On June 12, Turkey goes to the ballot boxes. “The ongoing campaign is probably the most person-oriented campaign that I’ve ever seen in Turkey” comments Thomas Gür, senior advisor to the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. While the AK will claim a landslide victory “with 40 to 50 percent of the votes” and form a majority government, the key issue is whether the AKP will manage to achieve at least 330 of the 550 seats in Parliament. “With such a majority, the AK Party would be able to put constitutional changes up for a public vote. Making constitutional changes in Parliament would require 367 of the votes, i.e. two thirds.”

The classic ferry route across the Bosphorus leaves from Eminönü, home of the new Mosque (inaugurated in 1655), to the Üsküdar, a city founded in the 700’Th century and formerly known as Chrysopolis or Scutari. At the ferry slip at Üsküdar, nowadays a municipality within Greater Istanbul, the campaign for the June 12 election is running on full speed.

Campaign workers hand out leaflets to surpassing ferry passengers as they enter and leave the terminal. The air is filled with the sounds of fluttering party pennants and flags hanging from the trees and streetlights, side by side with the mandatory Turkish flags. However, the sound environment is not likely to invite to neither spontaneous small talk nor serious discussion with party representatives. The low key square meeting speakers have been replaced by loudspeaker from at least three parties at the time – all of them shouting out pompous music mixed with recorded speeches of the party leaders. The loudspeakers thrones at the top of huge trucks with open sides – combinations of mobile election stands and propaganda machines equipped with some serious audio visual technology. (more…)

In cooperation with the Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) a three-day conference based on the study guide <i>Principles for a Free Society</i>, was organized in Ankara February 18-20.

More than 30 Turkish youths, from different parts of the country, attended the conference. All of them are students, mostly studying political science and international relations. The participants were very active in discussions on both topics specific for Turkey and ideology in general.

The speakers who lectured on the basis of the book <i>Principles for a Free Society</i> were Swedish and Turkish; Thomas Gür, Frederick Saweståhl and Klas Hjort from Sweden. The Turkish speakers were: Özlem cagla Yýlmaz, President of ALT, Dr. Bican Sahin, President of ALT, Dr. Cennet Uslu, Director of Studies in Human Rights at ALT, and Dr. Bahadýr Akýn who is a professor at Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey University.

Photo: Thomas Gür lecturing in Ankara.

Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged a seminar in Istanbul, June 2, on Turkey and the European Union, in cooperation with Olof Palmes International Center and the Swedish consulat general in Istanbul.

The Turkish human rights defender Orhan Kemal Cengiz participated in the seminar and concludes his remarks from the conference in the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.

Read Orhan Kemal Cengiz’s article in English

 

 

On June 2, 2010, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in cooperation with the Olof Palme International Center and the Swedish Consulate General in Istanbul arranged a conference on the subject of Turkey’s membership to the European Union. While agreeing that Turkey should, indeed, join the Union, the participants disagreed on when and how this could be accomplished. Although Turkey is in the process of moving in the right direction, much remains unsolved, especially regarding human rights, corruption and the military influence in the civil society.

 

 

 (In the photo: Göran Lennmarker, Chairman of the Swedish Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs as well as the chairman of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation, discusses with Canan Kalsin, MP for the Turkish party in government, the AK Party and vice Chairman of the AK Party’s international office.)

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In late February, a civilian Turkish prosecutor ordered the arrest of some ten senior officers, still active in the Turkish armed forces. The officers were accused of planning a coup d’états against the present AK party government. This is the first time representatives of the Turkish civilian judicial system have arrested such a large number of still active officers for planning a coup.

In late February, a civilian Turkish prosecutor ordered the arrest of some ten senior officers, still active within the Turkish armed forces. The officers were accused of preparing a coup against the then AK-party government led by Prime Minister Abdullah Gül, today the Turkish president.

The arrest came after plans of the coup had been published in a Turkish newspaper, Taraf. According to the paper, around 150 officers, including some twenty generals had been making plans at a seminar, officially focusing on planning a war role game.  Whether this was indeed a war role game or a coup masked as a game, and, if the latter turns out to be the case, the roles of the individual officers will now be examined in a juridical process. (more…)