Decision that confirms France as France
The decision of the French Constitutional Council has truly demonstrated that France is a special country.
Even though its politicians go astray and take needless steps for the sake of votes, the “deep France” stepped up and said “stop” when a certain line was crossed.
President Nicolas Sarkozy may have ordered a new “denial law,” and his rival François Hollande may also support this, but do not worry. Do not pay attention to what they are saying. Do not forget they are politicians looking for votes from Armenians in France.
When former ambassador Yalım Eralp, in his comment on the decision, said this was “a decision that confirms France as France,” he was drawing attention to the most correct aspect of the situation.
Let’s understand this before anything else: Let’s not interpret this development as “France was afraid of us.” Don’t ever say: “France surrendered to us.” Not even close.
The decision demonstrates the significance France attributes to certain values. It carries significant messages for everybody, including us: France has shown how much it cares about freedom of thought, that there should be no restrictions in this field, despite terror or domestic policy obligations.
It gave the message: “Do not make historic events tools for domestic politics,” primarily to President Sarkozy and French politicians. It has shown the world and Armenians that sympathy could be developed for “genocide” claims - and that they could be accepted - but that there was a limit to this.
In a nutshell, the “deep state” in France has taken action.
This decision, in practice, has prevented Turkish-French relations from hitting the wall. Maybe Sarkozy will have a new motion prepared tomorrow and will force the “denial” topic again, but again it will no doubt hit the Constitutional Council obstacle.
This decision will also be echoed throughout the world. If France had accepted the “denial law,” Armenians would have been able to knock at every country’s door showing Paris as an example to put more pressure on.
All of these were prevented.
So far so good.
But there is another side to the story. If Turkey looks at this situation and concludes: “We have won a victory over ‘genocide claims,’” then it would be fooling itself.
Maybe the “denial law” has received a bad blow, but the “genocide” is still gaining serious ground.
There are two scenarios for Ankara to consider until 2015, which is the date that coincides with the 100th anniversary of 1915 events:
1) To accept living with the “genocide.”
2) In order to oppose the “genocide” effectively, to take bold steps to revive relations with Armenia.
The French Constitutional Council did not stay “French” to the “denial law.” Turkey should also not stay “French” to “genocide.”
Blocking the mandate generated many benefits
A long time has passed since then – it is water under the bridge – but the mandate of March 1, 2003, is still being discussed. Especially after the United States has withdrawn from Iraq, people look back and ask the question, “Did we do it right, or was it bad for us?” to find very different answers.
A segment of thinkers say the rejection of the mandate was an extremely huge mistake. They emphasize that this event made Turkey pay a high price.
They say that if the mandate, the Turkish Parliament’s March 2003 decision not to allow U.S. forces to use Turkish territory to open a northern front in the war against Iraq, had passed, they say Turkey today would have been in a position in control of developments in Iraq Kurdistan. They emphasize that Masoud Barzani would not have been free to behave as he wished to, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani would not have been playing ball with the Unites States the way he wanted to, they would not have been able to be “buddies” with Abdullah Öcalan – leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who is serving a life sentence – and would not be able to fool around in the region.
They believe that if the mandate had passed, 20,000 Turkish soldiers would have been deployed 20 kilometers inside the Iraqi border, thus it would have been impossible for the PKK to enter and exit Turkey, moreover even life on Kandil Mountain would have become impossible and Turkey would have gained a huge advantage in the Kurdish issue.
With due respect, I do not agree at all. On the contrary, I believe that the rejection of the mandate due to a procedural accident has provided many benefits to our country.
Let me explain:
If the Turkish military had formed a buffer zone in northern Iraq, it would have been the target of both the PKK and the Barzani supporters for nine years and there would have been constant clashes alongside the border. It would have been obliged to respond to every attack with reprisal and Turkey would have been dragged into an unnamed war in northern Iraq. This war would have created a new enemy block for Turkey.
It would have resulted in confronting, not only the Kurds, but also Baghdad. And it would have also caused animosity between Turkey and the Arab world for invading an Arab country. Separately, let’s not forget that the U.S. would not have allowed such an intervention that might have caused instability in Iraq.
The buffer zone may have obstructed the PKK’s passage to Turkey but would not have blocked it all together. The PKK would have entered Turkey and would have carried weapons to Turkey through longer routes. On the contrary, this pressure would have intensified domestic clashes.
Also, the passage to Kandil from the buffer zone would have been impossible without Barzani’s assistance. This situation would have created no advantage. In short, Turkey would not have reached its goal without invading northern Iraq. And this could have meant that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would have been pulled into the Middle East quagmire.
Turkey would have been obliged to depart northern Iraq nowadays together with American soldiers and old problems would return to the table, and a struggle of nine years would have ended with no benefits. As a result, Turkey would have lost northern Iraqi Kurds, Baghdad and Arabs; it would have had to withdraw without solving the PKK problem.
The rejection of the mandate is not a victory of the Ak Parti. As I said earlier, it was a “road accident.” Let’s know this much for sure that it has “generated many benefits.”