Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Turkey – Serial Killer or Warrior for God
In order to understand modern day Turkey and the instability it is helping to promote throughout Europe, it would be useful to understand its ‘recent’ history.
Osman Bey (1291-1326) – founded the Ottoman Empire. He took a peripheral fiefdom in the far west of the Islamic empire, on the border between the Islamic and Byzantine (Christian) empires, and made much of it his dominion. Constantinople was the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Centre of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. When Mehmet 2nd captured Constantinople in 1453 he is reported to have let loose his troops on the city’s Christian residents and over 3 days they raped, looted and murdered the city’s inhabitants. Paintings celebrating this ‘great lesson’ (of how defiance to conquest would be rewarded) show rivers of blood.
The Ottoman empire (1299-1923) incorporated colonialism with Jihad; justifying conquest and slavery, centuries before White Europe did the same.
The Battle of Vienna, in late 1683, saw the end of Muslim-Ottoman expansion into Europe. 18th Century Turkey maintained its territorial integrity but mainly because of divisions within a Europe which was obsessed by ethnocentric nationalism. Perversely, this nationalism drove the 19th Centuries European colonial enterprise into Africa and the Far East.
On February 3, 1830 an international conference in London led to a guarantee of territorial integrity for an independent Greece. Britain, France and Russia were its guarantors. The Greek revolt against Muslim rule was the Colonial eras first war waged against foreign rule. The two bookends of colonial independence (Greece in 1830 and Israel in 1948), suffered terribly under Turkish misrule. Yet when we rage against colonialism we see only Western crimes and not their equivalent enterprise, of which the Islamic slave trade was a key enabler. It is a bizarre and inexplicable omission that gives the Muslim world an aura of respectability and revolutionary virtue as an “oppressed people” though it is simply not justified.
Europe made several attempts to prop up the corrupt Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s predecessor was a Muslim empire 5.2 million square kilometres in land area (2 million square miles) compared with Turkeys’ current territorial base of 0.8 million square kilometres (0.3 million square miles.) Turkey’s collapse simply whet the appetite of Arab dictators across the Near East.
The dissatisfaction and enmity that suffuses the Arab world today is a direct result of the disintegration of the Ottoman empire. It left local Arab leaders baying for blood and empire, fed by Muslim myths and tales of violent slaughter. That slaughter of infidel peoples is a guide to modern behaviour modelled on the brutality of Islam’s founders and their subsequent conquering aspirants. It helps to explain the fanaticism that drives the killers of Islamic State. That we fail to connect the dots between their willing executioners and the Western World’s Muslim Fundamentalists is therefore incomprehensibly naïve.
In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin was signed, in order to protect minorities throughout the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire from persecution. It was needed. It was also ignored. An indirect result was that in 1895-96 Abdul Humid, the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, (also known as the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned) murdered up to 200,000 Armenians in a campaign that was intended to ensure submission for the survivors.
Many Armenians fled to Europe and the USA. Dispersal and exile is common enough for survivors. But perhaps, the Ottoman empires Armenians (those who remained behind) thought they would be protected by Britain, France and even their enemy, Russia.
Turkey systematically discriminated against the church and to this day they refuse to recognize the 1890’s organized murder of the Armenians. Nor do they recognise the next stage in Armenia’s tragedy. Disarmament, elimination of anyone who might be in a position to fight back, and resettlement, were all weapons intended to facilitate the final Armenian solution.
In a frightening rehearsal for Hitlers organized and multiple genocides, towns were systematically cleansed of Armenians. Death came quickly but disease also took many of those waiting to die. There is general agreement that between one million and one and a half million Armenians died. Atrocities were documented by numerous diplomatic missions and interested parties. Foreign records of the events are undeniable. Extermination had one added advantage for the Turkish government. Muslims could be housed in the homes of the dead; houses left fully furnished, unless pillaged by former friends and neighbours.
Theological justification could be made at every stage of the process. Slavery, dispossession, theft and extermination; all these things were meant and are still meant to demonstrate, in an unambiguous and tangible way, the superiority of Muslim civilization. Theologically all property is the material right of ownership of the global Islamic nation. Retribution reinforced a message that resistance is futile. Resistance will provoke a terrible price, one which will be seared into ethnic memory.
More important than that message is the lesson Hitler, Stalin and today’s Islamic State learnt from the inaction and the indifference of other nations.
The Armenian genocide took place between 1915 and 1917. Greek and Assyrian Christians were also targeted as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing.
And then we have the Kurds. The Kurds of the Near East have been denied any justice by the global community. Kurdish persecution has been ignored partly because their ethnic geographical boundaries transect the borders of four competing bully empires (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey). Fear of the effects of destabilising the three remaining political entities can be better appreciated when we look at Syria after almost six years of civil war. Syria had a population of 22 million people and today 11 ½ million of them are either internally displaced or refugees now residing in other countries. The remaining three nations have a combined population of almost 200 million people.
Arab, Turkish and Iranian political ambitions are never questioned unless they threaten to impede the flow of oil to Europe. If no-one will stand against them then it is also clear that no one is safe.
Turkey has destroyed at least three thousand Kurdish villages since the 1980’s and evicted millions of Kurdish people from their ancestral homes. There are over three million Kurdish refugees. Turkey tortured tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people and has murdered over 37,000 of them (since the PKK’s armed uprising began in 1984). Turkey denies the Kurds any right to self determination.
And then we have the Turkish conquest of Northern Cyprus. All but ignored by European nations that usually grovel before an expansionist Turkey, they ensure nothing offensive is ever passed at the United Nations; nothing that might offend Turkey’s neo-Ottoman rulers. Turkey has invaded Christian Cyprus and replaced the population it killed or expelled by the forcible transfer onto the land it conquered with Kurds it displaced from elsewhere in Turkey. This is in direct violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention but the United Nations will never invoke Article 49 because it has only ever done so with the Jewish state, with Israel.
The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Rules of War was adopted in 1949. Switzerland, the Depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention profited more than any other nation from the hell that was the Second World War. Switzerland must agree to call a special meeting of the High Contracting Parties (representatives of states who have signed or ratified the treaty). It has met only three times since the Convention was enacted. That is three times in sixty-seven years. On each occasion it was convened to condemn Israel. There have been hundreds of wars since WW2 ended and over 50,000,000 deaths attributed to those wars. The total number of deaths in Israel-Palestine represent less than 1:1,000 of the total and yet as indicated by the Swiss example the relevance of the UN to solving or preventing human conflict is non-existent.
None of the wars that took place since the second half of the Twentieth Century took place because of poverty. The wars have been politically or religiously inspired. Many secular causes display religious devotion based on either a single catechism or a series of devotional texts that must be accepted without question and that are overseen by a secular ecclesiastic body of political purists.
Amos Alon in “A Blood Dimmed Tide” describes a theology of conflict made worse by the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is because the conflicting racial and colonial ambitions of Islam’s warrior clergy has seen Turkey and Iran clamour for control of their geopolitical neighbourhood. And to those I would add Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. All have exercised their expansionist colonial ambitions at a cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives.
The following is from an article by the Henry Jackson Society: “Turkey is to the Syrian jihad what Pakistan was to the Afghan jihad or Azerbaijan was to the Chechen jihad—or indeed Syria was to the Iraqi jihad. A rear-base from which fighters can enter the battle, but to which they can take shelter to hide, recuperate, fundraise, and organise.” Turkey will probably never be called to account by any international community.
neo-Ottoman expansionism is driven by a theologically fundamentalist doctrine which makes Turkey a threat to world peace precisely because it instructs and therefore infects the nation and as the previous paragraph indicated, it contaminates not just its hinterlands but the nations it comes into contact with.
Pinhas Inbari, writing in the journal of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Can Israel and Turkey Reconcile?) said “Turkey is in the midst of defining its identity – as Turkish first or Muslim first with a “neo-Ottoman underpinning. If Turkey chooses its “Turkish” identity, a true Israeli-Turkish reconciliation may be possible, but if Erdogan chooses his neo-Ottoman Muslim path, obstacles may block the reconciliation.”
I would disagree with Pinhas on the simplicity of his statement. Before the Islamic political revolution began to take hold in Turkey, it was a secular society governed along strict lines of separation between Mosque and State. But still it was awash with racism, ethnic-religious belligerence and chauvinism. Tolerance of intolerance creates the atmosphere that eventually leads to fascism, and fascism is the handmaiden of dictatorship.
In politics, to negotiate from weakness is a sign of capitulation. The Muslim world understands this far better than we do. Terrorism is a political act, never a moral choice even when people use simplistic arguments in their attempt to create justification for it. The Western world is economically vulnerable and exposed to every means of blackmail that the Muslim world can throw our way. Threats of violence, terror and fear of economic and terminal decline are powerful enablers for acquiescence to positive discriminatory treatment towards the faithful, especially when they also tap into ancient prejudices that have never been eliminated.
The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara just over two weeks ago is a symptom of Turkish jingoism. It is a lesson that Israel and the rest of Western Society must learn from. And Israel must never drop its guard in its awareness of the threat posed by fundamentalism, either from Turkey or, from within its own society.