In Defense Of Turkey
A Turk defends his cucumber-shaped country
Published December 2, 1999 in Scope

It is absolutely a miracle in today's journalism how someone so ill informed, can write so many words. Not long ago printed journalism had many rules imposed on it. You had to be concise, accurate, and truthful. Editors saw to it that those minimum standards were always met. Once in a while personal or corporate interests silenced those writings. If what a journalist wrote met that litmus test, it got published. There was accountability.

See also...
... in the Scope section
... from December 2, 1999

Today anyone with a $300 PC and a shareware word processor can declare him/herself a writer and type away. Once the spell checker clears you, you too have added your opinions to the electronic library. Too bad there is not an accuracy checker built into these word processors. There used to be, they were called editors.

Nowadays, any second or third generation Armenian, or a Greek who has lost the "...menian" or the "...opulus" from the tail end of their name can chime in and pretend to be an objective historian while they unleash their venom against Turkey, and Turkish people. Hank Hyena's article Turkey Killings is very timely considering it is Thanksgiving. It is downright cute. A cute title does not, however, an accurate and unbiased article make.

Fortunately, those few of us who had the patience to read it all the way through will soon forget it and a newer version of Pong will put the article where it belongs, buried under a bunch of 000000s and 111111s.

Turks are no more brutal than any other nation. By birth we don't become bloodthirsty beings because there is something terribly wrong with our genes. It is the history and current events around us that make us what we are. It is like the policeman who goes to work, armed with a gun he has kept in his holster for years. Just because he is wearing one does not make him shoot everyone he comes in contact with because he has a gun. One day he uses it to stop a madman with a knife in his hand muttering some crazy passages while holding a knife to the throat of a little kid. To that I say "GOOD SHOT!" For the family of the little child, it could not have happened sooner. To the loved ones of the crazy one "police used too much force, and it was not a justifiable shooting."

As for me, I am like the family of the little kid. What Turks do to Kurds and Armenians are justified. If you are an Armenian and a Kurd, it is just awful. Well shit happens, I am sure the Indians felt the same way many years ago, and Koreans felt the same way when Americans and their Turkish allies went there to kill a bunch of "gooks." In every war only one side needs justification and always does. Very seldom a nation is at war because they think they are doing the wrong thing. Ask Japanese, ask Nazis, ask Russians.

The docile peace loving Armenians will rant and rave about the Turkish atrocities of many years ago while they gun down a Turkish diplomat in Los Angeles in 1998 who was not even born when "atrocities were committed" against their people. Amazing isn't it?

I guess it all depends which side you are on. I am glad I am on the right side, the Turkish side. How do I know that I am on the right side? Because I said so.

Your ignorance of history is also shadowed by your knowledge of geometry and shapes. Turkey looks more like a peninsula to me. If the shape seems like a cucumber to you (what doesn't look like a cucumber in San Francisco?) then I will understand your Freudian urges and allow you to use it as such.

"The Turk"
Vacaville, California

Hank Hyena replies:

I consider myself objective. I have no reason not to be. I am a mongrel American of entirely European descent. I don't know any Kurds at all, I do have a best friend who is Turkish (he's presently mad at me about the article), and I've always known Armenians, as there are many in California.

When I started writing the article I actually intended to deeply criticize the PKK and Öcalan, for their ruthless tactics. But the more I read the more I became convinced that it was the Turks themselves who had instigated the trouble with their repressions. I am not alone in my opinion -- I largely mirrored the viewpoint of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two organizations that have tried without success for many years to halt human rights violations in Turkey.

As a journalist, I consider it my responsibility to write about topics that the majority of the U.S. press avoids. Turkey has been a very favored nation for years due to its strategic location, and it's going to continue to be pampered as long as plans to put a pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean include going through Turkey. The U.S. government believes it is profitable to look the other way when Turkey oppresses its citizens, and I don't think that attitude is going to change soon.

If my reporting is inaccurate, perhaps you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why did the Turkish president himself admit that torture was commonplace in Turkish prisons?
  • Why are there 11,000 political prisoners (most of them Kurdish) in Turkish jails?
  • A hospital was recently set up to help victims recover from torture -- but the government closed this down. Why?
  • Why did Turkey invade Cyprus?
  • Why hasn't Turkey admitted its involvement in the massacre of Armenians? Germany admitted and apologized for its genocide of Jews, but the Turks appear entirely unrepentant.
  • Why is the study of Kurdish language, culture, and history forbidden in Turkey?
  • Why was the trial of Öcalan regarded as fraudulent and biased by Amnesty International?
  • Why are Kurdish broadcasts forbidden in Turkey?
  • Why is "Turkishness" praised in your constitution, and in your schools, and in your history books, as a race that is superior to others?

I have dozens of other questions, but this will do for a start. You obviously have a computer, so you can do all the same research that I did and you can formulate your own opinions. I hope you will be as objective as I was.

Thanks for writing.

Hank Hyena