21 February 2015

Halki Seminary and US Objectives in Old Byzantium


While hardly a fan of Turkey's Erdogan, I find it richly ironic that the United States leads the charge in demanding that Turkey reopen Halki Seminary near Istanbul. Closed in 1971, it has been a focus of US diplomatic efforts since the 1990's. The United States and many others have pushed Ankara to allow the Greek Orthodox Church to open this famed and historic institution.

Why is it ironic? It was closed in 1971 in the backdrop of a US sponsored coup. The regime was closing all private educational institutions in an attempt to quell voices of dissent. Of course in addition to backing the Turkish military and its coup, the US was also backing the military junta running Greece. When the junta fell in 1974 in the wake of the Cypriot coup and subsequent Turkish invasion, it would lead to Greece embracing Leftist politics pulling out of NATO and for many years posturing itself against the United States... though the contemporary Greek Left insists that Greece still submitted to NATO and thus the United States.

The United States in all its hypocritical glory meddles in the affairs of Greece and Turkey, helps to foment the social unrest, backs military dictatorships and then dares to try and inform internal policies... all the while claiming to stand for human rights and freedom? It's offensive.

Unlike the Christian Right we do not believe in government control of religion or any form of censorship. We find it deplorable. But considering the history of the region and America's bloody role and exacerbation of the tensions, it is offensive and absurd that US diplomats and leaders would dare to speak on this subject.

But, the only dupes are those who swallow the lies. It is no accident that the volume on this point has increased as Erdogan's Turkey increasingly falls into disfavour and Greece is being wooed to stay within the European orbit. The US feigns friendship, smiling and shaking hands with Erdogan all the while scheming against him and backing his detractors such as Fethullah Gulen, the Kemalist military and on a darker note people associated with the Grey Wolves. This agitation over the seminary is just an additional point of irritation for the Erdogan administration.

But it's all couched in typical and thus hypocritical American propaganda.

For more on Gulen and America's role in the complicated world of Turkic and thus Eurasian politics...