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What's Wrong with Turkey? Part III By: Gamaliel Isaac
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Jewish Liberation and The Revenge of the Turks

 

A declaration about Zionism released in January 25, 1915 by the Turkish Authorities and published by Haherut, a Hebrew language newspaper, demonstrates that Turkish hostility to Jews in Palestine resulted from the threat of Jewish liberation.  The declaration was:

“The exalted Government, in its resistance to the dangerous element known as Zionism, which is struggling to create a Jewish government in the Palestinian area of the Ottoman Kingdom and thus placing its own people in jeopardy, has ordered the confiscation of all postal stamps, Zionist flags, paper money, banknotes, etc., and has declared the dissolution of the Zionist organizations and associations, which were secretly established.  It has now become known to us that other mischief makers are maliciously engaged in libelous attempts to assert that our measures are directed against all Jews.  These have no application to all of those Jews who uphold our covenant…We hope and pray that they will be forever safe, as in the past…It is only the Zionists and Zionism, that corrupt incendiary and rebellious element, together with other groups with such delusionary aspirations, which we must vanquish.”

Yair Auron, in his book The Banality of Indifference, Zionism and the Armenian Genocide, wrote how the Turks almost annihilated the Jewish community of Palestine because of the threat of Zionism.  He wrote:

“In the spring of 1917, the small Jewish community in Palestine was stunned by an order issued by the Turkish authorities for the deportation of the 5,000 Jews from Tel Aviv to the small farming villages in the Sharon Plain and the Galilee.  This may have been the beginning of a plan to deport the Jews in the villages and in the Jerusalem region as an emergency war measure, and the decree aroused grave concern about the future of the Jewish settlement in the country.  When the deportation order became known to the Nili organization [a hebrew spy organization], its members publicized the plan in the world press.  American Jewry was shocked, and the nations fighting against Turkey released reports on Turkish intentions to exterminate the Jews in Palestine, as they had already done to the Armenians.  Public opinion in the neutral countries, as well as in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was outraged and Jamal Pasha was forced to reconsider his plan of action.   

Mustafa Kemal’s Reforms and Turkish Humanitarianism

 

Mustafa Kemal believed that Islam was responsible for Turkish enmity toward the Western world as well as Turkish regression.  In a speech he gave in March 1923 he said:

"You know there is an unforgiving enmity between the societies of the Muslim world and the masses of the Christian world. Muslims became eternal enemies of Christians, and Christians those of Muslims. They viewed each other as non-believers, fanatics. The two worlds co-existed with this fanaticism and enmity. As a result of this enmity, the Muslim world was distanced from the western progress that took a new form and color every century. Because, Muslims viewed progress with disdain and disgust. At the same time, the Muslim world had to hold on to its arms as a result of this enmity that lasted for centuries between the two groups. This continuous occupation with arms, enmity, and disdain for western progress constitute another important cause of our regression."

Mustafa Kemal abolished the Caliphate, replaced Shariah rule with penal codes based on European models, emancipated women, enforced equality for all citizens regardless of religion, adopted modern Western clothing and the Latin script, and abolished the religious education system. 

 

It is possible that Mustafa Kemal’s reforms improved the attitude of the Turks toward Turkish Jews, and made possible the heroic and humanitarian efforts made by men such as Salahattin Ulkumen to save Turkish Jews from the Nazis during World War II. 

 

The Failure of Democracy in Turkey

 

In 1924 and again in 1930 President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk approved the formation of opposition parties in his effort to introduce democracy in Turkey. As soon as the parties began to speak publicly, they drew wide spread political support, and it became clear that people were dissatisfied with the governments secularist and economic policies. In both cases, the parties were promptly disbanded.  The next attempt to transition toward a multiparty democracy occurred in 1945.  The president of Turkey, Ismet Inonu, agreed to allow a multiparty system and opposition parties quickly formed.  The Democratic opposition party (DP), that supported bringing Islam into politics won the election but opposition to it grew.  The  DP responded with legislation that restricted freedom of speech and the press.   In 1960, the military overthrew the DP government.  In the next election Turkish voters voted in the successor parties to the DP, the Justice Party and the New Turkey Party   They  essentially put back into power the party that was ousted by the military in preceding year.  In 1995 Necmettin Erbakan was elected prime minister of Turkey.  His radicalism can be seen in a speech he gave  to Kurds, pleaded for their support "to save the world from European infidels." Three years later, the Constitutional Court banned the Welfare Party on the grounds that it was engaged in fundamentalist activity and was violating the secular principles of the Turkish constitution.  In the 1999 elections most of the former members of the Welfare party were reelected to parliament as members of the new Virtue party.  Today, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the Justice and Development Party is prime minister even though he was sentenced to jail  in 1998 for inciting religious hatred.  If it wasn’t for the military, Turkey would probably have reverted to a Shariah state long ago.  There are many who complain that because of the military Turkey is not democratic enough, the truth is that without the military Turkey would not be democratic at all.

 

The opinions of the Turkish masses are moving against the United States and Israel partly as a result of Prime Minister Erdogan governments influence over the media according to an article by Soner Cagaptay in the Middle East Quarterly.  The growing influence of Islam and the growing hostility toward Israel and the United States is alarming because it indicates that Turkey is regressing from the enlightenment that made possible the rescue of Jews during World War II toward the dark ages of Turkey’s fundamentalist past. 

 

Should Turkey be Accepted into the European Union?

 

The secular Turkish army has been a stabilizing force on Turkey in the past but if Turkey joins the European Union it is unlikely to be able to play this role.  The  Anatolia news agency quoted the European Union envoy to Turkey, Ambassador Hansjorg Kretschmer, as saying that “the European Turkey's EU-inspired democracy reforms will be incomplete if the country fails to curb the influence its powerful army wields in politics”  If the influence of the army is eliminated Europe may find itself with an Islamic army in its midst.

 

Some European Leaders in their eagerness to appease the Islamic world are oblivious to this threat.  New EU commissioner Olli Rehnn said on Oct. 20 that "Turkey's EU membership will open new horizons for both Turkey and the Union and bring forth new challenges." On the same day Germany's foreign minister Joschka Fischer went a step further and declared that Turkish entry to the EU would be as important for Europe as the D-Day invasion 60 years ago - a key way to liberate Europe from the threat of insecurity from the Middle East and "terrorist ideas." 

 

In light of these comments by European leaders, I think the most suitable way to finish this article is with the final sentence of Marjorie Housepian Dobkin’s book The Smyrna Affair. 

 

“The course of history in recent years suggests that the ultimate victims may be those who delude themselves.”

 

___________________________________________________

 

 

Appendix

 

Here is a corroborating account to that told by Serge Trifkovic about the tragic attack on the Armenian Patriarch Chrysostomos as told by Marjorie Housepian Dobkin.  Archbishop Chrysostomos  tried to protect his Armenian flock from the depredations of the Turks, and when given an opportunity to flee by an American friend refused to abandon them.  Marjorie Dobkin recounts his fate below:

“The Patriarch was walking slowly down the steps of the Konak when the [Turkish] General appeared on the balcony and cried out to waiting mob, 'Treat him as he deserves!'  The crowd fell upon Chrysostomos with guttural shrieks and dragged him down the street until they reached a barber shop where Ismael, the Jewish proprietor, was peering nervously from his doorway.  Someone pushed the barber aside, grabbed a white sheet, and tied it around Chrysostomos's neck, shouting, 'Give him a shave!'

"They tore out the Patriarch's beard, gouged out his eyes with knives, cut off his ears, his nose, and his hands.  A dozen French marines who had accompanied Chrysostomos to the government house were standing by, beside themselves.   Several of the men jumped instinctively forward to intervene, but the officer in charge forbade them to move.  'He had his hand on his gun, though he was trembling himself,' one of the men said later, 'so we dared not lift ours.   They finished Chrysostomos there before our eyes.'”

Notes:

1 Isaac G, “Turkey’s Dark Past”, FrontPageMagazine.com, 11/22/04

2 Akyol M., "What's Right with Turkey", FrontPageMagazine.com, 12/3/04

3 Trifkovic, S. The Sword of the Prophet: Islam: history, theology, impact on the world, Regina Orthodox Press, c2002

4 Akyol M., "What's Right with Turkey", FrontPageMagazine.com, 12/3/04

5 Dobkin, M., The Smyrna Affair, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1st ed.] 1971

6 Dobkin, M., The Smyrna Affair, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1st ed.] 1971

7 Dobkin, M., The Smyrna Affair, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1st ed.] 1971

8 Akyol M., "What's Right with Turkey", FrontPageMagazine.com, 12/3/04

9 The Turkish Crime of Our Century – The Greek Holocaust of Thrace, Asia Minor and Pontos, http://imia.cc.duth.gr/turkey/gree.e.html

10 Bostom, A. G., “John Quincy Adams Knew Jihad”, FrontPageMagazine.com 9/29/04

11 The Turkish Crime of Our Century – The Greek Holocaust of Thrace, Asia Minor and Pontos, http://imia.cc.duth.gr/turkey/gree.e.html

12 Turks: Continued Oppression of Greeks  http://www.hellas.org/mongols/mongols/gr-in-tr.htm

13 Akyol M., "What's Right with Turkey", FrontPageMagazine.com, 12/3/04

14 Parfitt, T., “The Jews in Palestine 1800-1822", The Boydell Press, 1987

15 Ye’or Bat, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: from Jihad to Dhimmitude, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996, Madison, NJ

16 Ye’or Bat, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: from Jihad to Dhimmitude, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996, Madison, NJ

17 Peters, J.. “From Time Immemorial”, Harper & Row, 1984

18 Akyol, M. "Still Standing for Islam - and Against Terrorism" FrontPageMagazine.com 10/8/04

19 Klein, A. "Christians protest kidnapping forced conversion", Worldnetdaily.com 12/6/04

20 Lewis, B. “The Arabs in History”, Oxford University Press, 1993

21 Trifkovic, S. “Turkey in the European Union” a lethal fait accompli”, Chronicles Magazine, 10/29/04

22 Graber, G. S. :Caravans to Oblivion, The Armenian Genocide: John Wiley and Sons 1996

23 Elliott, M.E., Beginning Again at Ararat, Fleming H. Revell, 1924

24 Auron, Y., The Banality of Indifference, Zionism and the Armenian Genocide, Transactions Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ 2000

25 Karal, E.Z., Ataturk'ten Dusunceler, , METU Press October 1998 p.60

26 Lim, T.C., Can Turkey Consolidate Democracy? http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/tclim/F03_Courses/550model1.pdf

27 Arif T. Payasioglu, “Political Leadership and Political Parties,” in eds. Robert Ward & Dankwart

Rustow, Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), 420.

28 Ben Lombardi, “Turkey – The Return of the Reluctant Generals?” Political Science Quarterly 112 (April

1997), 204.

29 Kemal Karpat, p. 143.

30 "Islamic Party Leader Condemns 'European Infidels' " (Paris, AFP in English, 21 November 1994) in FBIS-WEU-94-226, 23 November 1994, 57.

31 Cagaptay, S., “Where Goes the U.S.-Turkish Relationship?” Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2004

32 “Turkish Army should Toe European Union line, EU official says,”, EU Business, 6/14/03

33 Dobkin, M., The Smyrna Affair, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1st ed.] 1971

34 Dobkin, M., The Smyrna Affair, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1st ed.] 1971




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