The sad but not unexpected news was the recent refusal of the Turkish parliament to recognize the Uyghur genocide — against the backdrop of its recognition by one Western country after another. The opposition nationalist (Turkish) “Good Party” (İYİ Parti) proposed the recognition of the Uyghur genocide, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is considered “Islamist,” voted against it, and its allied Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP, from which İYİ Parti split off a few years ago) abstained, so no decision was made.
Of course, one could take a moral stance against the ruling AKP, whose leader, the respected Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is portrayed by his supporters as almost the “leader of the ummah”, and he himself gives plenty of reasons for this with his statements on Jerusalem, etc.. Perhaps a few years ago, during the period of disappointment with Turkey’s post-2016 foreign policy, we would have done just that, since we were among the first to write in Russian about the disturbing symptoms in Turkish politics in this direction. However, it has long been understood that “in order not to be disappointed, one must not be charmed”.
We still believe that the forces leading Turkey are pro-Islamic, and under their leadership this country is perhaps the best of what the Islamic political project has today. However, it must be understood that this project itself, for reasons that have been discussed many times, has not been able to take on the character of a global and self-sufficient project and is unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future. As a result, the forces that act as agents of this project have to operate within the coordinates of national states, interests and international relations.
Turkey, which we would like to see as the defender and refuge of all Muslims in the world, or at least of Muslim Turks, is first and foremost a nation-state of its citizens, with an ideology of republican nationalism officially enshrined in its constitution, which suggests the primacy of national interests over all others. This is part of the truth, but there is another part. Even in its modest scale within the ummah, but very problematic for a country, the defense of foreign Muslims in countries like Syria or Libya, Turkey cannot rely on the support of any Muslim country (except perhaps Qatar, which itself needs its support). However, many Muslim countries (with anti-Islamic regimes) are actively working against Turkey in this regard, including colluding with historical enemies of Muslims.
Against this background, it is not surprising that the Turkish leadership, being in geopolitical isolation and facing external pressures from different directions, has to maneuver and form tactical alliances with not very pleasant states. Communist China is one of them — a country on which Turkey is currently dependent in many respects, from the economy to the purchase of vaccines.
By the way, it must be understood that this realpolitik problem is not only a problem of the Muslim world. For the same reason, for example, the United States, despite the significant positions of the Armenian lobby in them and the general sympathy for it in a significant part of the American society, has still not officially recognized the wording of the “Armenian Genocide”. Precisely because Turkey was and is too important an ally for them to risk relations with it over moral issues.
The foreign policy dimension of this problem is more or less clear, but it also has domestic implications for Turkey itself. Of course, by proposing to recognize the genocide of the Uyghurs and speaking out in their defense, the “good party” seems to confirm that it is good from the perspective of defending Muslim interests. But on the other hand, it must be understood that the protection of Muslim interests is primarily needed within the country, especially in the context of the cultural and ideological war currently being waged against Muslims by anti-Islamic forces. And here, the “Good Party” is not so good anymore because it finds itself on the side of those who participate in this war against Islam, mainly the ruling coalition of AKP and MHP.
However, if the position of both the ruling coalition and the “Good Party” on these issues is ambiguous, then another party in this story has once again shown itself to be clearly evil. This refers to the Homeland Party (Vatan Partisi), whose leader Doğu Perinçek called the Uyghur girl Nursiman Abdurreshid, who spoke about the atrocities of the Chinese communists against the Uyghurs during the parliamentary hearings, a terrorist and an agent of “Al-Qaeda”* and the Gülen movement.
This politician has been opposing Turkey’s protection of Muslims in Syria or Libya for many years while promoting its alliance with Communist China and Putin’s Russia. At the same time, he also opposes “Islamism” at home and advocates a return to the “foundations of Kemalism”.
Unfortunately, Perinçek may have triumphed this time. But, God willing, the prayers of the oppressed will catch up with this ideological and active accomplice of the oppressors, and then the Muslims will prevail.
* – Banned in Russia
(Photo – Meral Akşener, leader of the Good Party, and Doğu Perinçek, leader of the Homeland Party)