Tag Archives: terrorism

Sultan Erdogan against the European Terror Grandpas

23 Aug The Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.

For about a decade the elected “president” of Turkey has been trying to make his country a member of the European Union, and for even longer he has been moaning about our European freedom of speech, and how much it disgusts him. Ever since he declared martial law over his country Erdogan’s helpers have been arresting political opponents left, right, and center. And after convincing his people to grant him dictatorial powers (by democratic vote, mind you!) he now also employs the police forces of other nations in his politically motivated man hunt. However, the most recent target of his elongated arm of injustice might prove to be a stumble in the wrong direction.


Lisbon, port view

Maybe it’s just too hot in Southern Europe. Some politicians there have immensily stupid ideas.

Dogan Akhanli is a German author with Turkish roots, and he has always had much to say about the new Ottoman kingdom. Especially now that Erdogan has nearly dictatorial powers Akhanli is full of criticism for Turkey, and the people that govern it. And so, Sultan Erdogan has ordered the prosecution of Akhanli, as he did with so many of his critics before, once again masking his efforts “protection against terrorism”. Last weekend Interpol located Akhanli during his vacation in Spain, and since Interpol is bound by international law he is now being held in detention by the Spanish authorities, while a Spanish court must decide whether or not the 60-year old author should be extradited to Turkey.

The latter is rather unlikely, since Turkey’s arrest order is based on a case of armed robbery; a case that dates back nearly thirty years, and one that he has been acquitted from in 2011. Back then the defence bench won significant points when two of the witnesses admitted to having been bullied by the police into implicating Akhanli in a robbery that he had otherwise nothing to do with.


Demise of International Police Efforts

So, Akhanli is German, a writer, and a critic of Sultan Erdogan; and there is no way Spain would ever extradite him to Turkey, not based on a poor accusation that is so blatantly motivated by non-democratic politics. Then why are we still talking about this subject? Because the case of Dogan Akhanli is a new escalation of Turkey’s war on its international critics. (Maybe I should be glad that nobody ever reads my blogs. For now I can still travel to the Middle East without fearing imprisonment.) As long as Erdogan prosecuted only his own people there was not much for his international partners to criticise. But now that he abuses Interpol, an international police force tasked with the prevention of drug traffic, terrorism, and illegal arms deals – you know, stuff that actually matters to all of us – now Europe has reasons to officially condemn and discredit Erdogan’s poor state of mind and his complete lack of diplomatic care.

In the past eight months Sultan Erdogan has ordered the arrest of many thousands of Turkish citizens, many of them seeking “refuge” (i.e. living) in European countries, where they hold first or second citizenship. All of these dissidents are accused of terrorism and conspiracy against Turkey, and the vast majority of them are journalists or otherwise literate critics of the sultan’s rule. That brings up some important questions: How desperate must a terrorist organisation be to enlist newspaper columnists and retired poets as their primary warriors? How much does it pay to rain death and destruction on the new Ottoman kingdom via pen and paper? And why haven’t organisations like ISIS and Al Qaida moved in on that business opportunity yet?


The Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.

Turkey seems to be frozen in a political war against itself. Some days the Ottoman Empire relives some of its glory.

Let my people go!

Turkey has been demanding the extradition of European “terrorists” for many years; never providing any evidence for the legitimate prosecution of those thousands of journalists; all the while keeping political hostages imprisoned that worked for European news agencies, or spoke up against inhumanity, or simply went on vacation in Turkey, and stumbled into a left-winged demonstration. Now we finally have the opportunity to get those people back onto EU soil. We just claim them to be terrorists, and demand their immediate extradition to their respective home countries. As Turkey has shown, it is rather unnecessary to provide evidence for such ludicrous claims, and any disobedience to those demands justifies the use of foul language against the Turkish government.

It is disheartening to see how the ignorant loud mouths have taken over the international political stage, and that often enough the people they govern go along with their perverted ideas or political incorrectness. But if Sultan Erdogan accuses us to harbour terror grandpas and deadly poets in our democratic countries, the least we can do is demand the return of our own terror tourists.

CRUISE – Global Terror in Rotterdam, Netherlands

5 May Street view of Rotterdam, feat. bikes

Our printed schedule announces the port city of Cagliari, Sardinia. Since that would be pretty much on the other side of the European continent from yesterday’s port, I attribute that confusion to the late night beer consumption by our manager. As I leave the ship it becomes clear that we are still in the Netherlands, in the sparkling city of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam, port view

Rotterdam, Netherlands, has a pretty unique structure to it. The great number of bridges and the variation in architecture makes it worth a second look.

The newspaper stands that I pass on my way through the city are full of political turmoil and terrorism. I am slightly surprised. There is much I do not know because I don’t actually get any news anymore, neither through my preciously numbered internet minutes, nor from the TVs in the crew area, which are usually only speaking in Portuguese or Spanish. Granted, I could use the telly in my sleeping cubicle, but that would take away precious sleeping time.

Anyway, human horror is on the loose – someone bombed a train in Saint Petersburg; at least three big terrorist organisations run amok in the Middle East and Europe; while Korean Kim and US Donald play Hide & Seek with reality (and with nukes). Once upon a time this situation would have been scary like a gorilla on the subway. But nowadays people don’t really seem to care anymore. Has the world become so dangerous that nuclear warfare just blends in with the rest of our daily risks? Or do we just live our lives so remote from reality that “nuclear warhead” and “suicide bomber” have become mere phrases, void of personal meaning?

Street view of Rotterdam, feat. bikes

Street view of Rotterdam. Busy with bike cycles!

Whatever the reason, the world is changing, and while technology and globalisation have made this world smaller, the daily flood of moving pictures and foreign sound bites has vastly reduced our personal association with and involvement in that world. We know that those bombs are real; we accept that it is pure luck that saves ourselves from the next terror attack. Armed lunatics have access to the same public facilities that we do, so there is nowhere to hide from their unscheduled attacks. Thus, there is no point in running.

We feel helpless against that barrage of threats, so we resign our fear, instead embracing life as it comes. And the terror at our doorstep becomes just another component of our daily lives; always nagging, always threatening. Yet, the terror remains without any real power, because we have accepted the lack of safety, and are therefore no longer susceptible to dangers that are of no immanent concern. As long as ISIS does not hijack our social media pages, or manipulate the pricing for digital TV dragons, it won’t have a chance to penetrate our daily mist of information. And thus, we are save. By default.

PS.: Here are some more photos of Rotterdam, the city of weird architecture and bike cycles.