The world is not obliged [to pay attention to] our [concerns]. In the latest example [illustrating this fact], Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia warned Turkey not to [make reference to alleged French massacres in] Algeria in its row with France over the issue of the [recent legislation passed by the French Parliament, which criminalizes denial of the Armenian genocide]. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Valerie Boyer, the French MP who initiated the bill in the French Parliament, were surely happy with Ouyahia’s statement. It is not difficult to imagine the possible headlines in French newspapers such as: “Turkey Receives as Slap in the Face.”
Actually, the “offensive and threatening” attitudes - as they are described in international media outlets - of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Affairs Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu, did not elicit much of a response from Paris.
Beyond the calls for “restraint” on the part of the French Foreign Minister and another government spokesmen, France kept its language [clean] in its reply to Turkey. Only Sarkozy’s adviser of Armenian origin, Patrick Devedjian, slammed Turkey’s attitude, describing it as “the typical rudeness of the Turks.”
On one hand, France is teaching Turkey a “lesson in grace.” On the other, the bill must now move through the Senate. Meanwhile, Turkey’s so-called “offensive attitude” and the death threats that Boyer claims to have received from Turkish individuals are facilitating the wishes of the Armenians in the French Senate.
[When we add] the words of the Algerian Prime Minister [to this analysis], we clearly see that Turkey’s approach to this issue has been more emotional than rational. We still hold on to the idea that “we do not like the West,” by which we are constantly waiting to be betrayed because of our collective memory. But then, how shall we respond to the words of the Algerian PM as we try to use the French violence against Algeria - which was truly abhorrent - to make our point to Paris? Some who claim to be [knowledgeable on this issue] may simply say, “he is one of those servants of the West.” But [the matter] is not as simple as it sounds.
As I have mentioned previously, Ankara has used the Algerian issue against France before and the same thing happened. At that time, we spoke to the Algerian ambassador to get his opinion. In short, his response was, “this is a matter between Turkey and France and therefore does not concern Algeria.”
This time the situation is more bitter for Turkey. According to Agence France Press, Prime Minister Ouyahia gave a press conference on Saturday [January 7], in which he recalled that Turkey had supported France during Algeria’s war for independence. This is in fact true.
Ouyahia stressed that every country has the right to protect its own interests, but he insisted that no one has the right to use the blood of Algerians as a [political] tool. Ouyahia rebuked Turkey when he said: “To our friends in Turkey, stop capitalizing on Algerian blood.”
The [Justice and Development Party] government may indeed defend itself in this regard by saying, “he’s talking about the old Turkey. Former Prime Minister Turgut Ozal has apologized for Turkey’s misguided attitude towards Algeria.” But Ouyahia also brought up the issue Turkey’s NATO membership, and this is striking.
Taking into account the fact that Algeria took a stand against NATO’s operation in Libya, Ouyahia appears to be saying, “you haven’t changed as you claim [to have done]. You are still a member of NATO and you joined in the Libya operation.”
Relations between Algeria and France are intricate, and they [necessitate more than] simple explanations. Ouyahia’s statements may have ‘shocked’ a few, but for those who are closely watching the dynamics of the world, there is nothing to be surprised about.
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