Tag Archives: politics

February – March 2020 Book Roundup: The Self-Isolation Edition

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Hello, fellow homebodies! There isn’t any news from me except that I am a slowly recovering screen addict these days. In between finishing every season of the four TV shows, I was watching concurrently; I was able to squeeze in a few books. I am turning into a bit of an optimistic these days, so I actually really enjoyed every one of these books and I hope you do, too. Whether you are a dreamer, a creative, or a thinker, there is a book for you— Just look below!

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A hero is born: Disappointments, hopes, and expectations after Turkey’s General Election

After his heartbreaking defeat by Erdogan, Ince gave this speech during a press conference that will echo in many people’s heads for a long time: “To Erdogan, please from now on stop acting like the general president of AKP. Become the president of 81 million people, put your arms around all people”. Ince continued, “I recommend you to use my slogan: The president of all. Become the president of all, from now on. End this tension that this nation is experiencing, put your arms around this nation, hug all of them.” He, then subtly mentioned his disappointment of what was to come for Turkey,  “If I were elected, that’s what I was going to do.” Ince continued, “I was ready to put my arms around the AKP supporters, as well as the nation as a whole. Now, that’s what I expect from Erdogan”.

Early Sunday morning, I got into my car, much like rest of the Turkish citizens, and drove off to my hometown to cast my vote, with a different kind of hope that I never had before. Muharrem Ince the presidential candidate that came out of the much passive Republican People’s Party (CHP), visited every inch of this beautiful yet hopeless country just under 51 days. Kids all around the nation sang his campaign song, his rallies pulled all time records for CHP, and I, for once, thought I could live here, in peace. The whole campaign was based on love, unlike Erdogan whose, words could only sound like hatred. Above all, Ince knew how to smile, and I saw, for once, that many people believed, like the New York Times article said, he was “the man who could topple Erdogan”.

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The story is simple: Muharrem Ince became the father that loved his two children so dearly and equally. The two children just couldn’t listen to each other over their differences, and he tried to teach them how to love. But, my guess is, it wasn’t quite the right time.

Ince spent the day in the YSK building, vowed to protect the votes of the nation from AKP’s illegal games that Turkey faced every single election since Turkey became a toy in Erdogan’s hands, in 2002 (Erdogan’s first win for his party AKP to have 365 MPs at the parliament). Once the clock hit about 9:30 pm, the media started airing the data from AA (Anadolu Agency), Ince warned the nation about the expected ballot manipulations. He was right, AKP started off strong with a high percentage, then landed on a 52.5% win, successfully playing with our feelings. İnce finished off with 30.68% breaking the record for a candidate of his party, CHP.

We were all aware of the extra ballots that have been given to people in exchange of a good amount of “pocket money”, the threats people received before entering the secured-voting area, and the home supplies they were provided to keep this economy that enables increasing poverty for another 5 years. An older lady I talked to right after elections said these words: “I prayed for a long time, I went to the ballots and I was praying on my way there. I was scared, I just hit Erdogan for the presidency”. This is just the pure feeling of oppression brought to many by something we cannot call democracy, anymore.

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The general elections contained the parliamentary elections, with AKP having the majority of seats with the help of its ally, MHP (AKP; 295 MPs, MHP, 49 MPs). Having over 300 MPs in the parliament, AKP secured the new constitution that was expected to run due to the referendum that was passed just over a year ago, in April 2017.

Erdogan now holds a dangerous amount of power, given to him by a scared, poor, and unaware nation. The president is able to directly appoint public officials, intervene in Turkey’s legal system at all costs, and declare a state of emergency whenever he finds suitable (Turkey is in a state of emergency since the coup of July 15, 2016). Moreover, the Turkish council is now unable to detect the MPs, unable to state verbal questions or receive information from the prime minister nor the MPS, and finally, the vote of confidence from the council is permanently taken out of the regimen.

Looking at this picture the Turkish nation voluntarily drew, I expected to be hopeless, scared and full of hatred to those who dragged our country under Erdogan’s presidency, once again.

The next day after I heard Muharrem Ince’s words at the press conference, I wasn’t any of that. He was the light that I could still trust within the familiar yet unbearable darkness. This time, it was bearable. Ince said, “We destroyed the dam of 30%, we can do the same for 50%. I am right here. If this nation tells me to walk in front of them, I am ready”. And millions whispered, “So, are we”.

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What is going on in the Trumpland?

26828161_10215108623257415_1113191477_oAmerica is shaken by the government shut down, the nation is flying over to District of Columbia to march for their voices, their president plays for the audience, and I, over here, will try to explain what is going on in the Trumpland.

Although there was a significant amount of tension in Washington this week due to the government shutdown, the breaking news coming from the Washington Post clarifies that the President finally “signed the short-term spending bill to fund the government through Feb. 8.”. Additionally, the bill extended Children’s Health Insurance Program and delayed three Obamacare taxes. The parties still seem to have different views about immigration and spending, however, government officials are back to work until it’s time to fight about the issues again, in two weeks time.

The week of the shutdown, there were major events that took place (and still taking place) in DC.  The month of January is facilitated numerous rallies including the major events of this week, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Walk (January 15), March for Life (January 19) and Women’s March (January 20). Some of the upcoming marches include The National People’s March (January 27), Muslim and Refugee Ban: A Year of Resistance March (January 30).

I had the privilege to attend the March for Life, however, could not make it to the Women’s March although I truly support the movement. I have taken the March for Life as a journalistic experience to be able to observe and criticize a view I did not fully support.

There were over 100,000 people with their posters and loud voices in the event as well as speakers that were strongly religious and based their reasons on their faith. By all means, there is nothing wrong with that… but there is also a lot of things wrong with that. In 20th century, it still leaves me speechless government enforcements through faith happens. And it truly shakes me to see that these enforcements take place not only in Middle East or Asia, but also in the United States of America.

Would the practice of abortion, euthanasia or suicide matter if it weren’t forbidden in our religions? Yes, religions set boundaries, but what are the limits of those boundaries?

I have not heard a single speaker addressing a counter argument or at least mentioning the word ‘rape’ or ‘mother’s life at sake’ while they were speaking about abortion. However, they did not forget to talk about how great adoption is. Mind you, adoption is painful in many ways for the children until they feel home, and sometimes they don’t at all.

During his speech, Mr. President made sure he showed off all the glam he brought to America. It felt as if he were trying to win his votes over for his next term ahead of time. I’ll have to admit Trump is a good speaker but has no character.

I suggest attending one of the upcoming rallies in DC if you reside here, and experience the passion, politics and millions clogging the roads through the Washington Monument to the Hill. Do not be afraid to explore views that you struggle with, it is a great opportunity to strongly reaffirm your own stance in the controversies.

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15 July 2016 – TURKEY’S ATTEMPTED COUP

Disclaimer: This post will be my best attempt at explaining this event without being biased. None of the text written below is meant to reflect political views.

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15 JULY, FIRST PERSON COMMENTARY

I was sitting in our living room in Turkey, checking my phone and sipping my cup of steamy tea. I was home for a 2-month summer break from university. Suddenly I saw my ‘WhatsApp’ (online texting app) group receiving multiple messages, telling me to- TURN ON MY TV.

“Breaking News: Loaded tanks are driving around in the roads of Istanbul.

Horror as jets open fire.

Military took over TRT state television building.

Military forcefully aired a declaration regarding their takeover.

Turkish Grand National Assembly is surrounded by the military.

Government announced State of Emergency.”

First thoughts were that the military themselves attempted this coup and many believed they would not hurt anyone. As a few hours passed second thoughts were whether this was planned by the government itself. The government declared ‘state of emergency’ and I was terrified about the likelihood of not being able to see my relatives and friends and, not being able to get out of my house for weeks. Lastly, the story was carefully closed by it appearing to be planned by the organization ‘FETO’. Erdogan stopped the coup by calling out people to fight with the military (via FaceTime!). The day ended as I fell asleep in front of the TV a little after midnight, like half of the nation. The rest were out on the streets with their lives in danger. One thing to be sure- All were confused.

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WHO WAS BEHIND THE COUP?

The Turkish government claims that the coup was planned by FETO (Gulenist Terror Organisation) which was led by Fethullah Gulen. Gulen was a conservative whom influenced many people (especially poor families) in Turkey through education. He gave students places to eat and stay, provided them with scholarships, sent many students abroad for greater education and conclusively, raised them up to serve his purposes. Gulen has many schools all over the world. Moreover, he owned hospitals, newspaper, media companies, private and public associations that were present in Turkish people’s lives (almost all are publicly closed or re-owned by the government now).

However, let’s note a selection of Gulen’s statements as published on Telegraph: “Mr Gulen said on Sunday he would obey any extradition ruling from the United States. He has insisted that he had nothing to do with the uprising and suggested that Mr Erdogan could have staged the attack himself in order to legitimise a fresh crackdown on the judiciary and military” (2016). Continue reading