Tag: Armenian Genocide

TURKEY, POLARIZED AND ALIENATED, BLAMES U.S. FOR CRISES, & TURNS AWAY FROM WEST

 

 

The Turmoil in Turkey: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 3, 2017— Islamic State claimed responsibility Monday for a New Year’s terrorist attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people…

In Turkey, U.S. Hand Is Seen in Nearly Every Crisis: Tim Arango, New York Times, Jan. 4, 2017— Turkish officials accused the United States of abetting a failed coup last summer.

Turkey’s True Tragedy Is the Anti-Israel Tyrant Erdogan: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Dec. 14. 2016  — On Sunday, after visiting the Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, where scores of survivors of Saturday night’s twin bombings near the capital city’s Besiktas stadium were being treated for serious injuries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was surrounded outside by crowds shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”).

Turkey's "Long Arm" in Europe: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 1, 2017— Officially, Turkey's General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies.

 

On Topic Links

 

ISIS’s Jihad on Turkey: Roy Gutman, Daily Beast, Jan. 2, 2017

Turkey Brandishes Incirlik Card to Threaten US: Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017

How Istanbul Nightclub Attack was Linked to Turkey’s Culture War: Mustafa Akyol, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017

Turkey’s Genocidal Shame: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 16, 2016

 

                                    

THE TURMOIL IN TURKEY         

Editorial                                          

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 3, 2017

 

Islamic State claimed responsibility Monday for a New Year’s terrorist attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, and the Turks deserve Western support as they fight on the front lines against jihadists. The tragedy is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems intent on alienating so many of his friends and antiterror allies, including anyone who supports democratic values.

 

ISIS is suspected of having carried out previous attacks in Turkey, such as June’s suicide bombings at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that killed 45. Though this is the first direct claim of responsibility, ISIS is known for attacking soft targets popular with foreigners. The victims included citizens of Belgium, Canada, Kuwait, Lebanon, India, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. ISIS said it targeted the nightclub because Christians would be “celebrating their pagan holiday.” The killer was still at large as we went to press, but the ISIS claim will make it harder for Mr. Erdogan to resort to his usual default of blaming the Kurds for every attack in Turkey. The Kurdish insurgency broke out anew after Mr. Erdogan abandoned peace talks in 2015 and some Kurds have committed atrocities.

 

But the escalating tempo and intensity of Turkey’s Islamist insurgency reveals the folly of Mr. Erdogan’s history of underestimating the ISIS threat. For years Ankara looked the other way as hard-line jihadists poured into Syria, destabilizing both sides of the border. He still sometimes implies he might let Syrian migrants flood Europe again to gain diplomatic leverage, as if the threat doesn’t also hurt Turkey’s security. Mr. Erdogan’s own Islamist and autocratic tendencies have also compounded the country’s vulnerability. Since an attempted coup last summer, the President has purged thousands of police officers and soldiers, and the resulting talent and resources gap may have damaged Ankara’s counterterror capabilities.

 

He is also using the coup and terrorism as excuses to crack down on institutions like a free press and independent judiciary that could help counter the Islamist threat. After Islamic State recently burned alive two Turkish soldiers, Mr. Erdogan’s government instructed the Turkish media not to publish images from an Islamic State video of the murders. Does he think Turks won’t hear about it? A Wall Street Journal reporter in Turkey, Dion Nissenbaum, was detained and held incommunicado last week for reasons that were never made clear. Mr. Nissenbaum was denied contact with his family, lawyers and colleagues for nearly three days before he was released and allowed to leave the country. Our Sohrab Ahmari has written about Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor and U.S. citizen imprisoned by Turkish police on charges of belonging to a terrorist group after 23 years raising a family in the country. The Turks have provided scant evidence for the charge.

 

Mr. Erdogan is polarizing Turkish society when it badly needs a unified front to fight jihadists. He also needs allies against Islamic State, but he sees treachery everywhere these days except among his new friends in Moscow. Turkey would be a more secure country, and a better one, if Mr. Erdogan’s response to every problem wasn’t to put more power in his own hands.           

                                                           

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IN TURKEY, U.S. HAND IS SEEN IN NEARLY EVERY CRISIS

Tim Arango                                                                                                                     

New York Times, Jan. 4, 2017

 

Turkish officials accused the United States of abetting a failed coup last summer. When the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated last month, the Turkish press said the United States was behind the attack. And once again, after a gunman walked into an Istanbul nightclub early on New Year’s Day and killed dozens, the pro-government news media pointed a finger at the United States. “America Chief Suspect,” one headline blared after the attack. On Twitter, a Turkish lawmaker, referring to the name of the nightclub, wrote: “Whoever the triggerman is, Reina attack is an act of CIA. Period.”

 

Turkey has been confronted with a cascade of crises that seem to have only accelerated as the Syrian civil war has spilled across the border. But the events have not pushed Turkey closer to its NATO allies. Conversely, they have drifted further apart as the nation lashes out at Washington and moves closer to Moscow, working with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, to secure a cease-fire in Syria.

 

One story in the Turkish press, based on a routine travel warning issued by the American Embassy in Turkey, was that the United States had advance knowledge of the nightclub attack, which the Islamic State later claimed responsibility for. Another suggested that stun grenades used by the gunman had come from stocks held by the American military. Still another claimed the assault was a plot by the United States to sow divisions in Turkey between the secular and the religious. Rather than bringing the United States and Turkey together in the common fight against terrorism, the nightclub attack, even with the gunman still on the run, appears to have only accelerated Turkey’s shift away from the West, at a time when its democracy is eroding amid a growing crackdown on civil society.

 

All of this is a reflection, many critics say, of what they call the paranoia and authoritarianism of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose leadership has so deeply divided the country that, instead of unifying to confront terrorism, Turkish society is fracturing further with each attack. The West, symbolized by the United States, is the perennial bogeyman. While seeming to pile on the Obama administration in its waning days — by accusing it of supporting Turkey’s enemies, including the Islamic State; Kurdish militants; and supporters of an exiled Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Mr. Erdogan blamed for directing the coup — Turkish officials are also telegraphing something else: that they are willing to open the door and improve relations with the United States once President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office.

 

“Our expectation from the new administration is to end this shame,” Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said this week while accusing the United States of providing weapons to Kurdish militants in Syria who are fighting the Islamic State, but are also an enemy of Turkey. “We are not holding the new administration responsible for this,” Mr. Yildirim said. “Because this is the work of the Obama administration.”

 

Meanwhile, the nightclub assailant is on the loose. The Turkish authorities said on Wednesday that they had identified the killer, but refused to release any other details, although photographs of the man, from surveillance cameras, have been released. Also, a video surfaced that appeared to show the assailant recording himself in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. A senior United States official, who has been briefed on the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential details, said the Turks had recovered the video from a raid on a house in Istanbul. The official said the Turks now believed the killer was from Uzbekistan, not Kyrgyzstan, as many reports this week had first suggested. The official expressed alarm at the growing anti-Americanism in Turkey, which seems to accumulate after each crisis here, and said it put the lives of Americans in the country in jeopardy.

 

The chaotic investigation has added to the anxiety on Istanbul’s streets, with vehicle checkpoints, night raids on houses and low-flying helicopters. “There is significant fear in ordinary people,” said Aydin Engin, a columnist at the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, who was detained last year as part of the government’s crackdown on the news media. “Fear prevails when it comes to going to an entertainment place, being in a crowd, going to a shopping mall, getting on the metro.”

 

With each passing day, public life descends deeper into what many Turks concede is a mix of darkness and seeming absurdity, with growing fears of violence and expressions of xenophobia set next to repressions on civic life. In the days before and after the nightclub massacre on the shores of the Bosporus, nationalists staged a mock execution of Santa Claus in the name of defending Islam; a reporter for The Wall Street Journal was detained, strip-searched and placed in solitary confinement — for, according to the newspaper’s account, “violating a government ban on publication of images from an Islamic State video”; and a well-known fashion designer was beaten up at the Istanbul airport and arrested for his social media posts…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link–Ed.]

                                                                       

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TURKEY’S TRUE TRAGEDY IS THE ANTI-ISRAEL TYRANT ERDOGAN

Ruthie Blum

Algemeiner, Dec. 14. 2016 

 

On Sunday, after visiting the Haseki Hospital in Istanbul, where scores of survivors of Saturday night’s twin bombings near the capital city’s Besiktas stadium were being treated for serious injuries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was surrounded outside by crowds shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”). As funerals began to be held for the 44 people killed in the bombings, most of them police officers, the government declared a national day of mourning, and Erdogan vowed to bring the perpetrators of the latest mass assault in Turkey to justice.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting that morning by saying, “In the struggle against terrorism there has to be a mutuality in condemnation as well as in thwarting the attacks, and that is Israel’s expectation from all countries it has relations with.” The message he was conveying to Erdogan was harsh, but apt. Though Jerusalem and Ankara have restored diplomatic ties after a six-year split — with the incoming Turkish emissary’s arrival in Tel Aviv virtually coinciding with the attack — relations between the two are cold.

 

Erdogan is an Islamist tyrant, who has spent the past 14 years transforming the previously democratic country into his personal fiefdom, incarcerating anyone he deems a threat to his rule. This practice burst into full flower following the failed coup attempt against him in July, which some believe he orchestrated for the purpose of legitimizing his sweeping oppression. Nor are his repeated declarations about combating terrorism anything more than propaganda. He has illustrated in word and deed that he is selective about which groups he believes need eradicating and which others are worth bolstering. So, while joining the West in fighting Islamic State thugs, he boasts a close partnership with Hamas, the equally vicious murder machine that controls the Gaza Strip, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s outlawed terrorist organization.

 

Indeed, it was his instigation of the attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza that precipitated the Turkey-Israel schism. This was only bridged when Israel conceded to a list of utterly unjust and draconian demands, including $20 million “compensation” to the families of the perpetrators killed and injured on the Mavi Marmara ship by IDF commandos who shot at their assailants in self-defense.

 

In August, a month after the attempted coup in Turkey, a Qassam rocket struck a yard in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Though the attack was committed by a different terrorist group, Israel made good on its oft-repeated promise to hold Hamas responsible for any such activity emanating from Gaza, and bombarded a number of targets in the terrorist-run enclave. The rocket attack and retaliatory strike took place two days after the Turkish parliament ratified the rapprochement agreement with Israel reached in June. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s Foreign Ministry ripped into Israel, “strongly condemning” its “disproportionate attacks, unacceptable whatever prompted them.”

 

“The normalization of our country’s relations with Israel does not mean we will stay silent in the face of such attacks against the Palestinian people,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement read. Israel’s Foreign Ministry shot back: “The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations. Israel will continue to defend its civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law and our conscience. Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others.”

 

As if to prove that he never “thinks twice” before engaging in hypocrisy and brutality, Erdogan launched a full-fledged military operation in the town of Jarablus, along the Turkey-Syria border, three days later. The purpose of the operation, code-named “Euphrates Shield,” was to wrest the area from Islamic State terrorists and Syria-based Kurdish militias affiliated with insurgents in Turkey. That the Kurds were also fighting Islamic State, and receiving U.S. aid to do so, was of no interest to Erdogan, who views them as a danger to his reign. This is why his first reaction to Saturday night’s carnage was to blame the Kurds and their “Western” backers. His second was to impose a ban on news coverage of the event, and arrest a number of people who posted comments about it on social media. This is but one tiny example of Erdogan’s lack of genuine desire to stomp out terrorism.

 

Another was apparent at the end of last month. A week before Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey, Eitan Na’eh, presented his credentials in Ankara, Istanbul hosted the first annual conference of the association of “Parliamentarians for Al-Quds.” During the two-day gathering, Erdogan said, “Policies of oppression, deportation and discrimination have been increasingly continuing against our Palestinian brothers since 1948. Actually, I am of the belief that the Palestinian issue serves as a litmus test for the UN Security Council.”

 

Erdogan’s statement was a milder version of what he had said several days earlier, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2: “I don’t agree with what Hitler did and I also don’t agree with what Israel did in Gaza,” he told interviewer Ilana Dayan. “Therefore there’s no place for comparison in order to say what’s more barbaric.” Erdogan’s open assertion that the establishment of the Jewish state is responsible for its “Nazi-like” response to decades of Palestinian-Arab terrorism tells us all we need to know about his true attitude towards the slaughter of innocent people. It is he who is Turkey’s greatest tragedy.

 

 

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                     TURKEY'S "LONG ARM" IN EUROPE                

         Burak Bekdil

                                                  Gatestone Institute, Jan. 1, 2016

 

Officially, Turkey's General Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet in Turkish) has a mission about offering institutional religious services independent of all political ideologies. In practice, Diyanet's understanding of "offering institutional religious services" can be different from what the term should mean. Recently, the office of Istanbul's mufti, an official of Diyanet, described the location of a mosque as "… it was [in the past] a filthy Jewish and Christian neighbourhood." After press coverage, the depiction was removed from the web page.

 

Diyanet's "institutional religious services" may sometimes even overlap with what in other countries people call intelligence. In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15. As if it is the most normal thing in the world, Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

 

After several other political absurdities, Turkey has finally won the title of having the world's first spook-imams — and that is official. This is unnerving for many European countries hosting millions of Turks. In October, a Turkish-German political scientist, Burak Copur, warned that growing support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could lead to Germans of Turkish descent creating a violent Turkish nationalist movement. In July, Cem Ozdemir, an ethnic Turk and leader of Germany's Greens Party, warned of the influence of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which he claimed took its funding and its orders directly from Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). A similar statement was made the month before by integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz.

 

The Dutch government has warned people about "agent imams" from Turkey, and has solicited complaints about malfeasance. The Netherlands also said it would challenge every instance of the "long arm" of Ankara extending to its territory, after a report that the Turkish embassy had sent home many Dutch Turks who might have sympathized with July's failed coup. Turkey's ambassador to The Hague was summoned after reports that a Diyanet official acknowledged he had compiled a list of "Gülenists".

 

Germany was less diplomatic in expressing its discontent about Turkish spies. Earlier in December, German police arrested a 31-year-old Turkish man suspected of providing information on Kurds living in Germany to Turkish intelligence agencies, according to the German federal prosecutor's office. A statement from the office said: "The accused is strongly suspected of working for the Turkish intelligence agency and providing information about Kurds living in Germany, including their whereabouts, contacts and political activities". Turkey is exporting its political wars and tensions to Europe. That is not a good sign for the Old Continent.

 

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             “ISLAMOPHOBIA” MOTIONS IN PARLIAMENT SEEN AS THREAT TO FREE SPEECH

 

The Government of Canada is proceeding to address unproven increases in instances of “Islamophobia” while calling for countering unsubstantiated charges of “systemic racism and religious discrimination”. This issue was originally tabled in Parliament in the form of a House of Commons “E” petition (e-411) by Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. The petition called for the condemnation of “all forms of Islamophobia” and received UNANIMOUS consent by Canadian Members of Parliament on 26 October, 2016. This was followed in rapid-fire fashion by a second motion sponsored by Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament from Mississauga Erin-Mills. The first initiative was progressed with little public input and scant interest displayed by the media at-large. The second motion was tabled on 01 December, 2016 and called for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to produce related findings and recommendations within 240 calendar days of the motion’s acceptance…

 

Given the current Government’s stated goal of obtaining a seat at the United Nations Security Council, pressures from within and outside the country from powerful Islamic lobby groups and the Government’s demonstrated proclivity to progress the “Islamophobia” initiative with undue haste and in the absence of evidence, there is a real risk that the fundamental right to “free speech” by all Canadians will be unnecessarily curtailed to accommodate the sensibilities of a specialized group….No such breach of the rights of Canadian citizens (should) be countenanced…all Canadians’…fundamental right to free speech (should be) preserved.                                                                                                                        

[To review the resolutions, and the petition related to them, click the following link—Ed.]

 

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On Topic Links

 

ISIS’s Jihad on Turkey: Roy Gutman, Daily Beast, Jan. 2, 2017—Ten days before the New Year's attack on an Istanbul night club for which the so-called Islamic State now claims responsibility,  it posted a grisly video on social media showing its forces burning two Turkish soldiers alive—and coupled it with a warning of worse atrocities to come.

Turkey Brandishes Incirlik Card to Threaten US: Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017—Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu renewed calls today for Washington to sever ties with the Syrian Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the top ally of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, and to provide air support to Turkish forces fighting to dislodge the jihadists from the Syrian town of al-Bab.

How Istanbul Nightclub Attack was Linked to Turkey’s Culture War: Mustafa Akyol, Al-Monitor, Jan. 4, 2017—On New Year’s Eve, many Turks, including myself, were hoping to begin a less bloody and less depressing year than 2016. It took only one hour and 15 minutes, however, for 2017 to present its first carnage. A lone gunman, later identified as a militant of the Islamic State (IS), entered Reina, one of Istanbul’s top nightclubs, and killed 39 people who were celebrating the New Year. He also triggered a deep fault line in Turkish society between the more secular, Westernized Turks, and more traditional Islamic ones.

Turkey’s Genocidal Shame: Robert Fulford, National Post, Sept. 16, 2016 —A question Adolf Hitler once asked still haunts the history of political atrocities: “Who remembers the Armenians today?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEVER AGAIN?: YOM HASHOAH 5775

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

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Netanyahu Says West is ‘Comatose, Delusional’ in Face of Today’s Nazis: Iran: Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2015 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday compared Iran’s violent and expansionist aspirations in the Middle East to the Nazi campaign to conquer Europe during World War II.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Assessing ‘Never Again’: Abraham H. Foxman, Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2015— As we observe the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, it is an appropriate moment to assess how the message of “Never Again,” the major theme that emerged from this tragedy, is faring.

Israel as a Nazi State: Major Holocaust Inversion in Europe: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Apr. 16, 2015— The widespread anti-Semitism in Europe is coming increasingly in the open.

Turkey’s Century of Denial About an Armenian Genocide: Tim Arango, New York Times, Apr. 16, 2015 — The crumbling stone monastery, built into the hillside, stands as a forlorn monument to an awful past.

 

On Topic Links

 

Holocaust Remembrance: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 15, 2015

Yom Hashoah: Canadians to Testify at Trial of Nazi Guard: Ron Csillag, Canadian Jewish News, Apr. 15, 2015

New Campaign Calls on Europeans to Don Kippot to Fight Anti-Semitism: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2015

Pope Francis Enrages Turkey by Declaring That Slaughter of Armenians Was a Genocide: Joseph Brean, National Post, Apr . 12, 2015

 

                   

NETANYAHU SAYS WEST IS ‘COMATOSE, DELUSIONAL’

IN FACE OF TODAY’S NAZIS: IRAN                                                                                    

Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2015

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday compared Iran’s violent and expansionist aspirations in the Middle East to the Nazi campaign to conquer Europe during World War II. He excoriated the US-led world powers for capitulating to Iran, and allowing it to maintain key elements of its nuclear program in the deal currently being negotiated, even as Tehran seeks to acquire weapons of mass destruction and destroy the Jewish state.

 

World powers are “comatose” and “delusional” in the face of today’s Nazis, Iran, he charged. “The main lesson of the Second World War, for democracies, is that they cannot turn a blind eye to tyrannical regimes,” Netanyahu said during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem museum to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Appeasement towards these regimes increases their aggressiveness,” the Israeli leader continued. “If this aggressiveness is not curbed in time, humanity may find itself in far greater wars in the future.”

 

Netanyahu noted that “ahead of World War II, the world attempted to appease the Nazis. They wanted quiet at any price, and the terrible price did come.” Six million Jews were murdered, as were millions of others. The lesson was clear, he said: Only standing firm in the face of violent, tyrannical regimes could ensure the future of humanity. But that lesson, he said, had evidently been forgotten. Just as the Nazis sought to destroy Europe, Netanyahu said, so does Iran seek to wreak havoc in the Middle East and beyond, and to annihilate Israel.

 

World leaders utter the words “Never again” but don’t mean them, he charged. He said he wished he could believe that the world had learned the lesson of the incomprehensible horrors wrought by the Nazis, but that “the threats to humanity are multiplying.” He cited the slaughters of innocents by Islamic extremists, and then focused heavily on Iran.

 

The prime minister asserted that the framework nuclear deal which was reached earlier this month between Iran and the P5+1 world powers proves that the international community has failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust. “The Iranian regime represses its people,” Netanyahu said, “and plunges the Middle East into a tide of blood and suffering.” Just as the Nazis sought to destroy civilization, install the Aryan race and wipe out the Jewish people, he said, so too do the Iranians intend to take over this region and destroy the Jewish state. Iran was following two paths, he said, seeking nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, and “exporting the Khomeini revolution to many lands via the massive use of terrorism and widespread conquest in the Middle East.”

 

“The danger is there for all to see… and yet the blindness is vast,” he asserted. “The West is capitulating in the face of Iran’s aggressive actions… “Iranian leaders are exporting death and destruction. The world is not listening to the calls in Iran urging Death to Israel, Death to America,” Netanyahu said. Instead of demanding the significant rolling back of Iran’s facilities, and instead of conditioning the lifting of sanctions on the end of its aggression, “the world powers are withdrawing.”

 

The new deal leaves nuclear capabilities in the hands of a nation that says openly that it wants to kill Israel’s six million Jews, Netanyahu complained. The civilized world is “comatose, gripped by delusion,” he charged. “The democratic states made a terrible mistake” when failing to confront the rise of Nazism, “and they’re making a terrible mistake now.” The prime minister vowed to protect the Jewish state at all costs, even if no other nation stands by Israel’s side. “We will continue to insist on the truth, and to try to open the closed eyes,” he promised, predicting “testing times ahead.”

 

“Even if we are forced to stand alone, we will not falter,” he said. Israel’s leaders would “ensure our right and capacity and determination to defend ourselves.” While the Jews had no power 70 years ago, “today we can make ourselves heard and we are determined to ensure our existence and our future.” Vowed Netanyahu: “We will not allow the State of Israel to become a passing phase in the history of our people.”

                                                                       

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ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, ASSESSING ‘NEVER AGAIN’                                                                  

Abraham H. Foxman                                                                                          

Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2015

 

As we observe the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, it is an appropriate moment to assess how the message of “Never Again,” the major theme that emerged from this tragedy, is faring. “Never Again” conveyed several themes. First and most obviously, it said that the Jewish people should never be subjected to such murderous behavior. Second, a broader conclusion stated that not only assaults against the Jewish people but all manifestations of genocide must be prevented.Third, the ultimate lesson for the Jewish people from the horrors of the Shoah was that Jews could never again allow themselves to be powerless.

 

So how are we doing? Not so well, when it comes to the very idea of a goal of slaughtering the Jews. The chief proponent of this today is Iran and its leadership. At the very moment when a nuclear deal is being worked out and, with it, the removal of sanctions and inevitably new legitimacy for the Islamic regime, its verbal attacks on the Jewish State have heated up. Only weeks ago, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said that, “The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.” Months before, while the nuclear talks were reaching a critical state, the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, announced a nine-point plan for the elimination of the Jewish State. Neither statement provoked a major outcry in the international community nor did they raise questions about treating Iran as a normal state.

 

What is suggested by all this is that as much as the Shoah is commemorated — through a day, through education, through observance — the world does not take seriously enough the modern-day threat to revisit those terrible days. There are many reasons for this – realpolitik, tiredness, not taking Iran seriously, seeing Israel as strong. None of that excuses the apathy in the face of open Iranian intentions.

 

As to the concept of genocide, here too there is erosion. The term genocide is often misused to justify criticism of policies that people do not like, for example with regard to the Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. In fact, if we define genocide as it should be, as a deliberate effort to destroy a particular group through violence, we unfortunately see too much of it around the world. In the Middle East alone, ISIS is taking this to new levels with its murderous assaults on Christians, other minorities and even Shiites. Their intent is clear. And in Kenya, we saw a return to the methodology of the Shoah, with the singling out and separating out of Christians for murder by the Somali terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, at Garissa University College. Where is the outcry of the world? Why are Christians themselves not leading a movement to denounce and prevent such atrocities? Must we wait for another Bosnia, Cambodia or Rwanda before we act?

 

And then there is the issue of Jewish power. The powerlessness of the Jews, both military and political, during the worst period in their history, taught the Jewish people that they could never again be in such a situation. That is what the Israel Defense Forces are all about. That is what the American Jewish community’s activity on behalf Israel, in coordination with coalition partners, is all about. And that is what working with different US administrations to combat global anti-Semitism is all about.

 

So what is the status of these elements of power to ensure “Never Again”? The IDF is stronger than ever. Its ability to protect the Israeli people is being greatly enhanced with the assistance of the US, by the continuing upgrading of its anti-missile technology, which undoubtedly will become an even more important component of its future security than we witnessed last summer in the Gaza conflict. Indeed, whatever the contentions between the White House and Jerusalem, the security relationship remains as strong as ever.

 

Meanwhile, the strong history in recent decades of US governments standing up for Jews in danger continues. Today, the State Department monitors anti-Semitism in countries around the world as it does human rights. And US officials work with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to combat the upsurge in anti-Semitism in Europe. SoUS power, an important ingredient in the security of Jews since World War II, is still relevant.

 

Yet, questions arise about the future of this theme of using power on behalf of Jews after the Holocaust. In Israel, there are those who dismiss even American assistance as unreliable. They often talk of Israel and Jews once again being alone in the world and having to depend on just themselves. These attitudes create new realities. In the US there are questions about future US leadership in the world and the impact any retreat will have on the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people. Finally, issues arise about the ability in the future of American Jews to have the same kind of impact on the condition of Israel and Jews worldwide. These issues reflect a changing Jewish community and a changing America.

 

As we commemorate Yom Hashoah, we must recommit ourselves to the theme of “Never Again.” It has brought much that is good to the Jewish people and the world-at-large. Its continued relevance will depend on many factors, but it all starts with our own Jewish community’s belief and recommitment.                                                                              

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ISRAEL AS A NAZI STATE: MAJOR HOLOCAUST INVERSION IN EUROPE                                                

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                                     

CIJR, Apr. 16, 2015

 

The widespread anti-Semitism in Europe is coming increasingly in the open. The more it develops, the more Israel is accused by hatemongers or by using double standards against it. For many, Europeans this is a necessity in order to whitewash both the continent’s past and present. For some it serves to specifically cover their ancestors’ crimes.

 

The classic core theme of anti-Semitism is that Jews embody absolute evil. This extremely false accusation has been propagated intensely for many centuries and has lead to major discrimination, murders, pogroms, and the Holocaust. The notion of what absolute evil is has mutated over the centuries as cultures evolved. In contemporary Western societies, the main perception of absolute evil is behaving like the Nazis, or committing genocide. The massive presence of anti-Semites in the world leads regularly to accusations that Israel acts toward the Palestinians like the German Nazis and their allies behaved toward the Jews. I have coined for this severely dangerous hate motif the expression Holocaust inversion. Far-reaching anti-Israel hate mongering is strongest in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world. However surprising, Holocaust inversion there is often combined with Holocaust denial.

 

A number of studies concerning several European countries show that Holocaust inversion is a mainstream phenomenon in the European Union. This has been the case already for many years. Germany is the country where there are most studies available concerning this topic. All these studies demonstrate the presence of large numbers of Holocaust inverters. A study by the German Social Democratic Friedrich Ebert Foundation published in 2015 found that in September 2014, 27% of Germans agreed with the statement that “What Israel does today toward the Palestinians is no different than what the Nazis did toward the Jews.” A second similar question was also asked – “Do you agree with the statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians?” About 40% of Germans polled agreed with this statement.

 

This year the Bertelsmann foundation published a study which  showed that 41% of the Germans polled agreed with the statement that “How the state of Israel behaves today toward the Palestinians is in principle not different from what the Nazis in the Third Reich did with the Jews.” The underlying poll was carried out by TNS in 2013.  Other earlier studies show that there may be a declining trend of Holocaust inversion, yet the figures remain extremely high. A study published in 2011 by the University of Bielefeld was carried out as well on behalf of the Ebert Foundation. It was undertaken in seven European countries. Researchers polled one thousand people per country over the age of sixteen in fall 2008.

 

One of the questions asked was whether they agreed with the assertion that Israel is carrying out a war of extermination against the Palestinians. The lowest percentages of those who agreed were in Italy and the Netherlands, with 38% and 39% respectively. Other percentages were: Hungary 41%, United Kingdom 42%, Germany 48%, and Portugal 49%. In Poland the figure was 63%. If one extrapolates these figures to the entire European Union one can conclude that out of its 400 million citizens of sixteen years and older 150 million embrace a demonic view of Israel. Those who answered in the affirmative expressed deeply anti-Semitic views.

 

In the first years of this century the University of Bielefeld undertook a similar study, this one relating to Germany only. More than 2,500 people there were asked whether they agreed with the statement: “What the state of Israel does today to the Palestinians is in principle no different from what the Nazis did to the Jews in the Third Reich.” Fifty-one percent answered in the affirmative. Sixty-eight percent agreed that: “Israel undertakes a war of destruction against the Palestinians.” A few leading European politicians have compared Israelis to Nazis. One finds senior social democratic politicians among them, such as French President Francois Mitterrand, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme  and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

 

There are many other extreme cases of demonization of Israel in Germany. For example the German Holocaust foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility, Future” (EVZ) is meant to educate about the Holocaust. It has however also used public funds to finance extreme hatred of Israel. It provided more than 20,000 euros for a 2010-2011 student-exchange program. Participants included an East German high school and an Israeli Arab school. Project organizers published a brochure that demonized Israel and compared it to the former communist East German state.

 

The same agency financed a program for the Anne Frank School in Gutersloh that hosted a Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivor and known anti-Israel hatemonger, Hajo Meyer. There, Meyer equated the suffering of the Palestinians with the persecution and mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust. He also termed Israel a “criminal state.” Leon de Winter, a best-selling Jewish Dutch novelist, said that Meyer suffers from extreme “survival guilt.” He added that all Israel-bashing groups love Meyer because of the combination of his being a Jew and a Holocaust survivor.

 

There is an additional vile dimension to the European Holocaust inversion, because behavior and ideology similar to that of the Nazis is widespread nowadays. Important movements with ideological genocidal programs similar to those of the Nazis can be found in the Muslim world. They are based on their interpretations of the Koran. Among these Islamo-Nazi movements are Hamas, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab as well as others. The word Islamo-Nazism is however rarely used by European politicians and media. There remains a final question. The Israeli government almost entirely ignores the Holocaust inversion in Europe. I have pointed this it out over the past few years to various high ranking officials. They listen politely but these conversation are never followed up by actions.

[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

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TURKEY’S CENTURY OF DENIAL ABOUT AN ARMENIAN GENOCIDE                                                                    

Tim Arango                                     

New York Times, Apr. 16, 2015

           

The crumbling stone monastery, built into the hillside, stands as a forlorn monument to an awful past. So, too, does the decaying church on the other side of this mountain village. Farther out, a crevice is sliced into the earth, so deep that peering into it, one sees only blackness. Haunting for its history, it was there that a century ago, an untold number of Armenians were tossed to their deaths.

 

“They threw them in that hole, all the men,” said Vahit Sahin, 78, sitting at a cafe in the center of the village, reciting the stories that have passed through generations. Mr. Sahin turned in his chair and pointed toward the monastery. “That side was Armenian.” He turned back. “This side was Muslim. At first, they were really friendly with each other.”

 

A hundred years ago, amid the upheaval of World War I, this village and countless others across eastern Anatolia became killing fields as the desperate leadership of the Ottoman Empire, having lost the Balkans and facing the prospect of losing its Arab territories as well, saw a threat closer to home. Worried that the Christian Armenian population was planning to align with Russia, a primary enemy of the Ottoman Turks, officials embarked on what historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century: Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed, some in massacres like the one here, others in forced marches to the Syrian desert that left them starved to death.

 

The genocide was the greatest atrocity of the Great War. It also remains that conflict’s most bitterly contested legacy, having been met by the Turkish authorities with 100 years of silence and denial. For surviving Armenians and their descendants, the genocide became a central marker of their identity, the psychic wounds passed through generations. “Armenians have passed one whole century, screaming to the world that this happened,” said Gaffur Turkay, whose grandfather, as a young boy, survived the genocide and was taken in by a Muslim family. Mr. Turkay, in recent years, after discovering his heritage, began identifying as an Armenian and converted to Christianity. “We want to be part of this country with our original identities, just as we were a century ago,” he said.

 

The 100th anniversary will be commemorated on April 24, the date the Ottomans rounded up a group of Armenian notables in Istanbul in 1915 as the first step in what historians now agree was a wider plan of annihilation. Armenians from Turkey and the diaspora are preparing to gather in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square to honor the dead. They will also hold a concert featuring Armenian and Turkish musicians. Similar ceremonies will be held in capitals around the world, including in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where Kim Kardashian, who is of Armenian descent, recently visited with her husband, the rapper Kanye West, to highlight the genocide. That the European Parliament and Pope Francis recently described the massacres as a genocide adds to the pressure on Ankara.

 

The Turkish government acknowledges that atrocities were committed, but says they happened in wartime, when plenty of other people were dying. Officials stoutly deny there was ever any plan to systematically wipe out the Armenian population — the commonly accepted definition of genocide. Ankara is not participating in any of the memorials, nor does it appear ready to meet Armenian demands for an apology. Instead, on the same day of the genocide anniversary, the Turkish authorities scheduled a centennial commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli, an event that helped lay the foundation of modern Turkish identity.

 

The anniversary comes after several years in which the Turkish government seemed to be softening its position. With the flourishing of new civic society organizations, the government became more tolerant of views of history that differed from the official one. Last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in offering condolences to the Armenians, went further than any Turkish leader ever had in acknowledging the painful history. Yet as the anniversary has drawn near, the situation has fallen back into well-established patterns: Turkish denial, Armenian anger and little sign of reconciliation. Mr. Erdogan has turned combative, embracing the traditional narrative. “The Armenian diaspora is trying to instill hatred against Turkey through a worldwide campaign on genocide claims ahead of the centennial anniversary of 1915,” Mr. Erdogan said recently. “If we examine what our nation had to go through over the past 100 to 150 years, we would find far more suffering than what the Armenians went through.”

 

In a country defined by its divisions, between the secular and the religious, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, the legacy of the Armenian genocide is a unifying issue for Turks. A recent poll conducted by the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an Istanbul research organization, found that only 9 percent of Turks thought the government should label the atrocities a genocide and apologize for them. Turkey’s ossified position, so at odds with the historical scholarship, is a legacy of how the Turkish republic was established after World War I. Under its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, society here underwent a process of Turkification: a feat of social engineering based on an erasure of the past and the denial of a multi-ethnic history. The Armenian massacres were wiped from the country’s history, only to emerge for ordinary Turks in the 1970s after an Armenian terrorist campaign against Turkish diplomats…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                                                                       

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On Topic

 

Holocaust Remembrance: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 15, 2015  —Even those who were tiny babies then – hidden from the Nazi extermination apparatus that hunted diligently for every last Jew – are elderly today, 70 years after the Third Reich was vanquished.

Yom Hashoah: Canadians to Testify at Trial of Nazi Guard: Ron Csillag, Canadian Jewish News, Apr. 15, 2015— Hedy Bohm’s first reaction to being asked to testify in a German courtroom against a former guard at the Auschwitz death camp was “a definite no. I didn’t want to go.”

New Campaign Calls on Europeans to Don Kippot to Fight Anti-Semitism: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2015 —A European Jewish organization has issued a call for gentiles on the continent to don kippot and other Jewish apparel and film themselves walking down the street to show their opposition to rising anti-Semitism.

Pope Francis Enrages Turkey by Declaring That Slaughter of Armenians Was a Genocide: Joseph Brean, National Post, Apr . 12, 2015 —Turkey has accused Pope Francis of promoting hatred by declaring the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago was genocide on a scale with Nazism and Stalinism.

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TURKEY, GENOCIDE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: ANKARA TURNS AGAINST ISRAEL, EUROPE & US

Last Thursday, France’s National Assembly passed a law making it a crime to deny that the atrocities against Armenians committed by Ottoman Turks from 1915-1918 constituted a genocide.

 

In response, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chastised French President Nicholas Sarkozy, accused France of committing its own genocide in Algeria, and cited the bill’s passage as “a clear example of how racism, discrimination and anti-Muslim sentiment have reached new heights in France and in Europe.” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also weighed in, stating that “Europe has philosophically and ideologically reverted to the Middle Ages.”

 

Erdogan’s Islamist AKP government has since escalated the confrontation, recalling Turkey’s ambassador to France for “consultations,” and imposing a slew of military and economic sanctions. Clearly, one can now add France to an ever-expanding list of countries—including Israel, and Syria—to which Turkey’s alleged “zero problems” (Davutoglu’s words) foreign policy does not apply.

 

Yet Turkey’s involvement in a growing number of diplomatic altercations has been predictable. Empowered by his Islamist Party’s landslide victory in last June’s elections, Erdogan’s overarching neo-Ottoman ambitions have naturally enmeshed Turkey in a multitude of regional disputes. Coupled with ongoing internal repression, Erdogan’s AK Party has solidified its grip on the country by suppressing dissent. Turkey’s hegemonic drive is likely to intensify and, as Erdogan’s tentacles stretch further abroad, additional controversies should be expected.

 

TURKEY SAYS FRENCH LAW DAMAGES
‘FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION’
Zvi Bar’el

Haaretz, December 28, 2011

A Holocaust must not be denied, according to France, be it the Jewish Holocaust or the Armenian. While the French Parliament passed a law in 1990 against denying the Jewish Holocaust and against manifestations of anti-Semitism, the Armenian Holocaust has not won identical status. The lower house last week passed a bill defining denial of the slaughter of the Armenian people as a crime, but it still needs the Senate’s approval to become law.

Turkey is not waiting. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already imposed a string of sanctions on France, including a prohibition on the landing of French warplanes and the anchoring of French warships in Turkish territory. More sanctions, including a trade freeze between the two countries, are expected, and if the law is passed in the Senate, Turkey is liable to widen the breach.

Although the murder of approximately 1.5 million Armenians—or “the death of Armenians in a situation of war,” as the Turkish version has it—took place in 1915, under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey sees the definition of genocide as casting direct blame on it. This is not just a matter of legal repercussions that might stem from casting blame. In Turkey’s view, refuting this accusation is “a matter of pride,” as Erdogan has defined it, or more precisely: “a correction of an historical distortion.” Turkey says the French law damages the freedom of expression.

Erdogan is not a champion of freedom of expression. The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, a Nobel laureate for literature, can testify to the travails he endured at the hands of the Turkish legal system for his statements on the slaughter of the Armenians.

In a conflict between freedom of expression and honor, honor will win. Israel, too, has learned that the red line in Turkish foreign policy is honor—whether the subject be the killing of Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara or casting historical blame. Thus, Turkey froze trade with France in 2001 when a law similar to the recognition of the Armenian genocide came up before the French Parliament. Similarly, Turkey narrowed its relations with Israel because of an apology that has not been made and the refusal to pay compensation for the Turks who were killed. Turkey also decided to cut relations with Syria when Syrian President Bashar Assad thumbed his nose at its requests and warnings to cease the bloodshed.…

In its relations with Iran, Turkey had aspired to establish a diplomatic axis, but things are tense in the context of Turkey’s policy toward Syria. As for Iraq, Turkey is attacking the bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK ) and is liable to enter into conflict with the Iraqi regime. As for Cyprus…no solution is in sight. According to Erdogan, Turkey will sever ties with the EU during Cyprus’ stint in its rotating presidency. Now, France has joined the list of “hostile countries.”

Turkey’s foreign policy is not detached from domestic political considerations, which dictate its conduct. In each of the crises Erdogan can rely on broad public support and in some of them, as in the cases of France and Syria, the opposition also supports him. Turkey defines its foreign policy as based on “values”—not on interests. The assessment of the policy shapers is that a crisis with a neighboring country in the context of damage to Turkey’s honor or damage to interests that are important to Turkey merits diplomatic and political investment even if in the short term Turkey pays a price.

Turkey can return to Syria as a hero after Assad’s fall; Iran will be needy for purposes of maintaining order in Iraq. Turkey has earned political capital among the Palestinians from its punishment of Israel. It will also be hard for France to relinquish the activity of about a 1,000 French companies in Turkey and trade worth an estimated $12 billion.…

ARMENIAN MEMORIAL
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, December 24, 2011

Knesset members of radically different political orientations will seek this week to sway the Knesset Education Committee to promote Israeli recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), MK Arye Eldad (National Union) and MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) will argue for a special annual Armenian memorial day in Israel.

As Jews, we entertain understandable reservations regarding the overuse the genocide term, already applied to numerous diverse incidents of mass-slaughter, including Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge purges and Rwanda’s tribal carnage. But the massacres and violent deportations by Ottoman Turks, which claimed as many as 1.5 million Armenian lives during World War I, are different.

They’re closer to a premeditated scheme to cleanse Turkey of Christians, even if not imbued with the Nazis’ systematic, all-encompassing ideology of “scientific” racism. Not every last Armenian was hunted down as in Germany’s methodical, industrialized extermination process that targeted and pursued every last hidden Jewish baby. Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer explained it best: “The Nazis saw the Jews as the central problem of world history.… The attitude towards Jews had in it important elements of pseudo-religion. There was no such motivation present in the Armenian case; Armenians were to be annihilated for power-political reasons, and in Turkey only.… Yet even if the Armenian case is not seen as a holocaust in the extreme form, which it took towards Jews, it is certainly the nearest thing to it.”

It, therefore, amply deserves Israeli recognition. Previous attempts to secure such recognition were foiled by Foreign Ministry opposition. Every care was taken not to vex Turkey, for years Israel’s sole quasi-ally in the region. Presumably, now that Turkey has turned ultra-hostile—particularly after Operation Cast Lead and the Mavi Marmara confrontation—such constraints should no longer be relevant.…

Turkey continues to cast a dark shadow over Israeli considerations even in the stark absence of any viable relationship with that country. Turkey continues to prevent Israel from doing the right thing even when there’s no expedient realpolitik incentive to avoid the moral high ground.

But Ankara intimidates elsewhere as well. France’s lower house of parliament has moved to criminalize Armenian Genocide-denial. In response, Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had thrown a super-temper tantrum.…

In retaliation, Erdogan cut ties with France, recalled his ambassador for consultations. He said Turkey was cancelling all economic, political and military meetings with its NATO partner and it would cancel permission for French military planes to land, and warships to dock, in Turkey.… His unmistakable aggressive stance towards the French parliamentary initiative contains a message for Israel too.…

Erdogan’s ruffian demeanor isn’t Israel-specific. There’s no plausible reason not to answer his hectoring defamations with incontrovertible historical truths. Why, for starters, not quit our unsavory habit of resisting Knesset resolutions on Turkey’s infamous atrocities against the Armenians? We could elaborate on Turkey’s first Armenian massacre of 1890 (100,000-200,000 dead); Turkey’s subsequent mega-massacres of 1915 in which over a million Armenians perished in a series of bloodbaths and forced marches of uprooted civilians in Syria’s direction; the WWI slaughter of tens of thousands of Assyrians in Turkey’s southeast; the ethnic cleansing, aerial bombardments and other operations that cost Kurds untold thousands of lives throughout the 20th century and beyond and still deny them the sovereignty they deserve; and finally, the 1974 invasion and continued occupation of northern Cyprus (which fails to bother the international community).

TURNING AWAY FROM EUROPE
Philip Terzian

Weekly Standard, December 19, 2011

One way to gauge the present state of European unity is to know that Turkey, which has energetically sought membership in the European Union for the past decade, is now having second thoughts about the enterprise. According to the German Marshall Fund, in 2004, three-quarters of Turks thought EU membership was a good idea; last year, that percentage had dropped to little more than a third. A recent story in the New York Times featured a pointed question from a prominent supporter of the Erdogan government in Ankara: “The EU has absolutely no influence over Turkey, and most Turks are asking themselves, ‘Why should we be part of such a mess?’” The reasons this has come to pass tell us as much about Europe, and its faltering quest for economic and political unity, as about Turkey.

It is not difficult to comprehend why and how the notion of Turkish membership was ever seriously contemplated. The EU itself is the culmination of several decades’ worth of wishful thinking: that the experience of two devastating wars had persuaded Europeans to set aside national differences in a common, transnational cause; and that the cause had persuaded postwar Europeans to surrender their currencies (and, to some degree, national sovereignty) in favor of a common monetary zone and limited authority in Brussels.

Now we know how that turned out. As long ago as 1914 socialists were surprised to discover that working-class Europeans tended to think of themselves as Frenchmen and Germans and Italians, not Europeans, when hostilities broke out. And while Europeans, for differing reasons, might have welcomed the creation of the eurozone—Germans as a means of ratifying economic dominance, Greeks for the opportunity to hitch their wagon to the stars—they have since learned the familiar lesson that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Public opinion in Germany is becoming impatient with the idea of bailing out the EU’s less provident members, and public opinion in Greece is similarly impatient with austerity dictated from Berlin.

Turkish membership in the EU depends, to a large degree, on a comparable suspension of disbelief. Turkey is a huge country located predominantly in Asia minor, populated overwhelmingly by Muslims, and ruled by a broadly successful Islamist government. It is difficult to guess how much the average Irishman or Belgian feels in common with a nation that borders on Iraq, but it is not so difficult to gauge public sentiment in Cork or Antwerp about open borders and employment for tens of millions of workers who face Mecca to pray.

The problem, of course, is that public opinion—or put another way, democracy—has never been critical to the European enterprise. The political leadership of Europe welcomed the prospect of Turkish membership in the EU for the same reason past Turkish governments sought admission. The military alliance between Turkey and the West—NATO—gave something to both sides: It kept Turkey, caught historically between East and West, in the Western camp during the Cold War; and it offered Turkey’s growing economy and Westernized elites increasing access to European markets.

Now all that is turned on its head. The strategic rationale for Turkish membership in NATO hasn’t existed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and between the Arab Spring and the growth of Islamist sentiment in the Muslim world, the Erdogan government sees its opportunities to wield influence in the East, not the West.…

Then there is the Republic of Cyprus, a European Union member situated off Turkey’s southern coast. The northern third of the island has been under Turkish military occupation since 1974, and Turkey remains not only hostile to the prospect of withdrawal and reunification—its puppet state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is recognized by no other country—but increasingly, even violently, hostile to Cyprus itself. Turkey has threatened military action against Israeli and Cypriot proposals to drill for oil in the eastern Mediterranean, far from Turkey’s territorial waters, and plans to boycott discussions with the EU next year when Cyprus assumes its rotating presidency.

Suffice it to say that the EU constitution does not permit membership for a state whose army (illegally) occupies a large chunk of territory in a member-state.…

Turkey’s gathering sense of itself as the supreme Muslim power in the region appeals to the “reset” mentality in the White House—Erdogan says things about Israel in public that President Obama must think privately—and reduces European influence in the Middle East.

Neither of these developments can be welcome. Turkey’s tiny Christian neighbor Armenia, for example, which harbors unhappy memories of Ottoman misrule, and is subject to economic and diplomatic blockade, has lost the prospect of European Union membership as a moderating influence on Ankara. And any Turkish government that turns resolutely away from Europe, and plays to the Islamist gallery, is by any measure bad news for Washington and the long-term objectives of American policy.

OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY IN A BRIEF: THE PRESIDENT AS TURKEY
Barry Rubin
Pajamas Media, December 8, 2011

On October 5, 1938, Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons, regarding the Munich agreement in which Britain and France forced Czechoslovakia to cede the strategic Sudetenland to Germany, leading a few months later to that country’s extinction and a year later to World War Two:”I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat.…”

Viscountess Astor shouted, “Nonsense!”

People ask me: How can U.S. government officials believe such silly and wrong things about the Middle East? Let’s go behind the scenes for a case study of how this works.

[Consider] a November 28 transcript about Vice-President Joe Biden’s trip to Turkey and Greece. The main briefers are Biden’s national security advisor, Antony Blinken, and Special Envoy to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation Rashad Hussain.

The briefing shows the U.S. government’s bizarre love affair for Turkey’s Islamist regime, cluelessness about the “Arab Spring,” and disinterest in supporting Israel, contradicting the president’s frequent statements that he has done more for Israel than any predecessor.

For years the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been waging war seeking to create a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey. Apparently, the United States is getting increasingly involved in that war defined as, “Our assistance in the fight against PKK terrorism.” The U.S. government gave Turkey three SuperCobra attack helicopters and four Predator UAVs. Since that regime works closely with terrorist groups and Iran, one wonders how secure this technology will be and how far U.S. involvement is going to go.

Has there been a serious discussion in the United States about becoming a partner in the Turkey-PKK war and what might Turkey be doing in exchange for U.S. help? This concept of getting something for giving something is pretty absent in the Obama administration. True, the Turkish regime has agreed to host a NATO radar system but only after grumbling a lot and imposing stringent conditions, especially that no intelligence be shared with Israel. And that’s no favor to the United States since, as the briefers note, Turkey is supposed to be a zealous member of NATO.

What else do you have, Blinken? Well, that Turkish government is visibly helping out a lot: in Afghanistan, Iraq, against the Syrian regime, in Libya, and Egypt. “So in many, many areas we’re working very, very closely with Turkey.” Yes, but the problem is that the Turkish regime is working hard in those places to make itself leader of the region and to promote radical Islamism in all of those countries. In Egypt, Libya, and Syria for sure that means helping the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention its work on behalf of Hamas and Hizballah.

Imagine if an American president in the 1970s had been besotted with Fidel Castro and explained how the Cubans were doing all that great work in Latin America.

Then the briefer throws out a cliché that means the exact opposite of what he thinks: “Turkey has a very important story to tell as a country that can…set an example for other countries that are making transitions in the Arab world, in the Islamic world, in North Africa.” But what is that example? The Turkish example used to be secularism, democracy, a lack of ambition abroad, a free enterprise economy, and a strong pro-Western orientation. That was the previous regime. The current regime likes Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey “has set an example” all right. An example of how radical Islamist forces can pretend to be moderate as they not only gain state power but do so with America’s blessing. It is a very terrible example.

There’s something naive and dopey about Obama administration briefers that reminds me of Occupy Wall Street spokesmen or a community organizer. Where’s the sharp-edged, worldly cynical, realist, the sense that threats and enemies are about, the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sneer that is a part of any good foreign policy?

Remember that Turkey’s government voted against additional sanctions against Iran last year and tried to sabotage them diplomatically. Erdogan has denied Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; Turkey is systematically violating anti-Iran sanctions. “Turkey shares our goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran,” says the briefer. Perhaps that’s what Turkish leaders say but it has no relation to what they do.…

When asked about Israel, Blinken says something else revealing, after the boiler plate on how everyone should get along: “It pains us to see the two of them at odds because they’re both such close partners of the United States.…” Traditional briefers would say something like: “The United States urges Turkey to act decisively to mend this relationship.” Obama administration briefers sound like bystanders, fearful of taking leadership or pushing for what U.S. interests require. And since they already make clear that the United States will give Turkey whatever it wants and thinks the bilateral relationship is great, nobody in Ankara will pay attention.…

Blinken can’t and won’t deal with a huge flaw in U.S. policy. This is Obama administration style: it is totally doctrinaire and is deaf to criticism, not even bothering to construct a cogent argument in response. That’s the perfect formula for marching off the cliff, and taking all of us with them.

Here’s the bottom line: “[Turkey’s] example can be very powerful to countries now going through transition. So it’s very encouraging to see Turkey play a strong leadership role.”

Yes, that’s it. Turkey’s Islamist regime, not the United States, is taking leadership and setting the example. It’s leading in an anti-American direction and setting a bad example. American interests are being trashed; American allies are in despair.

Now multiply this example by a few hundred times and you have Obama foreign policy.