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Pushing the limits of Turkish martyrdom

Speaking with a group of Turks in southwest Turkey recently about the Kurdish issue, I was told bluntly by a 30-year-old partner in a successful real estate business: “I hate Kurds.”

The man subsequently amended his statement such that the object of hatred became “terrorists” rather than a full 20 percent of the Turkish population. The lexical overlap of the two terms was however underscored when he reverted to a discussion of “Kurdish” insistence on making martyrs out of Turkish soldiers.

The Turkish word for martyr, şehit, is the subject of a national rhyme—“Şehitler ölmez vatan bölünmez”—according to which martyrs never die and the homeland will never be divided. Shouted at patriotic rallies and emblazoned on Turkish hillsides, the slogan wards off any secessionist aspirations harbored by members of Turkey’s largest ethnic minority—who, it bears reiterating, were formerly promised autonomy by none other than the iconic founder of said indivisible homeland: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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A few questions about a sign on a train platform in New Jersey

Photo: Belén Fernández. CLICK TO ENLARGE

  1. If the front lines of terror are located in the U.S., why are the emergency personnel responding to the TRAIN BOMBING wearing outfits labeled “POLICIA”?
  2. Why at every airport security line is there not a television screen replaying footage of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center, with the caption “PLANE CRASHING INTO WORLD TRADE CENTER”?
  3. Alternatively, why at every airport security line is there not a television screen replaying footage of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center, with the caption “AL QAEDA ALSO WANTS TO OCCUPY WALL STREET”?

U.S. Air Force encourages cultural immersion

At least the M is the same backwards.

A copy of a 2009 U.S. Air Force Airman’s Manual has just fallen into my hands.

The manual offers instructions on what to do in a variety of hostile situations, as well as advice to airmen to change their socks daily, wash their hands after using the bathroom, and learn the word “halt” in the language of the country in which they are stationed.

Following are additional bits of advice regarding cultural adaptation:

Terrorists don’t discriminate! If you’re an American, you’re a potential terrorist target. Your dress, conduct, and mannerisms should not attract attention. Make an effort to blend in.” [No advice is offered as to how blend in in countries in which the majority of the local population does not wear camouflage.]

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It’s normal to have feelings of uneasiness after you arrive at your deployment location. But, don’t become consumed by fear. Slowly adjust to your new surroundings, learn all you can from more experienced people, and follow your training.” [Judging from the accompanying photograph, new surroundings include McDonald’s establishments with turbaned and veiled clientele.]

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International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to try Gaza flotilla passengers

Perusal of mass grave at Srebrenica reveals that victims were mainly Turkish jihadists employed by humanitarian NGO. (Photo: Amel Emric/AP)

A June 13 exclusive on Intelwire.com entitled “Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War” purports to reveal the history of Osman Atalay, executive board member of İHH, the Turkish NGO instrumental in organizing the aid flotilla to Gaza intercepted on May 31 by Israeli commandos. Collateral damage from the interception included 9 Turkish humanitarian activists.

According to the Intelwire article, Atalay served in the Bosnian Army from 1992 until 1994. Lest readers fail to equate this act with terrorism, additional condemning evidence is thrown in for good measure:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the September 11 mastermind, lived and worked in Sarajevo in late 1995, according to [a Bosnian intelligence] document, which says he was employed by a humanitarian organization called ‘Egipatska Pomoc’ or ‘Egyptian Help,’ believed to be a reference to the Egyptian Humanitarian Relief Organization (EHRA).”

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TSA fails to order enhanced screening of residents of state sponsors of terrorism who arrive to Florida coast on tractor tires

According to heightened security measures devised by the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the wake of the “Dec. 25 incident,” “every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening.”

In order that air travelers might more easily determine whether their travel plans involve “countries of interest,” TSA elaborates:

The countries of interest are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen and those designated as state sponsors of terrorism, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.”

Washington Post Op-Ed columnist Eugene Robinson bravely objects to Cuba’s inclusion in the list in a Jan. 5 dispatch entitled “A terrorism designation Cuba doesn’t deserve,” in which he explains that—unlike the other 13 countries of interest—Cuba “is not a failed state where swaths of territory lie beyond government control” and that “[t]here is no history of radical Islam in Cuba.”

TSA has thus far failed to detect Cuba’s uniqueness, however, or to expand its heightened security requirements to include amendments to the Cuban Adjustment Act, such that visitors arriving illegally to the U.S. from Caribbean state sponsors of terrorism are not rewarded with expedited citizenship options.