BAD NEWS: Turkey’s Erdogan celebrates victory as count points to tight win

Turkey has been a NATO ally and a shaky one at best.

 

When the 10th Mountain Division from Ft. Drumm, NY was ready to close off the mountains of Tora Bora as President Bush launched his first attack in retaliation for Islamic jihadists attack on the twin trade towers on

 

911-01, the Turks changed their minds and would not allow the troops to seal off the area where Osama bin Laden was believed to be hiding at the time.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Tayyip Erdogan want’s Sharia law.

One of the key founding elements of modern Turkey as created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 was secularism enshrined in law and the constitution.

 

If Turkey doesn’t get its act together, can its continued membership in NATO be assured?

How We Nearly Caught Osama bin Laden in 2001.

The war in Afghanistan (2001–present) began on October 7, 2001,  when President George W. Bush gave the order to begin “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

 

Knock Knock, Anybody Home?

 

The legacy of the young Turks could be ended in the near future as Turkish Parliament President Ismail Kahraman of the AKP has called for the abolition of secularism in the Turkish constitution, Spiegel Online reports.

Kahraman said, “we are a Muslim country. As a consequence we must have a religious constitution,” and along with other leading members of the AKP denounced the idea of a secular Turkish state saying, “secularism must no longer play a role in the new constitution.” Kahraman is the head of the Turkish parliament.

Erdogan is strongly in favor of a secular Islamic state. (Source)

Soldiers give a tongue in cheek showing of the cave complexes where thousands of Taliban and Osama bin Laden were likely hiding.

Seriously, humor is always useful, especially during war.

 

 

 
 Reuters
 
 By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Humeyra Pamuk | ANKARA/ISTANBUL
Update: Aprill 16, 2017

President Tayyip Erdogan celebrated what he said was a clear result in a referendum on Sunday to grant him sweeping new powers, but opponents said they would challenge the vote count which gave a narrow 51.3 percent lead to Erdogan’s supporters.

Nearly all ballots had been opened for counting, state-run Anadolu news agency said, although a lag between opening and counting them could see the lead tighten even further.

Erdogan called Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the leader of the nationalist MHP party, which supported the “Yes” vote, to congratulate them, presidential sources said. They quoted Erdogan as saying the referendum result was clear.

The result appeared short of the decisive victory that Erdogan and the ruling AK Party had campaigned aggressively for. In Turkey’s three biggest cities – Istanbul, Izmir and the capital Ankara – the “No” camp appeared set to prevail narrowly, according to Turkish television stations.

Addressing a crowd outside the AKP’s headquarters in Ankara, Yildirim said unofficial tallies showed the “Yes” camp ahead.

“A new page has been opened in our democratic history,” Yildirim said. “We are brothers, one body, one nation.”

Convoys of cars honking horns in celebration, their passengers waving flags from the windows, clogged a main avenue in Ankara as they headed towards the AKP’s headquarters to celebrate. A chant of Erdogan’s name rang out from loud speakers and campaign buses.

A “Yes” vote would replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency and may see Erdogan in office until at least 2029, in the most radical change to the country’s political system in its modern history.

 

See the entire article below.

 

The outcome will also shape Turkey’s strained relations with the European Union. The NATO member state has curbed the flow of migrants – mainly refugees from wars in Syria and Iraq – into the bloc but Erdogan says he may review the deal after the vote.

The opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) said it would demand a recount of up to 60 percent of the votes, protesting against a last-minute decision by the electoral board to accept unstamped ballots as valid votes.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a statement in Istanbul, Turkey, April 16, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

“We will pursue a legal battle. If the irregularities are not fixed, there will be a serious legitimacy discussion,” CHP deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan said. Another of the party’s deputy chairmen said that “illegal acts” had been carried out in favor of the government.

The lira currency firmed to 3.65 to the dollar in Asian trade following the referendum, from 3.72 on Friday.

‘COMMON SENSE’

Earlier in the day a crowd chanted “Recep Tayyip Erdogan” and applauded as the president shook hands and greeted people after voting in a school near his home in Istanbul. His staff handed out toys for children in the crowd.

“God willing I believe our people will decide to open the path to much more rapid development,” Erdogan said in the polling station after casting his vote.

“I believe in my people’s democratic common sense.”

The “Yes” share of the vote – which stood at 63 percent after around one quarter had been opened – eased as the count moved further west towards Istanbul and the Aegean coast. Broadcaster Haberturk said turnout was 86 percent.

The referendum has bitterly divided the nation. Erdogan and his supporters say the changes are needed to amend the current constitution, written by generals following a 1980 military coup, confront the security and political challenges Turkey faces, and avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.

“This is our opportunity to take back control of our country,” said self-employed Bayram Seker, 42, after voting “Yes” in Istanbul.

“I don’t think one-man rule is such a scary thing. Turkey has been ruled in the past by one man,” he said, referring to modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Opponents say it is a step towards greater authoritarianism in a country where some 47,000 people have been jailed pending trial and 120,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs in a crackdown following a failed coup last July, drawing criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups.

“I voted ‘No’ because I don’t want this whole country and its legislative, executive and judiciary ruled by one man. This would not make Turkey stronger or better as they claim. This would weaken our democracy,” said Hamit Yaz, 34, a ship’s captain, after voting in Istanbul.

Relations between Turkey and Europe hit a low during the referendum campaign when EU countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies in support of the changes. Erdogan called the moves “Nazi acts” and said Turkey could reconsider ties with the European Union after many years of seeking EU membership.

‘TURNING POINT’

On Saturday, Erdogan held four rallies in Istanbul, urging supporters to turn out in large numbers and saying it “will be a turning point for Turkey’s political history”.

Erdogan and the AK Party enjoyed a disproportionate share of media coverage in the buildup to the vote, overshadowing the secular main opposition CHP and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has accused Erdogan of seeking a “one-man regime”, and said the proposed changes would put the country in danger.

Proponents of the reform argue that it would end the current “two-headed system” in which both the president and parliament are directly elected, a situation they argue could lead to deadlock. Until 2014, presidents were chosen by parliament.

The government says Turkey, faced with conflict to the south in Syria and Iraq, and a security threat from Islamic State and PKK militants, needs strong and clear leadership to combat terrorism.

The package of 18 amendments would abolish the office of prime minister and give the president the authority to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees overseeing ministries without parliamentary approval.

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara and David Dolan in Istanbul; Writing by Dominic Evans and Daren Butler; Editing by Keith Weir, Adrian Croft and David Dolan)

 

THE END

 

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