Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Guardian Sept 22: Turkish court sentences ex-generals to 20 years for attempted coup.

repeat. Dani Rodrik, at Crooked Timber in 2008, and in 2010, defending his father-in-law in Foreign Policy
On Feb. 22, Cetin Dogan, a retired four-star Turkish Army general, was detained and subsequently imprisoned by Turkish prosecutors, accused of masterminding an elaborate plot in 2002 and 2003 to topple the country's newly elected conservative Islamist government.

The military has long set the ground rules of Turkish politics. Its hard line defending secularism has resulted in frequent clashes with political movements it views as "soft" on Islam, such as the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has governed the country since November 2002. Periodically, the military has intervened, bringing down governments and, on occasion, establishing periods of military rule, most recently from 1980 to 1983. 
more on his page.
The second paragraph above isn't defending Dogan; it's defending the history of military interference. Given that, I'm not sure I care about the specifics of the case.

repeat. The Times in 2008: Tension About Religion and Class in Turkey
When two women in Islamic head scarves were spotted in an Italian restaurant in this city’s new shopping mall this month, Gulbin Simitcioglu did a double take.

Covered women, long seen as backward peasants from the countryside, “have started to be everywhere,” said Ms. Simitcioglu, a sales clerk in an Italian clothing store, and it is making women like her more than a little uncomfortable. “We are Turkey’s image. They are ruining it.”

As Turkey lurches toward a repeal of a ban on head scarves at universities, the country’s secular upper middle class is feeling increasingly threatened.

...Meanwhile, universities across Turkey are preparing for the final approval of the ban’s repeal, which will go into effect after Mr. Gul signs it into law this week. Faruk Karadogan, the rector of Istanbul Technical University, said he was expecting confusion.

“The problem is not the scarf; it’s their way of thinking, their minds,” he said of observant Turks. “If you have somebody brainwashed like that, it’s very hard to get her back to a way of contemporary thinking.”

But a few buildings away, Ece Ulgen, 20, a chemistry student whose classmates include covered women (they wear hats or wigs), offered a different view.

“I have many friends who wear the head scarf,” she said. “I enjoy their friendship. They’re clever, smart women. Not like what people say: Unscientific and only interested in religion.”
repeat. The Times, Sept.14th
CAIRO — Following a blunt phone call from President Obama, Egyptian leaders scrambled Thursday to try to repair the country’s alliance with Washington, tacitly acknowledging that they erred in their response to the attack on the United States Embassy by seeking to first appease anti-American domestic opinion without offering a robust condemnation of the violence.
The Times, Sept. 22nd
Mr. Morsi, who will travel to New York on Sunday for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, arrives at a delicate moment. He faces political pressure at home to prove his independence, but demands from the West for reassurance that Egypt under Islamist rule will remain a stable partner.

Mr. Morsi, 61, whose office was still adorned with nautical paintings that Mr. Mubarak left behind, said the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules.

“If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,” he said. “When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.”

He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak either.

“Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.

He initially sought to meet with President Obama at the White House during his visit this week, but he received a cool reception, aides to both presidents said. Mindful of the complicated election-year politics of a visit with Egypt’s Islamist leader, Mr. Morsi dropped his request.

His silence in the immediate aftermath of the embassy protest elicited a tense telephone call from Mr. Obama, who also told a television interviewer that at that moment he did not consider Egypt an ally, if not an enemy either. When asked if he considered the United States an ally, Mr. Morsi answered in English, “That depends on your definition of ally,” smiling at his deliberate echo of Mr. Obama. But he said he envisioned the two nations as “real friends.”

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