Friday 15th of November 2019

freedom-ish of speech... Redefreiheit-ish

no turkish delight...

Though prosecutors are considering charges that could potentially jail a comedian for three years for insulting Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured left), Merkel said Germany would continue to protect artistic freedom.

The Turkish president himself has requested the charges, taking advantage of a German law that criminalizes insulting foreign leaders.

"Art and these fundamental values are valid regardless of any political problems we are discussing with each other, and that includes the refugee issue," Merkel said Tuesday, referring to a controversial deportation deal between the European Union and Turkey.

During a satirical bit in which he explained what was legal and illegal under German defamation laws, Jan Böhmermann (pictured left) read a "Defamation Poem" in which he called Erdogan "dumb, cowardly and uptight" and said the president engaged in sexual congress with various farmyard animals, and enjoyed oppressing minorities.öhmermann-bit-shouldnt-affect-eu-turkey-deal/a-19181524



freedom of satire...

Either way, Jan Boehmermann always goes a step further than polite society generally allows. Clever, funny and complicated, he has singlehandedly revolutionised German state broadcasting.

During the height of tensions between Athens and Berlin over the Greek debt crisis Boehmermann portrayed Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as a vengeful motorbike-riding sex bomb. But it was his fellow Germans, and the rest of the media establishment, that the comedian was mocking.

jaunty 1930's-style Springtime for Hitler remake wittily highlighted the similarities between the views of the anti-migrant party AfD and Nazi-era politics.

Even refugee helpers have been fair game, as Boehmermann mercilessly portrayed modern, multi-cultural Germans as a self-righteous unstoppable horde of muesli-eating, Birkenstock-wearing sexual perverts.

But for Boehmermann's many fans the fear is now that taking on Turkey's president has been a step too far.

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the power of satire...

Merkel Falls Flat over a Satirical Poem

A Commentary by 

A satirical poem targeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become an affair of state. Chancellor Angela Merkel's handling of the crisis has been abysmal and shows that she is losing her grip on power.

The man has been penalized enough already. If you have to rely on support from Mathias Döpfner, head of the Springer Verlag publishing house, and Dieter Hallervorden, who leads a cabaret theater in Berlin, you're not in great company. If you become famous, if you make history, with a few repugnant lines of clumsy poetry and not with your significant television skills, you have lost control over the popular interpretation of your own work. If the high point of your fame consists of calling the Turkish president a goat fucker and triggering an affair of state, you are not to be envied.

But Jan Böhmermann, author of the deeply insulting lyrical attack on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has little to fear should he face trial for violating German laws prohibiting the insulting of foreign institutions and representatives. Even if he were convicted, the absurdity of a prison sentence seems highly unlikely. And he would likely be able to afford a fine, particularly given the possibility that Döpfner and Hallervorden would take up a collection to help him pay.

The only one who really stands to lose is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In fact, she has already lost. Despite the current focus on the satirist, Böhmermann himself is rather unimportant. The real issue is the chancellor's own power.

It is a curious axiom in the history of political scandals that politicians only rarely stumble over the actual mistakes they make. More often, they trip over their futile and increasingly unsustainable attempts to cover up or eradicate those mistakes. The cascade of missteps made by Merkel in recent months has now found its ignoble low point in the Böhmermann Affair.

Many would say that Merkel's first and greatest error was that of opening Germany's borders to the refugees stuck in Budapest in September 2015. That accusation will not be made here: The chancellor chose a humane response to a dramatic situation. She found support among German citizens who had never before even considered voting for her and in doing so, developed a new following. At the same time, though, she neglected and ultimately lost an older bloc of voters -- the conservative, foreigner-skeptic and at least latently Islamophobic protectors of the German culture. And she relied on the empathy of Germans and -- perhaps out of hubris -- on the assumption that other EU member states would follow her lead. Wrongheaded faith in her own persuasive power was her first mistake.

a declaration of satire discontinuance...


Satire show host Jan Böhmermann is letting the clock run out on signing a declaration of discontinuance, the German lawyer of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed.
Erdogan's council, Michael-Hubertus von Sprenger, told news agency AFP that he is now preparing to file an injunction against the German comedian within the month.
When asked by news agency AFP whether or not the matter will, in the end, be settled in court, von Springer replied: "Yes, I assume."
Two weeks ago, Böhmermann read out a so-called "Defamatory Poem" about Erdogan on his show "Neo Magazine Royale" where he purposefully used insulting language. The declaration of discontinuance called for the 35-year-old comedian to never repeat the poem or start circulating it again.
In a letter rejecting the terms of the cease and desist order, Böhmermann's lawyer, Christian Schertz, wrote that that the context of the poem "has been obviously overlooked," quoted the German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung."
The satirical poem was not broadcast or circulated as a singular item, explained Schertz, "but rather as part of an overall view on what is allowed in Germany and what is not."
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satirically, the satirist stops his satire...


A German comedian, whose satirical poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unleashed a bitter row about freedom of speech, has decided to suspend his own television show.

Key points:
  • Human Rights Watch calls on Germany to defend freedom of speech
  • Poem suggest Turkish President engages in bestiality and watches child porn
  • Some commentators think German Chancellor is trying to placate Turkey amid difficult migrant situation

On Friday, Chancellor Angela Merkel authorised criminal proceedings sought by Turkey against the popular comic Jan Boehmermann, who could be convicted under the rarely-enforced section 103 of the criminal code — insulting organs or representatives of foreign states.

Ms Merkel's decision has appalled rights bodies such as Human Rights Watch, which called on German authorities to defend freedom of speech, "even if the contents of the speech are offensive to some".

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the whining of a despot...

Breaking weeks of silence, the popular German comedian Jan Boehmermann blasted the German Chancellor for placing the whining of a “despot” above freedom of speech in her own country.

On Tuesday, embattled German comedian Jan Boehmermann blasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for acquiescing to Turkey’s demands to prosecute him under German libel laws.

The popular comic initiated a firestorm in Ankara when, during a television broadcast in March, he called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a "goatf**ker" who enjoyed child pornography.

Under German libel law, slandering the name of a foreign head of state in public is punishable by a one-year prison sentence, if deemed accidental, and five-years in prison if purposeful. The law provides German courts discretion over whether to authorize prosecution.

In the wake of the complaints, the German Chancellor called Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to convey her opinion that the statements were "deliberately insulting," and offered to prosecute the matter to the fullest extent of the law.

At the time, the European Union was nearing an agreement with the Turkish government regarding Syrian refugees. That arrangement, which advanced following assurances by Merkel, called for transporting 1 million European-based refugees to Turkey, in return for over $3 billion in cash and an acceleration of Turkey’s application for EU membership.

Boehmermann, who found himself a geopolitical casualty, alongside with the Western tradition of free speech, broke several weeks of silence in an interview with the weekly Die Zeit magazine.

"The Chancellor must not wobble when it’s a matter of freedom of opinion," said the comedian.

"But instead, she filleted me, served me for tea to a highly-strung despot and made me into a German Ai Weiwei," he said referring to the Chinese dissident artist.

Public support for Germany’s Merkel cascaded following the decision to prosecute Bohmermann under an obscure libel law, as members of her own governing coalition called for a reversal of the statute.

Despite being on the books, the law against insulting a foreign head of state has rarely been enforced, with German officials refusing to prosecute a resident who criticized former President Bush in 2003.


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satanic verses...


Johnson, the London mayor from 2008-16, who was the Spectator’s editor from 1999 to 2005, was urged to join the competition by Murray himself during an interview he gave to the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche last week. Murray, a regular contributor to the Spectator, is known for his neo-conservative writing highly critical of Islam. Like Johnson, Murray is an Old Etonian who went to Oxford.

When asked about his attitude to the developments around Böhmermann’s trial, Johnson called it a “scandal,” and described the lawsuit as an encroachment on the freedom of speech in Europe.

“If somebody wants to make a joke about the love that flowers between the Turkish president and a goat, he should be able to do so, in any European country, including Turkey,” Johnson said. The former mayor, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, has Turkish blood himself, with his great-grandfather being an ethnic Turk.

Johnson’s limerick reads:

“There was a young fellow from Ankara
Who was a terrific wan****r
Till he sowed his wild oats
With the help of a goat
But he didn’t even stop to thankera”

Although, the winner “breached” some rules set by Murray for applicants, for instance, not to use the bawdy rhyme with Ankara that was used in Johnson’s poem, the choice of a £1,000 prize recipient was of a symbolic nature, according to the journalist.

“Finest thing possible that in the UK, in Great Britain, in 2016 you can award a prize to a political leader for insulting a despot in Ankara, while in Germany in 2016, a political leader tries to slam people up in prison,” he said, commenting on his decision to turn a blind eye to flaws in the poem for the sake of delivering a political message.

Anticipating a harsh reaction from Ankara, the journalist advised the Turkish leader to respond in verse rather than through litigation.

“The normal response one should make to a poem you don’t like about yourself is to write an equally rude poem back,” he said, adding that Erdogan’s clampdown on the media and zero tolerance to any criticism “has made him a worldwide laughing stock.”

insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deserves medals...

A Turkish court has convicted a former Miss Turkey of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, giving her a 14-month suspended prison sentence.

Merve Buyuksarac, 27, was found guilty of insulting a public official for postings she made on social media. She denied insulting Mr Erdogan.

Her lawyer says he will file a formal objection to the verdict and take the case to a higher court.

Rights groups have criticised Turkey for backtracking on freedom of speech.

Almost 2,000 people, including celebrities and schoolchildren, have been prosecuted in Turkey for insulting the president since he came to office in 2014, under a previously little-used law.

Merve Buyuksarac, the 2006 Miss Turkey, was briefly detained last year for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account in 2014.

The posting, an adaptation of the Turkish national anthem, was shared thousands of times on social media, and it was considered by prosecutors to be insulting to Mr Erdogan, who was then prime minister.

Her sentence was suspended on condition that she does not reoffend within the next five years.


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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Muslims to reject contraception and have more children.

In a speech broadcast live on TV, he said "no Muslim family" should consider birth control or family planning.

"We will multiply our descendants," said Mr Erdogan, who became president in August 2014 after serving as prime minister for 12 years.

His AK Party has its roots in Islamism and many of its supporters are conservative Muslims.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey's ruthless president

Is life getting worse for women in Erdogan's Turkey?

In Monday's speech in Istanbul, the Turkish leader placed the onus on women, particularly on "well-educated future mothers", to not use birth control and to ensure the continued growth of Turkey's population.

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When bigoted idiots like Edorgan rule the planet, we can only cry... Increasing the world population is a crime against the future.

gollum does not like criticism...

A Turkish court has given a suspended sentence to a man who drew parallels between pictures of the president and ‘Lord of the Rings’ character Gollum. The offender will be put behind bars for a year should he commit a similar ‘crime’ within five years.

A court in the southwest province of Antalya on Thursday convicted Rifat Cetin of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for juxtaposing him with the famous book character. The ‘culprit’ was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for five years.

Turkish court calls for experts to establish whether Erdogan looks like… Gollum?

— RT (@RT_com) 1 декабря 2015 г.

In 2014, Cetin posted three photographs of Erdogan and not-so-great looking “small and slimy” creature on Facebook, implying that the two look alike. Both Erdogan and Gollum had similar facial expressions. Cetin argued that his post was entirely “harmless.”

Another man, Bilgin Ciftci, is also facing accusations for sharing similar photographs. Ciftci, a physician, insulted the president when he shared a meme comparing Erdogan’s and Gollum’s eating habits and emotions. Ciftci was then expelled from the Public Health Institution of Turkey (THSK) in October.

According to Turkish laws, anyone who insults Turkey’s president may be punished with a prison sentence of up to four years.

READ MORE: German court again rejects Erdogan's attempt to silence critical publisher

As Erdogan was serving as prime minister back in 2014, Cetin said he would appeal the court’s ruling, Turkish media reported.

Erdogan has been trying to suppress any kind of criticism regarding his image and policies. He has received accusations from the international community for backtracking on freedom of speech and leading a clampdown on a wide number of media outlets, journalists and academics.

equally lampooned before the law...

In a democracy, everyone is normally equal before the law. The German Basic Law provides for this in Article 3, Paragraph 1. But in the legal jungle some are still more equal than others — as demonstrated by Paragraph 103 of the penal code book, entitled "Insults to Bodies and Representatives of Foreign States." This law is based on the old paragraphs from 1871 regarding lese majesty — insulting the sovereign. Anyone convicted on the basis of this paragraph gets up to five years in jail, while someone who insults his neighbor gets off with a fine, or at worst — in very exceptional instances — a year in jail. But why should people receive a different punishment for insulting a head of state than for insulting an ordinary citizen?

This New Year's Day, the law has finally been abolished. The reason for doing it now was the brouhaha about a libelous poem by the satirist Jan Böhmermann.

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why some of europe is ambiguous about refugees...

In Berlin, in January 2015, a march for tolerance united political and Muslim leaders in reaction to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Madame Merkel marched arm in arm with Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. Although he pretends to have broken with the Muslim Brotherhood, and maintains an open dialogue, Mr. Mazyek offers protection within his organisation to the Milli Gorus (the supremacist organisation of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) and the Muslim Brotherhood (the matrix of jihadist organisations, under the international presidency of Mahmoud Ezzat, ex-right hand of Sayyid Qutb).


Relations between Germany and Syria, which used to be excellent under Emperor Wilhelm II, are today abysmal. This is because since the Cold War, Berlin has become the backyard for the Muslim Brotherhood in their attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. Since 2012, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the federal think-tank SWP have been working directly on behalf of the US deep state for the destruction of the country.

Historically, Germany maintained excellent relations with the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was fascinated by Islam, pursued archeological excavations, notably in Baalbeck, and participated in the construction of the first railways, including the Damascus -Medina line. The Reich and the Sublime Porte stood together against the British when they organised the « Great Arab Revolt » of 1915. Then they lost the First World War, and as a result, were excluded from the region (Sykes-Picot-Sazovov agreements).

During the Cold War, the CIA recuperated some of the best Nazi officers in order to continue its struggle against the USSR. Among them were Gerhard von Mende, who had recruited Soviet Muslims against Moscow [1]. In 1953, this senior civil servant installed the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood outside of Egypt, Saïd Ramadan, in Munich [2].

In the same period, the CIA secretly sent Nazi officers all over the world to fight the pro-Soviets. For example, Otto Skorzeny went to Egypt, Fazlollah Zahedi went to Iran, and Alois Brunner [3] to Syria. They all organised the local secret services on the model of the Gestapo. Brunner was only to be ousted much later, in 2000, by President Bachar el-Assad.

In the period between the Khomeinist revolution of 1979 and the attacks of 9/11, West Germany remained prudent in their dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, at the demand of the CIA, and while Syria recognised East Germany, it accepted to offer political asylum to the putschists who attempted the coup d’etat of 1982 against President Hafez el-Assad, including the ex-Supreme Guide Issam al-Attar (brother of Syrian Vice-President Najah el-Attar). In the 1990’s, the Brotherhood reorganised itself in Germany with the assistance of two businessmen, the Syrian Ali Ghaleb Himmat and the Egyptian Youssef Nada, who was later to be accused by Washington of financing Oussma Ben Laden.

When the United States began the « never-ending war » in the « Greater Middle East », the CIA encouraged reunified Germany to launch a « Dialogue with the Muslim world ». In Berlin, the Minister for Foreign Affairs based his work for that purpose mostly on the new local chief of the Brotherhood, Ibrahim el-Zayat, and on an expert, Volker Perthes, who would become the director of the main federal think-tank, the Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP).

In 2005, Germany participated in the assassination of Rafic Hariri by supplying the weapon which was used to kill him - (it was obviously not a classic explosive, contrary to the propaganda of the special « Tribunal ») [4]. Thereafter, Germany supplied the head of the UNO Enquiry, ex-prosecutor Detlev Mehlis [5], and his assistant, ex-police commissioner Gerhard Lehmann, who was implicated in the affair of secret CIA prisons.

In 2008, while the CIA was preparing the Syrian « civil war », Volker Perthes was invited by NATO to the annual reunion of the Bilderberg Group. He worked with a Syrian civil servant of the CIA, Bassma Kodmani. Together, they explained to all participants the profit that could be made by the West by overthrowing the Syrian Arab Republic and placing the Muslim Brotherhood in power. Having adopted the double language of the Brotherhood, in 2001 he wrote an op-ed in the New York Timesmocking President Assad who believed he had unearthed a « conspiracy » against his country [6]. In October of the same year, he participated in a meeting of Turkish business leaders organised by the private US intelligence agency, Stratfor. He told his listeners of the oil and gas resources that they could steal from Syria [7].

Expanding this work, Germany organised in Abou Dhabi a meeting of the Friends of Syria under the presidency of one of its diplomats, Clemens von Goetze, who shared among those present the future concessions for exploitation which would be awarded to the winners once NATO overthrew the Syrian Arab Republic [8].

In mid-2012, Volker Perthes was tasked by the US Department of Defense with preparing « The Day After » (in other words the government which would be imposed on Syria). He organised meetings at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with the participation of 45 Syrian personalities, including his friend Bassma Kodmani and Muslim Brother Radwan Ziadeh, who had come especially from Washington [9]. Finally, Perthes became one of Jeffrey Feltman’s assistants at the UNO. With that title, he participated in all the Geneva negotiations.

The positions of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs were adopted word for word by the European External Action Service (EEAS) of Federica Mogherini. This administration, directed by a French senior civil servant, drew up confidential notes on Syria for the heads of state and government of the Union.

In 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had become the world protector of the Muslim Brotherhood, organised the transfer of more than a million people to Germany [10], thus conforming to the demand by German industrial business leaders. A number of these migrants are Syrians, including those the AKP no longer wants, and which Germany does not want to return home.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Beirut and Amman this week to talk about Syria.

Thierry Meyssan

Pete Kimberley


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And now, on the footsteps of Donald Trump...:


German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her official visit to Jordan has supported the US stance on Iran, speaking about the country's alleged "aggressive tendencies."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated Thursday, after her talks with Jordanian King Abdullah, that Iran's "aggressive tendencies" should be countered.

At the moment, Merkel is paying an official visit to Jordan, one of Germany's most important trading partners, along with Italy, accompanied by a delegation of German parliamentarians and business people.

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Of course Turkey and Saudi Arabia are angels... Guffaw.


Meanwhile in the Mediterranean


The Circuit of Death in the « Greater Mediterranean »

by Manlio Dinucci

A very strange traffic is crossing the Mediterranean – in one direction, weapons to Africa and the Middle East – in the other, refugees who are the victims of these weapons. Unsurprisingly, the European political leaders are pretending not to know the main cause of these migrations.

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With no end in sight to the EU refugee crisis, Berlin and Paris look to put the burden of dealing with asylum seekers on the countries where they first register. The seeming return to ‘old rules’ is poised to split Europe further.

During their meeting ahead of the EU summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to “jointly and resolutely tackle” what they euphemistically called “secondary movements inside the EU.” An elusive wording used in the so-called Meseberg Declaration adopted by the two leaders effectively means one thing: Macron and Merkel want all the newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants to stay in the EU countries where they were first registered while their cases are being processed. This would leave the EU southern member states to deal with the new arrivals alone.


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turkish delightful "friends"...

The Turkish economy is now caught in a vicious circle, partly due to its structural imbalances, but also to the unintended consequences of global monetary policies. The lira is becoming drastically oversold, just as it was probably overvalued in the recent past. This is the same trap that other smaller currencies have fallen into, because they are exposed through trade and investments to the extreme policies in the large currency areas – the U.S. dollar and the euro.

Serious error

Washington cannot be blamed for these problems. However, taking advantage of Turkey’s financial difficulties to secure political gains (freeing Mr. Brunson, blocking procurement of Russian arms, influencing Ankara’s policies in Syria) will only worsen the lira’s downward spiral. In the long term, it might prove shortsighted. Experience shows that political bargains are more likely to be struck through quiet diplomacy, applying leverage behind the scenes, rather than by twisting arms in public. That only makes the negotiating partner lose face.

Europe would also be well advised to look for ways to help Ankara instead of indulging in schadenfreude. Turkey is an important partner in politics and trade. Berlin, at least, appears to have recognized this and will be receiving Mr. Erdogan for a visit in late August. One hopes the discussions will be constructive.

What Turkey needs now are friends. Bashing the country, or using the crisis to back it into a corner to achieve other objectives, can only backfire and make the monetary crisis worse. All it would accomplish would be to push a longtime ally in the wrong direction. It certainly will not help Ankara make the right decisions.


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turkey finds friends in europe...

The ongoing US-Turkish tariff spat has opened a window of opportunity for Ankara and Brussels to mend fences, Turkish scholar Can Baydarol told Sputnik, explaining how EU member-states and Turkey found themselves on the same side of the barricades amid Donald Trump's trade warfare.

Washington's crackdown on Turkey has borne unexpected fruit: the EU has seemingly grown softer towards Ankara amid the Turkish-American tariff spat.

"After the US unleashed an economic war on Turkey, EU countries have started making important statements," Can Baydarol, vice president of the EU and Globalization Studies Association, told Sputnik Turkey. "First, the European Parliament, then Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of Italian politicians have raised their voices to defend Turkey."

Baydarol noted that Ankara had returned the favor by releasing two Greek military servicemen that had been detained for five months in a Turkish prison.


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din özgürlüğü keyfi - freedom of religion arbitrariness...

The Turkish government has forced the leaders of 18 Jewish and Christian churches to sign a declaration attesting to enjoying religious freedom. Among the signatories are Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, Armenian Bishop Aram Ateşyan and Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva.

This statement was published by the Anadolu National Agency [1] and then quoted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to assure he is not persecuting Christians.

This strange case comes against the backdrop of Turkey’s request for extradition from the United States of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen; the US refusal to deliver this CIA collaborator; and the retaliatory arrest by Turkey of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson.

Ankara is now trying to blackmail Washington and exchange one religious person for another. Relying on the statement extorted from the Armenian and Orthodox churches, President Erdoğan assures that his country respects freedom of religion.

Recall that Turkish law prohibits the construction of Christian places of worship. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is not recognized by Turkey. Christian seminaries were closed by the police in 1971 so that it was no longer possible to train priests or pastors. Many churches and monasteries have been seized.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan salutes by making the hand sign of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Roger Lagassé


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improvements because of trump...

Berlin Softens Tone on Turkey

Germany has gone soft on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he became the subject of attacks by U.S. President Donald Trump. Leaders in Berlin are concerned that any instability might spread to Europe -- and they want to send a message to the American government. By DER SPIEGEL Staff

Officials in Berlin political circles have often complained about Turkey's president. 

There was the spring of 2017, when he accused the German government of adopting Nazi methods. Or when he explained to "his" compatriots, Turkish-Germans, in the German election that they shouldn't vote for the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), because they were "enemies of Turkey." Or when he stayed silent after the Turkish press depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a Hitler moustache. 

Now, members of the German government are describing another president's behavior as "outrageous" and "primitive" -- not Recep Tayyip Erdogan but Donald Trump, who picked a quarrel with Turkey and imposed duties and sanctions on the country, sending the Turkish lira into a tailspin. 

Government officials argue that everyone knows the Turks don't allow themselves to be intimidated like that. Ultimately, Trump will fail to secure the release of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson, they argue, and he will instead poison relations between Turkey and the West. 

Now, it's Trump of all people who is pushing Germany and Turkey back together.

The looming collapse of the Turkish economy is a genuine dilemma for the German government. It doesn't want the Turkish economy to fall deeper into crisis, no matter what. "If Turkey becomes unstable, we'll have a huge problem in Europe," claim sources close to Merkel. They are worried about potential consequences for the eurozone and the German economy, about the 3 million Turks living in Germany and about the possible unraveling of the deal with Ankara that is preventing more refugees from making their way to Europe.


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not a comedic demand

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan halt his military incursion into northern Syria. But why would the Turkish leader listen? After all, he has 3.6 million reasons not to.

Merkel demanded that Erdogan bring his military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria to an “immediate end” in a phone call on Sunday, a German government spokeswoman said.

Merkel’s admonishment comes as EU leaders prepare to meet in Luxembourg this week to plot a joint response to Erdogan’s ‘Operation Peace Spring’, launched on Wednesday following a withdrawal of US forces in the region. Turkish warplanes have been pounding Kurdish positions across the Syrian border, while ground forces backed by Syrian rebel groups have moved in to strike the Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey considers terrorists.


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