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Turkey Weeps Crocodile Tearsby Dan Dostinic (8-3-00)
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.
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':
"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
( 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."
"A cellar? As in dungeon?
"The Times report ascends from the horrible to the surreal:
"Mr. Thaci was indulging his feminine side, yes? Now comes a bit of humor, perhaps unintended:
"Ah, those troublesome shop owners! Always throwing around labels!
"The article continues:
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:
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:
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