Monday, December 26, 2016
On Monday the 19th of December a Turkish police officer, smartly dressed in civilian clothes, walked up to Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey. As the ambassador spoke at the opening of an art exhibition in Ankara the off-duty policemen calmly murdered him. The killer said in his native Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”
He also shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad.”
(Ynet news 19-20/12/2016)
It is a sad but timely reminder that Islamist Turkey can as much be trusted as theocratic, traditionalist Iran or Saudi Arabia.
Is that fair? Political murders have taken place in Britain, Sweden, Norway, the USA and Israel to name just a few of the Western countries afflicted by acts of political violence against the state and its civilian population. Italy had the Red Brigade, Germany had Baader-Meinhoff and Japan had the Red Army.
Assassinations and atrocities against civilians have always been part of revolutionary politics. The difference today is that radicals, progressives and others on the fringe of Western society try to justify the immorality of their cause (s) through their control of the electronic media. They are able to then embrace the war crimes committed by those terrorists they choose to call “friend,” to move peripheral political ideology into the centre.
They share a contempt for the rule of law which must be bent to accommodate their political vision and ignored when it fails to conform to their ignorance and their prejudice.
What makes the new fascist Left no different to the Inquisitors and Jihad-is of previous generations is their blind obedience to the Cause. They daily demonstrate this latter fealty by controlling the narrative. And they control it by their suppression of freedom of speech and association, occasionally by violent means but with increased frequency as their successes grow.
What makes this generation empowered in ways that previous generations were not is that the internet has enabled the every-man and every-woman with any talent for exploiting the electronic media to spread so much poison that no-one is safe. Because there is no regulation there is no difference between the lie and the truth and because the fascist (left) has no respect for the inconvenient truth they will use every means to suppress it. Unfortunately, our inability to internalise this lesson is our great failure.
Mevlut Mert Altin said “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security.” The Russians have been bombing rebels which will include supporters of Islamic State. The issue for the Turkish Islamist is that many of them support the aims of Islamic State. When Altin shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad” he was declaring that “WE” (Turkey) will judge you. It is one of those truly frightening declarations of fanaticism that mark out radical, fascist movements. Altin may or may not have been acting alone but Turkey is the ideal incubator for the creation of regional, if not global instability. Its size, population and theological indifference to genocide ensure that there are far more people like Altin, many of them sitting within the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
We have a dishonourable expression in the English world: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” to that I would add that “One man’s Serial Killer is another man’s Warrior for God (or the Prophet).” The latter is the Turkish view of their “glorious” history. But the history of modern Turkey is an execrable one (and I will explain why in my next blog).
The US-Turkey partnership was a product of the Cold War. The two nations never shared a special affinity but both feared the communist enemy. Turkey has changed in terms of strategic orientation and national purpose since that partnership was formalised in 1947 with the passage of the Truman Doctrine. It has gone from being a secular but racist and jingoistic society to one that is dedicated to an Islamic neo-Ottoman revival. America has failed to recognise the threat Islamist Turkey poses to world peace. It has tried to pacify the Muslim threat through policies of appeasement while doing everything possible to antagonise Russia. Instead of focussing its energies on bringing Russia into a European-Western alliance that would isolate the Islamists it has managed to re-invigorate the Cold War and give them a European champion.
Turkey is not Europe. It will not accept the view that the original sin of its creation myths are not just soaked but also nourished in rivers of blood. 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 mood swings of intolerance and conditional benevolence. Turkey will once again reassert it’s hegemonic geopolitical ambitions.
The strategic partnership between Israel and Turkey was inspired by pragmatism. And this is where the problem lies. An Islamic nation with its historic legacy of ridicule for its minorities, conquest, domination and human slavery is continuously reinforcing an internalized image of God-given superiority over its non-Muslim neighbours. It is a world view that is not congruent with any relationship of equality.
Israel and not just Israel must not trust Turkey.
The issue that defines the problem separating western political violence from Turkey’s problem is that the outlier (the radical, ‘progressive’ or the extremist) does not define the relationship within Western orientated nations (even if they are trying to make it so). With Turkey it does. Turkey’s past is one of genocide, ethnic cleansing and fascism. Any crime is justified through the prism of Islamic triumphalism and an irredentist philosophy. Islamic fundamentalists do not desire peace, what they do desire is glory and at any cost to those that oppose them.
Unless Turkey is willing to banish fundamentalism forever (and not as an expedient to maintain full access to Europe and America) it cannot be trusted, not as an economic partner or, as a strategic military ally.
Andrei Karlov’s assassin represents the activist for the new Turkey. We’ve been warned.