BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
You know those disgusting-tasting “rolls” that pass for meats, usually cold-cuts, of various sorts? Turkey is really becoming the turkey version of those. I know it’s hard to imagine that Ankara could become any more unpalatable than it has been for the post-Genocide century, but it is happening. Part of the grotesqueness stems from the fact that things actually improved for a while in some parts of Turkish society and governance, but now there seems to be a backsliding trend in at least some aspects of Turkey’s life.
The examples are likely more numerous than I could even be aware, but here are a few, in no particular order or categorization. Tellingly, much of the repulsiveness can be traced to Erdoğan’s ego, tactics, and extremely dangerous political-military brinkmanship.
Imagine visiting a foreign country as a head of state. Naturally, that head of state, in this case Erdoğan, is likely to have public appearances in addition to any meetings with the host’s government officials. As such, Erdoğan was speaking in Ecuador and was heckled by three women in the hall. His thugs, oh, excuse me, “bodyguards,” took it upon themselves to rough up the women. Note, this wasn’t done by local police or security, but visiting Turks, and it happened when no threat of physical harm was posed to the visiting head of state. These same thugs then proceeded to rough up some protesters who were outside the hall, among them an elected legislator!
Did you see the pictures of the Soorp Giragos church in Dikranagerd? Remember, the renovation was completed barely five years ago, now it looks more ruined than it was before the renovation! And who did this? Turkey’s armed forces, while they were busy murdering Kurdish citizens of Turkey with their shelling.
Of course there was the incident a few weeks ago when Turkish troops moved into Iraq. They even built some structures, if I understood the case correctly, under the guise of providing anti-terrorism training. This was done without the Iraqi government’s permission or advance knowledge. Turkey just feels free to violate its neighbors’ borders. It’s frequent overflights of Greek airspace are not even news any more. But the worst violations are naturally in…
Syria. This is ground zero. Not only has Turkey moved men and material into Syria supporting ISIS/Daesh, it, not its proxies, has been bombing directly into Syria from north of the border, mostly directed at Kurdish controlled areas within Syria. But the worst is seemingly yet to come. Turkey has been threatening to invade Syria (possibly in alliance with Saudi Arabia, a somewhat laughable arrangement) and seems to be mobilizing its armed forces in preparation. Given the Russian presence, this could lead to a very bloody and serious escalation: think Turkey-attacks-Syria, Russia-attacks-Turkey, NATO-attacks-Russia, then Armenia, Iran, Kurds, some of the Gulf states all join the rumble…
As cover for all this destructive behavior, Erdoğan seems to be taking to the podium every few days to criticize the U.S. for continuing to cooperate with and support the Kurdish forces in Syria and recognizing them as one of the most effective anti-ISIS/Daesh forces on the ground. You see, in his own mind, because Erdoğan says-so, the U.S. should deem these Kurds “terrorists” just as Turkey does. This is extremely telling of just how much he and Turkey fear the growing organization, experience, and consciousness of the Kurds.
It’s time for the U.S. to put the cuffs on Turkey, along with its megalomaniacal leader. We can serve that end through advocacy in Washington and perhaps even though the presidential debates! Let’s get busy.