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BURAK BEKDİL

burak.bekdil@hurriyet.com.tr

BURAK BEKDİL > The bomb party!

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Liberal Party leader Cem Toker has smartly brought the following to our attention. It’s a quote from a January speech by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Whichever lands we lost in 1911-1923 ... We will come together with our brothers in those lands in 2011-2023.” Mr. Toker asked: “Not a single soul asked how Mr. Davutoğlu would reach this goal.”

No doubt, Dr. Davutoğlu’s line is music to the neo-Ottoman ears. To me, it reminds of Graham Greene’s book, “Dr. Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party.” Although I admit that there are several unknowns in Minister Davutoğlu’s phrase, what he may have meant should not be too ambiguous.

We could quickly ask: Who are our brothers in the lands we lost in 1911-1923? The Turks? Muslims? Or Sunni Muslims only? And what exactly does “coming together with our brothers” mean? Is a grand Turkish-Muslim feast in the making? A conference? A party? A bomb party? But none of those should take 12 years to prepare for.

In all probability, Mr. Davutoğlu was speaking of making the (especially Sunni) Muslim populations in those lands neo-colonies, a la the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact. Apparently, what the Ottomans did by the force of the sword centuries ago, the neo-Ottomans wish to do the same by the soft power that they assume they possess.

By any definition, creating neo-satellite states of the Cold War-type, dependent on the Rover with Rolls Royce ambitions, is a tall order. It’s a task which also proves that the poor Rover really does have Rolls Royce ambitions...

First, “the lands we lost in 1911-1923” are too vast to have a neighborhood party in: Egypt, the northern (such as Lesvos) and southern (Dodecanese) Aegean islands, Tripoli, parts of the Balkans including Albania, Mesopotamia including Kirkuk and Mosul, Palestine, Syria and parts of Arabia and Yemen. Second, I am not sure if all our brothers in those lands are keen to “come together with the Turks,” whatever “coming together with the Turks may mean.”

For the sake of simplicity (and reality, since Islamists hardly call non-Muslims their “brothers”), we can leave out the non-Muslim populations in those lands. So, dear Serbs, (Greek and former Yugoslav) Macedonians, Bulgars, Vlachs, Greeks, Copts, Assyrians and other Christian communities of the Middle East: Sorry, but you are not invited to come together with the neo-Ottomans. Dear Bosnians, Kosovars, Albanians, Turkomans, and Turks of Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria: You are lucky to be on the guest list. And yes, you can trill with joy!

For the rest of Dr. Davutoğlu’s large geographical definition that should make the guest list, we need to ask the minister if “we will come together with our Shia brothers too in the lands we lost.” If the guest list is limited to our Sunni brothers the gathering will most likely turn into a bomb party, and I don’t mean fireworks! Ironically enough, if our Shia brothers should be on the guest list, the gathering will turn into a bomb party too. In some ways it already has.

Listen to this Palestinian brother who says his armed group, along with the Lebanese Hezbollah - once a big fan of neo-Ottomans - would fight the West and the Turks if they intervened in Syria. Just a few days ago, Ahmed Jibril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine/General Command, has put it in plain, brotherly language: “We have warned the Turks several times not to play with fire.” I am warning you, Mr. Jibril: That’s no way to be invited to the big Ottoman party.

But how very interesting… A Muslim group burdening itself with the liberation of Palestine is threatening to fight a Muslim country that does not hide its devotion to the liberation of Palestine.

Never mind. The next 11 years will be party time! Dining will be fine; wining is strictly prohibited. Guests should embrace their brothers at their own peril. Kalashnikovs and bombs are allowed; but, sorry, our Persian brothers, nuclear weapons are not…

July/06/2012

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