Our government is an open book

Our government is an open book

Our foreign minister is known for his frequent travels and his firmly and intensely made foreign contacts. Our minister is the portrait of a dynamic, restless, hardworking and patient politician. Our minister also does not fail to make diplomatic contacts when he is in the country. When he cannot find a foreign representative to meet with, he meets with non-Muslim community leaders, presumably because he regards them as near-foreigners.

The other day, the foreign minister visited the Fener Greek Patriarch, the Metropolitan of Deyrülzafaran Monastery, the acting Patriarch of the Turkish Armenian church, the Metropolitan of the Turkish-Syriac Church and the acting Patriarch of the Turkish Syriac Catholic Church.

In the law governing the Foreign Ministry his job description is: “To conduct the Republic of Turkey’s relationships with foreign states and international organizations.” Probably the minister regards non-Muslim communities as foreign elements; he sees fit to contact them in his capacity as foreign minister.

Also last week our interior minister delivered a speech on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. His job description, by law, is “To protect domestic safety, public order, public safety, public morals, rights and freedoms written in the Constitution […] by managing the domestic security organizations under his ministry.”

We can see that our ministers take maximum care on the subject of respecting their jurisdictions.
For example, the interior minister, speaking on an issue related to foreign policy, at a rally where placards were held and slogans were chanted that targeted Armenians, made remarks like, “The fist of the Turk is one.” The very next week, during his visit to the Armenian Patriarchate, the foreign minister said, “Turkey will overcome the prejudices formed against Armenians.”

Ministries are cross-multiplying and naturally that is confusing. We do not know why the foreign minister does not speak on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Khojaly massacre, or why the interior minister is not making contact with Turkey’s non-Muslim citizens.

While the interior minister said, before placards on which were written “You are all Armenians, you are all bastards,” that the 21st century (he could not slow down and also included the 22nd century) is a Turkish century, the foreign minister said, “We regard all citizens as equal under the law. The principled stance of our government on this issue is out in the open.”

I suppose the interior minister and the foreign minister should meet and have a long conversation. Because, actually, as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, there are “prejudices that do not suit the profound culture Turks and Armenians have formed.”

These prejudices are at such a point that they caused Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin to deliver that unforgettable speech and Davutoğlu to visit non-Muslims as if they were foreigners.

Certainly our government has a plan. While the foreign minister conducts diplomatic relations with Turkish citizens, maybe, who knows, the interior minister will open up negotiations with foreign leaders. After all, our government is an open book; foreign and domestic issues blend as one.

Özgür Mumcu is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on March 5. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

ÖZGÜR MUMCU - ozgur.mumcu@radikal.com.tr