What is wrong with the Turkish Army? It was reported in Impact
International a year ago, that a delegation of Turkish generals visited Washington DC and
in a conference with reporters the head of the delegation proudly pointed out that the
army was dealing with the wearing of headscarves. There was silence until a female voice
among the audience spoke up saying "why should the army worry about little things
like that?". The Turkish Army leaders were apparently unaware that they were lost in
America, the very place of their secular dreams.
Now what can anybody say about an army which has in modern times has never been praised, respected and feared except during the Cyprus War and the Korean War (as UN peacekeepers). This is the army that never did anything during the siege and the suffering of the Bosnians, who were Europeans who had historical and cultural ties with them. This is also the army that is always teased by Greek manoeuvres and doing Nato's bidding. The army that served Europe's belly defence needs but their country's denied European identity and market entry. The worse form of treachery is to serve foreign interests dutifully thereby neglecting one's own nation's fate.
Yes, they serve to provide bases for their western allies schemings and launching of attacks on peoples also having historical and cultural ties with them, though not Europeans. They exercise well with dubious friends such as Israel. They go chasing after nasty little Kurds showing off what they have. They show off flexing themselves as protectors of secularism, a self defeating legacy of disregarding one's true identity somewhat like their military counterparts in Algeria, totally detached and devout of compassion and demised of the true spirit of being defenders of the nation. Defenders of a nation means protecting and upholding one's faith, culture and rights. Armies should not be in a position opposite that of its own peoples and should never ever be used to terrorise and subdue its own populace. Armies should be sent to borders and other far away places to play the proper role to combat real enemies. Only then would they receive heroic welcomes and not be greeted with fear and hidden hatred by their own kind.
Come to think of it, why are many Muslim nations still run by the army although they are not at war? Even if they are not in power politically, somehow they are always influencing,positioned and poised to interfere in the pretext of upholding national security, the constitution and sometimes democracy!
If only they could or would try to remember their glorious past and what they were really intended for..
Hamdan Muhammad Hassan
6 March 1998.
[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the Secretary for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]