The West and Turkey – an everlasting double game

by Willy Wimmer

cc. Since the EU-Turkey summit on 6 and 7 March, EU leading officials and offcials of a few EU countries, headed by the German Chancellor, have issued the slogan that a permanent agreement with Turkey in the migration issue would be imminent and would permanently solve the problems of the past months. For more than 30 years Willy Wimmer has been a member of the German Bundestag for the Christian Democratic Union, Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Defense and Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. His analysis explains why the hope of coming to terms with Turkey in order to reach a sustainable agreement on the refugee issue is a chimera. Not only because of the Turkish claims and the contents of the planned programmes, but also because the West is playing false with Turkey: On the one hand they want to keep Turkey as a military ally in the region of the Middle East, on the other hand they have already operated a policy of dissolving Turkey and establishing a Kurdish state for years – at least since NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999, which violated international law. Willy Wimmer fears that Germany is getting involved in an international conflict situation for which it will have to pay a high price, just as was the case after the First World War.

Everyone realizes what Turkey is willing and able to, if he takes a helicopter flight over the seemingly endless country between the City of Diyarbakir and the Iraqi-Syrian border. Up to the horizon cornfields are swaying in the early summer wind. However, this is all only seemingly so, and it is useful to take a closer look. Over and again the foundations of destroyed houses, villages and cities can be detected among the lush green. They testify that here, in the seventies of the last century, the Turkish government in its fight against the Kurds leveled more than 3,000 villages and towns to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of people were deprived of their livelihood and homes this way. This was done with the help of big Kurdish landowners who assisted the Turkish government in Ankara in its fight against the Kurds. It was then in vain, just as the fight against the PKK is today, however, in those days Ankara had created a vast and deserted maneuvering area against the Kurds in Iraq and Syria. The millions of people who had had to leave their homes could do nothing else but flee to the Turkish Mediterranean coast or to Stuttgart and Cologne.
At that time we in the west accepted all that because there was an official explanation by the Turkish Government from the perspective of the Cold War. In the fight against godless communism, allied with the Kurds, any means seemed fair. Hence: Away with the Kurds. In the Turkish Republic this attitude has probably not changed to this day. The dimension of the struggles gives evidence of that.

New NATO strategy after the “victory” of the Cold War

However, the NATO war against Belgrade in 1999 was perceived in Ankara as an imaginary mourning bell for Turkey. In contrast to applicable international law, the West began to clean the Balkans from any Russian influence and filleting it to its own taste, bombs on Belgrade included. Especially for a transit country like Turkey it became obvious how the western approach to the Balkans corresponded with the control for oil and gas pipelines.
The then Turkish Prime Minister, Mrs Ciller, undertook a lot in the Balkans, so as not to let it come to the worst. The Turkish government only had just to take a look at their own country and study the consequences of ethnic separation that the United States above all had championed in order to enforce their objectives in the Balkans more easily. If all tribes were counted correctly between Armenians, Kurds and Turks on the present territory of Turkey, twenty-four of them are forming the Turkish Republic. Enough material for Western strategists to reckon with in their schemes. According to the model of the seventies one can assume in the United States, or in other states who are closely allied with the US, that the flows of dispossessed people will be landing somewhere between Flensburg and Passau.

Merkel and the Fata Morgana

Like a mantra, the Chancellor, who is still in office clutching any straw, speaks of a relief of migration development, which can solely be achieved in cooperation with Turkey. One should recommend Berlin to read the newspapers. Numerous full-bodied declarations of intent did we have to accept in recent months. Especially in relation to Turkey: NATO formations in the Aegean were even regarded as a stop for migratory movements. The ships had not even left the harbour, when Ankara no longer felt bound by its commitments. Not at all would they take back to Turkey those who could be rescued by NATO ships in the Aegean. But why should Ankara behave differently from those who promised the billions, but never paid them to support Turkish assistance? A “bazaar” is nothing compared to how they deal with each other and even label this behaviour a standard of friendly relations. Ankara sees but one thing: In western Turkey they are begging for cooperation in the migration problem and in eastern Turkey they make use of the scalpel intended for Turkey. Incidentally it is used by those who make every effort in the West to use the migration development merely as a side protection for American wars, as will soon be the case in Libya, as well.
Ankara has tried to blow out Syria’s light of life, but in the East it hears the mourning bells ringing loudly for itself, for Turkey.
Since the end of World War I, the world has plotted a special destiny for the Kurds. Not even what was conceded to the Azeris between Iran and Azerbaijan, was meant for the Kurds, apart from a very short period.

Lessons from history?

What is happening in this large region, takes us more than one hundred years back in time. There is every reason to once again connect especially us, the Germans, with the fate of this region, and the consequences that are probably meant for us, but will hardly be determined by us. Everything “déja vue”, is what we might think these days when reading David Fromkin’s1 epochal work about the problems in this great region and searching for insights into questions and findings. “A Peace to End All Peace” was the apt title for the Bible dealing with the recent history of the Middle and Near East. If lessons were correctly learned from this past development, it should become clear what enormous importance this region has for us in Europe; especially since Israel dropped any inhibition of publicly backing Kurdish aspirations to build a new state. This is far-reaching, because in view of all that support which Israel grants the Kurds, the German federal government did not hesitate to send German troops to Kurdish areas.
We saw that before. However, what David Fromkin wrote, and not only him, has fallen into oblivion in Germany. The Jewish society and especially the American citizens of Jewish faith had welcomed the Central Powers’ entry to World War I against the Entente. This was due to the rights that German citizens of Jewish faith had been granted in the German Empire in comparison to other countries’ citizens. This had to be changed substantially in the interest of the Entente, however, as the later opened archives in Moscow, showed. The famous “Sykes-Picot Agreement” between England and France was the effective means. The German emperor stood firmly by his Ottoman ally and did not respond to demands directed to him and requesting a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine. In Germany, you do not have to say more in view of the fact that today German soldiers stay in an area that Irael is openly and bluntly requesting to be formed as an independent state. We could hardly act with A greater historical amnesia is hardly conceivable, so Germany should not be surprised about the consequences.     •

1    David Fromkin’s book “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” was published in 1989. It describes the events which lead to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. This had drastic consequences for the Middle East which led to a new but rarely acknowledged world war which is still going on, Fromkin says.

(Translation Current Concerns)