The things you own end up owning you.

Tip of the Iceberg: Hilmi Özkök and internal dynamics of the Turkish Army

Last week, Ertugrul Özkök of the Hürriyet Daily Newspaper reflected an anecdote he heard from former Chief of the Naval Forces Ilhami Erdil (Erdil was trialled during his tenure due to misuse of his post and forced out of the army). Erdil told Özkök, that after every National Security Council meeting, the chief commanders meet in one of their houses and have dinner together, to discuss the meeting and to relax. Erdil explained Özkök that Hilmi Özkök was actually not drinking alcohol was pretending to do so, which was revealed by then Chief of Staff Kivrikoglu during the dinner. This is one of the various attacks on Hilmi Özkök and his style of dealing with the so-called Islamists.

What is more interesting is Hilmi Özkök remarks on this incident. He sent a letter to Radikal’s Murat Yetkin. I quote:

“”I was not built to be ordinary or to choose the easier way, nor do my background and education support that. Had I acted like everybody else, everyone would leave me alone today and I would be enjoying a happy retirement. But I was not ordinary. I chose to be a good observer. I chose not to be condescending to others and took lessons from the things they did. I chose to improve what I thought was good and find new methods for what I thought was inadequate.

I always strived to realize goals worthy of Turkey and its glorious military. ” My experience with working in international command centres gave me the opportunity to see various approaches. I always tried to apply these to the military instead of opting for the ease of continuing the practices of the past.

I never did any of this to look different. Perhaps I was misunderstood because I couldn’t express myself very well. I became a target of accusations by people who thought I was opposing them. Some really did not understand, while others acted as if they did not understand in order to continue their ‘lion trainer’ role.”

I always made an effort to avoid involving the military in politics, staying faithful to my oath. I did not do anything the law forbade me to do, but I did everything the law told me to do in the best way I could. The irony is that there were those who fought me for not openly fighting with the government; there were those who condemned me for being a democrat; there were those who were not pleased with me doing my duty to protect the interests of the military behind closed doors. But they would have been applauding me had I gotten into battles of words. I never felt that I needed to kowtow to anyone.

“Those who ignored me, saying that ‘the effect won’t change as long as the cause stays in place,’ accused me of being silent against [Islamic fundamentalism]. But the reality was that Feb. 28 was an unavoidable move that was demanded by the conditions of the day. I would never blame them for anything. What’s more, those officers did not have a Feb. 28 experience to rely on from the past. But I did have such an experience from the past. I have seen, how things done for the goodwilll by purging others opened the road of the others as well. Looking back at the events of the past, that when the military touches politics, this causes ‘tremendous benefit’ for politics and politicians in this country. This is why my style was different.”

The letter clearly shows the inside games within the Army. we will continue to comment on this letter.


December 26, 2008 Posted by | Turkish daily, Turkish Politics, world politics world critics | Leave a comment

The niveau of Discussions in Turkey and the issue of Intersubjectivities

Intersubjectivities can be summarised briefly as “those shared notions of the nature of social relations which tend to perpetuate habits and expectations of behaviour” (Cox, 2007, 516). Intersubjectivities can be taken as the fundamental upon which social discourses take place, they are in a way the reflections of the common sense at a definitive place and time. They frame the possibilities of discussions, and possible options, they draw the limits of possible. They are not unique nor they are essentials which are constant in time and close to change. They are a part of the human mind, and as the human mind modifies itself through the contact with the material conditions in which it finds itself, they do change. We can discern the historical evolution of these intersubjectivities and by doing so we can (if we wish to) strive to change them through political action.

Controversial issues and the discussions that took place around them is a time of photo opportunity for the curious intellectual. The more controversial the issue the more sentimental and natural the discussion. They are the gateway to understand the niveau of the discussions and intersubjectivities shared by people who feel themselves mentally belong to a specific groups of social forces.

In Turkey such a discussion began to take place during the last week, following such a controversial campaign on a even more controversial issue.
Some independent intellectuals of Turkey, decided to sign a petition to present their excuse for the neglect of research and action on the issue of the ‘Grreat Tragedy’ the Armenian people experienced during the 1915. Turkey sometimes digs her head in the ground and behave like the three-monkeys, never heard, never saw, never spoken about it. Since the last decade, the issue of the Armenian tragedy was officially forgotten. If yes, then it is portrayed as a case in which Ottoman Armenians collaborated with the Russians and other enemies during the First War and hence forces to leave their home and deported to south of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish state officially accepts that there were a number of death, this was due to bad weather and famine. In no ways, an assault on the population took place. Anyone questioning this would have to bear harsh criticisms and be labelled as a traitor.

The President Gül, commented on the campaign and he said that it is good for the maturing of the Turkish democracy. Paradoxically, a parliamentarian from the allegedly social democrat, member of the Socialist International, the party of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi. She is a member of Parliament from the most social-democrat city of Turkey, the secular castle of Izmir. She commented that one has to search the President’s mother’s families ties, to understand the President’s smooth respond to the campaign. She by no means meant that the mother of the President is to be an Armenian. This kind of a fascist tone that easily pronounced by such a lady MP. This is the time to shoot the film, and to take a snapshot of the intersubjectivities in Turkey.

During the last 5 years, I have been seeing a proliferation of Turkish flags in houses and streets in Turkey. Sometimes these are near the autobahns, on the mountains and at the balconies of houses. One can have the feeling that Turkey just came out of the war gloriously. In the last 10 years, private TV channels are pumping nationalist images through bad-quality Turkish series. The character is mostly a Turkish and Muslim hero, fighting against the bad word of underground or PKK or even the United States. Crazyheart they call this kind of people.

This is a new dimension of the intersubjectivity in Turkey. The Sevres Syndrome, which always seeks external enemies behind all actions in Turkey, and such intellectuals were mostly seen as collaborative of external agents. They can be puppets of SOROS, of CIA and the covert world. They cannot have their own idea and own motivation to question an issue in Turkey, it is impossible because it is an intersubjectively acceptance that there is always a plot against the Turkish state.

The President’s reply, is another wonderful moment of photography. A sudden rush of sentimentality. The President officially announced his family tree, and shared with the people, that he was a Muslim and a Turk. So he officially certified his identity. He was not an Armenian, as if being an Armenian is something bad. How can she blame her mother as Armenian? I would be happy if the conversation ended here, but it went, I am a Muslim Turk, i cannot be an Armenian. Both parts of the discussion illustrate the niveau of discussions in Turkey nowadays.

Prime Minister Erdogan was again fantastic on his comments about the issue. He said, “They must have committed genocide because they are apologizing. The Turkish Republic has no such problem.” – “We cannot join a campaign such as this just because writers started it. Personally I do not accept their campaign, nor take part in it. We did not commit any crime, why should we apologize? This is a debate discussed by historians.”

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Critical Theory, Turkish daily, Turkish Politics | 2 Comments

Eric Hobsbawm Interview at the Christopher Lydon’s Open Source

In an hour’s conversation in Hobsbawm’s house in Hampstead Heath, we didn’t have time to revisit the famously exotic dimensions of his life: his quasi-religious attachment to Communism and his fascination with jazz, or the polar views of the man and his work. Link here to the loving, the venomous and the measured. Hobsbawm’s bookshelves groan with a lot of my favorite jazz tomes, like Stanley Dance’s The World of Count Basie, and Robert Gottlieb’s collection, Reading Jazz. I am sending him Arthur Taylor’s marvelous interviews with the post-Parker jazz stars through the Civil Rights revolution, Notes and Tones. But in the time we had, it seemed best to hear the crunchy numbers and sweeping authority that are acknowledged from all points of the history profession — not least from his young opposite number, the neo-imperialist Niall Ferguson .

I asked him to speak of the themes in his pithy new book: On Empire: America, War and Global Supremacy. I said it’s still mysterious to me that Tony Blair and long post-imperial Britain followed President Bush and the United States into Iraq.”

Direct quote from:
The interview:

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Critical Theory, Philosophers, world politics world critics | Leave a comment

Eric Hobsbawm Comments on the World Economic Crisis – BBC

erichobsbawmIs the intellectual opinion of capitalism changing? British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, “arguably our greatest living historian” according to the New York Review, discusses the current economic crisis and the problems with a free market economy.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Critical Theory, Philosophers, world politics world critics | Leave a comment

Hannah Arendt interview in ARTE

check this interview at

December 14, 2008 Posted by | documentaries | Leave a comment

Yasar Kemal at the Presidential Palace

Online speech of Turkish author Yasar Kemal

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Turkish Politics | Leave a comment

Annais Nin

anais-nin1 Two nice web-pages on the famous diarist and writer Annais Nin.

Photo taken from:

Pdf Document: Delta of Venus

Nin, Anaïs – Delta of Venus

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Journalism and Journalists, Literature - Bibliography - Belleten | Leave a comment

Joe Satriani meets Asik Veysel

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Music Reviews, Music.only.good music, Turkish daily | Leave a comment

Deniz Baykal’s Metamorphosis

herseyi-ustume-yapacan-miOne day, as Deniz Baykal was waking up from anxious dreams in which his rival T. Erdogan repetitively defeated him in the elections, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a tolerant-peace loving politician. The first thing that came to his mind was to recruit as many as women with headscarf to the Republican People’s Party – Chumhuriyet Halk Partisi. With this enthusiasm he jumped out of the bed and headed to the Party headquarters.  Whilst in the car he told the driver to stop by a tank-station and fetch a Orhan Gencebay cd. As he was by now a tolerant politician he wanted to catch up the things he lost in the last half of a century. The driver looked with astonished eyes and did what it’s told.

295320In the beginning of the CD Orhan Gencebay was talking about his music life and before singing his “Batsin bu dünya – let this world sink” classic he was saying “Daha güzel, daha mutlu, daha adil sevgi dolu bir dünya icin, baris icin, insanlik icin batsin bu dünya – For a better, for a happier, for a juster love-full world, for peace, for humanity let this world sink”. Deniz Baykal liked this, and as Orhan Gencebay was “the” popular guy in town, why not he wouldnt be the same. He called the party headquarters and told them to print a big poster saying – ulusal birligimiz icin, bayragimiz icin,  özgürce ibadet icin, baris ve kardeslik icin, laik demokratik türkiye icin CHP’Ye – for our national unity, for our flag, for the right to prey freely, for a secular democratic Turkey votes to CHP”. The party members were found of this new idea and the new opening.

Later he went to the Sultanbeyli municipality in Istanbul, one of the castles of the AKP in Istanbul. First time in the history of the RPP, Deniz Baykal was hand in hand with the people which he opposed for a short time, the religious-conservative circles and women with headscarf. As i said, Deniz Baykal changed a lot since the morning. Behind the talking scene, he had his new poster and a big laugh in his face. Yeah the story of the metamorphosis 🙂

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Turkish daily, Turkish Politics | Leave a comment