Ecevit – Erdogan Dreadful Analogy: Consistency in Expulsion and Internal Displacement

Before the week closes a fresh suicide bomb explosion hits Istiklal – the famous pedestrian high street in the heart of Istanbul (Constantinople). Known to most historically aware European travelers as Rue du Pera, Istiklal is frequented by scores of world class tourists. The German and other European governments have already advised their traveling citizens who found themselves in Istanbul to stay in their hotel rooms. Clearly, the security situation in western Turkey hits red alert. Terror rules supreme. Both Ankara and Istanbul city centres have become prime targets of attackers.

On the other hand the situation in the eastern provinces of the country is dreadful. Tens of thousands of repressed ethnic Kurds are forced to flee their ancestral homes in search for relative safety. The modus operandi, the goals, and the results of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) operations in Turkey’s Southeast targeted against the courageous Kurdish population are reminiscent of the Turkish ‘Peace Operation’ in Cyprus in July-August 1974. Code-named Attila, a two-phase operation in violation of a relevant Security Council ceasefire resolution (22 July 1974) achieved ‘remarkable’, from the Turkish rulers point of view, results: displacement of 165,000 Greeks of Cyprus from their 3000 years old ancestral homes, rape of Greek women by members of the TAF that remain unpunished to this date. The Greek population incurred also 5,000 deaths and 1500 missing persons, the large majority of which remain unaccounted for, 42 years after the Turkish ‘peace operation’. Numbers are round figure estimates: however, according to UNFICYP estimates 2 in 5, or 40% of the Greek Cypriots became internally displaced persons (IDPs). Turkey, so far, has got away with the above outlined war crimes. The northern part occupied by the TAF, 36 per cent of the total area of the island, became ethnically cleansed from a three millennia long historical Greek presence. In 1974, Greeks constituted 80% of the population of what is coined in recent years as Northern Cyprus. Moreover, through the years of ‘peaceful’ occupation, Ankara implanted no less than 120,000 of backward Muslim settlers from Anatolia, a critical mass at least equal in numbers to the Turkish Cypriot indigenous population and importantly of completely different outlook and mentality to the Cypriot Turks.

The far reaching consequences of the 1974 Attila operation are visible today in the self-styled TRNC, Ankara’s puppet state. A historical Greek civilization heartland for thousands of years has been turned into a Muslim chaos: 500 Greek Orthodox churches have disappeared (looted, pillaged, demolished, turned-into-stables and the like) whereas mosques are mushrooming in an effort to forcibly Islamize the predominantly secular Turkish Cypriot society.

Ironically, the Cyprus Turkification operation was ordered by a left-of-centre Turkish Prime Minister, the late Bulent Ecevit. In other respects, Ecevit was a socialist and a secular poet. Unlike Erdogan, Ecevit had not ever cited Koran verses in public. However, his decision to order the execution of the Attila operation, laid the solid foundation for a long term plan: the chauvinist Turkish expansion to the strategically located island of Cyprus. A generation later, Erdogan builds on the Ecevit-organized military occupation of northern Cyprus, turning it into a creeping Islamization. Continuity or change in the top echelon of Turkish polity, left or right, secular or religious, the policy aim is the same: displacement of the different, of the other.

A close look at events in Southeast Turkey today reveal remarkable similarities: the TAF launching a massive operation that terrorizes the other population out of their ancestral homes. The perpetrator is the same: the powerful Neo-Sultan, the victim is the same: the weak side that forms an obstacle to the grandiose plans of a Neo-Ottoman empire; in this case in real time the poor Kurds.

As confirmed by a most recent European Parliament fact finding mission: 50,000 Kurds fled Nusaybin, Mardin Province, near the Syrian border, 50,000 run away from Sirnak Province, while another 40,000 departed from Yuksekova, Hakari Province in search of safe heavens in western parts of the country. The fleeing civilian Kurds are desperately seeking to protect themselves from becoming human shields. The TAF indiscriminately bombard densely Kurdish populated urban areas. Their numbers are roughly equal, their fate is identical: Greek Cypriot IDPs in 1974, Turkey’s Kurdish IDPs in 2016: Ecevit-Erdogan policy draws a dreadful analogy!