69 million page views

Turkey can't pick and choose the territory it claims as and when it discovers oil and gas

Reader comment on item: Kastelorizo - Mediterranean Flashpoint?
in response to reader comment: Kastelorizo an Italian name

Submitted by Francis Wilson (United Kingdom), Dec 25, 2012 at 08:14

The Turkish government is mature enough to know that it cannot pick and choose its territory and the territory of its neighbours depending on if and when natural resources are discovered.

And unlike Cyprus, where large numbers of Turkish Muslims have lived on the island since the Ottoman military invasion, Kastelorizo has no Turkish Muslim or any other minority.

Also we shouldn't forget that all the territory of present day Turkey belonged in its entirety to the Byzantine Empire, a Christian, Greek-speaking entity, until the Ottoman military invasion. And unlike other parts of the former Ottoman Empire, where Turkish speaking Muslim minorities continue to thrive, the Christians in Turkey have gone from being the majority to a few thousand. So much for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his decree that people of the Book should be treated with respect. What the Ottomans did is treat Christian subjects as secind and even third class citizens.

Some people in Tutkey have opted to "live by the sword" and are great proponents of Turkish nationalism and expansion. They believe that promoting a Turkish brand of Islam will promote Anakara's imperialistic ambitions.

Real friends of Turkey and the Turkish people, however, believe that true peace and prosperity for all the people in the region can be gained not by one nation imposing its will on others, but with genuine cooperation in all spheres, including economic and military.

Many of the current inhabitants of Turkey are in fact not Ottoman at all, but Christians from lands subjugated by the Ottomans who for one reason or another converted to Islam.

To promote narrow Turkish nationalism in a country made up of so many different ethnicities (we won't even talk about the Kurds and the Arabs) would spell disaster for the Turkish state.

Turkey can have a great future as a promoter of peace, religious tolerance and military cooperation in the region. It could even become more powerful than the Ottomans. But it must win the trust and cooperation of those countries that see it as a potential friend.

Bullying its neighbours should not form part of Turkish foreign policy for the simple reason that it cannot end in success for any party, and least of all for the ethnically mixed people of Turkey.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)