BY HENRY D. ASTARJIAN M.D.
Some dream of it, many don’t! When contemplated, many say it is impossible! When brought to focus they give you a hundred reasons as to why it is a losing proposition; the faint hearted freeze at the thought; The ones who have guts to face the issue, don’t have leadership, yet the leadership of the major political parties do not even have it on their radar screen! Or if they do, they tremble before its challenges! The issue on their political platform like Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, is repetitious, rhetorical, and aimless. Yet they manipulate the emotions of their audiences by uttering the cliché rhetoric “Miatsial Azad Angakh Hayastan” (United Free Sovereign Armenia). This is the topic which generates all that is mentioned above, and it is the height of hypocrisy. People would not tolerate it anymore; the political Parties would lose whatever credibility they have left – which is less than that of the Congress of the United States- and the legitimacy of their leadership would further deteriorate to incredulity.
Miatsial Azad Angakh Hayastan!
The concept is right, the cause is legitimate and just, the task is difficult, and to some, who are oblivious to the vagaries of the political situation, it is unrealistic at best. These are people who, given a successful project will give you ten reasons why it will not succeed.
The situation of all these factions is fully understandable; Armenian Diaspora, though fully recovered physically, is severely traumatized psychologically to a degree that mere mention of Turkey generates hatred, disgust, and anger. Even the third generation Diasporan Armenian, talks about their ancestral home in “Turkish Armenia”, and recant the stories of horror, death and destruction that the Turks and some Kurds, mostly of Zaza tribe, have inflicted upon its innocent, most valuable citizens, the Armenians, the Assyrians, and of late the Kurds.
To these people, Turkey is a giant; it is a member of NATO, it is indispensable in implementing the policies of the United States in the region, it is an ally of Israel, it is a counterbalance to Iran, and can check Syria anytime. It has a unique strategic land mass, which enables her to control the Black sea despite the international treaties regulating naval passage. For all these reasons, and more Turkey is untouchable.
This is how Turkey looks from outside! What is inside is another matter. Kemal Ataturk’s pronouncement of Turkey being “Independent, layik, and democratic” has completely failed. Turkey is neither of those; Turkey may be relatively independent, but is neither secular nor democratic. One man one vote does not make democracy, and I am not even talking about Jeffersonian democracy; democracy is a way of life, which Turkey does not have, makes no effort to achieve, and can not achieve even if its rulers desired it, though they don’t.
Claimed secularism is contrary to the realities of Turkish society, which is Islamist, it is Islamist, it is Islamist, despite Turkish official denial. And the dominant sect is the Naqshbandi branch of Islam., which is now in power. This sect has many branches, of which the Golden Chain Naqshbandi-Haqqani, globally headed by Sheikh Nazim al-Qubrisi of Cyprus, is the most influential in Turkey. To this sect belong Necmettin Erbakan ( The mid 1990s Prime Minister of Turkey who was tried and convicted for embezzlement, stashing 140 kilos of gold, later pardoned by his ally, President Abdullah Gul), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey’s Prime Minister), and Abdullah Gul (Turkey’s President).
It is this clique which has been elected by Turkey’s people, admittedly in a democratic way. So, if Turkey is secular, how did these Naqshbandi Islamists come to power?
The year was 1993. In a rally in Berlin, sheikh Nazim al-Qubaisi was introduced as the lead speaker. A long white bearded, turbaned man with bulged eyes ascended the podium acknowledging the thunderous applause of the audience, by glorifying God: “Allaahu Ekber”, which echoed “Allaahu Ekbar” in the huge stadium, by their pronouncement, you could tell they were not Arabs. He was the epitome of the sheikhs and mullahs of the Ottoman era Turkey, who preached in mosques during the Friday Prayers, calling for the annihilation of the infidel Armenians and Assyrians, and asserting the supremacy of Islam, as being the Deen-ul-Haqq (The legitimate religion) and the Khalif, the Khalif of All Muslims.
His speech spewed rhetorical flame asking the audience to win the battle against the infidels. To me he looked and behaved like the Ottoman General, who rallied his troops at the gates of Vienna, before being soundly defeated.
In the audience, seated in the front row, were non other than Erbakan, Erdogan, and Abdulla Gul; the present top brass of Turkey.
This situation does not sit well with the Kemalists, especially the military hierarchy. Their prophet is the Free Mason Kemal Ataturk whose orientation was secularism European style. To achieve that he beheaded hundreds of sheikhs and mullahs, like Sheikh Qubrusi including Kurds. The mere existence and strong presence of the Islamist government is a prime indication of the death of Kemalism. For some wishful thinkers, it is morbidly wounded, but not quite dead yet; for them Ataturk remains to be their prophet, yet for the Islamists the real prophet is Mohammed, and rightfully so.
There exists bitter enmity between the Army, the guardian of Ataturk doctrine, and the Islamist government, which is the true representative of the people. The army, the guardian of the faith, has ruled Turkey with iron fist, since the inception of the “Secular Republic”. They continue to muzzle free speech; hundreds of journalists, including our Hrant Dink, have been tried and convicted. Utter criticism of the government is construed as “Insulting Turkishness” requiring punishment. This is none other than Pavlovian control of the mind Turkish society is thus split. Turkey’s society is even more fragmented; Kurds and their non-Kurdish sympathizers, on one side, and the establishment on the other.
This clash of faith and philosophy is Turkey’s Main dilemma, and might be cause for its transformation to another entity, especially when the Kurdish Cause is entered into the equation. Could the condition be changed?
This is Turkey to which the corrupt Armenian Government is cow-towing, trashing the Nations interests. See you next week!