Πέμπτη, 10 Ιουνίου 2010

Mouradian: Post-Flotilla Ties Between Turkey and Israel: Irreparable Damage or Just a Hiccup?


Άρθρο του Αρμένιου-Λιβανέζου δημοσιογράφου Χατσίγκ Μουραντιάν. Δημοσιευμένο στο ARMENIAN WEEKLY
http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/06/03/post-flottila/

By: Khatchig Mouradian


BEIRUT, Lebanon—I have been following with horror the news on the Israeli attack on the flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza. The outrage here in Lebanon and the Arab world is palpable. What is even more evident is the pride with which people here speak about Turkey’s “heroic stand” in the face of Israel.


Erdogan: International law has been trampled underfoot
On May 31, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it protested “in the strongest terms the use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against the civilians from many countries who want to transport humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry wrote that “Israel has once again clearly demonstrated that it does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives through targeting innocent civilians…such actions against civilians who are involved only in peaceful activities cannot be accepted. Israel will have to bear the consequences of these actions which constitute a violation of international law.”

In turn, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “It should be known that we will not stay silent and unresponsive in the face of this inhuman state terror,” according to Hurriyet Daily News. “International law has been trampled underfoot,” Erdogan added.

Irony alert?
Of course, most Arab commentators said nothing about the irony in the statements above, and the many similar statements coming out of Turkey these days. That is not surprising. After all, Turkey—a strategic ally of Israel—has, in recent years, reached out to the Islamic world and presented itself as a defender of the Palestinian cause. Why rock the boat?

Some intellectuals, however, highlighted the hypocrisy of the Turkish state and of most Turkish commentators. On one online discussion board, Stergios Kaprinis, a psychiatrist from Greece, wrote: “There is no doubt that the events are tragic. The Freedom Flotilla attack by Israeli commandos can only be described as an act of piracy. However, I have been following the reactions of the Turkish government and I must say that I am appalled at their hypocrisy at the expense of the Palestinians. In the past 15 years, the Turkish government has ethnically cleansed large parts of Turkey’s ethnically Kurdish southeast, has invaded Iraq more than a few times, and keeps occupying and colonizing the northern half of the Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign country, member of the UN and the EU. Yet today, the Turkish government has somehow managed to proclaim itself the defender of international law and protector of the oppressed.”

In an article published in the Huffington Post, Israeli writer Dana Agmon, noted: “And finally, a word to the sponsors—Turkey—did anyone float into Turkey when it murdered over a million Armenians? Or did anyone do it when you arrested hundreds of Kurds, including children, merely four years ago and violated their rights? Or maybe when you invaded Cyprus?”

An intellectual from Turkey told me that had the Kurds in Turkey had access to sea, “God knows what kind of horrors would befall on those who tried to support them.” Another noted how the discourse on the Palestinians in Turkey on one hand, and the Armenians and Kurds on the other, are so disparate, even among progressive Turkish intellectuals, that “the double standards sicken me to my stomach. States are, by definition, hypocritical. But when intellectuals who present themselves as the beacons of enlightened thought engage in such hypocrisy, is there any hope left?”

Irreparable damage?
On June 3, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, “From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreparable and deep scar.”

The myth of “irreparable relations” seems to be floating around the entire Islamic world since the attack on the flotilla. Arab news sources and analysts in the Middle East continue to insist that Turkish-Israeli relations have been damaged beyond repair. Regardless of what Turkish officials declare in their public statements, this is naiveté and wishful thinking at best.

What the Arab world fails to see is that the Turkish state cannot and will not bury its strategic relations with Israel because of the flotilla attack or in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Ankara is playing an ambitious political game in the Middle East. Yes, its tactical maneuvers are already reaching beyond the bounds of its strategic capabilities (and it might soon be forced to fold back), but to view the Turkish state—or even the current government—as the extension of the Turkish street is self-deception.

Turkey and Israel will soon repair the damage done to their relations. There’s no two ways about it.

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Khatchig Mouradian is a journalist, writer and translator. He was an editor of the Lebanese-Armenian Aztag Daily from 2000 to 2007, when he moved to Boston and became the editor of the Armenian Weekly. He is a PhD student in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. He has lectured extensively and participated in conferences in Armenia, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and the U.S. He has presented papers on genocide and the media at several academic conferences.View all articles by Khatchig Mouradian

58 Comments
Karekin
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
How about listening to a Palestinian instead of Israeli propaganda for a change? There are lessons here for Armenians, as well:

I don’t write poems but, in any case, poems are not poems
Ghassan Hage 6/2/10 http://australiansforpalestine.com/
Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine; I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians; They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing. And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me that they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance. And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation they benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not arrogance, oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not humiliation. I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp. But they told me that they were experts in misery, racism, inhumanity and concentrations camps and I have to take their word for it: this was not misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentrations camp. Over the years they’ve taught me so many things: invasion was not invasion, occupation was not occupation, colonialism was not colonialism and apartheid was not apartheid… They opened my simple mind to even more complex truths that my poor brain could not on its own compute like: ‘having nuclear weapons’ was not ‘having nuclear weapons’, ‘not having weapons of mass destruction’ was ‘having weapons of mass destruction’. And, democracy (in the Gaza strip) was not democracy. Having second class citizens (in Israel) was democracy. So you’ll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today that there were more things that I thought were evident that are not: peace activists are not peace activists, piracy is not piracy, the massacre of unarmed people is not the massacre of unarmed people. I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited. And they’re so f**king intelligent. Really. Ghassan Hage

Krikor
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
Listen, Enver Turk, or whatever cursive name has been given you. Hateful comments against the Turks, you said? Well, if you find them hateful they’re well justified: you stole my ancestral homeland of Western Armenia in 1915-1921 and slaughtered, as barbarians, millions of innocent people, deported them to starve to death in the desert, portray the Armenian artifacts as Turkish, and continue to deny your crime against humanity. Can we be hateful or you expect us to give you hugs and kisses for that? And you dare to give me shame for my rightful indignation over your crime?! What a joke! Racists are those who annihilate the whole race, as your forefathers did, and not those who demand justice for the mass murdered people. There was Greater Armenia l-o-o-o-n-g before your predecessors: nomadic savages of Seljuk and Mongol origin, invaded Asia Minor. Where have the Turks been 3000 years ago, might you know? Armenians don’t have to kill all the Turks in order to return our lands and our civilization, we are not barbarians, like you, to slaughter innocent women, children, and the elders. This is a typically Turkish mentality: ‘you have to kill, KILL, in order to gain something.’ A nomadic, savage mentality in the 21st century. Nothing has changed from the times your hordes of nomads appeared in the region in the 11th-13th centuries AD. Nothing! A land means honor for a Turk? Wow! What a brilliant idea we’re hearing from a Turk. Have you ever thought that a land could also mean honor for those indigenous peoples, like Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians, who inhabited it for millennia? Or you see things only through your narrow-minded Turkish perspective?


teyleirian s
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
Yes, Murat, I know that ‘a blockade means something different than closing borders.’ I gave you an internationally-accepted definition of the blockade in my older post, which the Turkish blockade of Armenia obviously falls under.

So you think that blockading a third country ‘in response to the brutal invasion of Karabakh, lands of a close ally, was a rather mild and proportional response?’ Wow! Look who’s talking! A representative of a nation-state internationally known as brutal ethnic cleanser of indigenous peoples—Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, Alawis, Kurds—of Asia Minor. A representative of a nation that brutally occupied a sovereign UN member-state of Cyprus in 1974 and established TRNC in contradiction of the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.

Let me clarify some things for you. Armenia did not invade Artsakh (Karabakh). The overwhelming majority of Christian Armenians inhabiting Artsakh for centuries, a region that was unjustly and illegally placed under Azerbaijan’s jurisdiction by unilateral decision of Stalin in the 1920s, voted to exercise the universally-accepted right of the people for self-determination. It is essentially a conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan as it responded to Armenians’ petition by constant shelling and slaughters of Armenian residents in Sumgait and Baku. Where do you see Turkey in this conflict, may I ask? What does relationship between other nations have to do with Turkey so it imposed blockade of Armenia? Has Cyprus been a historically Turkish territory? Has it been populated by majority Turks at the time of invasion? Has it been transformed from Turkey to, say, Greece by an illegal decision? Your juxtaposition of a self-determination struggle, as in Artsakh, and an explicit application of military invasive Turkish force, as in Cyprus, would amuse erudites and intellectuals. Do you know that the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution 3314 (XXIX) with the Definition of Aggression annexed to it, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus? No? Adopted on 14 December 1974, the Definition reads as follows: ‘Invasion of a State by the armed forces of another State, with or without occupation of the territory.’ The issue of self-determination was singled out in the resolution as a different case in a clause in article 7 of the said resolution. A territory of a sovereign state of Cyprus must be 100% and not 60% in the Greek Cypriots’ hands. It’s THEIR country. Whether they live rather nice lives thanks to whatever is THEIR business. Whether the same can or cannot be said of Turkish residents or whether they are isolated or not, doesn’t matter: Turks are not the native inhabitants of Cyprus, they’re invaders.

Turkey is applying a blockade of Armenia regardless whether Armenia has control over its borders and airspace, because blockade, I repeat it for you once again, is ‘isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.’ This is exactly what Turkey does: it prevents the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce. Shall I repeat the international norm again or you understood from the second attempt?

I don’t have to preoccupy my mind with what would or wouldn’t happen to Iraq when it entered Kuwait or imagine what the U.S. response would be if a part of Israel were to be run over by one of its enemies. Relationship between the third states should not bother Armenia, just as the relationship between the third states should not bother Turkey.

As for Kurds, are you reading reports by a multitude of human rights organizations and advocacy groups regarding brutal suppression and mass murdering of Kurds in Turkey or you live on the moon? Had Kurds not been blockaded and deprived by the Turks, why does your government attempt to suppress their struggle for liberation, captured Ocalan, emptied their residential areas in the south and south-east, and qualify them not as Kurds but as ‘Mountain Turks’? Why do you commit these acts if the Kurds live unblockaded, unsuppressed, and privileged? Might you know?

Armen
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
An article by Dov Fischer posted on FrontPage magazine reads as follows:

Flotilla “supported financially by Hamas and peopled primarily by their Turkish allies” intended to transport 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, while Israel supplies Gaza with 15, 000 tons of food and humanitarian aid every week,In the context of Turkey’s indignation with blockade of Gaza the author proposes to have a look at Turkey’s attitude towards Armenians, Christians and Kurds. “Does her treatment of religious and ethnic minorities model Western humanitarian values?” Fischer wonders.
Turkey has refused to recognize the Genocide perpetrated against Armenians in the beginning of the 20th century, he notes. Ankara did not apologize or even acknowledged it. Israel regretted publicly for killings of Turkish citizens in attack on humanitarian ships, though “Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide ever happened.”
As regards Kurds, they do not have a right to give their children Kurdish names. The Turkish government restricts educational efforts of ethnic minorities, including Greeks and Armenians.

gayane
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
WOW.. WOW.. WOW.. that is all i can say after I read Turks’ replies…

my idea of putting likes of Murat, Enver Pasha, Kurt on a big ship and sending them away sounds better and better…

G

Karekin
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
Please don’t be so quick to embrace Dov Fisher’s comments, people….or that the Israelis/Jews are using the genocide to serve their own purposes at this moment. If you can’t realize that you’re being used, only to be thrown away once they are done, then think again.

Armen
June 7, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
Noone ‘embraces’ Dov Fisher’s or anyone else’s comments. Just posting them. In politics, everyone’s using someone else or some other issue to serve their own purposes. No action is needed in this stand-off. Just observance.

Karekin
June 8, 2010 | Permalink | Reply
We do not need this kind of ‘help’…

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3899835,00.html

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