Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rasmussen and Turkey

The narrowly avoided row over the appointment of a new Nato secretary general touched on a larger subject: the difficult relationship between the West and the Muslim world.

Turkey considered the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen unfit to lead the alliance because of his role in the 2006 crisis over the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Fogh Rasmussen had refused to apologise for the publication of the cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, which caused widespread and sometimes violent protests in the Muslim world.
It was nothing personal, said Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but how could a man like that represent Nato in the Muslim world - especially at a time when Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are at the top of Nato's agenda? Erdogan said several Arabic countries had voiced their concern to him.

Turkey's price

In the current climate it didn't take long before this reaction led to a counter-reaction. Since when can anyone dictate who the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does or does not appoint as its leader? some people said. Have we become so afraid of the Muslim world that we are ready to give in to any perceived sensitivities of undemocratic regimes in the Middle East? Now more than ever it is time for Nato to stand up for a man who defended the freedom of expression in the face of Muslim protest, Fogh Rasmussen's defenders argued.
And thus what started as a human resources issue - albeit on a very high level - risked growing into a major new chapter in the so-called 'clash of civilisations': the succession of emotional, political and religious skirmishes since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

During Friday night's working dinner in Strasbourg, the succession issue took up far more time than was expected or intended. The alliance was at an impasse: against the consensus among 27 of the 28 member states stood the lonesome opposition of Turkey. "The question is what it will cost for Turkey to give in," said one cynical diplomat who was unimpressed by Turkey's supposedly principled stand on behalf of the Muslim world.
After much negotiating, it became clear on Saturday what Turkey's price was. After talks between US president Barack Obama and Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Erdogan announced that Ankara had been given guarantees that Fogh Rasmussen would appoint a Turk as one of his deputy secretary generals and that more Turks would be given top jobs at Nato's military headquarters. Some Turkish diplomats even claimed that France and Germany were made to promise to be more lenient in ongoing talks about Turkey's accession to the European Union.

It was with considerable relief that De Hoop Scheffer and Fogh Rasmussen appeared before the media on Saturday with the announcement that a unanimous decision had been reached about the succession. A crisis was averted. Fogh Rasmussen said he understood Turkey's concerns. "I made clear I will reach out to the Muslim world and I will make sure [Nato] will co-operate closely with Turkey," he said.

A friend of Bush

It remains to be seen whether this is enough to make Fogh Rasmussen an effective Nato leader, and to overcome possible opposition from the Muslim world.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (56) is known as "a friend of Bush". He supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, signing a letter together with seven other European leaders in which they backed the removal of Saddam Hussein and called for solidarity with Washington. It earned him an invitation to president Bush' Texas ranch where they went mountainbiking together - just like the outgoing secretary general De Hoop Scheffer before him.
In Denmark, Fogh Rasmussen's appointment was met with a mix of pride and relief. Uncertainty about Fogh Rasmussen's appointment had all but paralysed Danish national politics. Rasmussen will be succeeded as prime minister by the current finance minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

On Monday, there were indications that the cartoons row might not be quite over yet. The Turkish media widely reported that Fogh Rasmussen would issue an apology during a speech in Istanbul, and that the apology was one concession offered in order to get Turkey to withdraw its opposition.
But the Danish news agency Ritzau quoted Fogh Rasmussen as saying there would be no apology. "Listen. In Denmark we do not apologise for having freedom of speech," Fogh Rasmussen said. "You all know that a Danish prime minister cannot apologise on behalf of a newspaper."
Fogh Rasmussen was in Turkey on Monday to speak at a United Nations conference on intercultural dialogue and understanding. As secretary-general of Nato he may have to continue the intercultural dialogue, in one form or another, for some years to come. But he didn't apologize!

source: nrc.nl

Barack Obama is following who?.)

Hi, Hans A.H.C. de Wit (Helianthes).
Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Barack Obama's profile here: http://twitter.com/BarackObama

Day opening - April 7

Airplane in Bahrein

Picture: Eva

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Does Islamization means:

...when a Muslima pharmacist refuses to sell the morning-after pill or condoms, when a Muslim doctor refuses to treat aids patients or perform abortions, when medical students refuse to carry out those parts of their curriculum they claim are in conflict with their faith, when Muslim taxi drivers refuse to transport blind customers and their guide dogs because their faith tells them dogs are unclean, when it becomes almost impossible to criticize Islam or Muslims without being threatened; when youth welfare agencies have to enlist the help of imams to be able to do their job among Moroccan families, when municipal officers refuse to shake hands with women, when female teachers and other civil servants represent Islam during their work by wearing their headscarves when they should be representing the state; when Fortis bank scraps the little piggy bank they used to give to children as a present because it is an unclean animal to Muslims; when museums take down photographs and refuse paintings because they fear Muslim reactions, when it is no longer allowed to hang posters of classic nudes in the metro stations – and the list can be much longer.
These are all incidents that occurred in the Western world in recent years, also in the Netherlands. And they are all signs of the progressing process of islamization. Is a political party allowed to warn society against it?...

Source: Nahed Selim

Day opening - April 5


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rasmussen new Secr. Gen. of NATO

The Danish PM Rasmussen is just appointed as the new Secr. General of the NATO.
Turkey's President 'bargained' at the end: Turkey can appoint an Deputy Secr. General!

al-Bashir, the ICC and PM Erdogan of Turkey

Erdogan and al-Bashir

At first, the request for the arrest warrant against Sudan’s President al-Bashir, the first official charges against a serving head of state, had provoked dispute among the 5 permanent, veto-wielding members of the Security Council but also for Turkey, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

How works the ICC and how is it ruled, and what can they do?

The ICC is only allowed to prosecute 4 types of crimes:
-War crimes
-Crimes against humanity
The last one worries countries such as Israel, Russia, China, USA etc. The reason that none of them recognizes the ICC.
It’s important that ‘aggression’ must be nailed down properly!

The ICC brings charges only against individuals, not states! And the ICC’s rules allow it to take cases only when other courts, national or regional, cannot or will not do so.

Despite its absence from the ICC, America has done more than most, financially and diplomatically, to establish and support the tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda ad Sierra Leone and recently the investigations into a tribunal for Lebanon.
Of the Arab countries only Jordan is a member of the ICC. Of the ‘Muslim’ countries, only Djibouti and Jordan are members.

The Security Council and the ICC are at loggerheads over who could trigger an investigation; the Council, supposedly the body with prime responsibility for international peace and security (and where Russia, China, and the USA all have vetoes) or the prosecutor and judges of the ICC? In my opinion the latter.

Turkey is asked by Arab and some African coutries to ask for a deferral of the case, and it looks like Turkey is using its power, as it is a close ally of al-Bashir.

PM Erdogan of Turkey was in a fight with the Nobel Price winner for Peace, President Peres of Israel but is willing to shake hands on a friendly way with al-Bashir. It's crystal clear, also with Turkey subborn attitude against the appointment of Rasmussen as Secr. General of the Nato, religion aka Islam, is the parameter of the foreign policy of contemporary Turkey.

Day opening - April 4


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update; new site etc.

The next 10 days, Eva will take care about the Day Openings; she will present some nice pictures she made on her trip to Nepal last year among other interesting pics she found.

Today the G-20 will held its summit in London, and decisions will be made, tough ones. I promised for some time now to write something about Social Banking aka Social Finance, and yes, that will be published tomorrow, finally!

By accident, today, I discovered the blog of a Dutch journalist in Turkey. She writes for a dozen Dutch newspapers and magazines. Her opinion is refreshing and she is added to Internations its blog roll.
Eva and I wrote last year an article: ‘Istanbul, European Capital of 2010; a Bridge too far’.
I’m dealing with it since and never saw a suitable outlet to publish it. If Zaman Today runs it, it’s okay. I don’t expect that much of other English dailies in Turkey. Otherwise it will be published here on Internations, which gets a good rating and more visitors every day.

And...that's all for now!

Day opening - April 1

Child playing in a train

Picture: unknown

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It makes me smile

Made in Nepal...

The Hague ready for Afghanistan Conference - follow through Twitter

Welcoming Hillary Clinton (picture by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Vergagen - through Twitter)
The Afghanistan Conference will be held today in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the city's World Forum. The air space above the city has been declared a no-go area and around over. Both the Afghan President Hamid Karzai and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend among 72 Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The ministerial discussion will be co-chaired by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Rangin Dadfar Spanta and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Maxime Verhagen.
Five organisations are being allowed to demonstrate at designated locations in the city. They include an anti-NATO coalition, an anti-imperialism platform and a group of Afghan refugees.

Day opening - March 31

In the dining room.
Photo by Belgin Zeytin

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter in crisis situations

During the immediate aftermath of the controlled landing of US Airways flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River, Twitter really came into its own. By 4:16pm ET there were already hundreds of messages posted about the crash. Ten minutes later, links were being shared to photos taken by eyewitnesses, including the definitive image of the crisis taken by a ferry commuter that was posted at 3.47pm, just minutes after the incident. By contrast, there was no dedicated online crisis response channel from US Airways until around 5.00pm. The same happened when a Turkish Airline plane crashed in Amsterdam earlier this year.

Had the company been monitoring Twitter for brand mentions, they could have set up a dedicated feed and been responding to the conversation for at least 45 minutes before their own response site was in place. They could have even prepared for the eventuality by defining keywords and bots to follow/respond with important information well in advance of any crisis hitting.
As the communications environment in which we operate becomes even quicker and the expectations of consumers from those involved increases, Twitter is certainly going to be a key communication channel in times of crisis and there is absolute no reason why companies can’t – and shouldn’t – be incorporating it into their crisis response plans. Voila!