Monday, November 30, 2009

We don't need ancient stones to talk when we have Nicene Creed to read

We don't need ancient stones to talk when we have Nicene Creed to read | The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN
Ancient history seems not so ancient when you can see it, touch it, feel it, walk around in it. Living in Turkey gives me the opportunity to do exactly that just about every day. In the center of the suburb where I live on the edge of Istanbul stands a collection of brick and stone ruins that date back at least a thousand years to the Byzantine Empire.

No one around here seems to know really how old they are, but comparing them to other structures in the area leads me to believe that they may be close to 2,000 years old. When Thomas Jefferson penned the words of the Declaration of Independence, these ancient ruins had already stood for centuries. Some of the local residents actually use them today, keeping chickens underneath the vaulted ceilings of what appears to be either a Roman bathhouse or a church.

Just three hours south of Istanbul, on the other side of a large bay and over a modest mountain range, is the verdant valley of Nicea, or Iznik, as it's known in Turkish. The ancient town of Nicea sits next to a huge lake surrounded by olive-tree-covered mountains. For the past 500 years or more, Turks have lived in the town, growing olives and gardens, fishing in the lake and drinking strong cups of Turkish coffee while they sit chatting mostly about nothing in particular.

Romans built a large wall around Nicea, marking it as an important city in the region. The Turks have left the Roman structures intact, so you can find in Nicea one of the most completely preserved city walls in the country. One of the gates is dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, built close to the time the Romans built Hadrian's Wall across England to keep out the barbaric tribes of Scotland. In other words, it is all really old - but there it is, still standing around Nicea with turrets, gates, and lots of lots of bricks.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkish Military Planned Attacks on Christians

Turkish Military Planned Attacks on Christians |
Senior Turkish military officers had made extensive plans to terrorize non-Muslims in Turkey. In the large Ergenekon[1] scandal recently a well-planned terrorist operation was revealed. The operation which is called "Kafes Operasyonu Eylem Planı", in English meaning "the execution of the cage - operation" was to eliminate the remaining small group of Christians living in Turkey today.

The plan was revealed when police arrested Levent Bektas, a major in the Turkish army. The evidence seized reveals more than 27 officers and senior military officers involved in the conspiracy against Christians.

In order to identify key persons among the Christians and then kill them, this terrorist network has broken into a Greek Church congregation compound and stolen computers. The purpose of this was to access the congregation’s member lists.

"When our office was emptied of computers and files, church members were very concerned. Since the murder of the monk Santoro, the journalist Hrant Dink and the brutal murder of three publishing workers in Malatya, Christians are living in constant fear", said lawyer Kezban Hatemi, representing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Constantinople (Istanbul).

On 28 November 2007, the Syriac Orthodox monk Daniel Savci in Turabdin was kidnapped in southeastern Turkey. The monk resides in the St. Gabriel monastery, which Turkish authorities are trying to confiscate. A few days later the monk was found beaten. Shortly after, the police arrested some village guards, a state-sanctioned militia subordinate to the Turkish army, for the kidnapping. Many people with insight into the situation interpret the kidnapping as a direct threat to the remaining Assyrians in Turabdin.

Christians were attacked across the country. To implement the strategic attacks, the country's Christian population was mapped out and 939 key persons from different parts of the country were identified as potential targets.

The fully detailed operation consists of four phases: preparation, spreading propaganda, shape opinion and execute.

The newspaper Taraf, which has been able to access the information, has published several articles about this. On its website it is described in detail how the plan to attack the Christians was to be implemented.

Below are some points that constitute the plan's main lines.

* Christians are mapped
* Famous and wealthy Christian businessmen kidnapped
* Systematic fires and looting of Christian businesses
* The Armenian newspaper AGOS be subjected to several explosions
* Murder patrols executing attacks against selected individuals
* Christian cemeteries subjected to explosions
* Churches and institutions belonging to Christians subjected to explosions
* Put the blame on imaginary militant organizations

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Court Seeks Help to Link Murders in Turkey to ‘Deep State’

Court Seeks Help to Link Murders in Turkey to ‘Deep State’
Judges and prosecutors in the trial regarding the murder of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey, on Friday renewed their request for help from the Istanbul High Criminal Court as reports mounted linking the slayings to top gendarmerie officials.

The Malatya court judges overseeing hearings on the murders of Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske requested that the Istanbul criminal court establish whether the case was linked to the controversial cabal of military, political and other influential figures, Ergenekon, which has allegedly been trying to overthrow the government by upsetting Turkey's peace.

For the last two and a half years prosecuting lawyers have established the case that Emre Gunaydin, Salih Gurler, Cuma Ozdemir, Hamit Ceker and Abuzer Yildirim, who were caught at the murder scene on April 18, 2007, were not acting independently but were incited by Turkey's "deep state," an expression of which is Ergenekon.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Religious dispute in Turkey

The Alevis are the largest religious minority in Turkey, it is hoped that they might help win freedoms for all religious minorities here.

Religious dispute in Turkey | News from Armenia -
Last week token visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Tunceli (province in the Eastern Anatolia region, Turkey) worship house did not produce a strong effect, as thousands gathered in Kadikoy district of Istanbul calling the Government to respect their rights, Turkish Hurriyet informs.

Thousands of Alevis took to Istanbul streets on Nov. 8 demanding to “abolish the Religious Affairs Directorate, eliminate compulsory religious-education classes, recognize cemevis as legitimate houses of worship, and transform the Madimak Hotel in Sivas, where 33 Alevis were killed by a fundamentalist mob, into a museum,” website reads.

Gul’s visit was labeled “insincere” by Alevis, considered a liberal sect of Shia Islam. “Many presidents have visited cemevis, but what difference does it make when they are not recognized as legal houses of worship?” Hurriyet quotes Ali Balkiz, Chairman of the Alevi-Bektashi Federation, as saying at the rally.

“We cannot make our voice heard through the media and columnists. It is only through these mass movements that awareness can be raised among the public and the Alevi voice can be heard. A year after our last rally, nothing has changed. We will continue to rally until our demands are met. What some call the ‘Alevi issue’ we call a ‘political disgrace,” Balkiz said.

The Alevi is a religious, cultural community in Turkey numbering over tens of million people. Alevism is considered one of Shia Islam branches and their rituals are conducted basically in Turkish, and some in Kurdish.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Muslims, Christians pray together in Polonezköy

Muslims, Christians pray together in Polonezköy - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review
Poles and Turks greeted each other warmly as the priest at the small church in Polonezköy, a village on Istanbul’s Asian outskirts settled by Polish emigrants in the 19th century, invited worshippers to exchange the peace during the All Saints’ Day mass on Nov. 1.

Muslim Turks participating in a Christian ritual was “normal for Polonezköy,” an elderly inhabitant of the town said. The priest conducted the mass in both Polish and Turkish so that everyone could participate. After the mass, the congregants commemorated the deceased at a nearby cemetery with flowers while the priest blessed the gravestones with holy water, just as he would in Poland.