Page 2 of 2 Why does Turkey hate
America? By Spengler
world, or he did not; if one believes that Jesus was just another preacher with
a knack for parables, one quickly will be an ex-Christian. Either God dictated
a final revelation to Mohammed which invalidates the corrupted scriptures of
Jews and Christians, and the sign of the crescent should rise above the whole
world, or he did not. Turkey’s Islamists are not moderates; they are Islamists,
and they despise the United States for religious and
cultural reasons, as much as Turkish nationalists despise the United States for
making Turkey into a laboratory rat for religious reform.
The common hatred of Kemalist nationalists and Turkish Islamists for America
bears on why Turks have the worst opinion of Christianity of any people in the
world. According to a 2005 Pew survey, only 21% of Turks have a favorable
opinion of Christianity, compared to 33% of Moroccans, 58% of Jordanians, and
58% of Indonesians.  The Kemalists dislike Christians because the Kemalists
are atheists, and the Islamists dislike Christians because they are Islamists.
Christian America gets no sympathy from either side.
That is only part of the story; Kemalism defined as Turks the Kurdish fifth of
Turkey's population, suppressing their language and customs as brutally as it
suppressed Islamic dress. As a leader of the "Young Turk" government, Ataturk
bore at least some responsibility for the genocide against the Anatolian
Armenians starting in 1915. The Turkish government enlisted Kurdish tribes to
do most of the actual killing, in return for what formerly was Armenian land.
It is this crime that made the Kurds preponderant on Turkey’s Eastern borders,
and left them to threaten Turkey’s territorial integrity.
That is where Taspinar's analysis converges with the thoughts I published last
week. He wrote in 2005,
The debate on Turkey's role in the promotion of
"moderate Islam" and as a "model" had already created anti-Americanism within
the Turkish elite. The Kurdish issue, in contrast, has carried this
anti-American sentiment to public and rejuvenated nationalist reactions. Today
almost everyone in Turkey - of course we also include the intellectuals in this
category - thinks that Washington supports a Kurdish state in Iraq. The ones
who do not necessarily believe that Washington pursues this policy on purpose
are nevertheless inclined to think that America’s policies will eventually
result in a similar scenario.
As I wrote last week, the
prospect of a tri-partite division of Iraq, endorsed by the US Senate in a
75-23 vote last month, confirmed Ankara’s worst fears. Virtually all the Senate
Democrats and half the Republicans now endorse partition as an exit strategy
for the United States. No one but the most abject toady of the Washington
administration or a blinkered ideologue can come up with an exit strategy for
Washington other than partition. Partition implies the realization of Turkey's
worst nightmare (and one of the nastier nightmares for Iran and Syria), namely
an independent Kurdish state with its capital at Kirkuk, the "Kurdish
Jerusalem", sitting on abundant oil revenues.
In this respect Turkey is far from paranoid: a Kurdish state does threaten
Turkey's territorial integrity, because the state that Kemal fashioned 80 years
ago was badly made to begin with. That is something that today’s Kemalists
cannot admit, for their only weapon against the encroachment of political Islam
is the integrity of Ataturk's secular constitution.
As Taspinar observed in 2005, "that the Kurds refer to Kirkuk as 'our
Jerusalem' causes disturbance. In this context, not only Turkey's reaction
evokes fear, but there is also a legitimate anxiety over a potential civil war
following from Kirkuk's uncertainty." His analysis is correct, but nowhere is
it written that Washington must try to avert a Turkish civil war. America's
civil war was the best and bravest thing it ever accomplished; it washed away
the stain of slavery with an ocean of blood. The cost was terrible, but human
freedom is beyond price. If Turkey requires a civil war to choose between a
Western and Islamic identity, who is to say that what was good for America is
not the cure for Turkey as well?
Kurdish independence cannot long be prevented; Iraqi Kurdistan is independent
in all but name, and the devolution of Iraq is only a matter of time. In a
well-ordered world the Kurds of eastern Turkey would be able to vote on whether
to remain in Turkey or to join Kurdistan, just as the Saarland chose to join
France rather than Germany in 1947. But Kurdish secession would tear apart the
fragile bonds that hold the Kemalist state together, and for that reason the
Islamists and the Kemalists will unite to prevent it by almost any means
It does not matter whether the US Congress passes a resolution on the Armenian
genocide. Regardless, the tragedy will proceed. I would vote for such a
resolution if asked, because my religion forbids me to bear false witness, and
the governments of world powers must stand as witnesses to the fate of peoples.
But the 3 million citizens of the small surviving state of Armenia are not
actors in this tragedy; rather, the ghosts of their murdered brethren in
western Armenia haunt the geopolitical stage as a silent chorus.