There’s not too much protest against Obama’s visit to Turkey today and tomorrow, but the small groups of protestors are afraid that Obama has come with a ‘secret agenda’ to pressure Turkey to send combat troops to Afghanistan. To an outsider it might sound weird, a ‘secret agenda’, but the terminology doesn’t surprise me at all. Among some groups in Turkish society, there is a deep suspicion of the United States, and (a bit less) of the European Union as well. It goes back to the days of the Turkish War of Independence, fought between 1919 and 1923. After World War I, foreign troops (Italian, French, and British) occupied Anatolia and Thrace and planned to give parts of the territory to, for example, Armenians, Kurds and some to Turks too – thanks 😉 Under the leadership of Atatürk the division of Anatolia was prevented, and modern Turkey was founded. Therein lay the roots of the Turkish suspicion of any country that behaves imperialistically, with the United States as an ultimate example of it. Some Turks believe that ‘imperialist countries’ are still aiming at dividing and weakening Turkey, and that the imperialists always talk to Turkey with a secret agenda. In the meantime, Turkey has already made it clear that it will not send any combat troops to Afghanistan, and there is no way the government will change its mind on that. Don’t be surprised, by the way, if you see any pro-Iran slogans among the protestors. They have some reason to admire that country as one of the few in the world to really stand up against American imperialism, as they see it. They wish Turkey would follow a more ‘independent course’ too, instead of warmly welcoming the Leader of Imperialism.
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Podiumbouwer Maaike van Kempen made this website.