Time to think again
Islamophobia, Turcophobia, Erdoğanphobia or whatever it might be called, is a reality that Western nations perceive that they face an existential threat from foreigners flooding into their countries. The number of Syrian refugees embraced by all EU countries cannot exceed a fraction of the number of refugees Turkey has taken, which became their second home. If Germany is to be excluded, it could easily be argued that Europe has indeed turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the worst humanity the world has faced since the war in former Yugoslavia.
The world should not of course forget how a Dutch commander and his soldiers watched thousands of Muslim people get butchered in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. Accusing only Serbian ultranationalists and the Slobodan Milosevic regime for the Srebrenica massacre would be a big unjust to reality. The Dutch commander, who preferred to watch the butchering of Muslims from a distance rather than taking action in line with the mandate he was dispatched with, to this day is provided impunity, making him a less criminal.
Accusing the Christian culture of the West alone, however, cannot be a remedy for anything. The other day Murat Yetkin, the editor-in-chief of Hürriyet Daily News, had asked in one of his articles why despite all the negative perception toward the West, Muslim people saw western countries as places where they could live in security. He asked, what the reason behind it was if those “running for their lives are Muslims, but they are not seeking shelter in other Muslim countries, except for Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, where the political systems are not based on religious law. They turn their eyes to predominantly non-Muslim, mostly Christian societies in the West.”
The reason, unfortunately, is obvious. Why are thousands of Turks fleeing Turkey these days? Why were they leaving the country during the period of Feb. 28, 1997? Was it a national sport in the 1980s to escape to Greece and embark to a Scandinavian country or to Germany? The regimes in countries compel people to seek security outside their countries. And, unfortunately, neither of the Muslim countries is better than the rest when it comes to political oppression, isolationism, sheer political torture or use of political power to cleanse the country of everyone who is not subscribing to the views of the absolute power holder.
If the West was and is still a destination for people uncomfortable with the situation in their Muslim countries, if the West is still considered a “secure place,” despite all the differences and the frequently professed social mood not so receptive to foreigners in those countries, perhaps Muslim countries should first try to look at themselves. What was and is wrong with them that people prefer a Christian and not so receptive country as a more secure place to seek refuge in?
It is no secret that the latest escalation of tension between Turkey and Europe did not start with some exchange of furious remarks between Turkish and German politicians. It might be preferred to be perceived as such, but that’s not the reality. The problem is far bigger and more complicated than that. Western societies are very much concerned with the probability of their countries flooded by millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq and who knows from where tomorrow. The Muslim world is on the move and this move unfortunately is not one conducive to cohesion, prosperity, wellbeing or peace.
Right, the latest problem in Muslim geographies was ignited with the so-called “Arab Spring” prepared in some deep places of the West with the aim to usher Muslim societies into an era of democracy in smaller states controllable by the West, which would serve best to the security of Israel. That was a very ill perception. Not only the Americans lost their ambassador in Tripoli to such ugly and shallow policies, the entire region was placed on fire. Innocent societies all of a sudden found themselves in fire, abandoned their homes, and are seeking shelter abroad. Can anyone blame them for abandoning their homes?
In any case, the latest tension started with Germany refusing to shoulder more refugee-related problems, continued with concerns over internal security that could be destabilized with a referendum campaign carried to German soil by the Turkish absolute power holder to win support of millions of Turks living there. Climaxing since then with other European countries telling Ankara “This is your campaign, why should we allow you to export the polarization you created at home to our societies?”
That is, in a way, the Dutch, as well as the Danes who advised the Turkish prime minister to “come at another time” as well as the other capitals not so receptive to Erdoğan’s efforts to create a self-cut super and all the time demanding presidential system in Turkey are turning a cold shoulder to the Turkish government.
Turkish authorities are fuming that European bodies have supported the Netherlands rather than siding with Turkey in the latest crisis. Poor Turkish diplomacy could not understand what the European Union is after sixty more years knocking on the same door. EU is a solidarity organization at the same time. If a son does something bad, should anyone expect the father to punish the son in front of others? Let us be realistic.
Tomorrow, very much like with the Russians, Turkey is compelled to find ways and patch up with the Netherlands and the EU. Don’t we remember the appalling Russia to patch up efforts with Erdoğan? Why escalate tension to such crazy levels if we know that tomorrow there will be a humiliating patch up effort?
The crisis with Russia was concocted by the Fethullah Gülen gang, the government claims. Who concocted the current crisis with Europe?