Asylum for the insane

Asylum for the insane

Did you see that photograph? It was not from Vietnam and the people in the photograph were not Vietnamese trying to escape American soldiers. Nor were they Turkish Cypriots running away from the Nikos Sampson-led Greek Cypriot hordes paid by Athens to annex the island to Greece. They were Turkish citizens trying to escape from a curfew to be imposed on their town within hours…

That was a very sad photograph. Unfortunately, it was not the only sad photograph anyone has seen over the past few months in this country. In a way, the country has accommodated itself to this new government style: Leveling towns in order to fight terrorists. Those in the photograph were said to be people from Cizre trying to flee their town after school teachers there, as well as in Silopi and a district of Nusaybin, received text messages to pack up and leave as a curfew would be declared soon. If towns have become unsafe for teachers, what about kids attending those schools? What about citizens of those towns? If there was a need to remove teachers from those towns, why would not the civilian population be taken to a safer area, and warned properly about what was coming and what security measures they ought to take?

If many towns hundreds of times and often for periods over a week were deprived of all amenities required for a decent life, like food, health services and other basic needs, could anyone consider people abandoning their homes and running away from their towns abnormal? Would I stay under such conditions?

Prime Minister was off to Bulgaria for a one-day trip. He was so sorry that he had to return the same day and would not be able to spend few days in Bulgaria. He also publicly confessed that the detachment of troops, with armored vehicles and tanks deployed at a camp in Bashiqa, near Mosul (the ones who he and his master President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed would stay), were recalled home. Why were these troops deployed in the first place without approval from the Iraqi government? Why was this crisis in Turkish relations with the Baghdad government allowed to develop? Would anyone in the Foreign Ministry or gargantuan palace of Erdoğan remind these two “gentlemen” that countries have sovereignty and foreign troops cannot come in and go as if going to the loo?

Prime Minister was in efforts to explain that Turkey attached more importance to Iraqi sovereignty than many of the Iraqi parties. That’s nothing new. The Shiites want to carve out their state in the south, the Kurds already have their state-like establishment in the north and apart from a small area around Baghdad, a large chunk of the country –including oil-rich Mosul– is under the tyranny of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist gang. Anyhow, was it good to withdraw troops after Baghdad remained dissatisfied listening to the intelligence chief and Foreign Ministry undersecretary dispatched there hastily and challenged Turkey to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council?

The president and the prime minister had vowed repeatedly that they would not remove even one soldier and the Turkish military would stay there as long as needed, but now they have turned into nice kittens enjoying a moment in front of a fireplace.

It is the same burlesque, flip-flop government style that many people hoped the June elections would wipe away from this country but unfortunately after several hundred people fell victim to resurged terrorism, the value of the Turkish Lira depreciated sharply, and the opposition –particularly the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)– insisted on not assuming government responsibility, Turks preferred to surrender rights and liberties to “stability” in full awareness of the consequences.

The separatist gang that was allowed during the so-called Kurdish opening to stockpile arms and ammunition of all sorts and turn many towns of the southeastern Anatolian region into nests came within the range of the government after the November elections that revived the imperial aspirations of the tall man. Mind you, according to a report of the Association of Human Rights, this was at least the 52nd curfew declared since the Nov. 1 elections.

Can this be considered the “stability” that Turks voted for in the Nov. 1 elections? Was that photograph of fleeing civilians from Cizre a product of “stability?” Can a state ask its teachers for whatever reason to evacuate a town and impose a curfew on that town? Who were those teachers, or worse, who were those civilians compromised by their state?

Is this an asylum for the insane?