Friday, 9 November 2007

Turkey roars like a lion prior to its Bush meeting, then whimpers away like a pussycat

Open email to AlJazeera's Riz Khan about Turkey-Cyprus

The piece of writing below has been prepared as an open-email response to the following "Question of the Week" by Al-Jazeera English - Riz Khan (28th October 2007), embedded immediately below.

The contrast in relations between Turkey and the US during the Kissinger era and it's then-invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the recent situation over attacks by the PKK and Turkey's sabre-rattling over its intention to invade northern Iraq, maintained right up to the time of Erdogan's visit to talk with Bush on November 5th ... could not be more stark.

In this writer's view, it illustrates amply the relative significance of Kirkuk's oil compared to Cyprus' olive oil and, as will be argued below, the Cyprus experience "makes a mockery of the existence of 'international law' ".

The US is evidently able to rein-in an over-aggressive neighbourhood bully-boy Turkey over its often-repeated 'duty' to protect the interests of the significant Turkoman community in Kurdish northern Iraq and it's imminent referendum over the future of Kirkuk ... whereas Kissinger could not possibly have stopped Turkey invading to 'protect' the numerically as well as proportionately much less significant presence of Turkish Cypriots on Cyprus in 1974.

Cyprus still suffers the results of Turkey having seized 37% of the small island's territory which it still holds onto 33 years after Turkey's invasion with the use of US-provided armaments, because of the protection of its powerful friends the US and Britain.

The 'Cyprus problem' has now been manoeuvred into being seen as a long-standing dispute between two communities on Cyprus, rather than as one of aggression by 'now candidate-EU country' Turkey, despite innumerable UN resolutions which the UN-led process itself managed to side-line. The majority Greek Cypriots have been daemonised with the help of agent-Verheugen and the Brits for having overwhelmingly rejected a blatantly unfair Annan Plan for a comprehensive settlement of the long-standing problem.

The fact that the 'virgin-birth'
of a 'United Cyprus' was proposed to be 'agreed' by Cypriots in a referendum, on a just-in-time-basis for it's EU entry might be judged by future historians to have been a very immaculate conception of how to solve Turkey's problem over it's entry to the EU rather than a fair solution to the Cypriots' problem. The fact that it didn't solve the problem of Cypriots (by the judgement of 76% of its majority population in the 2004 referendum), and would arguably have exacerbated their problems as well as abolishing the Sovereign Republic of Cyprus along the way ... is never explained by commentators and the world's media.

Even international law can be manipulated to suit the powerful, as Cherie-Booth-Blair illustrated amply through her defence of the case of the Orams in Britain's High Court over their having expropriated stolen property in 'northern' Cyprus. The more recent appointment of Turkish Cypriot judges to the international court of human rights by Turkey, just in time to eventually be at the deciding end of how thousands of cases (deliberately stalled for decades by those working hard to protect Turkey from facing a massive bill for damages) by Greek Cypriots disposessed of their properties by Turkey, is decided by the Iinternational Court of Human Rights .... is never explained by commentators and the world's media.

We now witness the next stage in the operation, with Britain's Anglo-Turkish Strategic Partnership Agreement having been engineered on a just-in-time basis, to provide a lead to the EU sidelining any possible Cyprus veto of Turkey's entry (before the veto itself gets abolished through the non-Constitution agreed a month ago) ... by strategising the euphemism of 'easing the isolation' of the entity in 'northern' Cyprus whose creation was condemned by the UN. After all, the Turkish Cypriots were offered a bribe in order to vote yes for the Annan Plan, which was to be the lifting of their 'isolation' in exchange for voting yes in the 2004 referendum. The fact that Turkey's top military brass have admitted they would have staged a coup and got rid of the Erdogan government if the Annan Plan had not been voted down by those 'nasty' Greek Cypriots
.... is never explained by commentators and the world's media.

The fact that Turkey's infamous Article 301, which remains a major issue in Turkey's EU entry process, despite having been written just two years ago as part of the Erdogan-Gul team's re-write of its legal statutes in their effort to better fit within the EU's acquis-communautaire and meet the Copenhagen Criteria which even Bush has admitted he can not help Turkey circumvent ... is often mentioned with reference to improving the country's image. It remains to be seen whether the reconsideration which the Erdogan Government announced following the continuing criticism in the EU's November 6th progress report on Turkey's EU entry process will actually improve its freedom of speech record. "We are determined to pursue reform until our country catches up with the highest levels of democracy and human rights," said a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

While many commentators will no doubt judge any replacement law by whether it makes it possible for Kurds to have their ethnic rights recognised, or whether it will be possible to talk in future of the Armenian Genocide without being dragged off to court for 'insulting Turkishness' ... this writer wonders whether any future replacement law will make it any less illegal for a Turkish citizen to state that he thinks Turkish troops should be withdrawn from Cyprus without being immediately lynched by the ultra-nationalists and dragged off for prosecution, or even be gunned down like Hrant Dink was..... but this small issue also is never explained or written about by commentators and the world's media.

So, a look at how some commentators view the Turkey situation:

Turkey after Nov. 5: What’s next? by Mehmet Seyfettin Erol (9th November)

(Dr.Mehmet Seyfettin Erol is a lecturer at Gazi University’s department of international relations)... among other comments:
The leader of one of the opposition parties made a very clear statement : “The mountain has given birth to a mouse.” The result of the Washington visit tells us that the meeting was passed off with secondary issues rather than focusing on the heart of the problem. In one sense, the US-Turkey relations were “saved,” the status of a “one-sided partnership” has been approved and it was given the green light again. Therefore, the relations were not severed as was expected. Conversely, the US administration proved to the entire world on Nov. 5 that it was able to keep Turkey fixed to the “port of alliance” under the conditions it determined and gave a very clear message to the entire world. “This operation may be carried out only under the conditions I determine and with a scope and duration I allow.” In fact, the world press has already started making commentaries in this direction.

A vew of Turkey from an American 'conservative' perspective:
More Turkish Saber Rattling, by Craig Chamberlain, October 23, 2007
"If an invasion [of Northern Iraq] should happen we should ask ourselves a couple of questions? Should we continue to support Turkey? It's been a pretty one-sided relationship, with the U.S. protecting Turkey from the USSR during the cold war, supporting Turkish entry into the EU,
and supporting the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The one time we asked something from the Turks, to come in across the Turkish Iraq border in 2003, we were denied. Secondly if they do invade should we help the Kurdish Peshmerga to give the Turks the kicking they deserve, not to mention protect Iraq from being plunged back into the type of violence that was endemic before the surge?

"The U.S. must look out for its own interests, and that means keeping the Turks out of Iraq."

Cyprus Protests Anglo Turkish Strategic Partnership 021107
2:30 min

A Video study on Turkey and Cyprus can be found from this writer's profile at YouTube:

Turkey Cyprus invasion
occupation Annan Plan comprehensive settlement international law united states britain foreign policy EU Article301 Europe ICHR

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