Of Oil and Ethnic Cleansing: Allow Me to Explain the Turks (La Stampa, Italy)
Despite Turkey’s attempts to explain why it’s 400,000 man NATO military stands by passively as the Islamic State commits murder and mayhem a stone’s throw away – the world remains baffled. Is Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insane? Is he in cahoots with the terrorists? And why such an obsession about opposing the long-suffering, nation-deprived Kurds? Answering these questions in an amazing walk through history and the oil markets, La Stampa columnist Mimmo Cándito ties the present difficulty to two major issues: The policy of ethnic cleansing of non-Turks by that nation’s founder Kemal Pasha Ataturk, and the fact that to permit an independent Kurdistan would spark a world war of over energy.
For La Stampa, Explaining Turkey’s apparently apparently bottomless dislike for the Kurds, Mimmo Cándito writes in part:
Modern Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire which was defeated and dismembered in the First World War, was born in the 1920s with a very strict ideological stamp dictated by the leader of a group of young rebel officers, Kemal Pasha Ataturk. Ataturk, father of the Turks and an admirer of Europe who had passionately studied the Peace of Westphalia, wanted his new nation free of the stigmas that, according to him, had led to the defeat of the Sublime Porte [the Ottoman Empire] – two in particular: an uncontrollable excess of ethnic nationalism within a vast imperial geography that ran from the Atlantic almost to China; and a theocracy that inextricably mingled religious and political power, which rendered it lumberous, cumbersome and indefensible, and making effective management of a country faced with a modernity that was changing the face of the world impossible.
Therefore: the new Turkey would be comprised only of “Turks.” As for political power, he himself – Kemal Pasha – would have nothing to do with the old Sultanate of Topkapi. The first act, “Turkey for the Turks,” involved the ethnic cleansing and extermination of every other nationality remaining inside the new state, with the consequent genocide of the Armenians, the exile of Greeks from Asia Minor and condemnation of the Kurds (soon to become unadulterated obligations under the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne, which also recognized in some measure Armenian and Kurdish nationalities).
And as for the break with the past, Kemal erased all traces of public Islamism, abolished the fez, the veil, even the letters and numbers of the Arabic alphabet, replacing them with Latin, and introduced a legal code that ignored Sharia law and was based on that of the European states – above all the Italian and French.
So if today, the Peshmergas of Kobani are fighting heroically and asking for help from the world, they also may eventually contaminate the ethnic cleansing imposed on the “Turks” a century ago, so therefore, let them die as well. So the tanks, the guns and the soldiers watch with binoculars from nearby hills and won’t move an inch from where we, struck dumb and disconcerted, photograph them.
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