Sunday, March 11, 2012

This Week in Turkey: Wrapping up week of 3-5-12

I think it's fair to say that the biggest news in Turkey this week -- as it relates to the outside world -- involved the WikiLeaks release of the first Stratfor emails. WikiLeaks has apparently acquired 5 million emails dated between July 2004 and December from the Austin-based company that's been called a "shadow CIA." At least one of the emails deals with the health of Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan, saying he has terminal cancer and two years left to live (though I have yet to see a news story that gives the date of this email, it's obviously from no later than December). As I've mentioned before, there were already rumors here that he had cancer, following from two surgeries he's had (in November and last month) on his lower intestine. Previously, everyone has denied that he has cancer, but interestingly, in response to the Stratfor emails, Erdogan issued this week the most undenying denial. On Wednesday, he was quoted as saying: "We are [members of] a party that believes in fate. We are a party that took risks to serve our people. This soul belongs to God. God is the only one who can take it back. We did not and do not surrender to threats. Only God can determine the length of our life. … Those who believe in rumors and speculate on the lifespan of others, for us, are not only daring but insolent as well ." He never says he doesn't have cancer -- it seems to me he just took issue with the idea that a doctor (or an intelligence officer) could accurately predict a date of death. Considering that Turkey is at a crossroads right now and so much rests on Erdogan's shoulders (and charisma), it will be interesting to see what ends up being true.

There was another bomb blast this week, this time near the prime ministry building in Ankara on Monday, and like last week's explosion in Istanbul, little has been said. All that I've really heard about it was that it was a percussion bomb, one person was injured and no group has taken credit for the attack.

As I've already mentioned in another post, it was International Women's Day on Thursday, and Turkey celebrated with gusto!

In our own personal news, our resident garden cat and her kittens seem to be doing well. They're still under the ivy, but I've gone out and taken a peek at them a couple of times. From what I can see (momma mostly sits on top of them), there are just two of them, and they are still sooooo tiny, looking more like mice than kittens. Pin It

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