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ERTUĞRUL ÖZKÖK

ERTUĞRUL ÖZKÖK > Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Middle East

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Do you remember?

After a tense night in 2002 we woke up to a sweet dream in the morning.

Turkey’s negotiations for full membership with the European Union had started then.

The press was free and enthusiastically celebrated that lovely morning with its free will.

Please take a look at “Turkey’s horizon” in the headlines from that morning.

The most secular ones, the social democrats, even the most dissident ones applauded until their palms throbbed with pain.

For whom were they applauding?

For two figures holding negotiations in Brussels that night: current President Abdullah Gül and current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Our souls were full of hope.

Our children would be able to live within the borders of European civilization, which we would be very proud to be a part of.

The long-established and old democracy of Europe would set an example for us.

As years passed, we forgot that lovely morning.

We even began to look down on it.
 
We embraced pompousness and said: “We don’t have things to learn from them, instead they have many things to learn from us.”

And it was not enough.

We turned our faces to the Middle East.

And its excuse was ready.

Europe turned away from us, so we turned our faces to the Middle East.

We not only turned our faces, but also put our noses into the region.

We attempted to set our democracy, which is very deficient compared to Europe, as an example for the Middle East, which has no democracy.

We believed in that, and even believed in their pretending to believe in us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Middle East, where bombs explode in civil areas.

We went down into the depths of the Middle East.

That splendid historic vision was merely childish fantasies which were exaggerated as “our interests.”

That deep strategy carried the Middle East to Gaziantep.

The Arab Spring has brought the dead of winter to Turkey, even before the summer ends.

Who brought the Middle East to Gaziantep?

The responsibility lies with those who are making us believe their dreams of childhood as strategic depth, those who endorsed the ideals of the European Union, but forgot about them and instead said: “We are done with EU” once the Ergenekon trials started. Those who thought the European Union was a trick of the West and those of us who do not bother to recall those ideals
We are all responsible.

My dear country, you are now in the Middle East. It came to you before you went to it.

And you better get to know the old geography which you once tried to forget.

The Middle East is the bomb in Gaziantep.

Frightened of a face-to-face challenge, it waits in dark corners. It does not go straight to the soldier but kills a person that walks in the street as he goes to his home.

The Middle East is the bomb in Gaziantep.

It does not like children. Its children have no value at all. It makes its own children live bombs and sends them to death.

The slaughters are made on the avenue of the innocents.

The Middle East is no longer among the hands of its own people.

It is the dark geography of a man with a mission, of street gangs, of hideous plotters.

Arabs are victims, so are Palestinians, so are Israelis. Muslims are victims, so are Christians, so are Jews.

This is the place where we are poking our nose.

August/23/2012

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