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Letter to President Obama: The Islamic Republic of Turkey

By       Message James (Cem) Ryan     Permalink
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20 October 2009

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The Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

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Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I wrote to you on 20 January 2009, the day of your inauguration as president, about the dire conditions prevailing in the Republic of Turkey. (1) Today I stand by every word that I then wrote. Even more so, since conditions are now much worse. I suggest you reread this letter before you again meet with any Turkish politician. Accordingly, I have listed below the access internet addresses.

The problem, as we both know, is the nature of the increasingly hard-line Islamic ruling party, the AKP. On 29 October 2009 you will have another opportunity to meet with its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This is a date of terrifying irony. Eighty-six years ago, to the day, Turkey was proclaimed a republic. Thus centuries of backwardness by the sharia Ottoman Empire, the nightmare of dark-mindedness, the suppression of women, the illiteracy and ignorance of the population, all these civil transgressions were finally consigned to the garbage dump of history. Hope had arrived at last. The rescue mission of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had been successful and would proceed. (Note: Incredibly, Erdoğan and his minions label these grand achievements as "traumatic.") A few hours before the republic was proclaimed, Mustafa Kemal remarked to a French journalist, "Can one name a single nation that has not turned toward the West in its quest for civilization?"

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Now, eighty-six years later, one can finally answer Mustafa Kemal. Thanks to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the USA, your CIA, the European Union, and plenty of dollars filling the gaping pockets of politicians, hack journalists, outright traitors and, as Mustafa Kemal would say, selected "ignoramuses" there IS one such nation: Mustafa Kemal's Turkey, today's Turkey. Indeed, today's Turkey has turned its back on the West. But its quest? The inept government seems incapable of answering that question. Beyond personal corruption, fantastic plundering, fabulous enrichment, suppression of women, extrajudicial imprisonments, destruction of the natural environment, and general lawlessness, no plan has emerged during its seven-year term in office. The 15 October 2009 article, "How Turkey Was Lost", in the Jerusalem Post says it all.(2)

And you have helped too, Mr President. Were you surprised by Erdoğan's antics in Davos? By his attempt to storm your Secret Service barricade outside the hotel in New York City? By his sudden ranting about Israel? Mr President, you shouldn't be, for this is the quality of the man. You proceed with the likes of him and his people at your, and our, peril. In my earlier letter to you I wrote: "Do not be deceived Mr. President, this government neither serves you, nor the Turkish people. In the name of so-called democracy, it serves itself." Nothing more need be said.

Today, on all counts, Turkey and the people of Turkey have failed. They have failed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. They have failed themselves. Else how could they so submissively tolerate a government formed by the likes of Erdoğan and his AKP. Mr President, on 29 October 2009, you will see the personification of this profound, tragic failure in the normally scowling face of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, painfully contorted into his "White House smile!"

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James (Cem)Ryan is a writer living in Istanbul, Turkey. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he holds a Ph.D. in literature.

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