Once again, it’s taken tragedy and scores of thousands of dead, wounded, and displaced Kurds to awaken most of the rest of the world to the plight of these thirty-eight million truly stateless people in the Middle East. Decades ago, at least some folks learned that they were not just something that Little Miss Muffet ate while sitting on her tuffet. That occasion required thousands of Kurds (not curds) getting gassed to death by Arabs, and many more scores of thousands being slaughtered by them as well in Iraq’s Anfal Campaign and afterwards.
The Kurds’ plight, while a bit more severe than in most other cases, was not atypical of the response of Arabs and Arabism have historically had to any of the region’s other scores of millions of non-Arab peoples daring to assert rights in the region Arabs claim solely to be “purely Arab patrimony”… https://ekurd.net/arabism-zionism-journeys-2019-01-12 .
The reason for this new examination of an old problem has to do–this time–with not only (but still including) Arab, but also the Turks’ Kurdish “headaches” in the age of nationalism. Ankara’s current, ongoing invasion and slaughter in Syrian Kurdistan is just the latest manifestation of this.
With all of the above in mind, some serious background information–missing in most other accounts–is thus in order…
Now, I know…perhaps I’m really not supposed to talk about such things.
I mean, after all, didn’t a Turkish Sultan give refuge to Jews when Christendom was expelling, inquisitioning, ghettoizing, humiliating, demonizing, forcibly converting, massacring, blood libeling, etc. and so forth…them ?
Yes, there’s some truth here.
The 15th century Ottoman Turkish Empire was a blessing for Christendom’s alleged god-killing (forget a capital “G” for such blasphemous use), Children of the Devil, perpetually wandering, poisoners of wells, drainers of Christian childrens’ blood, etc. and so forth…Jews. Hey, at least we finally got a plant named after us…
This is not to say that all remained paradise for The Tribe in the Muslim East, but facts are often relative…And I won’t get into the effects of dhimmitude at this time. I’ve done it enough elsewhere https://israelagainstterror.blogspot.com/2011/11/egyptian-copts-and-jews-no-illusions.html.
Jews remembered this positive experience well, and in the modern age of nationalism, late to the Middle East, the Judaeo-Turkish relationship took on new dimensions.
Despite these positive memories (and there were not so positive memories–including wholesale slaughter–living in the Dar ul-Islam as well–including that of the Turks), un-whitewashed truth must be told…even if Turks were not acting so blatantly hypocritical these days. If Ankara’s feathers get ruffled, so be it. The Turks certainly don’t care whose feathers they ruffle.
The Turks are a Central Asian people from the area near China. Gradually, wave after wave of conquests westward brought them to the land known as Turkey today in the Anatolian Peninsula.
As with the Arabs, imperialism and colonizing conquests of other peoples’ lands are only nasty ideas when other folks are indulging in them. Indeed, see the telling quotes about this in the following link, especially those of a major Amazigh/”Berber” spokesman, Belkacem Lounes: https://kabylia.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/berber-autumn/
While different independent Turkic states now exist in Central Asia, the one most folks are familiar with is, of course, the one which arose on the deathbed of the Ottoman Turkish Empire after World War I…Turkey.
Having once controlled most of the Near East, the Balkans, and North Africa, by the late 19th century “The Sick Man of Europe” was fast disintegrating as formerly conquered peoples caught the fever of nationalism.
When Mustafa Kemal—Ataturk–successfully rescued a remnant of the Empire after World War I (during which the Turks picked the wrong side to align with), the new state he did much to establish, Turkey, drew its lines in the sand beyond which no further territorial loss would be tolerated…no matter what. And that led to some very serious problems related to what this current analysis, based upon (among other things) some observations in the distant past, is all about…
Long before a Turk ever conquered “Turkey,” substantial numbers of native, non-Turkic peoples had inhabited that land for millennia.
Troy was located on the northwest coast of Anatolia, and centuries of Byzantine Greeks lived in the land along with Hittites and others who came before them as well. By the late 19th / early 20th century, in an age when major empires were collapsing, those pre-Turkic invasion peoples also wanted the same freedom and dignity that others were achieving in the region and beyond. The Greeks were among the first to achieve this with the liberation of Greece from Turkish rule by the mid-19th century. Leaders like President Woodrow Wilson, Sir Mark Sykes, and others later encouraged this among other peoples—including Kurds–by speaking in terms of self-determination and such.
Today, about 20-25% of Turkey’s eighty-four million people are Kurds. They have lived in the area for millennia and have been linked to the ancient Hurrians of the Hebrew Bible, Kassites, famed Gutian conquerors of Babylon in modern Iraq (Guti-Gurti-Kuti-Kurdi-Kurd), possibly Medes, and other non-Semitic Aryan peoples as well. They’re cousins to the Iranians—but that doesn’t stop the latter from joining Arabs and Turks in killing them too. In fact, hostility to Kurds may be one thing the others can agree upon since the three are all regional rivals.
In modern times, the first revolts of the Kurds for independence in what would later become Turkey occurred in the 19th century.
The emergence of powerful rulers, Ataturk in Turkey and Reza Shah Pahlavi in Iran, however, nixed Kurdish hopes for independence in those parts of historically geographical Kurdistan. And until America’s overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in the late 20th century, they had their one best chance at independence–in at least part of the post-WWI Mandate of Mesopotamia–pulled out from under them after Great Britain received a favorable outcome from the League of Nations regarding the Mosul Decision in 1925. That tied the oil-rich areas of the heavily Kurdish north to what would become the Arab state of Iraq instead…a collusion of British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism https://www.google.com/search?biw=1680&bih=939&ei=wlm4XZb_Hoy6sgX08KLgAw&q=%22british+petroleum+politics%2C+arab+nationalism%2C+and+the+Kurds%22+by+gerald+a.+honigman&oq=%22british+petroleum+politics%2C+arab+nationalism%2C+and+the+Kurds%22+by+gerald+a.+honigman&gs_l=psy-ab.12…0.0..5536…0.0..0.0.0…….0……gws-wiz.lUUpXm2EzfM&ved=0ahUKEwiW6IC948HlAhUMnawKHXS4CDwQ4dUDCAo .
Today, Kurdish areas in the north of Iraq–despite some problems–are still the most promising in the entire country…Ditto in Syria.
And that now brings us back to Turkish lines drawn in the sand regarding further loss of territory and the like…
Eying what has happened, especially in Iraq, since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Ankara is scared of the Iraqi Kurdish success story–again, despite some lingering problems, especially those involving leading families to share any real political power.
Some 21-23 million still remaining non-Turkified Kurds in Turkey live adjacent to the lands of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Syria and Iran’s own sizable Kurdish populations. Altogether, once again, Kurds total some 38-40 million truly stateless and often subjugated people in the region. Arabs, Turks, and Iranians always deliberately undercount their own Kurdish populations figures. Egypt does likewise with its pre-Arab, native Copts.
Ankara fears the spread of Iraq’s Kurdish freedom disease, and the Turks’ current invasion of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) reflects this as well.
While it’s more than proper, in Ankara’s thinking, to demand the birth of the Arabs’ twenty-second state (and second, not first, in the original borders of April 25, 1920 Mandatory Palestine since Jordan was created from about 80% of the total area after 1922), one better not even think about such things for tens of millions of truly stateless Kurds.
To stop that plague of relative freedom, Ankara has outlawed the use of the Kurdish language, the practice of Kurdish culture, and has renamed Kurds “Mountain Turks”–all part of a Turkification process to avoid any further schisms and loss of real etate.
All who live in Turkey must be Turks–one way or another. Period…
Think about the Turks’ earlier slaughter of Christian Armenians and Assyrians at least partly in this same light as well.
Now, if such Turkish actions sound familiar, they are.
Arabs have done the exact same thing–conquering, forcibly Arabizing scores of millions of native Kabyle/Amazigh/“Berbers,” Kurds, Copts, black Africans, Assyrians, native kilab yahud (Jew dogs), and so forth. And jailing or massacring all who object.
Syrian Kurds have often been forced to speak Arabic and ignore their Kurdish identity (i.e., what does the title of the Kurdish nationalist, Ismet Cherif Vanly’s, book tell you–The Syrian ‘Mein Kampf’ Against The Kurds?), as are also some thirty-five million Imazighen in “purely Arab patrimony” North Africa. Perhaps the most famous Egyptian Copt of our time, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, warned an Israeli author that if Israel wanted to be “accepted” in the neighborhood, it must consent to Arabization as well…Uncle Boutros instead of Uncle Tom: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/10797
Just imagine what the world reaction would be if Israel was doing this sort of thing to Arabs. Yet none of these actions regarding deadly, racist subjugation of others by Turks or Arabs seems to matter much. The would-be atomic ayatollahs do the same in Iran as well, and this short, no frills–but potent–You Tube video tells all you need to know about these things https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EGETvB2-Bw. Because they routinely are not taken to task, Arabs, Turks, and Iranians all indulge in this hypocrisy constantly. Again, the above You Tube is a real eye-opener.
In the modern era, Israel had come to see Turkey as a powerful Muslim neighbor which does not share the Arab idea of the whole region as just being “purely Arab patrimony.” Indeed, Arabs have resented Turks for beating them at their own conquering, subjugating game.
Nevertheless, especially with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power since 2001, this does not mean that an increasingly authoritarian, Islamist-oriented Turkey has given up on its own version of the idea of the supremacy of the Dar ul-Islam.
Short of a miracle, with much (if not most) of Erdogan’s opposition jailed and silenced in other ways, the era of Ataturk and his powerful secular (largely military) apparatus appears to have indeed come to a close.
As Seljuk and Ottoman Turks picked up the banner of Islam in centuries past (and the Kurdish leader, Salah al-Din, terror of the Crusades, did so as well), an increasingly Islamist Turkey seems poised to continue–whether Erdogan sees himself as a new Sultan, Caliph, or whatever. Besides the fluid border between Turkey and ISIS fighters, Erdogan is certainly cozy with Islamists of various stripes–a main benefactor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s little brother, Hamas, for example.
Before the current Syrian civil war, when Turks had problems with Damascus, they played their Israel card more often. The Jews, unfortunately, supplied Ankara with lots of sophisticated military equipment and such in return.
And, up until recently, the Turks’ Arab problems had mostly vanished. Instead, we had seen an alliance emerging between Syrian Arabs, Iranian mullahs, and Turks–all with their own Kurdish headaches, which they don’t hesitate to cure violently. And all–including now Ankara as well–hostile to Israel, one half of whose Jews are from refugee families from those Muslim lands.
Israel’s earlier alleged Turkish “ally” now rants and raves each time Israel is forced to defend itself against Arabs who openly wish it dead and act on those wishes.
Meanwhile, it’s no secret that Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere long for the freedom and rights that Arabs in Israel have. As for Arabs outside of Israel, Israel has offered them reasonable compromises which could have ended the conflict decades ago if Arabs simply didn’t have the same mindset about the whole region that Turks too share but to a lesser degree–the whole area is just theirs and theirs alone….Dear readers, that’s the Arab-Israeli conflict in a nutshell.
When Israel was forced to go after Hamas in Gaza after putting up with thousands of rockets and mortars launched against it along with other acts of terror, the Turks were furious and condemned Israel to no end. They had done so previously as well. But the Jews kept bowing to them anyway–supplying Ankara with sophisticated weaponry, intelligence, and so forth to be used against Kurds and possibly even against Israel itself down the line. Not something to be proud of, for sure…And this disgraceful action must now stop, clandestine or otherwise.
Ankara simply expects that Israel, wanting to keep Turkey’s powerful military out of the Arab Muslim camp, will continue to put up with such abuse and hypocrisy.
Some years ago, even after Ankara’s role in allowing a flotilla of ships filled with armed jihadis with murder on their minds to try to “peacefully” (not) break the Israeli blockade of Hamas’s Gaza, the Jews were still groveling to keep the relationship intact by feeding the Turks with even more sophisticated weaponry to use against the subjugated Kurdish population–again, some 23 million people.
The legal Israeli blockade of Gaza was/is in place because ships, loaded with Iranian missiles and other weapons, had already been intercepted en route to Hamas for the sake of terrorizing Jewish civilians. International maritime law is totally on Israel’s side regarding the blockade. Other ships, which heeded repeated orders by the Israeli navy at that time to stop and which had allowed themselves to be taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod so that their cargo could be properly inspected, did so peacefully. Israel then allowed the cargo to pass overland to Gaza. The folks aboard the Turkish vessel, however, had something else in mind. It was, admittedly, however, a no win ball game for Israel.
Furthermore, no one is starving in Gaza. Despite the continuous attacks from Hamas-controlled territory–indeed, open acts of war—Israel allows the necessities of life to pass into their sworn enemy’s territory after land inspection…How many other nations would allow such things, given an enemy such as Israel faces?
Returning to Ankara’s Kurdish headache, for which it has now invaded Syria and periodically also enters into Iraq as well (both being former possessions of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, including the territories’ oil wealth…so think about that also a bit), please also consider the following…
The PKK (born of Kurdish subjugation, where, among other things, this people’s language and culture have been outlawed, and so forth) thatTurkey fights and to which some of the Syrian Kurds across the border are supposedly aligned with, is certainly no worse than what Israel faces with Hamas and Islamic Jihad–or, for that matter, the alleged “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas’s latter day Arafatian Fatah either.
The Palestinian Authority’s Fatah is willing to play its openly-admitted “destruction in stages game” of negotiations with Israel for, in its own words, Trojan Horse reasons of legitimate lying and deception–taqiyya.
Furthermore, it literally pays nicely to be the alleged “moderates”…billions of dollars so far. Their late leader, Yasir Arafat’s, Swiss bank accounts are legendary. And while the PKK fights for basic Kurdish human, cultural, and political rights, it does not seek the destruction of Turkey.
On the other hand, Hamas and Fatah both seek the destruction of Israel (by one means or another)–regardless of who’s doing the whitewashing. Check out both of their websites, books, radio broadcasts, maps, tv programs, child games at camps and schools, and such if you doubt this. Find Israel on their maps, I dare you.
Lastly, forget what you think you know about the Kurdish issue.
If you were to depend upon academia for that information, when you took course about the region, that would be a cruel joke. And the university is a major source of information for many people.
Specialists on the Middle East–and those focusing on Arabs and Turks in particular–have mostly ignored these people at the very same time that they loaded their required reading lists and material covered in course syllabi with every one-sided anti-Israel author they could find.
The cause of 38 million stateless Kurds, 35 million stateless North African Amazigh/”Berbers,” and others simply never made the cut.
Indeed others, like myself, who dared to bring such issues up, had varying degrees of a price to be paid.
Scores of millions of dollars have been poured into Middle East Studies programs at universities by Arab States, Turkey, Big Oil-related interests (ARAMCO, etc.), and such.
No doubt, professors who allowed such taboo issues as Kurdish rights to be included in doctoral seminars and other course work would have a hard time getting back into sponsor countries for research, obtaining scholarships for students, and other support.
I bring this up at this time because I’m now starting to see the same “Progressive” professors and such starting to complain about President Trump’s recent unfortunate decision about Syria–which will likely cause very serious harm to the Kurds not only now, but even worse down the road. Worse yet, America has used and abused these people before… https://ekurd.net/real-message-turks-invasion-2019-10-11
These are the same folks (or, are at least of the same ilk) who remained deaf, dumb, and blind to the plight of the Kurds for at least since the end of World War II.
The only reason many or most academics now “care,” shedding crocodile tears, is to have yet another reason to attack the American leader whom they’ve hated the most over the decades…President Trump.