Just for PR
Turkey’s active participation in any Western war on Islamist terrorism, be it related to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Qaeda or any other heinous gang using Islam to advance their evil propaganda, is of great importance. Why?
First of all, it is no secret that there is still cultural, historical and worst, social residue of the Crusades-era on both sides of the Judaic-Christian and Islam divide, despite the passing of many centuries. Sometimes shallow people might ignore the Crusades’ dimension of trauma on Muslim societies, and without any intent to hurt them, might say this administration was launching a “crusade” against drug trafficking, for example. Muslim societies would support a fight against drug traffickers, but when they hear a crusade is launched against something, their initial reaction can only be of irritation.
Today it is of no use to anyone to discuss whether the Crusades were good or bad; they are part of our common past. Yet particularly after Sept. 11 and the consequent declaration in Washington that a Crusade against radical Islam was to be launched, it has become all the more important for those appearing in front of the public to mind what they are saying on issues pertaining to religion, and how.
It is nonsense to test the limits of Muslim patience with provocative Danish cartoons and it is equally horrible to unleash religious violence because a cartoonist exercised his freedom of expression and depicted what was sacrosanct to Muslim in his work. There is absolutely a need to learn to be more tolerant on issues that divide or may divide peoples. For example, it is the right of Kurds to education in their mother tongue. Turks, on the other hand, are very worried that education in this mother tongue might accelerate what they see as a process of dissolution and what is presented by the government as an “opening.” Was there any meaning in this opening at clandestine schools in two eastern cities, where Kurdish was to be the language of education?
A process is underway, and now Kurdish is optional at schools in the country. Why open such schools with grand ceremonies decorated with separatist flags and with separatist slogans? Such provocation only serves extremists on both sides of the divide and is definitely not conducive to peace.
ISIL zealots beheading some other people every day, including Christians, compel Turks to think first of their 49 dear citizens, including diplomats, who are being held hostage by the group. Of course, it can be argued that this hostage business was an intelligently arranged preemptive measure, some sort of a fix to save ISIL from Turkey’s wrath and prevent a Turkish attack on ISIL. No one can prove such a dastardly arrangement. But it is a fact that the Turkish government cannot risk a photo of body bags carrying beheaded Turkish nationals.
That is, even if there are strong suspicions that this government might have been involved in some dirty deals with al-Nusra, ISIL and God knows which other Muslim terrorist groups and now cannot destroy the beast that it nourished, there are very legitimate reasons for Turkey to stay out of any war. Why are Americans and others demanding that Turkey act on ISIL militarily, when they have long opted to stay out – if not discreetly support – the separatist terrorists Turkey was trying to battle for more than three decades?
Turkey’s involvement in the war will help the U.S. send a strong message to Muslim societies that this is not a Crusade, but that it is fighting only Islamist terrorists, and this fight is so legitimate that even Muslim Turkey is helping its drive. That is, Turkey is needed only for PR reasons. Otherwise, since there will not be boots on the ground, doesn’t the U.S. have the capability to carpet bomb Iraq from bases back at home, British bases on Cyprus or its fleet in the Mediterranean?
Just for PR…