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Turkey bulling immigrants
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-03-18 07:10:30
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It’s always the same; the poor pay the crimes of the mighty and the powerful  but the latest news show something about the ethics and the attitude of a nation that aspire to become full member of the European Union, a union that manifests human rights as one of its main principals. And of course I’m referring to Turkey and of course I’m referring to the Turkish reaction to the Armenian genocide and the latest events with the recognition of the genocide from the USA and Sweden.

Actually the Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview said that there are 170,000 Armenians living in Turkey this moment, most of them doing low-skilled jobs adding “We are turning a blind eye to the remaining 100,000... Tomorrow, I may tell these 100,000 to go back to their country, if it becomes necessary.” And finished saying that the whole situation “harm the Armenian people as well... and things become deadlocked.”

So let me see, something happened a century ago during an era that has nothing to do with today’s Turkey and actually the founder of the modern Turkish nation Kemal Ataturk disowned and did everything possible to cut off any connection between the old empire and the modern state. Then a century after two states denounced and recognized as a crime for purely historical reasons, both nations in different continents from Turkey and therefore the Turkish Prime Minister decides to punish the poor people who live in his country so dispirit that they choose to live in Turkey even though feeling in a hostile environment than living in their starving country. I’m sorry but all this says something about Turkey and nothing about the Swedish, the Americans or the Armenian people.

The Ottoman Empire is guilty for ethnic clearances and the Armenians were not the only ones who suffered. Stories from Iraq to the black see can state what other ethnic minorities feel about the Ottoman Empire. And I’m not going to go again through all those arguments on what is genocide or how many people must die to identify a crime as genocide or ethnic clearance. I’m not even going to go to all the arguments the Turkish side is promoting trying to reduce the historic fact but the Turkish Prime minister reaction is certainly impressive and memorable. The man acts like a football hooligan!

The behavoir of the Turkish foreign policy the last century has been the one of the high school bully and continues acting the same way. This country is a candidate state for a full membership in the European Union and the same time they don’t recognise a full member’s rights; a full member which apparently has veto to Turkish entrance. Amazing and schizophrenic but that has been the Turkish foreign policy the last decades. During the WWII the Turkish governments were pretending to be neutral occasionally more friendly to the allies and the same time they had become the back road for the Nazi troops and logistics to Africa.

It is often mentioned the critical role of the Turkish state in a very unbalance area. Well the latest events and the disappointment the US administration has to deal from their closest and most loyal ally in the area when the Turkish state refused passage to Iraq during the invasion definitely woke up some brains in Washington and shown them that there are alternatives and alternatives much cheaper!

The Armenian genocide is a pure historic issue and only historian can determine it. Obviously historian have persuaded the USA and Sweden to take the decision they took and obviously historian have persuaded in the past the French despite the fact that political reasons made the then French government to pull back the decision. But apart of those threatening poor immigrants is the worst possible act. How the Turkish Prime Minister would feel if for example Angela Merkel had threatening to expel all the Turks who immigrated the last three decades illegally to Germany? It is embarrassing when countries like Turkey do things like that and the international community should somehow respond and protect those poor people. It is embarrassing for a country that wants to join EU to show so little respect to humans and it is unacceptable to doubt history because of politics and ill chauvinism that can become dangerous nationalism. And Turkey has showing the past in its modern version how dangerous this can be for herself and for others.

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Emanuel Paparella2010-03-18 14:37:05
Without disputing what you have written above, Thanos, should it not give us some pause that the modern version of Turkey turns out to be not too different from its former version. What, if anything, does that say for modernity? It is merely a question of Turkey misunderstanding modernity or something more ominous; for example, that to think of human rights as something to be granted, nobless oblige, by Europe to the rest of the world, may be modern but very misguided; for human rights are inalienable and inhere in the dignity of every human being. We don't need modern Europe to tell us that; it is in St. Paul when he writes that there are no no more Jews or Gentiles but we are all children of the same loving father. I am afraid that modernity will not save us, if we are even capable of perceiving a need for salvation from our nihilism any longer.

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