The Ottoman slap - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

The Ottoman slap

The “the Ottoman slap” statement that President Erdoğan used regarding the U.S. in his party’s group meeting was evaluated as “harsh words” on headlines of internet sites. Erdoğan used these words in the following context: “We have come to the end of the DAESH theatre in Syria. Also, it is very obvious that those who say that ‘if they hit us, we will respond aggressively’ have not been given the Ottoman slap in their lives before. Of course, we will not target them on purpose, but we will destroy each terrorist that we see starting from the locations close to their whereabouts. At that moment, they will understand that it is better for them not to stand by the terrorists.”

There are many who deemed yesterday’s headlines to be right. There are many who deemed Erdoğan’s words as “dangerous” saying, why would you use those words against the U.S., or deeming it as verbiage saying it was “heroic.” However, every statement of Erdoğan said since the beginning of the Afrin operation causes the presence of the U.S. in the region to be questioned by the international community. Because we are right, and we are the ones who pay the price because of terrorism. The issue of Vietnam that MHP head Devlet Bahçeli reminded yesterday was significant in terms of getting into business without knowing/evaluating/paying attention to the dynamics of the region and the new structures, which will be designed in a region that is not even close to the U.S. let alone having borders with it.

We all know how Turkey was brought to this point step by step since the civil war started in Syria in 2011; I provided a short chronology last week as well. The issue is not about the chronology; we are not talking about the past alone. Only yesterday, Anadolu Agency broadcasted a short video about how YPG-PKK terrorists attacked Turkey with rockets beyond borders and how the Turkish Armed Forces destroyed those terrorists. This was only one of the many proofs showing that Turkey is carrying out a self-defense.

The U.S.-NATO, at the end of the 90s, and then the EU in the beginning of 2000s put PKK on their lists of terrorist organizations and the connection between the PYD-YPG-PKK was revealed many times before. Despite all this, the fact that the U.S. has treated YPG as if it were a legitimate structure, and what’s more, Pentagon’s announcement that a budget of $550 million was allocated for the PYD-PKK for their so-called fight against Daesh makes one say, “What our president said was not even enough.”

The U.S. National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster extended his good wishes to Turkey during the previous weekend. Also, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to come to Turkey tomorrow and meet with his counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and President Erdoğan. As he did before coming, Tillerson will likely say, “We are aware of Turkey’s security concerns,” articulate his good wish and leave. However, these good wishes will not change anything and the flow of money and weapons from the U.S. to PKK will continue.

We talked about legitimacy. In fact, the U.S. is and was, a country that has carried out “operations” thousands of miles away from its closest borders and has not sought the criteria of legitimacy in its own operations. Force spoiled the games. The U.S. used to ravage the places it entered, kill thousands, destroy millions of lives and leave. It was the U.S. whose power could not be questioned even when it failed. However, its experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq were huge examples of failure that almost caused a public unrest. Even if the coups, which were carried out in South American countries through CIA agents, and the events in Cuba are not tangible examples of failure, the rise of anti-U.S. sentiments almost resulted in globalization, and even though it did not face a loss due to the acts of dying or killing like in Vietnam and Iraq, they had just as significant impacts.

In short, the U.S. is a player that desires to be an actor in Syria but is a country whose defeat has become inevitable as it has laid the groundwork for Russia, Iran and even China to fill in the spaces since it does not care about the dynamics, balances in the region, and the priorities of Turkey which is its only ally in the area. The psychological threshold regarding the U.S.’s strength even if it fails is not as it used to be in Syria.

I do not think that the U.S. will come from across the Atlantic and fight the Turkish Armed Forces. What it will do at best would be arming terrorists against Turkey, and it has been doing that for years. That is why, the question “why would you threaten a powerful country like the U.S. with ‘the Ottoman slap’ ” would be legitimate to ask under different conditions, but it is not today. The legitimate strategy of today is “one who does not come to their senses with words deserves a beating.” At least, it should be stated that this strategy is among the possibilities. Don’t you think it is high time to speak to an addressee in the “language they understand” regarding the issue of Syria?


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