Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Turkey's State of Terror
This week Turkish forces invaded Iraq and its warplanes bombed 7 Kurdish villages killing a teenage girl and wounding her mother and 3 year old sister. A week ago Iran had done the same things, killing a 14 year old girl and a 45 year old woman. There are no shouts of protest. No worldwide demonstrations. The Obama administration and the media did not deliver any lectures on disproportionate force. Not even when Erdogan vowed to drown the Kurdish rebels "in their own blood". Instead Ambassador James J. Jeffrey slavishly rushed to assure Turkey's Thug in Chief Erdogan that the PKK was also America's enemy and promised to "urgently" review any request for help against them. No such help was offered to the Kurds, whose villages were being bombed from the sky using planes sold to Turkey by the United States. Despite the fact that Iraqi Kurds, unlike Turkey, supported the US liberation of Iraq. Because that's what friends of the United States get from the Obama Administration. A kick in the face. And what our enemies get is a slobbering kiss on the cheek.
The PKK is a terrorist organization, but it is not our enemy and it does not have anything to do with us. Any reason for providing aid to Turkey against the PKK ended with the Cold War. Especially considering Turkey's shakedown of the US during the Kosovo operation and its refusal to support US forces in the liberation of Iraq. The United States has no reason to provide military assistance to a regime that is not willing to do the same.
While the US has consistently backed Turkey against the PKK-- the Turkish regime has in response accused the US of supporting the PKK in order to divide Turkey. Ankara knows very well that this is a lie, but it is part of a domestic campaign aimed at demonizing the US. Just as the chairman of the ruling AKP Islamist party, Hüseyin Çelik, has accused Israel of being behind the PKK bombing in İskenderun (legally Syrian territory, in practice occupied Kurdistan) in order to continue the regime's campaign of hateful incitement. (This is particularly ironic as Turkey is actually using Israeli drones against the Kurdish rebels, and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu helped Turkey capture PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.) Further exploiting the more recent Istanbul bus bombing for all it's worth, Erdogan accused everyone from the media to his own political opposition of being tied up with the attacks.
The hypocrisy here is rather pungent as bus bombings were a common tool of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is closely supported by Erdogan. As a radical Islamist, Erdogan's ties to terrorism run deep. Not only was he personally jailed, but Erdogan and his AKP party are tied up with Yassin Qadi, a Saudi businessman who was marked by the US Treasury as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist"who funneled millions of dollars to Osama bin Laden. Cuneyt Zapsu, a co-founder of the AKP party and an Erdogan advisor, meanwhile only passed along 300,000 dollars to Al Queda, through Qadi.
Meanwhile in a country where members of a Kurdish youth choir as young as 12 were arrested and faced years in prison for singing a Kurdish folk song, that also happens to be the anthem of the anthem of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government at the San Francisco International Music Festival in 2007-- Al Queda openly publishes its own magazine, "Kaide" out of an office in the middle of Istanbul. This is no accident. Erdogan claims there's no such thing as Islamic terrorism, just as he claimed that there's no such thing as genocide by Muslims, when he welcomed Sudan's mass murdering leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is wanted for crimes against humanity. What Erdogan has done is legitimize Muslim terrorism and genocide. Even as he rants about Kurdish attacks on Turkey.
It's understandable why Erdogan and his regime would be worried about the Kurds. Turkey occupies and rules over 12 million of them. And those are the official statistics of a regime which at one time actually criminalized any attempt to list separate Kurdish populations. Suggesting that the real numbers may be far higher. But the real question is why we should care. Erdogan and the AKP are pushing Turkey on an anti-American path. Meanwhile the Kurds are vital to stabilizing Iraq. Which suggests that perhaps we should be focusing more on the rights of the Kurds, than the demands of the Turks.
But the US and Europe have turned a blind eye to everything Turkey does. Even when Erdogan openly threatened to ethnically cleanse Armenians again, if they complained about Turkey's original genocide of their people, in the presence of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Nor did Brown raise the subject with Erdogan. Unlike when Israeli soldiers board a Turkish boat sent to aid Hamas, are stabbed and beaten and defend themselves, then the British government quickly demanded answers from Israel. That is because like every Islamist regime, Turkey gets a free pass to do whatever it likes, whether it's occupying Cyprus, invading Iraq and bombing villages there, or imprisoning 12 year olds for singing folk songs. And Turkey's pipeline power doesn't hurt either, as Europe finds itself on the wrong end of energy based hydraulic despotism.
Germany may keep Turkey out of the EU, not that Europe would have survived more than a decade of a state of affairs in which a Muslim population in the tens of millions, half of whom earns 20 dollars a month suddenly had access to every country in the EU. But the apologetics being penned for Turkey in the Western media claiming that Turkey's move to the Islamist camp is the act of a spurned EU lover, have it wrong. This was a long range and well financed effort accomplished by the same Saudis who funded Al Queda. Turkey once made the transition from Imperialism to Fascism. Now it is going from Fascism to Islamism.
Meanwhile European humanitarians and American liberals will continue vocally denouncing Israel for every talking point sent their way by Hamas. But suppose they spare a glance for 12 million Kurds living under Erdogan's oppression. Or its Armenians who dare not lift their heads. Or the continuing occupation of Cyprus. Or perhaps the ongoing imprisonment of Leyla Zana, who on becoming the first woman elected to the Turkish parliament was sentenced to ten years in jail for taking her oath in Kurdish. Despite winning the Sakharov Prize and being nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, Zana is still in jail today. Perhaps in between declaring boycotts against Israel (though of course they oppose collective punishment) such "luminaries" as Ken Loach, John Berger, Iain Banks, Eve Ensler and Danny Glover might give a thought for her, and for what an actual totalitarian regime that occupies the lands of other people and suppresses their identities looks like.
But of course that would require integrity, which is in rather short supply among those folks. That is the same reason why human rights has become a sham. Why genocide could go on in the Sudan, while human rights groups panhandling for donations in Saudi Arabia, have focused mainly on raving and ranting against Israel. It's why the Human Rights Council at the UN features such notable defenders of human rights as Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Russia. And why Erdogan feels free to conduct a state of terror at home, and even invade Iraq, because he knows that he will never be held accountable for it.