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Does America want to embarrass Turkey in front of the Arabs?

October 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

Does America want to involve Turkey in the Syrian swamp? This question does not carry surprises and its answer, whether yes or no, does not signify anything. Senior Turkish officials have made statements to the media saying, our entry into Syria is being likened to Saddam’s entry into Kuwait and America’s support for us does not prevent Russia from playing the role of America in 1991 and putting Turkey before international courts.

However, questions regarding America’s commitment to defend Turkey in the face of any aggression on the one hand and its aggression and harassment of Turkey on the other are all legitimate. It is nothing new for America to harass Turkey and put it in an awkward position politically and in terms of local and international security.

Politically, America was behind the coup staged by the army against the civilian rule in 1980, which disrupted Turkey’s renaissance for two decades and put it in a state of political and economic paralysis. Militarily, Turkey discovered, at some point during its war with the PKK, that its enemy is fighting it with weapons from Turkey’s ally, i.e. America.

Strategically, America wields the sword represented by the Armenian file from time to time at carefully chosen moments in order to inflict maximum embarrassment and blackmail the Turkish government.

Meanwhile, the “Sevres issue” (in reference to the secret Treaty of Sevres signed during the First World War which aimed to divide Turkey and was exposed by Russian Bolsheviks) controls the Turks’ view of America, as they are wary of NATO desires to divide their country. On the other hand, America also has doubts especially after Turkey refused to allow the American army to invade Iraq from its territories.

NATO’s answer to this not only concerns the Turks, but the region as a whole, as it is viewed as a danger and as a phenomenon aimed at weakening the state in the region and fragmenting its communities. Such concerns are justified due to the evidence of the events in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

In this phenomenon, Turkey represents the last remaining model that the region can use to re-shape itself and advance once again. The stories of history indicate that a Seljuk or Ottoman-Turkish axis was instrumental in re-shaping the region’s communities after each Persian raid, which the Arab societies were an arena for.

Light is shed on the extent of the damage that America allows to be inflicted on Turkey from the strategic value Turkey was given upon its acceptance into America’s “club” (NATO) in 1952. For America, the poor agricultural underdeveloped country that was exhausted by WWI was nothing more than a geographic area adjacent to the Soviet Union that it could use to build its military bases and a secular army that has lost its intellectual value and its only job was to pull the trigger in any direction it was ordered to.

America used the Turkish army in its war in Korea in 1953 in order to fight in a country it did not know, against an enemy it had no hostility towards and alongside an ally that was recently its mortal enemy. That same army has immensely changed today, its leader changed, and it regained its affiliation and loyalty to its own country. Its rebellion and rejection of America’s request to invade Iraq from its territory in 2003 is a clear manifestation of its new creed.

America’s need for Turkey is limited to the state Turkey was in 1952 when it played the role entrusted to it to the best of its ability during the most critical times, i.e. during the Cold War.

America’s need for Turkey does not require Turkey to be the sixth ranked economy in Europe and it does not require Turkey’s inflation rate to drop from 30 per cent to 7 per cent. It also does not need Turkey to double the average annual citizen income ten-fold, as well as doubling the number of airports and universities in a matter of 10 years. In addition to this, Turkey’s free health services reach every village and mountain summit and the network of highways and fast trains extend across its mountains; none of this is necessary to America and its removal is not harmful.

On the other hand, ailing Europe is not pleased with the largest airport in the world moving from Europe to the city of Istanbul and for the youth in the Middle East and Africa to leave Europe’s prestigious universities for Turkey, as well as its hospitals. It is also displeased that Turkey has become an economic giant. None of this is a requirement for the West’s relations with its Turkish NATO ally.

America has preferred “Turkey’s Islam” to the “Arab Islam” and Turkey is not considered to be a fundamentalist giant by Washington. Instead, it is considered a recovered state system and civil society, which, over the past nine decades of the modern state’s life, has acted as an incubator in order for its societies to gain cultural rehabilitation and recover its identity after the Sykes-Picot operation, performed in the context of comprehensive social re-engineering of the region.

America’s view of the region’s communities is in harmony with what the English espionage pillars expressed in the aftermath of WWI, i.e. the war did not achieve its greatest objective in terms of the Islamic East which was eliminating the “Eastern Question” (the name of the West’s battle against the Islamic East by dismantling its regional regimes and social structure). The objective was not considered to be complete because these communities posed the same political and social interfaces that were posed during the Ottoman times.

In other words, an event the size of WWI which brought about the first change in the world’s political map in six centuries, was unable to bring about complete socio-cultural changes in the region, despite the fact that, as a result of the war, Arab-Turkish relations reached a long dormant social and cultural state. The political and social changes in Turkey today represent a new transformation in these relations.

The Arab political system’s self-assessment of its performance is no different than Europe’s self-assessment of its performance. Turkey has become involved in Arab affairs, just as Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq were in the past. Its flags are raised in Arab streets instead of their own flags and the names of their leaders are being used to name newborns. More importantly, this is not the work of political or Islamist activists, but that of people far from political influences and political Islam with the most humility in the community.

This is a scene that intimidates and concerns the Arab governments, as they see it as the return of the Ottoman Empire, which wasn’t ruled by religion as much as it was ruled by social norms stemming from Islam and a conservative political system. This system maintained the characteristics of the region’s communities and this is what societies want from their states, and they find this in Turkey.

Everything that is happening in Turkey today is not consistent with the official regional mood (Arab and Iranian) or the international mood, and everything that occurs inconsistently with their moods are met with their temperaments. Therefore, the Arab’s official money is being showered on the secular and spiritual parties and institutions in Turkey that are opposed to the current Turkish government, while American weapons are falling from the skies on the organisations opposed to Turkey which represent an extension of the PKK, which is on America’s terrorism list.

Iran’s hands are also getting involved in moving the sectarian minorities in and around Turkey and it holding successive international security conferences for planning military activities across the Turkish borders. The “nations of the earth” will participate in these activities and Turkey will look like the black sheep in a white herd.

The main idea of the current official regional scene is there is no place for Turkey in the vicinity of surroundings that are handed over to the rule of militias; there is no place for the state’s economy in the vicinity of the black market and smuggling of natural resources; there is no place for a multi-ethnic, multi-doctrinal, and multi-religious majority community in an area of minorities; there is no place for civilised Islam in the face of sectarianism.

There is no harm in removing the current government in Turkey, along with the prosperity and stability it has brought about, and allowing the secularists along with their failures and turbulences to take over, keeping Turkey as mere land in America’s eyes. Getting rid of Turkey is an end and harassing it is a means to that end.

Translated from Al Jazeera net, 22 October, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.