Home' Greymouth Star : March 1st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
It is a "treacherous attack" and a "dirty
conspiracy," claimed Turkish prime
minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose
image as a devout Muslim and an
honest man is the key to his political
success. But he did not deny that the
voice on the recordings was his, nor
that the other voice was that of his son
Bilal. He explained the phone-calls
by saying that they were a "shameless
montage" of various things that he and
his son had said in other, quite innocent
e four telephone conversations
allegedly took place on December17, the
same day that the Turkish police arrested
the sons of three cabinet members in
Erdogan's government for corruption,
bribery and tender-rigging. is might
easily have caused some alarm in the
families of other cabinet members,
especially since the dawn raids also
uncovered large sums of money whose
presence in the sons' houses was hard to
e police even found a money-
counting machine in the house of
Baris Guler, son of Interior Minister
Muammer Guler. $4.5 million in cash
was found hidden in shoe boxes in the
house of Suleyman Aslan, director of
the State-owned Halkbank, who was
also arrested. In all 52 people, almost
all of them connected in one way or
another with the ruling AK ( Justice and
Development) Party, were arrested on
In the alleged phone calls on
December 17, the prime minister
is asking his son Bilal to dispose of
millions of euros in cash that are
currently sitting in a house somewhere.
Bilal is to entrust the money to several
businessmen for safekeeping, and make
sure that none
is left in the
house. In the
rst 24 hours
on social media,
they got 1.5m
Now, if the
calls are genuine, they were probably
recorded by people who knew the arrests
were going to happen on that day. (It's
unlikely that anybody was tapping Bilal's
phone all the time, and it's too hard to
tap a prime minister's phone). So there is
de nitely a plot to hurt Prime Minister
Erdogan --- but it might be a plot whose
weapon is the truth.
Here we have either a panic-stricken
prime minister instructing his son to
hide the evidence of massive corruption
--- or a "shameless montage" that
strings bits of innocent conversation
together to lead people to a false
conclusion that slanders the prime
minister. Which is it?
Well, it all sounds pretty normal to me.
What son has not had occasion from
time to time to tell his father that there
are still 30 million euros to be removed
from the house? What father does not
sometimes have to warn his son not to
go into details on the phone, as the line
may be tapped? But some people have
nasty, suspicious minds.
e phone calls are just the latest
episode in a cascade of events that has
shredded the carefully constructed image
of Erdogan's government, which has
won three elections in eleven years with
steadily increasing majorities. e trigger
for these events, according to most
obser vers, was a bitter but unexplained
split between Erdogan and his erstwhile
friend and political ally, the Islamic
cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile
in the United States, leads a conservative
religious movement known as Hizmet
(Service). It has millions of followers,
and its help is seen as vital in Erdogan's
election victories. e split between
Erdogan and Gulen is allegedly due to
the latter's criticism of o cial corruption
in large construction and real estate
projects --- and Hizmet is said by critics
to be particularly in uential among the
judiciary and the police.
Erdogan certainly saw the arrests
on December 17 as a direct attack by
Gulen on his authority. He immediately
retaliated by dismissing the senior
o cers on the Istanbul police force
who ran the nancial crime, organised
crime, smuggling and anti-terrorist
departments. e purge rapidly grew
until some 2000 senior police o cers
across the country had been red,
suspended or moved to tra c duty.
e AK Party also brought in
emergency legislation that would put
senior judges and prosecutors under the
direct control of the minister of justice
(presumably so they could be prevented
from bringing prosecutions against AK
members). e European Union warned
that this law would prejudice Turkey's
application for membership, but
Erdogan was not interested. Elections
are due this year, and he is now ghting
for his political life.
Erdogan has had too much power for
too long and he has become arrogant
and reckless, but few people could
have foreseen that he would end up
involved in such a massive corruption
scandal. Nor is his response to the crisis
reassuring: ring policemen, hobbling
judges and prosecutors, and blaming it
all on "dark circles" of plotters.
is is not the behaviour of an
innocent man facing unjust accusations.
It is the behaviour of a cornered rat.
̌ Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
4 - Saturday, March 1, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are o ensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte lands in France,
forcing King Louis XVIII to ee.
1872 - US Congress authorises creation of
Yellowstone National Park.
1932 - Infant son of US aviation pioneer
Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped.
1949 - World heavyweight boxing
champion Joe Louis retires after
defending his title a record 25 times.
1950 - In Britain, Dr Klaus Fuchs
is convicted for giving British and
American atomic secrets to the
1954 - US announces it has conducted a
hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in the
Paci c Ocean.
1981 - Irish Republican Army member
Bobby Sands begins a hunger strike at the
Maze Prison in Northern Ireland. He dies 65
1996 - US visa is approved for IRA political
leader Gerry Adams.
2006 - US actor Jack Wild, best known for
playing the Artful Dodger as a teenager in the
1968 lm Oliver!, dies from cancer aged 53.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Frederic Chopin, Polish romantic pianist
and composer (1810-1849); Glenn Miller, US
bandleader (1904-1944); David Niven, British
actor (1910-1983); Yitzhak Rabin,
former Israeli prime minister (1922-
1995); Harry Belafonte, US singer
(1927-); Robert Conrad, US actor
(1935-); Roger Daltrey, British singer
of rock band e Who (1944-); Ron
Howard, US actor-director (1954-);
Tim Daly, US actor (1956-); Javier
Bardem, Spanish actor (1969-); Justin Bieber,
Canadian singer (1994-).
"If you are able to state a problem, it can be
solved." --- Edwin H Land, American inventor
"Which of these three, do you think, was a
neighbour to the man who fell into the hands
of the robbers?" He said, " e one who showed
him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do
likewise." --- (Luke 10:36-37).
ree West Coast
babies born at district
maternity homes on
Saturday will not
celebrate their ninth birthdays until 2004 and
they will not attain their majorities until 2048
--- 84 years in the future! e youngsters, two
girls and a boy, were all born on February 29,
Leap Year Day and there is a February 29 only
once in four years --- and none at all at the turn
of the century in 2000, which means they will
be 'eight' for eight years!
e girls were born at Kawatiri Maternity
Home, Westport, to Mrs Valerie Riddell, of
Waimangaroa, and to Mrs Joan Ealam, of
Ikamatua, in the Reefton Hospital. Mrs Ealam
will call her daughter Kathleen Mary.
e boy was born at McBrearty Annexe to a
Perhaps the most outstanding entertainment
of the 12th West Coast Industries and
Agricultural Fair was the act performed by
noted Australian horseman Stuart Lear. He is
one of only four living performers who have
perfected the Cossack "belly roll" --- moving
around the belly of a horse at full gallop.
But, as far as the children were concerned,
Lear's performance as a clown --- which is also
part of his act --- was the most exciting. e
horseman, in a comic role on a di erent type
of steed, a miniature bike, ventured along the
trotting track with his youthful admirers in hot
e secretary of the fair committee, Mr
J P Guerin, said that the attendance gure of
17,000 patrons indicated the public's interest
in the fair. is was especially so in view of
the fact that rain fell on every one of the three
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Erdogan's reputation in tatters
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Carmel Crimmins and Padraic Halpin
Catherine Droogan turns 40
this year. at is one of the
few personal details she can
be sure of.
Adopted at four weeks
from a convent in eastern
Ireland, Droogan does not know who her
parents were or where she was born. She is
not even certain who actually named her
Lying on her kitchen table in the
Northern Ireland town of Omagh is a one-
page document that the State has given
her about her parents, containing what's
known as "non-identifying information". It
took her a year to get from Ireland's health
service and tells her that her father was a
blue-eyed factory worker in his early 20s,
and her mother was a catering assistant
who liked to read and dance. ere are no
names or addresses.
International laws say all children should
know their parents and be able to establish
their identity. But adopted people in
Ireland have no automatic right to their
birth records, and no legal right to tracing
services. Pressure to change this has risen
since Philomena, an Oscar-nominated
movie, was released last year. It tells the true
story of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman
whose son was sold as a toddler by nuns to
a United States couple.
"When I was younger I thought someday
there will be this big reunion. As I got
older, I got a bit of sense. But just to know
who I am is my biggest want. at's what
really bugs me, that I can't know the
simple things," said Droogan, who has
two children of her own. "My eldest son
wants to know who he looks like. He is the
double of me."
Catholic Ireland's system of compelling
unwed mothers to give up their babies to
secret adoptions ended in the 1980s, but
thousands of mothers and children are still
being kept apart.
Politicians blame the law. Successive
Irish governments have argued that a 1998
Supreme Court ruling prevents them from
automatically opening adopted people's
birth les because it emphasised the
mother's right to privacy, and said mothers
should be consulted.
No administration has yet drawn up
laws to clarify the situation. Nor has
any government tried to challenge the
judgment. In 2001, a junior minister
proposed criminal prosecution, and possibly
jail, for any adopted person who tried to
contact a birth parent who did not want
to be approached, and for any parent who
tried to contact an unwilling child. at
idea was dropped after a storm of protest.
Ireland's current Minister for Children
and Youth A airs, Frances Fitzgerald,
has said she is working on legislation to
formalise tracing and access to birth records
for adopted people. Originally meant to be
unveiled in 2013, it is now expected some
time this year.
She has told parliament that the new law
will have to re ect the "constraints" arising
from the 1998 Supreme Court ruling.
Campaigning group the Adoption Rights
Alliance, which is working with Philomena
Lee, believes the State has a "deny till
they die" strategy, stalling until most birth
mothers are dead to avoid controversy and
" ere is a fear and loathing about this
whole issue amongst government parties
and former government parties because
they know the extent to which State and
church colluded to abduct children and
they colluded in forced adoption," said
Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights
Fitzgerald said that was not the case.
" e Minister for Children and Youth
A airs absolutely rejects the proposition
that she is, in any proactive way, trying to
block adoption and information legislation.
e opposite is the case," her department
said in an e-mailed statement.
" e birth parent has certain
constitutional rights to privacy which
re ect the fact that the original adoptions
were provided for under the Adoption Acts
on the basis of con dentiality.
" ere are legal and constitutional
di culties in retrospectively overturning
considerations of con dentiality other than
on the basis of consent."
Since Philomena, applications to join a
register that tries to match adopted people
with their birth parents have doubled to
30-40 a week, said the State-run Adoption
Authority. Nearly 11,000 people are now
on the register: It has made 660 matches
e Authority's chairman said it was
examining how future laws might work.
"We are exploring all possible avenues,"
Geo rey Shannon told Reuters. "I'm quite
optimistic that we are moving into a much
better place in this area."
e Catholic Church ran many of
Ireland's social services in the 20th century,
including mother-and-baby homes where
tens of thousands of unwed pregnant
women, including rape victims, were sent to
Unmarried mothers and their children
were seen as a stain on Ireland's image as a
devout, Catholic nation. ey were also a
problem for some of the fathers, particularly
powerful gures such as priests and wealthy,
Like the Magdalene Laundries, where
single women and girls were sent because
they threatened Ireland's moral bre, the
mother-and-baby homes were run by nuns
but received State funding. ey acted as
adoption agencies and in that capacity were
overseen by the state.
Major parts of adoption legislation were
written to the wishes of the Catholic
hierarchy in the 1950s and 1960s and are
still used to regulate adoption today. Irish
government o cials followed the Church's
preference for secrecy, despite the fact
psychologists stressed the importance for
adopted children of knowing where they
" ere is no other issue I've come across
in my studies where the State and the
Church was more hand-in-glove than on
this particular issue," said Robbie Roulston,
a lecturer at University College Dublin.
Ireland is not the only country where
children were taken from their mothers.
Australia's former Prime Minister Julia
Gillard apologised last year for some
150,000 forced adoptions in that country
between 1950 and 1970.
But Ireland has not apologised for its
forced adoptions, nor has it heeded calls
for an inquiry into illegal adoptions, where
babies' birth certi cates were falsi ed
to show their adoptive parents as their
In a report this month, the United
Nations Committee on the Rights of the
Child urged the Vatican to investigate all
cases in which Irish Catholic congregations
had forcibly removed babies from their
mothers, and to co-operate with the police
on their investigations. It also urged the
Vatican to make the congregations reveal
everything they know about where these
One o cial familiar with government
thinking on adoption says the delay is down
to inertia, the legal obstacles and concerns
about the possible costs.
Fresh out of an EU-IMF bailout and
with its public nances still stretched,
Ireland's government has been cutting back
on services. If the government made it a
statutory right for adoptees to trace their
birth parents, it would have to fund this.
But despite the growing number of
people requesting information, the tracing
department at the Adoption Authority has
had its sta reduced since 2011.
e potential impact of a law change is
illustrated by the case of the Magdalene
laundries, Ireland's institutions for "fallen
women", the last of which closed in 1996.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued
an o cial apology for the homes in
2013, after years of government denials.
e government has agreed to pay up
to 58 million euros ($79 million) in
compensation to hundreds of Magdalene
survivors. So far, 680 applications have
been made and 3.5 million euros paid out
to 144 women.
Last month, Kenny also apologised to
a woman who had been sexually abused
by her primary school principal in the
1970s. e government had said it was not
responsible because the school was owned
and run by the Church, but the European
Court of Human Rights said the State
had a responsibility to protect children.
Ireland's Supreme Court had said that the
State was not legally liable.
" e government were very slow to
move on the industrial schools, very slow
to move on the laundries, the mother and
baby homes is another huge thing that
is coming down the line and I cannot
understand why it has taken so long for
this issue to be sorted out," said Eamon
McGrane, who is searching for his birth
"All it takes is a little bit of political will
and they can push through anything they
If McGrane's birth mother is alive, she is
"You hear the clock ticking in your head
all the time," he said. "I don't want to hear
any more complex legal issues, I don't want
to hear any more excuses. Get it done."
Catherine Droogan holds her birth and baptismal certi cate in the kitchen of her house in the Northern Ireland town of Omagh.
Links Archive February 28th 2014 March 3rd 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page