Friday, November 11, 2016

Turks cannot be imperialist, it is loving domination!

Anyone who has had the misfortune to interact with Turks on the net will have discovered that according to almost all of them the Turkish state, the Ottoman Empire, that Turks -- cannot be guilty of imperialism. There has to be a reason, they all did not independently arrive at that mythos. Recently during a speech mourning the anniversary of the long deceased Mustafa Kemal, the dictatorial, founder of modern Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated:
... that Turkey never had designs on the lands of other countries.
"Today, visit anywhere in Syria, Iraq, North Africa, the Middle East or the Balkans, and ask the people there their opinions of Turkey, and you will see no one mentions colony, invasion, oppression or massacres alongside Turkey," Erdogan said.
"Instead, you hear the symbolic call, 'Truehearted Turks here again!’" the president said, adding that Turkish people accept all people living in the same land as brothers and sisters without any discrimination based on religion or race. 
Anadolu News Agency: No country thinks of Turks as invaders: Erdogan 11/10/16

It is well known that Erdogan doesn't know a foreign language and is not as educated one would expect the leader of such an influential country to be. It would likely take well over a thousand contact hours for a Turk to learn a Western language like English. Since he doesn't know a foreign language, he doesn't have the intelligence or exposure to outside cultures necessary to know how unacceptable it would be seen outside Turkey needed to hide this hypocritical nationalist mythos of non-imperial, imperialist Turks, to foreign audiences. If Erdogan was astute he would not have referenced North Africa, the Balkans, the Mideast so directly because that almost guaranteed that the countries of those regions that were ex-Ottoman states, will cover that ultra-nationalist fascist comment and give Turkey yet another media black eye in the region. This is nothing new in Turkey, even before Erdogan there was the myth that Turks cannot possibly be imperialist, this is a mythos Erdogan simply grew up and inherited.

This is an excerpt from an old Turkish schoolbook from 1977, translated by David Davidian[1] and archived on a now defunct Geocities page:

The want to dominate is an instinct. It exists in a human as an unconscious force. This instinct at the same time is a means to exploit. The inclination of some nations to exploit in this manner is because they lack "pride of prince (bey)" that exists among the Turks. The "pride of prince" is not only a simple psychological state for an opportunity to brag. Its main characteristic is protecting (those under one's domination) without expecting anything in return. The foundation of this is loving the people under one's domination.
[2] _Tarih Lise I, Ibrahim Kafesoglu, Altan Deliorman, 1977 Ikinci Basilis, Milli Egitim Bakanligi, page 238.
Turkish original:

Hukmetme istegi aslinda bir ic-gududur. Her insanda suur-alti bir kuvvet olarak yasar. Bu ic-gudu ayni zamanda baskalarini somurmek icin bir vasitadir. Bazi milletlerin bu yolla istsmarciliga yonelmesi Turklerde mevcut olan "bey gururun"nun onlarda eksik olmasindandir. Beylik gururu, sadece ogunme vesilesi olan basit bir psikoloji degildir. Asli ozelligi, karsilik beklemeden koruyucu olmasidir. Bunun temeli de, hukum altina alinmis insanlari sevmektir.
This fascist mentality, that the want to dominate is universal and that Turks cannot exploit others who they rule is far older than the 1970's. Ziya Gökalp, who like most celebrated Turkish nationalist theorists was a non-Turk, since based on where he was born was likely a Kurd, yet he maintained he was a Turk, wrote much the same much earlier. He died in 1924, so the following summary by the Israeli scholar Uriel Heyd had to refer to material written before then:

The ancient Turks were, according to Gokalp, distinguished by a multitude of excellent qualities: open-handed hospitality, modesty, faithfulness, courage, uprightness and so forth. Especially praiseworthy was their attitude to the peoples subdued by them. Strong as their love was for their own people, remarks Gokalp with astonishing naivete, they did not oppress other nations. Their God was a god, of peace and the whole object of their rulers was to establish a regime of peace. Devoid of all imperialistic ambitions, the great Turkish conquerors in ancient times only sought to unite other Turkish tribes only. 
Heyd, Uriel. "Foundations of Turkish Nationalism: The Life andTeachings of Ziya Gökalp." (Luzac & Company Ltd., 1950) pp. 113.
So now you know part of the reason why most Turks cannot imagine that Turkish imperialism exists today or has ever existed in the past. Don't let the fake secular, Turkish hucksters convince you that this mythos was invented recently by Tayyip Edrdogan and that Kemalists are somehow different.

[1] A very educated and informed Armenian-American that knows Turkish and who used to debate Turkish ultra-nationalists and genocide denialists on usenet back way back in the 1980's and early 1990's when it is was populated mostly by university students posting under their real names. Now you can read his erudite comments on Armenia, Turkish-Armenian relations on his public Disqus comment profile.


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