Thursday, October 1, 2015

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#Turkey - Journalist Ahmet Hakan, hate target of President Erdoğan’s henchman, brutally attacked

Hürriyet daily columnist Ahmet Hakan, who has long faced politically motivated threats, has been hospitalized after being assaulted outside his home by assailants in the latest sign of deteriorating conditions for the media under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Four men in a black car followed Hakan home in the early hours of Thursday after he finished work on his program "Tarafsız Bölge" (The Neutral Zone) on private broadcaster CNN Türk, before assaulting him near his residence in İstanbul's Nişantaşı neighborhood.
One of the assailants targeted Hakan's bodyguard while the rest attacked Hakan at 12:35 a.m., as he was about to enter his home. Hakan is suffering from multiple fractures to his nose and ribs.
Police detained the four assailants soon after the violent incident.
"We see that it was an organized, planned attack," said Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin. The incident comes just weeks after prosecutors launched an investigation into the Doğan Media Group, which owns the paper, for alleged "terrorism propaganda."
Last month, pro-government mobs attacked Hürriyet's offices, accusing the newspaper of sympathizing with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Following yesterday's assault on Hakan, reactions poured in from many journalists, politicians and even representatives of several foreign missions in Turkey.
Emin Çapa, CNN Türk's senior economy editor, was among those quick to react to the attack on Hakan. Çapa shared a message on Twitter on Thursday, saying: "For those who are wondering about what happened, Ahmet Hakan … has sustained non-life threatening injuries. His treatment continues."
"The people who threatened Ahmet Hakan by saying, ‘You will beat them [Hakan] up, we know where you live,' already aimed to instigate and mobilize some people to take action to attack Hakan," Çapa added.
The board of directors of the Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC) released a written statement on Thursday lambasting the assault. "The TGC harshly condemns the assault on a member of the association, journalist Ahmet Hakan. The TGC calls for the Interior Ministry to take necessary legal action against those who previously intimidated and threatened Hakan with death. While the country is heading for a new election [scheduled for Nov. 1], President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], the ruling party [the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)] and some columnists who support the political authority are persistently targeting journalists, inciting verbal and physical attacks on journalists."
The statement continued: "Even though interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu thinks we have freedom of the press in Turkey, each day a media organ is being raided and journalists are being attacked. We condemn this ugly attack on Hakan. The TGC calls for the Interior Ministry, which by remaining silent in the face of threats to Hakan has failed to fulfill its duty, to take the required steps concerning the attack and announce the identities of the assailants."
TGC President Turgay Olcayto wrote on Twitter on Thursday: "The state avoids protecting journalists. As the election is approaching, they [Erdoğan and the government] are getting ill tempered.”
In addition, some members of the Freedom for Journalists Platform made a joint statement in front of the İstanbul Courthouse on Thursday, as Olcayto said on the platform's behalf: "Words of condemnation are insufficient in this incident. It was obvious that death threats targeting Hakan would have led to such a conclusion."

Dündar: We talk, AK Party attacks

Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar joined the chorus of criticism over the attack. The veteran journalist also lambasted those political figures who have expressed their outrage against Hakan over his columns in which he often mentioned Erdoğan-led pressure on the media and the government's alleged malpractices, including claims of massive corruption within the AK Party.
Posting a tweet on Thursday morning regarding the brutal assault on Hakan, Dündar blasted alleged government mouthpiece Star daily columnist Cem Küçük, who previously issued death threats to Hakan over his critical comments of Erdoğan and the government. "Cem Küçük, who wrote on Twitter: 'You think you still live in the era when Turkey was ruled by the Hürriyet daily. If we [pro-government members of the media] want to, we can smash you like a fly,' is the primary suspect in the attack on Hakan."
Dündar added on Twitter, "We [journalists] talk, the AKP [AK Party] attacks."
Dündar has also previously faced similar threats from Erdoğan and AK Party circles for publishing the video footage of an alleged illegal transfer of weapons through the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the radical terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which mainly operates in Syria and Iraq.
TV presenter and journalist Cüneyt Özdemir also took to Twitter on Thursday. “We [journalists] are frightened, the way a dove might be,” he wrote, in a clear reference to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, after he compared himself to a dove over regular emails and telephones threatening his life.
In another tweet, Özdemir wrote: "I have one thing to say to those who assume they will manage to frighten journalists by attacking, intimidating and killing them in this day: We are ‘NOT AFRAID OF YOU.' The attack on Hakan foreshadows [that we are] entering a dark period. Get well soon dear @ahmethc."
Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland released a written statement condemning the assault on Thursday.
"I strongly condemn the brutal attack last night on Hürriyet journalist Ahmet Hakan, who has been subject to threats for some time. The repeated attacks on journalists in Turkey have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country. I call on the Turkish authorities to fully investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. Member states of the Council of Europe have an obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights to protect journalists against attacks and to prevent [the] impunity of instigators," he said in the statement.
The Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) criticized the attack and wished Hakan a speedy recovery. TGS President Uğur Güç tweeted on Thursday: "Freedom of the press is an assurance for a country ruled in line with democracy. We demand peace."
The TGS also held a protest in front of the İstanbul Governor's Office yesterday in a show of solidarity with Hakan.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Mahmut Tanal was also among those condemning the attack. "Hürriyet is not a product being sold in a shopping center or a bazaar. Those afraid of the people's right to information and thus know about the truth are responsible for the assault on Hakan," he wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Tanal added: "Those, who favor peace and freedoms win in the end, not these despots.”
Turkish actress and comedian Gülse Birsel, in a message shared on Twitter on Thursday, said: "I wish a speedy recovery to Ahmet Hakan, who was attacked by four people in front of his house and suffered multiple fractures."
The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) said in a written statement on Thursday that a new level has been reached in terms of threatening, insulting and targeting journalists, adding, "The judiciary and police remaining inactive over such threats intensify our concerns about freedom of the press."
The Doğan Media Group and its parent company Doğan Holding are no strangers to Erdoğan's ire. In May, the group was suspended from participating in state tenders after Erdoğan accused its head, Aydın Doğan, of being a "coup lover" and described its media columnists as "charlatans."
Tensions escalated after the ruling AK Party co-founded and implicitly supported by Erdoğan lost its parliamentary majority in the June 7 general election, which led to failed coalition talks that prompted a snap election, scheduled for Nov. 1.

Hakan's assailants reportedly ex-convicts, AK Party members

The four people who allegedly attacked Hakan and remain in custody were reportedly identified as Ahmet Güler, Kamuran Ergin, Fuat Elmas and Uğur Adıyaman, and two of which were revealed to be ex-convicts, the Cumhuriyet daily said on Thursday.
The four suspects underwent a medical examination at Şişli Hamidiye Training and Research Hospital before being sent to the İstanbul Police Department's Public Security Branch Office in Gayrettepe on Thursday.
In its news report, Cumhuriyet said two of the suspects had a criminal record for using drugs, causing injury and making threats.
Broadcaster Kanal D also reported on Thursday that Adıyaman and Elmas are members of the AK Party’s Fatih local branch. 
In their initial statements to the police, the suspects reportedly said they and Hakan had a quarrel while driving and a scuffle occurred. The police confiscated the suspects' electronic devices, hoping it would help them find instigators of the crime, if any.
It was also reported that Hakan's request to the İstanbul Police Department for a bodyguard following threats made against him a fortnight ago fell on deaf ears.

Media mogul Doğan sends second open letter to Erdoğan

Separately, Doğan, the owner of the Doğan Media Group, addressed a second open letter to Erdoğan on Thursday, rejecting accusations of "promoting terrorism."
The media group has been under state scrutiny for months for allegedly refusing to bow to the interim AK Party government by continuing to cover the intense clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK.
In his first open letter in late September, Doğan responded to accusations by Erdoğan that he was supporting terrorism and meddled in politics. In the letter, published in the Hürriyet daily, Doğan rejected Erdoğan's claims that he had told the then-prime minister during a meeting at an İstanbul hotel several years ago that his media group had "made governments come and go."
In response to Doğan's letter, Erdoğan said during a meeting with mukhtars on Tuesday that the letter does not count for anything for him and moreover accused Doğan of "robbing the whole country."
Doğan followed up with similar remarks in his second open letter to the president. "Since the president of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in his speech to mukhtars the day before yesterday, directly targeted me again, it has become necessary to make a final explanation to the Turkish public about it,” he stated. “What I wrote to the president last Saturday was a response to preserve my dignity. There, I articulated that I never said the words he [Erdoğan] attributed to me, claiming that 'We topple governments and form new ones.' I stand by my former comments and repeat: I have never said this to anyone, the president of the republic included. I have never suggested anything that may carry such a meaning. But the president continued to accuse me the day before yesterday."
The Hürriyet daily was recently attacked twice by an angry mob headed by Boynukalın, who also threatened to attack Hakan.
Internet trolls known as "AK trolls," for their alleged association with the AK Party, have also conducted a long-running smear campaign against Hakan for the anti-government views written in his columns.

What made Turkey change its Syria policy?

Suraj Sharma

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in September that Turkey is open to the idea of Bashar al-Assad temporarily being part of a political solution to the conflict in war-ravaged Syria, it came as a major surprise to political observers who have become accustomed to Ankara’s tough line that the removal of Assad is the top priority.
Analysts critical of the Turkish government believe this shift hasn’t come about as a result of an acceptance that policies based on sheer ideology have failed, but rather because the government’s hand has been forced and made it increasingly irrelevant in the Syrian theatre.
Other analysts, however, suggest it is simply pragmatic diplomacy and nothing more than an act of fine tuning established policies to deal with realties on the ground while not deviating from core principles.
Murat Yesiltas, director of security studies at the pro-government SETA Foundation, said there is no major shift in policy and does not in any way represent a move where Turkey suddenly favours any Assad involvement.
“It is a tactical nuance rather than a huge change. Turkey has had to respond to the situation,” Yesiltas told Middle East Eye.
“Ankara needed to adapt, given Russian military involvement, US ambiguity toward the Syrian opposition and a lack of consensus among the great powers, which include France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well.”
Although there are some elements of pragmatic decision making involved, it is not because of self-reflection on failed policies but due to the consequences of what is happening, said Ahmet Kasim Han, an academic at the international relations department at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.
“Whatever policy shift is taking place is because it is being dictated by the choices and actions of third parties and not because of any ideological change of heart. That would require admitting to policy failure, but no one in the government thinks their policies were wrong at all,” Han told MEE.  
“They [the government] were pushed to accept policy change to an extent because they were no longer able to impose their will and risked being left on the periphery of events.” 

Turkish views 'adrift' from US and Russia?

Divergent views between Turkey and its Western allies, and also between Turkey and Russia, the other major power involved, on who poses the greater threat have meant that Ankara has often found itself isolated with its positions.
The West, led by the US, and Russia both see IS and other such groups as the foremost threat, whereas for Turkey the major threat is the dissolution of its southern neighbour potentially leaving it faced with a left-wing Kurdish state run by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Ankara considers the PYD a terrorist entity and a wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party with which it has been involved in a war since 1984.
Turkey has all along considered the ouster of Assad as the best option to maintain Syria’s territorial integrity and thereby prevent the PYD from fully establishing itself in the north of the country. The United States, however, has gradually shifted its stance and is willing to entertain the thought of allowing Assad to remain at the helm until the IS threat is dealt with.
Turkey could find itself adrift from both the US and Russia if - despite all differences between the two countries on Assad’s future - they agree to put that aside momentarily to tackle IS.
“The vital issue to consider here is that Turkey views ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) [an alternative term for IS] as a consequence of the Syrian regime’s oppression and believes the root of the problem needs to be tackled first,” said Yesiltas.
In Yesiltas’ opinion, IS poses a real threat to Turkey both along its border and also internally. But he said the PYD is also a threat and not one that Ankara can ignore. He added that Turkey is receptive to all initiatives that negate all these threats.
“Turkey has no desire to see the emergence of another quasi state in the region, particularly a PYD one which is attempting to change the demographic composition in the area,” said Yesiltas.

What is Turkey's top priority?

The fact that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu continued to insist that the ouster of Assad should remain the top priority during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly and in his speech there on 30 September, while seemingly in contradiction with Erdogan’s statement, could actually signal that while Ankara might be willing to reconsider its priorities, it will nevertheless also continue to push for what it still believes is the soundest way forward.
Erdogan’s spokesman and advisors were quick to suggest that Erdogan’s remarks did not signify a policy shift and Davutoglu himself was at pains to state that Turkey’s Syria policies have not been static over the years and that Turkey’s position has not changed.
“There is no gulf in the views held by the prime minister and president. Turkish political strategy is clear and any such appearance is due to the different personal characters of the two men. It is simply a matter of nuance,” said Yesiltas.
According to Han, these contradictory stances and statements are not due to any rift but because the government has played the foreign policy card so strongly in the domestic political arena that it now finds itself firmly entrenched in such ideologically motivated policies and doesn’t know how to extricate itself without losing domestic political capital.
“Any pragmatism being displayed is due to their vested domestic political interest. This is just an exaggerated version of the adage that all politics is local,” said Han.
The seemingly abject failure of the joint effort by Turkey and the United States to train and equip rebel fighters, and the tepid response at best to Ankara’s wish to establish what it calls safe zones in Syria also potentially lie behind this shift in policy on Syria.
“Realities on the ground have pushed them toward such a change but they basically see nothing wrong with their original policies. Any failure is attributed to the incompetence of other actors and allies such as the United States,” said Han.   
“In the end it depends on the entire international coalition, and not just Turkey, if any political solution is put on the table, whether that involves Assad or not,” said Yesiltas.  

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UN inquiry into Saudi Arabia 'war crimes' in Yemen shelved after Saudi opposition

Instead, Western countries have backed an investigation by the Saudi-allied Yemen government.
Western countries have ditched plans for a United Nations-led inquiry into alleged war crimes by Saudi Arabia and others in Yemen, instead backing an investigation by the Saudi-allied Yemen government.
The move came despite rising concern at the number of civilians killed in air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition and indiscriminate shelling by the Houthi rebels. The UN reported on Tuesday that 2,355 civilians had been killed over the last six months. Britain supplies arms to Riyadh and there have been claims these could be being used to commit war crimes.
The Netherlands, backed by several Western countries, had drawn up a draft resolution instructing the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to send experts to Yemen to investigate the allegations. However, after opposition from Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, this has now been dropped and Western governments instead accepted a resolution to support an inquiry set up by the Yemeni government.
Human Rights Watch condemned the UN Human Rights Council’s failure to create an “independent, international” inquiry, saying Yemen’s people would suffer. “Such a mechanism would have been crucial to confront continued impunity for crimes committed in the country... The increasingly desperate Yemeni population should not be ignored by the world’s pre-eminent human rights body.” All parties in the conflict had “committed serious violations of international humanitarian law”, it said, adding: “Houthi and allied forces have also repeatedly violated international humanitarian law, including by launching rockets into civilian populated areas in southern Yemen and across the border in Saudi Arabia, mistreating persons in custody, and recruiting children.”
Earlier this week Britain was accused of entering into a secret vote-trading deal with Saudi Arabia to ensure both countries obtained membership of the Human Rights Council. Secret Saudi cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, indicated the UK had asked the Saudis for support in elections that took place in 2013.


    According to our well-informed Saudi sources, The Saudi ambassadors in Islamabad and Ankara have informed the Pakistani and Turkish officials respectively that the oil-rich kingdom would pay for each victim of last Thursday's deadly crush in Mecca a sum of 10 million Saudi Riyal (equivalent to 270.000 USD) if the two countries refrain from criticizing Riyadh's utter mismanagement of the crisis, directly causing such a poignant catastrophe.
    The Turkish administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed Saudi Arabia for the Hajj debacle during the very first days of the tragic disaster, though it wasn't long before receiving financial guarantees —Riyadh promised to pay a large sum of “hush-money” for every dead Turkish pilgrim— that Ankara ceased condemning Saudi Arabia.
    Intelligence reports also say that those Pakistani officials received a same proposal in exchange of Islam Abad's complete silence and even international support for Saudi Sheikhs.
    The Saudi government promised victims' countries that it will pay a sum of 1 million SAR for every deceased pilgrim.

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    Video - Damascus residents applaud Russian air strikes

    Video - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov does not consider Free Syrian Army a terrorist group

    Video - Putin: No Syrian civilians hurt as result of Russian air strikes

    Putin: Claims Russian jets killed civilians in Syria emerged before airstrikes started

    Reports of alleged casualties among civilians caused by Russian airstrikes in Syria emerged even before Russian warplanes were launched for their first combat mission, President Vladimir Putin said, branding such reports 'information attacks.'
    “Other nations have been bombing Syrian territory for over a year,” Putin told the Russian human rights council on Thursday, stressing that the US-led coalition invades the Syrian airspace with no UN mandate or invitation from Damascus.
    “We have such an invitation and we intend to fight against terrorist organizations and them only,” Putin added.
    The Russian leader also commented on the alleged civilian casualties caused by Russian warplanes in Syria.
    “As for media reports claiming that the civilian population is suffering, we are prepared for such information attacks. The first reports about civilian casualties emerged even before our planes got in the air,” he said.
    Dozens of videos allegedly showing the aftermath of Russian bombings of residential areas in Syria surfaced online on Wednesday, after Moscow announced a bombing campaign designed to help Syrian government forces fight the Islamic State terrorist group.
    Russia believes them to be information warfare, and has called on the media and foreign officials to carefully verify information coming from Syria before judging it truthful.
    Putin added that the US and Russia must establish a mechanism for sharing information about military action in Syria, which would allow the two nations to root out false reports.
    “That’s why we are establishing contact between our special services and those of the US, between our military departments,”he said. I hope it will result in the establishing of some permanent mechanism.”
    On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported hitting 12 targets belonging to the IS terrorist group since starting military action in Syria.
    The tasks set for the Russian Air Force in Syria over the last 24 hours have been “fully completed,” said Igor Klimov, a Russian Air Force spokesman. 
    “Recorders’ data showed that Russian airstrikes hit only the targets belonging to IS terrorist group infrastructure," Klimov said as cited by TASS. 
    The country's forces neither planned nor carried out any attacks against civilian infrastructure, he added.
    The Russian effort is designed to provide air support to the Syria army, which is struggling to contain the spread of jihadist militants in the war-torn country.
    Syrian military provides intelligence on prospective targets for Russian forces in Syria, which is double-checked before clearance is given to deliver a strike, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

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    'Another mass shooting in America': Oregon killings a grim familiarity for US

    By  and  in New York and in Roseburg, Oregon.

    As many as 10 people killed and 7 more injured at Umpqua community college in Roseburg as President Obama gives exasperated appearance at White House.

    The US is reeling from another school shooting, the 45th this year, after a 20-year-old gunman murdered as many as 10 people and wounded seven more at a community college in Oregon before he was killed.
    Investigators were focusing on reports from survivors at Umpqua community college in the rural town of Roseburg that the gunman told students to state their religion before he opened fire. The police were also looking at reports that hours before the attack he posted messages on an internet chat site warning people to stay away. Investigators said they were attempting to trace people on the site who discouraged him while others urged him on. It does not appear anyone reported the messages to the authorities before the shooting.

    The police described the gunman as a white male but did not say if he was a student at the college. CNN reported that four guns were recovered at the scene. At least 20 people were wounded alongside those who died.
    Hours after the killings, President Obama, clearly agitated at making his 15th statement on shootings since taking office, said “There’s been another mass shooting in America” and spoke of the country being numbed by the repeated massacres.
    “As I said just a few months ago and I said a few months before that and each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It does nothing to prevent this carnage being inflicted some place in America, next week or a couple of months from now,” the president said. “Somehow this has become routine.”
    Kortney Moore, 18, told the News Review in Roseburg that she was in her writing class when a shot came through a window and hit her teacher the head. She said the gunman then ordered students to stand and state their religion before opening fire. Moore said she was left lying on the floor with people who were shot.
    Other survivors spoke of not hearing a shot as the gunman moved from room to room through the campus of 16 buildings with the classrooms in a horseshoe next to the Umpqua river. Marilyn Kittelman’s son was in the building next to the science block where the initial shooting occurred.
    “He said there was no sound. There were some 30 shots and no sound. He was pretty surprised,” she told CNN.
    The gunman was cornered in a hall by a police officer who reported exchanging shots with the man.
    “Suspect is down,” he told the 911 dispatcher. “He’s not breathing, is in Snyder hall.”
    A couple minutes later, the officer told the dispatcher: “We’ve got multiple gunshot wounds. We’re going to need multiple ambulances on scene.”
    It was not immediately known how many students were on campus at the time. The community college, which mostly provides adult education to students in their late 20s, has about 3,000 students registered but only a few hundred attend full time.
    At the Douglas County fairgrounds, families waited along with grief counsellors and a large international media contingent for students, who were being bused from the campus.
    Heather Alvers, a UCC student, was waiting to give survivors free trips home. She was on her way to campus when police stopped her. Most of her friends were confirmed safe but, she said, “the community is devastated”.
    Alvers said that rumors and confusion had taken the place of facts for most of the day, and “some people were still locked down on campus”.
    She had been here for hours, while “hundreds and hundreds” of evacuees came through.
    Like everyone else, all she could do was wait.
    Oregon’s governor, Kate Brown, spoke of her “profound dismay and heartbreak” at the killings. Douglas County commissioner Chris Boice learned of the shooting when one of his staffers “got a phone call from her daughter who was on campus, and the shooting was happening at that point”.
    “I ran down the hall called the sheriff on his cellphone. He was en route to the incident,” said Boice. “We’re a tight-knit community and everybody knows everybody.
    “We’re going to be heavily impacted by this and I can’t imagine what those families must be feeling right now.”

    Exasperation from Obama

    Obama blamed the failure to pass gun control measures after earlier mass killingsfor having to make yet another address to the nation after yet another tragedy. He expressed frustration that countries such as Britain and Australia have been able to pass legislation that largely prevents such tragedies.
    “Right now I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. We need more guns, they’ll say. Fewer safety laws. Does anybody really believe that?”
    The president called for news organisations to compare the number of Americans killed by terrorism over the past decade with the number who died in gun violence. He noted that the US spends trillions of dollars and has passed myriad laws to protect people from terrorism.
    “Yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how to reduce potential gun deaths. How can that be?” he said.
    The president appealed to voters to elect politicians committed to strengthening gun control and to gun owners to ask themselves whether organisations such as the National Rifle Association, which pour large amounts of money into lobbying against restrictions, are really serving the interests of those who use weapons for sport and hunting.
    The kind of opposition the president faces comes from county sheriff John Hanlin, who was at the scene of the killings and spoke movingly of the impact it will have on families he is close to. But in 2013 he wrote to the vice-president, Joe Biden, saying he would not enforce “unconstitutional” laws to restrict ownership.
    “Gun control is NOT [sic] the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings. And actions against, or in disregard for our US Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights by the current administration would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people,” he wrote to Biden.
    Guns can be carried openly in Oregon. The police in Portland sometimes get calls from alarmed citizens who spot a person with a semiautomatic weapon walking through the city only to be informed that is legal. The state issues permits to carry concealed weapons as a matter of routine but, unlike many states, requires a mental health check.
    Gun laws were tightened earlier this year by requiring background checks on private gun sales to bring them in line with weapons sold through gun shops.
    “We have an obligation to protect Oregonians from gun violence,” Brown saidbefore signing the legislation. “If we want to keep our kids, schools and communities safe, we must make it harder for dangerous people to get guns.”
    There was an immediate slew of calls for strengthened gun control, including from Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton:
    Another devastating shooting. We need sensible gun control measures to save lives, and I will do everything I can to achieve that. -H

    Video - President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Shooting in Oregon

    President Obama Is Right, Way More Americans Die in Gun Violence Than in Terrorism


    In his address to the nation following the shooting at Umpqua Community College, President Obama stated that more Americans have died in the last ten years as victims of gun violence than they have in terrorist attacks.
    He’s right.
    In 2013 alone, 33,636 people in America were killed by gun violence. That’s more than all Americans killed by terrorists on U.S soil in the last 14 years, the September 11th attacks included; 2,977 people died in the 9/11 attacks, and 74 have been killed since by terrorists in the U.S, according to a recent study. According to a 2013 report from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, the average terrorist attack in the United States has resulted in 3.3 casualties.

    In addition, in his speech, Obama twice stated that this is the only developed country in the world where mass shootings occur regularly. This appears to be true. As Newsweek previously reported, although the U.S. accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population, it had 31 percent of mass shootings between 1966 and 2012.
    An investigation by Mother Jones in April found that guns are used in 70 percent of homicides in America, and more than 50 percent of suicides.
    What’s more, the top five countries in terms of civilian firearm ownership rates —the U.S., Yemen, Switzerland, Finland and Serbia—were each among the top 15 countries in the world for incidence of mass shootings.