- A deeper look into the history of Turkey reveals that, unfortunately, Turkey has never been either truly secular or democratic. In Turkey, freedom of conscience and religion is respected — but only if you are a practicing Sunni Muslim.
- The problem is that “modern” Turkey claims to be a “secular” republic; a secular republic is supposed to treat all people — Muslims and non-Muslims — equally. The objective of the Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs), on the other hand, is to keep religion (Islam) under the control of the state, and to keep the people under the control of the state by means of religion.
- “Those who are not genuine Turks can have only one right in the Turkish fatherland, and that is to be a servant, to be a slave. We are in the most free country of the world. They call this Turkey.” — Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Turkey’s first Minister of Justice, 1930.
When many Western analysts discuss the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, they rightfully criticize it for its religious intolerance, authoritarianism and lack of respect for secular principles and minorities. They also tend to compare the AKP to former Kemalist governments, and draw a distinction between the Islamist AKP and former non-Islamist governments.
They claim that Turkey was “secular” and somewhat “democratic,” until the AKP came to power.
Should this incident have happened, this opens up an entirely new can of worms for Damascus. In turn, the US could now have stronger relations with Turkey due to a common cause. This could pave the way for a much needed boost in leveraging political pressure against the Moscow-Beijing axis in hope of pushing for the removal of the current Syrian regime, something both countries are strongly against. Having said that, we’re also lucky we didn’t see the entire middle east catch on fire in a regional war over the incident.
The Turkish military reported Friday, June 22, that radar and radio contact was lost with a Turkish air force F-4 plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya while flying over the sea opposite the Turkish-Syrian border. The incident took place not far from the Syrian port of Latakia.
debkafile’s military sources report that Syrian anti air defenses shot the plane down in an ambush calculated to retaliate for the defection of the Syrian Air Force pilot Col. Hassan Maray al-Hamadeh to Jordan a day earlier with his MiG-21 warplane. Officials in Damascus are certain his defection was organized by US and Turkish intelligence.
DamPress and other Syrian news agencies reported at 16:00 local time Friday that two military aircraft infiltrated Syrian airspace over Latakia and broke the sound barrier while flying low in threatening formation. One was hit by Syrian anti-air fire and the second escaped. DamPress speculates that the intruders were either Turkish or Israeli. The Turkish press reported later that a search operation rescued the two pilots of the downed aircraft from the sea. The plane has not been found. Since Thursday, Syria’s entire air fleet has been grounded while its spy agencies screen flight personnel for more potential defectors.
Full article: Syria air defenses down Turkish military plane over Latakia (DEBKAfile)