Daily Sabah, Turkey
April 30 2014

Turkish society demands equal and honest dialogue from European

Melih Altınok 01 May 2014, Thursday

German President Joachim Gauck's criticisms about the government
during his visit to Turkey have resulted in broad repercussions on
the agenda. President Abdullah Gul responded to Gauck's criticisms
on matters that he had not mastered, kindly but firmly and implicitly
indicating Germany's democratic problems.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan said the information that Gauck shared with the media was
different from the content of their private bilateral talks. A majority
of Turkish popular opinion agrees with the reaction that was given to
Gauck by Gul and Erdogan.And they are not wrong either. Gauck found
Erdogan's offer of condolences, which shared the sorrow of Armenians
about the 1915 incidents, inadequate. This raised some question marks
in people's minds:

You are so maximalist concerning Turkey's confrontation with its past.

You are even more demanding than the Armenians who expressed their
gratitude to Erdogan because of his courageous statements about the
1915 incidents. Taking all of these into consideration, then why did
you excoriate the politics of your former chancellor Willy Brandt when
he knelt down in front of the Holocaust Memorial in your own country?

Or do you fail to see the Holocaust to be as critical a matter as
the 1915 incidents?

Why don't you look back at your recent past instead of giving advice
to Erdogan who has maintained a successful Kurdish reconciliation
initiative and who was appreciated by British and Spaniard leaders,
who have struggled against similar problems previously?

Actually, are you in a position to criticize a government that has
reached the highest level in its history in terms of initiating
social reconciliations about minorities and disadvantageous
sections? I suppose not. Remember the statements of Mehmet Kılıc
who is a Turkishborn Member of Parliament for Germany's Green
Party. Although he supported you, he did not vote for you in the
presidential elections.Kılıc explained the reason for this and said:
"When Joachim Gauck was nominated for the presidency one-and-a-half
years ago, he delivered an influential speech. He said they would not
alienate immigrants from society and expose them to clashes as well as
accepting them as a part of German society.Just three months later,
Thilo Sarrazin, a former central banker of Germany, said Turkish
children were good for nothing just because of their genes. During an
interview, Gauck spoke highly of these provocative words of Sarrazin
and confirmed them. What is worse, he said it was a courageous act and
these discussions were required." (Deutsche Welle) I do not even want
to elaborate on the fact that you applauded Turkey's Gezi protests
while harshly criticizing Germany's "Occupy Now" demonstrations.


It is possible to ask more questions about Gauck's political career and
its feedback. As Turks, we are not indifferent to European politics. I
wish you too had studied Turkey before you visited it, at least about
the subjects that you criticized.

If only you had referred to various information resources and had
not been an instrument of those who want to interfere in Turkey's
domestic politics through you. I also wish you had not spoilt these
important talks between Turkey and Germany.

I suppose your problem does not merely results from your knowledge
on Turkey, which has been manipulated. It seems that you also
have a problem with terminology.If this were not the case, you
would not have praised Middle East Technical University (ODTU),
where you presented a speech, for its liberal atmosphere because no
liberal journalists and authors are allowed to give lectures at this
university. Even worse, Erdogan, who is accused of authoritarianism,
is not allowed to enter it. As far as I know, you describe yourself as
a radical anti-communist, and you changed your stance in Turkey. ODTU
is considered as a stronghold of orthodox leftism in Turkey. What do
you think about checking the meanings of "liberal" and "authoritarian"
in the dictionary once more?

The Turkish people want European countries to warn and observe
each other with objective criteria. International solidarity is a
factor that consolidates democracy. However, Turkish society is fed
up with European prototypes, which give maximalist indoctrination
with imperfect information and a bossy attitude, forgetting their
own democratic problems. They righteously demand an equal and true
dialogue that is free of orientalist prejudices. I think this is not
an unrighteous aspiration.