What Are You, Turkey?

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September 24, 2014 by JImbo

(edit: Wow, this turned out a lot longer than I intended. I apologize. Here, have an apple while you read. I just picked from the tree out back.)

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Settled in? Good good. Okay, let’s begin.

Today when we think of Turkey…well, we think of Thanksgiving honestly. But, yes Turkey is a country too. It’s where oddly enough the Turks live.

And we have some airbases there. Which the Turkish government won’t let us use to bomb ISIS terrorists from. Because their government has been infiltrated by Islamic Radicals.

(See how quick that segue was? BAM! Right to the point, baby!)

Today we think of Turkey as sliding back into the Islamist pit of Radicalism and Terrorism. Yet there IS another way. A Pro-Western way.

For many years, Turkey was the leading voice of that other path. It followed the policy of “Kemalism” named after its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. (Kemal was his actual last name. The Ataturk just meant “Father of the Turks.”)

Or “Badass Moustache”… one of the two.

Check out that epic moustache.

I still like his later pictures though.

He was even more hard core without a moustache!

He had this… look.

It was classic.

He used it all the time.

You can just imagine he never had to actually SAY anything with that look.

Just stare.

You either made your point or shut the hell up.

Can you seriously consider getting this guy mad at you?

Anyway where was I? Wow… sorry but that guy was like The Rock of his time. He just looks at you and you’re done.

Soooo…. anyway.

His philosophy was simple. He advocated for 6 things to bring his country out of the chaos and division that the Middle East had been mired in since ancient times.

1- Republican Government

“Turkey’s true master is the peasant.”

2- Populism

“Unconditional, unrestricted sovereignty belongs to the people.”

3- Nationalism

“Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

4- Secularism

“My people are going to learn the principles of democracy the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will, every man can follow his own conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him act against the liberty of his fellow men.”

5- Statism

“Authority, without any condition and reservation, belongs to the nation.”

6- Reformism (Equality)

“Human kind is made up of two sexes, women and men. Is it possible that a mass is improved by the improvement of only one part and the other part is ignored?”
—-

These ideas were UNHEARD OF in the Middle East. While not really that close to what we were founded on here in America, they were close enough to what existed in Europe that his critics accused him of being a “Westernized traitor.”

He was a staunch defender of LOCAL power, TURKISH power and not just being a lapdog to the European powers. Indeed, he earned his “street cred” so to speak by fighting against those powers for many years in actual battles, first in World War I and later when he was forming the Turkish Republic after the war.

The principles were similar to those in other nations, but slightly different. For example, he was very focused on centralized State power. It was a democracy, but a very centralized one. We in the United States would say it wasn’t extremely “free” but compared to the Ottoman Empire that came before it, the difference was light night and day.

This was enough for his critics to go insane against his “heresy.” He never rejected Islam, but he didn’t think it had to rule laws. In a way he embraced the idea of “Separation of Church and State” but again in a different way.

Whereas here we believe in keeping them entirely separate, there it was more a matter of the State controlling the religion…while not ADOPTING the religion. It’s similar to how it is in France I’ve heard.

There is a government agency that deals with “Religion.” No one religion is the “official one.” All are free to worship, provided they do it “according to the rules” laid down by this agency.

Again, it’s not what we would call “Free” here in the States, but it’s not “Convert to Radical Islam or you die” either. It is controlled, open and balanced.

Much of Ataturk’s policies put a similar “Pro Turkey, Pro Government” twist on traditional Western themes. This had two functions.

First, it promoted the idea of ONE UNITED TURKISH NATION. You weren’t just part of a tribe, or a religious sect. You were a TURK. Whatever else you were, you were TURKISH FIRST! This gave people a common heritage against outsiders.

That was HUGE.

Second, because of this Turkish united identity, it was possible to present a united front against all the other divided groups. If you didn’t embrace the new Turkish heritage, you were the enemy. Because there were no (in theory) Christian Turks and Islamic Turks, or “New Turks” vs “Immigrant Turks”… there couldn’t be (again, in theory) any division and infighting in the country.

Everyone was either a Turk or a Foreigner.

In some ways this is how all Nationalism works. And yes, in some ways it was very able to be abused. That’s how many Nationalist groups like the Nazis worked.

However, UNLIKE the Nazis anyone fitting in would be allowed to BECOME Turks. There was no blood heritage or ancestry required. If you spoke Turkish, read Turkish and waved the Turkish flag, you were a TURK.

It was a strange mix of freedom and statism, but given that it was in the Middle East it WORKED. That is why Turkey has been VERY strong against terrorism and religious fantaticism for so long. It’s ingrained in their culture to distrust anyone who puts anything before the Turkish country and identity.

For awhile it seems as if this would be the “New Way” in the Middle East. Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq… all of these countries adopted variations of this “New Way.” None with the success of Turkey of course.

The Turkish heritage was a lot more centralized and coherent to begin with. It didn’t have as many deep seated sectarian and tribal divisions to overcome. Also, whereas Ataturk and his successors stamped down the flames of dissent and tribalism… in the other countries it was sometimes encouraged to keep rivals competing with one another.

Egypt was better on this front. Syria to a lesser extent. They even briefly had a “United Arab Republic” for a few years, but it broke down over how to share power. The point is that the Arabs were close to that goal of unity beyond their traditional tribal and religious loyalties.

Libya and Iraq came close, but they never quite overcame the Sunni/Shi’ite splits and tribal animosities.

Saudi Arabia was founded as a theocracy so saw no problem with Sharia Law.

Iran was on its way until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The revolution happened in large part because the Islamists saw which way the wind was blowing and freaked out. They didn’t want the Shah to move the country closer to Turkey and the West.

It’s important to know this background in understanding the Middle East. There ARE and always HAVE BEEN currents of pro-Western sentiment in the Middle East. However, there have also been even stronger ancient divisions that have pulled it back apart.

Why do we care?

Well, ask yourself… which do we WANT to come to power? United, relatively peaceful governments? Turkey, Egypt, Egypt and Syria made PEACE with Israel and have held that peace for 40 years. Isn’t that impressive?

The countries run by the secularist, pro-Western “New Way” governments have been the least likely to invade their neighbors. They have cracked down on terrorism and seen standards of living rise. They are the most equal on civil rights and less corrupt (compared to their neighbors anyway.)

The countries who are vehemently anti-Western and pro-Islamist have been hotbeds of terrorism, division, war and poverty.

So what has our government done in the last decade?

“We” have tried to systematically overthrow every stable, secular government in the region. Egypt, Libya, Iraq and now Syria. See the pattern here? The stronger and more stable the government, the more “we” have tried to topple it.

Granted the guys in charge of those countries aren’t GREAT people by our standards. They can be pretty brutal and controlling. However, they ARE (or were) democracies.

They weren’t hoarding terrorists (as many would have you believe.) They weren’t any less popular with their people than ours is.

An 8% approval rate Congress? Really? Single digits?

And you President Obama… 38% approval isn’t anything to brag about. You had the audacity to overthrow the elected Egyptian president through supporting Muslim Brotherhood riots in the streets…. then got mad when the Egyptian people threw them back out in an open election?

The new guy got 82% of the vote. Just saying… if he funds some protests outside the White House I wouldn’t be surprised….

Anyway, my point is that one after another this President seems focused on only taking out countries that are ANTI-TERRORISM and PRO-DEMOCRACY. Those are the ones we should be SUPPORTING, don’t ya think?

Egypt never gave us problems. We had troops IN Egypt training and practicing. Turkey too.

Libya hasn’t made a peep since Reagan smacked them back 30 years ago. In fact, Gaddafi had ALREADY scrapped his chemical weapons program and cracked down on terrorists. He was doing everything we asked of him.

Syria was minding their own business until American money went to fund protests there. How were they a threat to us?

They dabbled in Lebanon a bit, but that’s hardly a threat against the United States…

And then there’s Iraq. Yes Saddam invaded Kuwait. And he was playing games with the United Nations inspectors. He did have chemical weapons… so what? Seriously… a LOT of countries do (and even more did.)

Again, we can’t just blow people up because we don’t happen to like them. Afghanistan…alright the Taliban sucker punched us and the Taliban wouldn’t hand ’em over. That was a bit different.

Think about it on the local level. Sorry… you got criminals hiding in your house when the cops knock on the door, we’re coming in. You had a chance to give them up.

“Nation Building?”

No, we don’t fix the door. We don’t feed you. We take the criminals and go. The cops don’t take up residence in your HOUSE!

Dumb dumb dumb.

We’ve been off the rails for over a decade. This bombing of Syria will NOT FIX THINGS. It will only make them worse. Assad is the last of the “old guard” who we used to support as Pro-Western Terrorist-Killers.

If he goes, what comes next? The “Free Syrian Army?” All those college students and doctors… they’re dead or fled. The only ones left are hard core radical islamists,  mercenaries and bloodthirsty sociopaths. Take your pick. Which do you think is going to be rebuilding the country?

Assad is still in power because he has more than just money or tanks. He has FAITH on his side. Not RELIGION… no, but FAITH in SYRIAN NATIONALISM. This is way bigger than Assad.

Syria is a war between the Nationalists of all faiths, races and creeds vs the Rebels who are fighting for a variety of divided groups. Assad is no Ataturk, but the idea is similar.

The Rebels have a LOT of money, weapons and other support coming in from outside sources. The Nationalists have much less support… but they have a centralized command and control and they have faith in Syria as a nation to believe in.

This isn’t about ISIS. Our President wanted Assad out years ago. This is about overthrowing what President Obama and his cabinet see as “Pro-Western Dictators.”

They don’t recognize the legitimacy of them, even though they are elected. To the Obama advisors (many who grew up in the 1960s reading about Third World Revolutionary Struggles) the fact that those leaders were popular with their people doesn’t matter.

The people don’t matter. To Obama and Company, they are just stupid Arabs who don’t know better. They must be TOLD what is good for them, and FORCED into “retaking their heritage.” Anything that even resembles “Pro-Western” ideas must be destroyed.

Read the President’s books. They’re out there. It’s all right in there.

Read the writings of Valerie Jarrett or Eric Holder or Susan Rice or Hillary Clinton or Bill Ayers or Samantha Powers. See what they say. It all supports this idea that “Western” is bad. “Traditional” or “Tribal” (ie… “Indigenous”) is good.

If we had those stable countries still supporting us, terrorism would be a minor, insignificant threat today. However, we’ve destroyed our traditional allies against the forces of chaos, division and terror. They weren’t FRIENDS per se, but they were allies in fighting the darkness.

No Islam isn’t all bad. However, RADICAL ISLAM is. Sharia Law, where Islam overrules the laws of man IS dangerous.

Even the Catholics in this country would protest against replacing all our laws with Catholic doctrine. Likewise with the Mormons or Jews or Pagans. We LIKE having pluralistic religious freedom. We like having a secular government, different from our religions.

Many in the Middle East have as well, but our governments in the past decade or so have been tearing them down! Imagine if other countries sent in troops to overthrow our government and encourage rioting by religious terrorists in this country. How would YOU feel about it?

The rise in Islamists doesn’t represent the will of the people over there. However, at the same time it taps into a lot of anger at the United States for us overthrowing those secular powers in charge. Even those who aren’t in favor of Sharia Law are still angry with us, so they stay silent while we take our lumps.

The Nationalists have been keeping the Islamists in check for the last 100 years. That has now changed. The situation is in flux.

We’ve destroyed the balance. We have attacked the Nationalists, which automatically empowers the Islamists. Giving more weapons to the “Syrian Rebels” (Islamists) doesn’t hurt ISIS. They’re on the same side as ISIS! It strengthens ISIS by weakening Assad.

Is it any wonder that the terrorists are gaining in strength when we keep HELPING them? Where possible, the locals have (like in Egypt) tossed out the Islamists we appointed as the “good guys” (Muslim Brotherhood) and are again attacking Islamist terrorists. (Notice the Egyptian and UAE airstrikes on Libyan Islamist camps a few weeks ago.) However, to keep those gains we need to STOP “HELPING.”

We’re only making it worse. Our President and his revolutionary advisors need to stop. Immediately. Let the locals fix things on their own. If anything, send weapons to ASSAD! Sure he’s an asshole but he’s FIGHTING TERRORISTS! Something that our half-trained, unmotivated “allies” in Iraq and Afghanistan have been unable to do.

Why? Because we gave them GUNS, but not NATIONALISM. They don’t have FAITH. They fall apart at the slightest trouble because they don’t have that drive for something greater than their sect, tribe or paycheck.

The Ataturks of the world are bastards like Assad in Syria and Sisi in Egypt, but they are what their people NEED.

Fine, don’t support Assad. Simply get out of the way and let the Russians do it. Support the Kurds instead. They’ve never done anything to us. Hell, when I was in Iraq we even had our R&R (rest) area up north with the Kurds because it was so SAFE.

The Kurds have an identity. They have nationalism. Why keep trying to hold Iraq together when we could have three pieces to it, each with nationalism?
When you have nationalism you don’t NEED Islamists to tell you who you belong with.

Unfortunately, our President won’t stop until Assad is toppled and yet another country falls to chaos. Do we really think ANYONE except radical Islamist terrorists are going to come to power in Syria? Is breaking another country going to somehow improve things in the Middle East?

Ataturk saw this darkness coming. He spoke about the backlash often. He warned against it and said that they must remain strong to keep the progress they had made away from division, tribalism and strife towards unity, nationalism and peace.

In his own words:

Title ‘Yikin heykellerimi’

->’Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me’

O nation
I am Kemal Mustafa
If my thoughts and beliefs are not of this day and age
If my wisdom isn’t still the most authentic mentor
Then let my tongue cleave to the roof of my palate
I apoligize

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If freedom isn’t still the supreme value
If you’d rather have slaves stay chained

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If you see no sense in living a civilized life
If you want to be sent back in time to the middle ages and wish to put a crown on the head of a man who spits into the face of art

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If the pain of war violence was not enough
If peace at home, peace in the world has no meaning
If to be awarded requires an arms race

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If you miss the fez and the veil and prefer to light the night
If you’re still hoping to find healing from a dervish, a sheik or an amulet

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If you say women should not be equal to men and should be covered in black sheets in order to flee from the wrath of bigots

If you say you don’t want to see our women and daughters to get an education just because you believe this is their fate

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me

If freedom and democracy is too much for you to handle
If you have a longing for the sultan of the Sultanate and are still not able to determine the significance of being a nation
Be servants, stay on the path of religion and wait for şeyhülislam to lay down the law for you

Forget everything I said
Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me
And LEAVE ME ALONE…

-Musafa Kemal Atatürk”
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Founder and First President of the Nation of Turkey)

 

Keep toppling statues, President Obama.

Keep shattering any dreams the people over there have of unity and peace.

Your ignorance knows no bounds.

I just hope there are enough national leaders left to pick the pieces up when you’re done and fix the mess you made.

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(Edit: Yeah, sorry about the apple. I kinda ate it while editing. You didn’t eat it so I figured you weren’t hungry. There’s plenty out back if you want one.)

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3 thoughts on “What Are You, Turkey?

  1. Patrick says:

    The middle east needs a lot of Mustafas to turn things around.

    Like

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