— Turkey PM Press&Info (@ByegmENG) January 12, 2015
Mahmoud Abbas usually looks miserable but this time he looks genuinely perplexed — as though he just got transported through a time-warp and landed on another planet.
Kadri Gursel writes: In Turkish culture, the “gate” image is known to symbolize power and dominance. In President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “New Turkey,” it is being reinforced with the image of “stairs,” symbolizing the ascent to “prosperity and power.” In this context, Turkey’s newest and most famous staircase is in Erdogan’s pompous new 1,150-room palace. Made of fancy gray marble, the 25-step stairway leads from the palace’s ground floor ceremonial entrance up to the official presidential quarters.
The international audience had a first glimpse of the palace’s staircase on Oct. 31 when The New York Times published a picture of Erdogan posing alone in front of it. On Jan. 12, the same staircase made the headlines again as 16 men, clad in ancient eastern warrior costumes and holding replica swords, maces and spears, lined up on both sides of the staircase, eight on each side. Some were bedecked in chain mail and helmets, sporting fake mustaches and beards.
Climbing down between the warriors in the glimmer of their armor — some golden, others chromate — Erdogan walked to the ceremonial door to greet his guest, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The pair saluted the Presidential Guard of Honor before walking to the bottom of the staircase, where they posed for a picture, shaking hands. The scene looked surreal with the costumed men — believed to represent Turkic-Mongolian and Ottoman warriors — standing proudly upright in the background. [Continue reading…]
Today’s Zaman reports: Soldiers in the presidential palace wearing different ceremonial clothes of various Turkic tribes — photos of which garnered laughter in Turkey and around the world when they were released on Monday — will remain permanent, the Turkish media said, citing presidential sources.
The sources said it was still not clear how the soldiers will be displayed, but the Presidency will continue to have the same dressed-up soldiers at future ceremonies while hosting foreign state dignitaries.
The Independent reports: The Turkish president has accused the West of “playing games” with Muslims in the wake of the Paris attacks and urged its governments to crack down on Islamophobia.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chided the French security services for not preventing the attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and said that Muslims would suffer as a result of the murders.
“French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price. That’s very meaningful … Doesn’t their intelligence organisation track those who leave prison?” he said.
He cited an increase in attacks on mosques after the incidents as indicative of double standards in France and other countries.
“The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia,” Erdoğan said.
When Erdogan says that “as Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres,” he’s reiterating the conspiracy theory widely promoted in the Middle East over the last decade that terrorism is instigated by non-Muslims — it’s usually Mossad or the CIA — and this is all part of a Western/Zionist effort to suppress Muslims and vilify Islam.
During this period, American and Israeli wars in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims have died, have helped reinforce the narrative.
But we’re now living in the age of ISIS and those who want to keep on peddling the line that Muslims are only victims and never perpetrators of gruesome brutality, are either being disingenuous or they’re delusional.