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GreeceTurkey: Conceptual Framework. Ideology, Strategic Culture, and National Security

Turkey: Conceptual Framework. Ideology, Strategic Culture, and National Security

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Hellenic News
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By Marcus A. Templar – November 15, 2015

 

BIOGRAPHY

Marcus Alexander Templar was born in Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece. He is a former Cryptologic Linguist and Principal Subject Matter Expert in All-Source Intelligence Analysis of the U.S. Army. During his military career, he has supported intelligence operations on a national level, and served as instructor in U.S. Intelligence Schools.

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His academic research includes the political ideology of Bulgarian intellectuals after the Commune of Paris and the effect of their ideology to the establishment, development, and activities of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) aka VMRO. The research also examines the organization’s activities in order to create a communist regime of Bulgarians in Macedonia at least 20 years before the founding of the USSR.

More specifically, his work analyzes the relationship and interaction among members and factions of the organization with contemporary political, pan-Slavic movements and governments, as well as the organization’s political and terrorist activities. Academically he is intrinsically interested in matters of national security, public governmental policy, and strategy.

He holds a BA from Western Illinois University (Macomb, Illinois ) in the Social Sciences and Humanities, a Master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago, Illinois ) in Human Resource Development, and a second Master’s in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University (Washington, DC) specializing in the southern Balkans and Turkey.

He is a member of the Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the UK’s Political Studies Association (PSA), National Intelligence Education Foundation of the USA, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, National Intelligence University Alumni Association, and National Military Intelligence Association of the USA.

 

Abstract

 

This manuscript was started in July 2014 with the sole purpose of tendering mostly the psychological disposition of the Turkish people and the reasons for that disposition as I understand it owing to my paternal heritage. Nonetheless, events mostly in the Middle East forced me to modify some parts of the paper.

Furthermore, the indicated monograph attempts to provide information to help the reader understand the topic of the strategic culture of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the reasons that brought forth principles as the ideology and particular aspects of Turkey’s dimensions of national security.

Strategic culture refers to widely shared normative beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences as they pertain to a country’s foreign relations. It is the psychological personality of a country. It simply offers information that one needs to know in order to understand why Turkey as a whole behaves in certain ways and to explain its national personality.

 

The Strategic Culture of Turkey

 

Although most experts would ascribe the strategic culture of Turkey to the events that took place between the armistice at Mudros (October 30, 1918) and the Treaty of Sevres (August 10, 1920), the cause for Turkey’s strategic culture goes back to the 18th century. The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca signed on July 21, 1774 established peace between Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire after their conflict of 1768-74. However, the Great Powers of the time habitually intervened in the domestic affairs of the Ottoman State, and later Empire, under one pretext or another imposing their will in accordance with their own national interests.

The then Great Powers (Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) did not just interfere in the domestic affairs of the Ottoman State, but made decisions over the sovereignty of the state and even carved and shared territories without consideration for the Sultan. The powers agreed to the need of political reforms both in Bosnia (Austro-Hungarian interest), but also in the Ottoman territories in which their majority had Bulgarian population (Russian interest). Through wars, Russia succeeded in claiming the Ottoman provinces of Kars and Batumi in the Caucasus and gave autonomy or independence to principalities, especially to Christian nations.

Turkish military personnel are unable to explain that on one hand they believe their military as the best in the world while simultaneously Turkey’s leadership is fearful of Greece’s military might. In order to understand this mentality one must understand the strategic culture of Turkey.

Turkey’s strategic culture is a culture of uncertainty and insecurity, which thus far has been exhibited as follows.

  • Turks are fixated with unity in homogeneity, culture, and sameness as if they all belong to one ethnic and one religious group. Nevertheless, oneness “is built upon the very qualities and values that define and sustain them – mutuality, cooperation, stability, and interconnectedness.”[1] In Turkey, values of similar quality are artificial and superficial assertions that reflect Turkey’s national educational system as enacted by Kemal Ataturk, not the character of its ethnic or its religious composition.

 

    1. Their concept of national security is reduced to only physical dimensions, as sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a narrow understanding of national security and gives rise to Turkey’s reluctance to compromise.
    2. Turks perceive enemies everywhere who, in their minds, are responsible for an eventual instigation of domestic instability and disintegration of their country.
    3. Turks pervasively distrust outside powers including neighbors and even their own allies, no matter how small or weak they might be. And in order for the Turks to feel secure, they need a secure perimeter of at least 200 kilometers beyond their country’s borders.
  • Risk-Avoidance. Turks would never take over an operation unless success, as they understand it, is certain. Because the national pride is at stake, Turks have come to conclude that failure is an indication of incompetence. Whether it is an intellectual incompetence of the planners or the sub-standard competency of the enforcers, it is irrelevant.
  • Denial and Deception in negotiations and in interpretation of international diplomatic instruments.

 

Since power is nominal until tested, Turkey’s strategic culture of insecurity makes its leadership reluctant to get involved in the conflicts of others afraid that its perceived powerful military could prove incompetent. As compensation to that, Turks employ political intimidation, extortion and psychological coercion using the threat of military involvement in hope that the adversary would not call their bluff. Turk officials have even resorted to intimidation and name-calling against Pope Francis for mentioning the genocides committed by the Turks because he stated, “The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks”.[2] Most of the time Turkey employs bullying tactics against states that it considers weak, and simultaneously against geopolitically isolated or semi-isolated countries. It exhibits an attitude of cowardice.

Only if success is 100% guaranteed with minimal casualties would Turkey take action, especially after the lesson it learned from its invasion of Cyprus. Moreover, in order to secure the best deal possible Turks engage in long-term negotiations, dragging their feet until the last moment of a set deadline, while maneuvering back and forth and aiming for the best deal that they can make in order to save face, raise their prestige, and maintain their national security and territorial integrity. In addition, Turkish ministers and diplomats never sign diplomatic instruments, which could by a long shot be detrimental to the national security of their country. They often seek exceptions from diplomatic instruments or their articles, or they altogether abstain. At this point, it should be added that Turkey is not a signatory of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties signed in Vienna, 23 May 1969. It does not recognize any of the conditions of the Treaty.[3]

Turkey is known to have the second most numerous military within NATO, second only to the U.S. military. However, if one considers the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 in terms of human losses and military equipment, including aircraft and ships, the punishment that Turkey suffered it is obvious that its General Staff learned a valuable lesson. The invading forces, outnumbering the defendants four to one, were stuck on two of Cyprus’s beaches for two weeks. After ceasefire was declared by the UNSC, the Turkish Army took two more weeks to occupy the area that it does at present. In addition, Turkey got away with alleged war crimes by executing prisoners of war[4] and civilian hostages[5], changing demographics[6], all of which constitute violations of the law of war. Not one person raised the matter of prosecution or at least an investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) including the Greek and Cypriot governments. There is no statute of limitation for war crimes.

During the invasion of Cyprus, Turkey took heavy casualties. Its casualties numbered almost one quarter of the invading army of 40,000 and equipped by NATO heavy-duty equipment against a lightly armed and equipped Greek Cypriot National Guard, Turkey had reportedly lost 19 aircraft against no air force and 2 ships against no navy. In addition, the Turks had lost 23 tanks (6 tanks M -47 and 17 tanks M-48 – Patton series).

As the performance of the Turkish military was poor, one can understand why the current PM, Davutoglu (Davutoğlu), is hesitant to test the effectiveness of his military. After all, what if the proud Turkish military performs as badly now as it did in 1974? In the digital age, it will be impossible to hide the results of a combat test. That is why Turkey practices military extortion against adjacent countries. The interesting part of the results of the invasion is that the United States imposed an embargo on the villain, Turkey, and on the victim, the republic of Cyprus. Three years after the invasion, President Carter lifted the embargo on Turkey, yet the lifting of the embargo on the Republic of Cyprus is not even being discussed in 2015.

 

Justification of Strategic Culture

Early Days: The Secret History of the Mongols and Ergune-Khun

 

The Adam and Eve of the Mongols according to The Secret History of the Mongols started with a man named Börte Üjin (or Brindled Wolf) and a woman named Ghoa Maral (or Beautiful Doe) coming across the “inland sea” of Tenggis (Lake Baikal), where they brought a son into the world named Batacı, the seventh ancestor of Genghis Khan.

Mongol was initially the name of a tribe roaming along the Ergune River, a tributary of the River Amur or Tamur, east of present day Mongolia.   In the legend the Secret History of the Mongols, the Mongols, in order to deflect their enemies, got engaged in a bloody battle. Although they managed to prevail, the carnage was so bad that only two men and two women survived. Fearing that their enemies would go after them, the two couples fled into an inhospitable area surrounded by mountains. In this environment of abundant grass and a healthy steppe climate, the two families multiplied. They became numerous and masters of the art of smelting iron or blacksmithing. The smelting iron helped the Mongols escape through the gorges and move on to the current Mongolian steppes to the Rivers Kherlen and Onon.[7]

They did this by piling wood and coal in the area where the iron was located and they set fires at specific points. Then they blew on the fire with bellows. As time passed, they needed more space. They melted the iron part of the mountain thus opening a path to the steppes.

The symbolism of the wolf and colors surrounding the myth are a significant part of the stories. Wolf signifies sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts, appetite for freedom, sensitivity about feelings of threat, lack of trust in someone or in oneself. Wolf also is guided or misguided by instincts. On the other hand, blue signifies the celestial love of truth; grey means a feeling of being trapped, while turquoise means success.

This is the legend of Ergune – Khun or Early Days. The birth of the Turkic national identity springs from the Altay Mountains of Central Asia. According to the Asia Minor Turkish version of the legend, Turkic tribes, after suffering a series of defeats from their enemies, regrouped under Bumin Kaghan (died c. AD 552) founded the Gök Türk[8] (Sky Blue Turk) Empire. Bumin Khaghan,[9] a so-called a “blacksmith slave,”[10] under the sovereignty of Rouran Khaganate, was the chieftain of the Turkic people[11] In addition, he is mentioned as “Tumen”, (commander of ten thousand)[12] of the Rouran Khaganate. Because the location surrounded by mountains was restrictive to the growing population, the Turks sought a way out with the help of a grey female wolf named Aşine who led them through a maze of mountain passes.

 

 

The Persian Legend of Turan

The term ‘Turan’ originally applied to the Iranians’ dark neighbors in what is now Baluchistan.[13] Nevertheless, in the Persian epic of Shahnameh (شاهنامه) or the Manifest of Kings authored by Hakim Abol-Ghasem Ferdowsi Tusi between 977 -1010 AD, the author describes the land of the Tur or Turya beyond the river Amu Darya, but not as far as Mongolia. It covers Turkmenistan, the south areas of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to China. The fact is that the Iranian settlement of the region was delimited in a territorial sense, although its exact boundaries were very imprecise.   The toponym Turan توراﻦ) ) means “land of Tur” as Iran (ایران) means the “land of the Aryans” and for the first time ever it appears in the epic.[14]

The story goes as follows. In chapter two of Shahnameh, Shah Feridoun divides his land into three parts; he gave the western part called Rum and Khaver to his son Selim. He further gave the land in the north to his son Tur from whom the name of the area, Turan. He gave the third part to Irij and from him the name of his area was called Iran. But the book Shahnameh does not even mention the Turks at all.[15] Bosworth commented on this as “hence as [Tadeusz] Kowalski has pointed out that, a Turkologist seeking information in the Shahnameh on the primitive culture of the Turks would definitely be disappointed.” [16] Thus, a fictitious Iranian story became the source of ethnogenesis for the Turks of Asia Minor. This is how the myth of the Turanoid Turks was born.

 

 

 

Turan meets Turkey

 

Ziya Gokalp was noticed in 1911 when he published the poem “Turan” in the newspaper Rumeli of Thessaloniki, present Capital of the Greek region of Macedonia, over the signature of “Demirdaş”. He also published the poem in Thessaloniki’s nationalist magazine Genç Kalemler (Young Pens) under the name Tevfik Sedat. The same poem was also included in Gokalp’s work, Kızıl Elma (Red Apple) published in Istanbul in 1941. Gokalp’s feelings toward Turkism are found in the last four verses of “Turan:”

 

Damarlarımda yaşar şan-ü ihtişamiyle

Oğuz Han, işte budur gönlümü eden mülhem:

Vatan ne Türkiye’dir Türklere, ne Türkistan

Vatan, büyük ve müebbet bir ülkedir, Turan.

Oghuz Khan who lives in my veins

his glory and grace fills my heart with inspiration,

not Turkey, nor Turkistan is homeland of the Turks,

but the great and everlasting land of Turan”.

 

Gokalp introduced the Persian legend of Turan into the Turkish pre-Islamic era differentiating “Turkey from a theocratic concept of the ümmet, [thus he] prepared the Turks for a secular view of religion, culture, and civilization.”[17] In addition, Gokalp “introduced a new mythical land, where all the Turks and other Turkic nations were supposed to have lived and hopefully will again live ‘their golden age’ but he created a new nationalistic movement “Turancılık” that emerged from this idea. This poem was in both cases written in order to awaken the pride of the Turks in themselves, awaken their national consciousness and self-esteem”.[18]

It was Gokalp’s philosophy on the nature of the Turkish state that influenced Ismail Enver (Prime Minister), Mehmed Talaat (Minister of War), Ahmed Jemal (Minister of the Navy) known as the “Three Pashas” or “Dictatorial Triumvirate”, all leading members of the Committee of Union and Progress. They were the dominant political figures who, seeking the utopia of Turan, dragged the Ottoman State into WW I and ordered and oversaw the genocides of the Armenians, Pontian Greeks, and Assyrians under the excuse of acts of war. Arrests and murders of 800 Armenians leaders, writers, and intellectuals in Constantinople in April 1915 gave rise to “1915, the Year of the Sword”.   It was only the beginning. Between 1915 and 1919, 700,000 Assyrians, 1.5 Million Armenians, and 300,000 Pontic Greeks perished.[19]

In The Principles of Turkism, Gokalp asks and answers his own question: “What is Turkism?” Turkism means to exalt the Turkish nation (Türkçülük, Türk illetini yükseltmek demektir). This statement and the first verse of Mehmet Emin Bey’s poem, Türkçe Şıırleri (Turkish Poems), Ben bir türk’üm, dinim, cinsim uludur (I am a Turk. My religion and my race are noble) could be considered the basis of the Turkish education and the upbringing of each Turk ever since.

Statements as the ones below reconcile the westernization of Turkey without compromising Turkish ways. It is the same attitude that brought Turkey to the threshold of Europe but it is also unwilling to become a European country. In Gokalp’s view, although civilization changes, the culture does not. He stated:

 

  1. Although some anthropologists once claimed that there was a relationship between these anatomical types and social traits, scientific criticisms, especially those by Manouvrier who enjoyed a reputation second to none among other anthropologists have proved that no analogous relationship exists. And since race has no relationship to social traits, neither can it have any with nationality, which is the sum total of social characteristics. Therefore, we must seek the meaning of nationality elsewhere. [20]
  2. In ancient societies, social solidarity rested entirely on the religious bond; and when religious unity is based on consanguinity, the latter is naturally the basis of social solidarity. At our present stage of social development, however, social solidarity rests on cultural unity, which is transmitted by means of education and therefore has no relationship with consanguinity.[21]
  3. [A] nation is not a racial or ethnic or geographic or political or volitional group but one composed of individuals who share a common language, religion, morality and aesthetics, that is to say, who have received the same education. The Turkish peasant expresses it as “the one whose language is my language, whose religion is my religion.[22]

 

In order to make his point, Gokalp mistranslated words as nation, community of believers, nationality, ethnicity and citizenship. He further explained that a nation does not have to be mono-ethnic. A nation may include many ethnic groups since “a nation is not a racial or ethnic or geographic or political or volitional group but one composed of individuals who share a common language, religion, morality, and aesthetics, that is to say, who have received the same education.”[23]

Additionally, Gokalp did view the Kurds as a distinct national and cultural movement stating “Among the Kurds, Arabs, too, nationalism started as a cultural movement. Political and economic forms of nationalism followed as second and third stages.”[24] Gokalp’s ethnic origin is actually unknown although some experts have him as of Turkmen, Kurdish or Zaza descent. One thing is clear: From his works one can assume that all his life Gokalp strove to prove his Turkishness. He wrote, “I would not hesitate to believe that I am a Turk even if I had discovered that my grandfathers nationality is based solely on upbringing.”[25]

 

Ziya Gökalp: Turkey’s National Poet and the Father of Turkish Nationalism

Robert Devereux, the translator of Gokalp’s book, The Principles of Turkism, made the statement:

“It must be emphasized that the importance of the work lies in its contents and not in its standing as a great work of literature. Gokalp was a journalist and publicist, a propagandist if you will, not a literary genius, and as a writer he had many failings, all of which are reflected in this work. He was repetitious, he digressed, he was frequently vague and frequently illogical and inconsistent.”[26]

 

Mehmed Ziya Gökalp (23 March 1876 – 25 October 1924) was a Turk sociologist, writer, poet, and political activist.[27] Although the book presents Gokalp’s beliefs rather ostensibly and monotonously, it is obvious that Gokalp had been influenced by David Émile Durkheim’s theory on nationalism, but somehow he adjusts it for the reality of early 20th century Turkey, especially the “Devlet-i Aliyye-i Osmâniyye‎” or “Great Ottoman State”. To accentuate the strengths of Durkheim’s theory of social idealism, Gokalp compared it to Marx’s historical materialism which he discounted as the kind of determinism that Marx had advocated as belonging “exclusively to economic phenomena, while other social phenomena, be they religious, moral, aesthetic, political, linguistic or intellectual, can never be determining causes but only results. Thus, for Marx, all social phenomena other than economic phenomena are in the nature of epiphenomena”.[28]

Gokalp reconstructed Durkheim’s theory of social idealism on the multi-religious and multi-cultural substratum that the Ottoman State had provided and then he turned around and applied it to solidly Muslim nationals of the Turkish Republic. An assertion of this nature became more obvious when one reads Gokalp’s contention “Türkçeleşmiş Türkçedir” (whatever has become Turkish, is Turkish), which he declares in the third stanza of the poem Lisan. The title, Lisan, is Arabic meaning language which he prefers over the Turkish word dil. But the whole book of his directs the reader not as much to Gokalp’s Turkocentrism, but to the Turkish language. To Gokalp, the citizens of the republic are Turks, Arabs and Kurds as long as they are Muslims, who by their religion are members of the Ümmet (Ummah in Arabic). All other ethnic minorities are insignificant since they are too small to threaten Turkism.

The influence of Emile Durkheim is seen in Gokalp’s description of collective consciousness, which was the essence of Gokalp’s reconcilement of mutual relations between Islam, modernity, and nationalism. In his description of the nation, Gokalp states, “a nation is not a racial or ethnic or geographic or political or volitional group but one composed of individuals who share a common language, religion, morality or aesthetics, that is to say, who have received the same education”.[29]

Kemal Ataturk (Atatürk) was more specific to the reality of the country he found, declaring,

 

A nation is not one element. There are various bonded Muslim elements. Every Muslim element which makes this entity, are citizens. They respect each other, they have every kind of right, racial, social and geographical. We repeated this over and over again. We admit this honestly. However, our interests are together. The unity we are trying to create is not only Turkish or Circassian. It is a mixture of one Muslim element.[30]

 

Because Gokalp based his theory on the language, which in his view is identical to culture, he devised his own lexicon, so to speak; he even invented new words abolishing many that he found to be “non-Turkish”. As Western languages borrowed Latin and Greek words for new scientific concepts, Gokalp believed that Turkish should do the same from Persian and Arabic and so he used hayatiyat instead of biyologya, later biyoji, or biology.

The perception of social structure that Ziya promoted was the inspiration that help Kemal Ataturk to impose the national education system of Turkism, to invent grammatical rules and terminations of parts of speech that the Ottoman language lacked, and to abolish most “foreign words”! The result was the Vatandaş Türkçe konuş (citizen, speak Turkish) campaign during the early 1930s.

Uriel Heyd in Gokalp’s short biography the Foundations of Turkish Nationalism explains, “Ziya Gokalp was not an original thinker, that he had no profound knowledge of European history or culture and constantly changed his views, and not infrequently adjusted his facts to suit them”.[31]

 

Türkçeleşmiş, Türkçedir

(What has become Turkish is Turkish)

 

Society and Education

Today Turks consider their country to be a world power, something that contradicts reality and creates psychological problems for the population. Turkish history taught in the elementary and middle level education in Turkish schools is the reason behind the overwhelming Turkish military machine directed towards the exterior and the interior of the country. The Turkish educational system is based on the inculcation of the students, who are constantly reminded of the country’s military victories.

Prompted by these theories of a nation, in August 1930, when inaugurating the Sivas railroad, Ismet Pasha (İnönü), the Turkish Prime Minister, announced that, “The revolution, fanned by foreign intrigue in our Eastern provinces, has lasted for five years, but today it loses half its strength. Only the Turkish nation is entitled to claim ethnic and national rights in this country. No other element has any such right”.[32]

This quotation shows the exclusive policy of the regime as espoused by Ataturk. Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Justice Minister under Ataturk in the early 1930s, reiterated, The Minister of Justice, Mahmut Esat Bozhurt, was quick to echo the point,

We live in a country called Turkey, the freest country in the world. As your deputy, I feel that I can express my real convictions without reserve: I believe that the Turk must be the only lord, the only master of this country. Those who are not of pure Turkish stock can have only one right in this country, the right to be servants and slaves. [33]

 

Kemal Ataturk designed the new Turkey in concurrence. In his speech for the 10th anniversary of the republic on October 29, 1933 (Republic Day), Ataturk stated “Ne mutlu Türküm diyene” or “How happy is one to say, I am a Turk.” But the leaders of the Kemalist regime described the limits of their ethnic policy in the following quotations: “A Turk is equal to the world” (Bir Türk dünyaya bedeldir).

From 1972 to September 8, 2013 that phrase was added to the already existing Student Pledge which children had to recite just after singing the İstiklal Marsı, the national anthem of Turkey on a daily basis. Between October 28 1933 – September 8, 2013, the Pledge has been modified a few times with the latest version being the one of 1997. The text of the Student’s Pledge was,

I am a Turk, honest and hardworking. My principle is to protect the younger, to respect the elder, to love my homeland and my nation more than myself. My ideal is to rise, to progress. Oh Great Ataturk! On the path that you have paved, I swear to walk incessantly toward the aims that you have set. My existence shall be dedicated to the Turkish existence. How happy is the one who says, “I am a Turk!”[34]

 

Finally, the government of Turkey has abolished the Pledge as of September 8, 2013,[35] although students remember the cliché “May my existence be a gift to you!”[36]

The principles of democracy and its functions is of paramount importance in Turkish society, but with a twist. Turkish society is hierarchical, male-dominated and autocratic, stressing the benefit and the values of a group; it is the result of traditional values and peer or social pressure. Western democracies base their function on individualism.

Thus, the meaning of democracy in Turkey encompasses mostly the quality of voting, although even that is restrictive since, in general terms, the patriarch determines the political preference of the family. Therefore, Turkey has become a democracy only by Islamic standards. One could call her a disciplined or illiberal democracy, i.e. a democracy as seen by its authoritarian rulers.

Understanding what democracy is all about and what makes democracy strong is rather difficult to penetrate the Turkish intellect. The day that Turkey implements full democracy, human rights and social peace will be the day that the Turkish Republic has reached the point of maturity. Egalitarianism, freedom of expression, human rights and social peace are the strengths that make a society and country democratic. Turkey is still distant from these principles.

The relationship of individuals within the family, but also the community is tied to loyalty, patronage and respect for authority. The connection resonates from the formal education system. Turkish schoolbooks, especially of those of social sciences, make very interesting reading considering that they were established on a socialist basis of a heterogeneous nation. The fifth grade schoolbook entitled “Elementary Social Studies” states, “[o]ne of the special charac­teristics of the Turkish race is respect for those above one and love for those below” while simultaneously reminds people “social harmony is dependent on this respect and love.”[37]

Diversity of any sort is rare and discouraged as being the enemy of the social order and cohesion, since “one of the elements that makes the Turkish nation is the subordination of the individual’s own interests to those of the nation”.[38] After all, “societies which fail to instill unity and togetherness cannot live as a nation; they are broken up and destroyed.”[39] The famous female Turk author, Elif Shafak, said it best:

Turkey’s mainstream culture is deeply suspicious of “difference” – be it cultural, ethnic or sexual. Turkish society is stubbornly patriarchal and homophobic. Sameness is venerated. The Prime Minister tells us that every Turkish woman should have at least three children while the government talks about the need for creating a ‘new, pious Muslim youth’.[40]

 

In Turkey, two ideological groups of equal significance coexist; one on the left, Kemalism as represented by the Republican Party, and one on the right, the Grey Wolves that is the unofficial militant arm of the Nationalist Movement Party of Turkey. Although these groups fall into two different political camps, they both aim at the same outcome, Turkey’s hegemony.

 

Kemalism in a Nutshell

Modern Turkey followed Gokalp’s concept of the state, but with a twist. The basis for the new Turkish state was not Islam. Ataturk based the concept of the new state on two so-called scientific theories, “The New Turkish History Thesis” (Yeni Türk Tarih Tezi) and “The Sun Language Thesis” (Güneş Dil Teorisi).

The first theory established the Turkish nation as the continuation of ancient Anatolian civilizations (Ionian, Aeolian, Dorian, and Pontian Greeks, Sumerians, and Hittites) revealing in essence that most citizens of Turkey are not truly ethnic Turks. Accordingly, this theory disconnected modern Turks from a Central Asian past, which is in contrast to the myth of Aşine, the Grey Wolf. The second theory accepts the Turkish language as the original language from which all other languages derived which includes that Adam and Eve who spoke Turkish. Somehow, the Ottoman past and Islam never transpired.

Within a few years after the establishment of the new state, the regime established the institutions of the Turkish Historical Society (Türk Tarih Kurumu) and the Turkish Language Society (Türk Dil Kurumu) aimed at the concretion of similar ideas.

While these theories denied the cultural ethnicity of the Turkish people by rejecting their Islamic past, simultaneously it obliterated the existence of ethnic minorities in the country. Consequently, the official ethnic policy of Turkey was modified into the state ideology “one country, one language and one nation”. This is Kemalism.

Based on Kemalist philosophy, all Muslims, without exception and regardless of their ethnicity as long as they are associated even remotely with Turkism, were deprived of their cultural and ethnic heritage in favor of the Turkish. Even their very existence was denied. Thus, according to the logic of Kemalism, all Muslims are Turks in violation of article 39 of the Treaty of Lausanne.

 

Application of Islamic Kemalism

All Turkish governments apply a faulty syllogism not only for matters within Turkey, but also abroad. According to this syllogism, the Turkish state has jurisdiction over and applies protection to regions populated by Muslims (majority or minority) associated even remotely with Turkey’s past. Thus, Muslim populations living abroad “enjoy” the protection of the Turkish state, oftentimes in violation of article 27 of the Treaty of Lausanne, of the UN Charter article 2.7 and a number of other treaties.

Definitions of a nation are ideologically based and they survive only as long as the ideologies endure. They have little to do with the ancient Greek understanding of a nation, which is based on distinctiveness of a people’s common origin, ethnicity, language, historical past and common vision of the future. Turkish ideologies were conveniently invented in order to hold together different peoples under one central government as a means of governmental control, people who otherwise would be fighting each other.

In the case of communism, the advertisement of recognition of minorities resulted in the perception of equality to all. In reality, it was devised in order to provide privileges to the minorities as part of their manipulation by the regime. Giving privileges to the minorities that the majority did not enjoy, the system prepared the minorities to fight tooth and nail for the regime in hopes of not losing their privileges.

It is exactly how Turkey wants its minority in Greece. If the Muslim minority of Thrace, under pressure from Turkey and the Human Rights Court, changes the name from “Muslim” to “Turkish,” it will allow Turkey to openly intervene anytime it feels that its “minority” is in danger. As it is right now, Turkey cannot use a related excuse in order to “intervene,” since the Pomaks and the Roma are not Turks. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is seeking equally enticing means through its non-existent minority in Greece in order to regulate Greece’s control over Greece’s own territory.

A characteristic of Turkey’s assumption that it is a World Power is that before Turkey received the green light to start negotiations regarding its EU membership on December 17, 2004, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Erdoğan) and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül made statements on what Turkey would accept and what it would not accept. They sounded as if the European Union (EU) was applying to join Turkey and not the other way around.

Moreover, the membership of Turkey into the EU is a problematic one since Turkey does not meet all criteria for membership. There are two schools of thought on the matter. One subscribes to the thought that Turkey is not ready yet but it should be accepted, and as an EU member and under the watchful eyes of all EU countries, it will be forced to change and conform to all EU prerequisites and standards. The other school of thought is that Turkey should be admitted into the EU after it fulfills all obligations. It is what all other countries had to do before they became members of the supranational club.

Case in point is the matter of Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus. On one hand, Turkey is willing to accept the invitation of the Republic of Cyprus for membership, but on the other, she is not willing to recognize that country or trade with it. Since all candidate countries negotiate with each individual country member, the question is how can Turkey negotiate with a country that it does not recognize? Can the EU accept a country that demands membership a la carte with all privileges, but with limited obligations? Wouldn’t this create a precedent for other candidates to select what they like or dislike from the membership? These and other similar questions touch upon the EU’s institutional and legal foundations. The EU is a club of states and membership is voluntary, which means the candidate members have the obligation to abide by the rules of the club or they may not join at all.

 

Every Turk Is Born a Soldier

The slogan “every Turk is born a soldier” is something that characterizes Turkish life. Parents inculcate the message from father to son as the manifestation of pride that governs Turkish society, but also the social attitude reflecting the norm of values.

 

Ben bir Türküm: dinim, cinsim uludur:

Sinem, özüm ateş ile doludur:

İnsan olan vatanının kuludur:

Türk evlâdı evde durmaz; giderim![41]

I am a Turk, my faith and my race are great;

My breast and soul are full of fire;

He who serves his native land – he is a man;

The sons of Turks will not stay at home; I go!

 

The Turkish history courses are relentless and full of military achievements, sometimes even imaginary or at least argumentative. Turk heroes are always depicted as warriors leading the nation to victories.[42] Part of being Turkish is “protecting every grain of the motherland’s soil with our lives and our blood.”[43] Because of this, Turkey’s relationship to its military and especially to the Army is rather unique.

Through the educational system, the Turkish military establishment has been able to infuse certain values. In 1999, the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, published the book 2000’li yıllara girerken Türk ordusu (The Turkish Army in the year 2000) in which it identified the Turkish military with the Turkish nation as an institution and the epitome of the most important values of Turkishness. The conclusion of this book was that the Army is the symbol of national unity and the guarantee of the future.[44]

Turks consider the military as an institution that they can trust. They feel proud not only of serving their country, but also proud of their military. There is a great bond between the military and the people and that is supported by the educational system of Turkey. Military service is not a burden to the Turkish family, but an honor and those killed in action are considered as “martyrs.” This comes in contrast, however, to how the upper class considers the military service as an interruption to one’s career. In the case of the Kurds, however, it becomes more sinister. Kurdish families would rather have their children fight the Turkish Army than be conscripted and forced to fight against the Peshmerga, the organization of Kurdish freedom fighters.[45] Oftentimes, after military service, young Kurds join the forces of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party commonly referred to by its Kurdish acronym PKK, an expansion of Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê.[46]

The relationship of the Turkish Army and the government resembles a silent partnership unknown, and I would argue incomprehensible, to westerners. In western democracies, the military falls under the Ministry of Defense which is accountable to the head of the government. In Turkey, this is not true. The duties of the Minister of Defense and his Ministry are administrative, handling concerns of Military Justice Affairs, Research and Development, NATO Infrastructure, Recruitment, Plans, Policy and Agreements.[47] Thus in matters of military operations the equivalent to a Minister of Defense of any western country is the Chief of General Staff, not the Minister of Defense.

The Management of the defense of the Turkish Republic is in the hands of the Army generals, not of the Minister of Defense. The Chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS) reports not to the Minister of Defense, but to the Prime Minister. The Chief of the TGS “is charged with the overall command and control of the Turkish Armed Forces. He is also responsible for conducting the military operations effectively and the operational readiness of Turkish Armed Forces.”[48] The Armed Forces are comprised of the Army, Navy and Air Force, which are subordinate to the Turkish General Staff. In peacetime, the Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard are subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs while in wartime they report to the Army and the Navy respectively.[49]

The reason that I stress the importance of the Army in Turkey is because modern Turkey owes its existence to the Army, not to the Navy. The Air Force is the product of modern times. Ataturk led the Army to victory and so the Army is considered more important than any other service. This is why the Chief of the Turkish General Staff is always an Army General.[50] As a matter of routine, the outgoing Chief of the TGS recommends and approves his successor without objection by the Prime Minister. Army officers have actual seniority among officers of equal rank of the other branches of service.

Turkish society unquestionably accepts the role of the military as the guarantor of domestic peace and prosperity as well as the number one significant factor to regional stability. Since the establishment of the republic, Turkish military has launched five coups détat (1960, 1971, 1980, 1993, and 1997).

On April 2007, a statement published by TGS in its official website served as a warning regarding the Turkish presidential elections. “The following are excerpts of a statement by the Turkish military, quoted by the Anatolia news agency, in which it said it would defend the country’s secular system. The statement was in reaction to a disputed vote in the Turkish parliament in which the Islamist-rooted ruling party’s candidate narrowly failed to be elected president.” [51]

It is observed that some circles who have been carrying out endless efforts to disturb fundamental values of the Republic of Turkey, especially secularism, have escalated their efforts recently.

 

Those activities include requests for redefinition of fundamental values and attempts to organise alternative celebrations, instead of our national festivals symbolizing unity and solidarity of our nation. Those who carry out the mentioned activities which have turned into an open challenge against the state, do not refrain from exploiting holy religious feelings of our people, and they try to hide their real aims under the guise of religion.

 

An important part of these activities were done with the permission and within the knowledge of administrative authorities, who were supposed to intervene and prevent such incidents, a fact which intensifies the gravity of the issue.

 

This fundamentalist understanding, which is anti-republic and harbors no aim other than eroding the basic characteristics of the state, finds courage in recent developments and discourses and extends the scope of its activities.

 

Developments in our region give numerous examples that playing on religion and manipulating the faith into a political discourse can cause disasters. There are accounts in our country and abroad that a political discourse or an ideology can destroy the faith itself and turn it into something else when it is imposed on faith… Doubtlessly, the sole condition for the Republic of Turkey to live in peace and stability as a contemporary democracy is through defending the basic characteristics of our state which are defined in the Constitution.

 

The problem that emerged in the presidential election process is focused on arguments over secularism. Turkish Armed Forces are concerned about the recent situation. It should not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces are a party in those arguments, and absolute defender of secularism. Also, the Turkish Armed Forces is definitely opposed to those arguments and negative comments. It will display its attitude and action openly and clearly whenever it is necessary.[52]

 

 

The Deep State

Subsequent investigations by the Turkish government produced credible evidence that retired high-ranking military officers were members of Ergenekon, an organization within the Deep State with possible collaborators in the active Army. As Maureen Freely put it, “[t]he deep state is Turkish shorthand for a faceless clique inside the Turkish state that has, some claim, held the reins of real power throughout the republic’s 84-year history”.[53] The evidence showed that from the time of its existence, the Deep State illegally employed dictatorial measures against anyone and anything they considered to be an enemy of the State. Their activities spread even in Cyprus while it was still under British rule.

Operations or plans for a coup d’état known as Sarıkız (Blonde Girl), Ayışığı (Moonlight), Yakamoz (Sea Sparkle), Eldiven (Glove), Sledgehammer (Balyoz Harekâtı) are alleged Turkish military coup plans that never materialized.

In 2009, the failed coup Operation Cage Action Plan (Kafes Operasyonu Eylem Planı) has indicated that the Turkish military is very uneasy with the Islamic direction of the political sector of the country. The government had arrested more than 200 people, including writers, members of civil organizations, members of the judiciary branch, former and active high-ranking military officers charging them with membership in an illegal ultranationalist organization and of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government. Arbitrary arrests have shaken the foundations of the Kemalist elite and has given the signal to others that the civilian government is determined to turn the tables around. In an attempt to bring the military under civilian control, the new President, Abdullah Gül, freed some of the officers allegedly entangled in plots as a gesture of good will toward the military or from lack of sufficient evidence.

Whether the revelation of plans for coups were factual or imaginary, besides the obvious, it had another purpose, the “cleansing” of all senior officers and the neutralization of all civil powers who might have been an impediment to the plans of the PM Erdogan to consolidate his power. In this way, Erdogan and its Turkish Muslim Brotherhood thumb Ataturk’s accomplishments without daring to do it overtly, while they simultaneously establish the Caliphate.

Turkey has been entangled in a confrontation in which either winner (Islamists or Kemalists) is seemingly against Western democratic principles. Islamists advocate democracy hoping that it is enough to positively appeal for Turkey’s ascension to the EU, but it is more probable that after they achieve it, they will impose Islamic laws testing the tolerance of the Union. On the other hand, the Kemalists who want to keep Turkey secular know that the only way to achieve their goal is by imposing an undemocratic government, something the EU does not view kindly.

 

 

Location, a Transient in Time

 

The most important strategic maritime passages, also known as chokepoints or bottlenecks are the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Hormuz. They have a number of questions for instance capacity constraints with disruptions, closures due to political motives or natural causes. These chokepoints could have a substantial effect on the world economy.  What makes these chokepoints so vital is that all pose preeminence in geostrategic importance. Any disruption on the global freight circulation through the world’s four most important strategic maritime passages would bring to a halt the world economy and any disruptions could be construed as a casus belli.

 

Bosporus/Dardanelles

Turks and their friends alike oftentimes mention the importance of Turkey’s location and that applies especially to the straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles. But it is time that we examine whether their importance is mythical or actual in the 21st century.

In a strategic view, policymakers and strategists think of geography as an ephemeral rather than as a permanent factor, save catastrophic geological changes of the region. Nevertheless, time is elusive and constant and as it progresses into the future, it advances not only towards geological revisions, but also technological improvements.

In the field of perpetual geological revisions, the Dardanelles and the Bosporus constantly change by soil erosion due to ice, wind, water, etc. and by sedimentation due to stream hydrology related to inorganic and organic material that is transported by, suspended in, or deposited by streams. Changes in land use, stream flow characteristics, and drainage patterns could alter the natural sedimentation rate. Whether perennial or intermittent streams, or simple groundwater recession flow, their discharge affects the seabed of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles and, consequently, the Sea of Marmara. As a result, the Dardanelles and the Bosporus are getting narrower and shallower due to continuous centuries of aggradations.

Simultaneously, modern developments in weapons, ships, aircraft, and communications support the notion that the Dardanelles are losing their geostrategic importance. Star wars are near!

“It was science fiction before, but now it’s really happening, Young Skywalker: The US Navy and Air Force are going to install liquid-cooled, solid-state lasers in combat airplanes. Laser turrets designed to defend the planes by shooting incoming threats like surface-to-air missiles and rockets. Seriously. The above is an official concept image by DARPA, but integration is happening this year, with real firing tests coming in 2014.”[54]

 

But the U.S. Air Force is already on the ball; the text below offers only the tip of the iceberg in future weapons and means of delivery making the straits and geopolitical location a thing of the past.

 

“We’re working on maturing a lot of those kinds of technologies,” Endsley said. “We will be transitioning into airborne platforms to get them ready to go into a program of record by 2023.” Endsley added that the Air Force plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35. The Air Force is interested in firing the weapon from sub-sonic, transonic, and supersonic platforms, Zuch added.[55]

 

This is something that politicians of Turkey have realized for at least the past 20 years, and it is the reason they plan to replace the Bosporus with the “Kanal İstanbul.” The reality is that besides the cost of more than US$ 10 billion as of now, the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits (July 20, 1936), depending on its interpretation, might disallow any modifications or worse, the closing of the Straits without the consent of all the signatories of the treaty besides Turkey.[56] The reason for finding a viable solution to the canal matter is a compelling necessity if Turkey is to maintain its geostrategic importance. It is also an issue of environmental concern. The straits are a series of waterways that connect the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea and it is one of the ways that precious oil from Asia can be transported. Nevertheless, the “Kanal İstanbul” solves only half of the problem. The strait in the area of the Dardanelles is equally important and replacing the treaty of the Straits with a new one is easier said than done considering that in the last one hundred years what constitutes national security in many ways have turned 180 degrees against Turkey.

For the purpose of this paper, I have spotted two points, A and B. Point A designates the south entrance of the Bosporus (30 kms long and 1,000 m. wide; approximate coordinates   28°56’28.98”E 40°57’54.41”N). Point B designates the northernmost point of the Dardanelles, off Gelibolu (68 kms long and 1.2 kms wide; approximate coordinates 26°43’32.03”E 40°24’19.97”N).

The waters between the two points form the Sea of Marmara with an approximate distance of 118 nautical miles. In the area of point B, just northeast of Gelibolu, the distance between the two coasts, north (European) and south (Asian), of the strait is about 1.83 nautical miles.

The seabed of point A is about 24 m. deep[57] and the seabed of point B is only 27 m.[58] while the floor is a flat aggradation plain at the center. Taking as a starting point the northern coast, the depth gradually increases to the center for a distance of about 0.7 nautical miles from 18 m. to 15 m. and then to 27 m. On the southern coast and for a distance 0.74 nautical miles the depth remains 18 meters. Thus, the strait is navigable for a distance of 0.31 nautical miles (580 m. or 634 yards), 27 m. deep. The remaining 0.08 nautical miles makes up for the undersea slopes from both sides of the straits.

If we consider the medium wave of 2m., the sea level from the floor of the sea at point A fluctuates between 22 m. to 26 m. and the sea level from the seabed at point B fluctuates between 25 m. to 29 m. In either case, the depth is not enough to host a full ship whose draft is 25 m. because of serious concerns about their dynamic under keel clearance (DUKC).[59]

Constantly changing conditions related to waves, depth, underwater currents, tides, darkness, visibility, wind, etc. affect safe navigation. In bad weather conditions, a tanker would require even 20% DUKC in order to navigate safely, something that is unrealistic for any modern supertanker in that area even with tug boat guidance.[60] Considering these variables, tankers seek the deepest point of the strait possible with the breath of tankers fluctuation between 24 to 70 m. Depending on the width of the ship, the deepest point becomes more challenging when two ships try to bypass each other in a choppy weather (squat and trim, motions allowance).

Because the passable space between the two coasts is narrow in areas due to seabed shallowness, the nature of the relief of the seabed at the A and B locations, i.e., being muddy or rocky, and the constant undersea currents, ships have to pass dangerously near each other. The traffic and the geometry of the waterway and human error could easily be the basis for a deadly collision. One must consider the constant traffic of different types of ships along with the oil tankers that consist of about 10% of the total traffic.

From 1953 to 2002 and at the south entrance of the Bosporus, 461 accidents have taken place, and between 1982 to 2003, 608 accidents occurred; 564 ships did not have a pilot onboard. Accidents like these are detrimental to the environment. The human toll due to accidents between 1995 and 2005 has been 174 people in the Bosporus and 95 people in the Dardanelles. The following example is suggestive of the seriousness of the situation. On “March 13, 1994, crude oil carrier M/T Nassia collided with the bulk carrier M/V Shipbroker, both Cyprus registered. Twenty-seven people lost their lives, 9,000 tons of petroleum spilled and 20,000 tons burnt four days long affecting the marine environment severely. Traffic in the Strait was suspended for several days and the Shipbroker burnt totally.”[61]

The Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits adopted at Montreux, Switzerland regulates the legal regime of the straits of Dardanelles and Bosporus and the United Nations Convention recognizes this on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (art. 35/c, 311/5). The Montreux Convention also regulates the passing vessels of all types according to their displacement and armament and provides coverage of the straits during peace and wartime whether Turkey is belligerent or not. The fact is that through internal regulation and lexical interpretation Turkey has modified the Convention of Montreux depending on the contemporary alliances or political expediency, starting with the change of the name to “Turkish Straits”.

 

Minorities in Turkey

In determining ethnicity, one wonders the main criteria. Is it the language, or is it national conscience or is it something else or a conglomeration of all? If language is the criterion, then there are about 2.5.-3 million Greeks living in Turkey. If religion is the criterion then Greece officially has 2,500 Greeks mainly in the area of Constantinople. Some, taking into consideration other factors, talk about crypto-Christians. Lighting candles or having icons does not necessarily mean that those who worship in this manner are Orthodox Christians. Some scrutiny might reveal that the worshippers adhere to Alevism. On the other hand, it might indicate crypto-Christians. We simply do not know. So let us take the number out of worship and stick to facts.

Turkey is a nation-state, i.e. a country formed by numerous ethnic groups and one dominant nation that embodies and represents the country; it is administratively a unitary state. That means that the political power exists at the national level with limited local authority.

Despite the fact that the population of Turkey is politically Turkish, ethnically Turkey is not a homogeneous country. Because of this, Turks in general not only feel somewhat insecure and afraid of the disintegration of their country, but also they feel that enemies surround them.

US Ambassador Charles Warren Hostler convincingly argues that the present Turkish society is “a mixture of Greeks, Slavs, Kurds, Persians, Armenians, Georgians, Circassians, Arabs, and other [indigenous] groups… It was only in Anatolia proper that the majority of the Ottoman population showed a certain uniform type which had evolved from a Greek substratum.” [62] He based his comments not only from his personal observations and experience, but also on A. J. Toynbee, Eliot Grinnell Mears, and the authors of three official British publications dealing with the Turkish world, who have emphasized the extremely heterogeneous ethnic composition of the Anatolian Turks. Although all Turks entertain the thought that they descent from the Turkish invaders of the AD 11th century, the reality is that only about 20% of them do.

The minority question in Turkey is nothing new. Turkey inherited numerous minorities from the Ottoman Empire, which succeeded the territories of the Byzantine Empire. Even though more than 46 ethnic and/or linguistic minorities live in Turkey, with Istanbul excepted from the count as being the most ethnically diverse city in the world, Turkey recognizes the only existing minorities from the time of the Ottomans, i.e. the Rum millet, Jewish, Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, and later Vlach. Somehow, Armenians formed three millets under the Ottoman rule.[63] The rights of these “nations” or milletler are withering away as time passes due to increasing intolerance.

The issue of Turkey’s minorities in relation to its bordering regions and its relations with its adjacent countries makes Turkey a primary candidate for territorial disengagement on ethnic foundations. Turks in general adhere to the Sunni version of Islam, which is the fundamentalist version. Other minorities, ethnic and religious, are: Turks Alevi, Yörük Sunni, Yörük Alevi, Turkmen Sunn, Turkmen, Tahtacı, Abdal Alevi, Azerbaijani Turks, Shiah Azerbaijani Turks, Karapapakh, Uigurs*, Kirgiz, Kazakh, Uzbek, Uzbek – Tatars, Krimea – Tatars, Nogay – Tatars, Balkar / Katachay. In addition, one finds in Turkey Muslim immigrants from Balkan countries and Daghestan. Other minorities are Sudanese descendants of slaves, Estonians, Kurds Sunni, Kurds Alevi, Kurds Yezidi, Zaza Sunni, Zaza Alevi, Ossetes, Hemshinli, Albanians, Kuban – Kossacks, Russians, Molokans, Poles, Gypsies. Others are Armenians, Greek speaking Muslims, Sunni Arabs, Arabs (Alawites/Nusairi), Christian Arabs, Arameans (Assyrians), Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites), Arameans (Asyrians), East Syrian (Chaldeans), Circassians, and related groups, Ingush, Gerogians, and Laz. Christian Greeks, Jews, Germans, and Uigur are found only in cities. According to a Turk officer, Greek speakers number between 2.5 and 3 million with most of them living between Karaman and Trabzon (including Karaman, Kayseri (Caesareia), Sivas (Sevastia), Amasya, Tokat (Evdoksia), Ordu (Cotyora), Gerisun (Gerasous), Trabzon (Trapezous). Although we know the identity of most ethnic and religious groups, we do not know their approximate numbers. [64]

Besides the fact that Turks have committed a number of genocides documented by existing Independence Tribunals Court records condemning nearly 900 men to death, among them cabinet members.

The following is a partial list of Turkish massacres from 1822 up until 1909:

 

1822       Chios                                    Greeks                                                50,000

1823       Messolongi                          Greeks                                                   8,750

1826       Constantinople                    Janissaries                                           25,000

1850       Mosul                                  Assyrians                                            10,000

1860       Lebanon                               Maronites                                           12,000

1876       Bulgaria                                Bulgarians                                            14,700

1877       Bayazid                                Armenians                                             1,400

1879       Alashkert                             Armenians                                             1,250

1881       Alexandria                            Christians                                              2,000

1892       Mosul                                  Yazidies                                                3,500

1894       Samsun                                 Armenians                                           12,000

1895-96  Armenia                               Armenians                                         150,000

1896       Constantinople                    Armenians                                             9,570

1896       Van                                       Armenians                                             8,000

1903-4    Krushevo                             Vlach speaking Greeks [65]                    14,667 [66]

1904       Samsun                                 Armenians                                             5,640

1909       Adana                                   Armenians                                           30,000

TOTAL                                              358,477 [67]

              

Often the public confuses the religious sect of the Alevis of Turkey with the Alawites of Syria. Although etymologically both derive from Ali ibn Abu Talib, the name of Muhammad’s son-in-law (he married Muhammad’s daughter Fatima Al-Hashem), the two religious sects are not the same and their names are not interchangeable. The Alawites (Alawīyyah in Arabic) aka Ansari and Nusayri are Shiah sects. The Alawites consider themselves descendants of the followers of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari (d. 873) and his pupil, Ibn Nusayr (d. 868). To avoid confusion with the Alevis in Turkey, the Alawites are called Arap Alevileri (“Arab Alevis”).

Regarding the Kurdish population, professor Rustem Erkan of the Department of Sociology, Dicle University Faculty of Arts, has considered that “Istanbul is Turkey’s largest Kurdish city” with a population of 5,627,068 Kurds (2009) out of the city’s 14.16 million (2013).[68] The Kurdish population in Turkey is 25% or about 20 million.   The award-winning writer on Middle Eastern culture and politics, Sandra Mackey, has stated, “as much as 25% of Turkey is Kurdish.”[69]

 

Village Guards[70]

The role of Gendarmerie in the Turkish military and even in the Turkish society is often underestimated because analysts tend to identify Gendarmerie’s functions with the Western type rural police role. One of the Gendarmerie’s tasks, which is not advertised but it is present, is the suppression of the Turkish populace when it is needed. Because the number of Gendarmerie was small, the Ottoman Empire devised an auxiliary system.

The root of the establishment of the Village Guards goes to the Sultan, Abdül Hamid II, who established the Hamidye Regiments consisting of local Kurds and used against the Armenians. Another force in the Ottoman Empire with similar formations is the Başibazuk, a force of unruly volunteers (thugs) with a passion for killing Christians and a love for looting their properties. Their role was decisive in the suppression of the ephemeral Krushevo Republic and the killing and looting of the mostly Greek population of the villages of Krushevo in August of 1903

Köy Korusucu (village guards) and Gecici Köy Korusucu (temporary Village Guards) are two different entities in substance. On March 18, 1924 the TBMM (Parliament) of the newly born Republic of Turkey passed the Village Law (Köy Kanunu) number 442. There are a few amendments to this law, but Chapter VIII as amended on March 26, 1985 and again on July 02, 1990 sets forth the details of the village guard system. Basically, the Village Guards are Bekci (volunteers) who are accountable to the Muhtar or the Headman and the Village Council. Every village in Turkey has village guards and they are very few in number, somewhere between one and five.

Temporary Village Guards are not in every village. They only live and operate in Eastern Turkey. They are local Kurds and Turks and their total number is estimated to be up to 100,000. They are accountable to the nearest most senior Gendarmerie Commander. If there is a battalion nearby a given village, the temporary volunteers report to the Battalion Commander. If the unit is a Company, they report to the Company Commander. To my knowledge, they can report to as high as the regimental Commander. One must have in mind that the highest unit in a Turkish Province is a Gendarmerie Regiment, which translates to 81 regiments, one per province. These regiments are the real force, even when they are co-located with the Regional Gendarmerie Command. The Command has a Headquarters and a Headquarters Service Company for administrative purposes only.

With the amendment of 1985, the Temporary Village Guard Force was established to defend villages from PKK raids. The system had to change, because it was deemed necessary to arm the villagers against the PKK, which demanded protection money from the villagers. The state uses this system to funnel money to the region and to protect the pastures for the livestock, which in some areas, went down to zero and stifled the source of income to the region.

 

Kurdish Statehood

At present, Turkey is experiencing an existential fight, demonstrating that the Western perspective that sees Turkey as an island of stability is proving to be awash of instability. Turkey perceives the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq as a threat to its national security and indeed its own existence. Turkey aspires to one day join the European Union (EU) and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq is the basis of a Kurdish autonomous territory within the Turkish Republic, something to which the Turks are not at all receptive. A Kurdish autonomy would signal to the Turks the beginning of the end of the Turkish Republic as we know it. As a member of the EU, the Turkish State would be unable to suppress individual freedoms, which would lead to collective self-determination.

The Peace Treaty of Sevres of 1920 saw the establishment of the States of Armenia and Kurdistan in the southeast corner of what presently is the Republic of Turkey. Yet, its replacement, the Peace Treaty of Lausanne, which ended the Turkish War of Independence between the Allies of World War I and the Ankara-based Grand National Assembly of Turkey led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, made no mention of Kurdistan being established within the present boundaries of the Republic of Turkey. The Kurdish people had to wait for another opportunity that did not materialize until the second Gulf War in 2003. The present political and military situation in Turkey is occurring due to the rising intensity of the effort on behalf of members of the PKK.

As far President Erdogan is concerned “there is no Kurdish issue” doubting that any pro-Kurdish political party would be able to surpass the 10% election threshold to gain seats in the Parliament.[71] Thus far, Parliamentary deputies of pro-Kurdish affinity (Kurds or not) run as either independent or as members of other parties.

On September 13, 2015, a delegation composed of executives from HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), DBP (Party of Democratic Regions), HDK (Peoples’ Democratic Congress) and DTK (Democratic Society Congress) met executives of PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, YNK) in the party’s headquarters in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, a city of South Kurdistan.

Mrs. Figen Yüksekdağ Şenoğlu, the co-chair of the HDP in her speech stated, “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP wanted to hold a snap election [on November 1] in an anti-democratic environment and to achieve what they could not achieve in the 7 June [2015] elections in the shadow of war and guns”. During the questions and answers period she added, “I believe the peoples of Turkey and the Middle East can achieve peace on the basis of a common will. The meeting we held with PUK also focused on this basis. Against the illegitimate war of the Palace and the AKP, peoples will definitively join forces and achieve peace. Despite the fact that Erdoğan has de facto ended the peace process, we will achieve peace.” She did stress that the delegates of all Kurdish parties of Turkey “are rather trying to make sure that all Kurdish parties unite and adopt a joint attitude over the Kurdish question and take a stance against attacks of the AKP. We believe all Kurdish organisations should undertake an active role for an urgent end to the attacks on Kurds in Northern Kurdistan.”[72] Northern Kurdistan is within Turkish territory.

It must be noted that an election threshold is a rule that requires that a party must receive a specified minimum percentage of votes, either nationally or within a particular district, to obtain any seats in the parliament. Although the global norm in election thresholds is between 3-5%, in Turkey it is 10%, an extremely high threshold that eliminates any minority political parties.

The result of the November 1, 2015 election has brought a substantial majority in the Parliament of Turkey. The AKP received more than the 276 seats, a few seats more than it needed in order to form a government alone. However, the AKP has fallen 14 seats short of the number needed for Erdogan to call a referendum seeking to strengthen its position as President.

 

Alevism: A way of Life  

 

The original invading Turks coming out of Persia, and like Persians, followed Shia Islam. The only reason Sultans changed to Sunnism was for the unity of the state after the Ottoman State had expanded to include many more Sunni than Shia. Alevism originated in Shia Islam but developed to a syncretic religion and way of life with the incorporation of people through conversion of other religions and customs as Christian Greeks, Armenians, et.al.

While most people’s attention points at the Kurds of Turkey, the reality is that Turkey’s cohesiveness is more in the hands of the Alevi religious minority than the ethnic Kurds. That the establishment of a Kurdish state is not a matter of time, but it is a matter of timing is, without any doubt, a fact. It is too obvious. What is not obvious and unexpected to most people is the rise of Alevism in Turkey, which could play an important role, perhaps the role of regulator and even the catalyst in the Kurdish effort for statehood. One could argue that Alevism could be the face of a new Turkey, democratic and tolerant toward the minorities. Whether that would unfold the 600-year-old hidden Christianity is altogether a matter of speculation.

In modern times, the rise of Alevism and its influence in the modern society has distraught the Kemalists as well as the Sunnis. In an effort to warn against attempts to deepen the problems between Alevis and Sunnis in Turkey, Erdogan, stated, “If Alevism is loving Caliph Ali, I am a perfect Alevi, because I love Caliph Ali so much. He is the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. He is the fourth caliph. But I have nothing to say to those who say I am Alevi, but don’t live the way he [Caliph Ali] did.”[73]

Nevertheless, it is not that simple. Alevism oftentimes has been characterized as a political movement of the oppressed masses versus a predominant right wing interpretation of Sunni Islam, which was the version of Islam of the high castes for the Ottoman State. It is as if the simple people who were forcibly converted to Islam espoused Alevism as a means of revenge against the class who had imposed Islam on them. Perhaps it is why some people consider the Alevis as lost Christians. But Alevism is hardly a religion. Alevism is not in itself a religion, but rather a way of life that has come under the influence of various religions.[74] It can be seen that:

 

The way of life of the Alevi in Turkey resembles the way of life in no other Islamic country. It resembles neither the Shi’a of Arabia and Iran, nor of Libya and Egypt. Anatolian Alevism displays a quite individual structure, having adopted an Alevite form after coming under the influence of all the various cultures that had previously existed in the region. Of these may be mentioned Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Nevertheless, it has fused with none of these… It is a movement which, in struggles between the oppressors and the oppressed, has always sided with the latter…Alevism is situated neither totally within nor totally outside the religion of Islam.[75]

 

A similar judgment can be found in the “Programme” of the Kurdistan Alevi Union:

 

Alevism is a religious belief which formed and proliferated within the process of development of Islam among the peoples of the Middle East, Mesopotamia and Anatolia. It spread more particularly among the impoverished nomadic and semi-nomadic Kurdish and Turkmen tribes. While Sunnism, the predominant Islamic right-wing interpretation and evolution, was preferred by the dominant feudal classes and states, Alevism was the religious belief held by the oppressed classes whose interests were totally opposed to those of the ruling classes and states against whom they conducted a perpetual struggle. This was, in effect, a class war that assumed a religious form and was conducted under the guise of a struggle between different faiths and religions. Alevism was a rebellion, a resistance, a flag of liberation raised against the ruling classes who, with Sunnism, the dominant form of Islam, adopted a feudal structure and established centralized states and empires…[76]

 

The Qur’an to an Alevi is nothing but an old book written only as a guide to forms of worship and it cannot be taken as point of departure at the present day. Alevis see the Qur’an from the historical point of view. Umar, a reputed thug, Uthman and the Ummayad dynasty canonized it in a way that benefited themselves.

The Ummayads are the same people behind the assassination of the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, they beheaded the fourth Caliph Hussayn who was Muhammad’s grandson and killed Hussayn’s six-month old son in the aftermath of the battle of Karbala.

Subsequently, how could the Alevis respect a book that was manipulated in any respect by its “editors” and excludes information about Muhammad’s family? The only message that keeps repeating is to kill, degrade women, and declare inequality among people?

This is what a dede, i.e. sheikh (a man from Muhammad’s lineage who is the leader in the cem or temple) says about the difference between the Sunnis and the Alevis. I have slightly modified the statement in order to facilitate the reading.

We congregate together.

We perform the ritual dances and play the ritual music.

We sing songs, hymns and incantations.

We drink wine.

We mourn for the twelve imams.

We keep the Muharrem[77] and Hızır fasts.[78]

We perform the yearly sacrifice, the votive sacrifice, the social sacrifice, the sacrifice of atonement.

We recognize no kadı.[79]

Do not ask us about our sect.

We recognize no sects.

We say, “We have our path” [80]

 

Any politically or ethically motivated upheaval could lead to administrative re-organization of the Turkish republic; some even suggest the disintegration of the country, as we know it. Turkey is united only because is an illiberal democracy. It succeeds in doing so through its compulsory education and the unofficial role that Sunni Islam plays. The establishment holds all peoples within its territory under complete control and considers as traitor of the country anyone who advocates a true democratic reform, and through the traditional Turkish sociological custom of sameness, Alevis have been forced to go into taqiyah, i.e. protection through deception.

In Arabic the word taqiyya ( تقية ) means protection, cover, shelter. It is why the white knitted cover that Muslim men wear is called taqiyya. In Shi’a tradition the notion of religious concealment had developed in order to cover a Shi’a Muslim from a threat, persecution, or compulsion by their Sunni “brethren.”[81] “Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.”[82] As a matter of social inclination and in the name of protection, although not in the Bible, those who believe in Christianity, but living within the realm of Islam, developed the taqiyya. They are forced to pretend that they are Sunni Muslims so that they find employment, avoid harassment and persecution. This is happening in Turkey at present.

An insurrection of the Kurdish regions would hardly be local and would probably spread all over the country; all hell would break loose. I suppose the answer lies mostly on freedom of religion, which affects not only the ethnic minorities, but also those who consider themselves ethnic Turks and Sunni Muslims. The notion that crypto-Christians exist all over the country is not a secret; what is unknown is the number of those who officially profess Islam, but keep a small shrine and light candles somewhere in secret.

Alevism (Turkish Alevilik) is the second major religious grouping after Sunnilik, and since 1990, the Alevis have become more visible in society and more active in the political arena. Their beliefs are grouped in their confession of faith “Alevis acknowledge they are from Ahl al Kitab (Arabic أهل الكتاب ‎) or the People of the Book by stating that the last four holy books (Quran, Gospel, Torah and Psalms) have all equal significance in guiding people to the Divine Truth. This confession is called “The Four Books of Righteousness” (“Dört kitabın Dördüde ‘Hâkk’”).[83]

The Alevi understanding of the Quran is esoteric based on Sufism as developed by Mevlana ar- Rumi and his own understanding of Aristotelic philosophy.

Alevis consider themselves to be part of the wider Shi`a movement, who revere Ali (Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law) and the Twelve Imams of his house. Like all extreme Shia, their reverence for Ali verges on deification, for which reason classical Sunni ulama classified them as ghulat (exaggerators), outside the orthodox Islamic fold. Alevis are also called Kizilbash (the name of the Turkmen followers of the Safavid Sufi order of the 15th and 16th centuries), and Bektashi (followers of the Anatolian Bektashi Shia Sufi order founded in the 13th century). Further names used signify specific tribal and linguistic identities: Tahtaci, Abdal, Cepni, Zaza, or names of great men revered by the Alevi: Caferi, Huseyni.[84]

Alevis are monogamous and consider women equal to men. Alevi women are free to dress in modern clothing and are encouraged to get the best education they can being free to perform any occupation they choose. Gender segregation in the private and public domain is non-existent, a fact that allows women to worship together with men. The Alevi society follows traditional values of right and wrong, honor and shame. Alevi women are not required to wear a headscarf (hijab), veil (niqab) or body coverings (jilbāb or burqa) as an indication of modesty. Since the Alevis focus on the internal rather than the external representation of a person, any cover of women’s hair or body is unrelated to honor, morality or social, political and even economic worth.

They have undergone a re-politicization in civil society due to many factors including the fall of communism and its effect on leftists close to Alevilik, the rise of Sunni political Islam and the counter-reaction among the Alevi population, the Kurdish issue, political and economic factors of modernization and social change, and the role of the media.

Alevilik revival is a reconstructive, modern, and urban response to growing class inequalities related to Alevis’ political and economic downward mobility. It is unclear whether the Alevi politics will add to Turkish democracy as it currently stands. Without acknowledging its class basis and the ethnic question, Alevi politics will not be fully democratic.

Map of Alevis and Kurds in Turkey[85]

 

Alevism is a fusion of different religions, cultures, or philosophies with diverse religious beliefs from Islam, Turkic shamanism influenced by Buddhism, and Christian Orthodoxy. According to professor Soner Cagaptay, in 2005 44% of Alevi respondents self-identify as Muslim and 56% do not.[86] One could easily consider them as the known crypto-Christians since they believe in a Holy Trinity (Allah, Muhammad, Ali), they venerate St. George, they seek forgiveness through confession and after the confession they drink wine and eat bread and cheese, and their monks are celibate. Because of these practices, Alevism has attracted many Orthodox to their ranks since the fall of Byzantium. It is very important to know that the vast majority of the Alevis live in Cappadocia.[87]

Because of this reality, it is difficult for anyone to predict what the role of these minorities would be in case of an insurrection which could lead to the possible disintegration of the Turkish republic, as we know it. It is a real toss up.

 

Secularism

Turkey’s greatest nightmare is a full democracy by Western standards. Under the present conditions, it will probably never happen. Considering that a Western type democracy is the foundation of the EU, provided that the EU exists in the near future, Turkey’s chances to join are doubtful.

The supposition that Turkey is an Islamic county comes from Turkish education as implemented by socialıst Kemal Ataturk based on Ziya Gokalp’s perception of how the new Turkey should be. Statistically speaking, not one educated Turk would dare say that their country is 100% Islamic. It would have been a statistical impossibility and a lie for anyone to claim it, considering that, at least on the surface, four millets live within Turkey.

In his speech on April 20, 2005, the former Chief of the General Staff, General Hilmi Özkök, reiterated,

Certain circles attempted to describe Turkey as a country serving as a model of moderate Islam.  Almost 99 percent of Turkey’s population consists of Muslims.  Turkey, however, is a secular and democratic welfare [i.e. socialist] state upholding the principle of preeminence of the rule of law.  Turkey is neither an Islamic state nor an Islamic country.  Reaching the conclusion that countries with a predominantly Muslim population could easily be transformed into democracies by portraying Turkey as a model could be misleading.[88]

 

The Military is in charge of keeping the secular status in Turkey[89] and leading the country to the Europeanization dreamed of by the founder of modem Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Nevertheless, the military is the same institution which does its best to keep Turkey away from the European Union fearing complete democratization of the country and, consequently, the loss of their own privileges and ability to intervene in the political arena when they please. Simply put, the Turkish military wants their cake and to eat it, too.

 

Islamism

Whatever the Constitution and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff might feel or say, the fact is that Turkey in the last years has turned into an Islamic State with very limited tolerance of those who disagree with the system. Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists (mild or otherwise) rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed. According to Haşim Kılıç, President of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, “A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey.” In some cases, “The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.” On the other hand, the European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary while it has noted that bans imposed on social media are the major sources of concern regarding Turkey’s candidacy for full membership. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, proud of the achievements of the Islamic state remarked, “We have made the conservative, pious [Muslim] masses not just a part, but a major actor of the political system.”[90]

Essentially, Davutoglu agrees that the members of the ISIL[91] are part of his administration. He in fact confessed that there is a 360-degree difference between the Islam that Turkey defends and the Islam that ISIS defends. He specifically stated, “As far as ISIL is concerned our difference is 180 degrees, but as far as Turkey [is concerned] our difference is 360 degrees”.[92] That statement, though, brings us to the eschatological beliefs of ISIL as they are found in the 75th Sura, aka Sūrat al-Qiyāmah or “Resurection” and the Hadith as narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas.

On October 21, 2015, Eren Erdem and Ali Seker both Members of Parliament belonging to the CHP, Turkey’s main opposition party, at the Press Conference accused Erdogan’s AKP Government of Crimes against Humanity. They claimed that in July 2013, Erdogan’s government assisted members of a terrorist group later known as ISIS to launch a chemical attack

 

on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, in which hundreds of civilians were killed, was carried out not by the Assad regime but by ISIS, and that the gas used in the attack had been manufactured in Turkey and supplied to this organization with the knowledge of the AKP government”… The Rockets used to fire the capsules containing the toxic gas were also manufactured in Turkey. It was also found that monetary transactions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey had taken place regarding these materials.[93]

 

If the claims prove true, the matter of the Islamic State is getting into a new stage with domestic and international implications with unpredictable results. Two authoritative Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet and Cumhuriyet, Todays Zaman published some of the details on October 21, 2015.

Thus far, Turkey’s strategy is somewhat sinister while becoming more complex as the days pass. Turk politicians see ISIL’s expansion from northern Syria to western Iraq as a blessing in disguise which takes the form of keeping the Kurds busy. This policy aims at weakening the Peshmerga in Iraq thus forcing the Kurds to reinforce its losses with Kurdish fighters from within Turkey. Turkey, by allowing the bleeding of Kurdish fighters from Turkey to Iraq, solves Turkey’s domestic headaches rather painlessly.

This strategy becomes obvious with the siege of the Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobane by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Lebanon-Syria) which was defended by the Syrian Kurds. Turkey’s excuse for not intervening was that since other countries refuse to do so, why should it? PM Davutoglu was quick to point out that Assad’s regime was actually to blame for the rise of ISIL.[94]

The Shia Iran supports the Alawite (Shia sect) Assad regime which supports the (Shia) Hezbollah in Lebanon against the Christians and the Sunni Muslims. On the other hand, the Sunni Kurds fight against the Sunni Turks in Turkey for their independence. In Iraq and Syria Kurds fıght against the Sunni ISIL, which according to Davutoglu is supported by the Alawites of Assad, an argument, which thus far has no merit. In reality, Turkey wishes to see the Assad regime dead and a new pro-Turkish Sunni government installed in its place. Some U.S. members of Congress feel the same way. No matter what one wants to see in Syria, it is the will of the Syrian people that counts.

 

Turkey and the Law of the Sea

 

Turkey, thinking that the confusion the appearance of ISIL created preoccupies the West, sent an exploratory ship accompanied by two warships into the Cyprus’ EEZ violating the Law of the Sea. That open provocation, intimidation, and extortion against a small defenseless Cyprus, which Turkey has already military attacked, showed Turkey’s real face, and after 40 years it still occupies 37% of Cyprus territory, which is not acceptable to Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Egypt and indirectly the United States.

Turkey’s contention that islands do not have entitlement of a continental shelf, not only is illogical, it is against the political norms of international law. According to Turkey’s argument, the British Isles fall under the continental shelf of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. These countries have rights over the British gas and oil. Iceland’s shelf is actually Norway’s, which has the sole right to explore it. My favorite one is Indonesia. If Indonesia does not have continental shelf, then she illegally explores and draws minerals, which she sells to the world market. By not having a continental shelf Indonesia violates the rights of Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Simultaneously, the Philippines infringe the rights of the People’s Republic of China. Somehow, Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei would disagree with Turkey’s assertion. Turkey gives as reason for its illogical contention “special circumstances”; but “special circumstances” exist only in the Aegean? What about the Channel Isles[95] or even the Aland Islands?[96] Yet the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has taken into consideration all the possible legal arguments and yet concluded that the islands have Insular Shelf as part of the Continental shelf of the country to which they belong.[97]

The ethnocentric and nationalistic official motto of the Republic of Turkey attributed to Mustafa Kemal, “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” is the result of the Turkish mentality of besiegement. It alludes to the idea that a domestically peaceful Turkey is the guarantee for a peaceful world.

Compilation of Power

 

The conflict of NATO with Russia over Ukraine, the rise of ISIL in Turkey’s backyard and Turkey’s sudden love affair with Iran has brought up a few matters never manifested before. Defending its national interests, Turkey chose to distance itself from the interests of the NATO Alliance that offered it cover during the Cold War and to forge partnerships with Russia and Iran and its allies south of its borders even if these alliances could prove temporary with long-term political significance in favor of Davutoglu’s doctrine. This is nothing new. Contradictions between rhetoric and action in Turkish policy on almost anything traces back to the Ottoman Empire.

Erdogan is a sinister politician who dreams to surpass Kemal Ataturk celebrating the centennial celebrations of the Turkish Republic, but with a twist. He intends to start a new Turkey that would politically combine the glory and luxury of the Sultanate with the religious control of all Muslims under the Caliphate. One could assume that once Turkey succeeds in combining a political and religious power, it would then demand, or rather impose a real partnership to the EU and even NATO. Its goal seems to be the leadership of all the Turkic and Islamic World. It is an impossible task by any means. Turkey lacks what it takes to be a superpower at this point in time.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed the world his new ‘Ak Saray’ (‘White Palace’), a sprawling, ridiculously lavish compound that has 40 times the floor space of the more familiar White House. The roughly 2,150,000-square-foot complex cost a reported $350M to build, which unsurprisingly has a lot of people in the country criticizing the leader’s autocratic ways. Erdogan, who will be moving out of the more modest two-story palace built by the first Turkish president in the 1920s, insists that this change symbolizes a ‘New Turkey’ under his leadership. Of course, the symbolic shift is also supposed to manifest in the design of the 1,000-room building.[98]

 

It is clear that Erdogan wants to surpass Ataturk and that is why he wants to make Turkey the center of the earth. He utilizes means which in his view would compensate for Turkey’s increasing loss of geostrategic importance due to the advancing globalization and, in particular, the range of modern weapons, the size of modern vessels and the fuel capacity of modern aircraft. Erdogan’s plans to build an airport that would surpass that of Dubai are, in reality, a method of making Turkey an important actor and a center of stability in the Near East, the Caucasus and the Balkans.

 

The Unholy Cycle:

The Connection of Turkey to the Muslim Brotherhood

 

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

The Turkish National Assembly abolished the Caliphate on March 3, 1924. Almost immediately, various movements started, but of local political significance. An elementary-school teacher, Hasan al-Banna (1906-49), founded the Society of the Muslim Brothers in Ismailia in March 1928, which was not specifically or exclusively political. The movement aimed to reform individual and social morality based on an analysis of what was wrong with Muslim societies. Hasan al-Banna specifically stated,

You are not a benevolent society, nor a political party, nor a local organization
having limited purposes. Rather, you are a new soul in the heart of this nation to
give it life by means of the Qur’an … When asked what it is for which you call,
reply that it is Islam, the message of Muhammad, the religion that contains within
it government, and has as one of its obligations freedom. If you are told that you
are political, answer that Islam admits- no such distinction. If you are accused of
being revolutionaries, say, ‘We are voices for right and for peace in which we dearly
believe, and of which we are proud. If you rise against us or stand in the path of our
message, then we are permitted by God to defend ourselves against your injustice.’ [99]

 

With this statement, Banna reinforced the Qur’an’s teaching that all Muslims owe loyalty to the Ummah or Islamic Community and not to the country in which they were born. The problem rests in the way the Qur’an was canonized by the Umayyad dynasty, which not only distorted the written texts of the Qur’an, but also their meaning. Distortions had spread to all other books that Muslims consider holy and it is why the Alevis of Turkey do not take the Qur’an literally.
Members of ISIL behave in the strictest mode dictated by the Quran, Hadith, Sunna, Sharia as the Umayyad’s arranged them.[100]

Al-Banna’s reason for the re-establishment of the Caliphate was the Western influence over the colonialized Muslims. One of the quotes that we have inherited during the visit of six Egyptians at Al-Banna’s home in Ismailia is, “We know not the practical way to reach the glory of Islam and to serve the welfare of Muslims. We are weary of this life of humiliation and restriction. Lo, we see that the Arabs and the Muslims have no status and no dignity.”[101] Later, in 1942 in a written statement, al-Banna rejected all forms of Western political or social organization.

The Western way of life-founded in effect on practical and technical knowledge, discovery, invention, and the flooding of world markets with mechanical products-has remained incapable of offering to men’s minds a flicker of light, a ray of hope, a grain of faith, or of providing anxious persons the smallest path toward rest and tranquility. Man is not simply an instrument among others. Naturally, he has become tired of purely materialistic conditions and desires some spiritual comfort. But the materialistic life of the West could only offer him as reassurance a new materialism of sin, passion, drink, women, noisy gatherings, and show attractions which he has come to enjoy.[102]

 

The morals the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to spread were not just against Christian teachings, but also against excesses of Sufism.[103] The solution could be found in the interpretation of the Qur’an by genuine ijtihad.[104] Although in the beginning that was true, slowly the philosophy of the movement changed and from the reformed sharia that gives rights to women it changed to a philosophy closer to Salafism, which is an al-Qaeda’s philosophy. Everything had to be based on Islamic teachings. Although the implication was designed to be strictly an Egyptian affair, it spread all over the Muslim world. Essentially Salafism and Wahhabism are identical philosophies.[105]

 

 

Muslim Brotherhood in Shia Islam.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood follows the Sunni Islam, the Shia Islam has developed its Brotherhood version in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon creating the Hezbollah (Party of God) and Ad-Dawah (Invitation, i.e. proselytization).[106] Both have focused on building grassroots institutions and funding welfare projects.[107] These groups and their many local offices still enjoy popular support and power.[108]

 

The Muslim Brotherhood and Nazism

In 1933, Ahmed Hussein founded the Young Egypt Party, or Green Shirts, declaring, “Everyone must believe that the will of the people is the will of Allah, and that Egypt is above all.” Needless to say, this reminds one of the well known “Deutschland Über Alles.” The party slogan was “Allah, Fatherland and People.”

Another political party that was organized by Saʿd Zaghlūl, the Wafd became a political party in September 1923 calling for internal autonomy, constitutional government, civil rights, and Egyptian control of both the Sudan and the Suez Canal. However, the Free Officers Movement, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser abolished this Party in 1952. The Wafd imitated the fascist style with its Blue Shirts.[109]

The Muslim Brotherhood seized the opportunity to justify its existence in a 1938 publication:

If the German Reich imposes itself as a protector of everyone who has German blood running in his veins, Muslim faith makes it the clear duty of every strong Muslim whose soul is drenched in the doctrines of the Koran to consider himself the protector of every other Muslim whose soul has also been drenched … in Islam.[110]

The Brotherhood spread to North Africa countries e.g. Libya, Algeria and Tunis, which were under colonial rule. The spread of Salafism in those countries became instrumental in their becoming independent. Encouragement against French colonialism and respect for the Axis, and especially for Germany, was the fact that France had capitulated to Germany in nine days. That revealed to them that France was not a power that they should be afraid of.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine

In the section “The Relation between the Islamic Resistance Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood”, Article Two of the Charter of HAMAS, the organization states, “The Islamic Resistance Movement [HAMAS] is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood movement is a global organization and is the largest of the Islamic movements in modern times.”[111]  From this it is clear that the HAMAS organization is actually the Muslim Brotherhood, which intends to efface anything and kill anyone that does not adhere to its version and understanding of Islam.

The HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL are doctrinally connected and the only difference between ISIL and the Muslim Brotherhood is tactics. HAMAS is doctrinally closer to ISIL, but it covers its intentions under the cloak of the liberation of Palestine, which presupposes the destruction of Israel. As Eman Nabih puts it,

the difference between Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL, is deception, which is the main factor MB [Muslim Brotherhood] are using in their tactics, till they dominate a country’s joints, then they raise the sword against their opponents… other terrorist groups like ISIL, may disagree with Muslim Brothers tactics, because they use slaughter and intimidation right away, in order to have full control on a country and to build an Islamic empire based on their own fascist provisions which have nothing to do with Islam or moderate Muslims.”[112]

 

It seems that they are attempting to seek the materialization of the poem composed by al-Hilli,[113]

 

White are our deeds

Black are our battles

Green are our lands

Red are our swords.

  أبيض أعمالنا

أسود معاركنا

الأخضر أراضينا

أحمر سيوفنا

 

Along the same lines, other statements warn, “Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, both of these are Islamic extremist groups, violent in their ruthless pursuit of objectives – ISIL to create a caliphate empire, and HAMAS to eliminate the State of Israel.” [114] It is clear that, although HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood have as their political goal the elimination of Israel, once they do, they will spread terror and destruction on all Christian sites, murdering innocent people because of their beliefs.

Even Muslim dignitaries have warned European countries of the danger that the HAMAS, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL’s silent alliance pose to the world. The crown prince, Zayed al-Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi royal family had informed the British Foreign Office of the danger he felt in London from members of the Brotherhood. In his speech before the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France on March 10, 2015, King Abdullah II stated that ISIL is nothing less than a criminal organization. He specifically stated that we are fighting “a war against an expansionist ideology that feeds on hate; that is committing murder in the name of God and religion to justify evil actions that no religion tolerates — a war against terrorists who disrespect Islam’s values and humanity’s values. … Those outlaws of Islam who deny these truths are vastly outnumbered by the ocean of believers,”[115] Those people who see HAMAS as a liberation movement should think again. By supporting HAMAS means supporting Turkey’s dreams.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey

The religious and cultural affinity of the present Turkish political leadership towards the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches all over the world including, but not limited to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, HAMAS, ISIL and a few others has Turkey in an opposing camp of its old allies i.e. Egypt, Israel, Libya, etc. The leaders of the Justice and Development Party, aka AKP, are members of the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1969, Professor Netfccmettin Erbakan, later a Prime Minister of Turkey, published a manifesto, which he called Millî Görüş or National Vision, in which he articulated the combination of a political ideology turned into a movement stressing the Islamic “nation”, not the ethnic one. In that manifesto, Erbakan called for the strengthening of Islamic values in Turkey at the expense of Ataturk’s secularism. The word Görüş is also translated as “opinion”, “vision” or “perception.” In addition, the manifesto expressed the view that Islamic moral and religious education are very important while at the same time he advocated special attention be paid to industrialization, development and economic independence.[116] He also called for a closer cooperation of Turkey with all Islamic countries while keeping countries that espoused Western values away. Erbakan’s views resulted to his removal from office.

After the end of the Ataturk party’s rule and the start of the Democratic Party’s era, the Brotherhood started collaborating with Necmettin Erbakan who, in 1969, founded Milli Görüş, the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Millî Görüş or National Vision is one of “the leading Turkish diaspora organizations in Europe”.[117] However, it is not the national vision to which the term refers, but a religious one.[118]   In fact, it is the dogma of religious moral and spiritual strength in the Islamic faith called Iman.   It blossomed with the American invasion of Iraq starting in 1990 and offers as explanation that the Muslim world’s decline originates in its imitation of Western values, e.g. secularism and inappropriate use of Western technology. The dogma opposes the secularism as envisioned by the socialist Mustafa Kemal. The Millî Görüş is active in most European countries and also in many countries around the world.

On a visit to some mosques in Kreuzberg, the predominantly Muslim district of Berlin, I gathered a sampling of fliers on offer. All were in Turkish, and most were from the Islamic organization Milli Gurus. Milli Gurus was formed 10 years ago in Germany by supporters of Turkey’s Islamist Refah (Welfare) party. Refah was eventually banned in Turkey. Its more moderate Turkish offshoot, the Justice and Development Party, is the ruling party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.[119]

 

Erbakan’s Millî Görüş ideology helped him become the founder and leader of several prominent Islamic political parties as the National Order Party (MNP), the National Salvation Party (MSP), the Welfare Party (RP), the Virtue Party (FP), and the Felicity Party (SP). Despite the fact that the Welfare Party was outlawed in 1998, Erbakan’s ideology gave the nucleus of a new political party, the Justice and Development Party or Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP). Some prominent members from parties developed from Erbakan’s ideals are: Recep Tayyıp Erdogan,[120] Abdullah Gül,[121] and Bülent Arınç[122] from the Welfare Party; Numan Kurtulmuş[123] from the former Felicity Party, and Cemil Çiçek[124] from the Virtue Party.

Although the Welfare Party or Refah in Turkey has withered away, the Millî Görüş remains alive and well. It claims some 87,000 members across Europe including 50,000 in Germany. It helps run about a fifth of Germany’s 2,500 mosques where it distributes its Islamist literature.[125]

If the dogmatism of Millî Görüş and the new trend of religious vision were allowed to develop, it would change the future of Turkey’s strategic culture. Although we see some adjustments in Turkey’s behavior, it is rather early to ascribe a new national vision that would seriously affect the strategic culture of Turkey. The foundations of socialist secularism set by Ataturk, while maintaining the nationalist education of the country with the military as its guardian, make it almost impossible for anyone to truly modify a system that gave Turkey its present political and military prestige.

“In 1996, Erbakan attempted to facilitate the rise of a new Islamic power, the Eight Islamic countries group, made up of Libya, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Also, the [Muslim] Brotherhood fielded a strong presence at the 2006 celebration of 533 years’ occupying Constantinople.”[126]

Weapons Trade

Ukraine is one of the primary weapons sellers, especially rifles of “Avtomat Kalashnikova” or AK series i.e. AK-47, AK-74, AKM, and AKMS, which are most commonly used by Islamists. Most of the weapons are remnants of the USSR cache. According to published reports, Turkey has been caught red-handed supplying weapons to the rebels of Libya, which are members of the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL.

In August 2014, the pro-Tobruk government’s Operation Dignity’s military commander, Khalifa Hifter, reportedly ordered his forces to shell a ship heading to the Libyan port of Derna carrying a cache of weapons from Turkey. Three months later, Turkish media reported in November 2014 that Greek authorities found 20,000 AK-47s in a ship heading from Ukraine to Libya. The Turkish captain said the ship was headed to Turkey’s southern Hatay port, but Libyan authorities said that maritime traffic data indicated that it was bound for Libya.[127]

 

Even if the rifles were headed to the region of Hatay, whether the port was Iskenderun (Alexandretta) or Antakya (Antioch), who exactly was the recipient? ISIL perhaps? Or were they directed for MİT ’s personnel which is imbedded in ISIL and fights against the Kurds? While Prime Minister, Erdogan ordered all services, and especially the Gendarmerie Command, to leave untouched any truck with cargo belonging to the MİT regardless their final destination. Unofficially, these trucks carried rifles, ammunition, missiles, rocket warheads, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition, while officially they carried humanitarian assistance to the Turkmen.

According to AL-Monitor, the public prosecutor, Aziz Takci, defied the orders from above and directed the trucks to be searched, which resulted in his removal from his post and 13 soldiers involved in the search were taken to court on charges of espionage. Their indictments call for prison terms of up to 20 years. A group of hackers leaked many documents and in turn they circulated on the Internet. The documents that circulated before Turkey banned their publication summarized the incident:

  • On Jan. 19, 2014, after receiving a tip that three trucks were carrying weapons and explosives to al-Qaeda in Syria, the Adana Provincial Gendarmerie Command obtained search warrants.
  • The Adana prosecutor called for the search and seizure of all evidence.
  • Security forces stopped the trucks at the Çeyhan tollgates, where MİT personnel tried to prevent the search.
  • While the trucks were being escorted to Çeyhan Gendarmerie Command for an extensive search, MİT personnel accompanying the trucks in an Audi vehicle blocked the road to stop the trucks. When MİT personnel seized the keys from the trucks’ ignitions, an altercation ensued. MİT personnel instructed the truck drivers to pretend their trucks had malfunctioned and committed physical violence against gendarmerie personnel.
  • The search was carried out and videotaped despite the efforts of the governor and MİT personnel to prevent it.
  • Six metallic containers were found in the three trucks. In the first container, 25-30 missiles or rockets and 10-15 crates loaded with ammunition were found. In the second container, 20-25 missiles or rockets, 20-25 crates of mortar ammunition and Doushka [DShK ДШК] anti-aircraft ammunition in five or six sacks were discovered. The boxes had markings in the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • It was noted that the MİT personnel swore at the prosecutor and denigrated the gendarmerie soldiers doing the search, saying, “Look at those idiots. They are looking for ammunition with picks and shovels. Let someone who knows do it. Trucks are full of bombs that might explode.”
  • The governor of Adana, Hüseyin Avni Coş, arrived at the scene and declared, “The trucks are moving with the prime minister’s orders” and vowed not to let them be interfered with no matter what.
  • With a letter of guarantee sent by the regional director of MİT, co-signed by the governor, the trucks were handed back to MİT.
  • Driver Murat Kislakci said in his deposition, “This cargo was loaded into our trucks from a foreign airplane at Ankara Esenboğa Airport. We are taking them to Reyhanli [on the Syrian border]. Two men [MİT personnel] in the Audi are accompanying us. At Reyhanli, we hand over the trucks to two people in the Audi. They check us into a hotel. The trucks move to cross the border. We carried similar loads several times before. We were working for the state. In Ankara, we were leaving our trucks at an MİT location. They used to tell us to come back at 7 a.m. I know the cargo belongs to MİT. We were at ease; this was an affair of state. This was the first time we collected cargo from the airport and for the first time we were allowed to stand by our trucks during the loading.”
  • After accusations of espionage by the government and pro-government media, the chief of general staff ordered the military prosecutor to investigate. On July 21, the military prosecutor declared the operation was not espionage. The same prosecutor said this incident was a military affair and should be investigated not by the public prosecutor, but the military. The civilian court did not retract its decision.[128]

 

What is Next?

The birth country of the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt has declared it, a “terrorist organization,” as other countries have as well. It is why “the court in Cairo has sentenced 529 members of them to death so far in 2014 and has imprisoned many others.”[129] Nevertheless, in Turkey, the Brotherhood has elected officials e.g. Prime Ministers and even Presidents.

The questions that one could ask are: Why? How did it start? Is it something old or something new? Although the concept is rather old, the opportunity for Turkey’s involvement in wars of the Middle East was provided by the American invasion of Iraq starting in 1990. It is a well-known fact that Turkey did not give any assistance to the United States and its coalition in both Iraqi wars. Turkey gave a lot of excuses why it could not participate in either of them. The whole game played out as a matter of wait and see hoping with the opportunistic political commotion to have their cake and eat it too.

In the meantime, Turkey’s apologists in Washington, The Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security,[130] the Gephardt group,[131] and the Livingston Group[132] have periodically worked on maintaining Turkey’s excellent reputation and prestige among the Washington political elite, NATO and the EU promoting a positive image of Turkey. One must consider that Turkey pays an average of US$10 million annually not just for the lobbying these three groups provide, but also to election and re-election campaigns of politicians in the United States and Europe, Press, and various periodicals and organizations.

These lobbyists worked to incorporate into NATO and the EU Turkey’s allies in the Balkans, i.e. Albania, the FYROM, Bosnia, and Kosovo, while Germany helped in this effort supporting their traditional ally, Turkey. Also, the role of the UK on the side of Turkey must never be underestimated considering that the UK helped to bring Turkey into the Cyprus dispute in the early 1950s in order to use Turkey as the counterbalance to the Cypriot fight for Enosis or union with Greece. In article 20 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey fully recognized the sovereignty of the UK over Cyprus giving up any rights over the island, while article 21 regulates the citizenship status until November 5, 1914 of all Turkish nationals living on the island. If Cyprus had indeed united with Greece, the UK would not be able to justify its two bases on the island. The same was the reason behind the encouragement Turkey received to invade the island in 1974.

Politicians, and especially American politicians, must NEVER recklessly go along with the UK’s foreign policy, because the UK takes care of its own national interests, which are not necessarily identical to those of the United States.

And while the invasion of Cyprus seems to some governments as an isolated incident, the question remains whether Turkey is going to invade other countries in order to protect its “religious minority” whether in a physical sense or in a religious sense under the guise of the Caliphate’s explicit or implicit powers and jurisdiction. Besides, the empathetic reaction of world governments toward Turkey contradicts the thunderous statements followed by sanctions against Russia after the invasion and annexation of Crimea in March 18, 2014. After all, Russia and Turkey invoked identical reasons for their action.

Upon the appointment of Hakan Fidan on May 25, 2010, a former Master Sergeant of the Turkish Land Forces as the Chief of the MİT, [133] the plan for the restoration of an Islamic Community as Erbakan had envisioned under the leadership of Turkey was put in effect.

The Arab Spring started on December 18, 2010 and spread from Tunisia to Libya to Egypt. Although Turkey was not involved in the beginning of the insurrections, it assisted the movements morally and materially. Within a few months, the Syrian Civil War started in the early spring of 2011, which began within the context of Arab Spring protests.

Turkey, promoting itself as champion of human rights, organized the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” (May 31, 2010) cooperating with the “Free Gaza Movement” and the “Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief” (İHH), against legitimate military operations of Israel, which was concerned with the weapons refurbishment of the HAMAS arsenal. The construction materials that the Hamas government sought were to be used for the construction of underground tunnels from Gaza to Israel. The operation resulted in nine activists being killed including eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American who were aboard the ship MV Mavi Marmara (Blue Marmara).

The idea of a democratic Syria seemed enticing to the governments of many countries, including the United States, which embraced it immediately as if a democratic Syria meant an automatic alliance or at least a friendly disposition to the West. The U.S. government and a number of U.S. Senators supported the insurrection of the Syrian opposition to the Assad regime and provided weapons and money. The training took place in Turkey and Jordan. However, soon after the Syrian insurrection, a number of opposition groups started defecting forming ISIL which used as its core former officers of Saddam Hussein along with Islamic fundamentalists.

The challenge that ISIL provided to Turkey and the excuses that its PM Davutoglu offered for not engaging the terrorists, although viewed as an unholy alliance in the fight of a common enemy, the Kurds, also gave basis for another explanation of Turkey’s hesitance. Evidence has surfaced that MİT personnel has been imbedded in ISIL in order to fight against and eliminate as many Peshmerga as possible. A number of wounded members of the MİT who fought with ISIL have been cared for in Turkish hospitals in Hatay province.

Turkey has launched a proxy war using ISIL, HAMAS, and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to eliminate or weaken the Kurds regardless of their actual location, i.e. Turkey, Iraq, or Syria while simultaneously it silently supports ISIL, not just in neighboring countries, but throughout the Muslim world and Europe, by feeding their terrorist movement with members of its own MİT.

In an article published in the G2 Bulletin on October 29, 2014, under the title, “Turkish President Gathers Power to Fulfill Islamic ‘Caliphate’ Vision. Angling for Constitutional Change to Maintain Authority”, Joseph Farah describes Erdogan’s political maneuvering as having only one thing in mind: grabbing and holding power and desiring the scepter of the Islamic Caliphate. Erdogan wants to become the next Caliph. This is the reason behind Erdogan’s new Presidential Palace. Erdogan aims at declaring the formation of a new more glorious Caliphate on the same day that the Turkish National Assembly abolished the previous Caliphate 100 years earlier, i.e. March 3, 2024 making himself the next Caliph.

Nevertheless, with the Caliphate’s old glory the old Ottoman language (Osmanlıca) must come, the language that Ottoman Caliphs used to speak. Comparable notions has been overtly expressed when President Erdogan expressed his views stating, “There are people who do not wish Ottoman to be taught and learned,” Erdogan told a meeting of Turkey’s religious council. “Regardless of whether they want it or not, Ottoman will be taught and learnt in this country.”[134] One would assume what Erdogan meant is that the Osmanlıca should be taught just as in Greece courses of ancient Greek or Latin were taught before 1980.

Osmanlıca had problems even at the time it was spoken. It had problems with its vocabulary, grammar and most of all script. Introducing the same language one century later would be a challenge to all Turkic speakers. After the invasion of Persia, Turks lost almost 70% of their original vocabulary to mostly Persian and Arabic through Islam. Turks using an alphabet that phonetically did not suit their language forced a segment of Eastern Orthodox Turks who lived in the region of Karaman to use a modified Greek alphabet in order to write their religious books. These Turks were the Karamanlı who, although they spoke a dialect of Ottoman Turkish, used Greek script.

Turkey’s aim is world domination through any means. Since it cannot dominate the world in a political sense, it can succeed in a religious sense. Even though Turkey would not be able to militarily intervene in order to save the religious rights of the Islamic Ummah, the mere fact that it would be the seat of the Caliphate would give it the moral and religious right to intervene in the domestic affairs of each and every country in which even one Muslim lives. It started in Cyprus and Greece; the rest of Europe will be next and that with the help of the materialization of the Caliphate with Ankara as its seat.

Since the Schengen Agreement was signed, all Turkish governments implement with religious devoutness the so-called Ozal Doctrine, as expressed in the statement made by the former President of Turkey,

The uncontrolled f1ow of illegal immigrants has multiple dangers for Greek national security because 1) it can destabilize social cohesion through demographic denaturation. 2) it encourages the spread of organized crime and terrorist networks. As an illegal immigrant, a high level operative of Al-Qaeda passed the Greek border and was arrested by the Greek authorities since he tried with forged documents to receive political asylum.[135]

 

At present, Turkey indeed destabilizes Greece using illegal migrants as the physical destabilizing factor in the country in order to hit the already battered economy by creating a humanitarian crisis and creating appalling and unsafe conditions in various regions of Greece. Consequently, these conditions generate fear among the inhabitants and tourists. Simultaneously, Turkey, the instigator of Greece’s destabilization, projects itself as the power that can take care of all the ills that Greece is incapable of solving. This attitude reminds us of the mafia that after its hoods destroy one’s property, it presents itself as the protector, for a fee of course. In this case, Turkey wants to offer more than just “protection” to Greece.[136]

But the problem is graver and more widespread. According to the Mayor of the city of Kos, island of Kos, “more than 250 people arrive from Turkey daily. They damage the boats so that the Greek Coast Guard will rescue them. A number of illegal migrants who arrive in our country are wealthy. Refugees and migrants possess very expensive mobile telephones with GPS and go straight to the police station.”[137] That means that the illegal migrants are more organized than people think. It seems that they are being sent to Greece and from there to Western Europe.

 

A good number of refugee/ migrants are 20-30 year old males, travelling alone, constantly riot because they have to have their papers checked which they claim delays them from reaching places like Germany. Others have refused to be fingerprinted, which makes one wonder why not? The true refugees are just happy to have a safe place to sleep and some food.

Turkey’s argument that Greece is incapable of policing its territorial waters is well noted. Simultaneously, Turkey has to accept the counter-argument that it is incapable of policing not only its own western coast, the region of the Aegean Army, but also it cannot even control its own borders with Greece and Bulgaria considering that it features its 1st Army, i.e. 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Corps in the region. In addition, Turkey’s Southern and Northern Sea Area Command located in İzmir and İstanbul respectively should be enough to stop any refugees and migrants within its three-mile territorial waters, thus stifling the human suffering and casualties. Yet, nothing of the sort happens.

If manipulated right, these migrants could constitute means of destabilization, not only to Greece, but also to Europe as dormant as they seem at this point. This is the Ozal Doctrine at work.

 

 

Illegal migrants pass from Turkey into Greece by land or by sea, aided by the Turkish authorities while the EU is silent. The fact that Turkey keeps violating relevant agreements that impose on it the burden of controlling the exit of migrants on to European Union territory does not bother any EU country except Greece. Turkey is non-cooperative even when proof exists that Turkish authorities assisted Turk smugglers arrested by the Greek authorities along with illegal migrants.

Even members of the U.S. Congress side with the Turkey against Greece. One of them is Senator Dan Coats, Republican from Indiana, who refused to release a Senate Resolution on the 194 Anniversary of Greek Independence from the Ottoman State, on the principle that he disliked a statement by a Greek Minister regarding illegal migrants. Thus, by his deed he insulted the memory of the Greeks who fought and died for Greece’s independence in 1821 after 400 years under the Ottoman yoke. The truth is that the Senator’s “principle” stopped there. The Senator somehow muffled the fact that Greece faces a humanitarian catastrophe because of Turkey and Turkey’s deliberate failure to honor its own signature.

When Americans died because Turkey refused to let us use our military base in Incirlik, Turkey to invade Iraq, Greece came to our rescue with their base at Souda Bay in Crete, Greece. Greece is one of only seven countries in the world that has been our ally in every international conflict in the 20th Century — it has always come to our rescue. In recent years, thousands of our ships and planes and hundreds of thousands of American military men and women involved in the Middle East have desperately needed Greece’s Souda Bay base, that Greece has graciously provided it to us.[138]

 

While this is what Turkey and its paid “guns,” and especially its present President, wants to see happen, the reality is that Turkey is not a homogenous nation in ethnic or in religious terms. A declaration of independence by the Iraqi region of Kurdistan will open the gates of hell. A war between Turkey and the new state of Kurdistan with Turkey provoking the war, assisted by its Washington lobby, is not out of the question. No matter what, once Kurdistan gains independence, the region with the same name within Turkey will demand union with the independent country or at least autonomy. In a pragmatic sense, Turkey’s territorial integrity is already in question to the point that we might see the country as it was on the map of the Treaty of Sevres, at least at its eastern regions. A Turkey of zero problems is becoming a Turkey with zero friends. The question is: how can the West keep Turkey intact and gratify the Kurds at the same time?

In the meantime, Turkey tries to abstain from getting actively involved in the internal Islamic strife in hope that at the end, after the two camps are exhausted, it will come up as the “honest” broker in magnanimity of the new Caliphate. No harm, no foul! The question that all people should raise is whether the new Caliphate is going to continue the legacy of ISIL e.g. beheadings, crucifixions, stoning, burying people alive, or even using their dai in order to proselytize all those who, in the mind of the “great” Caliph, are infidels?

The Turk Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, while addressing the provincial congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Kurdish-dominated Diyarbakır stated, “Turkey wants a Middle East that is home to Turks, Kurds, Arabs”. Obviously, the Middle East of his dream excludes all other ethnic groups e.g. Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, and a few other ethnicities and religions whose Middle East is their home for thousands of years. He continued, “Turkish, Kurdish and Zaza braves will be together everywhere again. Hopefully, this brotherhood will become eternal,” and “Turkey would continue representing Islam, with the crescent on its flag”.[139] It is not that Turkey’s flag would or would not have the crescent on it, it is that Davutoglu spoke as if only Muslims live in Turkey.

 

Turkey, NATO and the Kurds

The cornerstone of NATO’s unity rests on Article 5 as complemented by article 6 of the Washington Treaty of April 4, 1949, the Charter of NATO. Any NATO country has the right to invoke Article 5 and expect the support of all members. After September 11, 2001, when the United States was the object of brutal terrorist attacks, it invoked article 5 and 6 of the NATO Charter. The Strategic Concept of April 24, 1999 considered that “Alliance security interests can be affected by other risks of a wider nature, including acts of terrorism, sabotage and organized crime, and by the disruption of the flow of vital resources.” [140] Thus, NATO engaged “actively in the fight against terrorism, launched its first operations outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and began a far-reaching transformation of its capabilities.”[141] Because of Turkey’s invocation of articles 5 and 6, NATO has an obligation to defend its member against terrorism in accordance with the Final Communiqué of the Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council held in Reykjavik, dated May 14, 2002.[142]

One must always distinguish the three Kurdish factions in the area. While the PKK is considered a terrorist organization due to its illegal activities within Turkish territory, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) operates within Iraqi territory. The Syrian Kurds, aka the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), operate in northeastern Syria which as of 2014 is considered an autonomous part of Syrian Kurdistan. The Syrian Kurdistan consists of the cantons of Cizîrê, Kobanê and Efrîn. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê) is considered a terrorist organization because of its illegal activities within Turkey.

The designation of PKK as a terrorist organization internationally stands on an ambivalent footing for a number of reasons. Although the EU as a whole has classified the PKK as involved in terrorist acts, individual member countries accept the organization as representing the views of an ethnic group and allow offices within their borders. The European Court ordered the EU to take PKK off its terrorist list since it had failed to prove the proper justification for the EU’s chosen action. But the EU is not a defense organization with an obligation to intervene on the side of members in trouble.

For as long as Turkey defends itself from PKK forces within its own territory, it is within its legal rights to do so. Things are nebulous if or when the Turkish military attacks bases of the KRG and YPG in Iraq or Syria because in Turkey’s opinion they are actually members of the PKK staged outside Turkey, but operate within its boundaries. The other account is that PKK is based in Iraq and Syria, but operates in Turkey. In an article published in the Washington Post of October 27, 2015, the Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu stated that Turkey has used force against ethnic Kurdish militias in neighboring Syria. The Kurdish side has confirmed the attack. Similar actions had taken place because the Turkish government fears that these militias could establish a breakaway Kurdish enclave along the Turkish-Syrian border and then unite it with the Iraqi Kurdistan, founding the next step for an independent Kurdistan.

Analogous union will be one-step away from creating domestic instability in Turkey and Iran, both of which have regions inhabited by Kurds. However, the incident stresses the possibility for friction between the United States and Turkey considering the need for the United States to arm and train Syrian Kurds.[143]

The following diagram discloses the relations between Turkey on one hand and PKK, YPG, KRG and the Islamic State on the other.[144]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The strategic culture of Turkey is one of insecurity, pervasive distrust of its own ethnic minorities and allies, and risk avoidance. Their culture is the result of a series of historical events that molded the population of the republic. Two periods in the history of the Turkish nation:

  1. a) the history of the Great Ottoman State in its zenith (1453 – 1566) diametrically contrasted to its decline from 1828 to 1908 as the result of interference in the internal affairs of the Empire by foreign powers, and
  2. b) the causes of Turkey’s defeat in WW I and its subsequent fragmentation until the victory of Kemal Ataturk’s troops in the Battle of Dumlupınar on August 30, 1922 are considered the reasons for Turkeys’ strategic culture and have immensely contributed to the psychological makeup of the modern Turkish state. Honor, glory and power are three beliefs imbedded in each Turk through controlled education as the father of Modern Turkish Nationalism Ziya Gokalp molded and as modified by Kemal Ataturk.

 

No doubt, Ziya Gökalp was the ideologist of present day nationalism. His concept of how Turkey should be and function set the foundations of Kemalism even with a twist. At present, Turkey faces a predicament that could determine its domestic societal coexistence within a different political system that would maintain or destroy Ziya’s views and Kemal’s dream.

The leadership of Turkey believes that the country is a world power and in order to enforce their belief on the rest of world they needed to find a way. The repopulating of the European countries with Muslim refugees and migrants gave Turkey’s leadership the opportunity they were waiting for. Muslim populations, regardless of their ethnicity, could become the pawn to Turkey’s foreign policy plans. If that happens, the future of the EU as we know it is uncertain.

Thus far, Turkey’s foreign policy regarding ISIL, the Kurds outside its borders, and the concern of its EU membership is like an acrobat’s long tightrope walk who wants to keep his balance with a concurrent zigzag pattern of small corners at variable angles. The question of human rights hits the soul of the Turkish Republic since its inception. Ignoring the existence of minorities under one cloak or another, arresting or intimidating political opposition, imposing laws aiming to affect only a segment of the population, sometimes to its own extinction, are not something that Turkey could ask the EU and receive exception for.

Nonetheless, the present European Union’s “acquis communautaire” or the EU Law disallow candidate states to bypass them, i.e. Human Rights, the establishment of appropriate democratic and civilian control of their defense forces, and pledging to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to achieving the obligations described. The problem is that the more Turkey democratizes the more likely the country is to a government collapse through implosion of its political existence.

On August 28, 2014 after Erdogan was elected President of Turkey, he decided that the authority of the President should be wider and in essence autocratic. Whether the scenario in Turkey is going to follow the one of Russia’s duo Putin-Medvedev is a matter of domestic and foreign circumstances. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s aspiration to become another Kemal Ataturk would bring Turkey more problems than solutions.

Nonetheless, the more authoritarian the position of the President becomes, the more difficult it will be for Turkey to join the Union. The plight of the Kurdish people within Turkey cannot and will not be ignored even by Turkey’s own friends in the EU, i.e. the UK and Germany. The latter has a sizeable Kurdish population which will make sure that Turkey either will play or it will pay. Regardless whether Turkey joins the EU or not, it is almost certain that will at least try to play the role of protector of Europe’s significant Muslim population and to become the regulator of EU’s foreign and domestic policy. It is already happening in Greece.

 

-===============

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  1. Olsson, Tord, Elisabeth Özdalga, Catharina Raudvere, Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives, Vol 8. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 1998.

 

  1. Onyanga – Omara, Jane, “Turkey angry at pope after ‘genocide’ remarks”, USA TODAY, April 12, 2015.

 

  1. Ortaylı, İlber, Osmanlı Barışı Ottoman Peace İstanbul: Timaş Yayınları, 2007.

 

  1. Özel, Mehmet, 2000’li yıllara girerken Türk ordusu Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1999.

 

  1. Pamuk, Humeyra, “Erdogan’s Ottoman language drive faces backlash in Turkey”, Reuters, December 9, 2014.

 

  1. Pekindil, Burak, “Turkey: The ‘Great Muslim Democracy’”, Gatestone Institute, October 25, 2014.

 

  1. Rothkopf, David J., Running the World. The inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

 

  1. Stout, Mark E., Jesica M. Huckabey and others, eds. The Terrorist Perspectives Project. Strategic and operational views of al-Qaida and Associated Movements Annapolis: Naval Intitule Press, 2008.

 

  1. Templar, Marcus A., “Tasting the Bitter Pekmez: Causes of Turkey’s Instability”, Journal of Global Change and Governance, Volume I, Number 2, Spring 2008.

 

  1. Templar, Marcus A., “What If: The Annan Plan and Turkey”, Introduced by Savvas Iacovides, Σημερινή (Λευκωσίας), June 2009.

 

  1. Valerio De Divitiis, “Considerations over factors Empowering Radicalization in the European Union.” In Perspectives on Immigration and Terrorism, by Giovanni Maria Ruggiero, Sandra Sassaroli, et.al, Eds. 160. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2011.

 

  1. Yang, Gao, The Origin of the Turks and the Turkish Khanate, X. Türk Tarih Kongresi: Ankara 22 – 26 Eylül 1986, Kongreye Sunulan Bildiriler, V. Cilt, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1991.

 

[1] Robert Atkinson, “Toward a Consciousness of Oneness”, Integral Elders. Re-imagining the Later Years. URL: https://integralelders.me/awakening-of-global-consciousness/ Accessed September 13, 2015.

[2] Jane Onyanga – Omara, “Turkey angry at pope after ‘genocide’ remarks”, USA TODAY, April 12, 2015.   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/04/12/pope-armenia/25667197/

[3] Treaty Collection, UN, Chapter XXIII Signatory States. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetailsIII.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXIII~1&chapter=23&Temp=mtdsg3&lang=en accessed April 14, 2015.

[4] Violation of Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949, articles 13, 14.

[5] Violation of Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949, articles 34 and Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 12 August 1949. Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949 and Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 12 August 1949, article 3.

[6] Violation of Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949, article 49.

[7] William Hung, “The Transmission of the Book Known as the Secret History of the Mongols,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (December 1951), 433-492.

[8] Gök or Kök.

[9] Kultegin Memorial Complex, Türik Bitig https://irq.kaznpu.kz/?lang=e&mod=1&tid=1&oid=15&m=1.

[10] Denis Sinor, Inner Asia: history-civilization-languages : a syllabus, Routledge, 1997, 26. Contacts had already begun in 545 A.D. between the so-called “blacksmith-slave” Türk and certain of the small petty kingdom of north China, (English).

[11] Gao Yang, The Origin of the Turks and the Turkish Khanate, X. Türk Tarih Kongresi: Ankara 22 – 26 Eylül 1986, Kongreye Sunulan Bildiriler, V. Cilt, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1991, 731.

Burhan Oğuz, Türkiye halkının kültür kökenleri: Giriş, beslenme teknikleri, İstanbul Matbaası, 1976, 147. «Demirci köle» olmaktan kurtulup reisleri Bumin’e.

[12] “Tumen” is used for expressing 10,000 and “Bum” is used for expressing 100,000 in Secret History of the Mongols, per Larry Moses, “Legend by the numbers: The Symbolism of Numbers in the ‘Secret History of the Mongols’“, Asian folklore studies, Vol. 55-56, Nanzan University Institute of Anthropology, 1996, 95.

[13] Georg Hüsing, Völkerschichten in Iran, Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 46 (1916), 199.

[14] The toponym Turan appears three times in chapter two, once in chapter four, six times in chapter five, three times in chapter seven, 15 times in chapter eight, 16 times in chapter nine, 11 times in chapter ten, 15 times in chapter 11, eight times in chapter 12, 11 times in chapter 13, five times in chapter 14, seven times in chapter 15, five times 16, and once in chapter 17.

[15] Clifford Edmund Bosworth, “Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic World.” In Islamic Civilization, Edited by D. S. Richards, (Oxford, 1973), 2; Tadeusz Kowalski, Vladimir Minorsky, Turan.

[16] Clifford Edmund Bosworth, “Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic World.” In Islamic Civilization, Edited by D. S. Richards, (Oxford, 1973), 2; Tadeusz Kowalski, Vladimir Minorsky, Turan.

[17] Niyazi Berkes, “Ziya Gökalp: His Contribution to Turkish Nationalism” Middle East Journal, 8, 4 (Autumn, 1954), 375-390, VI, 390. Middle East Institute: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4322635 (accessed: March 14, 2012).

[18] Miroslava Darnadyová, “Comparison of the Use of Mythology in the Works of Ziya Gökalp and Mehmet Emin Yurdakul, Considering Their Contribution to National Identity Building”, Institute of Oriental Studies, Slovak Academy of Sciences, ASIAN AND AFRICAN STUDIES, 75, 2006, 2, 167 -184.

[19] “Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923)”, Nineveh On Line, Zinda Magazine. URL: https://www.nineveh.com/Chronology%20of%20the%20Seyfo%20Genocide%20(1915-1923).html

[20]   Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism, Ankara, 1920, trans. Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968, 12.

[21]   Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism, Ankara, 1920, trans. Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968, 13.

[22] Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism, Ankara, 1920, trans. Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968, 15.

[23] Quoted in Jacob M. Landau, Pan-Turkism: From Irredentism to Cooperation (Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised, Updated edition (November 22, 1995), 38.

[24] ‘Historical materialism and sociological idealism’, Ankara, 8 March 1923, quoted in Berkes, Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilisation, p. 65.

[25] Ziya Gökalp, “My Nationality,” Küçük Mecnua No 28, Diyarbakir, 1923, quoted in Berkes, Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization, p. 44.

[26] Ziya Gokalp, The Principles of Turkism, Translation by Robert Devereux, (Netherlands: E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1968), Preface XI.

[27] Ziya in Arabic means light. Originally, Ziya used the name Gökalp as his pen name, which comprises of two words: gök meaning sky, blue and the old Turkish word alp for brave, hero.

[28] Ziya Gokalp, The Principles of Turkism, Trans by Robert Devereux, (Netherlands: E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1968), 49.

[29] Ziya Gökalp, “The Principles of Turkism,” Ankara, 1920, trans. Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968, 11-15.

[30] Kemal Ataturk, Speech in the National Assembly, quoted in “Ataturk ve Kürt Sorunu” (Ataturk and the Kurdish Question), Saçak No 39, April 1987. – Translation is mine.

[31] Uriel Heyd’s Foundations of Turkish Nationalism, The Life and Teachings of Ziya Gökalp, (London: Luzac & Company Ltd and the Harvill Press Ltd, 1950).

[32] Milliyet, No 1636, August 31, 1930.

[33]Milliyet, No 1655, September 16, 1930 as quoted by Kendal Nezan, “Kurdistan in Turkey” in A People Without a Country: The Kurds and Kurdistan, edited by Gerard Chaliand and translated by Michael Pallis (New York: Interlink Pub Group Inc., 1993), 56.

[34] Türküm, doğruyum, çalışkanım. İlkem, küçüklerimi korumak, büyüklerimi saymak, yurdumu, milletimi, özümden çok sevmektir. Ülküm, yükselmek, ileri gitmektir. Ey büyük Ataturk! Açtığın yolda, gösterdiğin hedefe durmadan yürüyeceğime ant içerim. Varlığım Türk varlığına armağan olsun. Ne mutlu Türküm diyene!

[35] Official Gasette: https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2013/10/20131008-12.htm, accessed August 8, 2014.

[36] Elif Shafak, “Ankara fails to deliver on democracy”, The Guardian, Ocotber 4, 2013. URL: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/04/ankara-fails-deliver-democracy, accessed December 15, 2013.

[37] İlköğretim sosyal bilgiler No 5 1999, 23.

[38] İlköğretim sosyal bilgiler No 5 1999, 18.

[39] İlköğretim sosyal bilgiler No 5 1999, 11.

[40] Eli Shafak, “Opinion: Striving for ‘sameness’ Turkey stifles progress”, CNN, July 25, 2014. URL: https://www.cnn.com/2014/07/25/opinion/turkey-elif-shafak/index.html.

 

[41] During the 1897 war with Greece, the poet Mehmet Emin Yurdakul (1869-1944) published his Turkçe Siirleri. What is interesting about this poem not as an Ottoman, but as a Turk. The title of the poem was “Anadoludan bir ses yahut Cenge giderken” (‘A Voice from Anatolia, or Going to War’). Published in Geoffrey Lewis, The Turkish Language Reform: A catastrophic success (Oxford, 1999), 18.

[42] İlköğretim sosyal bilgiler 5, 12.

[43] İlköğretim sosyal bilgiler 5, 21

[44] Mehmet Özel, 2000’li yıllara girerken Türk ordusu (Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1999).

[45] The Peshmerga, whose name translates as “those who face death”, are the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey.

[46] PKK it is a leftist Kurdish militant organization based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. PKK fully militarily trained. It is a leftist party, which is allegedly responsible for a number of indiscriminant deaths.

[47] Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, Millî Savunma Bakanlığı, https://www.msb.gov.tr/anasayfa/phpscr/anasayfa.html. Accessed September 12, 2014.

[48] Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, Millî Savunma Bakanlığı, https://www.msb.gov.tr/anasayfa/phpscr/anasayfa.html. Accessed September 12, 2014.

[49] Global Security https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/tu-tsk.htm accessed September 12, 2014.

[50] Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri, Genelkurmay Başkanlığı, Genelkurmay Başkanları (Turkish Armed Forces General Staff, Chiefs of Staff).

https://www.tsk.tr/1_TSK_HAKKINDA/1_2_Genelkurmay_Baskanlari/genelkurmay_baskanlari.htm

[51] BBC News, April 28, 2007. BBC News, https://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6602775.stm, accessed on September 15, 2014.

[52] BBC News, April 28, 2007. BBC News, https://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6602775.stm, accessed on September 15, 2014.

[53]   Maureen Freely, “Why they killed Hrant Dink”, Eurozine, June 6, 2007. URL https://www.eurozine.com/pdf/2007-06-06-freely-en.pdf (accessed August 25, 2015).

 

[54] Jesus Diaz, “US Military Will Install Laser Turrets on Bombers and Fighter Jets”, GIZMODO, January 24, 2013. URL: https://gizmodo.com/5978740/us-military-to-install-laser-turrets-in-combat-airplanes.

[55] Kris Osborn, “Air Force Wants to Fire Lasers from Aircraft by 2023”, Military.com, May 21, 2015. URL: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/05/21/air-force-wants-to-fire-lasers-from-aircraft-by-2023.html#disqus_thread, accessed August 26, 2015.

[56] The signatories are Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions Beyond The Seas, India, Greece, Japan, Romania, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Yugoslavia. Considering that UK’s dominion countries along with the heirs of the USSR and Yugoslavia we are talking about 20-25 countries in all.

[57] LORAN C, Mediterranean Sea; Aegean Sea and the Sea of Crete, 54151, Mercator Projection Scale 1:1,000,000, at Latitude 36o 15’, prepared by the British admiralty. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) – Defense Mapping Agency, 1988.

[58] Türkiye Seyir Hidrografi ve Oşinografi Dairesi Başkanlığı (Turkish Department of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography), Mercator projection, scale 1:1,200,000 at latitude 42o 30’, 55001, 1982.

[59] “Under keel clearance” (UKC) means the minimum clearance available between the deepest point on the vessel and the bottom in still water. However, Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC) integrates real time measurement of tides and waves with modeled vessel motions to maximize port efficiency and safety. Such measurements include predicted tide height, channel depth which includes static draft in sea water, gross under keel clearance (i.e. allowance for tide level variations, squat allowance, heel allowance, static draft allowance and change in density, survey and siltation allowance, and maneuverability margin [i.e. wave response allowance, bottom clearance]).

[60] Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Service Centers (VTSC) regulation for navigation through Turkish Straits (Dardanelles Strait – Marmara Sea – Bosphorus Strait). https://iss-shipping.com/Microsites/Document%20Library/TURKISH%20STRAITS%20PASSAGE%20REGULATIONS.pdf accessed September 23, 2014.

[61] Bosporus Strait News, https://www.bosphorusstrait.com/the-bosporus-strait/incidents/ accessed September 21, 2014.

[62] Charles Warren Hostler “The Turks of Central Asia (Praeger; Rev Upd Su edition (1993), 14.

[63] İlber Ortaylı, Osmanlı Barışı (Ottoman Peace) (İstanbul: Timaş Yayınları, 2007), 148.

[64] Remark: Minorities with asterisk (*) such as Greeks (Christian), German, Uigur, and Jews live solely in towns. Source for this information is: Author, Peter Andrews; Cartographer, Horst Pohlmann, “Tübingen Atlas of the Near East (TAVO)” (A VIII 14 Republic of Turkey – Rural Ethnic Minorities (Eastern part), p. 82, 30081030607133; A VIII 14 Republic of Turkey – Rural Ethnic Minorities (Western part), p. 83, 30081030607158) (Tübingen: Published by the Special Research Project 19, October 1987).

[65] Although the actual dead were 46, those alive had their lives ruined by Bulgarian revolutionary socialists and the Turkish Troops of Hilmi Pasha.

[66] Nikola Kirov – Majski (Никола Киров-Майски), Крушово и Борбите му за Свобода (София: Стопанско Развитие, 1935), 18.

[67] George Horton, The Blight of Asia (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1926), 6-7. The population that Horton refers in the massacre of Macedonia is “Macedonians”. However, Bulgarian and Greek sources of that period clearly state that the victims were Greeks. Macedonians according to Missirkov were all inhabitants of the geographic area of Macedonia regardless of ethnicity, faith or gender.

[68] “Istanbul, The largest Kurdish city” TimeTurk, March 25, 2010.

https://www.timeturk.com/tr/2010/03/25/en-buyuk-kurt-sehri-istanbul.html#.VDNMY7l0zIU accessed October6, 2014.

[69] Sandra Mackey “The reckoning: Iraq and the legacy of Saddam” (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002), 350.

[70] This section was taken from Marcus A. Templar, “Tasting the Bitter Pekmez: Causes of Turkey’s Instability”, Journal of Global Change and Governance, Volume I, Number 2, Spring 2008.

[71] Anna Andreou, ““Δεν υπάρχει Κουρδικό”, λέει ο Ταγίπ και βάζει φωτιές στην Τουρκία”, March 16, 2015, https://mignatiou.com/2015/03/den-iparchi-kourdiko-lei-o-tagip-ke-vazi-foties-stin-tourkia/ accessed March 16, 2015.

[72] “HDP, DBP, HDK, DTK delegation met PUK executives”, Kurdish Info. URL: https://www.kurdishinfo.com/hdp-dbp-hdk-dtk-delegation-met-puk-executives

[73] “I am a perfect Alevi if Alevism means loving Caliph Ali, Erdoğan says”, Sunday’s Zaman, July 18, 2013. https://www.todayszaman.com/national_i-am-a-perfect-alevi-if-alevism-means-loving-caliph-ali-Erdoğan-says_321159.html (accessed November 23, 2014).

[74] Tord Olsson, Elisabeth Özdalga, Catharina Raudvere, Alevi Identity : Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives, Vol 8. (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 1998), passim.

[75] Interview with Hikmet Yıldırım in Tord Olsson, Elisabeth Özdalga, Catharina Raudvere, Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives, Vol 8. (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 1998), 52.

[76] “Kurdistan Alevi Union” in German journal, Züflikaâr, No 9, November 1995, 21.

[77] Ashura. It is three-day fast that take place on the 9th , 10th , 11th of the Muslim month of Muharram commemorating the death of Ali’ six-month old grandson in the battle of Karbala (680 AD).

[78] Hızır fast ıs a three-day fast that honors Khidr or al-Khidr who in the Qur’an is a mystical figure, a righteous servant of God possessing great wisdom or mystic knowledge. He has been identified sometimes as Elijah, but also with St. George. In the Balkans, the day of Khidr is celebrated annually on May 6, which according to the old Calendar is the day of St. George (April 23).

[79] Kadı, (Arabic qāḍī) is an Islamic law – Sharia – judge.

[80] Ali Haydar Cilasun, Alevilik bir sır değildir (Ceylan Ofset, 1995), 19.

[81] Moojan Momen, An Introduction to Shi’i Islam. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 39, 183.

[82] Raymond Ibrahim, “How Taqiyya Alters Islam’s Rules of War Defeating Jihadist Terrorism”, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2010, Volume 17: Number 1, 3-13.

[83] The Qur’an refers as People of the Book or dhimmi (protected) to followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions that are older than Islam. This includes all Christians, all Children of Israel (including Jews, Karaites and Samaritans), and Sabians. Zoroastrianism although eschatologically similar to Christianity and Islam and recognizes life after death (Heaven, Hell), it is recognized as a protected religion only in Iran.

[84] David Zeidan, “The Alevi of Anatolia”, Angelfire, December 1995. https://www.angelfire.com/az/rescon/ALEVI.html (accessed November 23, 2014).

[85] Turkey Alevi Kurd population, Wikipedia, map.pngmap.pnghttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/62/Turkey_Alevi_Kurd_population_map.png, accessed April 25, 2015.

[86] Soner Cagaptay, The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century’s First Muslim Power (Potomac Books, 2014), 90.

[87] Ira Marvin Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge Univ Press, 1988), 308.

Tord Olsson, Elisabeth Ozdalga, Catharina Raudvere, Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives.

[88] Chief of the General Staff General Hilmi Özkök’s speech on Annual Assessment of Issues at the Headquarters of the Military Academies Command (April 20, 2005).

[89] According to the Turkish Constitution, which the military drafted after the coup of 1982.

[90] Burak Pekindil, “Turkey: The ‘Great Muslim Democracy’”, Gatestone Institute, October 25, 2014

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4807/turkey-muslim-democracy, accessed March 13, 2015.

[91] ISIL or ISIS (Da’ith in Arabic, are acronyms that derive from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The word Levant translated from the Arabic word Sham denotes the geographical area, not the political, of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine/Israel.

[92] “Davutoğlu’nun ‘başı döndü’: IŞİD’le bizim savunduğumuz İslam arasında 360 derece fark var”, DİKEN, October 14, 2015. URL: https://www.diken.com.tr/davutoglunun-basi-dondu-isidle-bizim-savundugumuz-islam-arasinda-360-derece-fark-var/ ; Also in Foreign Policy URL: https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/15/turkish-prime-minister-there-is-a-360-degree-difference-between-turkish-islam-and-isis/

[93] “Turkey’s Main Opposition Party CHP Accuses AKP Government Of Crimes Against Humanity”, Special Dispatch No.6195, October 22, 2015, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). URL: https://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8812.htm, accessed October 24, 2015.

[94] “Syrian regime, ISIL secret partners”, Today’s Zaman, January 09, 2014. https://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_syrian-regime-isil-secret-partners-says-turkish-fm-Davutoğlu _336175.html (Accessed November 12, 2014).

[95] The Channel Isles are close to 50 small isles some of the inhabited and some of them are uninhabited and rocky. They are all off the Coast of France.

[96] The Åland Islands or Ahvenanmaa are located off the coast of Sweden, they are inhabited by ethnic Swedish, but they belong to Finland.

[97] These countries consist of either complex of islands or their territories extend to a number of islands (insular shelf): Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Finland, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Madagascar, Haiti, Jamaica, now Russia, the Solomon Islands, Aruba, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Fiji, the United Kingdom, the United States, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, The Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, New Guinea- Papua, et.al.

[98] Jenny Xie, “Turkish President is Really Pleased With His New $350M House“, Curbed National, October 31, 2014, https://curbed.com/archives/2014/10/31/turkey-new-presidential-palace-Erdoğan-photos.php (Accessed October 31, 2014).

[99] Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers – (Oxford: Oxford University Press, July 29, 1993), 30.

[100] The Qur’an alone calls for killing infidels or apostates 109 times. The Hadith or Tradition calls for killing infidels or apostates as well.

[101] Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers – (Oxford: Oxford University Press, July 29, 1993), 8.

[102] John L. Donohue, John L. Esposito, eds, Islam in Transition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 79.

[103] Sufism defined by scholars as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam; others contend that it is a perennial philosophy of existence that pre-dates religion, the expression of which flowered within the Islamic religion. See Mevlana.

[104] Ijtihad (اجتهاد = diligence). It is an Islamic legal term that means “independent reasoning” or “the utmost effort an individual can put forth in an activity.”

[105] Wahhabism is a specific militancy whose founder, Abdul Wahhab rebelled against the Ottomans labeling the Sultan an apostate. On the other hand, Shah Waliullah (Muhaddith Dehlavi who studied in Mecca at the same time as Ibn Wahhab founded the Salafi sect. While not rejecting Sufi ideas, he tried to capture the growth of syncretism in India. Salafism adheres to the doctrinally “pure” or original Islam. Wahhabism alludes to a more political side of a similar doctrine.

[106] Dai (Dayi) is one who invites people to attempts to convert people to Islam. The invitation or “call” to Islam is known as dawah. In modern Islam, many Muslim groups around the world actively engage in dawah.

[107] IkhwanWeb , “32,000 Muslim Brothers Detained Under Old Regime Emergency Law”, June 2,2012. https://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=30044, March 19, 2015.

[108] Robert Satloff, “Egypt after the Revolt: Prospects for Post-Mubarak Egypt: An Early Assessment”, April 18th 2011, Washington Institute, The Cutting Edge, https://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=51828&pageid=13&pagename=Analysis, accessed March 19, 2015.

[109] Encyclopaedia Britannica, vs Wafd.

[110] Quoted in Manfred B. Halpern, The politics of Social change in the Middle East and North Africa, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), 147.

[111] Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library, The Avalon Project, “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, 18 August 1988”. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp , accessed March 10, 2015.

[112] Eman Nabih, “The link between Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL” https://www.emannabih.com/the-link-between-muslim-brotherhood-and-ISIL/ accessed March 13, 2015.

[113] Abd al-aziz Ibn Saraya Al-Hilli so-called “Safi al-Din” is one of the great Shiite poets in the AD 14th century (seventh century AH). The meaning of the colors derive from a poem The black was the color of the banner of Muhammad; white was used by the Umayyad Caliphate; green was used by the Fatimid Caliphate; and red was the flag held by the Khawarij.

[114] Michael Curtis, “ISIL, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and Western delusions”, The Commentator, https://www.thecommentator.com/article/5182/ISIL_hamas_muslim_brotherhood_and_western_delusions, accessed on March 14, 2015.

[115] Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II before the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, 10 March 2015. The roots of King Abdullah II Hashem according to the Royal website “reach back to the Prophet Abraham and his son, Ishmael. In the 5th century AD, an Arab leader named Qusai Bin Kilab, of the tribe of Quraysh, descendants of Ishmael, assumed power in the city of Mecca. The Hashemites of Jordan are thus direct descendants of the Prophet through his daughter, Fatima, and her husband, Ali”.

[116] Fulya Atacan, “Explaining Religious Politics at the Crossroad: AKP-SP”, Turkish Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2005, 187-188.

[117] Ali Çarkŏğlu, Barry Rubin, Religion and politics in Turkey (New York: Routledge, 2006) 63.

[118] Ali Çarkŏğlu, Barry Rubin, Religion and politics in Turkey (New York: Routledge, 2006), 64.

[119] Zachary Shore, “Where next?” New York Times, July 15, 2005. https://www.nytimes.co5m/2005/07/14/opinion/14iht-edshore.html?_r=2& Accessed March 8, 2015.

[120] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the 12th and current President of Turkey, in office since 2014.

[121] Abdullah Gül served for four months as Prime Minister from 2002 to 2003, and concurrently served as both Deputy Prime Minister and as Foreign Minister between 2003 and 2007. Between 2007 and 2014, he served as the 11th President of Turkey.

[122] Bülent Arınç served as the 22nd Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey from 2002 to 2007. He is one of the State Ministers of Turkey and Vice-Prime Minister.

[123] Prof. Dr. Numan Kurtulmuş was born in Ünye (Greek Οἰνὀη) district of Ordu (Greek Κοτύορα) Province. His grandfather was a major in the Turkish army who fought in the Turkish War of Independence.

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