Monday, November 07, 2016

Pining for the Ottoman Empire and Turkey's Honour and Pride Restored

"Turkey can no longer stay the same at this point. The status quo will change somehow. We will either leap with moves forward or we will be bound to shrink. I am determined to make forward moves."
"Turkey is not just Turkey. Apart from its 79 million citizens, it is also responsible to the hundreds of millions of our brothers in the geographical area to which we are connected by historical and cultural ties ... Certain historians believe that the borders set by the National Contract include Cyprus, Aleppo, Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Batumi, Thessaloniki, Kardzhali, Varna and the [Greek] islands of the Aegean."                                                                                                                   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

It wasn't all that long ago, five years at most, when Turkey's Islamist government was comfortable with the Islamist administration of Iran. They had much in common, since they were both revelling in a re-engagement with Islamism as in Salafist, orthodox Islam, celebrating Sharia law and committed to restoring Islam's primacy on the world stage. And both support the Muslim Brotherhood, another committed movement in Islamism.

And that's not all; while Iran bred and armed Hezbollah and funded Hamas, Turkey's Islamist government considers Hamas a fine example of Islamist governance.

Oh yes, something else unites them, their hatred of Israel, although Turkey has seen fit, after excoriating Israel and Zionism as a 'terrorist', genocidal-intentioned state that murders Palestinians without restraint, to re-engage with Israel at a more remote level than previously pertained under Kemalist governments when its actions and statements isolated it dangerously in the region.

Turkey is still furious with Egypt for choosing to unseat Mohammad Morsi and declare the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas terrorist groups.

And as a member in good (questionable) standing of NATO, an ally of the United States, Turkey's swerve toward fundamentalist Islam has been an alarming trend to its European allies. That Turkey nurtured Islamic State jihadists until it became internationally unfeasible to continue to do so, is a reality, as much as its aid to ISIL in selling the oil from captured oilwells sitting within its-then caliphate is also an unfortunate fact.

Since the Alawite Syrian regime began attacking its Sunni Syrian citizens protesting against their status of inequality within the country, much as Turkey's military attacks its Turkish Kurdish population on charges of separatism, aspiring toward statehood of their own, relations between Turkey and Syria have spiralled steadily downward. And now that Shiite militias and Kurdish fighters are on the brink of establishing corridors along the Syrian/Turkey border and the Turkey/Iraq border the comradeship that previously prevailed has melted into malevolent fury.

Turkey has re-discovered its need to take geographic possession of towns and villages and cities where Turkmen, distantly related to Turks, live in the majority. Even among the Turkmen there is the sectarian split, and it is only the Sunni Turkmen that Turkey has declared are in need of protection from the certain onslaught of Shiites. So much for Turkey courting good relations with its neighbours in a pan-Islamic search for peace and good fellowship.

Within Turkey itself, after the attempted coup to remove the Justice and Development Party from power and with it, its redoubtable leader, both Turkish Kurds and those accused by the government of being Gulenists, followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of masterminding the attempted coup, have been under threat by Erdogan. Tens of thousands of civil servants, lawyers, justices, police, military, have been detained, imprisoned and no doubt undergone torture.

And then it was the turn of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) whose party legislators in the Turkish parliament were detained and questioned on terror-related charges. These elected parliamentarians are accused by the Erdogan government of support of the Kurdish Turkish militants the PKK, an outlawed group opposing the Turkish stranglehold on the mostly Kurdish-dominated geography of Turkey which represents their ancient homeland.

Turkey, already long recognized by journalists worldwide as oppressors of the first order, has taken to increasing its imprisonment of journalists and newspaper editors critical of the government. News media have been closed down by the government, their orientation accused of trying to bring the government down and supporting Kurdish militants and the Fethullah Gulen movement.

As for Turkey's neighbours in existential turmoil, Turkey sees the opportunity of availing itself of territory on both Syria's and Iraq's northern borders. Those borders seem up for grabs in any event, by Iran, by Shiite militias and by the region's Kurds. It is Turkey, however, that has convinced itself that it has the inside track, the right and the heritage obligation to fulfill its destiny by continuing to swell its presence and reinstate the long lamented Empire that fate so cruelly destroyed.

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