867) Lessons to Canada: Which country helped most when Canadians tried to rescue people from Lebanon?

Answer: Turkey

With Cyprus filled up, Canada urgently asked for Turkey's help. The Turks, whom the Harper government just gratuitously insulted while playing domestic politics, could have made up all kinds of excuses by way of payback.

Instead, the Turks turned the other cheek. They took out Lebanese-Canadian citizens, rented boats, and put their airfield at our disposal. Have they received an official thank you from Prime Minister Stephen Harper?

It's the least Mr. Harper could do after making recognition of the 90-year-old Armenian "genocide" official government policy such a sore point in Turkey that the Turkish government withdrew its ambassador to Canada to protest. . .

The Harper announcement, delivered almost flippantly in April, made headlines in Turkey. Everybody close to the file knew the announcement had everything to do with ethnic pandering in Canada, part of the Conservative's wider campaign to play ethnic politics.

Now that the Conservatives have been in office for a little while, perhaps they will realize that a country's foreign policy interests should not be subordinated to domestic pandering. They might also realize that a foreign policy based on realism requires remembering which countries are allies and friends, because you never know when friends might come in handy.

As a NATO partner, Turkey is now being asked to contribute to a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, a force Canada is not being asked to join (except by some people in Canada) for the good reason that this force needs to be robust. Canada does not have robust forces to spare, what with the two-year commitment to Afghanistan, a point those urging Canadian participation might remember. The Turks (who were in Afghanistan before us) and others will have to do the heavy lifting if NATO agrees to inject a force into Lebanon . . .

The Globe and Mail, Canada July 25, 2006

By Jeffrey Simpson



From: Sukru S Aya

To : Jeffrey Simpson


Dear Sir,

This is a very rare and exceptional case, where I do not know whom to thank... To you for writing these "simple facts, even though you may be critized for having thanked those (?) Turks, or to our Armenian friends from Turkey, who circulized this article. Carelessly or purposely, politicians give too many favours to their voters, sometimes revoking the long range benfits of their own country and truths, and worse than that they act with rushed prejudice, rather than looking on the back of the coin as well. This is no news for us, because we could not have acted otherwise... What your Prime Minister does or thinks when looking into the mirror, is not that important, because he speaks for politics; you have spoken for simple facts and logics of humanity and compassion, which we should promote and depend on for a happier future, rather than advertising blood soaked vengeances.

I cordially thank and salute you for your courage...

Kind regards

Sukru S. Aya - Istanbul


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