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February 29, 2012, Wednesday

Ceausescus never die; neither do Bashars!

On Dec. 25, 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were sentenced to death after a hasty trial, and they were executed on the same day.

 I still remember, as may a few fans in Romania, a protest was held only in Turkey where the demonstrators chanted, “Ceausescus never die.” Some of the reactions to the ongoing mass slaughter in Syria today are a reflection of the same wicked and twisted state of mind. A group of institutions claiming to represent either the right or the left, including some remnants of Ergenekon, closely sticking to an “anti-imperialist” cause, has been defending the brutal dictatorship in Syria. They had done this before for former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Take the demonstration the other day in Hatay (Antioch), called “End to the Imperialist Interventions in the Middle East and Syria.” In a press statement, it was argued that what has been going in Syria was part of a plan devised by the US and Israel, that the peoples of Turkey, as well as the people in Syria, will not be deceived by this plot and that there was a strong need for return to the ties of brotherhood between Turkey and Syria. It is like a time tunnel, is it not? The new Cold War-like alliance composed of China, Iran and Russia that care for Syria nowadays has an extension here in those who drafted this insane press statement.

I wonder where the organizers of this protest and drafters of the press statement live. How could they speak from a place where they are isolated from the facts and events and the torture that Syrians are being subjected to, where thousands of them are killed by the regular army? How could one ignore the reaction, dissatisfaction and objections raised by the people over there just because the US or Israel would supposedly benefit at the end from the popular uprising? Is it so difficult to realize that the Syrian army, which failed to fire a single bullet at the Israeli army Tsahal, can show its teeth only against its own people?

Faruk Loğoğlu from the CHP [Republican People’s Party] has also made several statements on Syria over the last month. His statements are no different than the useless position I described above: “Turkey should be in search of how we could bring stability, peace and reconciliation to Syria rather than options to interfere with its internal affairs. Like we, the CHP, recommended, Turkey should call for a meeting in Turkey or in the region that will bring together the UN Secretary-General and representatives from the Arab League, European Union, Russia and Iran as well as delegates from the opposition groups in Syria. The goal of the meeting should be to draft a roadmap that would put an end to violence in Syria. Turkey’s part, in terms of humanitarian obligations, is limited to extending help and assistance to the people in need within legitimate restrictions. Turkey’s intervention in Syrian affairs other than for humanitarian reasons will take our country and the entire region into a deadlock. We warn the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government and invite them to act carefully and cautiously.” Alice in Wonderland!

How could they ignore the fact that the government has been doing everything it could with respect to the Syrian issue? First, they attempted to normalize the state of affairs in Syria by working in cooperation with the current administration. The attempts included visa exemption, enhancement of commercial ties and maintenance of dialogue. There was even more. Turkey tried to explain the situation to the US. Every attempt failed. Now, there are ongoing projects to ensure a regime change in the country. Despite the shaky situation, the embassy in Damascus is still open. The opposition is supported, the doors are open to asylum seekers and the government, in cooperation with other countries, tries to do everything it can. While it is obvious that the UN Security Council will not offer any remedy after the double veto by China and Russia, is it reasonable to call on all related parties? The Friends of Syria, a bold initiative launched after it became evident that the UN would no longer serve as an appropriate venue for talks, is now on the move. The recent meeting in Tunis, boycotted by China and Russia but honored by more than 60 countries, was the first leg of this initiative. We should also note the assignment of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the representative of both the UN and Arab League Special Envoy for Syria with consent from Russia.

It is not certain how long the China-Iran-Russia front, as well as our “anti-imperialist” groupies, will remain opposed to effective action in face of the military campaign in Homs against its inhabitants, the growing casualties -- the death toll has risen to 7,600 -- as well as countless wounded people and the terror against reporters. What is certain is the motto of almost all ethnic and religious groups in Syria, with the exception of a few still benefitting from the regime: “Yalla irhal, ya Bashar” (Get out, Bashar).

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