A thought for Turkey

The flight of eight soldiers from the failed Turkish coup to Greece in search of asylum has become the object of protracted debate in the Greek Parliament. Turkey has asked for their extradition, but some Members of Parliament are against it , because of their probable fate… On the other hand, there is no doubt these people fired from the air on unarmed civilians and have been branded traitors in their country.

Obviously whatever happens in Turkey concerns us closely. We are neighbours, we share a border and a sea; historically we have been mostly enemies, but we have a strong connection as well. After four centuries of Turkish occupation, we share many tastes, plenty of words and cooking recipes too! We get on well in person: at universities everywhere in the world, at sports meetings, we are always forging bonds. We have business connections. We help each other in the event of natural catastrophes like fires and earthquakes. We could be doing a lot more together, to the benefit of both. But – there is always a but – there are always politics. Threats, planes invading airspace, the unsolvable crisis in Cyprus… Things that cause a lot of agony, and help nobody in the long run.

 

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I swear, history just makes me tired sometimes.

At the moment, I’m thinking about my friends in Istanbul, and the uncertainty they’re facing. Battles on Bosphorus Bridge, purges, a state of emergency.  In Greece we’ve lived through a coup like this, and it ended in a military dictatorship that lasted 7 years. This one hasn’t, but combined with the latest terrorist attacks in public places, it all makes for a lot of distress.

One effect will be a huge blow to tourism. And we cannot forget that the people who were killed, as well as the thousands of soldiers now in jail, all have families – a lot of lives have been destroyed.

In her mostly photographic blog, photographyofnia, Nia has posted her thoughts and feelings about the coup. It makes for disturbing reading.
And for anyone who wants an interesting commentary on the same subject, read the relevant article (here) on Levantine Musings, a blog written by David Edgerly, who lived in Turkey and the Middle East  for 25 years.

32 thoughts on “A thought for Turkey

  1. The dream is over
    What can i say?
    Dream is over
    Yesterday,
    I was the dreamer
    And now im john..
    Dream is over.
    John lennon

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  2. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like a simple problem. The soldiers were part of a conspiracy to overthrow a democracy. They fired on innocent and unarmed civilians. Now they wish to escape the consequences of their actions. What is there to debate? But I know very well that nothing is ever that simple, that decent men and women can be led astray by inflammatory speeches and inspiring demagogues. I have only one question, for everyone out there: Why must we kill each other? Why is the death of innocents a suitable tool to make your point? Why is it that the inspiring leaders send out others to do their work instead of offering up their own bodies on the altar of the convictions?

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  3. As far as the escaped Turkish soldiers are concerned – to my way of thinking they have to be returned to face the consequences of their actions. From whichever civilized country . . . And as Nia said, now we have Munich, which, to my way of thinking, is a warning for Rio where control will be still more difficult. The tragedy is two-fold: first for all the people and their families affected by each of these disasters . . . but as well, wherever people not Christian and white have managed to escape to try and live quiet, happy and peaceful lives – they too are almost universally unfairly scorned and hated . . . and yet 99% are innocent and just want peace . . . why: live and let live – do not barge into other people’s lives even if their mindset leads theirs along different paths we cannot accept . . . ‘weapons of mass destruction’: they did not have them then, they do now!

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      1. I was listening to some social scientists discussing what they saw as a new global culture of fear evolving. They attributed part of this to disconnection of people to their communities. Of marginalisation of small minorities especially the young males. I thought about how, in spite of social media, we are more disconnected than ever. We rarely see our neighbours let alone eyeball them in actual conversation. They remain strangers, depositories for our fear of the unknown.

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    1. So agree with what you say: social media may give us fast world-wide information and the ability for discourse as this here, but just one look say in any doctor’s waiting-room or walking along a street shows just about everyone with their nose in their iPad or madly talking into or texting into their cell phone instead of making contact with the person sitting next to them or smiling at a bypasser. And, yes, most of the ‘lone wolves’ involved in the last attacks both in Europe and the US have retrospectively been identified as having had mental problems and, in three instances, undergoing marital breakups and alienation from their families: easy to ‘radicalize’ someone who hates the ‘whole’ world at the time and does not care whether they live or die . . . an easy answer I do not have . . .

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      1. I agree too. But what’s to be done? There are so many support groups now that didn’t exist before, for every type of affliction, yet things don’t seem to be getting better…

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      2. There are never easy answers despite what some politicians may promise. It’s even been suggested they may use fear to get votes. Think Trump and the walk across the Mexican border. Eventually fear creates a divided suspicious society.

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  4. I am no student of history but it seems that things are rather more complex than they first appear. The ‘democracy’ of Erdogan is questionable. We live in frightening times and I fear this is the new normal….

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    1. When there’s talk of bringing back the death sentence, when thousands of professors and educators are laid off and some 1000 private schools closed down (religious, but of an apparently more “secular” inspiration than the Government’s) “democracy” could be a euphemism….

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      1. Agree. And yet so many other nations have leapt to defend the current ‘democratic’ regime. I think they want stability in the region without any real concern for the Turkish people.

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  5. I waited until I read something about this situation in more detail, as I was unsure who this Fetullah Gulen was. It appears that he is living quite comfortably in the USA, as he ‘inspires’ his followers to attempt to overthrow the elected government in Turkey. Perhaps the western powers fear the resurgence of Muslim power in Turkey, and backed a ‘softer’ alternative? This could well have been another CIA ‘False Flag’ operation that turned out to be disastrous for those involved.

    History has shown that the western powers have had little respect for Turkey, since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. However, they want to be able to use their air bases, and to use the country as a buffer against radicals in the Islamic world. They should tread carefully…

    Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. History, and the present, both make me tired. I think you are right that killing is in man’s DNA. As a child my family lived in different countries due to my dad’s work, and I’ve seen first hand what it is like to live with the military in control. Then I listen to the speech by Donald Trump here in American and shudder. He is loved by our military, police and radical christians, a dangerous mix! I believe he will become a dictator, and will lead us into war. Peter is right, we need to tread cautiously…

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  7. This is for melissa who has the vibe!
    Forgot major verse in john l song:
    And self defence will just have to carry on..
    Dream is over
    Still when u see michelle in her karaoke style there is hope!

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  8. My mind stopped… I have been watching and listening to all the news and try to understand what happened, why and how… I never lost my hope about democracy of country. Yes, we all felt ourselves in the edge of it… I never supported our government, and its party, but I always supported and support democracy. I don’t know and understand, there are so many things and so complicated… These soldiers who escaped to Greece, can’t be a Turkish soldier… they are not. They attacked to their people… We can’t forget and forgive this. But I do support the law, international law, and the law in democracy, so I hope and wish we do not make a mistake about this. Thanks and Love, God be with all beautiful people for this peace, nia

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