Let me first start by saying that Donald Trump can safely compete with your typical conservative leader from the Middle-East on the grounds of sexism, racism and general cluelessness, traits warmly embraced by our own little trumpets. And that’s not what this article is about, as no progressive individual in the right mind would advocate for a Trump presidency. However, as a Turkish citizen, I have to declare that what is revealed through the leaked e-mails of Hillary Clinton is just as terrifying for me.
Whether you believe that Julian Assange started his project of Clinton transparency purely out of idealism or not, the result is all the same, her dirty laundry is out in the open. And here in Turkey, you develop the habit of checking if the laundry has a gun pointed towards your face. For those who are not aware of what I’m talking about, Wikileaks has been uploading some e-mails stolen from John Podesta, sent by Hillary Clinton, that reveal somewhat “malicious” intent towards Turkey.
What Clinton describes in her e-mails about Turkey are as follows:
– She is aware that Erdogan believes US needs Turkey more than we need them. She is set on playing a more active role in Turkish politics to remind him of his place.
– The Clinton Foundation has been successfully linked with the Gulen movement via donations. Foreign agents that spend enough for her campaign get to have some face time with her, and that has unnerving implications.
– She wants a no-fly zone over Aleppo, and doesn’t care about the consequences that Turkey, a member of NATO, will have to suffer due to the incoming mini cold war between NATO, Putin and his puppet Assad.
– Clinton’s plan to fight ISIS and bring stability to the region involves heavy use of local Kurdish milita. She is strongly in favor of arming YPG, an off-shoot of the PKK organizational family, to act as US state agents as they have in the past. She also very clearly states that she wants to use this as a leverage against Turkey, to force Erdogan to abandon some of his Islamist policies.
That last part right there, that’s when you notice even if the shiniest of two turds gets elected as President of the United States, a potentially perilous period of eight years awaits your city. Let me elaborate on that:
I’m not going to get into how my country’s treatment of its minorities, in this particular instance the Kurds, used to be among the most disgusting in the history of war crimes, a brief google search is all you need to get a more or less clear picture on that. What I’m going to tell you is that today, life in Turkey has many faces, some resembling an imperial past, some more akin to a life in any European capital in terms of civilian quality of life, as well as personal freedoms. It’s a violent clash of cultures, classes, beliefs and ethnicities, without a touch of harmony. When you stir that pot long enough however, you occasionally come across something tolerable, like the student culture; millions upon millions of individuals that have developed incredible qualities, such as immense religious tolerance, a sense of wonder the likes of which these lands had rarely seen, or simply, genuine kindness.
An explosion in Kızılay, the absolute heart of Ankara, killed that kindness as of last year. The people I just described, I have seen their bodies fused together by the fire and ash, while trying to escape to a mosque. Added to them were taxi drivers waiting on the side, old men chatting over some tea, kids going through Güven Park to reach their home. All dead. In an instance. The fire didn’t really pick and choose ethnicities, it simply consumed. Bodies of cats and dogs that lived there, those were left unattended for the longest time.
That was a suicide bombing by TAK, another off-shoot of PKK, a Kurdish Nationalist Organization that resorts to plain terrorism and civilian massacres. Partly as revenge to what their parents and grandparents suffered, partly to remain relevant, and partly to establish a free Kurdish state in South-East Turkey. I’m telling you this, because every single act of arming the Kurdish militia in Syria and Northern Iraq has been documented to have tremendous effect on PKK, which simply got the armaments when it suited their foreign counterparts.
What Clinton proposes is a fossilized policy that has not worked for the US since Vietnam. Arming rebel groups is just no longer a viable solution in the Middle-East, as local militia are not your usual guerilla units that know next to nothing as to how to operate based on modern doctrines of military logistics, not since the Iran – Iraq War. They have time and time again demonstrated their expertise in transporting weapons and ammunition over long distances in relatively short periods of time since 1988.
In any case, while I can’t do anything but blame the AKP administration for feeding ISIS when it suited them, among other policies that attracted this ire, a hawkish US President playing hide the AK-47 in front of my nose is equally disgusting, if not worse. I have done nothing to Erdogan or to Clinton, my friends, my loved ones, we have done nothing to earn the luxury of being included in this board game, where we are positioned as a civilian unit for others to fight around with the victory condition of having as little of a number of bombs and bullets occasionally hitting us as possible, it’s not like there was something we could actually do, to or for anyone.
No matter who wins, stability in Ankara will likely remain an unlikely outcome.