by John Brian Shannon | July 19, 2016
On Friday, July 15 at 19:29 GMT, both bridges linking Turkey to Europe were closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A few minutes later, military helicopters and fighter jets were patrolling the skies over Istanbul and Ankara. Shots rang out.
So began Turkey’s basket-case moment where a coup was suspected to be in progress, although as is normal in these cases accurate information was difficult to obtain.
Read: TIMELINE-Turkey’s attempted coup (Reuters)
Thankfully, many brave Turkish citizens posted the events unfolding before their eyes on their social media accounts and that’s how the world became informed about the attempted coup in Turkey. (Thank You for posting in English!)
New footage shows helicopters firing at a ground target in Turkey pic.twitter.com/kQaUIhxjH4
— Airplane Pictures ✈️ (@iLove_Aviation) 15 July 2016
Almost as quickly as it began it was over — with reports of 265 dead and thousands injured in clashes around the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Prime Minister Binali Yildirim have vowed to crack down on perpetrators, threatening to invoke the death penalty. (Which might cost Turkey it’s shot at EU membership if they follow through on that threat)
As of Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 13:00 hrs GMT, Turkey submitted a formal extradition request to the United States for cleric Fethullah Gülen, the supposed mastermind behind the Turkish coup. Gülen who was once one of Erdogan’s closest allies now lives in Pennsylvania and opposes the direction President Erdogan has taken the country (and let’s be honest, he probably wouldn’t mind becoming President of Turkey himself)
President Erdogan has indicated will hand over files to the United States government supporting his contention that Mr. Gülen is the mastermind behind the July 15th coup attempt.
How convincing these files are is anyone’s guess. But someone, somewhere, initiated this coup.
But until the evidence is heard and adjudicated by a legal court, it’s all hearsay and people shouldn’t rush to judgement until the facts become available.
What will happen and what should happen, are two different things.
What should happen is that Turkey’s government should file the case with the International Criminal Court and leave it at that. The Turkish government could offer to reimburse the court for the full costs of the investigation, and make available Turkish officials who have relevant information. And whatever their ruling, President Erdogan and the Turkish government should thenceforth abide by that ruling.
As Fethullah Gülen was residing in the United States during the coup attempt, and therefore his purported crimes didn’t occur while he was inside Turkey, an international court is the ethical way to deal with this case.
Hypothetically, had he been masterminding the coup attempt from inside Turkey, it would be a much different matter. It would then be a matter for the Turkish justice system, and in that situation no other country would have any business telling Turkey how to conduct it’s internal affairs. (Although ‘fair comment’ about the case is to be expected and even welcomed)
But no, cleric Fethullah Gülen was living in a different country and is apparently involved in a long-running clash for power with the presently-serving President of Turkey.
How impartial can we expect a Turkish court to be in such a case?
Two factions are fighting for supremacy in Turkey, one of them (Recep Erdogan) won the last election with 52% of the vote, while the other (Fethullah Gülen) fled to the U.S. some years ago — yet still enjoys some level of support among the Turkish population.
At this point, the hostility between the two men is palpable and it looks like reconciliation between the two is highly unlikely, which points to a longer-term lack of vision and a lack of commitment to Turkey’s people on both sides of the argument.
It’s fair to say that Recep Erdogan has worked to improve the lot of Turkish citizens while in office, serving multiple terms as Prime Minister and President of Turkey.
And it’s also fair to say that much that could’ve gone wrong, didn’t… due to Erdogan’s deft handling of the multiple (and huge) challenges faced by his country in recent years.
Turkey has generously accepted and hosted millions of refugees from Iraq, Syria, Arab Spring countries — even accepting Kurds whose PKK membership is uncertain.
All in all, President Erdogan has done well once everything is factored-in; At least an 8-out-10 score on the proverbial leadership scale.
Which leads some observers to conclude that July 2016 would be the most unlikely and inopportune moment for an experienced political operator and religious figure like Fethullah Gülen to pull the trigger on a Turkish coup.
There is no doubt, someone, somewhere, initiated this putsch. Whether it turns out to be Mr. Gülen remains to be seen.
by John Brian Shannon | July 3, 2016
“The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.” — former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter
And in the UK, the vote on that was June 23rd. The result is there for all the world to see.
Had a mentally disturbed man not gunned down MP Jo Cox, the Brexit win might’ve been 70 percent.
Regardless, 52 percent of Britons said EU membership isn’t working for them, in one way or another.
And this is the whole point; If you’re a 1-percenter or an elite, the EU is a truly wonderful place to live. I’d have to call it an almost ‘unparalleled’ existence, living in historic Europe, beautiful Europe, a continent full of amazing cultures and such technological prowess and so much more(!) that it would take a year-long video presentation just to cover the basics.
But if you’re a ‘working stiff’ in the EU, it’s not so good.
OF COURSE, the economic problems in the EU and other Western nations, are globalization-induced. It’s so apparent it’s beyond all argument.
Fully half of the Brexiters angst could be traced or blamed on the follow-on effects of globalization.
That doesn’t give the EU governance architecture a ‘free pass’ however — on the contrary — the EU is one of the main ‘pushers’ of the globalization drug, and with that (good) drug come the (negative) side-effects;
Which are; the offshoring of jobs, higher unemployment, more competition for jobs, massive immigration / ghettoization, higher crime rates, higher societal costs (including, but not limited to; policing, court, incarceration, property damage, and intangibles like ‘how safe’ citizens feel in their own city) also higher traffic flows in airports / shipping ports / highways / and in cities — all of which suddenly require massive upgrades to handle the increased traffic. And so much more than that short list.
I’m the first to agree that the thing we call globalization is a truly wonderful and great thing! But the job is only half-done.
Globalization has created a permanent class of poor people (whose jobs were shipped to Asia, and many remaining jobs were taken by economic immigrants) a situation which has yet to be properly addressed in the EU.
When a society isn’t working for 2/5ths of the citizens, it isn’t working. Period. Full stop. Until the day it’s rectified.
And that’s what I’m hoping for. I’m waiting for the mandarins in Brussels (who can’t be fired by ‘The People’ because they’re unelected) to begin to address the shortcomings of their governance architecture — of which globalization is a major platform.
They should’ve been proactive all along, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of person-hours on what ingredients bread may, or may not have. (How ‘Soviet’ of them) I hear they’re working on the rules for shoe factories next week.
It’s difficult to believe that some people can’t understand how Britons could vote for Brexit.
- Either the EU must begin holding EU-wide elections for their highest officials (to allow ‘The People’ a chance to ‘vent’ when things aren’t going well) instead of choosing to ‘_exit’ the EU,
- the unelected mandarins must begin to address the negative aspects of globalization for the bottom two economic quintiles (2/5ths) of the EU’s citizenry.
Otherwise, the whole thing will eventually fail — with nations continuing to join the EU, but with more leaving than joining.
Were a similar referendum to the UK referendum held in every EU nation next week, I’d expect that 52 percent (or more) of EU citizens would vote to ‘_exit’ the European Union.
And that would be a crying shame. But it wouldn’t stop it from occurring.
There are few who support the European project as sincerely as I, but there comes a time when we must be candid about successes (many) and failures (only two; But causing two other failures, for a grand total of four failures) and with more failures likely.
The failure to address the;
(1) negative aspects of globalization, is caused by;
(2) a democratic deficit in Brussels, which caused;
(3) Swiss citizens to reject EU membership in 2014, and;
(4) British citizens to Brexit in 2016.
Stay tuned for more such failures — and all of it will be on account of the democratic deficit of the eurocrats in Brussels and their failure to address the negative aspects of globalization.
- Football, Brexit, and Us (Project Syndicate)