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by GREYDOG

Turkey: Erdoğan Swears to “Eradicate Twitter”

11:11 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Editor’s Note: See also Turkey Keeps Tweeting Through Alternate DNS Servers on Bytegeist.

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

A statue of the Twitter bird rendered Frankenstein patchwork style

Can Erdogan ban Twitter?

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to “eradicate Twitter and their kind and end this breach of privacy and defamation” just hours before Twitter was banned in Turkey. An urgent court decision has been passed within the framework of several laws, one of which is an anti-terror law. The Telecommunications Institute has announced that the ban is directed against defamation, violation of privacy, and misinformation.

Since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013, there have been many court actions by the Turkish state against Twitter to force it to take down content, block access, and share information on users with the Turkish authorities. Twitter, unlike – according to Turkish authorities – other social media platforms (including Facebook), did not open an office in Turkey and complied with the Turkish court rulings.

In the last few months Turkey had strengthened censorship and surveillance laws and infrastructure and Erdoğan had already said that right after the elections all social media platforms would be banned completely. Moreover he had accused Twitter of collaborating in a coup against his rule in Turkey with the participation of a “robot lobby.”

Only minutes after the ban went into effect, a campaign started, calling people out on streets to protest against AKP. However it seemed very suspicious, since when one analyses the Twitter accounts of the people who write with the hashtag, it is mostly people who previously tweeted for the AKP and actually seem to be bot accounts owed by the party. As there have already been declarations that Erdoğan will do anything in order not to leave office, people had been warned that there would be provocations by the government to force people to take to the streets and turn violent, thus leading up to a situation when elections could be cancelled.

Already, Erdoğan has defied all kinds of election restrictions against his party, AKP, aimed at creating a more egalitarian atmosphere by not allowing any kind of exploitation of national symbols such as the flag or national anthem, or any kind of religious symbols which might lead to unequal terms before elections.

The most recent troublesome issues on social media in Turkey have been: an informant from Erdoğan’s close circle leaking secret information on how the government is corrupt and is going to try to rig the votes, former allies (especially Gülen’s Hizmet movement) declaring open criticism of the government on social-media platforms, leaked alleged phone conversations of government officials, ministers, the Prime Minister, and his family regarding corruption, insult to religious values, bribes, international arms trade to warring nations, violating sanctions on Iran, drug trafficking, etc., rumors regarding an upcoming sex tape of some government officials or another possible leak about death/killing of a nationalist political leader some years ago.

Erdoğan at his party’s rally today in Bursa:

We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic

Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Cyprus: The people say “No” to the Troika memorandum!

5:24 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg / Translated by SnakeArbusto, 99GetSmart

Source: CADTM Europe

The CADTM affirms its full and complete solidarity with the people of Cyprus and their organisations struggling against privatizations in the energy, telecoms, and shipping sectors – privatizations required by the Memorandum imposed by the Troika in March 2013. Cyprus is the fourth country to be placed under the budgetary supervision of the European Union, after Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Cyprus

Cyprus

In the face of the demonstrations of 27 February (a 3-day renewable strike by Electricity Authority of Cyprus workers and a strike by longshoremen at the ports of Limassol and Larnaca), the Parliament was unable to reach a majority to adopt the initial bill (25 votes for, 25 against, 5 abstentions; a majority of 29 is required for adoption). The following day the government handed in its resignation. The media, in total complicity with the Troika, have observed total silence over this situation – an extraordinary one, to say the least.

Despite the refusal expressed by the population in the streets, the Cypriot legislators have just adopted (4 March), by a vote of 30 to 26, a bill that is only a slightly modified version of the one they had themselves rejected the preceding week and which would result in the privatisation of the major public services: EAC (electricity), CYTA (telecoms), and CPA (the port authority). This new version of the law claims to guarantee the jobs of the employees of these companies, but no one actually believes that.

Adoption of the law was a condition for the granting of a new 236-million € tranche of the 10-Bn € loan granted by the Troika in March 2013.

The causes of the crisis in Cyprus have been clearly identified: 

1) A hypertrophied banking system
 that was completely out of control. The banks, who have considerable liquid assets provided by the “financial markets,” have recklessly made risky investments.

In 2012, Cyprus’s banks speculated on the restructuring of the Greek debt – 40% of their external commitments, which cost them 4.5 Bn €, or the equivalent of a quarter of Cyprus’s GDP, and brought on the collapse of this overinflated sector (whose assets represent seven times the country’s GDP).

These private losses were then promptly transformed into public debt. These debts are totally illegitimate and must be abolished, along with those stemming from the assistance plan!

In 2009 and 2010, Cyprus’s public debt was only 52.4% and 60.8% of GDP, whereas in the Euro zone as a whole it was 80% of GDP in 2010.

In Germany, the percentage was 74.5% in 2009 and 82.5% in 2010.

2) A tax situation that is highly advantageous for companies: Corporate tax, which until the Memorandum was at an official rate of 10%, has only been raised to 12.5% (not enough to resolve the budget deficit).

To obtain the 10-Bn € assistance plan from the Troika (9 Bn € from the ECB and 1 Bn € from the IMF), Cyprus’s government also agreed to the restructuring of its banking system, a 10% reduction in public expenditures, and the privatization of the island’s main public sectors.

The IMF, represented in Cyprus by a former executive of Lehman Brothers, itself recognizes the economic ineffectualness of such measures. The IMF’s goal is not to provide support for the population of Cyprus, but to protect and guarantee the interests of the creditors! That is why the agents of the IMF must be run out of Cyprus, along with the representatives of the European Commission and the ECB!

Aside from the obvious risk of growth in unemployment (forecast to reach 19.4% in 2014), Cypriots fear skyrocketing prices, with wages and pensions already reduced by 20% in one year. The people’s mobilisation, practically uninterrupted for months, goes well beyond the industry sectors that are directly concerned.

Rubbish bins brought by the population are piled up in front of bank branches. There are regular interruptions of electrical power and the people are besieging the Parliament and official buildings. All sectors, both private and public, are present around the Parliament, demonstrating their opposition to the Troika’s structural adjustment plan.

The CADTM considers:

  • that the entire debt of Cyprus to the Troika is illegitimate and odious, and must be abolished in its entirety;
  • that the austerity plan imposed by the Troika must be revoked.

The population does not want to pay for the speculators and the wealthiest 1%. International solidarity must organise as soon as possible in support of this exemplary struggle. The CADTM will do all it can.
Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

The European Union Catches The Banks Holding Hands by J. Iddhis Bing

2:18 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Bob Diamond

By J. Iddhis Bing, 99GetSmart

Where’s Bob Diamond Now?

Early in the summer of 2012, Bob Diamond was an American banker with a talent for making numbers say what he wanted them to say. He was legit and was sitting in the catbird seat at Barclays Bank UK. He’d made $100 million over the previous six years.

A few weeks later, in early July, the world had flipped. Instead of sitting at his desk at Barclays Diamond was answering questions from a Parliamentary committee investigating LIBOR rate-fixing in 2008. A week after that he was out of work.

What’s LIBOR? The London Interbank Offered Rate measures the price at which banks lend currencies to each other. It gauges how much banks charge each other when they carry out interbank trades and it affects the rates businesses and households all over the world pay on loans and other financial products.

Diamond lost his job and Barclays was fined £290m. It was the financial scandal of the summer. Some say of the century, but we’ve got plenty of time to go yet.

July, 2012 was just the first act. The European Union wasn’t asleep at the wheel and started to investigate two other currency markets, the EURIBOR and the Yen LIBOR. They took their time and announced their findings two days ago. It turns out to be a good deal more serious than having to sweat through a rough morning in Parliament. Barclays got off with a £290m penalty in 2012 for their bad behavior. Maybe that wiped out a quarter or a half year’s earnings, and brought them some bad publicity. They found a way to dodge the bullet this time.

On Wednesday it was Joaquín Almunia’s job to announce EU charges against the banks involved. Almunia is the European Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy. He stood behind the podium in Brussels looking like the stern accountant with the big glasses who comes in to set things straight after the wild party’s over. The European Commission was going to levy €1.7bn in fines on seven banks and a brokerage firm for their roles in the worldwide interest rate manipulation. Banks named were Barclays, UBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS, bailed out at taxpayer expense), Deutsche Bank, Société Générale and two American banks, Citigroup and JP Morgan. A brokerage house, RP Martin, is in the mix, too. They’re contesting the charges and the fine. The tables with the damages, courtesy the EC, are included here as illustrations.

For its part of the deal, RBS will pay another £300m on top of the £390m it has already paid to US and UK regulators. RBS is a nationalized bank. That means English taxpayers will pick up the tab for the bank’s behavior.

Barclays was the first bank caught in the sting back in 2012. They knew which way the wind was blowing. They decided to cut a deal: by exposing the cartel in Euribor rate-fixing they avoided an additional £570m fine. Swiss bank UBS was spared a £2bn fine by doing the same for the rigging of yen interest rates. A cartel? The banks were working together? This is where things get interesting.

“What is shocking about the Libor and Euribor scandals is not only the manipulation of benchmarks, which is being tackled by financial regulators worldwide, but also the collusion between banks who are supposed to be competing with each other,” Almunia said.

Barclays tried to make it sound like they were Boy Scouts who got a little lost in the woods and stumbled on a coven of witches: “The European Commission has today announced that it has reached a settlement with Barclays and a number of other banks in relation to anti-competitive conduct concerning Euribor. The settlement acknowledges that the banks’ conduct infringed EC competition law by attempting to distort the normal course of pricing components for interest rate derivatives referencing Euribor. As today’s announcement from the Commission confirms, Barclays voluntarily reported the Euribor conduct to the Commission and cooperated fully with the Commission’s investigation.”

Which is a nice, elaborate way of saying, we burned the witches and got off scot-free. Would the EU have known about the Euribor fix if they hadn’t? Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Turkey: Green Spaces Keep Shrinking, Boycotts Expand and Police Complain about Working Conditions

12:49 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Ö.  from Istanbul:

Here is the nightly report on the events in Turkey for 9-6-13

The day was marked by explanations and press conferences by the AKP officials who have started losing a lot of customers in the businesses they do. As this resistance is mainly led by the general middle class with the contributions of lower classes, the people on the street have always been the biggest customers of the government-related people’s businesses. In order to regain their support, officials have employed several professionals to promote their companies in a way that people would still purchase their products, although they cannot agree on political matters. It might be the first time that there are general boycotts nationally in Turkey.

A second interview marked the day as an anonymous policeman gave an interview to an international journalist. To sum up, he was referring to terrible conditions that police are forced to work under. He said the police were forced to work a non-stop 100 hours the first days and there was no back up, no food or drink supplies. The only thing they were left with was teargas and batons and plastic bullet guns. When several policemen were made to watch the brutal interventions and crackdown, they would not believe it was possible that they treated human beings like that.

It is not certain how sincere they are in this call, yet it is also true that they have figured out all the pressure mechanisms on themselves. They get deployed to a place hours before anything begins, left alone without food or drink, they were told to be brutal if necessary, and peer pressure encourages this as they do not want to appear soft among partners. Since, after long hours of working the only thing they want is to go back home to their families, they turn ultra brutal so that it all happens very quick; yet they never realized they would trigger a revolution by setting fire in the camp-site to the tents of protesters in Gezi Park. They complain that they are made to work longer than it was allowed (8 hours per day, 40 hours a week) and their union is not recognized, although unions call on them to strike as they are constitutionally not bound to follow these orders. Even though they complain of this, policemen state that they do not see what they did as excessive force except for kicking with feet; as they say “gas and water cannons are our only weapons against humans, if they allow us use other weapons we will be better off.”

During the day, the Carsi Anarchist Football Supporters Association, now representing the name “Istanbul United” have called for two major actions. The first action that they have organized is the march of 100.000 supporters to Taksim Square, so that police would not be able to intervene (although there are almost half a million people crowding the area now) and the second one is that they sent thousands to Ankara as a support for protesters against the police raids, as it was Carsi that managed to drive back the police raids with panzers and gas. As I am writing these lines right now, people continue to be attacked by police, which started only after midnight. The taxi drivers showed a major solidarity gesture and they blocked the traffic when panzers were behind them somewhere, so that they could not attack protesters.

The city council’s declaration yesterday in Istanbul that there would be no intervention during the weekend, so that police could rest too, caused tension among Gezi Parki protesters. They are now strengthening barricades and re-stocking gasmasks, medical supplies, water stocks etc. Although governor Mutlu declared, “They are still asking; no, no, no, no, there will be no intervention, stop asking” about Gezi Parki, people are still upset that there are major clashes in Gazi Mahallesi (the Alevi majority district of Istanbul, subjected to severe crackdown in 1995 which resulted in about 100 deaths in few days rise up, and left all those responsible without punishment). Gazi Mahallesi started a solidarity uprising for Gezi parki and police brutality is much worse there according to people reporting.

Another big event of the day is chopping down the central forest of Van/Ercis. Although townspeople gathered and said no one wants those trees chopped, government ordered clearing off of the forests and constructing big buildings in city center.

As Erdogan had always been a very cynical and pragmatic politician, always aiming for bigger gains through every possible way, there are many people wondering how come he revealed his non-democratic side suddenly with the May Day protests over a month ago. Many people are looking for him to come up with an explanation that all this will lead to something better; or perhaps just like the theory of westernization: the more authoritarian you force it, the more liberal people will end up when the dust settles.

One last remark could be on that Erdogan is going back to Ankara on Sunday, and Mayor Gökcek is forcing municipal workers and their families to attend greeting. Ankara AKP organizations are sending people sms texts, saying they MUST attend this rally and they will receive free transport as well.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Ö. @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

PREVIOUS UPDATES: 

EU-Turkey Conference Minimizes Overt Police Brutality, Erdogan’s Ongoing Hypocricy & the Failure of Turkish Main Stream Media  @ http://99getsmart.com/turkey-eu-turkey-conference-minimizes-overt-police-brutality-erdogans-ongoing-hypocricy-the-failure-of-turkish-main-stream-media/

Nightly report from Turkey 07-06-13 @ http://99getsmart.com/nightly-report-from-turkey-07-06-13/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

FOR DAILY LIVESTREAM UPDATES ON TURKEY AND WORLD EVENTS:

Occupy World News Network (OWNN)http://www.livestream.com/occupyworldnewsnow Read the rest of this entry →

by GREYDOG

Turkey: Local Media is used as a Propaganda Mouthpiece for the Government

10:43 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Ö.  from Istanbul: 

Opinion of individuals from the ground are very important in such occasions. While the national and world media usually either does not represent or misrepresents the news, it is the people on the street tweeting and writing blogs, putting up videos that will really tell the world about this revolution. Some people find resemblances of the events in Istanbul and other cities to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt etc, yet the only common point is the organizational style (which is still the same in Iran, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Spain,etc…) as it is the most commonly used method of communication today, the social media.

Turkish spring may actually be a Turkish summer, a step ahead spring; yes many people are against the failing system, people ask for a better democracy and more respect to human rights including recognition of all rights (be it minority rights, environmental rights, animal rights, etc). The one common denominator today is that people are asking not only for immediate cease to destruction of environment but also new faces, new ideas, new working system, in order to prevent any future concentration of power – which, in the long run, harms the “others” of the system.

For long years, the mainstream’s “others” have been the Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Islamists, Alevites, and most recently the Republicans … (alongside may other identities). The day has come to the point where there is no individual left without a rancour against the system that declared him/herself as an enemy. While population in general is uneasy about the developments of recent years, most people were abiding by the system simply because there was no way out for them.

The Media

The bosses have to stand on the side of the government in order to operate in the country or in export / import related businesses. This part is beyond corruption; as government reserves the power of Treasury at her disposal, whenever a boss deviates from the major-plans for the government and give chance to opposition voices in media or other platforms, officials of the treasury raid the accountants of that particular businessperson and write a fine of billions of euros. AfterAydin Dogan was made an example of, no other media-king could ever allow opposition voices be heard on TV, and smaller media-only businesses were fined for any reason. While most businesses in Turkey might still be non-compliant with EU regulations and standards, it was especially the non-governmental businesses that were forced the most, and in this situation of inequality, only government-friendly businesses would grow and get bigger.

Over the years, most media barons left their business to government related business people and the situation was the absolute silence we have seen throughout, if not for the disinformatary broadcast, accusing the protesters of crimes committed by undercover policemen, events that took place years ago and directly turning prime minister’s accusations into “facts”. Moreover, as most of the country does not use internet, a seriously dangerous number of people still have no idea what has been going on and why. The only thing they see on the news usually is “the terrorists that we have always known, this time in our city center”.

In the event of this camera being pulled away to have a clearer focus on the penguins of Antarctica, the Turkish penguins were marching on the streets and defending their rights peacefully, until the police raided in an all-out-attack. It is seriously worrisome because the reporters were told that if they broadcast or report anything that would harm government’s credibility, they would lose their jobs; the police were told that if they cannot stop the protests with all they have, at whatever cost, they would lose their jobs. Also the police being manipulated into losing their minds is another factor in this violence; as serious psychological games are in place to control their behavior and make them more violent towards protesters (see the nightly report from 9-6).

So, in that sense, the only real representation of the events would be clearly from the street, and unlike media reporters from various backgrounds, tweeters, bloggers, video-channel admins show the events as they see and their number brings about a significant accuracy to events. On the street there are many groups bringing live information to all of us, the socialists, communists, nationalists, anarchists, capitalists, greens, pirates, islamists, feminists, homosexuals, football fan-clubs (which have a completely deeper meaning than just the game in Turkey), all kinds of ethnic groups from Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Pontians, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Circassians, Bulgarians, etc. to international visitors and residents of Istanbul who are against all kinds of oppression and can stand with a univocal voice for liberties. The groups that were thought never to be able to stand facing each other without harming one another stood shoulder to shoulder, demanding a fair system where no one is marginalized by the mainstream and no “one” power can hold any other control mechanism hostage, simply by the voter support behind it.

What we have seen throughout the last decade in Turkey has been the failure of famous “checks-and-balances” through over-concentration of power, sacrificing democracy for the sake of prosperity (of a few). In the years to come, as this nation has seen the shortcomings of a neo-liberal authoritarian government’s deeds, people would not wait too long to once again voice their demands and put the last brakes on an uncontrolled force that might have taken over all guards against any kind of possible collapse, except for the hearts and minds of the people.

None could have imagined that a country so differentiated between several aspects of the society would unite so well and demand peace and liberty, and only around a green leaf that no longer covers the shame of oppressors.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Ö. @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

Related Posts: 

EU-Turkey Conference Minimizes Overt Police Brutality, Erdogan’s Ongoing Hypocricy & the Failure of Turkish Main Stream Media @ http://99getsmart.com/turkey-eu-turkey-conference-minimizes-overt-police-brutality-erdogans-ongoing-hypocricy-the-failure-of-turkish-main-stream-media/

Nightly report from Turkey 07-06-13 @ http://99getsmart.com/nightly-report-from-turkey-07-06-13/

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DAILY UPDATES ON TURKEY:

OccupyGezi @ https://www.rebelmouse.com/OccupyGezi/

Show Support for Turkey and LIKE and SHARE this Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/Gezisolidarity

FOR DAILY LIVESTREAM UPDATES ON TURKEY AND WORLD EVENTS:

Occupy World News Network (OWNN) @ http://www.livestream.com/occupyworldnewsnow