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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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READER COMMENTS

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Ayazid

7/6/2012 5:55:15 PM

This article feels like a beating ofa dead horse to me. Whatever you think about the "neo-Ottomanic" policies of the AKP, it should be given credit for trying to improve the relations between Turks and Arabs, after decades of Kemalist policies which were aimed at cutting all cultural ties with the Middle East and basically ignored it. Lack of knowledge and prejudices about Arab countries and their inhabitants among Turks are direct results of this strategy and they are still too evident.

Ayazid

7/6/2012 5:40:28 PM

@ Ilker, there is no need to perpetuate old ethnic prejudices and stereotypes which only poison relations between Turks and other peoples and don't serve any other purpose thanto strenghthen the agenda of certain political groups in Turkey. It's quite hypocritic to criticize bigotry and narrow-mindedness of islamists and islamic oriented politicians in the AKP and at the same time to show the same level of bigotry (just of another kind).How can be some 300 milion people "no friends of Turks"?

david ellison

7/6/2012 1:42:52 PM

Thank you for exposing the wild dreams of a party that has lost it's ethical and moral compass. "Peace with our neighbors "has already been exposed as an opportunistic way to buy short term domestic votes and money.

dogan kemal ileri

7/6/2012 12:12:27 PM

You clearly have failed in understanding the intentions of our esteemed Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu or you simply enjoy trivialising the thoughts and deeds of the AKP government.As you clearly know we have been severely cold shouldered by the EU with our membership going nowhere and our share of trade constantly dipping because of the global economic slump.So Davutoglu has enabled Turkiye to re-visit our past areas of influence to enliven our sphere of influence and therefore TRADE.Simple!!

Tayyar Abi

7/6/2012 7:50:13 AM

It's a very tall order and will be very interesting, no doubt about that.

ilker avni

7/6/2012 5:12:43 AM

Arabs are no frends of Turks.Ataturk never trusted the Arabs, quiet right to.We just would like to turn the clock back and wonder what Turkey would have looked like now with all that Oil and gas.Thats the agenda for Turkey useing her SMART power to divide and rule the Arabs against the Iranian threat.
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