Responding to racists with racism
China is conducting systematic cruelty in East Turkistan with various methods, in complete violation of human rights. It does not respect freedom of belief (imposes a ban on fasting, etc.), forces abortion, and restricts the use of native tongues. It continues these practices, disregarding warnings and has even gone all the way to spiteful means of extrajudicial execution.
To show reaction to this, to protest this, to draw the attention of the international public to this is a must; it is a duty; it should be the priority of everyone with a conscience.
Up to this, there is nothing one would not agree with; we are absolutely in accordance. Anyhow, the ongoing debate is not about the right to protest; it is about the (mis)use of this right.
Well, it is not right when the plain, racist stance and practices of China are pointed out by using, again, racist phrases, chauvinism and violence.
It is a different drama to approach this grave incident like a joke by saying, “Beating up a Uighur, mistaking him for a Chinese,” and laughing at it; let us go past that aspect for a moment.
Those who want to praise the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, let’s start by emphasizing this: “He has been successful in keeping the idealist youth under control; he kept them off the streets…”
Well, let’s thank him. Let us say that he has truly made a significant contribution to social peace. Ok, let us say that but, really, what else should Bahçeli have done?
Is the idealist youth a mass that needs to be constantly kept under control? If they are not controlled, would they attack randomly? Are they a mass who would not be able to maturely conduct an act of protest, which is a democratic right?
We have read the interview Bahçeli gave to journalist Ahmet Hakan. Bahçeli said, “Provocation incidents are very widespread, which transfer these kinds of acts to serve other purposes.” He is correct in saying that.
He also said, “Our idealist youth is sensitive against the oppression in China. They should be able to use their democratic rights.” Sure, this is correctly said.
However, he also said, “What is the feature that differentiates a Korean and a Chinese: Slanted eyes. Well, they both have slanting eyes. Is there a difference, sir?”
To mention slanting eyes - let me try to put this in the most polite terms – is troublesome in terms of political correctness.
It is a racist, discriminatory phrase.
Probably Bahçeli would say he did not mean to use a racist expression by mentioning “slanted eyes” but in civilized countries, for instance, this business is not solved by saying, “I did not mean that.” One needs to step out and apologize.
Using this kind of a language is not only Bahçeli’s problem. As a matter of fact, we have been self-promoting ourselves by saying, “Turks cannot be racists;” moreover, we even believe in this.
Our plate is full of hate speech such as, “I’m sorry but Armenian” and “Seed of a Greek.” The pile is increasing by each passing day, but we are still consoling ourselves by saying Turks cannot be racists.
An ex-president of the football club Tranzonspor, Mehmet Ali Yılmaz, said this about football player Kevin Campbell in 1999: “A cannibal… His color is faulty…”
When the fan group ÇARŞI stirred things up, he then tried to correct himself by saying this: “I meant Arab…”
Well, this is our situation on the racist front…