“It’s Not Like They Took Over by Force, Via a Coup”

 

Another Murky in Turkey segment. A question: If someone like this obviously sympathetic man does not know that indeed, Hamas took over precisely by force and via a coup–and if he has no way to know this, because it is not reported in any language he could possibly understand–should we condemn him for believing what he says he believes? These people are not like Oliver Stone, who could know the facts within thirty seconds of Google searching. I’m just not sure that this man could reasonably be expected to know better.

Is that patronizing?

Note also the belief–held as an inviolate conviction by at least 80 percent of the people I meet here–that the West is scheming to dismember Turkey. Truly, it’s as if the Treaty of Sèvres were signed yesterday. I can’t stress sufficiently how deep this weird conviction runs.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DevinCole
    Claire Berlinski: Note also the belief–held as an inviolate conviction by at least 80 percent of the people I meet here–that the West is scheming to dismember Turkey.

    Claire, didn’t your brother note in his piece you linked to recently that it is actually taught in school in Haiti that wealthy western white countries were intent upon pillaging the secret riches of that country and oppressing the indigenous population?

    It is interesting to note that both Haiti and Turkey have insular societies with lack of access to information about the wider world. In one case, it is due to lack of infrastructure and poverty and the other there is censorship and lack of news in the appropriate language. In both cases though, the results are large sections of the population that believe the place they live is the best on earth, and there is a powerful, unknown entity trying to take it away or dismantle it.

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    @GADean

    I wonder how well the American “man in the street” would do on similar questions, unless you happened upon someone with a particular interest in middle-eastern politics. Most would perhaps recognize that Hamas was a group of whom we generally disapprove, a few more would associate it with the Palestinians, but more than that? There are some foreign policy wonks out there but they are not thickly distributed.

    And as for dismembering Turkey, I’m quite sure that overwhelmingly Americans do not know that Turkey has parts into which it could be dismembered. I wonder if the Turks would rather believe in an international conspiracy against Turkey, or find out that in fact no one cares.

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    @Claire
    G.A. Dean: I wonder if the Turks would rather believe in an international conspiracy against Turkey, or find out that in fact no one cares. · Jul 27 at 1:45pm

    That’s exactly right. It’s a narcissism born of the profound unconscious fear of total irrelevance. So much of Turkish foreign policy can be explained by this, too: They’re proud of Erdogan because he’s making the world pay attention to Turkey. So what if the attention is negative, so what if it’s in no Turk’s long-term interest: He’s shown everyone that Turkey’s important.

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  4. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    No, that’s not patronizing. Sadly, we’re opposed as often by the innocent as by the wicked. We can’t always adjust our actions accordingly.

    I believe Dean is right that relatively few Americans are familiar with the origins of Hamas or even the general histories of the region. A Turk has some skin in the game. Americans worry about the entire world, and so most are content to remember only the basics.

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  5. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Claire: outside a few mentions of God, a refreshing skepticism of the news media, and of course the stuff about the PKK, it is actually depressingly reminiscent of what you would hear on the street in France.

    Devin Cole: Claire, didn’t your brother note in his piece you linked to recently that it is actually taught in school in Haiti that wealthy western white countries were intent upon pillaging the secret riches of that country and oppressing the indigenous population?

    Well, in the case of Haiti, isn’t that actually correct?

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