Iran’s unbelievable hypocrisy

Iran’s unbelievable hypocrisy

In the aftermath of the “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting in Istanbul, a most bizarre statement came from Tehran.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, condemned the meeting and dubbed its participants as “the enemies of Syria.” He even argued that the meeting was organized by Turkey, of course, “to bribe Israel.” 

But Iran should know better who “the enemies of the Syrian people” really are. After all, it is Tehran who is supporting and arming the illegitimate regime in Damascus which has killed more than 9,000 Syrian citizens in the past year. It is even reported that the “Islamic Republic” is actively participating in this mass murder, by putting its military advisers and even snipers at the service of the tyranny of Bashar al-Assad.

In other words, if we want to name any “enemy of the Syrian people,” we should probably look to somewhere other than the Turkish government.

In fact, the Turkish government, like it or not for any other reason, has been doing its best to help the Syrian people. When Syria was threatened by the Bush Administration in 2005, it was Ankara who reached out to Damascus and saved it from total isolation. Soon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan befriended Bashar al-Assad, and solved all longtime problems between the two countries.

Visa requirements were lifted as trade and tourism boomed between the two nations.

When the Arab Spring reached Syria, Turkey again tried to help, by trying to persuade the al-Assad regime for a peaceful transition to democracy. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Damascus again and again to convince the regime to refrain from violence and reach a consensus with the opposition under Turkish mediation.

But, well, the leopard did not change its spots. The Baath regime proved that nothing has changed since 1982, when it killed tens of thousands of Sunnis in Hama and Homs – a monstrosity that Sunni Turks know and remember well. Soon, thousands fled to Turkey to find shelter, and Ankara, as a friend of the Syrian people, welcomed them. These survivors also made Turkey even more aware and alarmed about the barbarism of the al-Assad regime.

So, today Turkey is condemning the Syrian regime, supporting the Syrian opposition, and trying to mobilize the international community, only because it is indeed the friend of the Syria people. 

Tehran’s dishonesty is evident not only its anti-Turkish demagoguery on Syria, where it itself carries the real guilt, but also its total disrespect to Ankara’s efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis. In 2010, Ankara went out of its way to help Tehran on this, by first brokering a nuclear swap deal and then voting “no” to sanctions on Iran at the United Nations Security Council. But all that goodwill on the Turkish side has simply been exploited by Iran to earn more time for its spooky nuclear program.

Finally, I know whatever I write here will not change much, but let me still tell this openly to the Iranians who apparently see the whole region from the prism of a Sunni-versus-Shiite dichotomy: Yes, we Turks are overwhelmingly Sunni, but we certainly are not anti-Shiite. Quite the contrary, we want to see only understanding, respect and fraternity between these two great branches of Islam.

Thus, our condemnation of the al-Assad regime has no sectarian subtext. We just hate to see innocent children, women and men being killed everyday by a ruthless dictatorship. And when the patron of that dictatorship calls us an “enemy” of those victims, I can’t find any word for the behavior of that patron other than hypocrisy.