“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Turkish police halt May Day rally

The BBC is reporting that Turkish police halt May Day rally

Turkish police have broken up a May Day march by left-wing demonstrators in the commercial capital Istanbul and made many arrests.
Police fired tear gas to prevent a rally taking place on Taksim Square, the Associated Press reports. The Europeans have argued to let things take their course. That strikes me as very naive. The Turkish army seems underwhelmed with the argument.

EU warning as Turkey faces crisis
The EU has warned Turkey’s military to stay out of politics, as weekend clashes threatened the country’s most serious political crisis in a decade.

Around half a million people marched through Istanbul on Sunday to show support for Turkey’s secular system.

Demonstrators also demanded the resignation of the government, which has its roots in political Islam.

The protest came after the powerful general staff, which has intervened four times in the last 50 years to topple governments, said it was watching the parliamentary election of a new president with concern.

This led to a warning to the Turkish military from EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn.

“It is important that the military leaves the remit of democracy to the democratically-elected government and this is the test case if the Turkish armed forces respect democratic secularism and the democratic arrangement of civil-military relations,” he said.

Rehn said he was studying carefully the unusually sharp statement by military commanders and recalled that respect for democracy was a condition of Turkey’s EU candidacy.

“The timing is rather surprising and strange. It is important that the military respects also the rules of the democratic game and its own role in that democratic game.”

Rehn, who was speaking in Brussels, said secular democracy held a very high value for the EU and was the core of Turkey’s “Europeanistation” project.

One of the key criteria for EU membership is civilian control over the armed forces.

His comments were echoed by commission president José Manuel Barroso.

“We hope that one day Turkey can join the EU but for that, Turkey has to be a real European country,” he said.

At a news conference today, a commission spokesman stressed that the right to demonstrate was a “democratic freedom” but declined to comment any further on Sunday’s protests.

Commentators said the turnout of Sunday’s protest illustrated the depth of feeling that had been stirred in Turkey.


  1. If we're over our head, the EU is ten-fold.

  2. Good post here.

    There's my Doug impression for the night.

  3. Rather minimalist compared to my performance @ Westhawk!

  4. James must be 79
    (Checked to make sure he's still w/us. Must be the Cherokee Blood)
    The youngest of three children, Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma to Weldon Warren Bumgarner and Mildred Meek, and is one quarter Cherokee Indian through his maternal grandfather, Charles Bailey Meek.
    His father was a carpet layer, and his mother died when James was four years old.
    After their mother's death, James and his brothers were sent to live with relatives.

    James was reunited with his family in 1934, when Weldon remarried. Garner grew to hate his stepmother, Wilma, who beat all three boys, but especially young James.

    When he was 14, James finally had enough of his 'wicked stepmother' and after a particularly heated battle, she left for good.
    As James' brother Jack commented, " She was a damn no-good woman".[1] Garner admitted that his stepmother punished him by forcing him to wear a dress in public, and that he engaged in physical fights with her, including once when he attempted to choke her. Such instances contributed to ending the marriage.[2]

    Shortly after the breakup of the marriage, Weldon Bumgarner moved to Los Angeles while Garner and his brothers remained in Norman.
    After working at several jobs he disliked, Garner joined the United States Merchant Marine at sixteen. He was a good worker, got along with all his buddies aboard ship, but didn't take to the sea.
    He suffered from chronic seasickness and couldn't shake it no matter how hard he tried.
    At seventeen, he joined his father in Los Angeles and enrolled at Hollywood High School, where he was voted the most popular student.

    He also modeled Jantzen bathing suits at this time. It paid well, but, in his first interview for the Archives of American Television, he said he hated modeling, and soon quit and returned to Norman.
    There he played football and basketball for Norman High School.

    Later he joined the National Guard, before serving in the Army in the Korean War, where he received two Purple Hearts.

  5. Funny, too, performance was based on Lawrence Wright, including Tigerhawk's treatment of.

  6. Allen pointed to Andy McCarthy based comment there to discredit Wright and defend Bush.
    I said Wright was a liberal, so naturally he had some different explanations, but he was still a great source of facts, in narrative form.
    Here we see that one of Al's chief complaints is indistinguishable from Bush!:
    "These are relatively small points. When it comes to Islamist doctrine, however, Wright does not merely bowdlerize its centrality to al-Qaeda's savage campaign; he affirmatively contorts it. On display here is the all-purpose, politically correct Weltanschauung:
    The religion of peace has been wantonly hijacked by terrorists. When Wright returns repeatedly to takfir, he discusses it as a "heresy" within Islam--though, as Bernard Lewis has explained, heresy is itself a concept foreign to Islam. But if takfir is intramurally controversial, that is only because it provides a justification for killing Muslims. This glides past the elephant in the room: Islam regards non-Muslims as lesser beings

  7. Andy takes on Wright, I'd defend him here:
    "Wright also resorts to psychobabble: Top 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta's "turn to terror," we are told, probably "had as much to do with his own conflicted sexuality as it did with the clash of civilizations." This makes explicit the suggestion Wright made implicitly regarding Qutb:

    These guys are levying war not because they believe, with some justification, that their religion commands it; they simply can't relate to women.
    Not necessarily babble at all, imo:
    If you picture these two swells as smooth, irresistable Babe-Magnets, (AND COMFORTABLE ABOUT IT)
    do you still imagine they would be as driven to Raisin Nirvanna?
    I reminded Al of Andy's feet of Clay:
    He claimed his Buddy Fitzpatrick was four-square red white and blue patriot of impeccable morals.
    I say he's proven himself to be just another fame-seeking prosecutorial pile of shit.
    Although Al is monitering this diatribe, he will comment on it in another forum, for some strange reason.
    (maybe like Atta and Qutb?)

  8. Dan Critiques Tigerhawk in a linked piece:
    "Very well written essay but I think you are coming up short.

    First, I think you ignore the big elephant in the room, namely Islam itself. The democratic Muslim “Average Abdul” will still be taught that his religion is superior and that infidels must be conquered. Ok so he hates the Jihadi’s methods, but I guarantee he sympathizes with the Jihadi’s goals. And therein lays the problem: Islam itself.

    Secondly, perhaps “Average Abdul” will indeed be turning in the deplorable Jihadis but mainly because the Jihadi is foolishly targeting Muslims. Had the Jihadi stuck to killing Infidels, that is perfectly ok with a whole lot of them.

    So your argument has a good thesis, but ultimately will fail.
    Why? Because we need to destroy not only the Jihadists, but their source of inspiration:
    Islam itself.

  9. Sorry, the Turks bore me to tears for some reason!
    That, or really piss me off!

  10. In Turkey, who or what constitutes the "left wing" demonstrators?

    Commies, secularists, democrats?

  11. Nice welcoming demo for Lord Acton.