tv Democracy Now PBS November 2, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
11/02/15 11/02/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> as i said before, i am convinced the united states should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the middle east. that is not an own national security interest and not necessary for us to defeat isil. any code that was president obama in february. this is defense secretary ash carter now. ratehird and final annaling we won't hold back opportunistic attacks against isil or conducting such visions to agree whether by air or
direct action on the ground. amy: the white house has announced a team of special operations forces will be sent into syria. this comes after the first u.s. combat casualty in iraq in four years with troops on the ground in iraq and delayed withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. we will speak with author phyllis bennis as well as retired colonel andrew bacevich, about obama's endless war. in the islamist government of the turkish president erdogan has regained its poetry majority, but opposition protest are continuing. turkish people do not celebrate the result of the election cheerfully. although a political party has received almost 50% of the votes, why? because significant number of the people are living in fear. everybody is uneasy over how far can the ruling party go. i can assure that nobody needs
to be afraid or concerned because we are here. amy: we will go to patrick cockburn in istanbul to find out what the comeback victory means for the country. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in a major policy shift, the white house has announced a team of special operations forces they say numbering less than 50 will be sent in to syria. this marks the first sustained u.s. troop presence in syria since president obama launched a bombing campaign against islamic state in september 2014. announcing the move friday, white house press secretary josh earnest tonight it marks a shift in strategy. >> the president did make a decision by offering a small number of u.s. special operations military personnel to offer them some advice and
assistance on the ground as they take the fight to isil. is an intensification of a strategy that the president announced more than year ago. amy: meanwhile in a wreck, the united nations has violence killed more than 700 iraqis in october, an increase over the previous month. of the 714 killed, 559 were -- all but 150 54 civilians. more after headlines. a british newspaper is reporting officials under former british prime minister tony blair were told to destroy a secret document questioning the legality of the iraq war less than three weeks before the invasion. 2003 citing an anonymous topic official, the mail on sunday is saying ministers were ordered to burn a report by general lord goldsmith that suggested the war could be illegal under international law. a spokesperson for blair has dismissed the report as
nonsense. dozens of people have perished in the aegean sea attempting to cross from turkey to greece amid the largest refugee crisis since world war ii. 19 bodies were recovered in three separate incidents sunday after more than 20 refugees died when two boats sank friday. refugees from syria, afghanistan , as well as elsewhere are struggling to reach european countries before winter sets in. on friday, greek prime minister alexis tsipras criticized europe's handling of refugees. >> there are crocodile tears being shed for the dead children on the shores of the aegean because dead children always aroused sorrow. but what about the children that are alive who come in and are stacked on the streets? nobody likes them. thee days, the ways of aegean not just washing out did
refugees and dead children on our shores, they are washing out european civilization itself. amy: in germany, at least six syrian asylum seekers were injured over the weekend in three separate attacks. one in -- involving explosives one and two involving mobs beating refugees with baseball bats. the russian airline whose passenger jet crashed in egypt saturday says the crash was caused by a "external impact," not by technical failures or human error. all 224 aboard the metrojet flight were killed when it crashed in egypt's sinai peninsula. airline officials said the crew did not send a distress call before the plane broke apart in midair. it is still unclear exactly what happened in this jetliner that was fine from egypt to sing petersburg. in turkey, the party of president recep tayip erdogan has regained its parliamentary
majority in national elections. on sunday, turkish voters elected erdogan's justice and development party, the akp, to 330 of the parliament's 550 seats. it's a major comeback for the akp after losing its majority in the last campaign five months ago. the victory will help erdogan strengthen a hold on power critics say has become increasingly authoritarian and divisive. we will go to turkey for more with journalist patrick cockburn who is in istanbul, later in the broadcast. in the somali capital mogadishu, the militant group al shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a popular hotel which killed at least 14 people. the militants opened fire and seized control of the sahafi hotel after hitting the front gate with a car bomb. among those killed were a journalist, a somali army general am a a lawmaker, and the hotel's owner. israeli prime minister benjamin
netanyahu has retracted his claim a palestinian cleric gave hitler the idea to exterminate european jews. following international condemnation, including from israeli historians, netanyahu conceded in a facebook post -- "the decision to move from a policy of deporting jews to the final solution was made by the nazis and was not dependent on outside influence." meanwhile violence continues in , the israeli-occupied west bank where israeli forces shot and killed a palestinian teenager at a border crossing, accusing him of trying to stab an israeli soldier. in total, nine israelis and more than 70 palestinians have been killed in the recent violence. the israeli forces also reportedly raided a refugee camp in bethlehem. video footage appears to show an israeli officer threatening to gas inhabitants to death. he apparently tells them over a loudspeaker, "you throw stones and we will hit you with gas until you all die."
the refugee camp, we are the israeli army. you throw stones, and we hit with gas and to you all die. the youth, chilling, and old people, you will all die. we won't leave any of you alive. we have arrested one of you. we took him from his home and we will put her and kill him while you are watching. as long as you throw stones. you.me or we gas we will gas you until you die. all of your families, children, and everyone, we will kill you. amy: the israeli government says the officer involved has been suspended and is under investigation. in bangladesh, a secular publisher has been hacked to death and three other people have been wounded in two separate attacks on secular publishing houses. a regional division of al qaeda has great responsibility. the publishing houses printed works by bangladeshi american writer avijit roy, who was hacked to death earlier this
year. in the latest mass shootings across the united states, a gunman shot and killed three people in colorado springs, colorado on before he was killed sunday in a shootout with police. meanwhile, a student was killed and another wounded in a shooting at winston salem state university in north carolina. hundreds of people gathered in west palm beach, florida, saturday at the funeral for corey jones, a popular, african-american drummer shot dead by a palm beach gardens police officer last month. jones vehicle had broken down by the side of the road when officer nouman raja approached him in plainclothes, without a badge, in an unmarked van. jones had a gun but did not fire it. he also had a concealed carry permit which legally entitled , him to have the gun. jones' uncle steven banks remembered his nephew. is -- glory. that we will go to washington.
we're going to washington. not until a bill is passed that will stop this brutality. that is my dream. i won't let it go until they swiped the pen and change is made. come on, y'all. this ain't no game. corey is dead. amy: black lives matter activists interrupted democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton friday as she spoke at the historically black atlanta clark university. the protesters chanted "black , lives matter," to which clinton responded, "yes, they do." the protesters also sang janelle monae's song, "hell you talmbout," which is dedicated to the black lives matter movement. >> black lives matter! >> yes, they do.
amy: the republican national committee says it's suspended its partnership with nbc news for an upcoming presidential debate after accusing cnbc of handling last week's debate "in bad faith." in a letter, rnc chair reince priebus accused cnc moderators of "engaging in a series of "gotcha" questions, petty and mean-spirited. and designed to embarrass our candidates." on sunday evening, republican campaign representatives met together in a bid to exert more control over the debate process. newly installed house speaker paul ryan has ruled out comprehensive immigration reform while obama is in office. speaking on nbc's "meet the press," ryan said obama's executive actions on immigration show he is "untrustworthy." >> i think of we reach consensus on something like border enforcement, interior security, that is one thing, but i do not
believe we should advance comprehensive immigration legislation with a president who has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue. amy: a new investigation by the associated press has uncovered about 1000 cases where police officers across the country lost their badges for sexual assault or misconduct over a six-year period. in one case, oklahoma city officer daniel holtzclaw was accused of victimizing 13 women. his trial opens today. the ap says its tally is unquestionably an undercount since many people are afraid to report sexual assault by police and since key states did not provide records or inaccurately said no officers had been removed for sexual misconduct. the episcopal church has installed its first african-american leader. presiding bishop michael curry will lead the 1.9 million-member denomination after previously leading the diocese of north carolina. the massachusetts chapter of the council on american-islamic relations has called for a hate
crime investigation after the word "usa" was spray painted multiple times on a burlington mosque. cair said the graffiti "appears to reflect a common islamophobic theme that muslims are not 'real' americans." the mosque has been targeted with similar graffiti in the past. and the conference south by southwest interactive has apologized for its decision to cancel two panels on gaming and sexual harassment, citing numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming. the cancellations caused an uproar. media outlets buzzfeed and vox threatened to pull out of the conference, and feminists launched a petition, saying "by yielding to threats of violence, you are further exposing us to it." on friday, south by southwest apologized and said it would hold a day-long summit on online harassment. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
on saturday, the united nations and international committee of the red cross made what they called an unprecedented joint warning for states to end wars, respect international law and 80 60 million refugees made homeless from recent conflicts. this is u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon followed by red cross president peter maurer. >> the continuing violence is a clear indication of the political solution to the conflict in syria is desperately needed. , forighting must stop now there is no military solution to the crisis not in syria or anywhere else. from afghanistan to the central african republic, from ukraine to yemen, combatants and those who control them are defined humidities most basic rules.
disregarded, when humanitarian needs are trumped by political agendas when access to the wounded and sick is denied, and when security concerns leads to suspension of operations, people are abandoned. the notion of protection of it just loses its meaning and humanity is flouted. oursk that states reaffirm humanity by concrete action and uphold the responsibility to respect and ensure respect french or national humanitarian law. amy: red cross president peter maurer and u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon speaking on saturday. they spoke one day after the white house has announced a team of special operations forces numbering up to 50 will be sent in to syria. this marks the first time the white house has acknowledged a sustained u.s. troop presence in syria since obama's bombing campaign began against islamic state targets in september 2014. white house spokesman josh
earnest denied the triple market a- deployment shift in strategy. >> our strategy in syria hasn't changed. the core of our military strategy inside serious to build up the capacity of local forces to take the fight to isil on the ground in her own country. there are a variety of ways the u.s. and coalition partners can offer our support to those local forces, whether it is resupplying them or conducting airstrikes in support of their operations on the ground, and the president did make a decision to intensify the support by offering a small number of u.s. special operations military personnel to offer them some advice and assistance on the ground as they take the fight to isil. is an intensification of a strategy that the president announced more than a year ago, with you ond it many occasions. and i suspect he will discuss it with all of you again in the future. amy: the u.s. has also announced
plans to deploy more fighter planes, including 12 f-15's, to the incirlik airbase in turkey . since last year at least 10 , nations have taken part in bombing in syria -- the united states, russia, britain, canada, france, australia, turkey, israel, the united arab emirates and jordan. , the white house moves to expand its role in the syrian war came one week after a u.s. commando was killed in a special operations raid in iraq. master sergeant joshua wheeler became the first american to die in combat in iraq since 2011. since his death, more revelations have come out about the u.s. expanding role on the ground in iraq. bloomberg news is reporting the u.s. has been running a secret special operations center in the iraqi city of irbil. meanwhile, defense secretary ashton carter acknowledged u.s. troops would take part in direct action in both iraq and syria. >> third and final raids
signaling we won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against isil or conducting such missions directly. whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground. amy: the expanded u.s. ground presence in iraq and syria come after years of promises by president obama that no ground troops would fight again in iraq. this is the president speaking in june of 2014. >> i think we always have to guard against -- let me repeat what i've said in the past, american combat troops are not going to be fighting in iraq again. amy: just last month, president obama reversed course in afghanistan, halting the scheduled withdrawal of u.s. troops fighting in the nation's longest war. >> first, i decided to maintain our current posture of 9800 troops in afghanistan through
most of next year, 2016. their mission will not change. our troops will continue to pursue those two now tasks that i outlined earlier -- training afghan forces and going after al qaeda. amy: in addition to the wars in iraq, syria and afghanistan, the u.s. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe from pakistan to yemen to somalia. to talk more about the endless war, we begin today's show with phyllis bennis. she is a fellow at the institute for policy studies. she's written several books, including most recently, "understanding isis and the new global war on terror." let's start, phyllis, with this rare announcement this weekend by the head of the united nations, secretary-general ban ki-moon, and the head of the international red cross. talk about the significance of what they said. ways, amy, the significance of this statement was that they made this kind of a joint statement, this kind of
a joint appeal to all sides to and these wars, linking the various wars that are being fought, centered on the war in syria, but it knowledge in there are wars from afghanistan to central african republic that have created massive refugee flows that the human nature and consequences have been beyond anything anyone has seen since world war ii. that was a hugely unusual decision to have the u.n. and icrc, the leading organization for theble international humanitarian law, this is not something that happens often. and it is a sign of the recognition of the consequences of these escalations that are now going on. the new escalation we have seen from the united states both in syria and iraqi as well as the decision to remain in afghanistan, the continuing involvement of the u.s. and others led by the saudis in
yemen -- all of these wars linked to essentially to the war in syria -- has had humanrdinary, horrific consequences. of the fact the head of united nations, the head of the international committee of the red cross are now taking them up as a joint campaign is really a very significant sign of just how serious this is. amy: and then, the announcement of the u.s. putting boots on the ground in syria and would continue to do this in iraq and afghanistan. it came -- it wasn't the president making a formal announcement on friday, it was josh earnest, the press secretary. and before that, it was bash carter in a hearing in the senate come almost offhand comment. >> i think what we're seeing is an effort -- we heard it in the words of josh earnest that an effort to claim this is not an
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. conference ats the white house on friday, press secretary josh earnest repeatedly refused to describe the newly deployed u.s. special forces in syria as combat troops. >> the president has been quite clear about the fact they do not have a combat mission, that a training advising and assist mission. our military personnel will be in a trained, advise, and assist mission. it means it will not be your primary responsibility to lead
the charge of the hill. this is a missing to support the efforts of moderate opposition fighters on the ground as they take the fight to isil in their own country. that is what they're trying to do him and to and advice and offer assistance. and one of the options the military came back with was putting a small number, fewer than 50, special operations forces on the ground inside of syria in a train, advise, or assist role of stuff the president of the united states delivered a televised address in prime time in september 10 2014, were he made clear there would be u.s. military personnel on the ground in the region in a train, advise, and assist capacity to build up local forces. amy: excerpts of -- clips of the white house news conference, what house press secretary josh earnest. to talk more about obama's endless in addition to phyllis bennis of institute for policy studies -- we're joined
by andrew bacevich a retired , colonel and vietnam war veteran. his new book "america's war for , the greater middle east: a military history," will be published in april by random house. he is the author of several other books including, "washington rules: america's path to permanent war." his son in 2007 was killed in action in iraq by an improvised explosive device. one month before his son was killed, professor andrew bacevich wrote, "the truth is, next to nothing can be done to salvage iraq. in no longer lies within the capacity of the united states to determine the outcome of events there. iraqis will decide on fate. we're spectators, witnesses, bystanders, cotton and a conflagration that we ourselves in an act of monumental folly touched off." professor andrew bacevich, welcome back to democracy now! >> thank you very much. amy: can you talk about what is
happening today as the major networks poll dance, sort of dance around the polls in the national elections for focus on this? the u.s. government is increasingly entrenched in wars around the world. the latest, the announcement of increased involvement in syria. of course, we know about iraq and afghanistan. your response? >> i think the way you posed the question, you're really putting your finger on the main issue. and it is an issue that gets largely ignored by the media and certainly ignored by those aspiring to be the next president. we have been in gauged militarily -- engaged militarily in an enterprise that by my telling, has now gone on for 35 years, beginning with the promulgation of the carter doctrine back in 1980.
a project that assumes that somehow or other the a joint use of american military power -- adroit use of american military power can somehow fix large parts of the islamic world that are increasingly and valid in turmoil. -- and valid in turmoil. when we look at u.s. military actions across this entire span of time, what we see is however great u.s. military power may be, it does not suffice to achieve those objectives that our leaders claim they seek to achieve. i think the present moment in the obama administration is simply a further affirmation of that larger point. i hate to agree with the white house press secretary, but i do agree that the introduction of 50 special operations forces
really does not constitute a major change in policy. because the policy of the obama administration since the rise of isis and since we began to involve ourselves in the syrian civil war has been one of incrementalism. earlier you play the clip of the president warning against -- his policy has been one of mission creep. the likelihood that the introduction of a handful of dozen of u.s. soldiers, regardless of how skillful they are, the likelihood of that making any meaningful difference in the course of events is just about nil. , you hearw bacevich the white house press secretary, not even a president because the president has said no boots on the ground, whether another policy is different, as you point out, there are probably
many more special ops forces on the ground. but it is what the obama administration is admitting to that is different. theell, that's true, but point i am trying to make is thesehen we focus on inconsistencies, the president a year ago said x another policy seems to be y. it is important to note the inconsistency. but my argument would be, it is far more important to take stock of the dimensions of this administration's military efforts in that part of the world, and then to connect them to the military efforts undertaken by his several predecessors. only then it seems to we get an appreciation of the magnitude of our military failure and only by taking stock of the full magnitude of our military failure can we come to an
appreciation of how of the imperative of beginning to think differently about our approach to the region. amy: how do you end war? i putting this question to a military man, right, professor and retired colonel andrew bacevich. talk about the different approach that can be made. for example, the ran nuclear deal as a model. >> great question. there are two ways to end the war. to win it. is and here is where i'm taking issue with the president's incrementalism. if one were to part it, an assistant my view, but if one were to posit that the united states has a title national security interest in this growing crisis and national security interest in bringing a prompt end to the syrian civil
war, then it would necessarily follow that instead of this littlest approach to waging the war, which is what we're doing, to go all-out and when it, make it a big war. ,nd make it a big war understanding that if we look at the consequences that followed the 2003 invasion of iraq, a big war will once again almost assuredly lead to unintended an undesired con sequences. go way you end the war is to win it. the alternative, seems to me, is to recognize that there are some wars that are unwinnable and should not be fought, and if there is a solution to the problem, it has to come from nonmilitary means. the president has repeatedly, as
president, argued that he has no desire to see this country perpetually engaged in war. and yet his actions, the new earlier -- and you cited earlier cases, his actions have belied the claim, have instead had effect of perpetuating the war. the perpetuating them in a sense that they continue to simmer, that they do not result in any kind of a resolution. so the answer to the question is, again, either you win it or you get out. amy: phyllis bennis, one of the things that professor andrew bacevich just said is that the u.s. wars are intended to fix part of the islamic world in turmoil. do you think "fix" or do they "send as go the islamic world into turmoil? >> clearly, they have sent much of the world, not only the
islamic world but that is the part we're looking at right now, into far worse in turmoil, into absolute abject tragedy when we see the results of these wars at the human level, when we see what it is doing to the social fabric of these societies that is when it take generations to repair. i think one of the things that is so important we hear from president obama over and over again, there is no military solution. and other times we hear, the military side is not enough, not sufficient. that is where it is just wrong. the first thing in his right. there is no military solution. so when you look at what president obama is doing militarily, i think it is important to recognize it is not just insufficient, it is making it possible the kinds of diplomatic and negotiated and humanitarian and other kinds of efforts that could have a chance of ending these wars. for example, if you are in iraq and the u.s., say they get it
right for one-time -- the sum was never happens -- but say they identify a of crisis fighters, were 20 and they're really bad guys, they've done bad things, going to do more bad things. they send a drone after them. no silly and anywhere in the area, only those 20 guys get killed. the response from the u.s. is, yeah, we got the bad guys. the response in iraq is, yes, once again the u.s. is bombing sunnis in the interest of the shia and the kurds. and then you have those in the sunni community that used to be in the military who lost their positions when the u.s. destroy the iraqi military in 2003. you have the leaders of the sunni militias who are looking for some way to challenge this incredibly sectarian shia-dominated government that the u.s. has now put in power. so you have these scenarios where everything u.s. does militarily is not only insufficient to end the war, it prevents those things that could
possibility of winding down and ultimately ending this set of interrelated -- interrelated wars. there are now eight wars being fought in syria all to the last syrian host of there are wars between iran and saudi arabia, wars between u.s. and russia. there's a host of wars being fought. with those on the ground, the people of syria, are the ones paying the price. and all of these u.s. military actions are making it impossible to do the other things that might make possible an end to this war. amy: in afghanistan, the longest war in u.s. history that president obama has just promised to make much longer by reversing the withdrawal, the taliban control more of the country of afghanistan than they did when the u.s. was attacked in 2001. at the same time, yet the taliban who has about enemies of the islamic state. >> exactly.
phyllis and i have appeared on a few panels from time to time and i have to say, we frequently disagreed, but i agree 100% with everything that she just said. to say that, american decision-makers have sought to fix -- and i use that term in quotes -- parts of the islamic world with a intervened, the consequences have almost without exception been catastrophic. amy: we also have with this, patrick cockburn, who is going to come on after the break to talk about what is happening in turkey, the stunning entrenchment of the president tayyip erdogan who is cracking down on dissidents, the return of the islamist government to power, in the parliament, and overall. patrick, before we talk about turkey, speaking to us from his table, can you weigh in on this conversation? i mean, it is much more
difficult. u.s. government has proven it is much more difficult to wage peace than to wage war. what would waging peace look like? could i make another comment? where these u.s. special forces are going is the syrian-kurdish area. the syrian kurds have about 25,000 troops in northern syria. so the significance of them being there is there cooperating with the only real available partner for the u.s. in syria. and in that case, depending on what they do, are there going to be deliveries of arms, any nation, they have a certain significance. i mean, the other thing to bear in mind, i think, is that the coalitionts u.s.-led has had this air campaign which
has delivered 7000 airstrikes against the islamic state since august last year. and that campaign has failed. i think all of this focus on forces,nd the special have to keep that in mind, the islamic state is still expanding. it took a christian town near homs a few days ago, which runs a very close to the crucial north highway inside syria. -- it has it is there some significance, but it is also, i think, a show of action, which is rather masking the majore of the previous strategic initiative by the u.s., which was to have this air campaign which is demonstrably failed to reach its ends. amy: and the role of saudi arabia, i mean, the way the u.s. media makes it look, out-of-control forces fighting each other, but we're talking about a major u.s. ally.
i think the u.s. has just signed it the largest weapon still in history, not just with saudi arabia, but in the world, signed that deal with saudi arabia to give weapons. the role saudi arabia has played when it comes to al qaeda and the rise of isis? mean, the dilemma for the u.s. is not just now in syria and iraq, because right back to 9/11, the basis for u.s. power in the middle east is really the sunni states like turkey, saudi arabia, the gulf monarchies, but these are the ones that also have been supporting the opposition in syria and is fairly notorious, have been funding the al qaeda affiliate, the al nusra front and another
that is a similar and in the past has been accused of sending funds and enabling isis, the islamic state. so i think the u.s. has the same dilemma as before, that it kind of knows this, kind of wants to stop it, but doesn't want to do so at the expense of torpedoing their relationship with countries like turkey or saudi arabia, which, as you said, has just on this enormous arms deal. so i don't think the dilemma has changed, but the response in washington has always been to find some sort of way of maneuvering that they can do something or look as though they're doing something in the islamic state or al qaeda, but still keep in with saudi arabia and the big sunni countries of the region. amy: patrick, your said you think the entrance of russia more prominently in syria could actually improve the chances of peace.
in one way it complicates it, yet another player in syria, and syria is five crisis wrapped into one. and then you have russia. position to a exercise some control over its allies like al-assad in damascus, the u.s. likewise. so it is only when you have the great powers getting involved that we have a chance of --euvering from basically allowing this durable war, destroying syria and iraq, to go on. in the past they said, yes, we must ended.
for the first time you have serious players, seriously involved and the very fact that you have russia coming back, a rival of u.s., i think makes them take it more seriously. and one can see that already with this meeting in vienna in the presence of iran. it has energized the diplomatic process. of course, it also energized the military activity as well post up but there are positives as well as negatives coming out of this. amy: final comment, andrew bacevich, as we wrap up this discussion and then we will move on to general -- journalists patrick cockburn susan is double covering the turkish elections, on what needs to be done right now. >> i would be surprised if russia is able to exercise any serious influence over syria and the reason i say that is because of our inability to exercise any serious influence over our punitive allies. i think the point that patrick cockburn was making about these
unsavory partnerships that in many respects form part of our predicament, we need to ask ourselves why this partnerships exist, where they came from. they came from the perception that the united states is dependent upon persian gulf oil. that was an assumption that had some validity back in the late 1970's and 1980's was that it has no validity today. as far as the well-being of this country is concerned. in that fact, seems to me, ought to be one of the things that enables people in washington to begin to think more creatively than they have been thinking about the actual options available to the united states. amy: andrew bacevich, thank you for being with us, retired professor, former colonel and vietnam veteran. phyllis bennis, thank you as well, fellow at the institute for policy studies. her latest book "understanding
, isis and the new global war on terror." patrick cockburn, a hope you stay with us as we talk about what has developed now in turkey and how -- what that means not only for turkey, but for the youre east and for overall. stay with us. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
in a stunning development in turkey, the islamist party of president tayyip erdogan has regained its parliament true majority a national elections. on sunday, turkish voters elected erdogan's justice and development party - the akp - to the majority of the parliament seats. it's a major comeback for the akp after losing its majority in the last campaign five months ago. the victory will help erdogan strengthen a hold on power that critics say has become increasingly authoritarian and divisive, with harsh rhetoric against opponents, a crackdown on media, and allegations of vote rigging. turkish voters went to the polls in a climate of violence and fear. since the june election, erdogan has resumed the government's war on the kurds and escalated strikes on the islamic state. turkey also suffered its worst-ever terrorist attack with a bombing that killed over 100 people at a peace rally in ankara last month. despite his victory, erdogan fell short of the super-majority needed to change the constitution and expand the powers of the presidency. but it's still a surprising and
decisive win for a leader who came under major protest with the gezi park demonstrations two years ago. erdogan's most vocal opponent, the leftist-kurdish peoples' democratic party or hdp, , retained its parliamentary bloc by again winning over 10% of the vote. but just barely. from a symbol, turkey, we're joined by patrick cockburn, middle east correspondent for the independent who has been reporting on the elections in turkey. welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of these elections. >> well, this means that presidenterdogan is back with an impressive mandate. his powers seem to be under pressure. got 49% of the vote.
although there were allegations of vote rigging, i think this is pretty real. but it is sort of a consequence in the eyes of critics, that he won because he whipped up an atmosphere of fear, of crisis, confrontation with the kurds. you mentioned we had two devastating isis-islamic state bombs. and people were fearful, so they clung to the existing authorities. party of theg justice and of element party had pushed the line that they were there to deal with this. the opposition party said, yeah, because the other guys provoke this over the last five months. but if they did so, that is been pretty successful. so there's no doubt this is a tremendous victory for erdogan.
amy: and what about the repression of the kurds using, for example, u.s. support saying they're fighting isis but going after the kurds who are actually allies of the united states? the attack on the media? can you describe the climate there? ofwell, you know, it is sort edgy. duringnderstandable -- most of the campaign, there were no rallies on the part of the opposition because a demonstration in ankara on the 10th of october had been hit i islamic state suicide bombers. they killed 102 people. another killed 32 people. this made people very nervous. the fighting inside he's turkey in the kurdish majority areas, that had been a shaky cease-fire before.
this resumed. just before this resumed. the air force was attacking a kurdish guerrillas, the pkk, both inside turkey and in northern iraq. people were watching on television every night the funeral of soldiers and police. hand in glove with the people who are shooting turkish soldiers and police. atmosphere. fearful we will see how long that goes on. do things escalate? do they get a bit quieter now? what district you do over the syrian kurds having taken over northeast syria? now they control half the 550 mile long frontier with turkey.
it certainly wasn't what they wanted. , thank youk cockburn for being with us, speaking to us from his symbol, turkey, middle east responded from the independent. "the rise ofok is "the rise of islamic state: isis , and the new sunni revolution." he's been reporting on the elections in turkey and his most recent article is headlined, "president erdogan tightens his grip on power in surprise landslide victory." democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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