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Turkey Weeps Crocodile Tears 

by Dan Dostinic (8-3-00)
  • "Ankara urges UN to improve Kosovo Turks' rights." And therein lies a tale...

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A July 31 Agence France Presse (AFP) report states that "Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem urged Monday the head of the United Nations interim administration in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, to boost the rights of the Turkish community in the province." The article cites Huseyin Dirioz, a Turkish foreign ministry official.

Turkey's concern stems from the decision of some 60,000 Kosovo Turks to boycott municipal elections because the "UN mission did not issue registration forms in Turkish."

The article further states that "the Turks enjoyed cultural autonomy under Belgrade's rule and did not join the Albanian struggle for independence although the two communities have a common faith in Islam."

AFP does not explore the implications of the statement that the Turks, a minority in Serbia as are Albanians, "enjoyed cultural autonomy under Belgrade's rule" during the period (i.e., the 1990s) when Albanians were fighting for 'independence.'

Didn't Western leaders claim they had no choice but to bomb Yugoslavia to restore to ethnic Albanians the cultural autonomy they had been supposedly denied because the Serbian "rulers" loathed their Muslim faith? And wasn't the Muslim faith brought to - and in many case forced on - the Balkans by...the Turks?

Is something wrong with this picture?

If Serbian officials hate Muslims, why is it that ethnic Turks in Serbian Kosovo "enjoyed cultural autonomy under Belgrade's rule"? And why are the Turks complaining that now, under enlightened NATO rule, they can't even get the UN to print Turkish language election ballots?

Could it be that Belgrade was speaking the truth?

Could it be that Yugoslavia never took away ethnic Albanians' cultural autonomy, that is, judicial functions, schools, hospitals and mass media in the Albanian language? Could it be that in fact the Albanian secessionist movement organized a boycott of Albanian language institutions (such as schools) in order to score propaganda points with the West? [See footnote 2]

And consider Turkey. Turkey was a strategic participant in the 78 day bombing of Yugoslavia which President Clinton said was necessary in order to insure "respect for minority rights." (Clinton, 'New York Times,' Op-ed, May 23, 1999)

And now Turkey has 1,000 troops in Kosovo.

According to recent reports, ethnic Albanians are complaining about lawlessness in Kosovo [Footnote 1] Refugees are afraid to return, fearing attacks by Albanian extremists. A recent UN report described the UN-created Kosovo Protection Corps as engaging in:

Given these conditions, shouldn't there be a renewal of demands for inquiries in all capitals that took part in the bombing of Yugoslavia? The question to which we need an answer is: WHY?

The AFP article closes with the following: "Cem warned that Turkey could limit its contributions to Kosovo's security if the rights of the Turkish community were not rectified."

What "security" Mr. Cem?

Dan Dostinic is a Canadian antiwar activist.

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Footnotes

1) In "Concentration camps in Kosovo: The KLA Archipelago" Jared Israel offers the following amazing description of the brave new civil government which the UN and NATO have installed in Kosovo. The following is from the 'New York Times, ' hardly an opponent of US policy in Yugoslavia. The excerpt begins with a quote from the 'Times':

  • '"Tahir Canolli, 49, ran a furniture store in Pristina for nearly three decades. He, like many businessmen, hoped that when he returned to Pristina from the refugee camps in Macedonia, the harassment he experienced under Serbs would end."'

    "Note [from Jared Israel] to readers: the "harassment under Serbs" remark, pasted onto the article without benefit of support or explanation (how was he harassed and how do we know he was?) is an example of the Obligatory Bash
    (
    http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/obligato.htm ) which can be found in virtually all articles about Yugoslavia. No matter what the subject, and especially if the subject is KLA terror, the writer or editor offers at least one anti-Serbian side-swipe just to remind readers that however awful the KLA and NATO may be, 'The Serbs' are worse. Note that 'The Serbs' are here treated as an undifferentiated mass, which is only fitting for an Evil People."

    • '"Instead, a group of KLA fighters arrived at his shop two weeks ago with a paper issued from 'The Ministry of Public Order' demanding the keys to his 1990 Audi 80 and his store.

      ''They were arrogant, brutal and rude,' he said, unfolding the stamped order that he now carries in his pocket. 'They told me that if I did not comply immediately they knew a cellar I might like to visit."'

    "A cellar? As in dungeon?

    "The Times report ascends from the horrible to the surreal:

    • '"Within hours, $50,000 worth of furniture was loaded onto trucks brought by the officials who had demanded his keys. The looters not only stripped the store of its contents but also ripped out the heaters, lamps and mirrors. [!] They carted away 24 large flower boxes that had been outside the building. The next day several flower boxes of the same design and with the same kinds of plants were placed outside the building where Mr. Thaci works."

    "Mr. Thaci was indulging his feminine side, yes? Now comes a bit of humor, perhaps unintended:

    • '"Mr. Thaci's appointees said that such confiscations, especially of state-owned buildings, were part of their effort to determine property ownership. They also defended the decision to begin collecting money from businesses, a practice many shop owners have labeled 'extortion.'"

    "Ah, those troublesome shop owners! Always throwing around labels!

    "The article continues:

    • '"Mr. Canolli has spent hours outside Mr. Thaci's ministries in recent days in the hope that he can reclaim some of his property or be compensated for it. But each attempt has been rebuffed.

      "'I saw the K.L.A. police inspector who gave me the confiscation order driving my car, although it had no license plates,' he said. 'I went to his office but was told at the door that I should never come back or attempt to speak with him..'"(NY Times, July 29, 1999, my emphasis). You can read this article in full at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/reporter.htm

2) In her excellent introduction to the wars of secession in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, Yugoslavia Seen Through a Dark Glass, Diana Johsnstone refers to an ICG report called Kosovo Spring, which talks about the boycott. Johnstone quotes from the report:

  • 24) "The March 24, 1998 report of the International Crisis Group entitled 'Kosovo Spring' notes that: 'In many spheres of life, including politics, education and health-care, the boycott by Kosovars of the Yugoslav state is almost total.' In particular, 'Kosovars refuse to participate in Serbian or Yugoslavian political life. The leading Yugoslav political parties all have offices in Kosovo and claim some Kosovar members, but essentially they are 'Serb-only' institutions. In 1997 several Kosovars accused of collaborating with the enemy (i.e. the Serbian State) were attacked, including Charnilj Gasi, head of the Socialist Party of Serbia in Glagovac, and a deputy in the Yugoslav Assembly's House of Citizens, who was shot and wounded in November. The lack of interest of Serb political parties in wooing Kosovars is understandable. Kosovars have systematically boycotted the Yugoslav and Serbian elections since 1981, considering them events in a foreign country.'"

As Ms. Johnstone notes, the ICG is very much not a pro-Serbian institution, merely one that is required on occasion to tell the truth:

  • "The ICG, while scarcely pro-Serb in its conclusions, nevertheless provides information neglected by mainstream media. This is perhaps because the ICG addresses its findings to high-level decision-makers who need to be in possession of a certain number of facts, rather than to the general public. Gasi was not the only target of Albanian attacks on fellow Albanians in the Glogovse municipal district, situated in the Drenica region which the "Kosovo Liberation Army" (UCK) tried to control in early 1998. Others included forester Mujo Sejd, 52, killed by machine-gun fire near his home on January 12, 1998; postman Mustafa Kurtaj, 26, killed on his way to work by a group firing automatic rifles; factory guard Rusdi Ladrovci, ambushed and killed with automatic weapons apparently after refusing to turn over his official arm to the UCK; among others. On April 10, 1998, men wearing camouflage uniforms and insignia of the Army of Albania fired automatic weapons at a passenger car carrying four ethnic Albanian officials of the Socialist Party of Serbia including Gugna Adem, President of the Suva Reka Municipal Board, who was gravely injured; and Ibro Vait, member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and President of the SPS district board in the city of Prizren. Numerous such attacks have been reported by the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug, but Western media have shown scant interest in the fate of ethnic Albanians willing to live Serbs in multi-ethnic Serbia." ( Quoted from Through a Dark Glass at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/Johnstone/1yugo.htm

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