Is Turkey still part of NATO? For some time Turkey, under the rule of Erdogan has either not cooperated fully with other NATO countries or has acted in outright defiance of NATO’s priorities and interest. From not sharing information and operating together to drifting away from NATO’s principles of democracy as much as defense Turkey has been drifting away from the NATO alliance. Now it has capitulated to the Kremlin.
It seems that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an offer he couldn’t refuse. Turkey has been keen to please its new Russian Godfather after Russia turned the screws economically and militarily on NATO’s southern flank. Putin militarized Armenia on Turkey’s border with the Caucasus and shut off Turkish imports.
After apologizing profusely and kissing Putin’s ring, Turkey now says that Russia can use its famous Incirlik air base, a significant facility in NATO’s southern flank.
The statement came from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his interview with TRT channel. The top diplomat has acknowledged that Moscow might be given the green light to use Turkey’s Incirlik air base to engage Islamic State targets in Syria. As of now, Russian aircraft make their sorties from Khmeimim air base in Syria’s Latakia province, RT reports. WashingtonTimes
ISIS tentacles are infiltrating cells into seven areas in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, that “represent areas where there is expected to be a continued interest in operating, support networks to do so, and a likelihood for more than a one-off attack,” a State Department security report states.
Two years since it shifted from terrorist group to governing organization holding territory, the Islamic State is expanding to seven emerging areas of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, according to a State Department security report.
“In addition to establishing its base in Syria and Iraq, and naming official provinces in numerous countries, [the Islamic State group] has demonstrated a heightened capability to carry out and operate in the [seven] countries,” the report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council states. The council is a State Department organization that provides security support to American businesses operating overseas.
The seven new theaters of operation are Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, is active in other locations as well, but the seven locations “represent areas where there is expected to be a continued interest in operating, support networks to do so, and a likelihood for more than a one-off attack,” the report states. Washington Times
Like many Islamic terrorist, the Bangladesh restaurant terrorists were well-educated, well-off.
One of the terrorists had been educated at a madrassa. The mostly privately-run Islamic schools have at times been associated, especially in the South Asian context, with radical ideology.
Bangladeshi media reports identified one of the slain attackers as the son a mid-level official in the ruling party. Two reportedly were students at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University, while two had studied at an elite English-medium school in Dhaka, Scholastica.
In the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack on a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital’s diplomatic quarter, the country is struggling to come to terms with the fact that most of the perpetrators were well-educated and wealthy – far from the stereotype of the impoverished and embittered jihadi recruit.
But a regional security expert said the fact people reacted to this with “astonishment” was in itself astonishing, given the documentation that calls into question the terror-poverty link proposition.
“The terrorists were from well-to-do families and were flamboyant young men,” the head of Bangladesh’s elite anti-terror unit, the Rapid Action Battalion, told India’s NDTV network. CNSNews
Ahmet Davutoglu, the Prime Minister of Turkey and chief policy adviser to Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan resigned last week amid escalating tension with Erdogan.
“We thought that we would have a four-year relationship,” Davutoglu said in remarks addressed to the party’s supporters. “That this lasted shorter is, rest assured, not of my choosing, but because of necessities that have emerged.”
Divisions boiled over last week when allies of Mr. Erdogan diluted Mr. Davutoglu’s power as leader of the AKP in a meeting while the prime minister was out of the country. Mr. Davutoglu was surprised that the AKP stripped him of the ability to appoint local political chiefs while he was on an official trip to Qatar. MorningStar
Davutoglu did not strongly support the presidential system that Erdogan wants in order to strengthen his power.
Crucially, Davutoglu gave only half-hearted support to a powerful presidential system, which Erdogan wanted to see “rapidly” introduced.
“Turkey is experiencing a systems crisis,” said Turkey analyst Ozgur Unluhisarcikli of the German Marshall Fund. “According to the constitution, Turkey is a parliamentary system, but the style of governance is a de facto presidential system. As in any de facto system, this causes uncertainties and inevitable friction.”
The biggest hint that Davutoglu’s days were numbered came late Sunday when an anonymous Turkish blog titled “Pelican Brief” — believed to have been authored by people close to Erdogan — aired the presidential camp’s alleged grievances with Davutoglu, including not advocating a presidential system strongly enough. Haaretz
The Kurds. Erdogan has opposed resuming talks with the Kurdish rebels in Turkey. The Prime Minister was open to talks with the Kurdish rebels if the were willing to withdraw fighters from Turkey.
Divisions between the Erdogan and Davutoglu camps first spilled into the open over the conflict with Kurdish militants in the southeast.
Erdogan took issue with Davutoglu after he spoke of the possibility of resuming peace talks with the PKK if it withdraws its armed fighters from Turkish territory. Erdogan said in a speech that it was out of the question for the peace process to restart, saying military operations would continue until the very last rebel is killed and the PKK threat is removed.
More fissures were apparent over Davutoglu’s opposition to the pre-trial detention of journalists accused of spying and academics accused of voicing support for the PKK. Erdogan spurned Davutoglu and even suggested that anyone deemed to be supportive of extremists should be stripped of citizenship. Haaretz
As revealed in the Financial Times, it was not Erdoğan but rather Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his team who negotiated the migrant deal. Davutoğlu hoped the deal would secure Europe’s assistance in tackling the major humanitarian challenge Turkey faces, while also setting Turkey on track towards visa liberalization with Europe. The latter would clearly strengthen Davutoglu’s hand in an ongoing, but fairly discreet, power struggle with Erdogan. A document, now known as “the Pelican brief,” has made this behind-the-scenes struggle public. The report lays out Erdogan’s displeasure over the fact that the migration deal was Davutoglu’s brainchild and reveals that the president had not been adequately consulted. Brookings
Davutoglu was known as Erdogan’s more moderate counterpart.
This is the dramatic moment a group of female passengers turned on a man after he had sexually harassed on of them while on a bus in Turkey.
The incident, caught on camera, showed the 34-year-old man, identified only by his initials AEA, being confronted by his victim after he allegedly showed her his genitals on the bus in Turkey’s north-western Kocaeli province.
The disgusted woman then starts beating the accused harasser, and when he does not react, other women on the bus join in, with some of them kicking him…
They said the police were quickly on the scene because the bus driver had only opened the doors when he was driving alongside the Basiskele Police Station. DailyMail
The Turkish government has seized six churches as state property in the volatile southeastern part of Turkey, reported World Watch Monitor.
After 10 months of urban conflict in Turkey’s war-torn southeast, the government has expropriated huge sections of property, apparently to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir.
But to the dismay of the city’s handful of Christian congregations, this includes all its Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Unlike the state-funded mosques, Turkey’s ancient church buildings – some of which pre-date Islam – have been managed, historically, by church foundations.
The new decision has effectively made the Diyarbakir churches – one 1,700 years old, another built only in 2003 – state property of Turkey, an Islamic country of 75 million.
Turkey is 99% Muslim.
For much of the past 10 months, the small Christian communities of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Turkish Christian converts have been unable to access their church buildings in Diyarbakir’s city centre due to the heavy fighting; several have suffered minor damages.
Few Christian houses of worship exist in Turkey’s southeast. Although it is the ancestral homeland of Syriacs and Armenians, well over a million of these ethnic Christians were massacred and sent on death marches during the final years of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century.
Diyanet, the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs has published a children’s comic that encourages boys and girls to seek Islamic martyrdom.
A colorful cartoon titled “may god bless our martyrs, may their graves be full with holy light” features dialogues between parents and children that promotes an idea of religious martyrdom. In one box of the comics, a father says to his son: “How good it is to be a martyr…” He also adds that martyrdom gives a person an opportunity “to gain the right to go to heaven.”
In another box from the comics, a girl can be seen saying “I wish I could be a martyr.” “If you desire enough, Allah will give you that opportunity,” the mother in the box replies to the girl. RT
Japan seems to be joining the sham multiculturalism of Europe. The spread of Islam influence through building Mosque and immigration was curtailed in Japan.
In 2013, Japan relaxed visa requirements for some ASEAN-member nations as part of Japan’s campaign to lure more travelers (Muslim visitors) who wish to visit the country.
Onder Pinarbasi and a 16-year-old boy allegedly sexually assaulted a woman inside a public toilet near JR Akabane Station
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two Turkish nationals currently applying for refugee status for allegedly raping a woman in Kita Ward, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 22).
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on December 27 of last year, Onder Pinarbasi, 22, and a 16-year-old boy allegedly took the woman, aged in her 30s, to a public toilet near JR Akabane Station and sexually assaulted her. The suspects also stole 9,000 yen in cash from the victim.
Pinarbasi, who has been charged with rape and robbery, claims the boy committed both crimes. The boy admits to onlyl the robbery charge. “I did not force myself upon her,” he is quoted by police in denying the rape accusation, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 22).
The incident occurred after the suspects called out the woman, who was visibly drunk at the time, as she was walking home.
The suspects arrived in Japan last year. They applied for refugee status in August and October, telling the Immigration Bureau of Japan that they did not want to return to Turkey due to “problems that exist between relatives.”
While their applications were being examined, the suspects received a visa status granting “special permission to stay in Japan.” Toyoko Reporter
Irreconcilable countries in the Middle East have joined together look out for their own interests.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens describes his recent trip to Israel.
I’ve spent the better part of a week talking to senior officials, journalists, intellectuals and politicians from across Israel’s political spectrum. None of it was on the record, but the consistent theme is that, while the Jewish state still needs the U.S., especially in the form of military aid, it also needs to diversify its strategic partnerships. This may yet turn out to be the historic achievement of Benjamin Netanyahu’s long reign as prime minister.
There has been a wave of Israeli meetings with Arab and other world leaders.
On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon publicly shook hands with former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal at the Munich Security Conference.
In January, Israeli cabinet member Yuval Steinitz made a trip to Abu Dhabi, where Israel is opening an office at a renewable-energy association.
Turkey is patching up ties with Israel. In June, Jerusalem and Riyadh went public with the strategic talks between them.
In March, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi told the Washington Post that he speaks to Mr. Netanyahu “a lot.”
This de facto Sunni-Jewish alliance amounts to what might be called the coalition of the disenchanted; states that have lost faith in America’s promises.
Perhaps the current WH administration should be thanked for doing what some thought was impossible. The WH creating a “coalition of the disenchanted” has lead to new alliances between Israel and former enemy states.
300,000 Chinese attended U.S. colleges and universities in 2015. To better their chances of getting into an American college and university many are coming and enrolling in high schools.
The are called “parachute kids” with many living “with host families and attending private schools.
In 2005, fewer than 1,000 Chinese students were enrolled at U.S. secondary schools; by 2013, that number had surpassed 23,000, according to the non-profit Institute for International Education (IIE).
U.S. law allows foreign students on F-1 educational visas to enroll only for a single year in public schools. No is no such limit on private schools. The students are enrolling in private schools many which are Christian, and their atheist parents don’t seem to mind.
Because of restrictions on foreign student enrollment in U.S. public in U.S. public high schools, Chinese secondary students headed Stateside overwhelmingly attend private institutions. And Chinese parents don’t seem to care if that institution has a Christian underpinning. According to data obtained by Foreign Policy from the Department of Homeland Security via the Freedom of Information Act, 58 percent of the F-1 visas issued for Chinese high school students in 2014 and the first three months of 2015 were for Catholic or Christian schools.
Just under 28 percent of Chinese students obtained these visas to attend Catholic schools, while 30 percent were for schools with nondenominational or Protestant Christian affiliations, including schools affiliated with Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Baptist, Church of Christ, and Quaker traditions.
“It’s challenging to come to these classes with zero knowledge,” John May, the director of international student programs at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy, an all-boys school in Toledo, Ohio told FP magazine. “They have no framework. It’s not like a Lutheran sitting in on a Catholic class. It’s a blank slate for these guys. It’s a bit of a head scratcher.”
Christians comprise only about five percent of China’s population, though estimates vary, and the state-mandated school curriculum there emphasizes atheism, Marxism, and a scientific worldview.
Since the passage of a “religious harmony” law in 2006 more than 1,000 Indonesian churches have been closed according to Evangelical Focus.
Most of the churches, the group said, have faltered in the process of obtaining permits for construction, which can only begin for a church after it has obtained 60 signatures from people of a different faith, as well as permission from local authorities. In most cases, the Muslim majority resists the building of churches and police – generally Muslim – frown on Christian activities. Evangelical Focus
In Banda Aceh in October, Muslim mobs of approximately 700 took the law into their own hands torching and attacking churches. Approximately 8,000 Christians were displaced fleeing to another province.
Islamic leaders called on Muslims to burn churches with the message “We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah’s enemies!”
Instead of punishing those who incited violence and took the law into their own hands by torching and attacking churches, local authorities demolished three churches (a Catholic mission station and two Protestant churches) on October 19. In the coming days, seven more churches are set to be demolished; in the coming months and years, dozens more. Gatestone Institute
“The extremists stir up violent mobs to destroy the buildings and threaten believers. But the persecution has not stopping the Church from growing in the world’s largest Muslim-populated nation,” stated Evangelical Focus.