Why do Arabs want to Arabize Turks

: Turkey and the Arab world

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By Alfred Joachim Fischer, London

Despite Ataturk and Western reforms, the Turkish people's slogan is still “Javasch, Javasch” - slowly, slowly! This not so unhealthy principle also applies to political development. The symptoms today point to a slowly and ever closer cooperation between Ankara and the Arab world. What is preparing is, as every politically thinking Turk admits, not a bond of love, but it should be a pretty tenable marriage of convenience.

For centuries, the Arab countries were linked to the Ottoman Empire as its members. Even when this supranational state structure began to deteriorate, Great Britain as a world power continued to have an interest in its preservation. Turkey, however, fought on Germany's side in the First World War. Lawrence succeeded in loosing the Arab peoples of the Ottoman Empire by promising independence from Constantinople and encouraging them to revolt successfully. The Turks are a resentful people. To this day, they have internally not forgiven their Arab subjects for the "betrayal" of that time. If Islam lost its supremacy in the new Turkish state almost without a fight, this was due not least to the disappointment with Arabism. Why - so the very realistic Turks ask - should they still maintain the costly caliphate? God's shadow on earth was a beautiful sounding title. As it turned out, however, the shadow of the Sultan-Caliph found among the so-called believers. Peoples no longer even armed forces. After the abolition of the caliphate, the alienation between Turks and Arabs increased more and more. The latter remained devout followers of Muhammad; in Turkey, on the other hand, so-called secularism prevailed. Religion became a private matter, and there was no longer even religious instruction in school.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the prophet of modern Turkishness, had officially asked his people to turn inward and turn their backs on all Arab countries. Within the Muslim world, Turkey's relationship with the more distant Indian Islam was much better. Ankara has always remembered with gratitude that India's Mohammedans were successfully campaigning for recognition of the Kemalist republic in London at the time.

In 1937 the Turks became partners of the Sadabad Pact, which was as important in the Middle East as the Balkan Entente in Southeast Europe (non-attack, mutual guarantee, borders, etc.). However, only one Arab state was among the signatories to this treaty: Iraq; the other three were Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkey. “Emancipation of the peoples of the East!”, This motto was one of the doctrines of monumentalism. In 1936 the question of the independence of Syria and Lebanon had moved from academic to practical. At that time Turkey also took advantage of France, increasing weakness in Europe. Under pressure she reached; that Hatay (Sanjak Alexandrette) - which had a Turkish majority but was vital to Syria's commercial interests - became a separate republic on November 28, 1937 under the practical domination of the Turks. However, the existence of this artificially created mini state ceased on June 28, 1939. Based on a contractual agreement with France; confirmed by the League of Nations, the disputed territory of the Turkish Republic was incorporated. Syria has not got over this “stab in the back” even before the actual national birth.

As the well-known Istanbul politician Yalcin revealed, Hitler supposedly has Turkey for an alliance not only with the Caucasus, but also with Egypt and Syria; Iraq and Palestine promised. This lure made little impression, however, as Ankara preferred the maintenance of the nationally unified state to a return to the former conglomerate with all its dangers. However, certain circles were apparently less hostile to the idea of ​​a renaissance of the empire. When the secret organization "Grauer Wolf" was discovered, it turned out that its goals included a Turkoman empire including Arab states. High military officials were also members of this illegal league.

It cannot be said that the Turkish government was particularly benevolent of the Arab League from the outset. Too great an influence of Arabs in the Middle East was undesirable to her. They also feared reactionary repercussions on their own nation, in which modern teachings had not yet had time to become firmly rooted.