Sympathy for the Turkish devil

The American commentariat is shocked, shocked , to discover that Turkey has abandoned the Western alliance for an adventurous bid to become the dominant Muslim power in the Middle East. Tom Friedman of the New York Times suggested on June 15 that «President [Barack] Obama should invite him for a weekend at Camp David to clear the air before US-Turkey relations get where they’re going – over a cliff.» Friedman blames the European Community for rejecting Turkey’s membership bid which, he says, was a «key factor prompting Turkey to move closer to Iran and the Arab world».

But it is not quite so simple. Friedman and the conventional wisdom are wrong, as usual. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is behaving dreadfully, to the point that a group of retired senior Turkish diplomats denounced him for «neo-Ottomanism». But Turkey has not moved closer to Iran, except in tactical diplomatic terms. The problem is more subtle: America’s blunders in Iraq gave Iran the chance to become a regional hegemon, and Turkey must vie with Iran for this role as a matter of self-preservation.

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Message by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for World Environment Day

MESSAGE

By His All Holiness

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

For World Environment Day

(June 5, 2010)

Inasmuch as, at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we have long been concerned about problems related to the preservation of the natural environment, we have ascertained that the fundamental cause of the abuse and destruction of the world’s natural resources is greed and the constant tendency toward unrestrained wealth by citizens in so-called “developed” nations.

The holy Fathers of our Church have taught and lived the words of St. Paul, according to which “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Tim. 6.8), adhering at the same time to the prayer of Solomon: “Grant me neither wealth nor poverty, but simply provide for me what is necessary for sufficiency.” (Prov. 30:8) Everything beyond this, as St. Basil the Great instructs, “borders on forbidden ostentation.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Arab Christians Face New Wave of Violence

middle eastThe complete islamization of the Muslim world in process…

In its 10th pastoral letter, the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East examines the challenges facing Arab Christians across the region. The council issued the letter at a time this summer when Iraq was suffering new waves of bombings against Christian churches in Baghdad and in the Kurdish north. Entitled The Christian Arab Confronts the Challenges of Today, the letter was released in Arabic and French.

The patriarchs continue to regard Christians as integral members of the Arab society, who hope to be equal members of their respective communities. While they regard Islam as a formative force in the Arab world, they see a shared future for Christians and Muslims if together they “form a common front to challenge new extremist movements which are a threat to all, Christians and Muslims alike.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Turks Increasingly Turn to Islamic Extremism

turksReporting from London — In an audio message from a hide-out in South Asia this month (June), an Al Qaeda chief did something new: He sang the praises of an ethnic group that once barely registered in the network.

«We consider the Muslims in Turkey our brothers,» said Mustafa Abu Yazid, the network’s operations chief. Lauding Turkish suicide bombers killed in recent attacks near the Afghan-Pakistani border, he declared, «This is a pride and honor to the nation of Islam in Turkey, and we ask Allah to accept them amongst the martyrs.»

The message is the latest sign of the changing composition of Islamic extremism, anti-terrorism officials and experts say. The number of Turks in Al Qaeda, long dominated by Arabs, has increased notably, officials say. And militant groups dominated by Turks and Central Asians, many of whom share Turkic culture and speak a Turkic language, have emerged as allies of and alternatives to Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan.

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The Genocide of Iraqi Christians

assyrians

The oppression of the Iraqi Christians started when Arabs occupied the land in the seventh century. Their method of wiping out Christianity from the region involved the implementation of a simple rule; either convert and follow the Islamic banner, or pay heavy taxes (which many Christians could not afford) or war.

Looking at more modern history, the first genocide of the 20th century began on April 24, 1915. By 1918, 2.65 million Christians including 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians, and 400,000 Greeks were killed by the Ottoman Empire and the Kurds. The Assyrians called this genocide “seyfo” which means sword. In 1933, the massacre of Semel, in Northern Iraq resulted in the death of 3000 Christians at the hands of Kurds and the Iraqi Army. This was the first atrocity committed by the new Iraqi state under Prime Minister Bakir Sidqi, after gaining independence from the British in 1932. My village Tin, in Northern Iraq, shared a similar fate in 1961. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Blocked from Europe by the impregnable walls of Constantinople

Byzantine naval battle

Byzantine naval battle

«Blocked from Europe by the impregnable walls of Constantinople and the unyielding spirit of the Emperor and his people, the armies of the «Prophet» were obliged to travel the entire length of the Mediterranean to the Straits of Gibraltar before they could invade the continent- thus extending their lines of communication and supply almost to breaking point and rendering impossible any permanent conquests beyond the Pyrenees. Had they captured Constantinople in the seventh century rather than the fifteenth, all Europe- and America- might be Muslim today».

Byzantium, the Early Centuries. John Julius Norwich