For its history we most often fought with Turkey
For many years, Turkey gave the impression of a secular state, but it seems that soon this country, as well as its neighbors, is expected to have very different times.
When in the 2003 year, Recep Erdogan changed the chair of the mayor of Istanbul to the prime minister’s seat, he initially looked like a quite moderate politician. Some even called him the spiritual heir of the superpopular today Kemal Atatürk, thanks to which Turkey became the most democratic state of all Muslim countries in the Middle East region.
But it was difficult to imagine that Erdogan, being the leader of the Islamic Justice and Development Party, would “play democracy” for too long. Judging by some of his statements, he was ready to take rather radical steps - to change the secular ideology to the Islamic one, and at the same time to “correct” the Constitution, removing some articles from it and introducing new ones. According to him, at the beginning of the 21 century, new prospects open up for Turkey and new challenges arise, therefore a strong, charismatic leader, who Erdogan, of course, considers himself to be, must be at the head of the country. And if the leadership qualities of the Turkish prime minister raise doubts not only among his colleagues, but also among ordinary Turkish people, then no one doubts that Turkey is on the verge of change. But what changes?
In the middle of the 19 century, Turkey was called the “sick man of Europe”, but at the beginning of the 21 century it became an industrialized country, with economic growth continuing in recent years and the Turkish economy now looks almost the best in this region. Moreover, now there is every reason to consider Turkey a regional superpower. Of course, it is still far from the scale of the Splendid Porte, but in recent years Turkey’s influence has noticeably increased over a vast territory - from the Balkans to the northern regions of Iraq, Syria, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
But economic growth alone is not enough to take a leading position in the region, so the Erdogan government is preparing the ideological base in every possible way. The history is actively “corrected”, nationalism and Islamic movements are gaining momentum and, as in the days of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish diplomats are increasingly not ashamed of expressions addressed to other countries. Suffice it to recall tough statements about France, Israel and, in fact, direct participation in the Syrian civil war on the side of the opposition.
However, foreign policy is only a consequence of domestic. And here Erdogan is not the first year suggests order with an “iron hand”. The events of recent months have vividly shown what this leads to, but this is not very frustrating for the Turkish prime minister. He has been sleeping for a long time and sees himself as a new sultan, which is why it was under Erdogan that the glorification of the “heroic” past of the Ottoman Empire began, and henceforth all Turkish history is covered exclusively from the great-power side.
The excitement of Turkish patriotic patriots is caused by the destruction of 29 in May, 1453, of the Eastern Roman Empire-Byzantium and its capital, Constantinople. This act of aggression against a sovereign state and its subsequent liquidation is presented almost as the birthday of the Turkish nation. And it is not by chance that in 2005, on the direct instructions of Erdogan, tens of millions of dollars were allocated from the Turkish budget to create the panorama museum “1453”, where, like in Soviet times, school trips are mandatory in Lenin’s museum. Turkish schoolchildren instilled in childhood the idea that 29 May 1453 was not one of the most terrible days in world history, but a national holiday, which is also celebrated magnificently every year, with fireworks and fireworks.
Similarly, the Turks refer to other pages of their history. The history of a country in which occupation, racism, genocide and the destruction of the cultural heritage of those peoples who had the misfortune to be under the heel of the Ottomans is commonplace. It is no secret that the Turks themselves never particularly stood on ceremony with the conquered peoples. They didn’t stand on ceremony with their own non-Turkish citizens. And it was not at the time of the sultans and viziers, and not so long ago. Here is a typical example from our day.
By some miracle, by the negligence of the Turkish authorities, from the year 1453 to the year 1997, the ancient Orthodox chapel was preserved near the Gulhan Park, erected next to the wonderworking spring of St. Ferapont. The chapel functioned regularly with the Ottomans for more than half a thousand years, and it was probably one of the few places in the city where Byzantine spirit and tradition remained. Of course, some people did not like it very much. The issue was resolved with Turkish direct and uncompromising. The 58-year-old Greek-sacristan who worked in the chapel, the unknown “hooligans”, as was said in the police report, had their throats cut, but he didn’t like it much. The issue was resolved with the Turkish direct. k- = monks. were slaughtered with corpses of raped and slaughtered women, the body was thrown into a holy source. Say, know your place.
The Greeks know their place. The Fanar district, where a few Greeks live and where the Ecumenical Patriarchate is located, is guarded by the police around the clock. In fact, the patriarchate is in a state of many years of siege. And all this is happening not somewhere in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, but in the first Christian capital in the world.
But is it any wonder that this is the case? Even if Turkish high-ranking officials allow themselves such statements, which Adolf Hitler himself would envy. There was a very enlightened gentleman in the government of “progressive” Kemal Ataturk, a graduate lawyer - Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, who served as Minister of Justice. Here is his point of view on modern Turkey: “A Turk is the only gentleman, the only owner of this country, those who do not have purely Turkish origin, have only one right in this country - the right to be servants, the right to be slaves” (the Milliet newspaper, 16. 09. 1930). But this was said almost at the same time, when little-known ex-corporator Adolf Schicklgruber wrote “Mein Kampf”. Only the ex-corporal afterwards for similar racist statements was called a monster, but Mr. Bozkurt was not. Therefore, it is not surprising that, following the words, the Turks got down to business.
Suffice it to recall the infamous Greek pogrom 6-7 September 1955 of the year. With the direct connivance of the Turkish authorities and with the direct participation of “individual” representatives of the law (the police), for two days the pogromists smashed 80 Orthodox churches and 30 Greek schools, sacked more than 4000 shops and 2000 apartments, and the number of killed and missing people is still unknown . Of course, it was not without mass rape (the Greek side refers to the number of victims in 2000), but it ended with the traditional for Turks defeat of Christian cemeteries and desecration of graves. As in the memorable 1453 year. And could it be otherwise? If the hot Turkish people begin to rampant, then everyone gets indiscriminately - both alive and dead. Even goes to the stones, but more on that below.
All this forced the surviving Greek inhabitants of Istanbul to flee from the city in which they were not only born and raised, but who were founded and built by their ancestors and who had been Greek for more than two thousand years. If at the beginning of the twentieth century, 270 thousand Greeks lived in Constantinople (more than 40% of the city’s population), then a century later just a little more than 2 thousand people. Yes, it would be fine only the Greeks. But the rioters did not ignore the Armenians with the Jews, who also got "nuts".
But what is surprising is that when the pogroms took place, the entire “progressive” world community was silent and pretended that massacres and rape did not concern her at all. But there were real crimes against humanity. The ones for which the dock is laid in The Hague. But one thing is when they smash the Jewish townships in the “backward” Tsarist Russia, which the “progressive” humanity will scream about for decades later, and quite another thing when they kill and rape the Greeks, and the same Jews, in Istanbul.
But if the pogroms can somehow be explained (well, the Turks do not like the Greeks), then how can we explain the barbaric attitude not to people, but to cultural heritage? From Byzantium Turkey inherited the richest legacy - one of Constantinople and its surroundings are worth. But the Turks chose either to destroy many valuables, or simply to abandon them to the mercy of fate. Constantinople, which could compete with Rome in the number of architectural monuments, lost up to 90% of them. The fact that it would be the subject of numerous studies and pride in any other country in Turkey is just an unnecessary reminder, which is trampled in every possible way in the dirt, and in the truest sense of the word. Not so long ago, the administration of the Blue Mosque, on its own initiative, began excavations on the territory belonging to the mosque. During the excavations, ancient columns, arches, and marble benches were found. But the Turkish authorities were alarmed, the excavations were banned, and everything found was ordered to bury back (!)
Is it any wonder that at the beginning of this year the Turkish parliament began to consider the request of a certain citizen about the possibility of turning the Hagia Sophia, which has the status of a museum since 1935, into an active mosque. The same fate awaits the Hagia Sophia Museum in Trabzon, which also decided to convert into a mosque. And all this is being done contrary to common sense, since the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul is the most visited monument of Turkey and brings good profits. But if Hagia Sophia again becomes a functioning mosque, then the entrance to it will be closed, and the city budget will lose a very significant part of the income. But political dividends for Erdogan, apparently, more important than common sense.
In what other country is it possible? How to explain it? After all, Turkey has been striving for many years to become a member of the European Union, therefore, Turkey should share common European values. But at the same time, there is a daily war not even with the descendants of the Byzantines, but with stones, with the memory of Byzantium, which the Turks purposefully destroy. Another famous architectural monument of Constantinople, the famous defensive wall of Theodosius, which had defended the city against invaders for more than a thousand years, was threatened with demolition more than once or twice. Especially when Erdogan was mayor of Istanbul.
The only thing that did not allow the Turks to demolish it completely, is that the wall of Theodosius is included in the list of monuments of cultural heritage of UNESCO. In addition, UNESCO allocates money for its restoration. And this is many millions of dollars. The Turks, of course, these millions quickly "mastered", carelessly restored the small honor of the wall and at the first earthquake the replica collapsed. What gave them a reason to demand additional funding from UNESCO. But the rest of the wall is a miserable ruin, inhabited by homeless people and other outcasts, where you should not even appear during the day. In any other country, such a unique architectural structure would be a national pride, but in Istanbul you can go to study the walls of Theodosius only if you have the skills of Rambo.
Unfortunately, this also applies to many other ancient and Byzantine monuments scattered from Antioch to Halicarnassus and Adrianople, the overwhelming majority of which are in a deplorable state. So for those who have not yet managed to visit Istanbul and dedicate Holy Sophia, it makes sense to do so as soon as possible. It is possible that in the near future, this ancient Orthodox church can only be admired from outside.
Turkey is on the verge of great change, or rather, these changes are already knocking on the door of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s office, which he will happily open. It is not by chance that this March, the Turkish newspaper Milliyet published a map of “New Turkey”, which includes the territories of northern Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the islands of Cyprus, Kos and Rhodes, and half of Greece. About the latter, the country is said directly and completely bluntly: Greece has no historical perspective, so it must become part of New Turkey. And you hear something familiar in such statements. Some time ago, someone has already said something similar, after which the guns in Europe and the crematorium furnaces began to thunder in Europe.
Map of "New Turkey". Image from milliyet.com.tr
You do not need to be an expert to understand the obvious - the emergence of a “New Turkey” near Russia does not promise anything good. During its history, Russia fought most of all with Turkey and the geopolitical confrontation between the two countries stopped only during the Soviet era. But not over. Turkey is increasing its influence in the Transcaucasus, the Turkish instructors helped the militants in both Chechen wars, and it is unlikely that Turkey would simply give up trying to support the Caucasian separatists and beyond. Moreover, Turkey is a loyal ally of the United States, and the Americans are clearly not averse to raking the heat with someone else’s hands in the Caucasus region. Turkey’s gain does not bode well for Armenia. In Turkey, at the highest level, they have already made it clear that if a new war begins between Armenia and Azerbaijan, then Turkey will side with the latter and what this will lead to, we can only guess.
In general, clouds are gathering over the Bosphorus again. As you know, a holy place is never empty, and while the EU is bursting at the seams, stuck in a bog of economic problems, Turkey is getting stronger and getting ready to play a major role in the region. And it is possible that plans for the creation of "New Turkey" will soon become a reality. Moreover, no one hides them.