Published: Sunday, September 04, 2011 11:21 AM
We have heard of the Armenians, but what about the Kurds, asks this expert on Kurdish history.
Gerald A. Honigman
The author is an educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Mid-East Affairs and has conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth. He gives lectures and participates in debates around the U.S. Read his new book to be found at http://q4j-middle-east.com.
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As in centuries past, the Turks now increasingly appear to have visions of spearheading the forces of Islam as they confront the West and those whom they see associated with it.
The recent resignation of Ankara's top military generals leading the secular forces in the country can be seen in this light as well.
Even the positive moves Prime Minister Erdogan has made of late confronting the barbarism of his on again, off again Arab friends in Damascus can be interpreted in this way. Many, if not most, of those in neighboring Syria whom Erdogan now seeks to protect share at least much of his own religious ideology.
And poor Ataturk--the virtual father of modern Turkey, secular and progressive--is likely rolling in his grave.
Ankara has withdrawn its ambassador from Israel because it did not like the results of the United Nations Palmer Report, which largely justified Israel's actions during the 2010 Turkish IHH flotilla Mavi Marmara incident, concluding that Israel faces "…a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."
While the report also criticized Israel for allegedly using excessive force, it ignored such things as the fact that Israeli commandos boarding the ship were armed with non-lethal defensive weapons, and that live fire was employed using side pistols only after the former proved insufficient to stop the threat to the commandos' own lives (video taped ) after they were attacked with knives, clubs, and so forth by the Mavi Marmara's allegedly peaceful passengers and crew.
For those who do not know, there is a word Jews use which describes a combination of nerve, gall, bravado, and so forth…chutzpah.
And what Ankara has been displaying in its duplicitous actions towards Jerusalem unfortunately displays this attribute all-too-well.
There is no doubt that, for quite some time now, Turkey has wanted to have it both ways with Israel.
It has sought economic and military ties, and has especially expected Jerusalem to help it in its own matters of "internal security." In return, Israel obtained a powerful Muslim, but non-Arab, neighbor and lucrative trading partner which was not planning to have it for dinner and with which it could have somewhat reasonable relations. Turkey soon became a nearby, favorite vacation spot for Israelis.
In the process, however, Jerusalem was simply expected to allow the Turks to dictate the terms of this relationship. Disgracefully, the Jews have too often gone along with this deal, and the cost has been too high.
Specifically, Israel has had to engage in shameful behavior to assist its alleged Turkish friends in the suppression and subjugation of another entirely different people, the Kurds--a people who predate the Turks on that geography by millennia. Israeli intelligence and weaponry have been used to help Ankara in these matters, and this must finally come to a halt, whether Ankara sends its ambassador back to Israel or not.
As just a hint of what I'm leading to below, at the same time that Ankara cannot seem to understand the need for Israel's totally legal blockade to help limit Hamas's, Islamic Jihad's, and others' abilities in Gaza to launch death and destruction into Israel proper, Turkey continues to bomb and blast, at will, another sovereign nation--Iraq--because Kurdish guerillas from Turkey may be taking refuge in Iraq's northern mountains. Reports from various sources state that most of the casualties are innocent Kurdish civilians. Seeing the Turks doing this unhindered, the Iranians are doing the same thing to help solve their own Kurdish "problem"--the quest for the Kurds' same basic human--let alone political--rights which Ankara denies them.
Those are the same basic rights that Damascus squashes, the American State Department has no time for, and which remain questionable even in a post-Saddam Iraq.
I ha've written about the analogy between what Arabs face vis-a-vis Israel and what Kurds face vis-a-vis Turkey http://www.krg.org/articles/de.....;anr=6589. Open the url above, however, to see some interesting facts and details relevant to this discussion. My own new book has several well documented chapters dedicated to this issue (http://q4j-middle-east.com)…
It is time to highlight the differences between what Israel faces relative to its terrorist enemies and what Turkey has to confront regarding those engaging in such "militant operations" against it as well. Since the Turks expect Israel to simply allow Arabs to attack it at will and believe Jerusalem has no right trying to prevent ships loaded with arms from unloading their weaponry to Hamas & Co. in Gaza.
The assorted Arab enemies Israel faces among “Palestinian” Arabs (most of whom were newcomers into the Mandate of Palestine themselves) have one major goal--the destruction of Israel and its Jews. Hamas is even more honest in their absolute rejection. Look at both of their websites and such in case you think there really is a difference in their ultimate plans for Israel.
Now, as cannot be repeated often enough (especially in light of what Arabs will be demanding in a few weeks at the United Nations regarding the birth of their 22nd state), an Arab state emerged after World War I on almost 80% of the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine. Arabs have had a state there for close to a century now.
In 1922, most of that original territory--all the land east of the Jordan River--was handed over to Arab nationalism by Great Britain. So, right from the start, and contrary to Arab storytelling, most of the land was given over to them…not to the Jews. Had Arabs accepted the later 1947 partition, they would have wound up with almost 90% of the total area. They rejected it, because, in Arab eyes, no one--except themselves--had/has any rights at all in the region which they call “purely Arab patrimony” and the Dar ul-Islam.
Since those days, the Jews (one half of whom who were refugees from the so-called “Arab” world) have made repeated attempts to reach peace via additional land-for-peace measures…to no avail. Any "peace" which does not lead to Israel's absolute demise is unacceptable to its alleged "peace partners." "Palestinian" Arabs (and most others as well) have rejected all such efforts to reach a fair compromise and modus vivendi with their Jewish neighbors.
So, that brings us to where we are today…
Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and so forth. have been engaged in continuous efforts to eradicate Israel and its Jews…blown buses, restaurants, teen nightclubs, shopping malls, ice cream parlors, schools, towns--civilian targets have been the most sought out. Not long ago, a Jewish family of five had their throats slit while in their sleep. The 3-month old baby was decapitated.
And how has Ankara dealt with its alleged “friend’s” attempt to deal with this barbarism?
By expecting Israel to simply put up with it…The current withdrawal of the Turkish ambassador is just the latest manifestation of this.
The flotilla sponsored by Ankara sent to Hamas's Gaza was sent to break Israel’s legal maritime blockade of a enemy sworn to its destruction--not to bring aid--and which acts on its pledge repeatedly. The deadly attack on two civilian buses in southern Israel from Gaza-based terrorists is but another very recent reminder of this. Faced with such a murderous, rejectionist enemy, the Turks would have never returned Gaza to their own foes (as Israel did years ago) if the situation was reversed.
Given the above, it’s now time to examine problems which the Turks have themselves with another totally different people...
Kurds predate the Turks’ arrival in Turkey by literally thousands of years.
Contemporaries of the ancient Hebrews, they were there long before an Arab or Turk ever invaded and conquered their land.
Some thirty-five million Kurds live in the Middle East, and about one-fifth of Turkey’s population is Kurd--about 14 million or more people. The first Kurdish nationalist revolts in the area dated from the 19th century. Others would come later as well.
The emergence of powerful Turkish and Iranian rulers after World War I (Ataturk and Reza Shah Pahlavi, respectively) wound up leaving tens of millions of Kurds stateless in the new age of nationalism in the region. While Arabs expect a 22nd state to be granted to them, there is still no roadmap for Kurdistan.
After Great Britain won a favorable decision from the League of Nations in 1925 tying the oil of Mesopotamia’s predominately Kurdish north to the new Arab state of Iraq, promises earlier made in support of Kurdish independence were aborted. The Kurds have been used and abused by many players ever since—including, sadly, America and Israel. Israel's Mossad is said to have secretly helped the Kurdish leader Barzani in Iraq in the sixties and early seventies.
Being a mere remnant of the former great Ottoman Turkish Empire, Mustapha Kemal’s (Ataturk) Turkey was determined to see no further geographical losses from its territory.
That being the case, what was there to do with millions of non-Turkic people who already predated Turks on the land?
Well, in the Turks’ eyes, you could just rename them, outlaw their culture and language, intimidate, murder, and subjugate them--etc. and so forth. After all, the Arabs had been doing the same thing to millions of others in "their" lands for years.
That indeed became the ticket and they have been all called “Mountain Turks” ever since--not Kurds. Tens of thousands of them have been slaughtered as a result.
And while all of this was transpiring, Ankara has repeatedly taken the Jews in Israel to task for not willingly committing suicide.
The violent, originally revolutionary Socialist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (the PKK), was born amid this utter subjugation of the Kurdish people. Its sibling group, PJAK, arose in Iran for similar reasons.
Please keep in mind that, unlike the Arabs, including the ones in the PA, with twenty-one states to date (carved out largely from non-Arab peoples’ lands), Kurds are a truly subjugated, stateless people. They have suffered horrendously because of this condition, and long before Saddam Hussein’s Arab Anfal Campaign slaughtered well over a hundred thousand of them in Iraq.
The 22nd state Arabs are striving for would be, as we have seen, the Arabs’ second state in "Palestine" (the name the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, bestowed upon Judaea after the Jews’ second revolt for independence in 135 C.E.), not their first. Today’s Jordan has that honor, sitting on some 80% of the original territory. And, much later, Arabs renaming themselves “Palestinians” in order to deny Jews their sole, tiny state fools no one except those who want to be fooled.
Thus, as we'll soon see at the UN later this September, we'll hear the whole world again clamoring even louder than before for the birth of that additional Arab state. And the Turks themselves will be supporting it too, knowing full well that neither a new Hamas nor Fatah Arab state will accept a Jewish State of Israel as its neighbor.
Not long ago, Ankara even threatened war with Jerusalem over such issues because it got friendly with Syrian Arab butchers and Iran’s mullah maniacs. All three, you see, share a uniting, similar "Kurdish headache"--and repeatedly get away with their murderous cures. Furthermore, regardless of the overthrow of Saddam, the Arabs in Iraq are still very likely just biding their time on this issue as well--regardless of their various stripes.
So, while Ankara simply expects Israel to cave in to all that Arabs demand, what compromises or concessions have Turks made with their own perceived national competitors, the Kurds? And do I dare even mention the "A" words (Armenian, Assyrian) ?
Will those alleged "Mountain Turks" ever be allowed to even just legally use their own language and practice their own culture in the very land in which they lived long before invading Turks ever arrived from their own real native lands near China?
Unlike Ankara, which outlawed the Kurdish language, Israel made Arabic the second national language of the state. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. But if the Arabs get away with such murderous hypocrisy, why not the Turks too?
By the way, the proportion of Jews to Arabs in Israel proper is the same as Turks to Kurds in Turkey…80% to 20%. And about thirty-eight countries the size of Israel would fit into the land mass of Turkey--for a little perspective.
Will Turks ever agree to a partition with its fourteen million “Mountain Turks?'' Will southeastern Turkey gain autonomy, let alone independence, for its long abused Kurds?
Don't hold your breath...
As we've seen, Jews accepted repeated partitions of the land, resulting in Arabs getting most of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine's territory--despite the latters' lies.
Unlike the Arabs and their Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, P.L.O., and so forth, the PKK was born out of this total rejection and denial of Kurdish rights.
No grieving Turkish parent should have to mourn a son lost because of the suppression of another peoples' right to speak its own language and have its own fair share of political freedom.
And whatever its bloody sins are, the PKK has never sought the destruction of Turkey nor of its people. It has merely sought rights for Kurds which the Turks (and Arabs and Iranians) refuse to give…ironically, those very same rights that Ankara expects Israel to grant to those who would certainly destroy it if given half a chance.
Chutzpah a la Ankara…indeed.
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