Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky (C) All Rights Reserved 2016.
By Joshua Tartakovsky, 23 March 2016
On March 18, 2016, Turkish President Erdogan Recep Tayyip Erdogan marked the victory of the Ottoman soldiers who repelled British and French attacks on the Gallipoli peninsula. The British who were allied with the Russians, tried during the campaign held between April 25, 1915, and January 9, 1916, to open the Dardanelles Straits for the Russian Navy during World War I. The British were hoping to capture Constantinople. But the Ottoman soldiers dug in the trenches on the shores, managed heroically to repel the onslaught of British and French ships.
The Turks remember this battle as a turning point of World War I and as a saving moment from the humiliation of losing the Ottoman Empire. Only several days ago, Turkish TV broadcasted a convincing reproduction of the Gallipoli battle. Hurriyet Daily News reported on Erdogan’s speech in Çanakkale that marked the Gallipoli battle:
“There is no reason for the bomb, which exploded in Ankara, not to explode in Brussels, where an opportunity to show off in the heart of the city to supporters of the terror organization is presented, or in any city in Europe. Despite this clear reality, European countries are paying no attention, as if they are dancing in a minefield. You can never know when you are stepping on a mine. But it is clear that this is an inevitable end,” he [Erdogan] said, referring to the PKK and the March 13 suicide bomb attack which killed at least 35 people in the heart of Ankara.
A PKK offshoot claimed responsibility for both the Feb. 17 and March 13 suicide bombings that killed at least 66 people in Ankara.
“I’m once more calling on the countries which directly or indirectly lend support to terror organizations: You are nursing a viper in your bosom. That viper you have been nourishing can bite you at any time,” he added.
Erdogan was indignant by the fact that Belgium allowed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party militant group (PKK) pitch tents outside the EU Council building in Brussels in the recent EU-Turkey meeting on the migration crisis.
Erdogan seems convincing. One may argue that he is right, and Belgium should not have allowed the PKK to demonstrate as it is a terrorist organization according to the EU. The problem is that Erdogan is unreliable. He has been supporting ISIS, wanted the definition of ‘terrorists’ to include journalists and closed down opposition media. In Turkey people are arrested for insulting Erdogan. Journalists who photographed Turkish trucks aimed for ISIS were arrested. Erdogan has been stirring both nationalism and Islamism while cracking down on the Kurds in the southeast of the country. Erdogan pockets money from buying ISIS’ oil and does not share the wealth with his people. Can a supporter of ISIS be taken seriously when complaining about the PKK, a secular national liberation militant organization?
The problem with Erdogan is that he may be suffering from megalomania. According to a reportin a Greek newspaper, he threatened to flood EU with tens of thousands of dead bodies of children if his demands for payment were not meant. He replied with an “of course” to the question of whether he was a prince by adding that Turkey is not a third world country (it obviously is not; in fact it is better off than Greece). Merkel has been caving to Erdogan’s demands with the absurd refugee deal, and Erdogan will earn 6.6 billion euros (which may end up in German banks).
Is it possible that Erdogan who has been hosting and aiding ISIS ordered it to attack Brussels in revenge at the fact that it allowed the PKK to express its grievances? Erdogan is already an ally of ISIS despite its attacks in Syria. Why can he not do the same in Europe? After all, Europe is afraid of him over flooding it with refugees. Erdogan has been taking himself very seriously and continues a brutal military campaign against the Kurds while evoking Turkish nationalism. With his megalomania, is it beyond the conceivable to assume that he can order such an attack?
Erdogan has reiterated over and over that there is no Kurdish problem in Turkey, just terrorism. Much like pro-Syria supporters who oppose Kurdish autonomy in the north of the country within the Syrian state and insist that Kurds are nomads and not from Syria – thereby repeating familiar claims made by pro-Israel supporters on Palestinians as mostly nomads who are not from the Holy Land – Erdogan sees Kurdish rights as a non-issue. But his method of using the media and TV to brainwash people, and of using Islamism and extreme nationalism, is working for now. He also succeeded in putting fear into the hearts of the Europeans.