'lives up to our expectations'

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5 Takeaways From The Latest Filings In The Carter Page Spygate Lawsuit

Over last weekend, attorneys for Carter Page filed responses to motions to dismiss filed by the FBI and eight agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that led to the government illegally obtaining four surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

In November 2020, Page, who had briefly served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump campaign, sued the defendants in a D.C. federal court alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment, the Patriot Act, and the Privacy Act. In response, the government and the individual defendants argued Page’s claims were time-barred or that Page had no legal grounds on which to sue. Page’s responses counter those arguments while providing five key take-aways.

WATCH: Biden Admin Caught Allegedly Releasing Large Number Of Single Adult Illegal Aliens Into U.S.

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Fox News reporter Bill Melugin caught Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration allegedly releasing a large group of single adult illegal aliens into the United States in Texas.

“Fox witnessed men go into a small, unmarked office, then re-emerge moments later as multiple taxi cabs then showed up to collect the migrants — who were then shuttled off to nearby Harlingen Airport. There were no children or migrant families among the groups,” Fox News reported. “Several of the migrants told Fox that they had crossed illegally that morning, paying approximately $2,000 per person to cartel smugglers. They also said they were flying to destinations including Miami, Houston and Atlanta.”

Mind boggling response to a murder


The 17-year-old suspect accused of shooting his 16-year-old girlfriend 22 times has been released on $250,000 bond. 

What are the details? 

Authorities say that the suspect, Frank DeLeon, fatally shot Diamond Alvarez earlier in January when the teen was walking her dog near her Houston, Texas, home. 

The horror unfolded around 9:30 p.m. local time on Jan. 11 when Frank was said to have met Diamond at a nearby park. 

Diamond's family said that they didn't know their daughter was going to meet up with Frank and that they became immediately concerned when they heard a series of gunshots ring out from the direction of the local park. The shots prompted Diamond's mother, Anna Machado, to call her daughter on her cell phone, but the teen didn't answer, prompting Machado to fear the worst.

Th left loves crooks. Michael Avenatti edition


The New York state government is claiming that schools must continue to enforce its statewide mask mandate despite a court ruling declaring the order unconstitutional. 

In a statement released Tuesday, the State Education Department informed schools that Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul's office and the state Department of Health have filed an appeal after the state Supreme Court (only a trial court in New York, not the highest court) declared the mask mandate illegal Monday. The department claimed that the appeal process triggers an automatic stay on the court's orders, meaning "schools should continue to follow the mask rule." 

"It is SED’s understanding that the Department of Health will appeal the Nassau County Supreme Court decision, which will result in an automatic stay that will unambiguously restore the mask rule until such time as an appellate court issues a further ruling. Therefore, schools must continue to follow the mask rule," the Education Department said, according to Fox News