It gets increasingly difficult to have patience with Recep Erdogan, president of Turkey, who has just penned (is this expression still valid?) another article, published by the increasingly obliging The Washington Post on 19 March 2019. His column consists of 25 sentences and each of them deserves a column of its own since in those 25 sentences president Erdogan mentions world and Turkish history (in his manifesto the alleged gunman calls for the re-conquest of Istanbul and its return to Christianity under its former name of Constantinople), association of faith and terrorism, intelligence services, islamophobia and xenophobia, governments’ obligations to shed light on all aspects of what happened, and finally –pays homage to the courage, leadership and sincerity of New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. Not a small feat you must admit. So as you see the matter requires self-restraint and forbearance. Still, a short quote is inevitable:
Heir to the Ottoman Empire, which was a member of the European family of nations for centuries, Turkey joined the alliance against terrorism immediately after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Having joined NATO more than 60 years ago, we consider it our strategic goal to become a full member of the European Union. By the same token, we will continue to cooperate with our friends and allies in the fight against all terrorist groups.
In the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre, the West has certain responsibilities. Western societies and governments must reject the normalization of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, which has been on the rise in recent years. It is crucial to establish that such twisted ideologies, such as anti-Semitism, amount to crimes against humanity. Moreover, we must shed light on all aspects of what happened and fully understand how the terrorist became radicalized and his links to terrorist groups to prevent future tragedies.
However, The Washington Post is not the only platform used by president Erdogan to make his point. In his speeches at different rallies (he is currently campaigning for his party ahead of local elections on March 31) president Erdogan said to his followers:
They are testing us from 16,500 km away, from New Zealand, with the messages they are giving from there. This isn’t and individual act, this is organized.
We have been here for 1,000 years and will be here until the apocalypse, God willing.
On Twitter, at Muslim United Nations (@MuslimUnited):
You will not be able to turn Istanbul to Constantinople. Your grandfathers came here and saw that we were here, and then some turned back on foot, some in caskets. If you come with the same intentions, you are always welcome.
This was a reference to the 1915 Gallipoli campaign in the First World War, in which British, Australian and New Zealand forces were defeated by the Turks. This campaign took 10,000 lives on the Australian/New Zealand side and is commemorated each year on April 25 (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day). Needless to say, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison found the Turkish president’s words “highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment” and requested explanations from the Turkish ambassador. But alas, that was the end; Gallipoli, that is. The battle was won, but the war was lost. The decline of the Ottoman Empire was marked by military defeats at the hands of Christian Europe, Turkey’s present-day “friends and allies”.
President Erdogan declares his country to be “heir to the Ottoman Empire” and “a member of the European family of nations for centuries” (the latter is quite a surprise). As far as one can see the president appears to be confused. What is the meaning of being “an heir” to a collapse? Truly, a question that deserves reflection, and also profound study. Obviously, this is not the time or place for either, but we can’t help offering our modest contribution by way of the two representations below:
Europeanization movement in the Ottoman Empire had begun in earnest about the middle of the 19th century and is the main reason of its fall. By Europeanization we mean the uncontrollable desire to be a member of “the European family of nations”, the same desire that drives president Erdogan, who announces in his tweet that “you will not be able to turn Istanbul to Constantinople”, failing to notice that Istanbul has already been turned into Constantinople. Turkey is a 60-year-old member of the NATO (as the president himself proudly declares) with everything it implies, all the other members being Christian countries. Turkey cooperates with its allies in all fields, the field of intelligence being of utmost importance. Turkey is hoping to become a full member of the EU. Negotiations for Turkey’s full membership started on 3 October 2005 –14 years ago. Poland, for example, finished the accession negotiations in December 2002, and on 1 May 2004 became, together with 9 other countries, a member of EU. So, what’s wrong with Turkey?
And why say “This isn’t and individual act, this is organized” without elaborating? Organized by whom? Who is testing Turkey? Who is sending messages? Shed more light on it, please.
The heading above the list should read in fact: “U.S.A and western allies”. Is this good company for Turkey? Syria (2011) and Venezuela (2019) should both be added to the list on the right.
Perhaps Turkey shouldn’t have joined the alliance against terrorism so “immediately” after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Perhaps it shouldn’t have supported the “war on terror” –orchestrated by lies. Perhaps Turkey should have first “shed light on all aspects of what happened”. Perhaps Turkey shouldn’t have embraced wars against Syria and Libya, in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed. Perhaps Turkey shouldn’t cooperate so readily with “friends and allies in the fight against all terrorist groups”. Which acts of terror has this cooperation actually prevented? After each terrorist attack we are always told that there will be a lot of teamwork among international intelligence community to clarify everything once and for all. Shouldn’t this work have been done before? Indeed, promises is all we get. This guy, the “alleged” gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant, “had visited Turkey twice in 2016 and spent time in various parts of the country”. Moreover, he “travelled to a number of other places, among them Morocco, Israel and Croatia”. Most interesting. How come nobody saw or heard anything and only now everybody is doing their homework? Of course, Mr. President, you’re right when you say that we should “fully understand how the terrorist became radicalized”. But, will you tell us all about it if and when your services find that out?
You affirm, furthermore, that “the West has certain responsibilities in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre”. Wrong! The West has only interests. The rest is just a combination of a fairy tale and a siren song. If you want to prevent future tragedies, as you say you do, get out of the NATO, forget the EU –you’re not respected or even wanted there. Form an alliance with all Muslim countries, truly United Muslim Nations, not only on Tweeter, with its own rules, laws, policy, trade and currency. There is no need for you to pick up crumbs falling from your masters’ table. Don’t even think about Europe. What is Europe after all? It’s an appendix of Asia, just look at the world map, and then look around. Don’t you see very fishy things going on everywhere? After all, a village one can see at a distance does not require a guide.
Believers! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. He amongst you who turns to them for friendship is of them. Verily Allah guides not a people who are unjust. You will see how those who have a disease in their hearts look for a relationship with them, saying: “We fear a misfortune might befall us.” It could be that Allah may bring about victory for you or a decision from Him. Then, they would have to regret the thoughts they harboured secretly in their hearts.
Qur-an 5 – al Maidah 51-52