A moderated, tamed, cooled piece
I waited three weeks to write this piece. There were times that I had the urge to write, to shout it out loud. But I told myself: “These days are bad days. Let me wait a bit, just to be sure.”
I’m so glad I waited. It is a virtue to react immediately in journalism. Sometimes it is even better to wait for that reaction to burn off.
Here now, today, I am writing with “moderated,” “tamed” and “rationalized” feelings.
Three weeks ago today, two ships heading for Gaza were intercepted by Israeli soldiers in the eastern Mediterranean. One was flying a Canadian flag and was called Tahrir.
The was flying an Irish flag. Israeli military officials asked them on the radio: “Where are you coming from?” The ship answered: “From Turkey.”
What would any Turk, who is aware of what is going on, remember after reading this news?
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s statement, as sharp as a needle, dated Sept. 2 – right?
“Turkey will take precautions to provide safety of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.” It was not an empty statement. If needed, the Navy would be sent and planes would take off.
Did you feel what I felt when you read that news? “Where is it, my brother, those mighty Turkish planes, ships, submarines that were to provide freedom of navigation? Where is the glorious armada of the grandsons of Barbarossa Hayreddin?”
“Where are those sailors, the star and crescent fleet of humanity that would make life unbearable for the cruel Netanyahu?”
Was there a Turkish ship that weighed anchor from Sazlık Bay of Marmaris, a Turkish F-16 that flew the flag in the eastern Mediterranean skies on days we don’t know about? Have silencers been installed on the motors of the F-16s over the eastern Mediterranean?
Yes, I felt all this as the bitterness of Turkish diplomacy was still on my palate. The title of my piece would have been this: “Well, where are the grandsons of Barbarossa?”
I did not write it. Because it would have been wrong, a very wrong piece of writing.
I did not write it; no other person wrote it. Nobody confronted the Foreign Ministry with the inconvenient truth of this incident.
Not because of fear or shyness, but because logic, cool-headedness and deliberateness prevailed.
I did not write it because Turkey did the right thing there. What was wrong were those outrageous statements issued after the Mavi Marmara report that were impossible to carry out.
God forbid if the sentimental deliriums of some great theoreticians had prevailed. What would have happened over there if the Navy and the Air Force had been mobilized?
I did not write it in order to support wise decisions instead of opening wounds.
Turkey has caught a beautiful wind. While the world economy is taking a tumble, we are growing. Auras of admiration are being formed around us. This Turkey does not need such outdated swagger. I find this policy as outdated as the Russian Empire’s policy of accessing warm waters. Moreover, I find it dangerous for a Turkey that is experiencing a Kurdish problem at home to interfere so much into other countries’ internal affairs. And I believe that nobody domestically or internationally confronted the Foreign Minister with the inconvenient truth of this incident if three weeks ago, this is the only reason.
We have seen that wisdom and sanity have come to dominate our foreign policy.
*Ertuğrul Özkök is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared on Nov. 16. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff