Why do Germans, crusaders and Zoroastrians unite against Turkey?
As Turkey continues to struggle under a wave of terror attacks by different groups, the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are resorting to threatening and xenophobic rhetoric at a time when they need local and international allies.
Following June 7’s car bomb attack in central Istanbul, which killed 11 people and wounded 36 others, similar messages came from Erdoğan and the pro-government media.
“Those who presume to discipline and direct Turkey the way they want through terror organizations are trying to pick up the slack of crusaders, the Mongol invasion, the Sevres Treaty, and complete it,” Erdoğan said, hours after the attack, while addressing the families of slain security forces members.
Erdoğan added that the “motive” which brought soldiers to the shores of Gallipoli was the same one which swelled the ranks of terrorist groups.
“Those who that day came within the dream of invading Istanbul, with the aspiration of giving an end to the 450-year-long gap, are today using terror organizations as tools for the same aim,” he said.
Since June 2015, following a relatively calm period, more than 1,000 people, including over 500 police officers and soldiers, have been killed in terror attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The majority of the civilian casualties have been in suicide and car bomb attacks, while the security forces members have mostly been killed in clashes during anti-PKK operations in urban areas in the country’s southeast.
The cooperation between the United States and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is linked to the outlawed PKK, in operations against ISIL in Syria had prompted an anti-U.S. sentiment and Washington was being blamed for the PKK attacks. However, Germany climbed to the top of the “foreign enemies” list last week after a Bundestag decision recognizing the 1915 Armenian killings as genocide.
“German job” was the headline of an almost full page story on the Istanbul attack in pro-government daily Güneş yesterday, accompanied by a giant photo of the attack scene, with a much smaller “Turkey thinks so” addition.
According to the story, “Germany’s deep state could not stomach Turkey’s reaction [to the bill] at the highest level. It panicked and resorted to its old ways, having the terrorist groups it uses as tools stage a bloody attack in Istanbul.”
Daily Akşam, which belongs to the same media group as Güneş, had a different culprit in mind.
“Zoroastrians,” was its headline, arguing that the PKK, “which embraces the prehistoric religion of Zoroastrianism in which fire is deemed sacred,” was behind the attack.
Zoroastrianism was not a culprit Akşam came up with itself. It was indeed Erdoğan, who on various occasions with the latest being on May 28 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, said the PKK consisted of “atheists and Zoroastrians.”
In addition, millions of people in Turkey believe that Armenians are behind the PKK, and many of the outlawed organization’s members, including its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, are of Armenian origin.
Inspired by such an environment, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on June 7 that the Russian media was run by Armenians “who especially try to poison the Russian nation against the Turkish nation.”
Erdoğan has been using discriminatory language against almost all segments of society but his supporters since his days as the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), inspiring other AKP members to do so.
Uniting AKP supporters against the enemy has been one of the main driving forces behind Erdoğan’s and the AKP’s political success.
But the protests against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who has multiple times announced his support for the government’s anti-terror fight, at yesterday’s funeral ceremony for victims of the June 7 attack is the latest sign that Erdoğan’s political tactics have pushed the country to the brink of total disintegration.
Turkey is facing an unprecedented wave of terrorism that needs to be addressed with a unified voice from the citizens of this country.
Erdoğan and the AKP needs allies both inside the country and on the international stage if Turkey is to overcome these threats, and unfortunately, this will not happen if they continue to stick to their current way of politics.