Turkey, a country that recently suffered a major trauma


The world may view Turkey as an extremely resilient country and its people hardened by military coups, terrorist attacks and all forms of disasters. Most of these are true. Turkey has withstood all kinds of adversities and setbacks over the decades and has remained a strong country that is an asset to its friends.

However, Turks are human beings and this country is situated in one of the most volatile spots on earth, so we too have our problems, our shortcomings and our weaknesses. These should be tolerated, yet we see that even our friends do not hesitate to hit us hard in times of trouble instead of rushing to our aid, or at least commiserating with us. That is sad and unjust.

We suffered the most violent and vicious coup attempt in our history only two and a half months ago. This would have brought many countries to their knees, yet we refused to crumble and stood with our heads high. Just because we stood up does not mean it didn’t badly hurt us or we didn’t suffer.

It hurt very badly, we suffered immensely on all fronts and we are continuing to suffer, but just like the British after the World War II, we displayed a stiff upper lip and went on with our business as if nothing had happened.

We would have expected genuine sympathy and support from the European Union as thousands of our citizens braved tanks and armored vehicles, helicopter gunships and F-16 fighters to actually bring down the coup attempt. It is still fresh in our minds how the EU (then the European Economic Community) allowed Greece into the community after the collapse of junta of the colonels just to bolster Greece, which did not qualify for accession. The same goes of Portugal and Spain. The EEC helped their accession simply because they had suffered failed coup attempts and they needed help. With Turkey we did not receive even simple words of sympathy for weeks.

On the contrary some of our European counterparts rose to the occasion to criticize us for taking extraordinary measures and declaring emergency rule in a country that suffered a bloody coup attempt. Is this fair? Aren’t we supposed to weed out the enemies of democracy who tried to stage a coup in this country?

While all this was going on, the U.S. refused to extradite Fethullah Gülen who masterminded the coup from his Pennsylvania mansion in the U.S.. We also observed that our “ally,” the U.S., continued to help the PKK through the Syrian Kurds as the PKK stepped up its terrorist’s campaign inside Turkey while we struggled with the aftershocks of the coup attempt. Is this fair?

The coup attempt has had a massive negative effect on our economy. Yet we went on our way as if nothing had happened and kept our economy going despite the odds. We did not fall apart, Turks did not rush to the banks to withdraw their savings and we kept the machines rolling. We of course relaxed some economic restrictions and may have steered away a bit from financial discipline to bolster economic life and thus erase the negative effects of the coup on our masses. This should have been applauded. Yet we saw that instead of showing understanding, Moody’s reduced our rating. The western press speculated that our Armed Forces, which is the second largest military force in NATO, was now weak and was a liability, yet we proved that wrong. Turkish forces entered northern Syria and finished off the Daesh presence across our borders proving that Turkey, even at the worst of times, remains a formidable force in the region.

Our so-called friends should have displayed some understanding, yet they were the ones who preferred to beat us down instead of helping us. Is this fair?

*İLNUR ÇEVIK is a Turkish columnist. He writes for Daily Sabah Turkish newspaper.

(Published in Daily Sabah on Tuesday, Sept. 28 26, 2016)