Farcical Celebration

By Aris Babikian, MPP, Scarborough-Agincourt, ON, 8 December 2023

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, on Oct 25, 2023, witnessed a farcical celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. A member of the legislative assembly spearheaded a flag-raising ceremony, a reception, and introduction to visitors by stating: “Today we are celebrating 100 years of the anniversary of modern Türkiye. I would like to welcome the Turkish delegation who is here today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Türkiye”. Among the visitors were the Turkish diplomatic corps members.

Everyone knows the current Turkish Republic was established by committing genocide against Greeks, Armenians, Syriacs, Pontians, Chaldeans, Assyrians and other minorities. The Turks butchered over three million ethnic residents (mostly Christians) who were citizens of Turkey. Historians, scholars, diplomats, eyewitnesses, and righteous Turks documented the First Genocide of the Twentieth Century (1915-1923). Furthermore, the Jewish and Kurdish people were also subjected to crimes against humanity.

The irony of this Member’s zeal to celebrate the anniversary of the Turkish Republic made him forget that the leader of that country rejoices in the crimes of the Mujahideen whom he supports ardently and is an ideological mentor of the murderous cult which beheaded 21 of the Member’s compatriots in Libya and were behind the twin bombing of his brothers and sisters in faith on Palm Sunday in Alexandria and Tanta, Egypt. At least 45 people were killed.

Antisemitism is deep-rooted tradition in the Turkish Republic, the same republic which the member is so proud to salute. Antisemitism is institutionalized by successive administrations since the establishment of the republic. Jewish-Turkish scholar Rifat Bali, in his ground-breaking book “Model Citizens of the State: The Jews of Turkey during the Multi-Party Period,” exposed the treatment of the Jewish community in Turkey–from their fight against Antisemitism to the struggle for their constitutional rights, and the attitude of the Turkish state and society towards these problems. He also demonstrated how the Capital Tax Law and policy of Labor Battalions, the Sept. 6, 1955 pogrom, the May 27, 1960 Revolution, and the 1971 military coup negatively affected the Jewish, Greek, Armenian, and other minority groups. These crimes caused loss of life and property.

The rampant Antisemitism propagated by the current government under the leadership of President Erdogan have made matters much worse. In the past 20 years, Erdoğan turned Turkey to an autocratic, one-man executive country and presidency. He turned the country to his fiefdom. Even the Turkish people were not spared from his despotic rule.

Since the 15 July 2016 failed coup d’état, Erdoğan has handcuffed Turkey, as Meral Danış Beştaş stated in the Turkish parliament. “You turned the country to a ‘coup d’état’ regime, by putting handcuffs on everyone, including mayors and politicians,” she stated. She added: “You are trying to rule the country with atrocities, oppression, and torture.”

Under Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule, over 1 million Turks have been prosecuted, over 100,000 civil servants were purged from key state institutions, judiciary has been co-opted, and pregnant women, children and the ailing elderly have been imprisoned.

Erdoğan also targeted the media and journalists. He shut down critical mass media and social media outlets. Turkey is the top jailer of journalists in the world.

Erdoğan’s Turkey is the home of kidnappings, torture, police brutality, arbitrary mass detentions, media blackouts and the oppression of anyone who voices criticism. Turkey’s citizens are suffering under Erdogan’s police state and increased choking of their human and civil rights.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN, European Court of Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, and other human rights organizations have extensively criticized Erdoğan’s anti-democratic rule.

The wide-spread corruption in which Erdogan and his family members or those close to him are involved caused many of his supporters to abandon him.

In addition to the above, Erdogan encouraged an extreme form of political Islam. He supported, encouraged and sheltered Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, Sudani, Somali, and other Muslim Brotherhood movements and their leaders. He is indoctrinating the Muslim population of Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia with his brand of extremism which is foreign to the overwhelming majority of the mainstream Muslims. He is using the Muslim religion for his political agenda. Many in the Arab and Muslim world consider Erdogan the de facto leader of the world-wide Muslim Brotherhood movement. Many Hamas Leaders are under the protection of Erdogan.

Internationally, Erdoğan sent the Turkish army to war in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and the largely Armenian-inhabited Nagorno-Karabakh region. He enabled militarily and politically the Azeri dictator Ilham Aliyev to launch the 2020 War on the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh during which over 5,000 Armenians—mostly civilian–were killed. Azerbaijan then laid a 10- month blockade of the region to starve the Armenians, and finally ethnically cleansed the 120,000 Armenians form their ancestral homeland. Many international observers and diplomats are concerned Turkey and Azerbaijan are planning on annexing the southern part of Armenia so that they can be united through a land corridor through Armenia. On many occasions Erdogan referred to Turkey and Azerbaijan as “one nation, two states.”

The illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus is “another feather in Erdogan’s cap.” He has ignored attempts of the UN and other international fora to withdraw his troops from Northern Cyprus and let the indigenous Turkish and Greeks of Cyprus reconcile and to unite the island. Furthermore, he settled the island with illegal settlers from Turkey and other countries to change the demography of the island. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the occupation. Cyprus is the only European Union member which is under occupation.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine exposed Erdoğan’s disloyalties to his NATO allies when he and his Azeri poppet Aliyev circumvented the sanctions imposed on Russia and enabled Putin to continue his trade, banking, oil, and gas exports to the world. Turkey has led the world in exports to Russia since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022. Russian oligarchs and Putin’s conduits from Europe have moved their assets to Turkey which is a haven for their illegal activities.

Erdoğan’s insistence to buy Russian-made S-300 and S-400 air defense systems is another bone of contention with his NATO allies. His constant threat of invading Greece and illegal overflights over the sovereign territory of Greece are also part of the west’s distrust of Erdoğan.

The Blue Homeland Maritimes strategy is another manifestation of Erdoğan’s belligerent and grand design to usurp Greek territory. The threat to gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean and his troops’ presence and illegal occupation of Cyprus since 1974 are indicative of Erdoğan’s real intentions toward Greece.

Erdoğan’s “Remember Smyrna” speech should alert everyone of his aspirations. On many occasions, Erdoğan has confirmed his hostile intent vis-a-vis Greece. On one occasion he stated: “We have only one word to tell Greece: Do not forget Izmir [Smyrna]. We may come suddenly one night.” On another occasion he said: “Your [Greece] occupying the islands does not bind us. When the time, the hour comes, we will do what is necessary.”

Lastly, Erdoğan’s threat to use the illegal refugees to blackmail his European partners is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Erdoğan has destabilized NATO’s security in so many strategic ways.

Turkey’s internal and foreign policies do not conform with NATO’s and western alliance’s values and traditions. It has forced political leaders, scholars, and pundits to question whether Erdoğan is a true ally. Some have even demanded the expulsion of Turkey from NATO.

In a recently-published report, political analyst Bobby Ghosh in the Washington Post stated: “He [Erdoğan] has undermined NATO’s security by acquiring missile-defense systems from Russia, frustrated the alliance by blocking the membership of Sweden, repeatedly threatened to flood Europe with refugees and, in recent months, hurled increasingly bellicose rhetoric toward Greece. Ankara’s relations with Washington have strained to the point where top Turkish officials routinely accuse the US of backing a coup against Erdogan with the complicity of terrorist groups.” He added: “The US and Europe would be better off without Erdogan’s disruptive influence in world affairs.”

It is obvious that Erdoğan is ideologically anti-Western. He is dreaming of reviving the “glorious Ottoman Empire” and become the new Sultan. His menacing influence on regional and international politics is beyond question.

In the same report, political analyst Selim Koru, commented: “Erdogan’s worldview is far more radical than most Westerners think. His ambition for Turkey’s immediate neighborhood, where Ankara is increasingly influential, is not to complement American and European influence. It’s to replace and counter them.”

In the Wall Street Journal, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton called on NATO to expel Turkey. Bolton condemned Erdogan’s “divisive and dangerous” approach and “belligerent regional policies.”

Understanding all the above, it is incomprehensible for a member of Ontario’s House of Democracy to stand up and praise a country which has such a devious and criminal record.

*****

The article is reproduced from Good News bi-weekly magazine.

2 comments
  1. So who is that morally bankrupt member of our Legislative Assembly, so deficient in current and historical facts?

  2. Is it far fetched, the Legislative Assembly member (s) were bullied or blackmailed into allowing a Turkish farce be celebrated, gaining legitimacy in a civilized country?
    With so many different degrees of crimes to humanity, It is beyond comprehension Turkey has not been expelled from NATO inspite of Erdogan’s actions and declarations of future intent to NATO member and others.
    Beyond belief also is the fact that England and the US, that impose sanctions on lesser evil than Turkey, have stayed silent to Turkish horrendous crimes, signaling acquiescence.

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