Archive for the ‘Erkan's mumbles’ Category

Iranian Revolution. 30 years after.

In Erkan's mumbles on February 11, 2009 at 11:46

 Abbas Milani in Open Democracy lists three paradoxes of the revolution. have a look. I have also learned the following data, which sounds funny. I do not know how one can really calculate this but:

It was, by near-consensus among scholars and experts, the most "popular revolution" in modern times: almost 11% of the population participated in it, compared to the estimated proportionate of citizens who took part in the French (7%) and Russian (9%) revolutions. 

Wikipedia has a good background on the Iranian Revolution. 


The Iranian Revolution (mostly known as the Islamic Revolution,[1][2][3][4][5][6] Persian: انقلاب اسلامی, Enghelābe Eslāmi) was the revolution that transformed Iran from a constitutional monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.[7] It has been called "the third great revolution in history", following the French and Bolshevik revolutions,[8] and an event that "made Islamic fundamentalism a political force … from Morocco to Malaysia."[9]

Among the revolutionary leaders listed, I would like to (only) hail Ali Shariati whose impact has certainly disappeared in the very first days of the revolution… Another victim of the revolution; about Shariati’s ideas:

Shariati’s works were highly influenced by the Marxism and Third Worldism that he encountered as a student in Paris – ideas that class war and revolution would bring about a just and classless society – from one side, and the Islamic Puritanism (or the Islamic Reformation) movements of his time from the other side. He is said to have adopted the idea of Gharbzadegi from Jalal Al-e Ahmad and given it "its most vibrant and influential second life." [4]

He sought to translate these ideas into cultural symbols of Shiism that Iranians could relate to. He believed Shia should not merely await the return of the 12th Imam but should actively work to hasten his return by fighting for social justice, "even to the point of embracing martyrdom", saying "everyday is Ashoura, every place is Karbala." [5]

Shariati referred to his brand of Shiism as "red Shiism" which he contrasted with "black Shiism" or Safavid Shiism. His ideas have been compared to the Catholic Liberation Theology movement founded in South America by Peruvian Gustavo Gutierrez and Brazilian Leonardo Boff.[6] (see Red Shi’ism vs. Black Shi’ism)

See also Hamid Dabashi‘s 

Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire


Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran


Authority in Islam: From the Rise of Muhammad to the Establishment of the Umayyads (not related to Iranian Revolution b
ut one of the founding books in my approach to Islam along with Ali Shariati’s  Religion Vs. Religion

What happens on April 25th?

In Erkan's mumbles, TR-US relations, Turkey and Armenians, Turkish foreign policy on February 4, 2009 at 16:22

Yuvakuran below urges us to think about what might happen after April 24:

On 24th April 2009 Friday morning, it is most likely that the new US President will make an unavoidable and regrettable speech on so-called genocide, to put fuel on an 100-years old sad historical story in order to please his Armenian voters and to repay his election debt.

And he announced the most likely response:

The day after, we may read that Incirlik Air Base is closed to all foreign access.

New Turkish foreign policy seemed to have decided not to rely on the Jewish lobby in US that had helped prevent the becoming of this scenario before.
One likely idea might be that Turkish leaders believe Turkey has now self-confidence, that she is indispensable in Middle East. So that nothing changes.
But more likely idea is that Mr. Obama may try to bypass Turkey. His special envoy did not even visit Turkey… I do not think US or EU countries give much credit to Turkey at the moment and I am not sure if this is right or wrong but this seems to be the case. Turkey is risking her chances, she might win or not. Mr. Obama may have revolutionary ideas for domestic politics but in foreign policy he might have relied on the overall FP structure. Honestly, the best thing he could do would be not to start another war. We will see. But in the mean time, this dark scenario may happen. That is, the closure of İncirlik Base.

That seems inevitable. AKP cannot act against a sweeping nationalist reaction.

In the mean time, in these tense and but exciting times, your Erkan will be serving his military duty. Yes, it is time. I will write about it soon.  I might miss some but experience some other things. We will see…

The Day After April 24th 2009

By yuvakuran

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

On 24th April 2009 Friday morning, it is most likely that the new US President will make an unavoidable and regrettable speech on so-called genocide, to put fuel on an 100-years old sad historical story in order to please his Armenian voters and to repay his election debt.

The day after, we may read that Incirlik Air Base is closed to all foreign access.

After every US presidential elections, Turkish Ministry of foreign affairs, Turkish armed forces, Turkish media, and Turkish intellectuals have an important task. When the winner is a democrat candidate, we should start to educate the newcomer, and his/her staff/ advisers, what they can expect, what to say, what not to say. ……………

Erdoğan in weekly satire magazine covers:

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Erkan looks at Turkey’s news channels…

In Erkan's mumbles, Journalism on January 27, 2009 at 13:41

As a news junkie, I may live in the right country. At the moment, there are at least 6 TV channels that specialize in news, that they call themselves as news channels.
After bought by Ciner Group, which is heading towards to rebuild its media conglomerate and possibly becoming the second biggest one again, Haberturk became my favorite. In hard news, in breaking news, i guess they invest and succeed more than all others.

NTV used to be my favorite since I arrived back to Istanbul in summer 2004. No other channel could challenge them. However, the channel began to introduce some very good talk shows and football programs etc- and it also plays for the high cultural consumption such as Sunday classical music concert programs- gradually although its ratings rose, it lost its power a little bit as a news breaker.

Kanal 24 as a hard news channel is trying hard and I rely on them more and more.

TGRT Haber is a full time news channel. Their style is a bit boring and but they are better at local news.

Sky Turk is never my first choice. But they sometimes offer better and additional coverage.

Ah poor CNN Turk. It is a proper news channel but always remained under the shadow of NTV and now it has more rivals and it never excites me. Despite the CNN partnership, it has a low profile in Turkey…

Evidence issue in the Ergenekon case.

In Erkan's mumbles on January 16, 2009 at 17:26
Forensic officers search for weapons in a wooded area in central ...

Forensic officers search for weapons in a wooded area in central Ankara January 9, 2009. More than 40 people, including three retired generals, nine military officers, a state prosecutor and a former chairman of the higher education board, were detained for their suspected links to a right-wing group. The military, which has unseated four governments in the past 50 years and views itself as the guarantor of Turkey’s secular order, denies any link to the group, known as Ergenekon. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY)


Here are some ideas Erkan briefly notes about the Ergenekon case…

1. I am personally not upset that coup plotters and their sympathizers are at least ‘harassed’ during the never ending Ergenekon case. All arrested, detained, investigated personalities are part of dark relations in Turkey’s recent past. One is happy to see that there is a sort of "divine justice" in life.

2. I am suprised that the Case continues even after the end of closure case against AKP. There is a widespread belief that there is an understanding between the military bureaucracy and government now. PM Erdoğan’s pro-State statements and cadre changes in AKP leadership seemed to be evidence for this belief. The case seemed to have lost AKP’s political support.

3. Ergenekon is a very broad, powerful and well-supported network. Its illegality is reversed or justified by a particular civil mode of political culture. There are many civilians who support coups in order to protect the regime. This is still a strong pattern of political thinking in Turkey. One should not forget that in 1960 an elected PM was hanged! In order to protect Kemalism, many civilians would not mind a military coup and even execution of government members. In such a political climate, Ergenekon gang members could easily operate, settle and be protected. Many gang members become inseperable from the rest of smypathisers.

4. Turkish legal system is conservative, backward and has loopholes. In such a political and legal context, it is very hard for prosecutors to operate against Ergenekon. No need to say, system is totally politicized.

5. In order to operate, political and communal support is needed. I do not mind that prosecutors have some "backing".

6. In order to operate, there might be some violations of "procedures", that are constantly highlighted by secularist circles. "procedures" that are never settled, that are constantly manipulated. Same procedures that were not criticised when PM Erdoğan was imprisoned before, when Beşir Atalay, current minister of interior affairs, was thrown out of his university years ago, when pro-Islamic columnists were detained in the same like some columnists are now detained….

7. Despite my support in general, I have to admit that the Case process sometimes becomes too problematic to support. the Indictment itself is an interesting text but messy, long and evidentially weak.

8. I feel better with the latest wave of arrests after which hidden weaponry is found. Technical analysis finally secured the fact that some newly found grenades are now part of a group of grenades that were found initially in Ümraniye, İstanbul that started the whole process.

9. I understand that some of the arrests are just meant to harass pro-coup personalities who does not have any organic membership with the gang. But evidential connections have to be secured. Only after hard evidence, this very difficult process of Ergenekon case can continue and maintain public support.

10. But how can there be more evidence? That’s a hard task. Turkish intelligence seems to be divided. Only some can provide direct help. Army intelligence act mostly after the fact. Evidences can easily be hidden or destroyed under the cloud of sympathy in several levels of bureaucracy. Police forces can be helpful but according to media reports, which are themselves quite suspicious, evidence is not collected properly (such as data found in computers are not registered according to proper procedures) and despite good intentions, evidence is corrupted most of the time.

11. In case of lack of hard evidence, evidentiality of the case becomes inevitably political. If there was a strong mainstream media support, instantiation of strong evidentiality could be more easily achieved. This also lacks.

12. If political support is secured limitedly through some negotiations, then there will only be some victims, and Ergenekon case will be closed without much sensation at a particular moment.

13. If political support is secured strongly, then there will be sensational conclusions. If AKP secures another big victory in March elections, this might lead to a strong political support for the case.

14. If Ergenekon gang members decided to retire after the AKP rule, their old misdeeds would be forgotten and they would live happily after. But their belief that they own the State led them to this particular predicament…

15. This is a good lesson for some: if you politicise the law, this is what you will get. This is in turn a lesson for those who rule now: If you maintain this level of politicization, you might again become the victim of the process. Justice is needed for all, although revenge tastes good for the moment…

As Kemalist clergy excommunicates Can Dündar,

In Attractions: football, cinema, music, Erkan's mumbles, Turkish politics on November 10, 2008 at 12:54

…he produces one of the most humane portrayals of Atatürk.

  The film Mustafa demonstrates once again that Kemalist clergy (intellectuals, opinion leaders, cultural producers), cannot accept Mustafa Kemal as a human being. It is a suprahuman heroic entity. He has prophetic qualities. Any other portrayal is blasphemy. Can Dündar is a well-intentioned Kemalist but he could not escape being accused by these people and their militant disciples. I have watched the movie/documentary with a girl who started blurbing against the director before the movie and continued afterwards. This good work of biography has no meaning for her and others.

I would recommend the movie. It is too personal, it might ignore some of the social aspects of the early Republican years but it certainly gives clues to understand. Oh boy, those men and women around him in his later years are so familiar. He was surrounded by sycophants. He lost his closest friends and allies in political trials and he ended up surrounded with these people who would be the base of later cult of Kemalism. The cult was the reason of their existence and so they fed them. This still continues today.

Mustafa Kemal is a heavy smoker and drinker. He cannot sleep at nights, lonely and he cannot seem to have long term relations. So what? I would not lose my respect because of these but today’s Kemalist clergy is socially conservative as much as Islamists are. So this portrayal hurts them….

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For a few more municipalities…

In Erkan's mumbles, Turkey and Kurds, Turkish military, Turkish politics on November 6, 2008 at 16:07

PM Erdoğan gone crazy. His latest statements are unbelievable. He has explicitly supported citizens’ use of weapons against protesters. He is riding on the nationalistic discourse even MHP does not use any more: Love or Leave… We will see what this will lead to. I am afraid that AKP now alienates most of Kurds. Mr. Erdoğan believes he has already secured more pious, traditional Kurds but he seems to ignore that religious Kurds are not like religious Turks. Every Kurd I know that does not support PKK still have a nationalistic consciousness. They voted for AKP because they thought this party was the only one that could embrace them. Now it seems this may not be the case. AKP might witness a big time disappointment in the region… Minister along with some other ministers… 

In the mean time, militaristic propaganda knows no boundaries in major Turkish TV channels. Those respected anchormen/journalists like Uğur Dündar and Mehmet Ali Birand have spent considerable amount of prime time coverage from commando education centers this week! Just watch the prime time news, you will see what I mean.  This week most of the members of Turkish government got briefed at the commando center!

No, the Prime Minister would not have said such a thing

Mehmet Ali Birand

PM accuses intellectuals of cultural erosion, forgets about Üzmez

The prime minister yesterday accused the country’s intellectuals for the erosion of the concept of family in society, but remained tight-lipped on the much-criticized sexual harassment

Oktay Eksi: Quo vadis Turkey?

Where are we heading towards? We need to confess that we feel a sense of fear when we look at the prime minister’s recent remarks and attitudes that support our previous concerns which have been raised in this column on related issue."


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Obama, Obama!

In Erkan's mumbles on November 5, 2008 at 10:30

● President Barack Obama:

Hell Yeah Obama Won

I am not as euphoric as Democrats, but I certainly wake up to start imagining a more peaceful future. But this vicious cycle prevents me to be more euphoric: It is the same American nation that chose Bush for 8 years to have us all a nightmare. And for decades now, Americans first choose Republicans to have nightmares and then choose Democrats as saviors. Republicans mess up the American image, then Democrats spend all their time to fix it. Also think of Reagan era, Nixon era etc… So here starts a good cop era after a bad cop era… Poor Obama inherits a wreckage…

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From Black Friday to Good Friday

In Erkan as a dissertation writer, Erkan as a lecturer, Erkan's habitus, Erkan's mumbles on October 30, 2008 at 14:30

Erkan in a modest but excellent fish restaurant- another hidden secret of Istanbul- with his colleagues from Child Studies and Youth Studies units at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Last Friday was another down moment in Erkan’s life. It started with exchanging civilized words with a girl who first flirted with me and then backed down. Since I am experienced with that, this moment of seeing the girl wouldn’t upset me but it was the first small ring of a chain of events to come. Then came time for the lecture for my course on Intellectual Heritage- a history of thought course for PR students that covers from Enlightenment era to Semiology. It was a disaster. In my five years of teaching at Bilgi, I have the most indifferent audience. So I left the lecture with anger, coming back with making a quiz, intending to lower grades. A threatening tool I never used before and I don’t believe it will really work.
then came Beşiktaş game. Good play but we lost two valuable points at home against Sivasspor. It was a terrible moment of despair. And finally I got back home and saw that Blogger was banned.

By Sunday night these happened to make feel better:
Beşiktaş was still at the top of Super League. Galatasaray, Trabzonspor, Bursaspor and Gaziantepspor all lost points and we could still remain at the top.
I talked to Milliyet about Blogger ban. It was published on Monday. I would later be interviewed by CS Monitor correspondent Yigal Schleifer whose articles are frequently quoted in this blog. I am quoted in Turkey tightens controls on Internet speech. I might be the only one in Turkey who benefitted from this ban:)

 In the mean time, I had some correspondence with Carole, Rice Antro coordinator. It is now something even more tangible. My defense will be on 8 December. I bought my plane ticket. I will be hanging around in Houston between 1-22 December. I am still expecting to hear from my readers whose feedback will sweat me in the remaining days. But I can handle that.

Blogger ban lifted temporarily.

I had some good lectures during this week, did some work for the thesis and did lots of reading. I am expecting to have a Good Friday tomorrow.

Beşiktaş fans from a previous European Cup game. Source: Milliyet daily.



PM Erdoğan fallen out of grace.

In Erkan's mumbles on October 27, 2008 at 12:12
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members ...

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara October 14, 2008. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

I hereby declare: for Erkan, PM Erdoğan is fallen out of grace and there is no more political support. Though Erkan knows in all modesty, this will not have much impact on the political scene.

Here are the reasons for Erkan’s political move:

* He is (in)directly responsible for not initiating legislative move to stop growing web censorship in Turkey.
* Just talks too much and mostly phatic talk.
* Showyness in South Eastern cities. Nothing substantial done in Kurdish issues. Attacking the already politically weakened DTP continuously. Local Kurds may think PM Erdoğan’s latest visits to the region as a show of force by the State.
* His attack against Taraf daily. This paper’s claims are not really investigated. Stamped out by the army and government alliance.
* His attack against Doğan Media Group. If you did not have any substantive evidence why did you do so much bitching?
* Torture continues under his party’s rule. Slow acting in Article 301 and indifference to web censorship.
* His desire to win the municipalities of İzmir and Diyarbakır. So what will happen when you conquer all? Is this that important? With the power and voter percentage you already have, you could have done a lot and you basically did not do.
* Appointing the same candidate for the incoming Istanbul municipality election. Mr. Topbaş did not provide us much comfort. All show of construction work throughout his administration years.I remind you two years of muddy Istiklal Street. Cheesy populism in metrobus system. Increased traffic jam for the car owners.

* Too emotional. Reacts to every protest. I hope he will react to his post, and I will get more traffic ehehehehe
* No sense of humor.

Day 2 in the battle of AKP vs. DMG

In Erkan's mumbles, Journalism, Turkish politics on September 8, 2008 at 00:33

I thought after yesterday’s speech Mr. Erdoğan would not talk back immediately, and i spent the day out without recognizing today’s speech until the evening. Well, Mr. Erdoğan gives "1 week" to correct the false news disseminated by Doğan group dailies. Mr. Doğan replied back in Kanal D to declare that his media will not be an obedient media in sum. I found Mr. Doğan a little bit scared. But only a little bit. He has a giant media empire, his journalists occupy many Press institutions, his daughter is the head of powerful businessman association, TUSIAD. Although he said last night "all state institutions belong to AKP,  they can finish us easily, we know that things do not work like that. A leftist TV channel, Hayat TV was closed nearly all summer and no body could help that but DMG is not a small marginal media group and dynamics of politics is much more complicated. Never politically correct Mr. Erdoğan waited for more than 2 years to attack back, and only after the Constitutional Court case, he felt more secure to start the battle.
Mr. Erdoğan claimed that Mr. Doğan visited him and requested some privileges for the Hilton Hotel site located in near the super valuable Taksim square. (In tonight’s interview at Kanal D, Aydın Doğan said "of course, we always have requests from the government, we do lots of business and we have needs to discuss]  When he was rejected, DMG dailies began to attack. DMG is known to request some sort of airwave rights for CNN Turk. That is also refused. After tens of TV channels, anti-trust laws do not allow him for more airwave but Mr. Doğan wants more basically. Anyway, we will see new files to be opened in the next few days. In the mean time, in today’s papers Abdullah Gül’s visit to Armeania and the "battle" news competed in headlines. DMG’s flagship Hürriyet replied back. Milliyet also. [circulation report of dailies are given in the end]

DMG’s newly acquired furiously anti-AKP Vatan columnists charged their weapons like the ones above:

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