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Beyond the Coast

Point of No Return…

Israel Defense Forces soldiers. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com I was up most of the night listening to the thunderstorms and watching the lightning strikes light up the cloudy summer sky over Marco Island. As a kid growing up in a suburb on top of one of the seven hills which make up the city of Istanbul away from the blinding city lights, I used to love to watch the summer storms with my mother who was totally afraid of the phenomenon yet stayed up to watch the storms with me because she felt a great sense of awe at the power of ... Read More »

Obama vs. Putin: high stakes geopolitical chess being played in Ukraine. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com As we wake up to a beautiful Marco Island Saturday morning, basking in the hot rays of a summer sun, the rest of the world slowly but surely moves towards a world-wide confrontation of good against evil as violence escalates in the absence of true world leaders and true world leadership. There are those amongst us who still do not think that evil exists, and there are also those who believe strongly that we, the Americans, are the evil force around the world. How unfortunate of them! Today, I firmly believe that a lack ... Read More »

Independence Day 2014

USS Constitution. FILE PHOTO

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com I am writing this article on July 4, 2014. Today is Independence Day. A very special day when we as Americans commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring our independence from the kingdom of Great Britain, when a number of patriots said “NO” to a king and “YES” to freedom and established a representative Republic. As a naturalized citizen, one of millions who chose to pledge their allegiance to this great country, I am full of pride, happiness and patriotism. Seeing the stars and stripes fly against a perfectly ... Read More »

D-Day to Disgusting day…

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On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. My father-in-law was amongst these men who accepted his duty to his country without hesitation, without question and with deep commitment to the United States of America, his country. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “We will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. More ... Read More »

Boko Haram in Nigeria

Nigerian Kidnappers (L). Boko Haram Leadership (R)

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com It was April 14, 2014. In the small town of Chibok, Nigeria there was only a small contingent of poorly armed police and soldiers when approximately 200 Boko Haram fighters on motorcycles attacked and raided the Government Girls Secondary School. Vastly outnumbered and badly outgunned, the so called “security forces” fled. Boko Haram forces entered the school and loaded approximately 300 innocent school girls, some as young as nine, into buses and trucks and disappeared into the dark of night. Along the way to the hideout, a number of girls bravely escaped by running ... Read More »

We Don’t Need a Guide…

SUBMITTED PHOTO. Molodova and Transnistria

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com There is a common expression in Turkish which roughly translates to “you don’t need a guide to tell you how to get there if you can see the destination.” This expression — which I heard many times as a young man growing up in Turkey — applies well to the situation in Ukraine today. Russia is preparing to invade and annex Ukraine as well as the neighboring country of Moldova. As I have done before, I would like to stress that I am writing this article on Sunday, March 30. The situation is fluid and ... Read More »

Imagine…No Power…No Peace…

Malaysian Airline. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com It is Saturday night, March 15. A bright full moon graces Marco Island. It is the end of yet another beautiful day as I sit in front of my desktop computer writing this opinion piece, with windows in my room wide open to the scents and sounds of nature. It is very peaceful. It is hard to imagine that somewhere in the horizon there, past the Gulf of Mexico, the mountains and the oceans, Ukrainians are waking up to a miserable day, when a large portion of their country (Crimea) will be separated and ... Read More »

Ukraine….

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasu tayasun@taray.com Due to various obligations and travel, I was not going to send in an article to the next issue. However, after spending a sleepless night watching the ongoing events, I wanted to at least inform the readers as to what is going on in Ukraine, and what all this means for us in America. As I write this article at 6 AM on Sunday, March 2, Russian troops are on the move into Ukraine. On Friday, President Barack Obama promised “there will be costs” for Russia if the country moved on neighboring Ukraine — although ... Read More »

Hamid Karzai…Afghanistan…And Others

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com One of the most difficult aspects of writing an opinion piece on world affairs a week before publication date in order to meet deadlines set by the newspaper is the speed which things can change around the world. What seems to be the most important thing on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 15, may be old news by the morning of Sunday, Feb. 16. Therefore, it is very important to pick a topic which is universal, dynamic and may not change much in a week’s time. Our country’s continuous adventures around the world with the ... Read More »

On Biased Media & Biased Education

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com I spend most my Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings scanning through many foreign newspapers and magazines published either in Turkish or English in order to get a feeling of what the journalists beyond the coast think about the events in our country and interpret these events to their local populations. Some of the stories I am able to read in depth are interesting; others are totally mind-boggling and most just down-right brainwashing! Obviously, world news, unless sensational and gory, never makes it into our local or national newspapers. As I was going through these ... Read More »

After the attack. Ambassador Stevens (inset) while buildings burn. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com It has been more than a year since our consulate in Benghazi was attacked by Al-Qaeda associated terrorists (Ansar-Al Sharia/Partisans of Sharia Law) and our Ambassador was assassinated along with two former Navy Seals and a State Department employee. To date, no one has been arrested and all 15 Libyans who cooperated with the investigation and knew full details of the planned attack have been killed. Last week, a disgraceful report was published by a Congressional Committee composed of Democrats and Republicans which looked like a high-school student’s term paper trying to please the teacher ... Read More »

What the World Needs Now…

SUBMITTED PHOTOS

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com After a self-imposed exile of nearly three months from Coastal Breeze News, I am back. If you are as interested as I am in the affairs of the world in general and the Middle East in particular, you would also have been as angry as I was to the point where I could no longer write and put intelligent, logical and sensible sentences and thought on paper. I am hoping 2014 will be a much better year for the world than 2013; although presently, I am not very optimistic. Towards the end of last year, ... Read More »

Stormy Seas Ahead

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BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun A very smart and successful businessman from Turkey who was my classmate at Robert College of Istanbul recently sent me the following paragraph: “A short guide to the Middle East” “Iran is backing Assad. Gulf States are against Assad! Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi of Egypt. But Gulf States are pro General Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood! Iran is pro Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood! Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the USA. Gulf States are pro USA. But ... Read More »

The Chong Chon Gang

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BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com The Chong Chon Gang is a 450 foot, non-descript aging tramp steamer carrying the Democratic Republic of North Korea flag. When it was stopped by Panamanian authorities on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal last week, it was quite obvious that the cargo manifest she was carrying was as phony as the word “Democratic” in the name of her country of origin. The “Gang” was officially carrying 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar packed in 200,000 white sacks from Cuba to North Korea. She was stopped by swift Panamanian patrol boats who were responding to ... Read More »

Revolution… Coup… What’s next?

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BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com After reading as many news articles as possible and watching most news channels for updates about the events in Egypt, I asked myself if anyone was surprised about the most recent events in Egypt. Readers may recall my article about Egypt during the Arab Spring; I was cautiously optimistic about democracy’s arrival in Egypt yet more than a little pessimistic about the identity of the revolutionaries. Having seen members of the Muslim Brotherhood amongst the demonstrators waving their Korans in the air was enough to give me that “fly in the soup” feeling. I ... Read More »

What is going on in Turkey…

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BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun  tayasun@taray.com It is common knowledge among my readers and my friends that I was born and raised in Turkey and lived the first twenty years of my life in Istanbul. So it is natural that I have been getting many phone calls, emails and text messages asking me this very question. Being away from the day to day events that shape life in Turkey for many years, I have to rely on the news I get from relatives, friends and contacts in Turkey as well as watching daily news on various Turkish TV stations, reading ... Read More »

The Frog and the Scorpion

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BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com The story may be an old one; but it is effective and meaningful today as it ever was. And it goes like this: The scorpion approaches the frog that was resting on the banks of the river. “Please take me to the other side” he begs. “I will not” responds the frog, “you will probably sting me along the way and we will both sink and drown.” The scorpion pleads with the frog “I promise I will not sting you; please, please take me across.” The frog decides to give the scorpion the benefit ... Read More »

Situational awareness…

James Holmes in court.

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun tayasun@taray.com People, young and old, are packed on both sides of the road at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It is a public holiday in Boston and the perfect day for a marathon. Two young men carrying black backpacks walk amongst the crowd stop and drop off their deadly loads on the curb, in plain sight. They walk away and disappear into the back streets. No one notices the black bags placed right in front of them. No one thinks twice about asking the person sitting or standing next to them if the ... Read More »

Potpourri…

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It is getting increasingly difficult to focus on events taking place around the world. It seems like a new story pops up every day in a different part of our troubled globe. Today things are much different from the “good old days” when the world was neatly divided up by the two super powers: USA and the Soviet Union. Whenever trouble started anywhere around the world, one of the two super powers reacted depending on whose sphere of influence covered the country where trouble had started. Things were neatly patched up after harsh words were exchanged, threats were made and ... Read More »

Third Bridge to the “Other Side”

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Growing up in Istanbul in the 50’s and the 60’s the “other side” meant either the Asian side or the European side of the City depending on which side you lived on. The Bosphorus Straits, a waterway which divides the city into two distinct parts and carries the cold waters of the Black Sea in Northern Turkey towards the warmer Sea of Marmara and from there through the Dardanelle straits into the Aegean Sea and eventually into the Mediterranean. It is 20 miles long from end to end. Its width varies from 1640 feet up to 2 miles with an ... Read More »