1700) IHT: To The Turkish People From Their European Friends & Response by Sukru Server Aya

To The Turkish People From Their European Friends

In recent days Turkey's citizens have been carefully watching the reactions of politicians across Europe and the United States to the memorandum by the Turkish military issued on April 27. In these fraught circumstances, it is vital to send an unambiguous message to Turkish society. We strongly regret this intervention that could harm Turkey's progress as well as its relations with the European Union.

The EU decided to open negotiations with Turkey as a result of a striking sequence of reforms that led the European Commission in 2004 to declare that Turkey substantially met the so-called political Copenhagen criteria. One of these criteria is respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Another is a functioning democracy, including as a basic principle, full civilian control over the armed forces. The intervention by the military on April 27 throws Turkey's compliance into doubt.

The Turkish military justified this by the need to defend "Turkish secularism." However, the threat to secularism has been overstated. In fact, Turkey has undertaken a number of important reforms, in sectors ranging from women's rights to education, which provide legal protection for secular values. Much remains to be done - including removing the penal code's restrictions on freedom of speech and working to close the gender gap - and we call on the Turkish authorities to vigorously pursue the reform path. But Turkish legislation has never been closer to European standards than today, and many of these changes have been brought about under the current government.

We believe that it is up to the Turkish political process, and to Turkish civil society, to express the preferences of the Turkish public. Large demonstrations, challenges of political decisions in courts and political campaigns are all acceptable tactics in democratic politics. We understand those who are concerned about the concentration of power, but this should not be taken as an excuse for the military to limit democratic government.

Finally, we call on European governments to reaffirm the promises and commitments that the EU has made in the past. Turkey still has much to do before it meets European standards, but by showing solidarity with Turkish democrats, the EU can now help to keep the process on track.

Urban Ahlin, deputy chairman, foreign affairs committee, Swedish Parliament; Hans van den Broek, former foreign minister of the Netherlands; Daniel Cohn-Bendit, member of European Parliament; José Cutileiro, former secretary general, WEU; Marta Dassù, Aspen Institute Italia; Andrew Duff, member of European Parliament; Sarmite Elerte, editor, Diena; Michael Emerson, Center for European Policy Studies; Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister of Germany; Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford University; Teresa Patrício Gouveia, former foreign minister of Portugal; Charles Grant, Center for European Reform; Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE; Michiel van Hulten, former chair of the Dutch Labor Party; Josef Janning, Bertelsmann Foundation; Dan Jørgensen, member of European Parliament; Mary Kaldor, London School of Economics; Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty, former EU Commissioner; Gerald Knaus, European Stability Initiative; Ivan Krastev, Center for Liberal Strategies; Joost Lagendijk, member of European Parliament; Mark Leonard, European Council on Foreign Relations; Alain Minc, chairman of Le Monde and head of AM Conseil; Antonio Missiroli, European Policy Center; Giles Merritt, Friends of Europe; Kalypso Nicolaidis, University of Oxford; Cem Özdemir, member of European Parliament; Ana Palacio, former foreign minister of Spain; Diana Pinto, historian; Narcis Serra, former vice president of Spain; Aleksander Smolar, Stefan Batory Foundation; Dana Spinant, European Voice; Antonio Vitorino, former EU Commissioner; Gijs de Vries, former EU counter-terrorism coordinator; Stephen Wall, former adviser to the British prime minister.

May 16, 2007
Copyright © 2007 The International Herald Tribune

Response by Sukru Server Aya

Dear Editor,


Re: Shameful hypocrisy of your article May 15th, “To the Turkish People from their European Friends ?”

Your impolite article, openly confess that “with such friends (!) in Europe, we need no enemies”!

Turkish Military: Is the most trusted (90%) institution protecting Turkish Republic, Secularism, Intellectual modernism, democracy, populism, and sovereignty of the people. The Army is empowered by Constitution to protect these pillars of our unity, sovereignty and democratic independence.

You claim that the AKP (mild-Islamist ?) government has done reforms, progress (?) (by which National debt has quadrupled during their 5 year reign, all institutions and properties of the State/People have been sold out to corrupt partnerships, even to terror financiers) and that because of them, EU decided to open negotiations (with fluctuating terms on top of Copenhagen criteria which is already met) never to end or be concluded. An artificial carrot, placed inside an unbreakable jar, and displayed on a political shelf, is moved higher, when we are about to reach ..) Sir, if you were true friend of Turkey, you should have the sincerity to admit that with the present religious bigotry and industrial-capitalist superiority it posses, E.U. cannot absorb a large country such as Turkey with 75 millions, -mostly young people-, and would never make Turkey a share holder, but must keep her under hand as a free market, with the obedience of an orderly and accept the humiliating advices of uninformed E.U. members or their speakers!. Sir, why EU never expressed any concern that Turkey should “reform” democracy by changing the political party law, whereby party leaders become kings of their parties? Or that the 10% barrier must be lifted or that the voters must be given the choice to chose between candidates in person and not the complete party list ? The fact is that this crooked political system has brought a party who got only 35% of the cast ballots (representing only 25% of the qualified voters a large portion of which refused to vote under joint trickery of all parties) met no criticism, because as long as the AKP government behaved as an orderly, she was good and must stay in power (to serve the EU interests). The paradox that 25% of the people, received 70% of the representation, was no ethical concern to EU! You shut up then! You speak now!

Your article is so naïve and biased that you are not even aware that some 6 million people (apart from many more millions watching TV’s and hanging Turkish flags in support over their balconies) have all chanted for unity of the nation, screaming WE DON’T WANT EU or USA, WE WANT TOTALLY SOVEREIGN TURKEY.

Although they were all thankful for the stance of the military (which was the very last string, before dropping into fundamentalism to eventually rule by shariat) millions also chanted, that they wanted “Democratic Turkey, without Army intervention”. Some aerial photos of Ankara meeting on April 14th, show over 1.5 million, Istanbul meeting on April 28th, shows 3 million or may be more; plus Izmir on May 13th, again over 1.5 million (not mentioning other meetings in Canakkale, Manisa each with hundreds of thousands) ! These altogether are clear, self-explanatory for the national ethics. These were organized and attended mostly by young women (not in towel wrapped heads like our PM’s wife and intended president Gul’s wife)! Sir, with such, abusive and disrespectful comments, you are trying to apply pressure on the People of Turkey, so that they keep the “so called outer reformist, but underneath fundamentalist – religionist” AKP government. Sir, Turks have lost millions of deaths to win present sovereignty, independence, and to abolish commercial capitulations and religious caliphate, which you now seem to recommend as “friends of Turkey”! Fundamentalism, has brought nothing but disaster to our people and lands, we are mature enough not to want it come back! "To pray is to ask that the laws of universe are annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy… Religion is a daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable" Abrose Bierce

Re: “human rights”: are generally raised for only those, speaking against the national unity of Turkey, even if it involves lies and slanders! Sir, the neo-liberal turncoats, already enjoy capitulatory justice in our country to please ‘European observers! The shameful paradox is that when the mostly, decent Turks are denied Visa despite humiliating red tape, and go to EU countries, they are scared to speak even what they believe to be true ! So, this is a unilateral right for those speaking against Turkish national unity.

But trying to defend same principles , becomes a punishable crime in many EU countries for Turks!

Enthusiasm of Turks to join EU and her questionable values are seriously corroded by outdoor patronage, of our corrupted authorities. We lived free and sovereign, and will do so at all costs!

Sukru S. Aya

Istanbul May 17, 2007


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