Our border has not officially changed, but…

Hasan Ozturk

On Oct. 3, 2017, I had written an article in this column with the headline, “Irak sinirini tasimayi yeniden tartissak” (If we were to re-discuss moving the Iraqi border).

My reason was very clear: the inability to provide complete security due to the borderline passing through the steep mountains. Thus, I had suggested reaching an agreement with Iraq and physically carrying the border to the other side and positioning it on a level area.

I had said:

“Late Turkish President Turgut Özal, who noticed the physical state of the border in time, discussed this matter with the Americans during the First Gulf War, but could not get a result. (…)

Late Turkish politician Muhsin Yazicioglu had a radical suggestion back then to establish a 25-kilometer buffer zone on the Iraq side. Of course, the resounding suggestion was not accepted.

(…) If in the recently improving ties with the Iraqi central government, this subject is also brought up on the agenda and reaches a solution, both Turkey and Iraq can take a breath of relief.

The base areas to be built on the other side of the border will both reduce costs and further strengthen security.” (Oct. 3, 2017, Yeni Safak)

Two days after that article was published, I had the opportunity to follow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s day-long Iran visit. I brought up the subject on the return flight and asked President Erdogan about “his thoughts on moving our Iraq border to the other side of the mountains.”

That day, the president had said, “We don’t have our eye on anybody’s land.” However, he had repeated his determination on the subject of fighting terrorism.

A spectacular sweeping operation was conducted on the Iraqi borderline, on the steep and rough mountains both in summer and winter, long before the Olive Branch operation in Afrin. All the holes, camps/caves the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization had, which they said nobody could enter, were entered and destroyed.

The ground operation within northern Iraqi borders continued quietly (without being made mediatic) in coordination with the Olive Branch operation. The point that has been reached today is a line that reaches a 30/40-kilometer depth in northern Iraq. A 400-square-meter area of dominance. A total of 11 bases, including the newly-built ones.

The public has been discussing the operation in Qandil for a few days.

The subject coming up on the agenda started with the iftar (the fast-breaking meal in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan) we had last week with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. At that iftar meal, I had asked Mr. Prime Minister two questions. One of the questions was, “As a result of the operations conducted in northern Iraq, we moved to a level area, will this bring us Qandil?”

The “operation in Qandil” has been on the agenda for a week.

Frankly, Turkish troops going to Qandil and razing that terrorist hole will relieve us all. But if you ask me, a success at least as big as Qandil has already been achieved. Because Turkish troops positioned in a relatively much easier region on the other side of the border ended the threats aimed at Turkey from that region.

Yes, our border has not changed, but the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) blocked the path of terrorists that may come from northern Iraq, which poses a great threat.

This physical situation is a huge achievement.

I congratulate everyone who contributed.


Those who cannot tolerate the other will be the same both in the present and the future

The West’s main characteristic is its intolerance toward those “other than themselves.”

We know how they looted Andalusia, how they destroyed cities, how they massacred thousands, hundreds of thousands of people in the inquisition, how they exiled those that were not one of them, and how they destroyed whatever belonged to them.

We know of the Catholic and Protestants’ years-long wars, and that thousands, hundreds of thousands perished.

We know how they pillaged Istanbul, Anatolia and Jerusalem during the Crusades, and how they massacred the locals.

We know how in the First Balkan War they exiled the Muslim locals to Anatolia, and how they changed the texture of the cities.

We know one other thing: They held the Jews, whom they believed to have “ruined their race,” subject to genocide once more while they were at each other’s throats in World War II. (The first was the torture and exile of Muslims and Jews in Spain, when collapsing Andalusia. It is the one the Sefarad Jews in Istanbul faced.)

Something else happened at the start of the 21st century. The “Islamic civil war” started again with the West’s doing. After the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, the West launched a total war on Islam.

This is the Henry Kissinger mentality. This mentality took action to “otherize” Islam and Muslims, which it sees as the “other,” in all the regions it has dominance.

They call it Islamophobia. In other words, a fear of Islam. No, no, this is not fear of Islam, but rather anti-Islam sentiment. Because their reflexes aren’t reflexes of “fear,” but reflexes of anger, fury and animosity.

Lastly, a decision was taken in Austria to shut down seven mosques. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who announced the decision, stated that 60 religious officials working at the mosques, along with their families, will be deported. The reason is interesting: “They were sent by Turkey.”

Rising anti-Islam and anti-Turkey sentiment in the West has a reason of course. Like we said at the start, the West neither tolerates nor allows those that are not like them.

Throughout history, it either destroys the one it sees as the “other” – like Andalusia – or assimilates them – like the Moriscoes. It either exiles them like the Jews and Muslims, or subjects them to genocide – like the Jews and Bosnians.

Today, it is driving a new “otherizing” policy against Muslims and Turkey, which it thinks it cannot assimilate.

Racism is on a rapid rise in Europe. They have Muslims and Turkey on the target board.

The extremists are walking toward the top. Such as it is in Austria, they are entering coalitions and turning anti-Islam sentiment into a state policy.

This is what is happening in Austria.

I am afraid, such anti-Islam actions are going to increasingly continue.


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