Did Someone Say “an Apartheid State”?
As always, “right-wing” Turkey is furious because “right-wing” Israel did something “right-wing.” Right-wing is “right” “wing” only when the official Turkey practices it.
The usual Turkish ire –which Turkish diplomacy has a tendency to deplore with the words “null and void” or “we reject it”—was about a law passed in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country: the nation-state law.
The law can always be criticised in its content which is hardly liberal. It can even be condemned, rejected, as the Turks prefer to do, or questioned about the motivation behind it. All the same, when all the ire comes from Ankara it provides material for dark humour.
Vice President Fuat Oktay rejected the Israeli legislation and talked, in his Twitter account, about “the Israeli parliament that ignores fundamental rights and freedoms” and about “violations of universal legal principles.” That’s fine.
Then Turkey accused Israel of being an “apartheid state and renounced it as racist. That’s fine, too. A view is a view, after all. There is no harm about views.
Then Ibrahim Kalın, the presidential spokesman, talked about “this racist move that amounts to erasing the Palestinian people from their homeland physically and legally.”
Never mind if the objectors are good friends with people like Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan – both of whom were guests at the presidential oath-taking ceremony on July 9th. Never mind that they are close allies with the mullahs in Iran or with the emirs of the Gulf while at the same time calling a country a where all signs come in three languages including Arabic, an apartheid state.
But let’s have a close look at the constitution of the country where Kurds account for anywhere between 15 percent to 20 percent of the population. A country that is not an apartheid state. Some constitutional excerpts:
- Affirming the eternal existence of the Turkish Motherland and Nation and the indivisible unity of the Sublime Turkish State…
- The absolute supremacy of the will of the nation, the fact that sovereignty is vested fully and unconditionally in the Turkish Nation…
- That no protection shall be accorded to an activity contrary to Turkish national interests, Turkish existence and the principle of its indivisibility with its State and territory, historical and moral values of Turkishness…
- … Has been entrusted by the TURKISH NATION to the democracy-loving Turkish sons’ and daughters’ love for the motherland and nation.
- The Turkish Nation shall exercise its sovereignty through the authorized organs…
- Judicial power shall be exercised by independent courts on behalf of the Turkish Nation.
What, really, is the homeland of the Kurdish people? Alaska, like, in the Islamist view, the right homeland for Jews? Where is the Kurdish nation in the Turkish constitution? Do Turkey’s Kurds have a right to self-determination?
Is Turkey, then, an apartheid state? Has Turkey, since its foundation in 1923, been trying to erase the Kurdish people from their homeland physically and legally? Has the Turkish Republic, since its inception, been based on the idea of nation-state? Is nation-state-building a right exclusive to the Turkish nation and should be denied to other nations?
Welcome to a nation that lives in an extremely fragile glass house.