how the world sees america

How Turkey Sees America

turkey-flag.jpg
Protesting PKK and carrying a massive Turkish flag.

Turkey will turn your preconceptions of how Muslim countries perceive America upside-down.

It's a country whose Islamic political forces are currently aligning themselves more closely with the United States while the staunch secularists turn away. Members of the ruling Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) openly praise the U.S. for allowing free public expression of religion. And they make economic liberalization, entry into the European Union, and improved human rights central parts of their platform.

But the secularist old guard, especially within the military, is suspicious of these Islamic parties. They berate the U.S. for tolerating what they see as the gradual Islamization of Turkey. Retired General Edip Baser says that if a more religious Turkey is "part of Bush's 'Greater Middle East Project' to create Islamic democracies across the region," he wants none of it.

The military, along with most of the Turkish population, also blame the U.S. for letting the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) continue to attack southeast Turkey. The PKK is on America's terrorist list, but I heard repeatedly, "America only cares about its own terrorists.” The day after I arrived, protesters flooded Istanbul's streets chanting, "Curse the PKK, Curse America!"

Meanwhile, minority groups within Turkey have a bit more nuanced view of America, seeing its support as a double-edged sword. Certain activists among the Kurds and Armenians, for example, think America is an ally in their fight for human and cultural rights. But they worry that if they cuddle too close to the U.S., they could become further alienated from mainstream Turks.

Overt American meddling can make their minority groups look unwilling to give Turkey's democratic process a shot. Worse still, nationalist media can exacerbate the situation by accusing members of a minority community of conspiring with foreign forces to create a separate state for themselves.

This is touchy stuff for Turks. As Karici Yashar, a café owner in Prime Minister Erdogan's home district said bluntly, "The main motivation of all foreign forces is to divide Turkey." After Iraq 2003, Turks definitely consider America one of those forces.

But America is not one thing to all Turks. Poll numbers look dire and homogeneous, yet they cover a great diversity of opinion, some of it more heartening.

Remember: as recently as 2000, the U.S. enjoyed a 52% favorability rating in Turkey. Within six years that percentage dropped to 9%. And 83% of Turks have an unfavorable view of America. These are literally the worst numbers for America on earth.

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PostGlobal panelist Soli Ozel on the "Hood Incident"

A young girl named Defne told me that 2003 was the year America turned in her eyes from friend to foe. On that July 4 the "Hood Incident" occurred, shaking Turkey to its core -- though it didn't really make headlines in the U.S.

On that U.S. independence day, American soldiers captured eleven Turkish Special Forces operatives in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. They were hooded, interrogated, and after sixty hours of intense diplomatic activity, released.

"You hooded us like terrorists!" says Defne frowning.

But things aren't all bad with America. In the past few years, she says her economic lot has improved. She wants stability for her country now. Bush and Erdogan just met. "If he [Bush] wants to help us … good,” she says. “It's about time."

Keen on politics, Defne's young, well-educated, and patriotic. If her feelings toward America are representative of Turkey's future leaders, she offers hope that today's terrible numbers can turn around fast. After all, she notes, both nations now want a stable Iraq that curbs terrorists and engages in regional trade.

Three weeks in Turkey have exploded many of my preconceptions. But Defne's hopes for her country sound familiar -- a lot like what I hear from Americans back home.

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Comments (36)

...:

LOL, Amar wants to learn why peoples hate america, but he interviews with who loves america :))) his purpose is clear, he wants to picture america like human rights loving, peace delivering country so "evil" guys hate him because of this. america and human rights my ass. we hate america because she is a baby killer, terrorist supporter, bloody imperialist :))) hey america! what happened to blackwater guys who killed 17 iraqis for fun? are they still free?

btw yankee-wannabe, you and your articles suck. you are lack of skill.

VICTORIA:

your examples are somewhat dated

the EU just doesnt want any muslims in its club

thats the bottom line-

as you stated, it is true.

the rest is all rationale to cover that xenophobic reasoning

Rauf Naqishbendi:

Turkey – Rejected by EU, Unwanted by US

The European Union’s tepid response to Turkey’s application for membership has deeply discomfited Turks. Turkey is without a doubt losing the esteem of the West, including the United States. Let us examine the aptitude of Turkey’s membership in the EU as well as a justification of the US’s dwindling relationship with Turkey.

The EU’s economic model is governed by the labor force’s adoption in the global market and industries’ flexibility to the changing market forces such as global trading, technological changes, aging populations, economic growth and fiscal discipline of its member countries. The only benefit Turks could have proffered the EU is its young labor force. But that contributing feature is overridden by two factors: the leading European players, Germany and France are suffering from double-digit unemployment, and the copious labor supply available from Eastern European countries which is by far more educated and skilful and would be easier to assimilate into the EU.

Turkey is much less developed and more populated than any major European member in the EU. During the eighties they built a sizable middle class which attracted the world’s attention. But one must look beneath the surface to find out that the prosperity came about through American foreign aid and US-sponsored guaranteed loans through the International Monetary Fund. Hence, it wasn’t representative of innovation or technological or industrial ingenuity, but rather of the leeching of American taxpayers. Here is a country with undisciplined fiscal policy, meager industrial capabilities, high inflation, and skyrocketing unemployment. Turkey has only liabilities to offer and therefore is decidedly not a country that the EU would be solicitous to include in their exclusive club.

The EU is unequivocally committed to honoring the universality and integrity of human rights – political, economic, social and cultural. More than any other issue, this covenant is by far the point of greatest difference between the EU and Turkey. To spotlight Turkey’s shabby democracy and their continual violation of human rights, consider the following:

• Turkish leaders claim that Turkey is a civil society where they hold elections to choose the members of their parliament. It is true: there are a parliament and elections in Turkey. It is also true that one-third of Turkey’s population, the Kurds, is not represented. This is a clear violation of the democratic system which stipulates fair representation regardless of creed or ethnic background.

• The identity of Kurds (again, one-third of Turkey’s population) has been denied, as the constitution conspicuously states that all citizens of Turkey are Turks.

• In the 1980’s, the mayor of the largest Kurdish city, Dyarbaker, discoursed with his constituents in the Kurdish language. He was sentenced to jail for more than a decade for using the outlawed language. Abuses like these of the Kurds’ human rights have been ubiquitous since the inception of modern Turkey.

• Since 1960 there have been three military coups d’etat and even today a right-wing military junta is ruling Turkey, not elected officials. In essence there is no democratic process in Turkey, while the upper echelon is military generals.

• Turkey’s ruling party is the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is deeply rooted in Sunni Islamic fundamentalism and who deceitfully disguise themselves as secular. This is a mockery of democracy for democracy cannot exist in a country ruled by a rigid Islamic fundamentalist party.

• Turkey has embroiled itself in a war with Kurdish rebels (the PKK) who aim at equitable justice and freedom for the Kurdish minority. This armed conflict continues with no end in sight. Peace and stability is the environment where democracy can be nurtured; democracy cannot survive in a belligerent country.

• The EU has tried hard to get Turkey to grant Kurds human rights, yet Turkey has persisted in the repression of Kurds. The recent Turkish threat of military intrusion into Iraqi Kurdistan evidences the fact that Turks are not interested in democracy and respect for human rights. The resolution of the Kurdish situation was one of the top issues put forward as a prerequisite for consideration of Turkey’s admission into the EU, yet Turks chose repression and violence instead of granting Kurds their human rights and resolving their differences with the Kurdish rebels through civilized dialogue.

Since the Iraqi Liberation Turks have been taunting Western, in particular American, values and policies. For example:

• The level of American and anti-West sentiment in Turkey is one of the highest in the world. A recent Pew opinion poll showed that only 9 percent of Turks favor the United States while 28 percent look favorably on Iran.

• Since the Iraqi Liberation anti-Semitic sentiments have been on the rise. Hitler’s Mien Kampf has been one of the bestselling books in Turkey. At the same time, the relations between Israel and Turkey have been weakened while Turkey’s relations with both Iran and Syria have been strengthened.

• The anti-American sentiment in Turkey was recently reinforced with the release of a movie entitled “Valley of the Wolves” which portrays American soldiers as bloodthirsty fiends who are defeated by ragtag Turks in Iraqi Kurdistan.

• Metal Storm, a recent bestselling work of fiction, portrays an all-out war between Turkey and America in 2007 in which Turkey, with the assistance of Russia and the EU, defeats the US.

The refusal of Turkey’s entry into the EU is merited. Turks don’t resemble Europeans, nor has Turkey been willing to adopt the democratic principles required by the EU. Turkey must realize its tyrannical rule prevents it from becoming part of the democratic European Union. However, Turks are attributing the European lack of enthusiasm for Turkey’s admission into the EU to being Moslem. That may be true, although in this case the EU is well justified not to recruit a member nation that is ruled by fundamentalist Sunni Moslems, one of the most antagonistic nations in the world toward Western values and traditions.

VICTORIA:

hi again chris- im not sure what you mean by the palestinians taking the land in the first place.
at which point in history?

are you saying you believe the jewish diaspora was on the shoulders of the palestinians?

ill make 2 analogies

if in america, someone abandons their home-
they lose rights to its possession after awhile

also, according to jewish law- the jubillee (every 60 years) demands that debts be paid, recopense for wrong righted, and lands taken be returned to its rightful owners.

out of an innate sense of fairness- this is a link from the jewish virtual library on theodor hertl
the creator of zionism

you'll notice no mention is made of his lack of faith - but any references to his faith are conspicuously absent

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Herzl.html

here a quote by mr herzl-

In 1895, Herzl, the founder of Zionism, wrote in his diary:

"We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back." (America And The Founding Of Israel, p. 49, Righteous Victims, p. 21-22)



Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the father of the Israeli political Right, in 1923. He wrote:

"They [Palestinians] look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true favor that Aztecs looked upon Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. Palestine will remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence." (Righteous Victims p. 36)

The hard truth that many Jews and Zionists refuse to contemplate is that Zionism evolved due to European anti-Semitism, and it had little to do with the Biblical "connection" many Jews claim to have to Palestine. As with its predecessor, the Christian Crusade, the Old Testament is being used to confuse and distract attention from the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are the ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the Palestinian people for the past five decades, and it should be emphasized that the conflict would have been at the same level of intensity, even if both warring parties had been Muslims, Christians, or even Jewish."

it was the balfour declaration which started the disposseison of the palestinin people from their land
a britisih documewnt backed by britain

we-- for the geoncide colunbian and japanese issues-

plainky- anothers wrong does not validate my wrong

MAYBE THIS SITE WILL HELP-
http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/index.htm


zionism form a purely spiritual or religious perspective-

simply put- as a messianic hebrew- you must be aware that the diaspora was an act of god-
and that when the messiah returns (or comes) only the will the jewish people return to israel-

jewish people must not try to force gods hand by an early return which would only lead to their own destrction- (paraphrase fo maimonides)

sorry - im peeking in at the end of a long day-
poosibly saturday i may have a few moments to devote to furhter exporation
peace chris

having said that- now we have children born in israel- its the only home theyve ever known and they should not suffer for the sins of their fathers

personally, to benefit at anothers expense or loss is anathema to me spiritually
to do so in the name of god is shocking

im a poor example of a capitalist



Chris in San Antonio:

Victoria-

I have enjoyed our conversation, and I appreciate your sentiment regarding my sincerity. I truly feel that we Americans, just like all the other people of the world, are overall good people.

All free and enlightened peoples do great things, and even the most high-minded cultures make mistakes. The thing that makes a mistake into an atrocity is the same thing that makes a good deed into a visionary quest for righteousness: The amount of power behind the action. As the world's only superpower, America is effortlessly able to make immense changes to the world. This is something that is to be both relished, and feared by all wise people. America is a good country. We've done a lot of good in the world, but what is most important is the fact that we realize we also do bad, and those negative actions hurt the world tremendously. We learned that lesson mostly in the Cold War, where most of the underdeveloped world in which we attempted to spread our ideals is still suffering from our missteps in the fight against Communism.

However, this does not mean that America should never use its power. It just means that America should work as hard as possible to avoid mistakes. This is done by honestly examining any situation in which we interact, in the same manner that any enlightened person does, and making our decisions based on what is right, not what is popular, or what causes any particular group the most benefit.

That's my general philosophy about the use of power. Now back to Israel (a topic I love to debate).

You Wrote:
"in the bible the sins of the father are visited upon the sons to 7 generations chris the tanakh (sources of hebrew scripture)
in islam people are repsonsible ONLY for their own actions, and bear the burdens of only themselves.
there is no corollary

taking anothers land is illegal and wrong in islam"

Thank you for your insight on this issue. That's interesting to know. I was under the impression that Hebrew and Muslim faiths shared the same underlying themes, despite their differences. It's interesting to see how truly different they are. Philosophically, I see valid arguments for both points of view. Muslims espouse forgiveness for the sins of the past, while Hebrew faith recognizes that our mistakes affect our children. In my estimation, given both points of view, the Muslim doctrine is the superior one, in this case (despite the fact that I am a Messianic Hebrew, myself). I think that forgiveness is always the best option.

However, in evaluating these philosophies in the context of the Arab/Israeli conflict, there are logical inconsistencies that arise. An evaluation of both the inconsistencies, as well as the merits of both philosophies, leads me to side with the Zionists, in this case. Allow me to explain.

The Muslim doctrine requires the Jews to forgive the Palestinians for taking Jewish land years ago. However, if taking another's land is illegal and wrong in Islam, then the land should never have been taken from the Jews in the first place. If it's illegal for the Jews to take the Palestinians' land, then it was also illegal for the Palestinians to have taken the Jews' land. It would stand to reason that by their own laws, the land belongs to the Jews, not the Palestinians, who never had a legal right to it.

Additionally, the Hebrew philosophy that sins of the father do carry on to the sons represents a very real fact in the world that can not always be mitigated by calls for forgiveness. The fact that the Jews were driven from their land is the primary cause of the pursecution they were subject to in every land they tried to settle for many generations. The Palestinians never recognized the error of this action. They never felt remorse, and they never apologized to the Jewish people for that act. By your own doctrine of admission/remorse/apology, should they not be held accountable? The taking of Palestine by the Jews was recompensement for the taking of Israel by the Palestinians. The problem arises because the Palestinians' flawed sense of justice admonishes them from guilt for taking the land from the Jews while simultaneously convicting the Jews for atrocities that were, in fact, the fault of their own ancestors. Once the Arab world admits to its self that it was wrong to have destroyed Israel, not only will they be able to recognize Israel's right to exist, but they will rejoice in its existence, knowing that it mitigates a horrible atrocity committed in their past.

You Wrote:
"i spent alot of time in the temples with the old men, and discovered the strong anti-zionist movement among religious jews."

The Torah dictates the rules of life for the Jewish people. It explains the ways in which they are to repent for their sins, as well as the ways to celebrate their holidays. Their entire society is laid out in a very organized fashion by Torah. However, Torah's instructions are largely centered around the temple, an entity that was removed from Jewish life when the Jews were driven from Israel. Since then, religious Jews have largely redefined the rules they were instructed to follow so that even without the temple, they could still worship YHVH.

Additionally, many Jews observe the fact that their ancestors were driven from Israel because of their sins against YHVH. This makes many Jews hesitant to restore Israel, out of fears of angering YHVH.

These factors are what encourages some religious Jews to balk at the prospect of returning to the land.

You Wrote:
"chris, the founders of zionism, were, every one- atheists."

I've heard this said before in passing, usually by opponents of Israel's right to exist. I would like to see evidence before I can consider this claim to be credible. To be honest, I can't see that claim as anything other than a conspiracy theory.

"also, even using your reasoning, the palestinians were not responsible for what happened to the jewish people.
the germans were.
theyve actually owned up to it, and paid millions in reparations."

The Germans were responsible for the killing of 6 million Jews, and it's good that they made ammends, but they were not responsible for the event that led to the Jews being evicted from Israel in the first place, and the subsequent suffering of Jews for generations. Though I've already given my argument for that, and I'll not make this post even longer than it already is by rehashing it.

You Wrote:
"well, clinton went to africa, but the desendants of slaves are in america"

He apologized for America's part in slavery. He chose to do it in Africa because that's where the slaves were taken from. The fact that he apologized in Africa does not mean that he was only apologizing to Africans. I respectfully encourage you to reevaluate your stance on this issue.

You Wrote:
"reagan apologized for the internment camps, but not nagasaki or hiroshima"

As I stated in a previous post, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war so quickly that it is reasonable to suggest the possibility, if not probability, that fewer Japanese died as a result of the nuclear bombs than would have died as a result of an extended blockade, and eventual land invasion of Japan. based on this fact, reasonable people can argue whether an apology is necessarily warranted, when looking at the overall result.

Additionally, Nuclear weapons are not banned by the Geneva convention, and their use has never been labeled as a war crime. Therefore, since both countries were belligerents in a declared war, no crime was committed.

"this host of recompense, i still havent seen in your posts."

Native Americans - compensated with eventual American citizenship, money for those that wish to integrate into American society, and a general policy of leaving the ones alone that do not.

To be honest, the reservations are a disaster. There's not enough land for Native Americans to truly resume the lifestyle they had before White expansion. The problem is that they don't want anything to do with us. I can't blame them after what we did, but how do you help people that don't want anything to do with you? You have the options of leaving them to their misery, or forcing help on them that they don't want. It's a damned terrible situation, and one that no apology can ever fix. If you've got any good ideas, I'd love to hear them, given your experience.

African Americans:
Establishment of civil rights, race-based benefits for poor African Americans to assist them in integrating into American society.

Death Penalty:
No apology. You cause enough problems, you die. It's not about revenge. It's about protecting the innocent. Personally, I think it should be extended to rape as well. To mitigate this hardline stance, I will admit that this punishment can potentially be used for the wrong reasons, especially retribution. That is why I espouse the belief that we should careful to put people in charge of our government that are not in a habit of playing to their voter base before they play to proper morality. We bear the responsibility to ensure that we only send someone to their deaths only if their continued existence is a danger to society.

However, beyond that, if you want to eliminate the death penalty, get people to stop committing the crimes that lead to it.

Columbian Genocide:

As for our missteps in the Cold War, I don't want to sound obtuse, but the Soviet Union wasn't exactly blameless for what happened while we were duking it out over our ideals. Many of our decisions were complicated by politics, and assessments of "greater good" economics with regards to balancing what we had to do (fight Communism and promote Democracy), and what we had the resources, ability, and to be honest, the stomach to do. We didn't have the resources, and Americans honestly didn't have the balls to send our kids off to die in a just war to establish peaceful democracies in every single country the Soviets were starting revolution in. Instead, we spent most of our time arming the craziest bastards we could find so that they could make more trouble for the Communists than it was worth. At the time, it was a good idea. Gun-toting psychopaths loyal to the US were better than gun-toting psychopaths loyal to Moscow (considering they were largely doing the same thing to us). The only problem was, they were gun-toting psychopaths.

Now that the dust from the Cold War is settled, we can make our recompensement by getting rid of the gun-toting psychopaths we left in charge, and letting normal people run their countries. To me, that's the polar opposite of Imperialism. If we were really an Evil Empire, we'd just play nice with the psychopaths, and enjoy the alliances while the cash flowed, and the people of the world starved. To be honest, I'm not completely sure we weren't doing that before, and to be quite honest, I'm a little ashamed of that thought. That's why I'm glad we're in Iraq now, giving the Iraqis back their country. It's about damned time we did it for someone, considering that Saddam Hussein was partially our fault in the first place.

Wow! What a post! I hope this thing doesn't crash the internet! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Victoria! Even though we disagree, I hope I've at least given a little insight into a reasoned conservative viewpoint.

VICTORIA:

in the bible the sins of the father are visited upon the sons to 7 generations chris the tanakh (sources of hebrew scripture)

in islam people are repsonsible ONLY for their own actions, and bear the burdens of only themselves.
there is no corollary

taking anothers land is illegal and wrong in islam

many years ago i was taken to a zionist meeting of professionals (mostly lawyers)
i was shown a map and told the arabs were trying to push the israelis into the sea.
i was horrified.

i spent alot of time in the temples with the old men, and discovered the strong anti-zionist movement among religious jews.

chris, the founders of zionism, were, every one- atheists.

also, even using your reasoning, the palestinians were not responsible for what happened to the jewish people.
the germans were.
theyve actually owned up to it, and paid millions in reparations.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/qudsey/Zionist_Terror.html

the country of ghana offered free and open land to the refugee jewish people-
it was refused- palestine was the goal


google anti-zionists and jewish people

well, clinton went to africa, but the desendants of slaves are in america

reagan apologized for the internment camps, but not nagasaki or hiroshima

im not trying to diminish what youve said here- ( i remember a photo op of clinton at the slave portal in sierra leone)

this host of recompense, i still havent seen in your posts.

maybe you could make a list-
what you are posting is extremely vague, and its impact is quesitonalbe
i say that because of your response to the native americans

but - admission- recognition of harm done to the vicitm is seminal
there has never been a recognition of the land of palestine, it is occupied territory
thats how its listed in the UN

there are over 200 resolutions against israel by the UN
there are ) against the people of the occupied territory of palestine

showing remorse is accepting respnonsibilty for ones actions, and having regret for its impact

recompense- well-thats not even an issue at this point

but its late, and i cannot give the attention you deserve in a more specific way now- as i like to provide links (always) to substantiate what i say otherwise it is just subjective

peace chris
i think youre honestly reconciling and love your country and your intentions seem pretty honorable to me
respectfully, victoria

Chris in San Antonio:

Victoria -

I commend you for the energy with which you pursue these particular causes. The powerful should always be held accountable for the mistakes they make. The more powerful the entity, the more woeful and damaging the mistakes they make become. However, I will debate with you the assertion that America has not followed your perscribed doctrine of admission/remorse/apology in at least a few of these situations.

For Native Americans, you're right. I've heard of no official apology on the part of the federal government for destroying their civilization.

However, Bill Clinton did, in fact, go to Africa and apologize for slavery.

Additionally, President Reagan officially apologized for the Japanese Internment camps.

A word on your stance on Israel:
You wrote:

"the world didnt decide- britain did- period
the world just stood by and watched the 1/2 million refugees have their homes burned stolen and their lives ripped apart"

When a home was chosen for Jews after 6 million of them were killed in the Holocaust, they picked a portion of the land that used to belong to them before their ancestors had "their homes burned, stolen, and their lives ripped apart". The sad fact of life for the Palestinian people is, through no fault of their own, the sins of their forebearers were revisited on them. I'll never, ever in my life, try to diminish the fact that the Palestinians that were ripped from their homes did nothing to personally deserve what they received. However, "sins of the fathers" are a very real thing, whether they are direct and violent measures, as in this case, or simply the lingering resentment felt by the children of strife. They are described and explained in detail in the holy scriptures of all Abrahamic faiths, if I'm not mistaken (though I may be, not being a student of Islam). Perhaps an honest evaluation of that scripture will assist the Palestinians in moving on with their lives and integrating into the rest of the world, rather than packing themselves into Gaza in the hopes that Israel will just let the world push them into the sea.

You Wrote:
"again, NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY"

Not to be cold, but I'm pretty confident that an apology was issued somewhere while they were throwing the Palestinians out of what used to be their homes. What most likely happened is that the apology was lost in the fray, or more likely, dismessed as the terribly hollow measure that any words would undoubtedly be, after such a terrible thing was inflicted upon those people.

To cede a point to you, I'm pretty sure America never officially apologized for helping Israel keep the Arab world from destroying them. To be honest, I'm actually pretty sure they're not sorry about that. I'm sure not. If we truly value all human life, then Israel should be allowed to exist. When Israel's neighbors abandon the ideal that Israel must die, then the Israelis will have options other than violence as well.

You wrote:
"columbia? simply glossed over- however the world court felt it was important enough to charge the united states as the only terrorist state in the world
what did the UD do?
just ignore it
what will they do? send a bunch of blue helmets to new york?
NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY"

This is an interresting piece of news to me. If you could, I'd like to learn more about the world court establishing the US as the world's only terrorist state. I'm quite embarrased to be woefully ignorant of this situation. Could you perhaps provide a link to any information regarding this? I googled it, but couldn't find anything. At this time, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I have to cede this point, if it is truthful.

"the last one- doesnt even deal with iran contra- and is a future admission in the making
which wont happen
america,right or wrong, huh?"

I've already ceded the point that America, even in recent history, has done things in the name of fighting Communism that have left nations worse than when they started. America shares copability with other entities, namely the USSR, for screwing up the lives of the people in every country in which they fought. If I were president, I'd find the highest-ranking member of the former Soviet Union that I could find, walk right up the steps of the UN building, and give an apology to the whole world for not cleaning up after ourselves in these countries. I've also ceded that Iran Contra was most obviously wrong. It was an embarrasment to the US. However, to imply that Iran-Contra was the rule, rather than the exception, is to grossly bear false witness against the history of the United States - an act that should warrant an apology, or at least a retraction, when proof to the contrary is offered. Your doctrine of admission/remorse/apology that you introduced in your rebuttal post could certainly be applied to affect whatever benefits they would bestow on all these unfortunate events.

In conclusion, I respectfully disagree with what you're implying: that working to correct the mistakes of our past are less important than apologizing for them. I humbly assert that quite the opposite is true. While it is indeed a noble thing to apologize for a mistake, doing something to fix that mistake is, in fact, much more viable and substantial, when it comes to actually fixing the damage that was caused.

One last thing: This may sound like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but eliciting an apology for an action either after one was already given, or after a host of other measures of recompensement were already taken, especially for the purpose of embarassing or diminishing someone or something that you don't like, could be viewed as rather petty. Don't you think?

VICTORIA:

chris in san antonio-

i appreciate your efforts to find the good in people
i didnt say 'correct its mistakes'

i said resolve the horrors of its past
it starts with a basic admission of wrongdoing, and then remorse, then apology.
understand, when i write 'noapology'
the process is implicit (admission-remorse apolgy)

but still- what is missing is responsibility
what is missing in every instance is- saying- our actions were wrong

the average education level of the native american is 2nd grade level

i know, i lived with them and taught english and art for 2 years

have you ever been on a 'reservation'?
you are misinformed as to what natives receive
it is not even subsistence
not subject to US law?
that is not true

giving citizenship to a people precede us here is NOT ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY

just plain taking responsibilty- saying - these actions were wrong

same with african americans
NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY
triply so with japanese and japanese american who were put into internment camps
NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY
the world didnt decide- britain did- period
the world just stood by and watched the 1/2 million refugees have their homes burned stolen and their lives ripped apart
the gaza strip is the most densely populated piece of land on the planet

again, NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY

columbia? simply glossed over- however the world court felt it was important enough to charge the united states as the only terrorist state in the world
what did the UD do?
just ignore it
what will they do? send a bunch of blue helmets to new york?
NO ADMISSION/REMORSE/APOLOGY

the last one- doesnt even deal with iran contra- and is a future admission in the making
which wont happen

america,right or wrong, huh?

what is this?:

Amar,
You have spent a couple of weeks in Turkey and talked a couple of people... and now you are ready to draw conclusions? Well I have been living in US for 6 years and have talked with so many Americans and still do not think that I am ready to draw conclusions about how Americans see Turks. You must be a very smart guy.

By the way, this "secular Turks are evil" propaganda is becoming really annoying.

I have read all your posts about Turkey - they are more misleading than insightful. It was worse than the ESPN commentator broadcasting the World Cup last summer.

Chris in an Antonio:

Victoria-
If I may, I'd like to offer counterpoints to your assertion that America doen't work to correct its mistakes.If you’ll permit me, I’ll explain what the US has done, and is currently doing, to atone for the mistakes you mention.

manifest destiny
well, the native american genocide

The westward expansion of the United States is perhaps the bloodiest time in American History. Unfortunately, we can not raise the dead killed by our ancestors, and while we could certainly give all the land back that we took, the 290 million people living in the US that do not have ancestors dating back a thousand years would then have to either find somewhere else to live, thereby intruding on the territory and sanctity of other nations, or jump in the ocean and drown. Instead, a more rational approach has been taken. The Indian Citizenship act of 1924 gave citizenship to Native Americans. In addition, the tribal reservations that do exist are treated as independent of the US, and, for the most part, are not subject to US law, though they are the recipient of U.S. aid. Also, anyone with even a small fraction (1/16) of Native American Ancestry is offered money specially reserved for Native Americans to attend American colleges, which are among the finest in the world. We owe a debt to the Native American peoples that can never be repaid. The best we can do is let be the ones that wish to be left alone, and fully integrate and welcome into our society those that wish to be integrated.

where are the 40 acres and a mule promised to the freed slaves?

The promise for 40 acres and a mule was made to 40 million freed slaves. Today, their decendants are 150 million strong. This would mean that on average, every black person in America should get around 10 acres, and about a fourth of a mule. Given our post-industrial economy, relative to the agricultural economy of the 1800’s, 10 acres and ¼ of a mule isn’t exactly going to get black people much these days. Instead, many can agree that programs such as Affirmative Action, along with a swath of federal grants for African American scholars, and other programs designed to promote the integration of blacks into society is a just and prudent substitution. Again, there’s probably nothing that I, as a white man, can do to make up for my idiot ancestors’ actions in taking blacks as slaves. What I can do is swear upon everything that I am to love all people, and do my best to share the benefits of being a free American with every person that wants it.

the inordianate amount of african americans incarcerated and on death row.

The situation for many black people in the US is one of poverty and hopelessness. However, the present numbers reflect not the present attitude of the nation towards integration and sharing of the American Dream, but the lingering after effects of civil rights abuses that only subsided in earnest very recently. The black community needs time to work its way into the American mainstream for the numbers and graphs to eventually reach their asymtotes. That is to say, while the atrocities of the past do largely determine where many African Americans start in life, our current society limits the heights to which an African American in our country can soar no more (and arguably less) than a white person given the same starting conditions. It’s not about race anymore. It’s about poverty. Poverty is hard to get out of, but part of the American Dream is the fact that where you start in life has far less effect on where you end up than it does in most other parts of the world.

the death penalty (current)(actually turkey doesnt have it)

It amazes me how people can say it’s morally wrong to kill someone who commits a heinous crime, but morally O.K. to kill an unborn child on the grounds that if allowed to live, it might grow up to be a criminal. If you are not among this group, then I will simply opine that when someone becomes so disruptive to society that they endanger society to the point of collapse, then yes. It’s O.K. to kill them to protect society in the exact same way that it’s O.K. to kill someone in self defense when they endanger your life, or the lives of your family.

nagasaki and Hiroshima

After Iwo Jima and Okinawa, when Japanese troops fought literally to the last dying man, The US feared that a land invasion of Japan would cost the lives of millions of Americans and Japanese. Naval blockades would have undoubtedly starved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and prolonged the war even further. Reasonable people can argue, with valid points on either side, that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually saved more lives than it destroyed. Regardless of the truth of the matter (which is obviously impossible to know, only to speculate), The US spent billions of dollars rebuilding Japan after the war, and Japan remains one of our most esteemed trading partners, both economically and culturally, to this day.

israel- just Israel

The Jews have been kicked all over Planet Earth for 5,000 years. The civilized world decided that after the Holocaust, they deserved a country where they could live, and people would stop killing them. We all gave them a country, but people still insist on killing them. In 1967, they got sick of people invading them, and decided, with US help, to kick the crap out of everyone that was screwing with them. They took half of the middle east, and gave most of it back. The rest of it has already been promised back after everyone else promises not to use it as a staging ground to push them into the Mediterranean. If your country was 2 miles wide from the sea to the border of a nation whose leadership is sworn to kill you, you’d be hesitant to just hand it back as well, at least if you had any concept of self-preservation.

columbian genocide gee-theres so many to choose from
iran contra ring a bell?

The US(with pleanty of help from Europe) and Soviet Union spent the better part of three decades screwing up the rest of the world in fighting over their ideals. Particularly damaged was the Middle East, where both sides managed to help all the wrong people come to power for the purposes of using them as surrogates to fight against the others’ ideals. It was wrong, and given the current state of the middle east, you’ll not see me try to dimish that. What we are doing now to amend that is exactly what we should have done the first time: put our own boots on the ground, kick out the bad guys, and establish real democracy in the Middle East so that people there can get to the business of assuring their own prosperity, rather than be manipulated by their warlord governments and religious zealots with machine guns to hate Western culture. Suicide bombers will only be gone when reasoned, moderate Muslims control their own fates, independent of Wahabbist radicalism. Instead of bemoaning the US’s imperialistic warmongering, those that love democracy, freedom, and the peace that it bestows should get their asses in gear, and come help fix the crap that all of us helped break.

Baqi Barzani:

To: Amviannava,

Read this article in the post. This is what I meant. This is just an indication to it.

Turkey sends special forces to Iraqi border

Vic van Meter:

I'd say Turkey and America are friends mostly because they compliment each other in the region. Diplomatically, I'm starting to think America needs Turkey. A lot. And that was proved when Bush decided to start meddling in the Middle East AGAINST Turkish advice.

Americans have a method of things. When a problem arises, hit it hard, hit it fast, and sort out the mess when you have time afterwards. Anyone asking for U.S. intervention in ANYTHING had better realize that. We are, for the most part, not a culturally subtle people, and I've come to accept this. I don't really know where it comes from. Maybe it's really ingrained into how we're raised. Maybe it's even in everything we have ever thought to be culturally American. Whatever it is, wherever it came from, our way of dealing with things is more like a wrecking ball followed by a tabulai rasa than some constructive, nuanced version of diplomacy. And it doesn't matter how peaceful you think some candidate or senator in America is, we're all working under the same basic mentality that fewer of my international friends have.

In short, we're all a little bit trigger-happy, we're incredibly defensive, and the most usual method to solving some problem is to slam said problem with all the economic, political, or military solutions we have all at once.

Picking up the aftermath is not something we're good at on our own. And we're not the people to call if you want something to be done quietly and peacefully. So any time you ask for our government to intervene, you're asking for fireworks.

Turkey, therefore, is a sort of country we have come to rely on in the Middle East to keep us from bulldozing it too stupidly. Turkey, being local, knows that a stable Middle East is a good Middle East for business. The government, especially the incoming Islamic parties, like America mostly because we honestly don't care much that they're Islamic parties as long as they're politically responsible and stable. So all Turkey has done since becoming a NATO ally for the United States is to know when to fight for the United States, when to fight with them, and most importantly, when to tell us to hold our horses.

The PKK situation is America's way of telling Turkey to hold back until they can get into position. Lashing out quickly and angrily without a united front would be mostly counterproductive. If the PKK doesn't lay down their arms, I imagine this situation becoming an American-style hit job. Get everyone lined up, blitz, kill anything that moves, and call it 'unfortunate' that the conflict came about and extoll the war heroes. But if you think America is really trying to avoid conflict, you don't understand the American mindset. Nothing gets dealt with softly if we're left to our own devices. Nothing.

I imagine that Turkey's relative frustration with the United States has been because Bush's team didn't want to deal with them. He refused to be moderated by our friends in the neighborhood, thus negating Turkey's biggest political fist in the Middle East, influence over America. And Turkey has quite a bit of that, even now. Especially now that Bush has seen just how stupid it is to trust the politicians in D.C. over the people with their ears to the ground.

And then, to top it off, America is forcing the Turks to wait off on the PKK, which is just about the only GOOD thing that they might be able to find in the invasion of Iraq. I imagine most Turks being incredibly angry about the Iraqi invasion, but saying, "Well, at least the Americans will probably let us go into Iraq to finally fix that PKK problem."

Seriously, to all our international friends, Americans aren't really complicated people. Just because we have a lot of international power doesn't mean we're nuanced and devious. I have a Greek friend who always called us the "Menelaus of the world." A mighty, redheaded king, much loved by Ares, ready to launch a thousand ships for the slighting of one woman. I always kind of laughed it off. But it's probably more true than anything. If America is doing something and you sit there, thinking, "I can't understand why their government would do this!" then you're probably understanding us through someone else's ideals.

Really, we're not that complicated. I've often said that Bush isn't unpopular for invading Iraq or even lying to get into it. He'd have a 70% approval rating if he'd gone into Iraq and won. Most Americans, deep down, are simply angry at his incompetance. Because he's the failure. You don't see Americans blaming the troops for the quagmire. You see them blaming Bush's planning.

Call this Victor's "How America Sees the World" response. Without restraining forces like Turkey, Europe, and the UN, America would be a much more frightening place. Slowly, the world is realizing this and is trying to remove America as the one lone superpower. Probably a good idea, when you think about it. Our whole mindset is based on reaction, preemption, and conflict. We're probably doing the best anybody would in leading the war on terrorism from a military standpoint. It's those situations like Iraq, which wasn't a terrorist haven and has bogged down our military by putting the terrorist bullseye square on the chest of Baghdad, that shows how American action can be misused.

If any of you out there are wondering, then, why America is more worried about Iraq's internal conflict than the terrorist incursion into our ally, why American troops are in Iraq and not Darfur, or why our president is trying to make Iran a bigger enemy than perhaps they ever will be, then you aren't understanding the country. Bush is attempting, to the best of his ability, to activate a mindset in his country that would back his invasions, rather than the ones we need. Bush's actions are pretty logical when you understand America as a whole. He can't get what he wants unless he can convince the Americans that this is something we have to blitz now.

Fortunately, he's proven to us that he's not a capable military leader, and most people don't give him much credit anymore even here. If only we'd known that before Iraq, we could have maybe called his bluff. All those dead Iraqis are a casualty to a very deadly combination: America's incredible international power coupled with a failure of a military commander who didn't keep his eye on the ball.

So, if any Turks have gotten to the end of this little exploration, I understand the anger. I really do. Turkey has to be the brains of the operation down there in the Middle East, because Bush's most recent moves are exactly what happens when our president fails to make use of his allies in the region.

Jeff:

If most Turks really think the U.S. is supporting the PKK, they are simply ignorant of the facts. Right this moment, the U.S. military (and the U.S. goverenment at the highest levels) is allowing the Turkish military to attack PKK positions in Iraq. The U.S. is trying mightily to satisfy the Turkish government, at the expense of it's complex relationship with the Kurdish parties in northern Iraq.

halozcel:

Dear Amar Bakshi,

You are like *AKP propagandist* rather than *journalist*.

Dear Ted Baines,

The most of armenians had been murdered by *Kurds*,not Turks.For example *Sason* town.
Besides,*tragedy* was not unilateral,but bilatarel.

mustafa:

i dont understand how people can keep grudges against a whole nation. do you not see, after all, what makes up these nations are just people like yourselves?

Whenever there is an opportunity, I see the same user names leaving racist, hateful comments in all articles related to Turkey.

This is pathetic.

Amar C. Bakshi:

For those of you who only read the anonymous post above, take the time and finish the text!

Anonymous:

For anyone who doesn't have time to read all of Amar's post, I'll sum up:

Turkish secularists = mean and bad
Turkish Islamic supremacists = nice and good

Murat:

Which underprevieleged 25 Million Kurds are we talking about ? What DTP (The Pro Kurdish Party) got in the general elections was under 5% of the votes. According to your numbers either %80 of Kurds in Turkey are happy with their citizenship or your numbers are way too skewed.

COnsidering that there are Turkish Presidents of Kurdish descent, no segregation whatsoever politically or otherwise all these allegations about an "underprevilieged minority group" claims get hung in the air

Rain:

I dislike Israel.

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Jai Khosla:

Ted, Armenians and Jews are not the only non-Muslims massacred by the Muslims. Hindus are another people who have suffered at their hands. What makes the holocausts perpetrated by Muslims unique is that in the eyes of Muslims such massacres are the Islamic thing to do.

Human rights are by definition universal. Hence, in an ideal world there would be no need to write a separate report on the human rights of Hindus, or for that matter any other group. In the real world, unfortunately, there is a gaping hole when it comes to the awareness of human rights for Hindus, mainly in Bangladesh, Pakistan and even in the Kashmir valley in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A report released by the Hindu American Foundation, on the status of human right of Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir begins to fill that hole, spelling out in great detail and with much documentation the pathetic condition of millions of Hindus who live as minorities amongst a Muslim population.

The 71-page report compiles media coverage and first-hand accounts of human rights violations perpetrated against Hindus because of their religious identity. The incidents are documented, often quoting from well-known international human rights organizations.

The Hindu American Foundation, a non-partisan American group, presented the report to the co-chairs of the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, and Gary Ackerman, a Democrat. Both of these members of Congress endorsed it.

The report documents the long-history of anti-Hindu atrocities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, a topic that many Indians and Indian governments over the years have preferred not to acknowledge. Such atrocities, including targeted attacks against temples, open theft of Hindu property, and rape of young Hindu women and enticements to convert to Islam, have increased sharply in recent years after the Jamat-e-Islami joined the coalition government led by the Bangladesh National Party. Pakistan successfully carried out a near complete ethnic elimination of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan shortly after Partition in 1947. Hindus were nearly 40% of the population in Sindh province and Hindus and Sikhs were nearly 45% in the Punjab province of what is now Pakistan.

But that is only the latest chapter of a much longer pattern of persecution. Hindus comprised 33 per cent of Bangladesh's population in 1947 even after Hindus had fled to India in the aftermath of Partition but are less than 12% per cent today. In 1971 the Muslim army of Pakistan massacred 3 million Bengalis, mainly Hindus. Another 10 million Hindus were forced to flee into India in 1971. The loss of millions Bangladeshi Hindus is because of an ongoing genocide and forced exodus.

An interesting and sad aside to that statistic is that much of the purge has occurred well after the liberation of that country thanks to Indian blood and treasure.

Hindus in what is now Pakistan have declined to less than 2 per cent today. The report rightly condemns Pakistan for systematic state-sponsored religious discrimination against Hindus through bigoted "anti-blasphemy" laws. It documents numerous reports of millions of Hindus being held as "bonded laborers" in slavery-like conditions in rural Pakistan, something repeatedly ignored by the government. Pakistan aggressively portrays its struggle against India as a Hindu-Muslim conflict, making it clear that its own Hindu minority is fair game for persecution.

Even within India, the pattern is the same. The combination of Pakistani-sponsored violence and local anti-Hindu sentiment has led to a similar "religious cleansing" of the Kashmir valley, where almost all the Hindus have fled. The atrocities began right after Independence but surged beginning the 1980s.

Much like the Bangladeshi Hindu refugees in India, the Kashmiri Hindus are an unpalatable subject for many Indians, an ideological embarrassment for some people who feel uneasy about discussing the persecution of Hindus by Muslims. Some Indians still prefer to blame the Indian government for the flight of Kashmiri Hindus, deliberately ignoring the campaign launched by various Muslim groups to use public threats and violence, including murder, to terrify the local Hindus into leaving.

Some Indians may feel uncomfortable with this report because they do not want to be reminded about the problems of Hindus outside their milieu. And for some in the Indian intelligentsia, it is a badge of honour to distance themselves from these pogroms as a mark of their supposed enlightenment, oddly trashing their own ethos in the process. Many more Indians are reluctant to speak out against atrocities committed against Hindus for fear of being labeled "communal". Merely speaking about human rights for Hindus is for them a form of communalism.

These arguments are false. The people whose persecution is amply documented in this report are being persecuted because they are Hindu, not because they are poor or because of their political views. Brave human rights activists in Bangladesh and Pakistan, many of whom are not Hindus, have painstakingly documented the violations of basic human rights of Hindus in their country.

How ironic, and revealing about modern Indian culture, that so many Indians, most of whom are Hindus, are reluctant to acknowledge the problem, let alone do something about it. The sad reality of this world is that if Indians do not care about the persecution of Hindus nobody else will.

What is to be done? The thugs and bigots attacking Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan do not care for the liberal sensibilities of human rights people in any country. They understand power and nothing else. In an inter-connected world in which India is emerging as a new power, Indians can make a difference. The matter cannot be left to the Indian government alone. It cannot act without public support.

Moreover, the government, and the scotch-sipping socialists in Delhi, typically lacks the courage to ignore Muslim vote-bank politics in India and publicly address this problem.

Indians, meaning all Indians and not just Hindus, have to speak out by themselves. It is in everybody's interest to build an India that provides equal treatment and respect to all its citizens, regardless of religion. The same principle should be demanded of Bangladesh and Pakistan. Of course I expect neither Amar bakshi nor Eboo Patel to speak out. Eboo is too occupied by telling us untruths about Islam and about the plight of Muslims in America, a land to which Muslims from Muslim countries will risk lives to get to so that they can be persecuted and discriminated.

It is not just Hindus but also Muslims, Sikhs and others in India who, if they believe in equality, should insist in public that India's neighbors show respect for the human rights of minorities.

India's own human rights record is not faultless but is remarkably good for a country of its diversity and poverty. India has a vibrant civil society, plus public institutions like the judiciary and the media, who speak out against persecution and demand that the constitution be respected. That is India's strength, and the reason its people have the right to demand similar behavior of its neighbors when it comes to human rights in their own countries.

Indian writers, intellectuals, NGOs, civic groups, media and even political parties often protest against injustice or atrocities in their own country or in other countries. It is time that they started such protests about the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir.

This report from the Hindu American Foundation has all the data and the facts, but is not tainted by the partisanship and the "secular" versus "communal" debate inside India. Unless there is popular pressure in India, the Government of India will do nothing and Bangladesh and Pakistan will do nothing.

There may soon be no Hindus left in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Or in Jammu and Kashmir and this is exactly what the Muslims want. Neither India nor its directly culpable neighbors in the sub-continent can afford such an outcome.

Ted Baines:

In America we have made the beginning and acknowledged the horrors we perpetrated on blacks and Native Americans.

Now it is time for the Turks to admit that they massacred 1.8 million non-Muslim Armenians.

That their prophet Muhammad perpetrated the first holocaust on the Jews when he massacred thousands of Jews and then drove them out of Arabia and then stole their land and property .

Ted Baines:

So Turks view us favorably, eh?

I do not have much of an opinion of Turks either or for any Muslim country for that matter.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey just one more part from that interview with Soli in case its of any interest. It's the last piece I post, promise.

***

SOLI:
In terms of Turkish-American relations, especially with the March 1 decree, I had fights with those who considered that Turkey had betrayed the United States but I think now we have found a common language. Turkish-American relations are not just bilateral, they have implications that go beyond.

Turkey as a country that is secular, democratic and functioning capitalist with a Islamic community, you don't have a second country like that. Alienating that country have repurcussions beyond that relations.

We now have a much more productive dialogue. It took a while for some of our American interlocuters needed to drop some of their old ideas of Turkey. But how it will transform is both a question for them and us.

The military always played an important part. When the military issues the E-Ultimatum, Turkey remained silent for five days. You don't do this if you want a democratic Turkey.

Secularism at the expense of demcoracy perhaps. Was Turkey really as liberal as one would want it to be for it to have perfect democratic credentials....

The transformation of Turkish society brought about a government no one expected six years ago.

Rizgar:

Dear Bakshi,
It is good to learn the "secularism" is not equal to "Pro West or westernization or been religiou doesn't make one fundamentalist" Here is an article about "Turkey" and it is elite you may find interesting if you didn't read yet.

Turkey gets a date and a long engagement with the European Union (EU): Is marriage possible?

By: Amed Demirhan

Dec 22, 2004

Finally, Turkey in 17 December 2004 gets a date (10/03/05) for its membership negotiation with the European Union. In the words of French President Jacques Chirac, it will take 10-15 years of engagement for a happy marriage. From now to October 3, 2005 is very important, and first few years after that will be crucial as well. This will test the Turkish establishment’s soul and for the first time they have to seriously choose between East and West. Therefore, those who want a Westernized Turkey should work very hard to make this date turn into a marriage; it may not be a romantic one but it could be “arranged”.

Turkey is a very different country; it cannot be explained by normal political terminology and philosophies because nothing is like it appears. In last few years all surveys show that about 70% or more of Turkey’s citizens support membership in the European Union. This includes an estimated of 55-60 % of “mainstream” Islamists and middle class Turks (Liberals), and 90% of Kurdish population, and the majority of different ethnic and religious groups, but each groups support membership for some different reasons. Finally some “main stream” Turkish Islamists and the Kurds are getting smarter and they understand that Kemalist modernization never has been about “Westernization” and they find many positive things in Western values and a pluralistic democratic system; not the least in the protection of their own rights. Their grievances against Kemalist regime doesn’t lead to anti-Western sentiment any more because they know the differences. These groups have strong domination in civil societies.

On the other side, the anti-EU groups dominated by the conservative (protector of the current regime) vast majority of Kemalist (Turkeys modernizers – Follower of Mustafa Kemal founder of Turkish Republic) and Communists, some Islamist (Former Pre Minister Mr. Necmettin Erbakans’ party and some other groups), and extreme rights. These groups are about 20-25% of population but they control all major state institutions and therefore they are very powerful. They are the source of anti-Western rhetoric and the anti-democratic movement in Turkey. Interestingly after Turkey got its EU date, in response to the terrorist attack of a Turkish Special Forces (around city of Musul on the way to Baghdad), one of the infamous generals (known for his racist rhetoric about Kurds and ant-Western statement), General Hursit Tolon, (on 12/19/04) blamed Kurds and Americans for murder instead of the terrorists. This is an interesting example of how desperately these anti-democratic groups in Turkey are ready to mislead people and manipulate incidents.

The road to EU and Westernization is not going to be easy and already there are signs of a “civil war” in Turkey, but this war is between pro-democracy forces and oriental despotic forces.

How to win?

First of all, all pro-democracy groups in Turkey should be strongly against any terrorist attacks and provocations regardless of the cause of the attack. Say no to violence. We know historically terror has been created or permitted at a certain level by the so-called “inner state- Derin Devlet” forces. The civic organizations should do everything possible for the implementation of European laws regarding civil liberties, so that the government has to learn to accept facts related to civil rights. Democracy is a system that protects everyone’s right, not just certain groups.

Secondly, the American and European civic organization should support the people of Northern Kurdistan and Turkey on the road to EU. Because a democratic pluralistic Westernized Kurdistan and Turkey are keys to the future survival of this civilization, and in addition, this is the most important step for the transformation of Middle East regimes to democracies. It will strengthen the war against terrorism, too. Therefore, there are many reasons for Western democracies to support democratization and the resultant transformation of Turkey.

In short, it is in best interest of the vast majority of the people of Turkey, and the Western countries, that Turkey truly becomes a Western democracy. All of them have to work together, and I am positive this project could work. This date could lead to a marriage even its arranged one.

Amed Demirhan

Florida, USA
KurdistanObserver.com

Is this was your impression, too?

victoria:

robert-
your comment -
"While Europe and the US in their pluralistic and open cultures have sought to resolve the horrors of their past and to great extent argue incessantly the policies of the present, this is perhaps beyond the ability of the “secular”, post Ottoman culture that Ataturk wrought to deal with in its society and government."


whats the connection between europe and america robert? (besides white christians)
and how does the actions of europe have any bearing, blamewise or praisewise in regards to the USA?


i volunteered at the disabled american veterans for vietnam era vets in long beach calif.
it was the spinal cord injury center of america, and many were in wheelchairs.

i fed several wheelchair bound vets in my feeding program (which is how i learned of their plight)
they were (and still are) neglected in the most shameful of manners

really appopriate on this veterans day

america hasnt even dealt with its immediate past, and when the vets come back from iraq- we'll see how it deals with its present.let alone "resolve the horrors" of its own past

unresolved horrors of the past

manifest destiny
well, the native american genocide
where are the 40 acres and a mule promised to the freed slaves?
the inordianate amount of african americans incarcerated and on death row
the death penalty (current)
(actually turkey doesnt have it)
nagasaki and hiroshima
israel- just israel
columbian genocide gee-theres so many to choose from

iran contra ring a bell?

funding of and arms supply to osama bin laden to fight the russians in the 80s?

theres just too many robert
o, yes, shipping the poor off to fight in the wars
at least in turkey every man serves
in america, rich boys join the national guard in wartime and get elected president

maybe europe has had some reconciliation with its past

but america?
you'll have to give me some examples

thats a very broad statement, and if its not ture (and i believe it is not true at all)

then there is no logic that gives america a moral imperative to demand turkey resolve anything (especially not of AMERICA'S choosing which issues are 'important'. hasnt the EU been dangling that carrot for 40 years already?) until it resolves its own horrific past and , well, present too.

of course, if you have some examples of some substance i am waiting to see them

i dont want my country to be so morally bankrupt
i WANT my country to be responsible and accountable
as an individual i strive this for myself
of course i want my country to be a macro to my microcosm.

really i welcome your input
please forgive my stridency, i feel strongly about it





AMviennaVA:

Somehow the explanation that 'Baqi Barzani' posted is the more plausible to me. At least it is consistent with Turkish policies, and the lack of an explanation.

I have searched about the 'Hood Incident', and none of the articles explain WHY those Turkish troops were in Iraq.

So, to my Turkish fellow posters, all I have to say is that Turks' anger should be directed at the Turkish government for sending them to Iraq in the first place. (This is not a commentary on the validity of the US presence in Iraq, by the way).

Mike:

"And "if he [Bush] wants to help us … good,” she says. “It's about time.""


This quote is a good summary for the world's view towards America. Frankly, I'm sick of all of them and I just want to withdraw from the world. Then Turkey can get their help from Russia and China. I couldn't care less.

Baqi Barzani:

To: AMviennaVA:


The illegitimate and mysterious Turkish troops presence deep inside the Iraqi territory dates back to 2001. Neither the US military forces nor the intelligence service of Kurdish Regional government was aware of this fact. About 2000 commando’s forces were deployed in the region of Kirkuk, gathering intelligence, supplying weapons to the Turkmen minority and protecting Kirkuk form falling into the hands of Kurds. Much more prior to the recent Turkish-PKK escalation of tension. An article was published in www.klawrojna.com in this regard.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Interview with Soli Ozel continued. Soli talks about the future of Turkey-U.S. relations:

***
SOLI: I find this unfortunate for the simple reason in the world to come the United States and Turkey need one another. But they need to redefine what their common interest are and how they're going to be met and how they can pursue their interests without necessarily hurting one another.

This is where we are. We also blame the Iraqi Kurds for aiding and abetting the PKK and defiant voices came from the Kurdistan regional government.

In my judgment, at the end of the day, the Kurds have no where to turn to but to Turkey so I don't see it in their interests to antagonize and alienate Turkey. From the Turkey side we have to give up our fixation on not recognizing the Kurdish political entity.

These two people have had historically good relations except for the clashing state-formation period. They have much more in common than they have against one another.

The PKK is in the long run a threat to Kurdish regional governments and authorities as well. With American help to PKK's Iranian twin, PEJAK, we know the PKK is now recruiting among Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian Kurds, it is becoming a transnational organization. Mr. Barzani at the end won't like this because they run tribal organizations....

When Turkish democracy has opened up, I don't see any reason to pursue particularistic Kurdish interests through violence. Part of the reason the PKK raised the anti on violence has to do with the fact that in the last eleciton which was largely free and fair, candidates associated with the PKK received less votes than the AKP, which shows the opening of the political space and the flow of money to the region and the fact that cross-border trade, the economy of the region has been revitalized.

They may like Ocalan or like the PKK, but the language the PKK uses is no longer acceptable.

If the PKK manages to pull the Turkish government into the trap of increasing repression, shrinking the political space, abrogating newly-found freedoms, then it might become popular again. This is what we have to avoid.

As a political scientist, and an IR person, when I think about Turkish American relations and the future of the region, I think Turkey is a very important partner of the United States and I think Turkey's Western orientation are very important assets for the Western community in general and not to understand the legitimate grievances of the Turks on this particular issue, not to help fight the PKK financially, politically and economically...risk letting Turkey drifting away from it's Western orientation which is something I believe both Russia and Iran would be extraordinarily pleased to see happening.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Strong take Robert. I'd argue that now, and I think you'd agree with me, both Turkey and the U.S. have a great interest in seeing Northern Iraq stabilize, the former being particularly keen on it remaining a single nation state that can control terrorism within its borders. I'm going to post a bit of the interview with Soli Ozel below in case it'll interest you guys.

***
Amar's interview with Soli
***

SOLI: To begin with, I think Iraq has been a potential fault line between Turkey and the U.S. between 1990/91. The reason why is Turkey is a status quo power. The first Gulf War against Iraq certainly wasnt a popular one in Turkey. When all the dust settled and you had the no fly zone, Turkey eventually realized that a Kurdish political authority would develop no matter what. Turkey also used the occassion to make incursions against the PKK. It was both something that enabled it to pursue the PKK but Turkey didn't really like this because it did not want to see a Kurdish political entity period.

When the Iraq War II approached, Turkey was against it. Turks did not accept it as legitimate anyway. Turkey was frozen. Through a trick of the bylaws, the decree to allow the United States to deploy troops here and open the Northern Front did not pass parliament.

Certain elements within the U.S. military, and particularly CENTCOM, never really forgave, nor will they forget it.

The counter blow came on the Fourth of July, when Turkish Special Forces troops, about 11 of them apprehension of 16 Turkish troops. Sacks were put on their heads. They were hooded. Turks had a very very deep, and probably ever-lasting grudge, to hold against the United States.

The crux is Turkey is a status quo power and the U.S. revolutionized the Middle East system the way it brought the Shia to power and changed the balance of power.

That really bothered Turkey as a status quo power and relations never really go back on track. But Turkey did cooperate. 70% of American supplies and rotation of the troops are being done through the Incirlik base. 25% of all American fuel needs are done through Turkey.

Turkey allowed the Americans to across the border for intelligence purposes. What was expected of the United States after 2004 was that it take action against the PKK located in the North. The U.S. were in the North. Kurds relied on the U.S. as much as the U.S. relied on them for stability in the North.

The U.S. did very little but sharing intelligence with the Turks. They did nothing tangible to satisfy the Turkish public which by now believes America is a threat to world peace.

91% disapprove of American foreign policy. And President Bush's approval rating is around 3% which as you know is the error margin on any poll taken, so it may be zero.

The last "trick" - and I use that term guardedly - that the Americans played to the Turks, was to pull out of the hat this rabbit of special coordinators for terrorism that was General Ralston former NATO Commander and a former Turkish 4-Star General Edip Baser who together were going to coordinate the efforts of the two parties against the PKK mainly. Of course that came to nothing and as most Turks suspected this was basically a ploy to play for time on part of the Americans.

So when we reach this situation, first of all this summer, and then now whereby the PKK could do with impunity many things -- killing soldiers and civilians -- there was no room for words if you will anymore. The Turks wanted action from all their allies. That action has not been forthcoming. If this is not resolved in a way that will be satisfactory to the Turks and the U.S. does not do something to repair relations than I am afraid the relationship will be hurt so badly, that it will not be possible to put the relations back on track.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Why Turkish opinion of US went from so good to so bad.

Well, it could be that Turks are especially intelligent in recognizing the imperialism of Bush policies, but with all respect, that doesn’t quite cut it.

Bush’s activism in the Middle East unsettles Turkey uniquely. Unlike Iran, it had no particular reason to celebrate the defeat of Saddam’s Iraq nor a way to try to exploit it and the occupation. In fact, US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan caused both profound changes in regional dynamics and a renewed look at its Ottoman past, both of which are fearful things in Istanbul and in a Turkish identity.

What to do with Kurds became not just a tense status quo with a disaffected minority but the existence of Iraqi Kurdistan made it a critical issue to confront, one that is nearly as relevant whether or not PKK spends summer camp in the Kandil mountains.

The US often bent over backwards to recognize Turkey’s interests even when they conflicted with Europe, because in the Cold War and beyond it was an important fortress in the East for NATO. But that changed when the US came calling in 2003 with a vital request and was rejected.

And from being the “Not-Europe”, the one that differed from the Western powers that for over 1000 years had dispute with the caliphates, the last of which was Turkey’s heritage which was lost, now, the US represents the imperial power, the new Britain or France, that was taking Ottoman land for its own, even if only as a temporary occupation to restore it to new democratic powers. Turks had seen those Western occupied “mandates” before as well

While Europe and the US in their pluralistic and open cultures have sought to resolve the horrors of their past and to great extent argue incessantly the policies of the present, this is perhaps beyond the ability of the “secular”, post Ottoman culture that Ataturk wrought to deal with in its society and government. So Western pressures, whether involvement in Middle East crises or a Congressional resolution, are magnified into shocks to the system.

But Turkey’s interests, whether seen secularly or by moderate Islamists is still tied to a strong American presence, one that counterbalances Putin’s Russia, a revolutionary Iran, and yes a Europe that Turkey has a continuing love hate relationship that it must deal with economically and geopolitically.

Metin Talks Turkey, Newport Beach, CA:

Barzani: I agree with your sentiments exactly. PKK is ruining it for the Kurdish cause, or at least temporarily delaying its inevitability . . .

As for Amar's post, here's what I think:

http://www.talkturkey.us/2007/11/turkeys-take-on.html

"I think the government of the ruling and less than perfect secularists, as well as the extra-strength secularists fortified with the additional ingredient of ultra-nationalism, led by the military elite who would like to recapture the rule of the land, are both right in their own twisted way.

It is the U.S. who gains the most from Turkey's success, or even its demise."

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey the Turkish special forces were chasing after the PKK. But they were suspected of plotting to kill a Kurdish-Iraqi mayor of Sulaymaniyah. I will link to some of the coverage in a moment.

AMviennaVA:

Does anyone know what the 'Turkish Special Forces' were doing in Iraq, in the first place?

Baqi Barzani:


They are all being treated in the same way.

Baqi Barzani:

Are the 25 million underprivileged Kurds in Turkey terrorists, too?

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