News & Propaganda: Jan. 27 edition

Wednesday, January 27, 2011

Snowy days, people, and busy times here in the imperial metropole. I'm getting increasingly settled, and the Borderlands Lodge in Exile is finally starting to run on its own power. And that's an especially good thing in this wet, cold weather. 

Anyway--not much time for chit-chat today, folks, let's dive straight into the N & P: 

Turkey & SE Europe
The Turkish Daily News has published a couple of pieces on foreign policy under the AKP. I guess the idea is that the Turkish government is pursuing a neo-Ottomanist policy, or something...

Here's a link to the first, and a brief excerpt:

Although Turkey ignores crimes against humanity in Sudan, China and Iran, it clearly adopts an idealist foreign policy.
And the name of this idealist foreign policy is the “new Ottomanism.”
OMG! Save me! The Ottomans are coming!!!

Here's the second, and another tiny passage:

I wrote yesterday that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu keeps saying the government is following a “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy. And I insist on making concrete, realistic cost-benefit analyses, what I call the “result-oriented foreign policy” concept.
What they have in their heart is a wish to create a commonwealth led by Turkey in the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia, similar to what Britain had with its former colonies. The neo Ottoman!
Pretty scary stuff!

I'm tired of talking about this subject, but if you're curious here are some of my rants about this sort of thing.

He who smelt it: Today's Zaman columnist complains of lingering odor, sledghammers away at Ergenekon/Balyoz fatigue.

Analyst Nigar Goksel: Wikileaks brought Turkish-Azerbaijani tensions "out into the open. "

Little professor: Turkish PM Erdogan awarded honorary doctorate in Ukraine.

"Welcome to the School of Rock"

Armenian MP: Turkey has "no right" to speak of occupation.
“Turkey has no right to speak of occupation, as it is the country which once occupied the historic Armenian lands after perpetrating Genocide. They also seized Pontos - historical Greek region through massacres and occupation.  Thirdly, Azerbaijan occupied regions of Shaumyan, Getashen, Martunashen and part of Martakert with financial and military assistance of Turkey.  Finally Turkey is a country which keeps closed the last closed border in Europe,” he said. 
Well, since no one has accused me of genocide, I'll say it: Armenia is occupying 20% of Azerbaijan.

So does the importance or validity of this information change according to the person articulating it?
____Here's something interesting: China denies it purchased downed jet.

The Global Times, a government mouthpiece, said in an article that the J-20 fighter, which China launched to much fanfare early this month, was designed and developed entirely by Chinese talent and that it was "a result of technological innovation".
China's claim to fame over the much-hyped stealth fighter J-20's had come under shadow on Sunday as a Croatian admiral, who once served in the Kosovo War, told media that China gleaned technology from a F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
Remember when the United States bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the air war against Yugoslavia? The rumor in China at the time was that the United States had done this deliberately.

Why? In order to destroy a downed plane that the Chinese had recovered and were keeping in the basement of their embassy.

It's interesting to see another aspect of this story circulating as a rumor twelve years later.

Russia & ex-USSR

The Telegraph reports that Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbaeva has accused the US of "trying to corrupt her son." And not in a good way, either.

Still in Kyrgyzstan: sez Kremlin lifts punitive fuel tariff on Bishkek.
In a boost for Kyrgyzstan’s economic revival efforts, Russia has abolished an export tax on fuel. Imposed during the last days of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration, the Russian fuel tariff was widely seen as a trigger for political upheaval that buffeted Kyrgyzstan in 2010.
The Russian tax, which initially cost $192 per ton of fuel in April, rising to $230 per ton by December, was lifted on January 1. The Kremlin’s move came just days after Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev visited Moscow.
The United States, on the other hand, was considered by many in Kyrgyzstan to have turned a blind eye to Bakiyev's failings, thanks to American dependence upon Kyrgyz airbases.

Here is something on the public response to the recent hijab ban in Azerbaijani schools.

Angry worshippers demonstrated last month outside the huge mosque which dominates the village on the outskirts of the capital, set fire to a photograph of the education minister and chanted: "We'd rather die than give up the hijab!"
The hijab was effectively banned in schools last year by new rules defining what kind of uniforms pupils should wear in this mainly Shiite Muslim country, which emerged as one of the most secular in the Islamic world after decades of Soviet rule.
As many of you know, bans on the headscarf in Turkish schools have proven extremely controversial in recent years, and Turkey is a country where people actually have the chance to make their protests heard in a semi-legal fashion.

My sense is that the Azerbaijani government's heavy-handed approach to dealing with issues of this sort isn't going to end happily. 

Finally, here's a bunch of stuff on Uzbek president Islam Karimov's recent visit to Brussels:

Guardian columnist gripes about the lifting of EU sanctions on Uzbekistan...

...while an Uzbek human rights campaigner slams the EU for inviting Uzbek president Karimov to Brussels.

This post sez no one in EU admits to inviting Karimov in the first place.

And here's another article that points out the EU's contradictory message re Uzbekistan and Belarus .

....while Joshua Kucera has this piece on Uzbek-NATO relations.

Well, I suppose depending upon folks like Bakiyev and Karimov is the price the US pays for maintaining an imperial presence across the globe. But hey, at least we're getting our money's worth in Afghanistan, right folks? I mean, it's not like we're wasting all of this money and all of these lives on policies that are eventually going to blow up in our faces, right? And meanwhile, we can feel secure in the knowledge of all we're doing for the peoples of Central Asia by helping their leaders feel more secure in their positions! 

And that, my friends, was your N & P!

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