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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Erdogan the Moderate

While Prime Minister Erdogan berates with impotent fury our community’s surprisingly inept attempts to demand respect he ridicules any suggestion of a difference between Arabia and Turkey. For that reminder we should be grateful.  As Hillel once reminded us, “if we are not for ourselves then who will be and if not now, then when”?

Justin Vaisse states “there is no real European version of the Eurabia panic, and the books that do exist tend to be country-specific, and part of a fringe far right.”  He describes the fear of Islam as “facile dichotomies of the Eurabia myth” and “by relying chiefly on anecdotes rather than data, these books misrepresent the complex evolving picture of Islam in Europe.”  He also says that “Eurabia writers over-emphasize culture and religion in explaining tensions and lay the blame solely on Muslims”.

With the greatest of disrespect to Vaisse – if it bares its teeth gratuitously it will eventually bite you.

A faith that steals a nation’s history and then appropriates to itself its opponents’ identity by denying their cultural heritage can only destroy.  It cannot be a universalist faith. It cannot have a renaissance or enlightenment.  It can just return humanity to the dark ages. By creating a religious psychosis it diminishes the ‘converted nations’ (as Naipaul refers to the nations conquered and converted by Arab colonial conquest) future as it erases its past.  Nazism viewed ‘half breeds’ (Mischlings or semi-Aryans) as useful in maintaining the productivity of the land which as in the time of the Roman Empire was to be bled of all its wealth.  The Nazi colonial innovation was to eventually ‘replace’ Mischlings with ‘pure breeds.’  The Muslim faith has justified its cultural colonialism and genocide in order to create a faith that destroys that which it touches by first stealing that which it covets.  Hence Jerusalem was never Jewish and according to the UN, at least at one time, the Bible story took place in Saudi Arabia!

Mutual national redemption is only possible under conditions of mutual respect and mutual recognition. Diplomacy is not all about national chauvinism.  Peace-making to be just, must be predicated on a basis of mutual legitimacy and compromise.  It is not possible to have genuine peace if we are theologically unable to dispense with scoring points to the detriment of our opponent.

Xenophobia is concerned with economics and with cultural discomfort – familiarity does not need to be either contemptuous or disrespectful if it is based on an open and honest relationship between equals.  Codes of honor, on the other hand are tribal or sectarian ideals that protect the unit but also work the other way to deny people outside of the group their inalienable rights.  Communities that are unwilling to integrate into the larger society because they reject that society are guilty of cultural apartheid.  The Turkish Ambassador to Austria recently reminded all Turkish expatriates of their responsibility not to integrate into Austrian society.   Similarly, the Left demands separate development for native born Israeli Muslims and Christians and renames them to provide a separate ethnic identity, as Palestinian and Arab.

Muslim Turkey has refused to recognize Christian Cyprus and its independence. Turkish Cyprus came into being as a result of Turkish military aggression and is sustained by military conquest and colonial transfers of ethnic Turkish Muslims from Turkey itself.  This is reminiscent of the Armenian Genocide by colonial Muslim occupier, Turkey.  It does not encourage faith in Turkish or in Muslim morality.

Verbal deterrence is often as effective as physical attempts at capitulation. The use of violence in the international setting has been codified in order to attempt to control world affairs – strange to say, we think we can regulate internationally acceptable norms of behavior but apply them selectively by political preference and then we justify individual cases by exception to the rule, for almost every nation. Exceptionalism is the farce we call modern morality.

As reported in the FT on 24/11/2009 Mr. Erdogan visited Iran and while standing next to the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, criticized Israel. It was a diplomatic slap in the face. He continued, saying that Omar al-Bashir, (Sudan’s President) could not, as a Muslim, be capable of genocide, nor could his actions be compared with Israel’s. This was the diplomatic equivalent of spitting on the flag of Israel. It should have been obvious to Israel’s diplomatic community even then that Turkey had turned.  Erdogan the ‘moderate’ politician is the wolf, dressing in sheep’s clothing for the Western coward to meekly hold up as the ‘nice Muslim’. Except that he is not nice.

Israel cannot trust Turkey.  Cyprus and the Kurds can never trust Turkey. Armenia has also learned what its neighbour is capable of.  Who next, Albania perhaps? Israel should have displayed greater sophistication in its relationship with any nation based on the Koran. It cannot claim a moral high ground when it has failed to stand up for the rights of those persecuted throughout history by Islamic Turkey, it cannot claim any kind of position when it fails to defend Jewish rights.

The narrative has to be ours or it is theirs.

Nuance in international relationship is what we practice behind the scenes. For the public to believe there has to be a demonstrable affinity to ones own history and a rigid defense of times gone by.

The economic factor of the Arab-Israeli conflict is disregarded as irrelevant because the Arab-Israeli conflict can be manipulated by the fascist regimes of the Arab world and their acolyte followers to distract their imprisoned populations in ignorance and bigotry. What is most important to the Arab world is their corrupt leaders hold on power. The excuse of armed conflict which an existential enemy provides is the driving force behind which the Arab world is able to manipulate a conflict of indeterminate longevity.  Turkey is a case in point.

It has waged aggressive war against the Kurds for much of the twentieth century and into the twenty first. It exterminated the Armenians in the late 19th and it proudly carried out the first documented ethnic cleansing of the 20th. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has publicly stated that Muslims do not kill other Muslims.  Muslims he reiterates do not commit genocide.  This is the default Islamic position. A true Muslim is the 7th century follower of Mohammed – the Koran states clearly that he or she can do no wrong if what they do is done for Allah. There is a fine line between cant and pure evil. When the ends justify the means, as an article of faith, (as in Islam) then only a fool believes that the clash between civilizations as proclaimed by Samuel Huntington, does not exist. And that clash is now a threat to the survival of human civilization everywhere.

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