Please forgive my failure to comment on Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continued rise to power, as it’s all been according to plan, and I honestly wouldn’t dream of expecting a different outcome.

Det var ikke moro å være EU på den tiden.

Here’s hoping

Come New Years Eve I shall party just as hard as the next guy. Not because there’s any cause for celebration, considering the hopeless situation in which we find ourselves, but because, after all, it is what people expect, my own family not excepted. I will, of course, comply, without a trace of the concerns boiling inside.

There’s been much talk of the cold war revival, of a World War III already in progress – allegations I wouldn’t even dream of contradicting, as I’ve been trying to raise awareness of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive approach for about a decade already, albeit to little avail – as one should expect, considering the blog’s obscurity.

However, we would be ill-advised to expect WWIII to be a blueprint of its two predecessors, considering that the war has been going on for quite some time, sans traditional or conventional confrontations, save the extensivity of Russian false news, aiming at destabilising western Europe and the U.S. – and successfully so, given Putin’s 2016 triumphs in the United Kingdom and the United States, both early examples of the Russian propaganda machinery’s unsurpassable efficiency.

While the entire west desperately endeavours to figure out how to prevent further distribution of fake news, and, as a consequence thereof; even more western states falling into the hands of politicians under Russian influence, Mr. Putin keeps busy forging alliances with leaders disliked by the west, currently Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, while a civil war in Yemen, a former Soviet outpost in the Middle East, still rages, what ever prospects it may hold.

There is a distinct possibility, you know, that Putin’s foothold in the Middle East may well be even firmer, now that Russia in fact controls Syria and the Crimean peninsula, whence the Black Sea Fleet hails, lacking only free passage through the Bosphorous, controlled by Putin’s soon-to-be ally (?) and fellow strongman Erdoğan, leaving more or less the entire Middle East under Russian control, in spite of the protests we may voice through the UN security council.

After all, since when did Vladimir Putin bother listening to the UN? On the contrary, the following countries (most of which siding with Russia), voted against protecting Syrian civilians, suffering from a war which has now outlasted WWII: Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, N. Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, S. Sudan, Syria (i.e. the Assad regime), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

So yes, a World War III most certainly is in progress, even if we may find that it’s being fought on the Internet and on battle fields far from home, with victims we only see on the news. We should, however, also accept that Britain’s Brexit and America’s Trump victory are defeats good as any, both battles won by Putin’s virtual soldiers, because that’s the kind of war this is – a war in which I try to involve myself, however uninvited, and inconsequential my feeble efforts, considering the west’s shortcomings pertaining to propaganda measures on equal terms.

I simply refuse to side with those advocating reservation and self-muzzling, based on the eventuality, however small, that Vladimir Putin is in fact a pretty good guy, so let me reiterate my decade-long message, as some (but sadly all-too few) also did in the 1930s: He is not, so I long since decided to be this guy:

August Landmesser
August Landmesser (1910–1944), refusing to salute Adolf Hitler during the opening of German navy training centre Horst Wessel, summer of 1936.

Also, living in a country sharing borders with Russia, as I do, I can, to a certain extent, understand some people’s reluctance to raise their voices against a potential invader … Or maybe not.

Which,  hopefully, explains my reluctance – to yell “Happy New Year” at the top of my lungs, but hey, here’s hoping.

P.S. I used the same headline on a post earlier this autumn (simply forgot), and we all know how that turned out.

Implications of The Ankara Assassination 2016

While serious events took place yesterday, calling for in-depth news coverage, the incidents themselves were nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary I think we will find that episodes such as the Berlin Christmas market attack and the Ankara assassination, as well as the Zurich shooting, are everyday occurrences.

Europeans may have been disturbed by the proximity to Christmas and indeed to ourselves. Apart from that, however, these things happen on a daily basis throughout the world.

In my neck of the wood the Berlin calamities most definitely drew most of the attention, undoubtedly due to the number of Norwegians visiting this – or any – time of year (our self-absorption knows no limit), but I think it’s safe to say that among the three, the Ankara assassination (yes, I deliberately use a designation similar to the 1914 Sarajevo assassination) offers potentially more widespread consequences, giving more cause for concern than the other two, although it didn’t even take place in Europe. Not least because it involved a prominent member of Ankara’s Corps Diplomatique, and a Russian one to boot.

The seemingly staged, almost cinematic appearance of the incident must have left not only this blogger wondering if it indeed was carefully prepared, in what most observers must consider the hub of current conflicts, involving the Syrian war’s two leading parties (sorry, America, but you’re not even close), headed by oppressors prone to conspiratorial thinking, constantly chasing excuses to initiate drastic responses to actions quite possibly initiated by themselves (for instance last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey immediately springs to mind). To such a degree that we’re all forced to think along the lines of plots that may not even exist.

What ever the case we should acknowledge that we indeed live in violent times, with an extremely volatile situation on our hands, and I hate to sound the alarm, even if I fear there’s every reason to.

With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, both highly despotic, emerging as close allies, and soon-to-be President Trump at the American helm, as well as an increasingly powerful China lurking in the outskirts, the stage is set for an unprecedented and highly inflammable situation.

Certain powers’ expressed aim to destabilise the west is of course a factor to be reckoned with, too, but let’s leave it at that for now.

Suffice it to say 2017 is going to be a very interesting year.

Since posting this I was made aware of this Foreign Policy article, published last night, touching on some of the same issues – and then some:

Five Things to Worry About After the Assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey

Illustration: The Ankara gunman. Blogger’s “watercolour painting”, made with Waterlogue app.

NATO, EU: Let Turkey go, please

We’re all fully aware of Turkey’s shortcomings, in terms of democracy – or the obvious lack thereof, rendering the country’s NATO affiliation membership something of a hot potato.

Nevertheless Turkey remains a member state, raising an urgent need to decide on the country’s future status, especially considering the Erdoğan regime’s zealous genocide on the Kurds, under the pretext of fighting ISIL (my above illustration, drawn last year, reads “The ones to the left? ISIL! The others, too. ISIL, every single one of them!” in English).

Bearing the evolving Russo-Turkish romance in mind, there’s every reason to raise concern over western leaders’ conduct lately, exemplified by Sweden’s former conservative PM’s many initiatives, such as:

To mention but two of his numerous pro Turkey-EU relations tweets, leaving yours truly truly flabbergasted – especially considering the fact that Mr Bildt’s statements represent the rule, rather than the exception. Nevertheless, his sentiment seems representative of that of most western leaders, collectively paying homage to this oppressor:

Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (foto fra Wikipedia).
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: Wikipedia.

Leaving this blogger at a loss for words.

Then again, with Donald J. Trump a not-too-unlikely future U.S. president, I suppose nothing ought to surprise, even if a NATO exclusion, as well as a full termination of all EU-Turkey talks would be the decent solution.

I’m not saying that it’s easy, what with Turkey’s key role as a refugee and migrant gatekeeper, and the country’s strategic location, but sacrificing one’s last trace of respectability because of it, is blameworthy, to say the least, and I think I’ve made it abundantly clear what I think of actions taken out of self-interest.

For shame!

Top illustration, translated into English: “The ones to the left? ISIL! The others, too. ISIL, every single one of them!”. Blogger’s own drawing.

Has the world gone completely insane?

In the wake of this summer’s terrorist attack on Turkey’s Atatürk international airport and the failed coup attempt only weeks later, the international community has remained remarkably silent, just up until recently.

For the last couple of weeks we have seen Russian and western leaders falling head over heels in love with a Turkish oppressor, only too eager to sack, persecute and incarcerate any journalist, judge or private citizen failing to comply with his ideas, and all the while Turkish media spew out tidings of one ISIL stronghold after the other falling at the hands of Turkish bombers and troops, which is yet to be confirmed, but appears to be taken at face value.

Thing is, of course, that both Russia and the West have ulterior motives for sucking-up to Erdoğan, mainly due to the country’s strategic position, in the intersection of Europe and the Middle East, as well as the Bosphorus and its access to the Black Sea.

With that in mind, perhaps you cannot blame western politicians for throwing every trace of decency overboard, queueing up to kiss Erdoğan’s ass, paving the way for a Turkish EU membership (on top of NATO), as a thank you for the unsubstantiated eradication of the so-called Islamic State. Or can you?

I’d say so.

And let’s not forget about our quiet acceptance of the attempted genocide on the Kurdish people. Truth be told it makes me sick to my stomach. As do those spineless politicians (among whom I have yet to see protests raised).

As for the EU membership: Turkey. Is. Not. A. European. Country.

Photograph: Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (photo from Wikipedia).

Ikke ny seksuell lavalder i Tyrkia – ennå

Søndag: Kollektivt ramaskrik over at den tyrkiske forfatningsdomstolen i sommer angivelig fattet vedtak om at den seksuelle lavalderen i landet skulle endres, fra 15 til tolv år.

Tirsdag: Et samlet SoMe-korps ivrer etter å tilbakevise påstanden, fordi tyrkiske myndigheter, og dermed en dansk journalist, gjør det.

I den virkelige verden: Den tyrkiske forfatningsdomstolen avviste en ny lovtekst i juli. Den gamle loven blir dermed stående, til en ny lovtekst foreligger i desember, med virkning fra januar 2017.

Det betyr ikke at den nye lovteksten, når den omsider foreligger, tar høyde for at tolvåringer ennå er barn. En påstand jeg våger, simpelthen fordi vi snakker om et land som fengsler journalister og opposisjonelle, dreper etniske minoriteter for fote, og ledes av en statsleder som har tilegnet seg privat kontroll med statlige anliggender (inkludert massiv fyring og hyring av dommere), med Det muslimske brorskapet som moralsk og ideologisk kompass – en bevegelse med svært frynset rykte, hva seksuell omgang med mindreårige betreffer.

Det samme kan man i og for seg også hevde om Tyrkia selv:

Følgelig fins det ikke fnugg av grunnlag for å senke skuldrene riktig ennå. Snarere tvert om.

Og så skal det selvfølgelig bli spennende å se hva Erdoğan ville oppnå med å sparke noen tusen dommere i sommer.

Høsten vil vise, er jeg redd.

Foto: Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (fra Wikipedia).

If Turkey was a demokracy

If, and only if, Turkey happened to be a democratic country, these highlighted areas would qualify for an EU membership:

The European part of Turkey. Tyrkia
The European part of Turkey.

With everything being as it is, however, the rest of Turkey wouldn’t stand a chance, even if situated on the European side of the Bosphorus.

Truth be told it is, perhaps, time NATO expelled the country, too, and I kid you not. Well aware of the Bosphorus’ strategic importance (probably the only reason Turkey was allowed in the first place), I think we can safely say we can do without it.

Not changing my profile pic for Erdoğan

Over the last year or so I have made a habit of changing my social media profile pictures in response to various terrorist attacks. In the wake of yesterday’s most likely Daesh attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport, however, I am not about to, even if I indeed made one, for illustrative purposes:

Jarle Petterson and Turkish flag.
Yours truly clad in Turkish black and white “colours”.

Which is not to say that I do not condemn the atrocity and don’t feel sympathy for the Turkish people (and the scores of foreign tourists affected), I most certainly do, but find myself utterly unable to endow my profile picture with the flag of the rogue regime I’m equally unable to endorse.

If there’d been another way, I’d probably take it.

With that matter out of the way, I do sympathise with the Turks, and consider last night’s massacre an attack on us all, which I condemn strongly, albeit without making use of the Turkish authorities’ flag – except, of course, in this blog post.

In spite of last night’s events I take solace in the so-called Islamic State’s continued retreat on all fronts, which is, of course, going to inspire one spontaneous and uncontrolled counterpunch after the other, resulting in the organisation’s ultimate and swift demise.

Mens vi venter på The Blame Game

Jeg vil anta at de fleste vil si seg enig i at tirsdagens tragiske angrep på Atatürk bærer Isils kjennetegn hele veien, men jeg klarer ikke å fri meg for mistanken om at denne tegningen, av i fjor, igjen blir aktuell:

PKK, IS, Tyrkia og Nato
Det er alltid PKK som står bak. Bloggers tegning.

Fy skam, om det skulle skje, tross all medfølelse en ellers måtte ha med president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan og hans land i denne situasjonen. La oss håpe sannheten uansett kommer for en dag, for dette har Isil skrevet over hele stedet (om De tilgir anglisismen).

*Skjønt det må medgis at medfølelse med Erdoğan-regimet kan ha sine utfordringer.