Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  How Turkey Can Make the Western Media Happy   
First Page


Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 In this insightful report from The Wall Street Journal Europe, one is reminded of how no matter what Turkey does, the deeply-ingrained bias of the Western media will somehow manage to bring up ways to criticize the nation. 


Turkey's Triumph 

The best thing Turkey could do for its image is allow the Islamists to take power, reinstitute the oppression of women, and call for the destruction of Israel. At least that's what an observer from Mars would be likely to conclude after comparing the press treatment of Turkey and the rest of the Muslim world. Indeed, what ought to be a relatively uncontroversial process—the trial and punishment of a confessed terrorist—has become an occasion for the Western media to highlight all the supposed shortcomings of the Turkish judicial and democratic system. 

Turkish prosecutors requested the death penalty yesterday as they wrapped up their case against Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. On Monday the Turkish military's general staff rejected Ocalan's calls for a "peace process," saying they would not accept his "terrorist organization" as an interlocutor. Predictably, the press leapt to attack. Britain's Guardian, for example, carried a sympathetic interview with the brainwashed little girl who set herself on fire in London following Ocalan's capture. A commentary in the same paper took it for granted that capital punishment is an injustice, and referred (without apparent irony) to the "civil conflict" being exacerbated by the trial. 

But why does the left hate Turkey? Because Turkey flouts the rules. Not international law, to be sure—last time we looked countries still had a right to defend themselves against attack, and to try people responsible for murdering thousands of their citizens. Rather, Turkey flouts the kind of politically correct principles the left would like to establish as the norms of international behavior: Force is never the solution; terrorists and dictators are always to be negotiated with; groups (not individuals) are bearers of rights; and cultural expression is always a good thing. 

Citizenship is not about race


In the Ocalan case, then, Turkey's affronts began with the very act that sent the terrorist on the run. Instead of pleading with Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to be nice, or worse yet offering him "land for peace" (as the new Israeli government, at U.S. urging, proposes to do), the Turks simply told him to shut down the PKK or else. Knowing that the Turks aren't in the habit of making threats (much less empty ones), Mr. Assad took them seriously. Force (or at least the threat of it) was the solution, as it was again when, after unsuccessfully lobbying its NATO allies to turn over its public enemy No. 1 for trial, Turkey had the audacity to simply seize him in a foreign country. 

And now that the accused, who knows his forces are being decimated by the Turkish military and that his own life is in danger, makes an offer of "peace," the left is upset that the Turks have decided not to legitimize him a la Arafat. Presumably they think the Kurds would be better off in a backward and poor independent state (bordering Iraq and Iran) led by outdated Marxist revolutionaries and learning only a useless language. In fact, there is no "Kurdish" language, but a bunch of different dialects, which might explain why Ocalan ran the PKK in Turkish. 

What principles is Turkey asserting instead? Actually, principles that used to be considered liberal: That citizenship is not about race (and that the world should not be divided into a multitude of ethnically and linguistically pure statelets); that individuals, not groups, are entitled to rights; that people ought to be punished for violating those rights (even if they have "political" reasons for doing so); and that democracies work better when there is a common language of public discourse, something with which many minorities, as shown by the backlash against bilingual education in the United States, agree. 

None of this is meant to suggest Turkey is an ideal state. But in their attacks on Turkey its Western critics often attack the very ideals to which it should, and usually does, aspire. 

--From The Wall Street Journal Europe 
International Commentary 

June 10, 1999 



  Holdwater: Naturally, the left hardly has a monopoly in the practice of hating Turkey.


"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


This Site