Here’s JLH’s translation of an open letter — a response — to complaints about Germans. The short answer to Erdogan’s whine is “give me a break, bucko.” The longer, more civilized response is this letter from March 29th:
Open Letter to Erdogan: Hate and Repulsion Against Kurds and Christians
by Tilman Zülch
Göttingen, March 29, 2010
Dear Mr. President,
On the occasion of Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Turkey, you said that you “do not understand this hate and repulsion against Turkey.” We can assure you that a great majority in Germany do not share such a repulsion. To the contrary, our human rights organization does not understand your hate and repulsion for your 15 million Kurdish fellow citizens and the remaining 120,000 Christian residents of your country. We remind you that in Turkey:
1. Kurdish schools, books, clubs and parties are forbidden. 2. 8 mayors are in prison because they addressed their constituents in Kurdish. 3. Kurds in police stations and prisons are tortured. 4. 4,835 Kurdish political prisoners are still in custody. 5. The search for, the exhumation and the clarification of the fate of 17,000 vanished Kurds is still being hindered. Among those murdered are known writers, politicians and human rights activists. 6. The rebuilding of 3,876 Kurdish villages destroyed during the Turkish-Kurdish war has not yet even begun. 7. Therefore more than 2 million who were driven out of theses villages have no chance of returning. 8. The murders of Christian clerics in 2004, 2006 and 2007 were never punished. 9. The confiscation of Christian churches has never been undone. 10. To this day, building of Christian churches is being prevented. 11. Stolen Christian and Yezidi landholdings were not returned. 12. Restriction of the religious freedom of Christians and Yezidi has not been removed. 13. To this day, Alevites are officially forbidden to build houses of worship. 14. Denial of genocide committed against Armenians and Assyro-Aramaeans persists.
Honored Sir, please understand that not only your Christian, Kurdish, Yezidi and Alevite fellow citizens, but also human rights activists both in Turkey and worldwide criticize your country’s governmental, judicial and military policies.
In this regard, I suggest you inform yourself about the condition of minorities in your country by consulting the internationally renowned Turkish sociologist, Ismail Besikci. He spent 19 years in Turkish prisons, simply because he called several of these human rights violations by name. We will be glad to put you in touch with him.
This is a letter is rich with unmined information. We know that Turkey has been traveling the road to sharia for twenty-five years or more. In fact, back in the old days (the early 70s) when I was apolitical and sometimes voted Democrat, I remember reading a Time magazine feature essay on the concern over the direction Turkey was headed. Yeah, back then I even read Time.
It shows how far we’ve come that such an article, even if it made it to print today, would be much more politically correct than the original, with its concern about Christians and the fact that women were beginning to be forced into the veil. Time ended on a hopeful note that perhaps things would turn around if the military intervened…that was the usual proffered solution to problems Turkish. It had worked before, no? I put the magazine aside without much further thought. What did I know from Islam? A middle eastern religion that didn’t like Jews and murdered Armenians, but maybe we could all learn to get long, huh? Besides, I wasn’t worried about Israel; she’d always managed to beat her enemies back.
Now, having looked at Islam for the last five years, it is only too easy to see Turkey's essential injustice to Turkish citizens.
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His government persecutes everything but its own form of nationalistic Sunni Islam. Turkey’s treatment of its Kurdish citizens is shameful. In fact, they’re not content to leave the conflict at the border: here’s an old post of ours about their carryings on in Oslo. A Turk in Norway is not a Norwegian. Just ask him: he’s a Turk, first and last. Norway is simply a kafir hole he’s currently occupying.
They’re killling off the remaining Christians or running them out of the country.
As for the Alevites mentioned in the letter to Erdogan, here’s some information about this Shi’ite, left-wing subset of Islam. They are another persecuted minority in Sunni Turkey. This is just one more proof that were the worldwide Caliphate somehow to arrive tomorrow, Islam would quickly turn to a factionalized killing machine. A religion founded on death and violence is never going to live in peace, even with itself. Or maybe especially within its own borders. The ugliest, most repressive forms of this theocracy are on the rise. Average secular Muslims don’t stand a chance against this malign belief system in love with death.
JLH mentioned in his translation that he hadn’t previously heard about the Yezidis. I figured it’s been so long since we wrote about them that perhaps other readers didn’t know either, so here’s an update on that small group, persecuted relentlessly by the Iraqi Kurds who steal their women from the fields and invade their villages with impunity.
Here’s our first story at Gates of Vienna from more than two years ago, with pictures and links. I wish I could say the situation has changed, but things sound just as routinely inhumane and murderous as ever. This is a brief succinct post at Gene Expression with excellentlinks. Especially see the photos at the linked BBC page.
Michael Totten has written about the Yezidi. Here’s his story and that’s his picture of Lalish, where the Yezidi say the universe got its start
There are Yezidi diaspora groups in the U.S. and Canada. Please look at their website with its links asking you to write to the White House and to your Congressman about their dismal situation in Iraq.
They composed a letter to President Obama asking that you send your own copy. I have edited it to suit my own tastes. For example, I figure a reference to George Bush might light a fire under his enthusiasm for this project. The emphasis is also mine:
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to you about the Yezidi people of northern Iraq.
They need your immediate assistance. George Bush didn’t help, but perhaps you will assist in bringing some justice to a tragic situation.
Iraqi Congress elections are coming up again in 2010 in Iraq and the Yezidis are trying to get their rightful share of seats so they can be fairly represented. Right now the Iraqi government is only offering them one seat, even though they should get six. This is an injustice, Mr. President. A word from you would help them in their quest for rightful representation.
There are 650,000 Yezidis, and the ratio among the other Iraqi people, including the Kurds and Moslems, has been one seat per 100,000 people. The Yezidis have undergone torture and murder from neighboring Moslem Kurds for many years and the abuses will continue unless they can get fair representation in Iraq's Congress.
I am requesting that you help these people receive their fair share of representatives. The Yezidis currently do not receive the international food and water intended for them, and most are scared to even leave their homes. Their women are kidnapped and their villages are raided and destroyed with impunity.
Now their few seats in the Iraq government are unjustly being taken by Kurds.
Since the founding of Islam millions of Yezidis have been murdered and many more will be slaughtered unless they can get your help to survive. In 2007 suicide bombers killed 500 Yezidis, and the killing continues every day. Please help them!
The Yezidis are a fascinating, very old culture. But like other groups relentlessly attacked by Islam, they are in danger of eventual extinction. Just like the Alevites, the Turkish Kurds, the ever-shrinking Christians remnant in Turkey, they are an endangered species. So many small sects are gone past recall. The Turks are doing their share to continue this tradition.
For that matter, there is also Ismail Besikci, the Turkish citizen and academic mentioned in that open letter signed by Tilman Zülch. Here is what the American Association for the Advancement of Science says of Mr. Besikci:
The prosecution, imprisonment, ill-treatment, and levying of fines against Ismail Besikci, and his dismissal from Erzurum Ataturk University for publishing his scientific studies on the southeast of Turkey and the peaceful expression of his views constitute serious violations of academic freedom and fundamental human rights. The government’s actions also infringe on his right to carry out his professional sociological studies.
Besikci’s prosecution for exercising his right to freedom of expression conflicts with Turkey’s obligations to recognize the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of expression; and the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of association as delineated by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Turkey is bound by international law to guarantee these rights and to respect the basic principles of human rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Turkey is bound by international law?” Sure it is. Just as it suffered international consequences for slaughtering the Armenians and then proceeding to knee-jerk outrage when anyone has the temerity to discuss its genocidal behavior?
Erdogan has a nerve complaining about the German treatment of Turks in Germany. Just plain old-fashioned Turkish chutzpah.