tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 11, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EST
and it is deeply anti-western diatribe not yet available in english although i think it should be available. we might think of making it available in english, which i think the most important part is that it shows that the anti-semitic conservative thinking is not a marginal issue at the friends of the system that is at the core of the system. the 30 pages front and center of the book is called those the robe world. it talks a great deal about how control the freemasons and found
that the u.n. as well as the european union. and so on and so forth to rule the world and they needed the downfall of the ottoman empire in israel and in principle you come away with the understanding that not only is everything jewish stab at everything bad in the world is jewish. it's deeply covers the entire movement. leaf find the study is really that the hpp never did leave islamism behind intellectually. the real changes for the rebranding as we call it that took place among both islamic intellectuals as well as the politicians that founded the akp didn't occur when the akp was
great. it started with the creation of the party in 1998 which preceded the akp. where the akp came in was to get rid of the old guard which was a block in the process of their political ambitions and occurred out sure the party was pulled down by the courts. and the paper we discuss in great detail how this process of rebranding was very technical in nature but it's important to note that farrakhan himself was actually after the coup of 1997 embrace the e.u. and embraced the issue of lying to the european court for redress against the closure of the dash magically in this book published in 2014 there is nothing about the e.u., nothing about democracy and it has never happened to the hard-core
islamist ideologies of the 1960s and 70s. in principle i think you are left with the conclusion that the rebranding of the akp never went to the core issue. that is it never went to the core issue that the islamic movement in turkey and the people who very much are today remain the decision-makers and the akp. therefore there is a linear link between the compilation of the akp and a return to the hard-core islamist ideas and values that were part of the islamist movement in turkey in the 1960s and 1970s. looking at the june election, we found erdogan was everywhere and rallies on posters and the defeat of the akp in june was in fact people say no to the idea
of a presidential system and an authoritarian -- authoritarian system. you don't find erdogan and rallies. you don't find erdogan on posters. the akp tried to present itself as a party and not as a vehicle for one single individual ambition. i think that's one of the reasons the akp was successful. that doesn't change the fact that erdogan try to push the presidential system. must more -- much more importantly never -- heat had backing the system that impressed this art existed he will face four more years and make it irreversibly in the middle eastern countries but more polarized in unstable countries that was when he took power. thank you. >> thank you svante.
>> thank you. alfred whitehead said the tradition of western philosophy consists of footnotes to plato. so i figured i would read plato and be done with it but what i have to say is a footnote to ambassador edelman and dr. dr. savante's excellent presentation. it's hard to ignore what it's been happening in turkey for the last two and a half years without coming to the conclusion that there is a departure from democracy. now we were met with a brutal police response followed by the december 17 investigation into corruption and the prosecutors who brought those were dealt with and the police force responsible for the investigations were dismissed. it's become clear that then
prime minister and now president erdogan called the shots in turkey, but the purpose of this paper was to examine the nature of authoritarianism in turkey a little more deeply and ask where does it come from, what is its nature, was it structure and how is it being implemented and why it matters. i think on the first as svante presented the argument we make in the paper all of the trends we are seeing in turkey are not the result of something that just miraculous way happened in 2013. it's not the result of some sort of break the erdogan had. as svante pointed out we trace it back to the jewish structure
of the various parties that erdogan led and they were authoritarian with erdogan being a strong leader and therefore it's not really surprising that is what we are seeing manifesting and it is the party that is the inherit her of the tradition. the other question is how is this come about and i think the argument that we put forward is that the democratic movement that you see in 2002 and 2003 when a akp is elected which earns auditions from turkey intellectuals and western leaders and the democratic party that is going to dissolve at the democratic deficit that turkey has been facing is really the entrée in some ways to the authoritarianism that we see today. in order for this sub were to stay in power to avoid the predecessors had met in 1997 who
forced erdogan from power attempts his predecessors. [inaudible] those still being fresh in people's minds and away they could stay in power without being muddled with. the first step, what is back? clearing the underbrush and clearing the threats to their rule which was primarily the military which is what we see in 2006, seven and 2008 with a sledgehammer case. allegations of coup plotting terrorism with the military and journalist supporting them. then you see basically the sub for completely swing the pendulum and the other way. it becomes a mirror image so at first they were the outsiders trying to clear way the established institutions of the state that might oppose them and then they become institutions of the state trying to clear way for social and economic institutions that might oppose
them so what you really see in turkey is authoritarianism on two levels. one is the institutional, deinstitutionalization and you can also call it the personalization of powers and the concentration of powers and erdogan's hands and to do away with any of the checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law that is meant to shield the use of power so you see tinkering and 2010 constitutional referendum and over the last two years with the laws that govern the body that controls how judges and prosecutors are pointed. so used dark stacking the courts essentially allowing erdogan to dig in who the judges are and how decisions are made. you see rule of law, separation of powers which is the media regulatory body which leads to some of the invasion that
ambassador of roman -- edelman mentioned in the second authoritarianism that you see is the elimination of sources of opposition comes the closing innovate open sphere of general society both in terms of media freedoms as we saw dramatically in the lead-up to the election and the imprisonment of journalists and the targeting of journalists. some of this being done through the government means legal means a lot of it being done extra legally with mobs showing up at opposition newspapers sometimes led by government and party mps but not in an official capacity and ransacking those offices showing up and ransacking the offices of opposition political parties. you also see this in the economic sphere which was briefly mentioned. you see a crony capitalism emerge where contracts are and
means both of enriching supporters of the government as well as the kick backs enriching itself and also pushing out from the economy and access to wealth they ask us to own media companies amount opposition to the government. anyone who doesn't agree with is a really see a systematic authoritarianism on multiple levels not just within the government but also within civil sliding -- civil society media and economy. the subject and why this matter has been hinted on. it's about polarization of stability in turkey has multiple cleavages. i think often we have to talk about the sub hornets opposition as a socially conservative for the pious or secularist or, all is versus the pious but it's really much more than that. you have the sunni versus allah and they sunnis versus the
kurds. what you have seen between agena november election is that they have hardened in a way that appears difficult to reverse at this point. going into the june election there is a lot of optimism and specifically around the possibility that the htp in the kurdish party might cross the 10% threshold for the first time and that's a significant step forward for turkish society and also a way to moderate the akp power and there's a possibility of change where possible and it's a democratic process. i think among a lot of members of the opposition that sense of hope really is operated by the time the november election came around. it seemed apparent that president erdogan and the party were willing to take the country to the brink of war, destabilize the country to make the argument
that they could bring stability back for the right choice. and for the other reason that this matters often in washington erdogan's antics are seen as election strategies. seeing he has had four elections in the last two years they are just shutting down youtube and twitter. after the election don't worry everything will come back. he's just cracking down on the kurds before the election but after the election don't worry, everything will change. first of all we haven't seen that in the multiple times we have heard what happened it hasn't been secondly there is a circular logic here where we say we shouldn't worry about erdogan's authoritarian tendency because he's soon as he gets what he wants victory in elections he won't need to resort to this. why does he want to win an
election? to create this authoritarian system that he is not shy about talking about. we are effectively -- really paying attention to the ideology and the objectives that are driving those erdogan and the party it's important to understand where the country will be going. thanks. >> thanks. i guess much of what there is to say about the election and the outlook is already ben said so i will do my best to make it interesting. >> nothing that hasn't been said by you yet. >> look, for me, i think erdogan
was on somewhat of a losing streak even though he was always coming in first in the elections. it could be worse than expected in the local elections in 2014 in the presidential election he got just under 52% against essentially nobody's. it emerges a significant political heavyweight in many ways but he was essentially unknown at the time of the presidential election. akp lost its majority. in june. and i guess i would have to say to me, election showed erdogan somewhat recovering the midas touch in politics that he had previously.
it took some guts to roll the dice. maybe he didn't have much choice but he was frightened of not having the majority, but nobody expected a success and he didn't succeed. also i think, i'm not sure who alluded to this, i guess he showed a little more flexibility than i expected. i mean survey showed after the last election that both his presence, his very shrill campaign for akp and his emphasis in a presidential system which remains not very popular. it it remains that an overwhelming majority of turks
oppose it. those folks actually heard akp in june. so what did he do? for somebody, we tend to think of him as such an egotist that he wouldn't be able to do this by the largely kept himself out of the campaign in november. you didn't hear much about the presidential system so he showed actually took me a surprising tactical flexibility. i want to say one thing. a lot of negative things have been said about the polls in turkey for a good reason. there's actually a great cartoon that somebody sent me. i have to share with you. i think it will mean something to those of you who are familiar with certain politics. it shows the leaders of the three losing party sitting around and grumbling about how terrible the polls were, how they missed it entirely and they are all saying yeah how could those pollsters they there? they all ought to resign.
alluding to the fact that the turkish party leaders will never resign. there is one poll that i think, i think something positive has to be said about it. i think they primarily do market research. they are the only ones who have done something close to exit polling in turkey which polls right after, the day after the elections. they are at a june 8 pole had over 20% of fhp voters think that if they had known how the election would turn out, that they would have voted for akp. and i think that, i can't vouch for it and i'm not here to advertise for it but either
erdogan, erdogan's polls must be enjoying something similar because on day one after june of 07 the pro-government papers were all saying the solution is a new election. that was before any of the politicians had said anything so he obviously believed in the results that came out of that itself poll and i think that already created the base of voters are akp, which he built son through his victory in november. he knew there was already a significant chunk of voters who were unhappy with a hung parliament and were going to vote for him for the sake of the majority. now, i do see like i hear many commentators have said this is a vote for stability and the it's so's poll which by the way is only in turkish at this point
but for those of you that have a rudimentary knowledge of turkey is pretty easy to read it. it had some very interesting things in it but like i think although the vote was for stability i think what the turks are going to read is a great tool of the instability. and here i will just kick off a lot of things that i've already ben said. it's clear that erdogan seizes boat is an affirmation. so i think we can expect that he will continue to push the presidential system that has already been indicated from his advisers that they intend to push along those lines. we know 13 votes short in parliament of there being enough
votes to pass a constitutional amendment that could be brought up for a referendum, but given some of the past cooperation between akp and the nationalist and hp it wouldn't be shocking to see him call those extra votes from mhp. and even though should he get to a referendum right now roughly 70% of church say again from this recent poll after the november election saying they favor a parliamentary system but once the campaign for a referendum were involved, who knows what would happen because akp has many levers and erdogan is very influential. i think we will see the
presidential system. we are going to see a continuation of the war on the pkk. at any rate the pkk has what i think is a blunder for the kurdish cause that says it's temporary cease-fire is over. we are likely to see a crackdown on the universities. there are new regulations before the election that gives the higher education council the right to take over university. it's the worst era that i can really remember and my memory goes back a long ways on turkey and some of the recent things, just to highlight and now they have said -- the police storming the building and taking the tv
stations off the air and the newspapers were taken over. the next day they flipped 180 degrees editorially or 360 degrees. but i think one of the most disturbing things and maybe there are some of you in the audience you can provide some context for this. i don't member anything like this. there have been nearly 300 cases of journalists and others who have been indicted, arrested fines for insulting the president. there were no such cases under rule. the laws on the books. i don't remember it ever being invoked. i do remember senior officials in turkey filing libel suits
many years ago but it's an almost foolproof way of hitting people to shut up. the cracked down in will obviously continue and i want to emphasize one point with this election. as many of you in the audience know december 17, 200 -- 2013 a corruption case was opened against many akp associated people followed by a series of leaks of recordings which seem to implicate erdogan himself. much of subsequent turkish political history i think we can say until november 1 had probably been about the president trying to avoid those charges coming to him. some people would argue that's why he insists on becoming
president because it's much harder to get to a president with three-quarters vote for impeachment. otherwise he's basically beyond the law. some would argue that's why he wanted to, why he needed a majority government has even a coalition government might have been difficult for any non-akp party not to vote in favor of pursuing these corruption charges. now he's insulated from most charges and i think that story is pretty much over. so i think there's going to be some very tough times ahead. not to mention the economy has been struggling. a couple of things about the united states. is there some silver lining? i'm trying to be objective. perhaps from the u.s. point of view the fact that we have been
using an agreement with what was an interim government but was in the akp dominated government this late july. i guess this likely assures we will be able to continue to use. their faces in turkey in the fight against isis. perhaps if chp would have been carter -- part of the government there would have been any interruption but elements of chp maybe there would have been some but -- some complications and now there will not. when we fight a war, winning that war tends to dominate all aspects of our policy and that's understandable. i think that is going to be the dominant element in our policy, and our turkey policy in the
days ahead but i would echo what ambassador edelman said, that it's extremely important that we continue to focus on the freedom deficit and particularly on the repression of freedom of expression in turkey. i say continue because the state department i would have to say despite our strategic needs in turkey has made some important statements. we are going to have to keep that out front. i think the first test of how we are going to balance that our important test will come this weekend. president obama will be in turkey for the g20 summit and i will tell you at the previous g20 summit he seemed to try to evade prime minister erdogan with whom he once had a close relationship but since 2013 has not. it's very difficult to evade your host and i think it'll be
very interesting to see how the president balances it. appreciation for the fact that we are able to use turkish bases in the fight against isil with a very deep concern about the lack of freedom and the declining freedom in turkey. i will leave it at that. >> thank you. john. >> okay, thank you. i will try and be quick. dr. adelman may be here for a few minutes and maybe people can ask questions. i would just you know underscore what allen said. as much as i don't like it they think this election really did highlight erdogan's turkish
politics. whatever people thought about june 7 that was a dagger to the heart and put an end to the erdogan absolute reign over turkish politics and the aftermath of what happened november 1. i think we have to say it was set most a stumble and he remains a giant. his ability to manipulate, to intimidate, to threaten, to persuade, inspire, to demagogue the turkish public to serve his own political and i think is without parallel in the turkey system and that certainly was the case of the most amazing five-month period to have gone from that stinging rebuke from june 7 to as everybody has said the stunning victory on november 1 that none of the experts and certainly none of the pollsters predicted, this
resounding overwhelming victory by the akp again and its return to majority rule. all the more of an earthquake because it was so unexpected and unpredicted. except perhaps for president erdogan himself. as allen said he was the one who from the start said we are going to scuttle these coalition talks. we are going to go to new elections. it is he who took advantage of the assassination of those two policemen in july, seized on a provocation and basically ended the peace process declaring that he would launch more or less full scale conflict in turkey against the pkk and my colleagues have said it was he who decided that he was going to double down on crushing all forms of dissent inside of
turkey particularly in the media. just really astounding cases of repression, of the media as well as the political opponents particularly within the kurdish dominated hdp. so this was a systematic strategy as blaze has referred to via erdogan of manufactured chaos and manufactured instability, violence and intimidation tuition sleep scare the turkish people into revisiting the results of june 7 and returning the akp to monopoly power. because if they didn't basically as was as much of a threat as a promise that things could get much much worse and faced with a situation in which stability was in question incited turkey.
i think their only choice was to return the akp to power. at least they felt the majority of voters felt that was their only option was a strong akp government. it was a miraculous results when you think about what he did. his strategy was clearly, he had to whip up some level of national hysteria and went back national mhp to back the akp and at the same time he needed to depress the hdp boat, the kurdish boat that had taken so many voters away and he succeeded spectacularly on both accounts. mhp loss 40 seats and i assume most of them went to akp and hdp lost more than 1 million voters i think who were overwhelmingly kurdish voters such as think about what he did.
at the same time he won over millions of anti-kurdish right-wing nationalist and won over close to a million conservative kurdish boats. that's quite an extraordinary feat to be able to thread that needle, but he did it and again i think it underscores his mastery of turkish politics. what does it mean from here? i agree with my colleagues, i think it's bad news. i think erdogan will see this as a vindication, as a mandate to continue doing what he is doing. if his policy works than in fact whatever narrow window of opportunity existed on june 7 to begin dialing back the trajectory towards authoritarianism in turkey erdogan made sure over the last
five months that he was going to slam it shut and my guess is over the next four years when voters come to the polls again he will be sure to nail it shut and democracy pluralism, human rights and freedom of the press my guests are all going to suffer tremendously. i think he will push this notion of an imperial presidency, rather the turkish people wanted or not but i think he will figure out a way to get it and if it means dominating not just 70% of the media in turkey as it does now as it's required dominated 90% of the think that's what he will do and if he needs 13 other parliamentarians outside of the akp to be able to go to a constitutional referendum on executive presidency, i think with the political winds at his back, with all of the powers of the
state in his command including all the coercive powers and all the incentives that the state can potentially provide to these parliamentarians, i think 13 states is not a high hurdle or big obstacle for him to work on over the course of the next few years in order to get that referendum. the peace process with the kurds, again i am not sure but the fact is that pushing the peace process i thank you will look back and say it costs me boats. it cost me nationalist votes. i think this election underscores how important that right-wing nationalist constituency is to his ability to consolidate power. i think that's a lesson he will take that reaching out to the kurds and looking like i was pursuing a settlement, that hurt me. in fact over the last five months increased tensions, increased conflict, increase
violence with the kurds, that got me november 1. that's the path to go. maybe not full scale war. the cost of that politically and economically in terms of how investors look at turkey, that could be not a place he wants to go but the thought of low-level simmering conflicts my guess is that is what we we are likely to see, a continuation. in syria, we will see but i think his attitude on the kurdish question, this increased sense of being able to play the nationalist card of seeing kurdish aspirations as a mortal threat to turkey's territorial integrity, i think that could spill over onto the syrian front and particularly the kurdish question inside of syria. i think the fact that increasingly it x. like u.s.
strategy is growingly dependent on the syrian kurdish movement, the way pg, the militia there which is in fact leslie line for the pkk inside of turkey. the u.s. is really holding on to the ypg as a magical ability to fight this war against isis on the ground including in being able to put pressure on it's capital of arauca which must be one of the main lines of our operations there. secretary carter has said in testimony i think clearly and the turks have said that as a major major problem for them. even perhaps a red line. the notion of a ypg alliance on their border is something that they have said they cannot tolerate. up to now all we have seen are isolated instance. some airstrikes by turkey on ypg
positions across the border but i think that's something to watch in no doubt hopefully this weekend and early next week when the president does talk to erdogan my guess is that trying to reach some kind of better understanding about where we are headed on syria is going to be very important including what they are going to do or not do with the ypg and if not the ypg the tip of the sphere biting isis and what is the answer quick to us is going to do at? was turkey going to do? is certainly not the answer turkey has had so far which is certainly to empower the non-isis jihadists across the border. that's not a serious alternative to what we are trying to do and the threat against isis. now there is this question of what skin is turkey willing to put in the game?
there've been subtle hints, not not-so-subtle hints that they are prepared to get serious if they have a coalition to put boots on the ground. are they prepared to go in and put it on the ground inside of syria? we will see. it's a question worth pursuing but i don't think it's going to be an easy discussion and their drill potential landmines between us and the turks now over syria. i'm not at all sure that this election makes it any easier to resolve and in some ways it makes it even more difficult. believe me there is no doubt there are a lot of turks that are fighting inside of syria with the ypg and the turks have said there are u.s. weapons to go to the ypg that end up inside of turkey being used against turkish security forces. that will be a real diplomatic
crisis between the united states and turkey. there are a lot of things moving now that point is in that kind of direction and i think that's something we will very much want to head off. i would finally say stepping back the larger picture here for me is i don't know how narrow the window was but i think there was a window that was opened after june 7 in which turkey may have had a chance to actually begin to put the brakes on this juggernaut of erdogan hurtling toward tomorrow fared terry and future -- authoritarian future for turkey. i think we will look back in retrospect as a real endpoint for the country where it gets a chance to go and perhaps two different directions and there
may have been offramp for them off of the superhighway towards some form of putinism within nasty islamic twist to it. i think they thought about it. they thought about it and may have changed their minds and didn't take that exit and now it's in the rearview mirror and it's ended up an express lane to some form of turkish putinism. and getting back to that exit from this. bad trajectory i think is going to be very very difficult and erdogan is going to make it difficult if not impossible to have that kind of exit ramp in 2019. i think that will be a singular strategic purpose of his comment to make sure that he doesn't have to go through the kind of experience he went through june the seventh ever again.
so on that cheery note that may turn it over to you. >> thank you. thanks to all for a very substandard discussion. i think i will refrain from my commentary and use the time that we have left for questions from the audience. we will start here with dan. >> i'm a professor here at sykes. i would like to hear more about countervailing forces. you mentioned the courts. you mentioned very little about military as a potential countervailing force and the business community. the opposition political party. democracy doesn't just happen because people are nice to each other. there is a force that works against it. >> if you could please keep your
answers very short so we can have more questions. who would like to start? >> the mic is yours. >> i think there are countervailing forces but i don't think they are powerful enough. as you mentioned the military, everyone in turkey wonders why and speculates about the military. i think it's clear that erdogan once the military on his side and the military is an opaque institution but i think as much as we can see into it they strongly support the idea going after the pkk. they say -- see the pkk is a greater threat than is the isis and they see these ypg and pkk
has more or less the same. and i think they feel this way enough that maybe it's not even completely clear who was driving the policy more but i think erdogan and the military are publicly more or less in lockstep on this. i think there are other issues where they can put the brakes on and they have put the brakes on but i don't think it's about domestic haul it takes. its foreign policies where they were involved. there was a rumor a few months ago that turkey was about to send land forces into syria. this was strongly opposed by the turkish public. every poll has shown that according to all reports, and that's all we have to go by, military said we are not going to do it. i think the military never lost total power in turkey and i'm not sure i may be in the
minority on this. obviously all the officers that were arrested, they were hurt badly. they certainly lost their ability to affect domestic politics but they have in certain ways retain their economy and when it comes to the use of them they are decisive. they are not going to, in our system the military might say mr. president this is a difficult operation you are and i'm not sure we can do it but if the president says do it our guys will salute. i don't think the turkey military has ever been liked them even in its lowest moment. by the way the military to has resisted in other ways too. the military educational system is still intact grade they control their own educational system. there was an effort and it was even publicly announced by the government at one point that
they wanted graduates of these state-sponsored parochial schools that svante mentioned to be eligible for acceptance into military academies. so they would be eligible for regular universities and the military said no. so it's not 100% but when it comes to domestic politics, i don't really see. the business community, the big business community may be doesn't like erdogan so much but there are a lot of people, the so-called anatolian tigers who are very much supportive of him. >> i would say what countervailing forces there are
aren't democratic means to countervailing forces. it's not clear if they really want to be involved but if they would it would be democratically. the big businesses that allen mentioned a lot of them, a lot of the elite and turkey are deciding to leave turkey red been living under someone who they feel they are liberties are going to be per second. one of the stories that hasn't been discussed as the radicalization in the kurdish youth in some of these towns where there are is lots of fighting between security forces and kurdish youth. they were not pkk members. there are local youth have been radicalized by what was going on and armed themselves defend their cities. that's not very democratic
process. i think the one place we might be able to say that there is a countervailing force emerging is the person that allen mentioned, the leader, the coleader of the ht -- htp who emerged as the only charismatic persona who might be able to rival erdogan but i would say he's very much limited by the politics of his party. he aspires to the national party and he faces to danger. on the one hand he's perceived as a danger to erdogan and perceived as the danger to the pkk. i think one of the things i have heard a lot recently is so many people want him dead if you were to be assassinated i wouldn't even know who to suspect. >> thank you.
director of turkish studies at georgetown university. i would like to commend the panel and the decision of bbc to provide such an accurate assessment of what's happening in turkey so thank you all for maintaining that position. such are resource in town. one rumor following the g20 is that they might actually -- in the immediate aftermath. i guess my question is directed to john hannah. and i wish the ambassador were still here. from the perspective of decision-makers in the room who are going to be advising the president, it's nice that we are talking about erdogan cutting the brakes off and his dangerous regime in turkey. any advice to the president saying we shouldn't do business with these guys? who are we doing business with? erdogan has the united states and europe over eight there'll
over a lot of things. he is managing to pull levers and domestic policy and has it managed the unthinkable. is it the case that he will build to do this at the international level? is anybody really going to say to him this is not acceptable? >> i think it's a good question. by the way he is one of our great diplomats on turkey. ambassador homes that does a lot lot -- knows a lot more about turkey than i know. i would say there is a sobering reality that the obama administration about what they are dealing with in turkey which actually took a very long time for people in this town might think to realize. i wish they had to study or we had to study back in 2002 and 2003 to understand what we were dealing with. i think there was an awful lot of wishful thinking about where erdogan andy akp were likely to
take turkey and i think we haven't been able to act earlier and develop the kind of strategies to try to do what we could to put some backstops in support of turkish democracy and freedom of the press and the rule of law and all the things we care about. i think at the end of the day in the long term for having a serious stable partner in a nato country but i think ellen is right at the end of the day especially now in the context that we are dealing with in the middle east today where there seems to be something of a regional meltdown underway in which this president has in fact launched a war against this terrorist organization in which we are getting some modicum of support now from this turkish government. i think he has manipulated that quite successfully. i have absolute and no doubt that after year to grant us
access to those bases was very much tied and that the service of his own domestic agenda with an eye toward what he wanted to do on november 1 him what he wanted to do with the pkk and to buy some level of a u.s. acquiescence in math. in the same way i have almost no doubt that what happened all of a sudden after several years of this conflict, this rush of people out of turkey into europe creating this kind of crisis on europe's doorstep was as they used to say no accident comrade. i do believe there was probably some level of manipulation and there that erdogan does have his hands on the tap so to speak with regard to this refugee crisis and very much understands and is using this as leverage now in his dealings with those
of europe and the united states. if they want to have any hope in solving this crisis not to mention the broader crisis in syria is difficult the partner has turkey has been, the hope of getting a settlement without turkey somehow involved are slim to none if this crisis gets much worse. if that requires you to lower your voice and look away for the moment regarding basically the dismantlement of the turkish rule of law then so be it. these guys are out of office in another 15 months anyway and it will be somebody else's problem to deal with. for them i think they will say listen we need to do with them on difficult regional issues and we can manage the problematic nature of internal turkish politics. unfortunately i think it's unfortunate because it will come
back to bite us at some point. >> turkey strategic importance has always covered a multitude of sin and i don't think, that's no different now. we need turkey for the war against isis. as long as we feel that that's probably not going to change. i did want to qualify a little bit the comments that have been made if the administration is saying anything. i think they have actually -- i have been surprised to be honest with some of the strong statements if you go back and look at the state department press briefings. they have been very tough on turkey, on freedom of expression and also following the election the u.s. government did not congratulate ak.
experian usual in a landslide like this. we say we are waiting for the official those which usually comes out of turkey eight days. 10 days after the election, we won't speculate on the results. we were the only ones in the world who wouldn't speculate on what the results were. that was a clear message that we were very unhappy about the human rights situation in the fact that the campaign had taken place under a situation of great prescription. so we have to be fair to the u.s. government on a resolution. >> this has been an excellent panel. i'm with the retired foreign service office. i want to ask ambassador edelman a question but he is gone so this goes to the whole panel if
you could shed some light on it. you said turkey is -- and if you set aside the religion and recall the akp came to power on the promise of economic benefit, economy has been slowing. what are the long-term work near-term implications of this for erdogan andy akp? >> do we have a communist era and the panel? i think for a long time other institutions have classified turkey is the most at risk emerging economy and you have seen over long period of time tensions within the turkish government where erdogan was more interested in -- interested in populist moves and didn't like the central bank and wanted
to lower interest rates and stuff like that. there was a resistance from the professionals, people in the government. it seems to me that the more erdogan capitalizes on this position of power that's not good news for the management of the economy and moreover right now with the consolidation of power think kroenig capitalism type of government that erdogan is growing from 2010 and up until today has really gone off the rails compared to what it's used to be. i don't see that changing. if anything is likely to get worse which means the conditions for real economic downturn in turkey are certainly there. there needs to be a trigger of some form, an internal or external trigger. another election loss by akp could have been that trigger and i think they spread that kind of top again to which is it the
will also helping. the question is what would happen if there was an economic downturn? many people in turkey say the only way we can get rid of erdogan is there an economic crisis. i don't think it actually works that way. i think it would hasten the process to an author garina some some -- authoritarian regime and it would be pushed back. >> hi everybody. i am a senior fellow for a nonprofit called stability institute and a couple of you have touched upon this but i want to go back and look from the eyes of the voters in turkey try to understand why they gave erdogan a resounding majority. was it all because they
remembered the good times between 2003 and 2007 when things were going well? the turkish economy was relatively growing. what was the common people the anatolian tigers i guess i could say, why would they vote for the party and propelled the majority? thank you. >> i could start. i think there is an assumption that democracy matters to a lot of elders. ..
will understandably have a much higher level of parity with freedom of accord that is where you have to look. >> maybe one last question. >> i am a recent graduates have is this affecting turkey's socially and do you believe european countries specifically have more aid to have the refugee crisis to western europe? thank you. >> europe easiest way to handle a problem.
>> europe very much made of bargain with the democratic violations in exchange for the refugees. with a billion over the last four years and also with some social cost and in southern syria. there is certainly a cost but it is one that the europeans are willing to bear. >> this brings us to the end of this interesting discussion it is important for the neighborhood as well. with that economic engine
and what happens is is in turkey in neighboring countries as well. so be will be watching when we bring back to discuss what happens and thank you to the audience and participating to ask questions and we will see you all next week for the next forum on the 18th. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
all others, (202) 748-8001 fo. we have in studio this morning, dr. cutler. cameron ritchired colh >> we have the mental health services chief consultant for the veteierans administration as well as retired colonel richey also a doctor in date outpatient a p clinic chief here in a washington d.c..g to getalls welcome to both of you. we will get calls here momentarily., i cou dr. cutler what is happening? guest: , health is fundamental to the v.a. and it has always has been. people are taking a serious look inside the agency and outside the agency. are we getting the job done? are we doing it quickly enough of the right places? and this is keeping us very
busy, but i tell you, it is great work to be doing. host: what will the president be announcing today on that? the president wants to improve a program that allows veterans to receive private medical care. does this include mental health care? guest: absolutely. last summer, congress signed the veteran's choice act, which has any veteran waiting more than 30 days or lives more than 40 miles from of the eight is eligible to choose to get their care -- from ba is eligible -- from a eligible to choose to get their care -- a v.a. is eligible to get their care from a community health care provider. and how do we pay for all this, who is the contracted provider, who can we approve? we are getting very good at this. and the administration is working on making it even better. host: and you are new to the v.a. system.
what were you doing before? and have been on the job for a week, so what is your experience so far? guest: so i am not going to talk about a big v.a., but i will talk about my experience, which is good. i did a career in the military, and then i worked in washington dc. then i spent a little while looking at what job i wanted to take. i finally chose the v.a. for a number of reasons. i will tidy what some of those are. first of all, i have a lot of really good friends who work there and like the experience. they have increased the pay for psychiatrists coming in, so it was the best job offer financially that i had. and then secretary mcdonald, who is a real special person, personally invited me to join, as did dr. kudler. so far, i have been very, very pleased. it has a great electronic health system, which really makes looking at records easy.
there is a lot of focus on access to care. this last week, we have been spending time looking at all our patients in the mental health system who haven't been seen for 30 days. we are going to have an access stand down this saturday to mixture that anybody who feels they need to be seen earlier can get in, and so the washington v.a. will be open for business on saturday. host: and that brings up the report that just came out recently. from "usa today," the report to the gao found in a review of 100 while 86 cases, patients seeking an initial mental health evaluation were generally seen within an average of four days of scheduling an appointment, the exley waited an average of 26 days to get that appointment. -- they actually waited an average of 26 days to get that appointment. guest: there are lots of ways to
count things. i do want to argue with them, although looking at 100 records, in a system that sees 1.5 million mental health patients, is not really a meaningful sample. we would argue very strenuously with the way they count to those outliers. but saying that, our goal is every veteran should be seen when they want to to be seen, when they want to be seen. otherwise it is of no use to them. , if thoseritchie seeking mental health care has to wait, that becomes almost a barrier for them of seeking help. the resistance to seek help mental health anyway, and then when they have to wait, that becomes an issue where they might turn away and not seek the help after all. guest: that is absolutely true. and your previous speaker talked about issues like parking. and there is now a new parking garage at the washington v.a.
there are a lot of barriers, especially if you are ambivalent about seeking care. my job is going to be with the community-based outpatient clinics, which are around the washington dc area. and i'm very interested in the idea of providing care of to the community so it is much easier for people to go, they can keep a job and go, because sometimes in the past it has been so difficult for the veterans to get care that they have to take the whole day off of work. there is the vet centers, which are easier to get to, but the more we can put mental health care up to the community, either through the v.a. or one of the things that is critically important is for the civilian providers to know how to treat ptsd, no to ask the question, have you served in the military or are you a veteran. so the less barriers to care, the better. host: let me just throw these numbers out here.
statistics on posttraumatic stress disorder. one in three returning troops are being diagnosed with serious posttraumatic stress symptoms. less than 40% will seek help. in 2009, a record-breaking year for suicides, 245 soldiers killed themselves. five active-duty troops attempt suicide each day. charles is in maryland. retired. charles, good morning to you. go ahead. caller: yes, hello. i am calling from the ba facility here in maryland. -- v.a. facility here in maryland. , am a mental health patient and i just want to say that the care and treatment i have received is first rate. i have no problems with it. reach around and pat yourselves on the back there. host: let's talk about who is seeking mental health care, and what other treatment options. guest: first, i want to thank
charles for his call and for his service. and also for, frankly setting a very good example on national television. when people have problems, it is not easy to put them into words. americans are not raised with a lot of mental health literacy. a friend of mine often points out that if i have a toothache, i know to go to a dentist and i know what to find one. but if i have a problem with depression, i don't have words for it and i don't know what to do about it. do i want to go to their office? charles the setting an awfully good example, and we hope that when people do have problems they will come to us. host: most often, is it there. that you are prescribing? or i we talking about pharmaceuticals? -- or are we talking about pharmaceuticals? to every single patient, i have always said, look, you have a lot of tools. some of them you may like more
than others. in your situation, medicine may be a part of the story. another part.y be and there are other therapies we have. what appeals to you? where should we start? if it doesn't get the job done, we may add this or that. it will always be a mix. guest: and i would like to pick up on that. what is really important is patient engagement because one of the characteristics of people coming back from the wars now is the are very ambivalent about seeking care. if they come to somebody who spends their time looking at the computer screen and not at them, they are not coming back. so it is really important if you prescribe medication to talk about the medications and possible side effects. medications have sexual side effects, and patients are not going to stay on medications that cause
problems to this extract or ability to perform. both harold and i have really gotten interested in what is called integrative therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and my pet interest is service dogs or therapy dogs. horses can be useful. there is a lot of them out there. the research is not there yet, so they are not food and drug administration approved. but patients like them. and often it is going to be a combination of, say, yoga or mindfulness and meditation, and then perhaps medication and psychotherapy. host: and on that note, the congressman from ohio who practices yoga himself, is very much into mindfulness. there is a story in the "huffington post" that he and others have a bill where they
would turn the american legions that are shutting down and these other veterans bars into wellness setters instead. what do you think of that idea? guest: i think wellness is a great concept. a lot of people say mindfulness feels touchy-feely, but the concept is to get back in touch with yourself. to give your brain a rest. to feel in control within your own body and then within your own life. i think that is a wonderful place to start. guest: i belong to a american legion number 41, and part of the reason i joined as they have a great garden, actually, and they are into things like gardening and baseball. it is not just a place for people to go and drink, which is the concept we used to have. but i think they are converting part of it into doing mindfulness and it is a great idea. host: new york, good morning to you. caller: good morning. greta, thank you very much to dr. cutler -- dr. kudler and
dr. ritchie and all the people behind the scenes to make c-span possible every day. host: thank you for that. caller: thank you. i have -- [indiscernible] i have also served as a case church withinity the mentally ill and homeless, and have had veterans and other persons come across my way. but i am homeless right now. i -- i have used the techniques that colonel ritchie has spoken about, but after the loss of three homes, a hernia caused the software go cancer. 90% of my esophagus was removed. and everything i have done since i was two years old from tying shoes to bending over, gardening
has to be relearned, yoga has to be relearned, i live with post-traumatic stress, bipolar, and depression. thank god i have a service animal now. i would like to offer a couple of solutions because as major general butler said, war is a racket. and this is armistice day. and we ought to be promoting peace and peacemakers. i had to call in on other because i am a peace corps veteran. i had the most cap rant of case in peace corps at the time, giving midwives in senegal, west africa prenatal material. unfortunately, america doesn't admit mistakes, wouldn't set me back -- send me back.
i finished my education and have gone over three times on my own, including serving the rwandan refugees after the genocide 20 years ago. first of all, if we are going to keep promoting military 10% offes, i said 10% -- the top of the budget has to begin for and for care of all -- allto be given for care for veterans. $6.40 oh they -- a day on food stamps. onn we have to lift the cap income tax. everyone has to pay their fair share. atit shouldn't stop $118,000. this will solve the entire social security budget.
host: and can i ask you are you homeless because you want to be or because you can't afford housing? caller: if you give me the time, i will sustainably tell you. caller: -- -- cyst think tillie -- cyst think tillie -- s usinctly tell you. suit -- [indiscernible] clinton'sfrican the staff gracefully sent me to adult protective services, rather than follow the statutes of seeing me within three days, they dumped the case because they were looking at the computer. and if anyone had been in court on their own, they were going this one's got to go. and to the disabled were being dumped. host: i apologize for jumping and because we have a lot of other callers who would also like to talk.
would you like to share your thoughts? guest: there is a lot in there, and i will only be able to dress -- to address a piece of this. has ptsd,eman depression, and bipolar. and that is very common. people think of ptsd on its own, especially now with the recent afghan and iraq that's. -- vets. the signature weapon of these wars has been a blast -- the blasts. again, a note for civilian providers other, always ask about the range of effects because it is a whole person that is hurt, physically and mentally, in many cases. guest: and if i could add -- and i appreciate patrick's service -- i think a lot of what he pointed out his it takes the entire community to respond to work. , we go to warwar
as a nation. it is the only way we can. and when people come home, they come back to a nation that needs to be with them and understand. when we go to war, it resonates across the entire country and across generations. the v.a. is still paying dependence to one survivor of the civil war today. with that is the families. not just the parents and kids of the service member or soldier who has gone to war, but the brothers and sisters and aunts, so it is a water effect on the nation when one of our servicemembers deploys and comes back. host: let's go to robert in diamond, missouri. retired military. good morning to you. caller: good morning, greta. i have a question. i tried to get on earlier, but i missed. mail -- i got a
card that is called the choice card. it was sent out by the veterans. they had a toll-free number on their, and i called the toll-free number -- there, and i called the toll-free number. i told them my situation, i told them my right knee had been operated on, and then my left knee started hurting. so they told me that, well, to call back in 10 days. after i received the letter. i called back in 10 days, and explain to them what my situation was -- explained to them what my situation was, and they give me a number. they gave me a toll-free number to kansas. they said that we can't find you all on file. well, where did i get the card to start with? host: robert, i will have dr. kudler jump in. guest: i will share your
frustration, robert. giant bureaucracies can be maddening, and when you're in pain, when you're entitled to care, and we can't -- when you answer, of straight course you are frustrated. i do want to say that a veteran should never be afraid if they are not getting the answers they need from the person they are speaking to to go a rank higher. but also speak to your state veterans service officer, who can help you negotiate with this. call rate to the director's office and ask for attention to your situation -- right to the director's office and ask for attention to your situation. i apologize. that is not the way people are supposed to get care. guest: i have also heard secretary donald say to call me directly -- secretary mcdonald say to call me directly or e-mail me directly. i have been impressed by people
who really want to help. and our orientation, they said if somebody asks for directions, don't just point them there, take them there. i have seen people go way out of their way to do everything they can, but, yes, robert, i share your frustration. host: paula here in washington dc. caller: thank you. the question i would like addressed has to do with why perhaps there aren't enough physicians, including mental health decisions, in the v.a. system. in my day, and i had exposure to this in the 1970's and the 1980's, there was something called fte where there was enough trouble recruiting physicians that doctors came in for less than full-time but were considered full-time. and i'm wondering if that is still going on it guest: all, --
still going on. guest: oh, no, that is not going on. if you are less than full-time, we are going to be sure when you are with us and when you are not with us. but speaking to the issue about the shortage of physicians, it is not just the v.a. there is a national shortage. especially in mental health, we are looking at a shortage for a long time. the v.a. has significantly raised the salaries for psychiatrists and a putting in all sorts of benefits. we are also using tele health so i can hire a psychiatrist in wisconsin and have them working in texas. not everything has to go through the heads of a psychiatrist. if i can get a license professional mental health counselor, and therefore spread my resources around, but the
bottom line is there are not enough psychiatrist. we are working on training our own. host: what about news practitioners? writing in today's "washington times," saying honoring the veterans by improving the health care, she says let nurse practitioners do some of the work. in particular, nurse prepared at aare masters and often doctoral level. guest: well, both the v.a. and the military use nurse practitioners. i cannot speak the how many there are in the system, but they are a valued part of the team. guest: they have been with us for a very long team -- time. they have their own patient panels, and we weill -- we
value them very highly. host: jerry, go ahead. ninth in served in the 1965. i had an incident two years ago when i went online, and it seems like i was accused of killing one of my fellows, which is not true. so i kind of -- [indiscernible] -- out. i needed some help. i called the crisis line. the cops showed up at my house twice. i know i needed some help, so i went to the v.a. i had an appointment for an hour. i am on oxygen, and there was a guard, and i got disqualified for that even though i paid for it. be that as it may, i made a timely appointment could then they canceled it and i said,
look, i am on oxygen, can i please go see a? yes. went in and talked to the main psychologist. -- [indiscernible] me and said,d at well, you appointment is only 15 minutes. how much do you drink? i said, what? he said, oh, you are now go, you take jocks -- you are an alcoholic, you take drugs, you just a want to communicate. -- don't want to communicate. he said, by the way, i don't fill out any paperwork, i don't do anything for you. i don't take drugs. be that as it may, i got so depressed the only thing i had in my name was my car. i went to the bank, took a loan at my bank, $350.
she used to work for the v.a. she put the paperwork in for me. and i went to this whole system blindfolded because i didn't have a representative to but i want to see what the normal veteran went through, and the reason why i did that because my next-door neighbor went to the same thing with the v.a. he killed himself. so i am just saying that -- and i want to get the impression that the veterans are putting their hands out to get something. i took 14 credits. that is 12 credits full-time. i only got $50 because some of them were not credits. so all -- so i only got $50 from the g.i. bill. i worked three jobs and went to three junior colleges. i got three degrees.
medicalmendatory -- laboratory technologist and a of medicine nuclear technologist. i invented a platform for breast-cancer that works at dupont. they didn't pay me a penny. i developed a system to do that on my own dime. i went to a big meeting with -- industry. the owners there -- how much money do think you are going to get? i said i probably want to make a nickel. i help these ladies who come in for breast-cancer and there is no platform because there is a new study. host: that is jerry in florida with his story. guest: that was tragic. and just to think about being in 1965 and coming back and not
having your service honored and being given 15 minutes, that is not the v.a. i want to work in. i would like to recommend to him and others worried about something happening to them, the vet center would be a very good first stop. we have a computer located. google that center locator -- vet center locator, and map. will on your -- and upwil come a map. click on your state, and the phone number and location will appear. they are not medical, but the point is they would help. whether or not he could prove he was working on operation ranch likelye is more than presumptively service-connected for any condition that might be
related to agent orange. there are a lot of benefits he is not getting. host: can i ask you -- he seems to imply that he didn't seek help rate when he got back, but there was some incident that sort of sparked this trauma for him, and that he is seeking help years and years later. how often does that happen? guest: what we have seen with the vietnam veterans is that many of them didn't seek help when they came back. and now they are. and that is for a few reasons. one is they may be getting older, they may be retired, perhaps they lost a spouse. and also the wars in iraq and afghanistan have triggered a lot of emotions. one of the characteristics about ptsd is that it is triggered by, say, the sound of a helicopter or the smell of diesel fuel. and some of these triggers take you back free powerfully to the war. so he didn't say that, but i suspect some of those issues
happened to him. and certainly to other vietnam vets out there. don't think you are going crazy if you have been doing well for 40 years and all of a sudden you are getting flashbacks. host: we will go to sam, who is retired military, and austin, -- in austin, arkansas. caller: yes, thank you for taking my call. i am a 30 year plus veteran of the air force. i was a dog kennel back in the 1970's in the vietnam era. i had an eight year break in service and i went back in, and i retired in 2007. i have a lot of medical issues. i had cancer in 2004 and a lot of skin problems and things like that. but what i find with the v.a. is most of the dock is they have down there -- doctors they have
down there are not american-born doctors. a lot of them come from india, from china, from wherever they come from. and you are going in there for treatment. some of them can't even speak english. i have used the v.a. here in and i haved in texas used it in pennsylvania because i travel quite a bit visiting my grandkids, but all the v.a.'s that i have dealt with seem to think that we are there for them. they are trying to get you in and out as quick as they can. you have very, very limited time with the doctor. they are in such a rush because there are so, so many veterans lined up at the doors. cars almost like cattle watching people come in and out of the v.a. host: sam, let's take those points. the types of doctors and also the amount of time they are getting with the doctor. guest: one of the things is
people coming in from other countries. these people are trained in american programs. they have the skills, but i agree, communication is an issue. we can actually provide help with language skills for clinicians who are not good at this. we have the same in our residency programs. but also the idea of being in a rush, i guess we are. we have a lot of people that we are seeing, and there have than more -- there have been more appointments. this is partly because we are screening people and getting them into treatment. .e are rapidly expanding the choice act will give us more expansion. i am also very glad that people like sam are coming in for help in putting up with right now the crush -- rush to meet that need. we will all get there together. and i want to thank sam for his
service. host: one of our callers mentioned armistice day. guest: you know, i headed on the jacket anyway. the red poppy actually comes from a poem, which was a world war i poem written by a man who died before it ended. guest: which i might say you have memorized. copies used to spring up -- poppies used to spring up wherever graves were. the poppy is to remember world war i, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. the v.a. was born out of world war i. there were soldiers coming out of the civil war, but they were places for people to live. they were not hospitals. at the end of world war i, there were over 4000 american veterans
with so-called euro psychiatric ropsychiatric-neu casualties. they didn't have the skills to treat veterans or understand the combat issues that had brought them there. the v.a. was created by congress and by mental health professionals and the public to create a home for those folks. we are still growing. and we have a ways to go. guest: and to add to that just briefly, this longest war that we are in, iraq-afghanistan, that has been about 2.4 million service members who have deployed. and then the aging vietnam population and from korea, there is still people. so the need has gone up so much. that is part of the reason i keep emphasizing the importance of the zillion -- civilian providers. there has to be enough of them who are willing to see that. host: we are talking with two
doctors this morning and fault in veterans health and mental health -- involved in veterans health and mental health. veterans and0 for retired. caller: good morning. host: good morning. welcome. caller: i was calling in reference to a family member that -- i have a sibling that didn't serve in the army, but he got honorable discharge. so i was checked to see what type of service the v.a. offers for family members that have members of the family that received honorable discharge from basic training where it could affect their mental health. we have been to numerous v.a.'s, we have been to psychiatrists,
and our main issue is getting them long-term treatment, which i know that this person needs. i have seen them bounce back from having treatment for a week or so, but that treatment is not -- it needs to be more long-term. i am in the field of public health and i see the need and have done my research and mental illness, so if there is evidence chance through the v.a. for members of public health to better assist the population, maybe through adding behavioral health analysis to your facilities. guest: thank you. first of all, i worked in north coletta for the past 30 years. so i want to mention to you that to the v.a. has a call line for family members called "coaching into care." i don't remember the phone number right off hand, but if you google it, it will pop up.
and you can call this and speak to a health coach who will use public health principles to help you and -- help you help your veteran connect with the right information. and say your veteran would rather get care in the community, connect to to community care. system get you into a pa where ever you are eligible. i want to mention that right off the bat. and i have known each other for several years. our departments cochaired the first v.a.-dod conference under mental health. coming out of that conference, i know i worked at that idea that if i thought i was a good psychiatrist, i would do a great job. i came to realize it was a public health issue. going to work required the
department of defense, veterans affairs, and every civilian provided to ask the question: have you or someone close to you served in the military? and be able to talk to each other. this is a public health question. nationil the entire shoulders that burden, we will not have the responses we need. host: can i ask you, it might be a good idea to take a step back here. what is post-traumatic stress disorder? and what the summit have to do to prove that they have this? guest: posttraumatic stress a term that was first used in 1980; however, we know that all wars have caused psychological reactions. there are different words for it. of ptsdmain attribute is a heavy traumatic event, and it has to be pretty bad -- the
death of somebody or being in a disaster or being in combat -- and then you have a series of symptoms, reexperiencing, flashbacks, numbing and avoidance, hypervigilance, which is a fancy word for looking around all the time. and hypervigilance is good to have in a war zone, but if these symptoms persist when you come back, they can cause problems. and recently, there has been an update two years ago where they added sleep problems, physical problems like a nausea, and also your debility and anger. anger. irritability and so, these are the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and they often come with depression as well. does that answer your question? host: it does. we will move on to charlie. charlie is in milwaukee, retired military. caller: good morning. i was in the united states air
force and i was stationed over in turkey in the 1970's. and the -- [indiscernible] -- the base on a regular basis. werewas a time where they in conflict with greece over cyprus. stop things from coming into the country. i was -- i had so much chemicals on my body that you can take a knife and go down your arm and it would come all off to and then when i -- off. and then when i left turkey, i went to a different air force base. and come to find out that the air force base was one of the anducers of agent orange, that they also had a lot of
agent orange on the site. but when i went to the veterans administration, they were not give me -- what's not give me any -- would not give me any benefits for it. and the question i want to ask was, you know, the animated to having agent orange -- it admitted to having agent orange, but they didn't say anything about the civilian population that were farmers and grew crops -- i used to go down the site and there was a farmer that had vegetables and i would get the vegetables and i would eat the vegetables at least two times a month. was at i got out, i home, i had blisters. and the milwaukee v.a. didn't have a dermatology clinic. host: charlie, i hate to jump
in, but we are running out of time. dr. kudler, what do you say to him? guest: it is a complex toxicology question, but frankly the v.a. is one of the few institutions would be able to assess his problem. he has trouble connecting, i thinking is to keep going back through the v.a., the on spokesman. veteransthe disabled may be a great way to find him somehow. guest: wars are environmentally dirty. and we have heard about agent orange, you remember the first gulf war where there was the culture and -- where there was the question of what causes gulf war virus. whether that causes problems, and over and over again through therey we have seen that are physical reactions to the toxins are present. certainly when i was over in iraq, we could smell the
chemicals in the air. so it is a very important question. and again, the v.a. is a leader in this area, but it also -- civilian psychiatrist out there, make sure you ask about toxin exposures. host: let's get in alfred, retired military. could you make it quick, sir? caller: yes, ma'am, good morning. my claim has been on appeal since february 15. february 15, 1974. manner i used to get my claim recalled -- [indiscernible] -- have locked my every appeal -- blocked my every appeal. and i'm not the only one. we need someone to get in touch with us so we can get our claims resolved. i have contacted the senators. all i'm getting from them is
negativity. there are a lot of veterans here in the state of north carolina. we need a hotline that we can go to to help get our claims resolved and get through the red tape. could someone provide me with the number where i can get through and get some help with my claim of 42 years? guest: i want to say, in north carolina, the commission -- commissioner for veterans affairs is quite an activist and a marine. and he will get on your case. the secretary of veterans affairs has given out his phone number. i don't have it personally, but you can call the v.a. at any level. winston-salem at the headquarters. i do appreciate your service. i hope you get a resolution they quickly. guest: you bring up another thing that i would like to mention. harold has been a leader in north carolina and aligning the
civilian world with the v.a. and what we have seen based on that experience -- and with the substance abuse mental health is aices administration -- state-by-state look at what is going on. this involves not just the health care system, but involves colleges and universities. my last job, i was a cochair of the washington, d.c. effort. we worked a lot with police officers on how to work with veterans. my last word about advocacy today is look at what is going on in your state. before you develop a new program, map out what is there. and then there is probably a lot that you can do in your state to help veterans. , thank you.dler colonel ritchie, thank you.
>> president obama laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier today joining him was a vice president and veterans affairs secretary and defense secretary carter. we will have the ceremony at 8:00 p.m. on the companion network c-span. mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. this week we honor tomorrowhe onis week we honor tomorrowhe >> this week we honor the enoug
men and women to serve our the s nation with honor and wholl of s also sacrificed and we do notth remember enough's thosendh to sacrifice all of us and our country. aays the sacrifice of our veterans demand to seek aidgatis and this is always willing to spend more dollars when it comes time to fulfil the obligations for the veterans evo serve a full term on the senate veterans' affairs committee. i take that duty very serious. i know the presiding officer, senator tillis from north carolina, does too. it means working to end the v.a. gac log. it means putting a better system in place. it means ensuring that our veterans have a roof over their heads and a place to call home. it means providing veterans with health care and the educational opportunities they deserve and which they have earned. too many veterans face mental health challenges that can end in tragedy.
8,000 veterans each year take their own lives, 154 a week, 22 a day. hundreds of thousands of veterans struggle with invisible injuries. nearly 300,000ave bn nearly 300,000ave bn 154 per week and 22 per day. hundreds of thousands of veterans struggled nearly 300,000 with ptsd, 300,000 face dramatic trade injuries because of the service they gave to us. earlier this year we pass this in the side for prevention act but it is not enough. we need to make sure when the service members returned home to have the employment opportunities that they need not only to survive but thrive. the benefits are critical the veterans have a limited amount of time before the gi bill expired in general
education requirements and prerequisites to fill up quickly many colleges and universities offer prior registration to veterans that is my work with the senator tellus at this moment on legislation to make sure all veterans and service members in qualifying defendants can use their benefits to their full potential to be guaranteed priority registration. to expand eligibility for the virginia for programs that cost more for the post 9/11 gi bill. far from the goal that they should be that they struggle to find a place to call home. according to u.s. department
of housing 50,000 veterans were whole blistering a survey conducted on a single night in january 2014. that after serving their country with honor houses are left without a roof over their head. with the team of dedicated staff of volunteers provided treatment and transitional housing. veterans who were homeless listen to mr. carter who was homeless to help others struggling veterans. we owe them support and counseling for the veterans housing stability act to
make meaningful improvements for services of homeless veterans we know veterans and obliterate is higher than society and a plan rate. we'll veterans drug addiction is higher and that they suffer from traumatic brain injury and ptsd and that is why we owe them so much so we rarely think of the cost of four send more money to buy more weapons and armaments we're not so generous when it comes time to take care of our veterans. the last point i would like to make is something we call
longer flights. coming at of the post-world war two memorial those who have served in world war ii are now getting the opportunity to visit the world war ii memorial and those who worked in a virginia clinic in spring failed talking to the patriots he realizes most dundee's benefits built from the national mall will never come true so captain morris's the captive of the eric club if he could personally fly to washington free of charge. he broke down in tears and was offering to fly another run veterans to solicit help
and ended may 20, 2005 the first honor flight took off from springfield ohio. one -- now is a national nonprofit of 100,000 veterans usually 60 added title and a charter flight always with a caretaker because there never young and have been out of the service many years at least. and the honor flight program is in 41 states i have had the honor to meet a number of them. one that is encouraging local people with every single veteran from northwest ohio to join these honor flights. jim sullivan works for the
honor flight in ohio. . . because of the arby's donating these meals. paying the cost of transporting 92 veterans. with an average of 800 world war ii veterans dying each day, the mission of honor flight is more important now than ever. i'm thankful to those who have helped honor flight. i'm thankful to those veterans and their families who have done so much. i remind my colleagues, as they are always eager to vote for more money for weapons, that weekend and think about the cost of war and take -- and take care of our returning service