Robert Fisk: New light on an old horror – and still there is no justice
Independent | September 10, 2011
Use Google News to search Erdogan and follow what is unfolding in Turkey and the Middle East today. The Islamist leader of Turkey is pursuing a neo-Ottoman path to quench his thirsty ego.
Although Turkey is currently a democracy, much of Erdogan’s behavior and policies are reminescent of Turkey’s Ottoman rulers, as well as those seen from up-and-coming dictators. Here are just a few red flags which have gone up since Erdogan’s reelection:
- Turkey’s senior military resigned en masse
- Turkey is imposing stricter censoring of the press and the Internet
- The Turkish military has killed large numbers of Kurds in Iraq
Now, Erdogan is using the pretext of the Palestinian cause and the Arab Spring as a platform to stir up anti-Israel/anti-Semitic sentiments, to position himself as a democratic visionary for the Middle East. Since Turkey’s poor human rights record within its borders remains an obstacle to its acceptance into the European Union, the Turkish Prime Minister’s credibility as a benevolent leader is more than questionable.
Also, consider the hypocrisy and manipulation of the Erdogan flotilla circus. It is a fact that Turkey has sustained an illegal and crippling blockade of Armenia for nearly two decades. For Erdogan, it is okay for Turkey to blockade the Republic of Armenia (which is not threatening Turkey’s safety), but it is not okay for Israel to blockade Gaza (to prevent trafficking of arms used for terror attacks against Israel).
Furthermore, recent news reports tell of the Turkish government’s plan to return the properties it appropriated from its country’s religious minorities. Yet, despite appeals to the government to return these properties (since these news reports), all ill-begotten lands remain in the hands of the Turkish government.
For Erdogan’s record and Turkey’s responses regarding the Turkish government’s shameful denial of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, search Google. This blog also offers extensive information about the Armenian Genocide and Turkey. (A word of caution: beware of sites hosted by genocide denial groups purporting to provide facts—you can spot one wherever you read the words ‘so-called genocide’).
Erdogan is a genocide denier with an Ottoman-inspired world view. He is exacerbating and exploiting the Middle East’s instability for his own gain. The citizens of the world and our leaders must be vigilant if we are dedicated to peace and a better life for all peoples in the Middle East. It is the responsibility of each and every individual to know our collective history. If we fail to understand the lessons of the past, we will no doubt repeat the pain and suffering of the generations who came before us. Education is empowerment. And, with knowledge we can speak truth to power.