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160329 ISRAEL LIVES  29 March 2016; 19th of Adar II, 5776  AIPAC recap, Erdogan, Brussels, 2 doz. websites fighting anti-Semitism

MOSES TRANSPORT, RESERVE NOW

Ready - Set ...

Each of us, the Haggadah reminds us, must feel as though we personally were liberated from Mitzrayim

 

BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY

TO HEAR HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF CHAZZONUS AND OTHER JEWISH MUSIC ANYTIME, 24/7, LOG ON TO CHARLIE BERNHAUT'S WEBSITE: WWW.CHARLIEBERNHAUT.COM BE SURE TO VISIT THE INDEX

 

FBI TAPS ISRAELI SOFTWARE FIRM TO CRACK THE IPHONE - Breitbart The FBI is making a bid to break its stalemate against Apple, by tapping an Israeli firm to crack the iPhone' supposedly unbreakable encryption.  According to a Reuters report, the CELLEBRITE company of Israel, which specializes in mobile forensic software, will attempt to unlock the smartphone used by San Bernardino jihadi Syed Farook

JIHAD RAPE, A STAPLE IN ENGLAND, HAS MADE ITS WAY ACROSS THE 'POND' A growing number of drivers working for Uber, Lyft and similar taxi services have been accused of sexually assaulting female passengers. And many of them have Muslim names.

Two Uber drivers - Hassan Ibrahim, 48, and Salim Salem, 47 - were charged last week in connection with sexual assaults against female college students at Michigan State University, the Detroit Free Press reported. (WND by Allegra Kirkland) 

 

HIAS STAFF CONSISTS OF JEWS, MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AND JINOS - Are we back to 'blend or perish'?  Remembering my childhood in NYC; as a family we dressed on Shabbos, and on Sunday. We'd already fled from the East Side of Manhattan driven out by anti-Semitism and the weekly Sunday Nazi marches down First Avenue, to the West Side.  We spoke of it as being 'respectful'.   I do believe that was different.  So far, no one tells us in what % to staff our Jewish organizations, though The Little Sister of the Poor are suffering government intrusion into their religious rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  HIAS WEBSITE  http://www.hias.org/staff

 

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS OPENED A CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION INTO A NEW JERSEY TOWNSHIP'S DENIAL OF A MUSLIM GROUP'S APPLICATION TO BUILD A MOSQUE, NJ.com reported   Confirmation of the investigation comes days after Bernard Township's former mayor, Mohammed Ali Chaudry, and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) filed a lawsuit against the township and 15 planning board members alleging that their decision to deny the application was motivated by Islamophobia. 

The suit alleges that Bernard Township planning board members were swayed by a swell of local opposition to the mosque, which masked anti-Islam sentiment.  The federal investigation will attempt to determine whether the township violated Chaudry's and other ISBR members' constitutional right to freedom of worship, according to NJ.com.

In a statement sent to the news site, Mayor Carol Bianchi said that the township will fully cooperate with investigators. "I know our Planning Board members and they are honest and ethical," she said in the statement. "I trust they made their decisions based solely on land use considerations."  Bianchi was on the planning board when the decision to reject the mosque plan came down, and is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.  While officials in the rural township insist that construction issues like overly bright lighting and insufficient parking determined their decision, the ISBR counters that they spent $450,000 trying to accommodate the board's land use concerns.  You can read the ISBR's full lawsuit here

NEWLY ARRIVED "UNDERGROUND IRON DOME"  ISRAEL HAS OVERSEEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEM THAT DETECT AND DESTROY ENEMY TUNNELS.

   The Israeli Defense Ministry has been working with the United States to develop a cross-border tunnel detection system. Israeli sources said the system, dubbed "Underground Iron Dome," underwent testing in 2016 near the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

   "We are doing a lot, but many of [the things we do] are hidden from the public," Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said.

   The sources said the development of the system took more than a decade but was accelerated over the last two years. They said the Defense Ministry was working with Israeli companies to design seismic sensors that could identify digging.

   Two of the leading Israeli contractors in the anti-tunnel project were identified as the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the publicly-traded Elbit Systems. Neither company has discussed the project.  THE QUESTION REMAINS, HOW TO DETECT EXISTING TUNNELS. (MENEWSLINE)

 

RUSSIA DEVELOPING KURDS AS A CLIENT STATE - THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE DONE DURING THE IRAQ WAR.  Russia Sends Anti-Aircraft To KRG MOSCOW [MENL] -- Russia has sent anti-aircraft weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq.

   A Russian diplomat said the Russian Defense Ministry oversaw a shipment of anti-aircraft artillery platforms and ammunition to the Kurdish Regional Government in March 2016. The diplomat identified the artillery as the ZU-23 anti-aircraft artillery.

   "The weaponry was transferred in the presence of the Russian ambassador and consul-general as well as the Peshmerga deputy chief of general staff,"

Russia's consulate-general in Iraq, Artyom Grigoryan, said.

   In remarks to Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti News Agency, Grigoryan said KRG received ZU-23 artillery guns as well as 20,000 shells. He said five anti-aircraft systems arrived in northern Iraq on March 14.   ZU-23 has been described as a 23 mm Soviet-era weapon with a range of 2.5 kilometers. The twin-barrel gun could also be used against ground targets, including vehicles and troops.

   Grigoryan said the Russian delivery was coordinated with the Baghdad government. He did not elaborate, but officials said arms talks between Moscow and KRG were planned for April.

   "After the delivery of weapons shipment on March 14, the Russian ambassador said it was not a single delivery," Grigoryan said. "The ambassador stressed that Russia is hoping that these weapons will help the Peshmerga [Kurdish] and the Iraqi armed forces to defeat Islamic State terrorists."

 

CHIEF RABBI: GENTILES MUST FOLLOW TORAH TO REMAIN IN ISRAEL  Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on Saturday preached that if Gentiles want to live in the Land of Israel, they need to accept and obey those portions of the Torah that are relevant to them.  In the weekend sermon, Yosef insisted that "according to Jewish law, gentiles should not live in the Land of Israel."  However, an exception could be made for those who "agree to take on the seven Noahide Laws" and serve Israel.

The Noahide Laws are a portion of the Torah commandments (7 of the 10 commandments) that deal with faith in God, blasphemy, murder, sexual immorality, theft and certain kosher requirements.

Yosef warned that when the Messiah comes, all Gentiles who have failed to live according to these biblical commandments will be expelled from the Land. Israel Hayom staff

What is intended in essence could be advocated with a less offensive rhetoric.   I would ask, where do Gentiles fail to meet the strictures of the Noahide Law?  Why present this as a challenge?  However, is Rabbi Yizhak Yosef directing his thoughts to adherents of Islam?  If he is, might not just couch his admonition more generally to include all non-Jewish residents of Israel.  Has he thought how the present Israeli Supreme Court would react should his decision become the law of the State of Israel?  There are reasons why the Orthodox in Israel are not liked by the larger body of the Israeli society.

 

 

 

EVENTS

THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 6:00 PM Benjamin Weinthal, European Affairs Correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD); speaking on:

"Europe's Economic War on Israel: 

The Role of Antisemitism in BDS and Product Labels"

At the ISGAP Center 165 E 56 St. NYC; www.isgap.org

APRIL 20, 2015, WEDNESDAY - MACCABI U.S.A. GALA at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway, New York, NY 10018. Honoring Ron Carner. Join us and help raise the necessary dollars to ensure that all qualified Jewish athletes from the USA and around the world are able to participate at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, Summer 2017. Click HERE to register for the event, purchase a sponsorship or make a contribution. We also have special pricing for our young alumni under the age of 35, so plan on joining us and being a part of Maccabi USA history!

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Jerusalem Post Annual Conference

At the Marriott Marquis Hotel, NYC (West 47 St. & Broadway)

http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/ConferenceNewYork2016/Conference_Home.aspx

 

WEDNESDAY THRU WEDNESDAY / JUNE 1-8 AFSI CHIZZUK MISSION TO ISRAEL

HOLD YOUR RESERVATION FOR JUNE 1-8 CHIZUK MISSION WITH $500 

NON-REFUNDABLE PAYMENT DUE NOW

Come to Israel with AFSI on our Spring 2016 Chizuk Mission. 

Celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in Israel with AFSI. 

NEWS REPORTS:

1-AIPAC. CAROLINE GLICK took to facebook to publish her account of AIPAC 2016.  "For the past four years, polling data consistently shows that a large majority of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all or parts of Judea and Samaria. " 

I recall the awe I felt at my first AIPAC Plenary in Washington DC.  WOW there I was with thousands of Jews rooting for Israel to kick the ball thru the uprights.  After a few years, a half dozen plenaries and numbers of monthly meetings I noticed a moderation in direction.  By 2008, no longer a member, I watched in horror as AIPAC defaulted its duty to challenge the proposed candidacy of John Kerry for State Department Chief, Hagel for Sec. of Defense and Brenner for CIA head.   I don't need to be 'right', I don't want my worst fears realized.  Each was a profoundly flawed candidate; AIPAC 'rolled over'.  That was then. 

Caroline Glick speaks of NOW.  She notes: A large majority of Israelis believe that the Palestinians are not interested in peace or statehood, but in destroying the Jewish state. Polling data of Palestinians backs up this view.  Yet, in his speech, AIPAC's CEO Howard Kohr insisted that Israel's supporters cling to their devotion to the establishment of a Palestinian state. 

Give me AFSi, EMET, ISGAP, STAND WITH US, AMERICAN FRIENDS OF LIKUD, AMERICAN FRIENDS OF THE IDF, CHABAD ON CAMPUS..Let an 'Umbrella' bring them together for the purpose of ADVOCACY.  AIPAC NEEDS A COUNTER-BALANCE.

2- SECULAR AND LIBERAL TURKS SIGHED WITH PREMATURE RELIEF WHEN ON JUNE 7, 2015, PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN'S JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT PARTY (ADALET VE KALKINMA PARTISI, AKP) LOST ITS PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY.  Turkey is now a dangerous 'tinderbox'. The author, Burak Bekdil is knowledgeable.  An Ankara-based columnist for Hürriyet Daily News and a fellow of the Middle East Forum. He has also written for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. This is a 'must read', 'must circulate' article. 

3- BRUSSELS, MOLENBEEK, AND THE WAY OUT FOR EUROPE  It's not ISIS here that we have to fear, rather it is the now embedded Muslim presence. The Islamist doctrine is dominating Muslim societies in Europe today. There is neither much hope that Western society can coexist with it, nor that it is capable of reforming itself. What needs to be done is to eliminate it. The first thing to do is realize that the common denominator of all radical Islamist movements is the violent, discriminatory, and mysoginist sharia law. As early as 2001, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) passed a ruling that sharia law is completely incompatible with democracy and human rights.

Most radical Islamist organizations in Belgium and the rest of Western Europe continue to be funded and radicalized by Saudi Arabian, Middle Eastern and, lately, Turkish government money.  Unless these are terminated, the present and surging refugee population will be uncontrollable.

4- TO REPORT ANTI SEMITISM - The 18 websites are listed are an important resource for students from High School thru Graduate School.  The 19 information websites are each well worth filing for future use.  I could think of another 19 equally meaningful.  There is one current events cite that is unique that bears noting.  www.israeladvocacycalendar.com Robert Sidi its founder, asks readers to submit their events, worldwide.  Contact: RobertSidi@IsraelAdvocacyCalendar.com to list your event and explain the parameters.

 

 

1>AIPAC - THE AMERICAN ISRAEL PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Caroline Glick

March 23, 2015

As of 3:07pm 25,565 people liked this!! 

On Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/carolineglick/

Now that AIPAC - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee humiliated itself and insulted its members with its leaders' abject apology to Obama, I'd like to raise an issue that has bothered me for a long, long time. 


Let's say I get that AIPAC's leadership doesn't want to admit that Obama is the most anti-Israel president in US history. 


But does bowing and scraping before a man that hates them in the hopes of convincing Democrats to support Israel anyway necessitate AIPAC refusing to defend Jewish civil rights? 


No, I don't mean the obvious right of its membership to cheer when Trump pointed out the self-evident fact of Obama's hatred of Israel. I mean the civil rights of Israelis.


When was the last time that AIPAC stood up for Israelis who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines?

When was the last time AIPAC defended Jewish civil and property rights in Jerusalem?
No, they don't have to support settlements. There are political reasons to oppose them.
But why should they ignore the rights of Jews? In failing to oppose calls for expropriations and non-enforcement of Jewish rights, AIPAC effectively embraces the bigoted, anti-Jewish notion that Jews have no civil rights in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem simply because we are Jews. 


If AIPAC both defended Obama and defended Jewish civil rights, I would be able to stomach its self-flagellation. But AIPAC's silence in the face of the administration's racist position that Jews should be denied civil rights beyond the 1949 armistice lines makes it difficult for me to take a sympathetic or understanding view of its leaders' assault on their own supporters and donors.

 

And if I'm already discussing AIPAC, just one more little, tiny quibble. 
For the past four years, polling data consistently shows that a large majority of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all or parts of Judea and Samaria. 


A similarly large majority of Israelis believe that the Palestinians are not interested in peace or statehood, but in destroying the Jewish state. Polling data of Palestinians backs up this view. 
Yet, in his speech, AIPAC's CEO Howard Kohr insisted that Israel's supporters cling to their devotion to the establishment of a Palestinian state.


Why? Why is it the job of American Jews or of American politicians to try to force Israel to give its land to people who want to annihilate it? 


Why is it AIPAC's job to legitimize the PLO which remains dedicated to its unswerving goal of destroying Israel through political warfare and terrorism?
Like I said, it's just a quibble.


No, I don't mean the obvious right of its membership to cheer when Trump pointed out the self-evident fact of Obama's hatred of Israel. I mean the civil rights of Israelis.


When was the last time that AIPAC stood up for Israelis who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines?

When was the last time AIPAC defended Jewish civil and property rights in Jerusalem?
No, they don't have to support settlements. There are political reasons to oppose them.
But why should they ignore the rights of Jews? In failing to oppose calls for expropriations and non-enforcement of Jewish rights, AIPAC effectively embraces the bigoted, anti-Jewish notion that Jews have no civil rights in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem simply because we are Jews. 


If AIPAC both defended Obama and defended Jewish civil rights, I would be able to stomach its self-flagellation. But AIPAC's silence in the face of the administration's racist position that Jews should be denied civil rights beyond the 1949 armistice lines makes it difficult for me to take a sympathetic or understanding view of its leaders' assault on their own supporters and donors.

And if I'm already discussing AIPAC, just one more little, tiny quibble. 
For the past four years, polling data consistently shows that a large majority of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all or parts of Judea and Samaria. 


A similarly large majority of Israelis believe that the Palestinians are not interested in peace or statehood, but in destroying the Jewish state. Polling data of Palestinians backs up this view. 
Yet, in his speech, AIPAC's CEO Howard Kohr insisted that Israel's supporters cling to their devotion to the establishment of a Palestinian state.


Why? Why is it the job of American Jews or of American politicians to try to force Israel to give its land to people who want to annihilate it? 


Why is it AIPAC's job to legitimize the PLO which remains dedicated to its unswerving goal of destroying Israel through political warfare and terrorism?
Like I said, it's just a quibble.

 

2>ERDOGAN'S ONE-MAN ISLAMIST SHOW
by Burak Bekdil
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2016 (view as PDF)

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based columnist for Hürriyet Daily News and a fellow of the Middle East Forum. He has also written for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997.

Secular and liberal Turks sighed with premature relief when on June 7, 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) lost its parliamentary majority in general elections for the first time since it came to power in November 2002. With 41 percent of the national vote (compared with 49.8 percent in the 2011 general elections), the AKP won eighteen fewer seats than necessary to form a single-party government in Turkey's 550-member parliament. More importantly, its parliamentary seats fell widely short of the minimum number needed to rewrite the constitution in the way Erdogan wanted it so as to introduce an executive presidential system that would give him uncontrolled powers with few checks and balances, if any.[1]

Undaunted by what looked like an election defeat, Erdogan chose to toss the dice again. At his instructions, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pretended to hold coalition negotiations with opposition parties while secretly laying the groundwork for snap elections.[2] In Erdogan's thinking, the loss of a few more seats would make no difference to AKP power, but re-winning a parliamentary majority would make the situation totally different. Then a terrible wave of violence gripped Turkey.

First, the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK), which had been fighting a guerrilla war from mountain hideouts in northern Iraq, declared an end to its unilateral ceasefire begun in 2013.[3] Then on July 20, a Turkish suicide bomber killed more than thirty people at a pro-Kurdish gathering in the small town of Suruc.[4] Claiming that the Turkish state had a secret role in the bombing, the PKK killed two policemen in the town of Ceylanpinar.[5] The three-decades-old violence between the Turkish and Kurdish communities had suddenly roared back with a vengeance. In one of Turkey's bloodiest summers ever, more than a thousand PKK fighters and Turkish security officials were killed.

Then in October, ISIS attacked in the Turkish capital. Two suicide bombers, one Turkish the other Syrian, killed some one hundred people at a pro-peace rally in the heart of Ankara, the worst single terror attack in the country's modern history.[6] By then, Erdogan had already dissolved parliament and called for early elections on November 1, calculating that the wave of instability would push frightened voters toward single-party rule.

Erdogan's gamble paid off. The elections gave the AKP a comfortable victory and a mandate to rule until 2019: 49.5 percent of the national vote, or 317 parliamentary seats, sufficient to form a single-party government but still short of the magical number of 330 necessary to bring a constitutional amendment up for referendum. Once again, political Islam had won in Turkey. But how, in a span of just five months, did a government mired in rising unemployment, economic slowdown, terror attacks, and soldiers' funerals succeed in increasing its national vote by about nine percentage points? A combination of factors offers some clues.

A Splintered Opposition

The AKP's renewed victory illustrates the hopelessly divided and polarized state of the Turkish political scene. To begin with, not all Kurds are PKK supporters. The summer-long violence between the PKK and the Turkish military seems to have won over those Kurds with relatively more loyalist sentiments toward Turkey as well as those who sympathize with the Islamist AKP for reasons of piety. This caused a shift of votes, measured at 1.4 percentage points, from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to the AKP.

The AKP's renewed victory illustrates the hopelessly divided and polarized state of the Turkish political scene.

More importantly, the violence improved the AKP's position vis-à-vis the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which shares more or less the same voter base. In the June elections, some of the AKP's votes seem to have shifted to the MHP (which won 16.3 percent of the balloting overall), apparently due to nationalist disapproval of the AKP's peace overtures to the Kurds. Once they scrapped the peace process and launched an all-out war against the restive Kurdish minority, Erdogan and Davutoglu could boast of their newfound nationalist spirit. In the November elections, the MHP lost 4.1 percent-all of which apparently went to the AKP.

Add to this the disappearance from the political scene of two splinter parties, one with an Islamist and the other with nationalist manifestos, which had won 2 percent of the vote on June 7, allowing the AKP to pick up another 1.5 percent of the overall vote.

Finally, in the June elections, some AKP voters apparently refrained from voting in the face of Erdogan's lavish public lifestyle, his assertive unconstitutional intervention in party politics, and growing allegations of corruption and nepotism. Ipsos, the global market research company, found that nearly half of those who had abstained were AKP voters.[7] Yet they returned to the ballot box in November to help their ailing party, earning the AKP another 2 percentage points. Was this "non-buyer's remorse" or something more troubling? Are Turks displaying a form of Stockholm syndrome in which hostages, psychologically beaten into submission, develop sympathy and positive feelings toward their oppressors?

Interestingly, a study released shortly before the November elections found that only a quarter of Turks were not afraid of Erdogan; as many as 68.5 percent said they were. The research also found that even some of Erdogan's own supporters were afraid of him.[8] In any event, the turnout rate was nearly 4 percent higher in November than in June-half of which apparently went to the AKP.

Erdogan's Road to an Elected Sultanate

Erdogan has never hidden his ambitions to legitimize his de facto executive presidency. As he said in a 2015 speech,

There is a president with de facto power in the country, not a symbolic one. The president should conduct his duties for the nation directly but within his authority. Whether one accepts it or not, Turkey's administrative system has changed. Now, what should be done is to update this de facto situation in the legal framework of the constitution.[9]

To legitimize his rule by changing the constitution, his AKP party needs at least 330 seats but has only 317. Since the November elections, all three of the major opposition parties have said that they would not support any AKP-sponsored amendment in favor of an executive presidential system. But in Turkish politics nothing is impossible.

The secular, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is unlikely to be in favor of Erdogan's sultanate-like presidential system under any scenario.[10] The Nationalist Movement Party has firmly denied any potential support although it has cooperated with the AKP in some controversial legislative work in the past, such as a bill that legalized the Islamic headscarf on university campuses.[11] That leaves the pro-Kurdish HDP as Erdogan's only possible partner.

The Kurdish party's rhetoric on the presidential system has been tricky. It refused to support any presidential amendment "in a unitary Turkey" but does that mean it would withhold support from an AKP-sponsored presidential bill in a "federal Turkey?"[12] A federal Turkey, meaning one with an autonomous Kurdish region, is the HDP's main objective. Thus it could find itself in a transactional relationship with the AKP for some degree of Kurdish autonomy in return for supporting Erdogan's modern-day, elected sultanate.

For that to happen, the current wave of violence between Kurds and the Turkish military would have to come to a halt. At the beginning of 2016, there were no such signs, and what looked like a localized civil war, contained mainly to Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey, continued to claim lives daily.[13] Worse, Erdogan and the Davutoglu government look less prone to any reconciliation. Even a call for peace could be deemed "terrorist propaganda."

In January, for example, prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the host and the producer of a popular talk show on such charges. The move came after a caller, identifying herself as a schoolteacher, protested the civilian casualties during the security operations against the PKK. The caller was urging the public to raise its voice against the deaths of "unborn children, babies, and mothers." She did not
even mention the PKK.[14] Shortly after that, Turkish police detained scores of academics for signing a declaration denouncing military operations against the PKK. In their declaration, the so-called traitors wrote that they refused to be "a party to the crime" and called on the government to halt what they said was a "massacre."[15]

More than 1,100 Turkish and three hundred foreign academics signed the declaration, which Turkish prosecutors claimed "insulted the state" and engaged in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the Kurdish group. Erdogan decried the signatories and called on the judiciary to act against this "treachery." Erdogan said,

Just because they have titles such as professor [or] doctor in front of their names does not make them enlightened. These are dark people. They are villains and vile because those who side with the villains are villains themselves.[16]

Alongside any fresh ceasefire-not likely but not altogether impossible-HDP will want renewed talks for a political solution to Turkey's Kurdish dilemma. Beginning in 2011, Erdogan did enter into negotiations with the Kurds and convinced them to call for a ceasefire in 2013. He might try that again.

Davutoglu often publicly presents a milder Islamist posture than Erdogan.

But both Erdogan and the Kurds would have less appetite this time for such a new political adventure. Kurds trust him less than they did between 2011 and 2013. At the same time, Erdogan has discovered that he wins more votes if he plays to the nationalist Turkish constituencies rather than Kurdish ones. He will be more reluctant to shake hands with the Kurds than he was in 2013 and is able to read the election results of June and November 2015.

Erdogan's ambitions also leave in limbo his right-hand man, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In Turkey, the prime minister is the head of the executive while the president's constitutionally-defined role is largely symbolic. When Davutoglu was campaigning to win more votes for the AKP in 2015, he was in a real sense campaigning to end his own political career as the chief executive of the country. There is some speculation that Davutoglu, who often publicly presents a milder Islamist posture than the president, may eventually break with his patron and his authoritarian style, especially in light of the charges of corruption, favoritism and extravagance that beset the president. However, that expectation is too optimistic given Davutoglu's character and devotion to ideology.

Since Davutoglu was chosen by Erdogan to succeed him as prime minister in the summer of 2014, he has alternated between conducting himself ethically and in a Machiavellian fashion. While he may even view himself as a paladin for advancing the interests of Turkey and Islam (or Islamism), he knows that in order to further these goals he must continue to serve the man whom he sees as the champion of Turkish Islamism, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He must, therefore, remain prime minister and, as such, must ignore the issues that challenge his ethical and religious side.

This helps explain why Davutoglu repeatedly uses one particular word in public speeches: "dawa" (dava in Turkish) or the "political cause."[17] His loyalty is not to the seat he occupies or to worldly ambitions but to the struggle for the advancement of Islamism under the Turkish banner, to the dawa. It is unlikely then to expect Davutoglu to betray his boss or the dawa.

Turkey by the Numbers

In Turkish politics, Erdogan remains unrivalled. There is no credible indication that any of the three opposition parties could increase their votes so as to threaten the AKP in the near future, and there is no internal rival for leadership. The main opposition Republican People's Party's returns seem to be stuck in neutral, at a mere 25.4 percent in the November 2015 balloting, down marginally from 25.9 in 2011.[18] The nationalist MHP is in the midst of a chaotic leadership race while its national figures edge toward a number below the 10 percent threshold necessary for parliamentary representation (11.7 percent in the November 2015 election). Although it won parliamentary representation for the first time in history in 2015, the pro-Kurdish HDP conducts itself under the violent shadow of the militant PKK.

There are, moreover, sociopolitical and demographic reasons to anticipate that both Islamists and Kurds will perform better in any future Turkish election. From a political perspective, Turkey is becoming increasingly right-wing and religiously conservative. F. Michael Wuthrich of the University of Kansas' Center for Global and International Studies has demonstrated that Turkish voting bloc patterns have progressively shifted to the right from 59.8 percent in 1950 to 66.7 percent in 2011.[19]This pattern, presumably still in progress, will work in favor of the AKP or any other political party championing Islamist-nationalist ideas. In 2015, Erdogan boasted that the number of students studying to be imams rose from a mere 60,000 when his party first came to power in 2002 to 1.2 million in 2015.[20] When those students reach the voting age of eighteen, marry, and have children, their pious families will likely form a new army of five to six million AKP voters.

But the Kurds also have their own demographic advantages. Presently, the total fertility rate in eastern and southeastern, Kurdish-speaking Turkey is 3.41, compared to an average of 2.09 in the non-eastern, Turkish-speaking areas. For his part, Erdogan has urged every Turkish family to have "at least three, if possible more" children.[21] But things are not moving as he wishes. The total fertility rate in Turkey dropped from 4.33 in 1978 to 2.26 in 2013. Unsurprisingly, it currently stands at 3.76 for women with no education and at 1.66 for women with high school or higher degrees.[22]

Just like less-educated (and more devout) Turks grew in number and percentages over the past decades and brought Erdogan to power simply by combining demographics and the ballot box, the Kurds may, therefore, emerge as the Turkish Islamists' main rivals in the not-too-distant future simply by using the same political weapon.

Conclusions

Turkey seems to be stuck between two unpleasant options: Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian, de facto one-man rule or the same rule legitimized by a rewritten constitution. The sultan will not give up his ambition to raise "pious generations."[23] But do Turks care how their country is trending?

Nearly half of AKP voters do not think they live in a democratic country but are happy to vote for the party anyway.

A recent survey by Kadir Has University in Istanbul suggests that a substantial number of Turks are fully aware of the current trajectory. The survey found that 56.5 percent of Turks do not think Turkey is a democratic country while 36.1 percent think it is. Similarly, 59 percent think that there is no freedom of thought while 33.1 percent said there is. A mere 9 percent of Turks think there "definitely" is a free press in the country although another 31.3 percent agree to some extent. These numbers leave almost 60 percent who are sure they no longer have these civil liberties.[24]

More alarmingly, when narrowed down to AKP voters-49.5 percent according to the November 2015 elections-the study finds that these Turks do not care all that much about democratic values. Only 58.3 percent of those who vote for the AKP think Turkey is a democratic country; 56.7 percent think there is freedom of thought in the country, and 54.8 percent think there is a free press. In other words, nearly half of AKP voters do not think they live in a democratic country but are happy to vote for the party any

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