In 1914 when Germany was about to embark on the first World War, Britain, France and Russian offered the Ottoman empire a declaration of non-aggression and protection from external military interference. At Ottoman request the Triple entente put this in writing. There was no price tag. But the imperial leadership was convinced that Germany would win the war. Even when on October 29, 1914 Ottoman torpedo boats attacked Russian vessels in Odessa, The Entente offered a way out from war; Turkey declined the offer.
Ephraim Karsh in “Islamic Imperialism: A History” quotes Turkey’s Minister of War, Enver Pasha: “Our participation in the World War (first) represents the vindication of our national ideal. The ideal of our nation and people leads us toward the destruction of our Muscovite enemy to obtain a natural frontier to our empire, which should include and unite all branches of our race.” How is Turkey different today?
Between the two world wars Turkey was neutral but sympathetic to German adventurism. It was never a simple matter of brinkmanship or hedging bets. Turkey allegedly had blueprints for gas chambers which when Hitler’s Germany did win the war were to be constructed in Palestine for the disposal of the Jews of the Middle East.
We should not be shocked. In 1948, Britain in its quest for transparent fairness in Palestine turned over all the fortified structures with their stockpile of weapons to the Arabs. The military advantage was boosted by British officers commanding the Arab Legion.
And then there are the Kurds.
The Kurds of the Near East have been denied any justice and this has only encouraged the genocidal religious pretensions of the Islamic Super state whether this is an Arab, a Turkish or an Iranian political polity. Turkey destroyed tens of thousands of Kurdish villages and evicted millions of Kurdish people from their ancestral homes. Turkey tortured tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people and may have murdered just as many Kurds as it has dispossessed and tortured. Turkey denied any right to self determination or national identity to its Kurds.
Turkey is not Europe. It has never accepted its culpability in genocide. It is violently opposed to granting human rights to its minorities. It persecutes its Kurds. Christians and Jews fear for their lives and are occasionally murdered because they are hostages to Islamic magnanimity. Turkey has once again reasserted it’s territorially expansionist ambitions and a violently bigoted religious tradition. It encourages the dehumanization of its enemies in its secular press, TV and publishing media and it has proven its unreliability as an ally (as when it voted against Iranian sanctions in the UN Security Council).
Turkey and Israel’s strategic partnership was realistically about long term mutual benefit. And this is where the problem lies. An Islamic nation with its historic legacy of hatred, conquest and human slavery is continuously reinforcing an internalized image of superiority and birthright over its non-Muslim neighbours. Its world view is one of power and dominance which is not congruent with any relationship of equality.
Turkey occupied Cyprus
It is clear that Turkey has a dangerously antagonistic relationship not just with Israel but with all of its non-Muslim allies. It invaded Christian Cyprus, occupying the northern half of the island and to this day does not recognize the Christian half’s legitimacy. It has encouraged Islamic confrontation with Jewish Israel. It has worked tirelessly to re-integrate Nazi Iran into the fabric of civilized nations even as Nazi Iran continues to brutally suppress its own citizens, ethnically cleansing the Baha’i and betraying democracy.
While Iran has subverted nations where ever it can use its influence to do so, any nation actively seeking to court this country is doing so because it intends to profit from it.
In 2010 Turkey funded a flotilla of ships to break the blockade of racist anti-Jewish Gaza in order to precipitate an international confrontation.
We must ask ourselves what kind of a future do we have if we ignore a resurgent racist and Islamic Turkey? Turkey through its demands for uninhibited access to the European Welfare State remains nevertheless triumphalist and bigoted. But of greater importance is the centrality of religiously inspired prejudice that has contributed to and continues to provide justification for ethnic cleansing and genocide. Imperial aspirations only have a place next to a sanitized history. Where is the proof that Turkey does not seek to re-establish its Islamic empire almost a century after losing its last empire in ignominy and rivers of blood, certainly not in the words of its leaders?
Nations must finally decide whether the risk to global peace is worth the bribe of accommodating and embracing fascist theocracies such as Iran and potential theocracies such as Turkey. They do not make for trustworthy allies.
What Amos Alon in “ A Blood Dimmed Tide” describes as a theology of conflict has been made worse by the collapse of the Soviet Union because the conflicting racial and colonial ambitions of Islam’s warrior clergy has seen Turkey and Iran clamoring for control of their geopolitical neighborhood. Nor can we discount Egyptian or Syrian colonial pretensions riding an Islamist demon. The collapse of the USSR and an ideologically and militarily exhausted USA has left a power vacuum in the Near-East.
There is no logic to the worship of past glories. But one just has to be reminded of so many international conflicts to appreciate that this is not about rational outcomes. Empires have long memories.
It is only a matter of time before resurgent Russia / USA have to compete with Turkey and Iran for political influence and regional domination. Israel is still trying to survive and find its place in the mix.