Oh, Woe Is Poor Turkey…

The year is ending, so why not end it laughing?

A friend sent an article, “Must Turkey always stand alone in the world?” from a leading Turkish newspaper, “Hurriet” (which, with Turkey’s treatment of journalists, laughably means freedom).

Its author, N. Murat Ersavcı, a diplomat with 41 years of service under his belt, bemoans many Turks’ sense of standing alone despite 60 years of membership in NATO. He cites examples, some of which I’ll address, but conveniently “forgets” the REAL reasons creating the situations he complains about. Those are usually Turkey’s failings, faults or faux pas.

The European Union’s decision to reject Turkey’s application for full membership seems to have struck Mr. Ersavcı particularly hard, since he gives it extensive attention. Laugh. Yet, he never mentions it was because of Turkey’s policies, behavior, and even (in part) Genocide denialism.

He seems to expect everyone to consider that “Turkey is a big country … and it lies not at the heart of one region but at the edge of several different regions … and so it has several different agendas and perhaps cross-cutting interests.” Laugh. Yet somehow this seasoned diplomat doesn’t see that those agendas and interests are all intrusive, disruptive and often lethal. Could that be why Turkey is not given the type of consideration Mr. Ersavci would like to see?

The strangest assertion he makes is that “some … neighbors yearn to exclude … [Turkey] and its citizens from the international community, a would-be blockade, and conduct a constant low-level campaign to this effect.” Laugh. I wish Mr. Ersavci would name these horrible neighbors. The only blockade in the area, of any sort (other than those involving Israel), I’m aware of is that of the Republic of Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

He also harks back a little farther to “the 1975 U.S. arms embargo against Turkey … triggered by ethnic lobbies within Congress after Turkey intervened in Cyprus.” Laugh. While it’s true that Turkey used Greek interference in Cyprus as an excuse, does Mr. Ersavci think that anyone believes Ankara wasn’t thrilled by the opportunity to reclaim that which had been wrested by Great Britain from the Ottoman Empire back in 1878 in exchange for support against Russia to which it had just lost a war? Plus, it’s not like the Greeks landed thousands of troops on the island, followed by tens of thousands of Turkish settlers, beginning an occupation that continues even today. The malign intent of Turkey’s actions in 1974 are confirmed by the fact that Ankara is now implementing the same pattern of demographic reconfiguration in Rojava/Northern Syria.

While we’re on a Hellenic theme, let’s parse this gem from his piece: “… Greece, for which any estrangement of Turkey from the Western world is unhealthy in the long term.” Laugh. Does anyone not perceive the implicit threat Mr. Ersavci makes against a neighboring country?

He writes, “I could not help thinking of these unhappy precedents … when … the U.S. Congress … decided to recognize the hardline Armenian claims against Turkey … which pleases a bloc of U.S. ethnic voters but has no relevance to the present-day issues whatsoever. The resolution was part of an ethnic agenda by a particular community, but … will cause damage in the real world of today’s politics and economics.” Laugh. Of course no “oh we poor, long suffering, misunderstood Turks” piece would be complete without a reference to Ankara’s favorite bogeyman – the Armenians! Mr. Ersavci does not disappoint on this front.

He is depressed by “international… and American reaction particularly … to ‘Operation Spring of Peace’ [invading Syria – GY]” since “coverage outside the country is largely unfavorable … and much of the vocabulary … is implicitly hostile and misleading [and] conceals … truths about PKK terrorists …” Laugh. Mr. Ersavci, perhaps because he has seen so much over his long career, somehow omits the fact that the Kurds his country is now savaging are not members of the PKK (even if they are ideologically aligned) and they are simply fighting for their rights.

All this and more lead back to his apparent core concern, ensuring “Turkey’s engagement and dialogue with the EU and others deepens. The alternative – a policy of trying to live with a breakdown in international dialogue – could … produce only more international crises.”  Laugh. I hope Mr. Ersavci won’t deem me presumptuous if I give him and Turkey a few suggestions.

First, address the above errors, then consider ceasing actions (among many others) such as:

– Shooting down a Russian plane

– Planning to invade Armenia, twice (from Greek ambassador’s memoirs and 2019 leak)

– Violating Greece’s Aegean Sea airspace frequently and ongoingly

– Inciting Muslims/Turks in Bulgaria against their government (1980s)

– Maintaining jails that inspire films such as “Midnight Express”

– Butting in to the politics of nearby countries – Egypt, Libya, and the most extreme case of Syria

– Turning on your closest regional ally, i.e. Israel

– Cease denying the multiple genocides committed by Turkish governments

You get the idea, right Mr. Ersavci? Act decently, and Turks will no longer have to “feel alone”!

Let’s all thank Mr. Ersavci for the laughter and opportunity to assist our “poor-always-maligned-neighbor,” Turkey, in finding its way into the good graces of the international community.

Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
Garen Yegparian

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  1. You are a very smart man! I’m an Egyptian who loves my motherland! I wish Turkey would send troops to Egypt ,they have been constantly butting into are affairs. We’re ready for any conflict.

  2. …if i may add to a most interesting opinion piece, that, Cyprus, is the key to all these issues; i ask:

    why must Cypriots be denied their identity as Cypriots, how is it that Turkey as a “National cause” denies their existence; are the Alevi not Turkish, or the Kurds? (never mind the Greeks and the Armenians they hardy exist in Turkey anymore)
    …i ask, if Cyprus cannot be “Greek”, how is Turkey “Turkish”?

    why has “Turkishness” taken the view that Turks, not “Turkish”, are their adversary, for decades in Cyprus, and now in Turkey, “it” tearing it apart? Is the world, that which is not “Turkish”, what willfully they are hostile toward, what “Turks” are against?

    with the Aegean, and now Libya, linked to oil and gas, having been linked to Cyprus, will he negotiate a settlement of equals that is as comprehensive as UNCLOS, and a suitable improvement to the Treaty of Lausanne, having disrupted the balance of power, thus having brought the protagonists together?

    …by recognising Cyprus, as Cypriot, he may have all these things; Fame, the esteem of all Humankind, Peace among all his neighbours, even Peace at home. He may find in such a notion, recognising Cypriots as a People whether Turkish or Greek, one country, that Cyprus may be made up of Cypriot constituencies, as Persons quite diverse as well, but that they support equally the Universal Principals on which, as Individuals they are prepared to defend each other.

    …by tearing Cyprus in half, isn’t infamy his Legacy?

    …is it in Cyprus that he is looking for the “perfect” BBF, something he can emulate?

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