By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become a major danger to his own nation as well as many others. His actions and statements in recent years should seriously worry his neighbors and the entire world.
The last tyrant ignored by the international community was the genocidal butcher Adolf Hitler who unleashed World War II, invading scores of countries and killing millions of people. Regrettably, Western leaders have tried to appease Erdogan, thereby creating a monster! Strangely, some in the Islamic world treat him with respect, while many Western countries consider Turkey as one of their key allies. To make matters worse, Russia is also trying to win Erdogan over, to distance him from the West and NATO.
A vivid example of Erdogan’s unfit mental state is his recent bizarre public statement posted on the Turkish President’s website, titled: “Turkey is the Standard-Bearer of the Global Fight for Justice.”
No one in their right mind would make such a deceptive statement. Turkey is the last country in the world to be described as “the standard bearer of the global fight for justice.” With hundreds of journalists and tens of thousands of professors, lawyers, judges, and public employees in jail, how can Pres. Erdogan make such a false claim? Besides the current injustices perpetrated on the Turkish people, Erdogan also denies massive past injustices such as the genocide against Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.
Earlier this month, during a speech at the AK Party’s Eskisehir Provincial Congress, Pres. Erdogan shamelessly announced: “Turkey is also the standard-bearer of the global fight for justice. Turkey is a safe haven for the oppressed and a nightmare for the oppressors.” If Turkey is such a ‘safe haven,’ why so many Turks are trying to escape from the country and seeking asylum in Europe? Why is the Turkish government issuing arrest warrants for the escapees and pressuring European countries to extradite Turkish journalists, intellectuals and human rights activists?
Appointing himself as a world leader, Erdogan has cast a wide net, meddling in the internal affairs of many countries, near and far: “Turkey is the hope for our Crimean brothers and sisters, the oppressed of Turkestan [Turkic people in Central Asia] and our friends from Caucasia, Sarajevo and Africa.” Erdogan goes on to affirm: “If we stumble, Al-Quds [Jerusalem] will fall, Palestine, Rakhine [region in Myanmar] and Somalia will fall.”
Several days after Erdogan’s pompous speech, Turkish opposition journalist Uzay Bulut wrote a critical commentary in The Washington Times, titled: “Turkey’s violence-tinged foreign policy.”
Uzay reminded readers that “the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of vast lands and Islam’s flag of conquest still influence Turkey’s foreign policy, including its invasions and ethnic cleansings.”
The prominent Turkish commentator specifically cited Erdogan’s interventionist policies in Northern Syria (Afrin) and Cyprus. Uzay mentioned that Turkey, having illegally occupied Northern Cyprus since 1974, now threatens what remains of the Republic of Cyprus. Erdogan declared: “Cyprus’ courage will only last ‘until they see our army, our ships and our planes.’” Turkey has ignored dozens of UN Security Council resolutions asking for the withdrawal of its troops from Northern Cyprus.
Erdogan also warned the European companies that are exploring gas fields in Eastern Mediterranean, in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. Uzay wrote that earlier this month “Turkish warships blocked a rig belonging to the Italian energy firm ENI from reaching Cypriot waters to start exploring for gas.”
Erdogan admitted his expansionist policies drawing parallels between Afrin, Cyprus and the Greek islands of the Aegean which are frequent targets of Turkish threats and demands. Erdogan brazenly declared: “Whatever Afrin is to us, our rights in the Aegean and Cyprus are the same. Do not ever think that the natural gas exploration in the waters of Cyprus and the opportunistic attempts in the Aegean Sea drop off from our radar.”
Going to more extremes, Yigit Bulut, one of Erdogan’s principal advisers, boastfully threatened Greece over the islet of Imia, which Turks call ‘Kardak.’ He warned: “Athens will face the wrath of Turkey worse than that in Afrin. We will break the arms and legs of officials of the [Greek] Prime Minister and any minister who dares to step on the Kardak islet in the Aegean. There is not an armed force in this region that could contend against the Turkish armed forces. So, everyone will know their place. All imperialists will accept that the people in this land are Turks and the nation in this land is Islamic ummah [nation] and they will kiss the hand that they cannot bend.”
Commentator Uzay reported that Erdogan himself threatened Cyprus with yet another military invasion: “Just as we disrupt the plots [in Syria] through Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, and soon in Manbij and other regions, we can and we will disrupt the plots of those who engage in miscalculations on our southern border. Our warships and air force are keeping an eye on the area in order to intervene in any way whenever required.”
Turkey’s neighbors should be aware that Erdogan is intending to recover the Ottoman territories. He openly threatened: “Those who think that we’ve erased from our hearts the lands from which we withdrew in tears a hundred years ago are wrong.”
At the end of his article, Uzay rightly pointed out that the Western countries are mostly responsible for Erdogan’s out of control behavior: “The global inaction in response to Turkish aggression encourages Mr. Erdogan, the president of a so-called “ally” of the West, to threaten Cyprus with yet another military assault…. What enables him to get away with his intimidating rhetoric and ongoing hostility is the apparent weakness and confusion of the West in the face of violent Turkish supremacism.”