SAMİ KOHENIt has almost become a habit in Turkey to look for a “foreign or external power” behind any negative incident. In the face of issues and inconveniences emerging, whether they happen domestically or internationally, the initial reflex of certain segments has become to blame foreign powers for these situations.
The reasoning behind this is generally explained as follows: Turkey is constantly developing; it is becoming a regional, even a global force. There are some people abroad who are bothered by this. When these powers find the opportunity, they try to weaken Turkey, to block its future. In order to achieve this, from time to time they use “subcontractors.”
We have seen that these kinds of evaluations have become widespread recently and we are developing a “conspiracy complex.”
The last example for this is about the attack against the Turkish embassy in Somalia. The terror organization al-Shabaab immediately took responsibility for this attack where one policeman died and three officials were injured. This radical Islamist organization, which is the extension of al-Qaeda in Somalia, is in control of the southern part of the country with its 14,000-strong “mujahidin” (combatant) forces. It is carrying out attacks in the capital Mogadishu against both the government forces and against the African Union Forces tasked by the United Nations with peacekeeping. Its aim is to topple the current regime in Somalia and set up an extreme Islamist order instead.
Turkey’s demonstrated closeness to Somalia, the aid it is delivering, and the support it is giving for the country to achieve stability, are well known facts. Al-Shabaab sees this as a contrary stance against its own ideology and aims.
As a matter of fact, the spokesman of the organization, in his statement right after the attack on the embassy, justified this attack claiming that Turkey was interfering in Somalia’s domestic affairs, supporting the government, and being involved in activities that are incompatible with Islam
This reasoning clearly discloses al-Shabaab’s ideological beliefs and strategy, as an organization that wants to take control of the country through terror and that has organic connection to al-Qaeda. This bloody incident has also openly revealed how radical Islamist groups view Turkey and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Ankara needs to draw the correct conclusions from this.
However, the “conspiracy reflex” immediately popped up in this incident. Several commentators and even officials joined the people’s “hasty and easy” reaction in claiming that there were “foreign powers” behind this attack and that al-Shabaab was their “subcontractor” or “tool.”
More than anything else, there is no need to adopt the complex that everybody wants to exclude Turkey and they are after weakening the country. Yes, in Africa and in other regions there is competition with several countries, but Turkey should demonstrate its power with this in mind, not by blaming “foreign powers.”
Al-Shabaab acts with its own initiative within the framework of the radical Islamic program within the al-Qaeda community. Certain “foreign powers” may be happy with this. But this does not mean that they are working as their “mercenaries.”
In short, it is high time to stop looking for a “foreign power” behind everything with a “conspiracy reflex” in these kinds of situations. It’s time to get rid of the “conspiracy complex” in which everybody wants to weaken Turkey.
Sami Kohen is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on August 2. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.