By Leonidas Koumakis
The Turkish main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has repeatedly made statements about the Greek Aegean islands and islets, claiming that they are “owned by Turkey”.
In every statement there is deliberate confusion showed as to their number. Sometimes it is “18 islands occupied by Greek soldiers” (Haberturk / December 2017), sometimes “156 islands and islands belonging to Turkey and their militarization is not correct” (Sozcu Newspaper / March 2018) and sometimes wonders “Why does the government not even mention the 16 occupied islands of the Aegean” (speech to his party’s parliamentary group, June 2019).
During 2018 Kilicdaroglu stated with great pride that “In 2019 I will come to power and take them, as Ecevit took over Cyprus”, as if he is stealing hens from unsuspecting farmers!
Recently (January 2020) in an interview with Haber Global TV, the Turkish opposition leader criticized Erdogan’s decision to send troops to Libya, showing a complete ignorance of history:
“There are islands in the Aegean, right? According to the Treaty of Lausanne, these islands must be cleared of weapons. No country has the right to have armed forces on these islands. Are there any Greek soldiers on the Greek islands? Yes. Are our islands occupied? Yes they are. Where is the national hero? Where is the world leader? Where is this man? He is the only person to whom Turkey will lose the Blue Homeland.”
The picture we get is that behind the peaceful disposition of every educated Turkish citizen, behind the peaceful Turkish citizens with common problems displayed in the popular Turkish series shown on Greek TV, behind the generous human support and security Greeks provide to every hunted Turkish citizen fleeing to Greece to escape from Erdogan’s “Democracy”, there is an out of sight timeless, monstrous, inhumane and aggressive regime of panturkists* which simply changes names and representatives in every era: Emer Pasha, Mustafa Kemal, Ismet Inonu, Adnan Menteres, Bulent Ecevit to the present day Recep T. Erdogan, Kemal Kilicdaroglou, Devlet Bahceli, or Meral Aksener! All these are a part of the same matrix of panturkists*, the same regime but hiding behind the skirts of parliament!
If anyone disagrees with this despicable regime, he is immediately imprisoned, just like Selahattin Demirtaş and hundreds of thousands of others!
So, every logical person can only be indignant at Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s brazenness and hypocrisy. He may still ask him some simple questions, such as:
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, why is Turkey entitled to build up a fleet of hundreds of warships on the coast of Asia Minor across from the Greek islands, directly threatening the security of the Greek islands, while Greece has no right to defend itself? Why is Turkey entitled to violate Greek airspace over populated Greek islands on a daily basis, while Greece is not entitled to defend itself?
Mr. Kilistradoglu, why can you freely threaten us with deliberately cloudy ‘arguments’ on a daily basis while Greece does not have the right to legal defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter?
Did you, with the strong backing of others, go along with your protected invasion of unprotected Cyprus, and are eagerly looking for your next victim?
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, when you “felt danger” from the Syrian Kurds why did you invade foreign lands three times to create a “security zone”? Shouldn’t you be saying ‘thank you’ for not asking from you yet, according to your very own logic, to set up a ‘security zone’ on the Asia Minor coast for our protection?
To those of you who accuse us of violating the Treaty of Lausanne: Do you perhaps remember what you did? You have overhauled the crystal clear commitments under Article 14 of the Lausanne Treaty on the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, reducing the Christian population from 92% when we handed over the islands, to less than 1% today! Don’t you think we should persistently ask for these islands back, after you have shamelessly, outrageously and defiantly violated all your obligations?
To those of you who accuse us of violating the Treaty of Lausanne: Do you remember whether you respected any of the articles of the Treaty concerning the Greeks of Constantinople? Don’t bother looking: Not at all! The relocation of Greek youth to forced labor camps in 1940, a racist taxation policy with varlik vergisi in 1942, a pogrom with many dead in 1955, deportations in 1964 and countless more atrocities! Are you referring to the violation of the Treaty of Lausanne by those who have offended it time and again?
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, do you think that you can disregard all the obligations you undertake in the long run and require everyone else to respect their own obligations wherever and whenever it suits you?
As the leader of the Turkish opposition shouldn’t you be very well aware that Greece was granted full sovereignty of the Dodecanese islands by the Paris Peace Agreement between Italy and the Allies in April 1947, immediately after World War II, when you remained neutral but we spilled rivers of Greek blood?
As the leader of the Turkish opposition shouldn’t you be very aware that flyovers above the islands of Mytilene, Chios, Samos and Ikaria, as well as flyovers by Greeks on the Anatolian coast, are forbidden under the Lausanne Treaty that you relentlessly invoke? Have you seen us fly over Anatolia? Why do you violate our airspace daily? Are you free of any liability and we have not known about it?
As the leader of the Turkish opposition shouldn’t you know very well that your Foreign Minister Tevfik Rüştü Aras (1883-1972) in 1936, solemnly and in writing, recognized Greece’s legal right to deploy troops on the islands of Lemnos and Samothrace?
Have you not yet figured out that the long periods of time where you did whatever you wanted, with the strong backing of others, are irreversibly gone? Have you not yet realized that the “sweeping military superiority” you think you have is behind the bars of your crowded jails?
Are you still dreaming of ‘heart borders’, ‘blue homelands’ and other fantasies, in order to rebuild the Ottoman Empire in the 21st century?
Do you still think that with cheap, cloudy and dangerous populism in the uneducated populations of the East who are enchanted by any idea of “conquest”, you serve your foul ideology?
Don’t you understand the universal diplomatic isolation of modern Turkey that no serious government trusts anymore – even those you consider “friends”?
Or do you believe that those who are now welcoming you and telling you beautiful words to serve their own interests will not pull the carpet from under your feet when the time comes? Don’t you understand that you and those of same ideology, are driving modern Turkey into the rocks?
To make a long story short: Greeks owe you and anyone like you, a huge “thank you” because with your repeated nonsense, you have awakened Hellenism throughout the world.
We suggest the following: Do not make the mistake of believing that today’s Hellenism looks like the unprotected victims you have murdered with no trace of shame in the centuries-long history of your innocent blood-soaked ideology.
You have the opportunity to become a peaceful, civilized state that respects international law and order, just as the vast majority of educated Turks and other peoples of Anatolia would like.
If not, please be certain that you are simply knocking your head against the wall. And if you believe that the wall will break and not your head, the worse for you!
* Panturkism and Turkish policies against Hellenism in the timeless book “The Miracle – A True Story” which is available for free in both the 3rd English Edition (2019) and the 5th Greek Edition (2020) at the Library of International Hellenic Association