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In addi­tion to her lat­est col­umn we are shar­ing here, Car­ol Mann writes us :

Seem­ing­ly mis­matched infor­ma­tion accumulates.

Yet, when assem­bled, a sin­is­ter coher­ence appears, one that is not unique in his­to­ry and brings to mind the Munich Agree­ment. Han­nah Arendt often spoke of that oh-so human refusal to con­sid­er the worst as being part of the pos­si­bil­i­ties and real­i­ties that sur­round us. That is the aim of this paper.

Kedis­tan there­fore turns the floor over to Car­ol Mann, a soci­ol­o­gist spe­cial­iz­ing in gen­der issues and armed con­flicts, and Direc­tor of the asso­ci­a­tion Women in War. Car­ol imag­ines what might occur if the sit­u­a­tion in Turkey con­tin­ued to dete­ri­o­rate and if the Unit­ed States, France and NATO-mem­ber coun­tries per­sist­ed in their blind­ness con­cern­ing Ankara’s true intentions.

Be pre­pared for a spine-chill­ing “antic­i­pa­tion-thriller”, one that is, unfor­tu­nate­ly, not impossible.

Are we preparing an updated version of the Munich Agreement ?

In 1951 in her now-famous essay*, Han­nah Arendt wrote : « It is obvi­ous that many of the mis­takes made by the non-total­i­tar­i­an world in its diplo­mat­ic rela­tions with total­i­tar­i­an states…can be ascribed to a sud­den inca­pac­i­ty of com­mon sense to grasp reality. »

Can we impute this sud­den inca­pac­i­ty of com­mon sense to grasp real­i­ty to our present gov­ern­ments, one com­pa­ra­ble to that Arendt not­ed, in par­tic­u­lar at the time of the Munich Agree­ment in 1938. That Agree­ment, signed with Hitler by France, Great Britain and Fas­cist Italy autho­rized the annex­a­tion by Nazi Ger­many of regions occu­pied by Ger­mans in Czecho­slo­va­kia. The main par­ties, notably the Czech Pres­i­dent Edvard Beneš, were not invit­ed. Leav­ing this fate­ful meet­ing, the British Prime Min­is­ter, Neville Cham­ber­lain is said to have pro­nounced these sad­ly famous words : Mr. Hitler is a gen­tle­man, con­vinced that war would be avoid­ed thanks to this bit of diplo­mat­ic sleight-of-hand. One year lat­er almost to the day, Ger­many invad­ed Poland and the Sec­ond Word War roared into being, drag­ging almost the entire plan­et in its wake.

One can won­der if our cur­rent gov­ern­ments aren’t demon­strat­ing com­pa­ra­ble blind­ness con­cern­ing present-day Turkey. Pres­i­dent Hol­lande lav­ished praised on his Turk­ish col­league at the Élysée, salut­ing Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s coura­geous stand against ter­ror­ism. Wash­ing­ton demon­strates com­pa­ra­ble approval and every­thing indi­cates that, after the next elec­tions in both coun­tries, this gen­er­al enthu­si­asm will not be about to disappear.

How­ev­er, the Turk­ish army’s relent­less­ness against sec­u­lar Kurds in gen­er­al and the HDP in par­tic­u­lar has nonethe­less begun to trou­ble inter­na­tion­al opin­ion (if not its lead­ers), puz­zled by the lack of action against the offi­cial ene­my, the Islam­ic State. This last does not seem to have suf­fered undu­ly, nei­ther from the increased police repres­sion in Turkey, nor from the mil­i­tary strikes : the entire mil­i­tary and police arse­nals have been con­cen­trat­ed against real or imag­ined PKK sym­pa­thiz­ers, in Turkey as well as in Syr­ia and Irak, includ­ing bomb­ings on Kur­dish vil­lages.

In exchange for the autho­riza­tion to use the Turk­ish bases of Incir­lik and Diyarbakir to bomb ISIS, as I described with sup­port­ing map in my pre­ced­ing arti­cle, Turkey has obtained a so-called buffer zone right on the fron­tier of Roja­va, with­out this rais­ing the slight­est ques­tion from the oth­er NATO-mem­ber coun­tries. And yet, this zone of exclu­sion under­lines the begin­ning of Turk­ish dri­ve toward ter­ri­to­r­i­al expan­sion. Expan­sion­is­tic ambi­tions are part of Pres­i­dent Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman mega­lo­ma­nia and these views, which are a secret for no one, tar­get in the mid­dle term the cap­ture of three can­tons in Syr­i­an Kur­dis­tan, autonomous Roja­va, in an even­tu­al arrange­ment which, all pro­por­tions being main­tained, eeri­ly recalls that of the Munich Agreement.

Let us imag­ine the worst, the Cat­a­stroph­ic Sce­nario with­in the next six months to a year. The AKP is the only autho­rized par­ty to have engulfed ele­ments of the extreme right. All oth­er par­ties and polit­i­cal groups will have been banned, the 80 HDP deputies elim­i­nat­ed with­out tri­al, all oppo­si­tion muz­zled (Kur­dish and non-Kur­dish, lay, social­ist, athe­ist, Ale­vi, fem­i­nist, LGBT, pro-Armen­ian his­to­ri­ans, etc,) and its most well-known mem­bers will rot in jail where hor­rif­ic con­di­tion have been denounced for years by var­i­ous Human Rights associations.

Until then, Erdo­gan, for­ev­er flanked by his hope­less Davu­to­glu, will have imple­ment­ed a bare­ly ‘soft’ Islamist regime admin­is­tered through mar­tial law and will have worked his way back into French favors, for exam­ple, by offer­ing him­self some Rafale air­crafts, in the Mar­shall Sis­si or King Salman style who, more­over, will have become his spir­i­tu­al and legal men­tor. With panache, Erdo­gan will send a few elite troops for a spec­tac­u­lar oper­a­tion on Syr­i­an soil with the con­nivance of ISIS who will accept to play along for the cam­eras. The Turk­ish army, tread­ing Syr­i­an soil for the first time (instead of the Roja­va Kurds who were until that point the only ones fight­ing against ISIS) will eas­i­ly nego­ti­ate a small vic­to­ry for show, con­ced­ed for prag­mat­ic rea­sons in the name of realpolitik.

Since Ankara will fin­ish off the process of media con­trol already well engaged (Twit­ter, Face­book banned, AFP and oth­ers cen­sored), news media around the world will relay exclu­sive­ly the hero­ic images of hand­some mus­tached sol­diers, plen­ty of weep­ing veiled moth­ers, equal­ly veiled young women throw­ing flow­ers, etc.

At the same time, Erdo­gan will assure the Unit­ed States that he, Rey­cip alone, knows how to talk to Jihadists and will eas­i­ly obtain exclu­sive rights as medi­a­tor. He will calm the whole world by replay­ing the words of his brave Davu­to­glu, who already declared in August 2014: The Islam­ic State is not a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, it is a group of peo­ple brought togeth­er by anger. »

This is how we would find our­selves in a sit­u­a­tion com­pa­ra­ble to Pak­istan, a coun­try blessed by Wash­ing­ton. After financ­ing the Islamist mud­jaddins in the days of Zia-Ul-Haq, Karachi con­tin­ued its sup­port for the Tal­ibans, still active to this day, both on its own soil and in Afghanistan. Fol­low­ing this same log­ic on Turk­ish soil, the UNHCR would con­tin­ue to attend to the two mil­lion Syr­i­an refugees, but Ankara would keep offi­cial con­trol while del­e­gat­ing man­age­ment to the small-time boss­es of ISIS and con­sorts. Poten­tial­ly, the same sit­u­a­tion as in Afghan refugee camps in Pak­istan. With the results we know.

Let’s push a bit fur­ther. Fol­low­ing these events that are still bare­ly avoid­able, Turkey would find itself hon­ored with a cer­tifi­cate of democ­ra­cy, bestowed by big clients such as Das­sault, Dyn Corp Int., then reward­ed for its diplo­mat­ic and mil­i­tary efforts through the annex­a­tion of the Kur­dish provinces, under the excuse that Turk­ish cit­i­zens live there and call to Ankara for their sal­va­tion… Munich 1938? No, but per­haps Ankara 2016 if the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion deteriorates.

And to con­clude. Short­ly there­after, rumors will cir­cu­late in Brus­sels that Turkey, a lot more credi­wor­thy than Greece thanks to cred­its from Ryad, could join the EU because of its « hero­ic strug­gle » against Islamist ter­ror­ism and, supreme award, Erdogan’s son Bilal, his finan­cial indis­cre­tions for­giv­en, would find him­self Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of NATO, valiant­ly tak­ing over from the Amer­i­can Alexan­der Ver­sh­bow who would kind­ly let him take over as proof of the Unit­ed States’ gratitude…

And who would come and protest on behalf of a dis­cred­it­ed Assad gov­ern­ment for the loss of part of the Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­ry ? Nei­ther Iran nor Rus­sia would risk a war to defend him. Except that… (to be con­tin­ued, in one year’s time, to the day).

For the time being still, this cat­a­stroph­ic sce­nario will remain a fic­tion, more or less, pro­vid­ing the pow­ers choose to final­ly con­front real­i­ty. To Han­nah Arendt goes the final word : Nor­mal human beings don’t know that every­thing is pos­si­ble ; faced with the mon­strous, they refuse to believe their own eyes and ears. And it is tru­ly a mon­strous sit­u­a­tion that is devel­op­ing, one that imper­ils not only the unfor­tu­nate Kurds and the entire Turk­ish oppo­si­tion aban­doned by our irre­spon­si­ble lead­ers, but the bal­ance of the entire planet.

Car­ol Mann
Pub­lished in French on Kedis­tan and her Blog Médi­a­part
De Munich à Ankara: esquisse d’un scé­nario catastrophe

Trans­la­tion by Renée Lucie Bourges

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