Well Halleluya! Turkey has started to build a wall along its border with Syria. Guess what, most of the wall is 2 metres tall and will ‘have barbed wire fencing over it’ according to the Hurriyet Daily News, making it nearly 2,5 metres high. The first part of the wall that could extend over the 900 kilometres border between Turkey and Syria, is being built near the city of Nusaybin.
According to the Times, of October 11th, “It is a largely Kurdish area, and the first aim is to make it more difficult for Syrian Kurds to join radical Kurdish groupings in Turkey”. Walls separate people and break up families. Walls cut people off from each other and their fields. This wall will split vulnerable refugees from their kith and kin across the border.
This wall will divide Turkish Kurds from Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, and Turkey’s ruthless war against Kurdish nationalists has already claimed more lives than the Israel Arab dispute and dragged on for a longer time.
Haven’t we heard all this before about the ‘Security fence’ that Israel built to stop attacks on its civilians. Yes, indeed and that one has been dubbed an ‘Apartheid Wall’, by Israel’s detractors. So why should this wall, which is likely to be longer and higher, not be painted with the same brush. Is it ok to separate Muslims from Muslims, but not Muslims from Jews?
Surely if it permissible for Turkey to prevent terrorists from penetrating into its territory, the same rules should apply to Israel? Surely a wall is a wall, irrespective of where it is built!
In 2003, while Israel was building its ‘wall’ there was an international outcry. No one expressed any concern while suicide bombers entered Israel at will and blew up thousands of civilians. In November, 2003 Pope John Paul II criticized Israel's building of a wall to keep Palestinians out, and he called for a global movement against terrorism following deadly attacks in Iraq and Turkey.
At a Sunday blessing on November 16th , 2003 the Pope said ; “In reality, the Holy Land does not need walls but bridges. Without reconciliation of souls, there can be no peace...The construction of a wall between the Israeli and Palestinian people is seen by many as a new obstacle on the road to peaceful coexistence.”
Surely Israel’s detractors will need to acknowledge that the Pope’s words apply fittingly to the Turkish wall as well! Let’s see whether Turkey being a member of the NATO alliance, will draw any ire from the organization. It begs the question whether the European Union and even the International Criminal Court, which have pronounced on Israel’s Security barrier, will have equally vocal opinions.
Is it not ironic, that Turkey who so arrogantly led an illegal flotilla to breach and deliberately challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza, is now falling prey to its own venom. Turkey was shrill and defiant in its assault on Israel. Even after Israel apologized to Turkey, and offered compensation to the kin of those killed in the raid, Turkey has rejected with disdain Israel’s overtures.
Turkey is now being ‘hoisted with their own petard’ and is culpable of the very same actions it so vociferously accused Israel of. Remember how Turkey reacted with brute force against its own citizens, over 3 million of them, when they protested in Gezi Park and elsewhere. The Turkish Police and military killed 11 protesters, injured about 8,500 some critically and arrested over 5,000 people.
Remember how Turkey invaded Cyprus twice during 1974 and is still occupying 40% of the Island. Remember how the Greek majority that were living in Turkish occupied Cyprus, about 200,000 people were forced to flee to the south. Bear in mind that United Nations forces are required to man the ‘Green line’ separating the Turkish north from the Greek, south. Recall that a week ago, the Turkish parliament voted to extend by a year a mandate authorizing a military deployment to Syria if needed. Note with concern the firing of a TV presenter, Godze Kansu, only because she wore a revealing dress, while on air.
Heed the move to Islamisize the country by the removal last week of the restriction on wearing headscarves, which exemplified Turkey’s status as a secular country since 1920. Observe with concern the continued imprisonment of journalists, more than any other country, as the Committee to Protect Journalists reported;
“In Turkey, the world’s worst jailer with 49 journalists behind bars, the authorities held dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors on terror-related charges and a number of other journalists on charges of involvement in anti-government plots.”
I await with anticipation an outcry from the multitudes of human rights activists who find walls and infringements of constitutional rights so cantankerous.
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