What about anti-Turkism in the West?

Published 11.08.2016 22:53

It is possible to assert that the analysts who think the anti-Western sentiment in Turkey emerged during Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rule as prime minister and president are oblivious of Turkish history. When the statistics are viewed, the first 10 years of Erdoğan's rule can be seen as a period in which anti-Western sentiment declined and remained at average levels. Within this period, good relations were maintained in a synchronized way with both the EU and U.S.

There are many reasons to hold the anti-Western sentiment. The following are several outstanding instances. Erdoğan criticized Israel with his "one-minute" burst. The EU could not pursue a consistent policy and left Turkey alone on the matter of the refugee crisis stemming from the Syrian civil war that broke as a result of the regime of Bashar Assad massacring its people. Some figures, including European Parliament President Martin Schulz, were patronizing and remarked that Erdoğan is not their addressee. In Britain, an insult contest was held against Erdoğan and then the former London mayor and current foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, won the contest with a dirty limerick. While militants from the outlawed PKK entered Turkey from Syria and murdered dozens of citizens in suicide bombings, the PKK's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) People's Protection Units (YPG) militia is valorized in Europe by allowing them to open offices in some European capitals and organize exhibitions. U.S. special forces in Syria wore YPG insignias on their uniforms. And Brett McGurk, the U.S. official in charge of the anti-DAESH fight, paid special visits to the YPG. The other opposition groups not constituting a threat to Turkey were insistently left alone and all intelligence and logistic support was provided to the YPG. Turkey's fight against DAESH was also underestimated and the number of troops decreased in some places, including Mosul, with U.S. support and pressure from the Baghdad government.

Lately, as a result of the atrocious coup attempt, 247 citizens were killed and 1,564 were injured. Amid all these happenings, the EU and the U.S., our so-called allies, did not give any overt support to our democracy until the failure of the coup attempt was certain. In Turkey in his first statement on the coup attempt, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did not make a pointed emphasis on democracy and the elected government while explaining that the U.S. expects the building of peace and stability.

So, how can it be forgotten that while many leaders around the world, including Turkey, joined the protest march organized after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a senior officer from a Western country allied with Turkey has not visited Turkey even though a month passed since the coup attempt in which hundreds of people were killed while resisting tanks for democracy? Normally, presidents come or senior representatives are sent to Turkey several times a year, but with his incident, only lower-ranking officials were sent to Turkey. While all the ambassadors from the EU and U.S. paid a solidarity visit to the Hürriyet daily after its office windows were broken, not a single solidarity visit has been paid to Parliament, which was bombed on the night of July 15.

When it is considered that within two weeks after the coup in Egypt the EU sent a senior representative there to shake hands with the coup leader, former general and current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Kerry valorized the coup regime by referring to it as "restoring democracy" during his visit to Egypt after the coup, is it abnormal that Western countries' concern about Turkish democracy, which they express on every occasion, is not found sincere in Turkey since they have not been in support of Turkey's democratic resistance? Also, is it difficult to see that the trend of Erdoğan-bashing or Turkophobia in the EU and U.S. media increased anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiment in Turkey?

Sociological analyses to understand the motivations of society are not based on only one factor. The comments in the Western media hint that anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric in Turkey enjoys popularity because of Erdoğan. However, Turkish people are angry due to the fact that Fethullah Gülen, the person responsible for the coup according to 95 percent of society, is allowed to live freely in the U.S. When the background I listed above is added to this, I guess it becomes evident that the consequences cannot only be explained through Erdoğan. Besides, Erdoğan has never said that he thought the U.S. was involved in the coup attempt.

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