Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Turkey Should Apologize

sorryNamik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, published an op-ed this past weekend in the Washington Post arguing that Israel owes Turkey an apology for the Israeli military’s attack on the Mavi Marmara.

It’s strange how it’s always the most radical regimes which demand apologies. But, so long as Turkey wants to go down this route, perhaps Ambassador Tan or Prime Minister Erdogan can prepare some apologies of their own. Just a few topics, scribbled on the back of a napkin:

1. Prime Minister Erdogan denied both genocide in Sudan and gave aid and comfort to Omar Al-Bashir, despite his indictment for genocide. Clearly, Erdogan would not want to doubt the wisdom of the arbiters of international law, so he certainly should apologize.

2. Turkey’s December 11, 2009, banning of the Democratic Socialist Party (DTP) because of allegations of its links to Kurdish terrorists. The DTP was elected by Turkey’s own Kurds, so who is Erdogan to demand they actually abide by the law?

3. Turkey’s gratuitous insults to the European Court of Human Rights. Indeed, Erdogan publicly chastised the court for not including Islamic religious scholars among its justices.

4. Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus. Certainly, there is a Turkish side to the story in the run-up to the 1974 invasion. But the United Nations has spoken, and it is shameful that Erdogan will not abide. Indeed, it is time that Namik Tan and Erdogan apologize to the ethnic Greek citizens of Cyprus. Certainly Turks should be prepared to pay reparations for their actions.

5. Yeni Safak, a newspaper Erdogan has endorsed, published a list of Jewish enemies. Ambassador Tan, I am on that list, and so I personally await your apology on behalf of the prime minister.

6. Just who was it that subsidized the Turkish version of Mein Kampf, transforming it into a bestseller in Turkey?

7. Gratuitous destruction of hundreds of ethnic Kurdish villages in southeastern Turkey. Clearly, self-defense and fighting terrorism must not be a justification for the brutality Turks exercised against a civilian population.

8. Last, but not least, while perhaps not a “genocide” in the technical sense, there’s still that troubling issue of the deaths of Armenians in the wake of World War I. Again, this may have occurred against the backdrop of fighting the Russian army, but self-defense must never be an excuse.

Ambassador Tan, the world awaits Turkey’s apologies.

Image by Dave Keeshan.

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