By Abdul-Qahar Mustafa:
Most people including me know that Turkey has a bad history in dealing with minorities and has never had any true approach to democracy. It started from the time when their ancestors took the land by force from Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks in the 11th century. They have subjected and murdered many people belonging to these ethnicities in order to force them to assimilate as Muslim Turks.
Turkey is essentially an Islamic society. Although it became a secular country after the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, the secularization was done by force of the military general Kamal Ataturk and so, unlike the secularization of Europe, Turkey did not become a secular society naturally.
Over the last century, Turkey did have secular governments, but it was not democratic by European standards. The current AKP government in Turkey claims that it has changed Turkey for the better and established democracy and the rule of law yet it continues to violate true democratic principles and Geneva Convention on Human Rights against minorities in an effort to undermine democracy and retain power.
Many people believe that even though that AKP party came to power through elections and it gained a majority of votes, this still does not make the AKP government a true democratic government unless it supports and practices democratic values.
In past decades, Turkish military generals held political power, but their power was a poison to democracy. However, these Islamists of the AKP who are currently in power are poisoning democracy too. They are increasingly Islamist and decreasingly democratic because they support Islamist terror groups in Syria, and also abuse human rights and freedoms of minorities.
Since the recent attempted military coup failed, the AKP government has got a free and upper hand. With high levels of public support the AKP government has brought the military, police and judiciary under its control. They have replaced many of the old security members within the military, police and secret intelligent services with AKP supporters to solidify their control over the entire country. In so doing Mr. Erdogan as the head of the Turkey state essentially makes himself a dictator free to enact whatever Islamist or otherwise detrimental policy he wishes under the guise of protecting democracy from the tyranny of the military. However, it seems that the new Turkish Army is embracing the same mindset as the AKP party. This of course poses greater risks to democracy.
Military coups might not be the best solution to solve any problem that the society and politics are encountering because all the previous military coups carried out to remove Islamic political parties from power in different Muslim countries like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria and Palestine did not result in a true democracy and Islamic political parties have continued to get massive votes and support from the people. They still get elected to power because in Muslim countries, religion and politics cannot be separated and secularization cannot overcome political religion no matter what the world does.
Evidence continues to show that Turkey fails to meet democratic standards because it is a state that has periodic elections but where reliable protection for diversified opinions and beliefs is missing and the political process is shaped strictly in favor of the Islamic party AKP and its supporters.
On the other hand, the USA and EU countries do know that Turkey is not pursuing a true democratic path where it should uphold the rule of law, respect the rights of minorities and treat everyone equally regardless of religion, race and background, and yet they do not want to punish Turkey because NATO needs Turkey very much in the current world situation to protect its interests in the Middle East. For the USA and EU, Turkey is a buffer zone between Europe, Russia and the Arab world. It is the main route for oil and gas pipelines to EU and geographically positioned in the most unstable region in the world.
Furthermore, the USA, EU and Israel, needs Turkey to help the majority Sunni Muslims to win power in Syria, so they can cut the influence of Iran, and safely build a new pipeline to free Europe from its Russian energy supply shackles. Both Iran and Russia share a common interest in limiting U.S. influence in the Middle East. However, Turkey has its own strategic interest just as USA and EU countries do.
Turkey wants the USA and EU to stop supporting the Kurds because they perceive the Kurds as the biggest internal threat for Turkey. Turkey does not want to always be dictated to by NATO and lose business with Iran and Russia because both Iran and Russia are economically very important for Turkey.
As a matter of fact, Iran is one of the providers of oil and gas to Turkey at low prices. They both share concerns regarding the Kurdish independent movement and are interested in having secure and trouble-free borders.
It is really shameful for NATO to support a reckless, aggressive ally that supports terrorist groups, violates the human rights of minorities and bombs villages, damages property and kills innocent civilians in Kurdish areas and cities. It does not seem at all that NATO will expel Turkey from NATO one day, because the USA is using Turkey against Russia and Iran equally.
If the USA and EU expel Turkey from NATO or put sanctions on Turkey then they know that Turkey will rebel and go against their interests in many parts of the world. Turkey will get closer to Russia and Iran. Turkey with Russia and Iran will change the geopolitical map of the Middle-east and consequently the world power diagram. And that is exactly why the USA and EU have not been taking serious steps to punish Turkey for not upholding the rule of law and true democratic principles or for committing human right abuse against minorities.
As always, the USA and EU value and favor their economic and ideological interests over democracy and human rights. And they will continue playing double games with the world by claiming they are advocates of democracy and human rights, yet forego democracy and turn a blind eye to the human right abuses committed by their undemocratic allies such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria. In other words, as long as these undemocratic allies continue cooperating with the USA and EU and do not go to bed with extremists or Russia, Iran or North Korea, they will not be punished.
In addition to the interest-based policies of the USA and EU countries, the official mission of NATO has apparently changed as well, from promoting democracy,security and peace in the world into controlling the world and the global energy resources. It works to protect the global interests of the USA and EU countries around the world. It has been practically supporting America-friendly regimes like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies regardless of whether they are democratic or not so long as they accept the free market economy and privatize their natural resources mainly for American and EU corporations, cooperate with the USA and EU in battling extremists, and work against the interests of regimes that are at odds with the USA and EU countries. And that is the main reason that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies are not cutting oil production to stabilize and increase oil prices: just to damage the economies of countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela which are all against the interests of the USA and EU countries.
For all these reasons, I doubt that the USA and EU countries will punish Turkey, put sanctions on it, kick it out from NATO or press it hard enough in any way to abide by democratic principles, uphold the rule of law and treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, race and background.
Finally, I also believe Turkey will nevertheless get no concessions and advantages if it continues to rebel or play games or blackmail the USA and EU through supporting terrorist groups or by trampling the rights of minorities or by going to bed secretly with Iran and Russia. Turkey should instead become honest and commit itself to true democracy. It should also solve its disputes with Greece and Cyprus, respect and recognize the democratic rights of minorities, and compensate the Armenians for their genocide. This is the only way for Turkey to become a peaceful and prosperous state that will have a better chance to join the EU.
Abdul-Qahar Mustafa is a graduate student from saint Luis High school in Canada. He is advocate of justice, democracy and human rights. He currently lives in Sarsing/Duhok Iraqi Kurdistan.