The New Anatolian
April 30 2005

Turks: Lost and Humiliated?
Huseyin Bagci
The New Anatolian


Yes, accepted. The Armenian diaspora and Armenian state policy has
been very successful in sowing great confusion among Turkish minds
and Turkish politics. Yes, the discussion has already reached a point
where it is very difficult to ignore it. Yes, the Turkish political,
diplomatic and academic world failed in this because all of them were
caught unprepared and what's more, there is an intellectual and
political environment in the world which is very suitable for
Armenian claims and unsuitable for Turkish politics and political
developments. At least, the Turks seem to be the losers for the
moment.

The Armenian diaspora worked very hard and paid whatever price was
necessary for the international public diplomacy. There are enough
people also among the Turks who put their "intellect" up for rent,
not to mention for sale. Indeed, no one in Turkey is showing
"intellectual aggression" but rather they are on "intellectual
defense" and it means on the international level that those who
defend something also have something to hide! Take how the Turkish
prime minister's statement which said that Turkey is ready to
"confront its history" led to more debate. What does this mean then?
The word confrontation has a negative connotation in the Turkish
case. It contains the suggestion that you have done something but not
accepted it. It seems again that he has been badly advised. His
statement shows the typical "Turkish mentality" which preaches PR
only to the Turks. The Ottoman Empire was divided and every nation of
this empire -- be it Arabs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Turks etc. -- got
its part of this dissolution process, some more, some less. The fact
is however that Turks were victims then and victims again now. Never
ever in the entire modern history of Turkey since 1923 have Turks
been treated in the international arena so badly and in such a
prejudiced way as it is the case now. Turkey is at the bottom of its
"intellectual defeat." Yes, the way Turkey argues, it is damned to
loose. In a few years Turks will even have to explain why they
established modern Turkey and Ataturk will be held responsible for
this!

Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) member of Parliament and
former Ambassador Sukru Elekdag spoke to the students of Gazi
University recently and made similar statement with one difference.
He was accusing academics of being responsible for the Armenian
issue! Interestingly enough, the academics are once again responsible
for everything! It seems that the academics are the only scapegoats
for the miserable politics of Turkish politicians! Concerning the
writer Orhan Pamuk he was much more tolerable! It's a pity that such
an enlightened ambassador also falls into the same intellectual
fallacy.

The main point is however not that because the Armenians have such
historic claims and they want to get some land, compensation and the
"historic revanch" because they rose up again the Ottoman state and
had to pay a very high price for this (not like the Arabs or some
Balkan nations who had better supporters), but rather that the Turks
are now in such a state of affairs that they do not know what they
want. Again, never ever before have Turks and Turkey been under such
political and intellectual pressure. This does not mean however that
the Armenians or European countries from France to Poland from there
to Russia or Switzerland are "defenders of truth." The political fact
is that the Turks are now the most "unwanted nation" in Europe. It
would be enough just to see which countries do apply visa
requirements for the Turks and which don't! Unfortunately, the image
of Turkey abroad is getting worse the more Turkey deals with issues
like headscarves or other Islamic symbols. How otherwise to explain
the statements of Gen. Ozkok and Constitutional Court Chief Justice
Bumin which created great domestic political tension in Turkey. Yes,
the image of the government is an Islamic one, as one of the prime
ministers of the EU countries said to me recently that Turkey has an
Islamic government.

One should be also fair enough to accept the fact that Turkey is
gaining more of a character of an Islamic state. Right or wrong, this
is the image. Yes, Turkey is not wanted because Europe is facing many
challenges and Turkey will not be wanted exactly in this decade. It
is all politics. Nothing has to do with the criteria of that or this
country. The fact is that never ever has Turkey been so weak,
unprepared and unwanted. An article published in German daily Die
Welt just on Tuesday said that the Turks neither in 1915 nor now keep
their reform promises. The European enlargement process is a
political one, not an academic one! I do see that the "intellectual
confusion and turbulence" in Turkey will continue for a long time.
Turkey has lost its common sense, creativity and national identity.
The Turks are the real losers of the post-Cold War era and
globalization. No other nation has been so humiliated in the last 15
years as the Turks. Many then wonder why the Turks are getting
nationalistic. Look what Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis said last
week in Ankara: "Turkey cannot become European overnight." Is it not
the biggest political insult ever made by an EU politician to the
Turks, who presumably will start negotiations in October? In Turkish
one would say: Edep yahu!

Yes, Turkey seems to have lost already the battle at the moment, but
not the war. The intellectual and political war has already started
among the Turkish elite. It will be different in its character and
dimension. No nation can accept such humiliations as it is now the
case. The world is unjust, but the Turks should not become the only
nation which gets the biggest portion of this injustice!