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Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.


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PostThu Jun 03, 2010 12:53 am     Honigman's take on the Flotilla...    


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Turkey And The Case Of The Missing Caravan... Who Says You Can't Have It Both Ways?

by Gerald A. Honigman


I know...I'm not supposed to talk about such things.

I mean, after all, didn't the Turks take my people in when Christendom was expelling, inquisitioning, ghettoizing, humiliating, demonizing, forcibly converting, massacring, blood libeling, etc. and so forth them?

Yeah, there is some truth here.

The 15th century Turkish sultans were a blessing for Christendom's alleged G_d-killing, perpetual wanderers. This is not to say that all remained paradise for The Tribe in the East, but facts are often relative...And we won't get into dhimmitude at this time.

The Jews remembered this well, and in the modern age of nationalism the relationship took on new dimensions.

Despite this, the truth must be told--even if the Turks were not acting so blatantly hypocritical these days. If their feathers get ruffled, so be it. They don't care whose feathers they ruffle. So let's get started...

The Turks are a Central Asian people from the area near China. Gradually, wave after wave of Turkish conquests westward brought them, among many other places, to the land known as Turkey today.

While different independent Turkic states now exist in Central Asia, the one most folks are familiar with is the one which arose on the deathbed of the Ottoman Turkish Empire after World War I--Turkey.

While once controlling most of the Near East, the Balkans, and North Africa, by the late 19th century "the sick man of Europe" was fast disintegrating as formerly conquered peoples caught the fever of nationalism.

When Mustafa Kemal--Ataturk--successfully rescued a remnant of the Empire after World War I (during which the Turks picked the wrong side to align with), the new state he did much to establish, Turkey, drew its lines in the sand beyond which no further territorial loss would be tolerated...no matter what. And that led to some very serious problems related to what this article is all about.

Long before a Turk ever conquered "Turkey," substantial numbers of native peoples had inhabited that land for millennia. And in an age when empires were collapsing all over, those folks also wanted the same freedom and dignity that they saw others now achieving. Leaders like President Woodrow Wilson, Sir Mark Sykes, and others encouraged this by speaking in terms of self-determination and such.

Today, one fifth of Turkey's seventy-four million people are Kurds. They have lived in the area for thousands of years.

The first revolts of the Kurds for independence in what would later become Turkey were in the 19th century. The emergence of powerful rulers, Ataturk in Turkey and Reza Shah Pahlavi in Iran, nixed Kurdish hopes for independence in those parts of geographical Kurdistan. And until America's overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq not long ago, they had their one best chance at independence--Mesopotamia--pulled out from under them as well after Great Britain received a favorable decision from the League of Nations in 1925 tying the oil rich areas of the Kurdish north to what would become the Arab state of Iraq instead...a collusion of British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism. Today, the Kurdish areas in the north of Iraq--despite some problems--are the most promising in the entire country.

And that brings us back to Turkish lines in the sand...

The Turks are scared of the Iraqi Kurdish success story. Some fifteen million Kurds in Turkey live adjacent to the lands of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government. Ankara fears the spread of the freedom disease.

It's proper, in Ankara's thinking, to demand the birth of the Arabs' twenty-second state (and second, not first, in the original borders of April 25, 1920 Mandatory Palestine--Jordan emerged from about 80% of the total area after 1922), but one better not even think about such a thing for tens of millions of truly stateless Kurds.

, To stop that freedom disease, Ankara outlawed the use of the Kurdish language, practice of Kurdish culture, and renamed those folks "Mountain Turks" instead--all part of a Turkification process to avoid any further schisms at home. All who live in Turkey must be Turks...period.

If this sounds familiar, it is. The Arabs have done the exact same thing--conquering and forcibly Arabizing scores of millions of native Imazighen ("Berbers"), Kurds, Copts, black Africans, and so forth. And massacring those who resist.

Syrian Kurds are forced to speak Arabic and ignore their Kurdish identity (what does the title of the Kurdish nationalist's, Ismet Cherif Vanly, book tell you--The Syrian 'Mein Kampf' Against The Kurds?) as are thirty-five million Amazigh folks in "Arab" North Africa. Perhaps the most famous Egyptian Copt of our time, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, warned an Israeli author that if Israel wanted to be "accepted," it must consent to this Arabization. Uncle Boutros instead of Uncle Tom...

Now, just imagine if Israel was doing this sort of thing...Would you not have heard about it by now?

Yet none of these actions regarding deadly, racist subjugation of others by Turks or Arabs seems to matter much.

There's an expression which says that folks who live in glass houses really ought not to throw stones.

Yet, because they routinely are not taken to task, Arabs and Turks indulge in this hypocrisy constantly.

In the modern era, Israel has come to see Turkey as a powerful Muslim neighbor which does not share the Arab idea of the whole region being "purely Arab patrimony" as Arabs do. Indeed, Arabs resent the Turks for beating them at their own conquering game for many centuries.

But, the era of Ataturk and his powerful secular (largely military) apparatus appears to be fast coming to a close. As Seljuk and Ottoman Turks picked up the banner of Islam in centuries past, an increasingly Islamist Turkey seems poised to do so as well. When the Turks had problems with their Syrian Arab neighbors, they played their Israel card more often. Today, those Arab problems have mostly vanished. Instead, we now see an alliance emerging between Syrian Arabs, Iranian mullahs, and Turks--all with their own Kurdish headaches which they don't hesitate to cure violently. And all--including now Ankara as well--hostile to Israel.

Israel's Turkish "ally" now rants and raves each time Israel is forced to defend itself against Arabs who openly wish it dead and act on those wishes.

Meanwhile, it's no secret that Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere long for the freedom and rights that Arabs in Israel have. As for Arabs outside of Israel, Israel has offered them reasonable compromises which could have ended the conflict decades ago if Arabs simply didn't have the same mindset about the whole region that Turks too share but to a lesser degree--it's theirs and theirs only. That's the Arab-Israeli conflict in a nutshell.

When Israel was forced to go after Hamas in Gaza after putting up with thousands of rockets and mortars being launched against it, the Turks were furious and condemned Israel to no end. They had done so previously as well. But the Jews kept bowing to them anyway--supplying Ankara with sophisticated weaponry, intelligence, and so forth to be used against Kurds and possibly even against Israel itself down the line. Not something to be proud of...And this disgraceful action must now stop.

The Turks simply expect that Israel, wanting to keep them out of the Arab Muslim camp, will continue to put up with such abuse and hypocrisy.

Right now, even after Ankara's role in allowing a ship filled with armed jihadis with murder on their minds to try to "peacefully" (not) break the Israeli blockade of Hamas's Gaza, the Jews are still groveling to keep the relationship intact by feeding the Turks with even more sophisticated weaponry to use against a truly stateless people--some thirty-five million Kurds, the largest portion of whom live in Turkey and are struggling daily for the most basic of human rights. Where's the flotilla for them?

By the way, International maritime law is totally on Israel's side regarding the blockade. The other ships which heeded the repeated orders to stop and allowed themselves to be taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod so that their cargo could be properly inspected, did so peacefully. Israel then allowed the cargo to pass overland to Gaza. The folks aboard the Turkish vessel had something else in mind--admittedly, a no win ball game for Israel.

And no one is starving in Gaza. The Israelis allow the necessities of life to pass into their sworn enemy's land after land inspection. How many other nations would allow that, given an enemy such as Israel faces?

Because of the Arabs' own actions and mindset, Israel is forced to be at war with Gaza--even after it unilaterally withdrew years ago for the sake of peace. Again, Arabs want Israel dead, not as a neighbor--regardless of how much more the Jews consent to shrink their sole, miniscule state.

So, here's my idea...

Since the Kurds--excuse me, Mountain Turks--in Turkey mostly live in the southeastern region, a flotilla won't do much good.

Thus, we need to form a huge caravan of multinational anti-Turkish protestors and flood the Kurdish areas of Turkey by way of northern Iraq. After getting there and gaining the world's attention, we will do all in our power to expose the plight of those fifteen million alleged Mountain Turks as best as possible to shame the Turks

. Are you ready? Who will be first to join me?

Sounds crazy, right?

Suicidal crazy...indeed.

The same Turks who simply expect Jews to allow ships to come in unchecked to supply Arab enemies sworn to kill them have already invaded and attacked northern Iraq repeatedly because of the fear that new freedoms gained by Iraqi Kurds might spread among those Mountain Turks as well. Indeed, they have threatened to seize Iraqi land if the Kurds in Iraq move to full independence. Keep in mind that much of Iraq's oil sits in the predominantly Kurdish north.

The PKK (born of Kurdish subjugation)Turkey fights is certainly no worse than what Israel faces with Hamas--or, for that matter, Mahmoud Abbas's latter day Arafatian Fatah either. Fatah is relatively quiet these days for, in its own words, Trojan Horse reasons. Furthermore, it pays real well to be "moderate"-- billions of dollars so far. And while the PKK fights for basic Kurdish human and political rights, it does not seek the destruction of Turkey.

On the other hand, Hamas and Fatah both seek the destruction of Israel--regardless of who's doing the whitewashing. Check out both of their websites, books, radio broadcasts, maps, and such if you doubt this.

Gaza, used as an invasion route to attack Jews in Israel since the days of the Pharaohs, would have never been set loose if the players were Turks and Kurds instead. The thanks the Jews got for doing this was increased terror closer to home. As I have said before, to such an enemy, Israel owes nothing except exponential payback.

Alright, I'll end this for now by asking just one thing of you folks...

When you next think about what Israel has been forced to face regarding that flotilla off of Gaza, think also about that caravan that would never ever be allowed to promote the cause of a truly stateless people.

http://q4j-middle-east.com


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