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Israel Shamir: Our Congratulations to the People of Turkey
from Israel Shamir
Our congratulations to the people of Turkey on the election victory of the Islamic Party! This is a fateful event: the East returns to God, and finds its own way. Istanbul has followed Gaza: the AKP-ruled Turkey will be a friend to Hamas-ruled Palestine, to Islamic Iran, to Orthodox Greece and Russia, to the religious anti-occupation forces of nearby Iraq. She will again take her place of pride as the centerpiece of the Eastern mosaic, while its pro-American and God-hating generals, the Turkish Dahlans, will creep back to their barracks. Faith in God unites us, while the nationalists had divided us.
The legacy of Ataturk, this overlong infatuation with nationalist doctrines, overstayed its welcome. This founder of rump-Turkey came to power in a country decimated by the results of the WWI. Turkey suffered the fate of Austria: both countries were dismembered by the victorious Anglo-Americans. Both gave birth to ferociously nationalist leaders: Adolf Hitler was as anti-religious and as nationalist as Kemal Ataturk. They were not alone: equally anti-religious regimes came to power in Russia and Mexico. Ataturk was prone to drink his fiery raki at Ramadan in the public places to show his disdain of the faith, while Lenin spoke scornfully of 'bozhenka', goddie (almost doggie). At the other end of the world, Japanese and Chinese revolted against Buddha.
Today, it is easy to blame Ataturk and his predecessors, the Young Turks. They liaised with the dark forces, with Zionists, with Western imperialists, even with the then-strong Masons. They destroyed the centuries-long base of the Turkish Empire. They destroyed the language and the culture of Turkey. Instead of historic Arab graphics, they enforced the use of Latin letters and made millions of Turks illiterate. Their new way of spelling created a chasm with the old literature and with neighboring Islamic cultures. They privatized the lands and created a new landless class. But this account-taking is not needed now.
Moreover, one can understand them. The old regimes failed to protect the East from the Western onslaught, and in a way, people punished their God for this failure, even coming to prefer the more effective Western God of cash-and-carry. There was an urgent need to modernize the administration and the army, and to find a new language more suited to Western ideas. The faith was considered a pillar of the old regime, so it had to go. Still, let us be fair: by withstanding the Armenian, Greek and British offensives, Ataturk saved some of what could be saved, though he lost much of what needed to be preserved.
This development was a tragic but mercifully a short-lived one. The people of the East had a run of unbridled freedom, like schoolchildren when the teacher leaves the classroom. Very soon they discovered that the place of the strict teacher was taken by the strongest ruffian, and their freedom was just a temporary illusion. Under the followers of Ataturk, Turkey was colonized by the US; NATO bases sprung up on its shore and the Sixth Fleet found a home away from home in its harbors. Turkey became a close friend of the Zionist state, even though Zionists contributed greatly to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. This part of history was forgotten, while the story of 'the Arab betrayal' was artificially promoted and spread.
Persecution of the faithful in Turkey lasted longer than anywhere on earth. The Russians repaired their churches, and the Japanese went back to their jinjas, but the Turks still could not grow a beard or wear national dress. Chomsky's translator (and mine, too), our friend Fatima, could wear her chador only on a visit in the US, if not in the privacy of her home. Now hopefully this remnant of the old repression will disappear, and the Turks will be able to grow beards like Che Guevara.
The bigger problem of the nationalist regime was its lack of solidarity. The national elites did not care enough for the people, whether in Turkey or in Palestine – they were more interested in securing free access to Europe's playground than in promoting the ordinary people's wellbeing. The believers, the ordinary people of Turkey and Palestine, had to form their own grass-roots associations to protect their vital interests. Out of these associations, the Islamic parties spread forth. They are the true expression of the people's will, and hopefully they will remain uncorrupted.
This victory is very important for Palestine, where the freely elected government of Hamas was made impotent by Israel and by docile Americans and Europeans. Now there is a chance of breaking the Zionist blockade. This is an important victory for the whole world, for an Islamic Turkey won't help the US in its impending attack on Iran. Hopefully the Turks will forbid the US to use its bases and harbors, thereby squashing the invasion plans.
The nationalist parties failed in a big way: they blocked the legally elected Islamic party from rightfully nominating a new President, and went complaining to Europe, thus severely undermining the main achievement of Kemal Ataturk. Before causing more harm, they should look at the example of their brethren, the FLN generals in Algeria and the Fatah warlords in Palestine, who denied rightfully won electoral victory to godly parties, caused civil wars and earned much hate from the people by totally embezzling the their moral assets. There are Western forces that are ready to support any bloodthirsty general on condition that he will not allow people's will to be realized, but a wise man won't take this bait.
The Islamic Party AKP is not homogeneous – there are pro-American and pro-Eastern elements, so its victory is just a beginning, rather than the end. Our friends in the Party may be certain of mass support, if they stick to their independent line: warm friendship with Palestine, Iran and Russia, full cooperation with neighbouring Greece and Syria, firm protection of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, wholehearted rejection of the occupation regime in Iraq including its Kurdish proxy, generous support of friendly Islamic movements in the ex-Ottoman Empire, including Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. They will belie the Judaeo-American claim of "tyrannical Islam" by creating a solidarist, just, human and tolerant society.
There will be many changes in the East. If our enemies win, the East will disintegrate into a jigsaw puzzle of warlords and ganglands. This is what they did with the Ottoman Empire, this is what they did with Iraq, this is what they do in Palestine and plan to do in Iran. But today, after these elections, this development is not the only possible one. The AKP victory is a turning point, away from West-forced disintegration towards a new integration of the East.