Between Ankara And Jerusalem…
by Gerald A. Honigman
The Turks are, once again, upset with Israel.
Among other things, while hosting a banquet in honor of the visiting United Nations Secretary General, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoggan urged the world “not to turn a blind eye towards Israel’s savagery.”
In reality, the Arabs killed in the current fighting have been mostly fighters–despite Arab claims. The non-combatants killed have deliberately been used as human shields by their own “heroes.”
Where have the United Nations, International Court Of Justice, academic, European Union, and other voices been about that above blatant Arab war crime? Unless it’s Israel they can all jump upon, they’re about as useless here as they are in stopping Arab genocide in black Africa and Arab atrocities elsewhere as well.
After putting up with about ten thousand mortars and rockets being deliberately fired at their civilian population years after a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the U.N. doing nothing to stop this, the Jews finally had no other choice than to move in to try to stop the terror themselves.
How long would Ankara have put up with these deliberate acts of war before reacting?
The Arabs who elected Hamas–an organization which exists primarily to destroy Israel–have been used by Hamas to commit a double war crime: Israeli civilians have been deliberately targeted from Arab civilian centers, while the latter have been used as human shields. The Perfidy and other clauses of the Geneva Conventions speak clearly about such cowardice and barbarism.
While I don’t advocate adopting the Arabs’ own tactics used against Jews (such as blowing up Arab buses, restaurants, shopping malls, schools, and such), any building, town, home, and so forth harboring murderers and their collaborators must be recognized for what the Geneva Conventions say it is…a fair military target.
The presence of the civilian population shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attack…
The parties to the conflict shall…avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.The rats’ dens are typically set up in or adjacent to civilian apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, mosques, and so forth. Video tape is available showing Arabs launching missiles from schools.
The civilian population…shall not be the object of attack. Acts of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited…Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Arabs typically target Israeli civilians.
Before I proceed with a reality check, let me state clearly that I am in favor of an alliance between Turkey and Israel…but one based on an equality in that relationship and the highest moral standards of behavior humanly possible by both parties towards others.
So, let’s now begin…
Unfortunately, the same folks who have declared over one fifth of their own non-Turkish, Kurdish population (over twelve million people) to be “non-existent” in the past –they’re really just “Mountain Turks, don’t you know?–and have taken steps to outlaw Kurdish language and culture (Arabic is one of Israel’s two official languages), are, once again, enraged at Israel for going after both Arab terrorists and their infrastructure in Gaza. These are the same folks who have killed tens of thousands of Kurds (and many others as well) over the years in the name of their own security, have invaded neighboring Iraq for similar reasons, etc., etc., and so forth.
Again, I favor alliances with Ankara, but that particular relationship with Israel must not be an unbalanced affair…something to use when relations are on the downswing with Syrian Arabs, for example.
Ankara complains about Israel being forced to take steps to prevent Gaza from becoming one giant base to launch death, destruction, and terror from–while Israel has agreed in theory to an Arab state being set up there–but totally nixes the idea of an independent Kurdish state being set up in adjacent northern Iraq for the Turks’ own security reasons. Think about that for a minute. We’ll return to this point a bit later.
For several years now, Arabs had a chance to begin to create that 22nd state they say they need in Gaza. All they did with the time and billions of dollars in aid which poured in was to use both to terrorize their Jewish neighbor instead. Gaza was a test–and the Arabs flunked it big time.
So, it’s time to use that American expression and really “talk turkey (speak candidly) to Turkey,” if you know what I mean.
Israel has neglected a brave people who have helped many Jews in the past. Just ask the hundreds of thousands in Israel who originated in Iraq. Israeli leaders have done this largely to not anger the Turks over this painful issue. So the latter’s policies towards the Kurds were treated in a hands off manner. Indeed, Israel has helped Ankara fight Kurds who have resorted to violent means to achieve their own political rights in Turkey…a highly controversial policy.
Since the Turks, however, insist on joining much of the rest of the world in applying hypocritical double standards towards the Jewish State, the time has come for certain truths to at long last come out in the open.
Some thirty-five million Kurds remain stateless today, often at someone else’s mercy. At a time when much of the world insists that justice demands that there be yet another Arab state, there is a nauseating silence–in most of the media, in academia, at the United Nations, and so forth–over the plight of this people.
Spread out over a region which encompasses parts of southeastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other adjoining areas as well, these modern day descendants of ancient Medes, Guti, and Hurrians continue to find themselves in very deadly and precarious circumstances.
Kurdish culture and language have periodically been “outlawed” in attempts to Arabize or Turkify them, and in an age when other dormant nations/national groups were able to seize the moment with the collapse of empires, Kurds were repeatedly denied this chance by an assortment of so-called “friends” and foes alike.
Having been promised independence after World War I, the Kurds saw their hopes dashed after the British received a favorable decision from the League of Nations on the Mosul Question in 1925. Mosul and Kirkuk were where much of the oil was located, and the main arm of British imperial power–the navy–had recently switched from coal to oil.
The Brits decided that their long term interests involved not angering the Arabs, who–by their own writings–declared that the rise of an independent Kurdistan would be seen as the equivalent of the birth of another Israel.
Regardless of scores of millions of non-Arabs living in the region (including one half of Israel’s
Jews who were refugees from “Arab”/Muslim lands), Arabs declared a political monopoly over what they regarded as “purely Arab patrimony.” We are living with the consequences of this mindset today along with the related confrontation of the Dar ul-Islam vs. the Dar al-Harb. Hamas and the current Gaza mess are but the latest manifestations of this.
For a number of reasons–such as not angering Arabs and Turks alike–the State Department insists, after hundreds of thousands of Kurds have been maimed, gassed, and slaughtered in other ways by Arabs just in Iraq alone over the last half century (not long ago, Syran Arabs and Iranians renewed their own previous slaughter of Kurds as well), that Kurds will never gain independence. Recall that the heartland of ancient Kurdistan had been in the oil-rich region around Kirkuk.
Both Ankara and the State Department insist that the Kurds remain part of a united Iraq, regardless of the bloody consequences this will likely have for them in the future yet again once America leaves the scene.
America’s autonomous federal dream, while looking good on paper, will probably not last far beyond America’s withdrawal. The majority Shi’a, like the Kurds, massacred and long suppressed by Saddam’s Sunni Arabs, now have other plans. Furthermore, as the Brits earlier armed Arabs in their confrontations with the Kurds, America has now done likewise in rebuilding Iraq’s Shi’a Arab-led army.
The same State Department–which fought President Truman over America’s recognition of a reborn Israel in 1948–insists that there be no partition of Mesopotamia/Iraq. Britain had earlier received the Mandate for Mesopotamia at the same time it received the Mandate for Palestine in the post-World War I era upon the break up of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. But, unlike Palestine (the name Rome gave to Judaea after the Jews’ second revolt for freedom), which would have proposed and actual partitions in attempts to arrive at a compromise solution between Arab and Jew, a much larger Mesopotamia was/is somehow declared to be incapable of doing this same bit of justice for its Kurds.
The main reason put forth for why Mesopotamia/Iraq is incapable of this sort of partition is the potential for instability it will cause in the region. Not only will oil-rich Arabs be miffed at someone else gaining national rights in “their” region, but the Turks, in particular, will supposedly have a fit due to their own large Kurdish minority. Not to mention that Iranian mullahs have been collaborating with Ankara to suppress Kurds as well.
While strong Turco-American and Turco-Israeli alliances are worthy of support, the Turks are wrong on this matter, and too many others have allowed them to get away with this for too long. While it is understandable that they’re nervous about the potential problems, this does not give them the right to have a veto power over the plight of some thirty-five million long-oppressed, stateless, and politically abused Kurds.
Again, think of the irony here regarding Ankara’s outrage at Israel over unabashedly rejectionist Arabs who could have had their additional state (#22) decades ago had they just not continued to work towards the destruction of the sole, tiny nation of the Jews.
An independent Kurdistan set up in northern Iraq–under the right conditions–might actually be a blessing for the Turks. Those Kurds–like those diaspora Jews, Greeks, Armenians, etc.–wishing to live in an independent state could migrate to it. An arrangement could be made whereby the oil wealth of the area could be shared with the Turks as well, since they feel they got robbed via the earlier decision by the League of Nations on the Mosul Question.
Putting things into an even more important and broader perspective, consider the following
The CIA shows Israel to have a population of about 7 million people, of whom some 20% are Arab. Among the latter (the freest Arabs, by the way, anywhere in the region) are some extremely hostile elements. Israel’s territory is about 20,770 sq km.
Turkey has a population of about 69 million people, of whom about 20%
are Kurds. Turkey’s territory is about 780,580 sq km.
About 38 Israels would fit into Turkey.
Yet, despite its miniscule size, Ankara, Washington, and others have no problem demanding that Israel allow the creation of another Arab terrorist state, dedicated to Israel’s destruction, right on its doorstep. Ignored are the repeated proclamations by even so-called Arab “moderates” that Oslo and all other such “peace initiatives” are but Trojan Horses, steps along the way in the Arabs’ post-‘ 67 destruction in phases strategy for Israel.
Now, how will the fifth of Israel’s population that is Arab react to this adjacent potential development? And how will the majority of Hashemite Jordan, which is also mostly Palestinian Arab (however you define that, since many, if not most, “Palestinians” entered Palestine from elsewhere in the region during the Mandatory Period), react to this?
Arafat’s boys (Mahmoud Abbas’s alleged current Fatah “moderates”) had already tried a takeover of Jordan in 1970. They were crushed in King Hussein’s “Black September.” And Israel’s mobilization in the north sent a message to Fatah’s Syrian allies at the time as well. Yet no one seems to be worried about any destabilizing effects here.
The same hypocrites who declare that Israel must grossly endanger itself so that yet another Arab state might be born insist that Kurds must remain forever stateless because of some problems their freedom might cause to a Turkey nearly forty times Israel’s size in territory and over eleven times its size in population…and with the exact same 80% to 20% mix of potential “headaches.”
There’s no moral defense for this.
Indeed, the Turks definitely need to review the wisdom regarding those living in glass houses not throwing stones.
Asking Kurds to forsake the creation of their one, sole state for the pipedream of an egalitarian Iraq is a travesty of justice if ever there was one.
Regardless of their religious coloration, the vast majority of Arabs are in no sharing mood when it comes to questions about what they see as “purely Arab patrimony.” They’re the rulers, the rest are the ruled…Period…End of conversation.
Kurds do not aim to destroy Turkey in order to see their own dreams of independence–or, at minimum, a highly entrenched, sustainable autonomy–come true.
The reason Israel has fought war after war with Arabs is because the latter refuse to grant millions of other non-Arab peoples in the region even a tiny sliver of the very rights they demand for themselves. Many people besides Jews have been slaughtered and victimized by Arabs this way.
Ankara would be wise to reconsider its stance on all of these issues–especially since it insists on seating itself upon a moral high horse.