Remember Turkey’s Prime Minister is BFF’s with Barack Obama:
TURKEY’S PRIME MINISTER USES A RACIALLY-LOADED SLUR ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE TO INSULT POLITICAL RIVAL
Jul. 9, 2013
During a meeting with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) last Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used a derogatory word for black people in an effort to describe a political rival as being on a lower level than a white man.
Erdogan was criticizing Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu at his weekly address to AKP officials.
Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, provides this translation for Erdogan’s quote, reported first in the Turkish publication Gazeteciler Online: “Kilicdaroglu is striving every bit he can to raise himself from the level of a black person to the level of a white man.” Rubin explains that the Turkish word for black that Erdogan used, “zenci,” is often meant derogatorily.
Last week was reportedly not the first time Erdogan publicly used the term that paints blacks as inferior.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama has in the past described Turkey’s Islamist prime minister as one of five world leaders with whom he feels especially close. He told CNN in January 2012, “I mean, I think that if you ask them — Angela Merkel, or Prime Minister Singh, or President Lee, or Prime Minister Erdogan, or David Cameron would say, we have a lot of trust and confidence in the president.”
Rubin writes in Commentary Magazine, “Perhaps it’s time for Obama to explain just what he sees in the Turkish premier. And perhaps it’s time for the Congressional Turkey Caucus—several members of which are also in the Congressional Black Caucus—to ask Erdogan just what he meant when he described his chief political opponent in decidedly racist tones.”
In an article in the Arab studies journal Jadaliyya, Michael Ferguson surveyed the prime minister’s previous uses of the racial word.
He writes that on June 11th, Erdogan slammed protesters in Istanbul’s Gezi Park saying [emphasis added]: “According to them we don’t understand politics. According to them we don’t understand art, theatre, cinema, poetry. According to them we don’t understand aesthetics, architecture. According to them we are uneducated, ignorant, the lower class, who has to be content with what is being given, needy; meaning, we are a group of negroes.”
TheBlaze spoke to a Turkish speaker who closely follows politics in Turkey. He explained that there is a widely-used metaphor in Turkey comparing so-called “White Turks” who are “elite, secular golden children” with “Black Turks” who are “the underdogs and masses who came from the rural areas.”
Erdogan in fact frequently paints himself as a “Black Turk,” that is, an underdog who has challenged the establishment and risen to the country’s top political position.
The Turkish speaker who asked we not name him due to the sensitive topic said that because Turkey doesn’t have the same history of racial relations as in the U.S. “it would be a big stretch to translate that word” as the N-word.
Still it’s no compliment according to Ferguson who writes of Erdogan’s use of the term “zenci” on June 11: “…this attempt to demonstrate the level of disdain his opponents have for his party’s success and his everyman roots operates on the steam of an ugly racial stereotype.”
He writes that online reaction among Turks was critical of the prime minister using a word that could be perceived as a racial slur [emphasis added]:
Many saw it as outright racism against people of African descent. One social media user questioned why someone who claims to be representing a united Turkey would use such divisive language. Still others took it in stride, perhaps now so accustomed to Erdoğan’s negative rhetoric as to laugh it off, hoping that his use of the word zenci might draw support from African-Americans for the Gezi Park movement.
Some who defended Erdogan’s use of the term argued that context and the language it was said in matter, only becoming “racist” when decontextualized and translated into English, in which the word “negro” is much more politicized. Most of the arguments around the word focused on how to properly translate it to communicate the meaning of what Erdoğan meant for an international audience.
Ferguson writes that the word can be translated in several different ways. “Depending on context, it can range from the more acceptable ‘black,’ to ‘negro, to a much more derogatory racial slur.”
In the historical context, “in both British and Ottoman sources the term ‘zenci’ (as well as the feminine zenciye) is generally used to refer to a black skinned sub-Saharan African who was either enslaved or recently emancipated, and generally impoverished and unadapted to Ottoman culture and norms—what might otherwise be referred to as ‘black, ignorant, and poor,’” Ferguson adds.
The use of the term is curious considering in February, Erdogan spoke out against racism, and even called Islamophobia – Islam hatred – “a crime against humanity.”
“We are facing a world in which racist attacks have gained momentum, terrorism has claimed more lives, and religions and sects treat each other with less understanding,” Erdogan said earlier this year.
And it seems those around Erdogan are comfortable targeting Jews.
Obama’s “Love Affair” With Islamist Turkish Tyrant
By Barry Rubin
March 28, 2012
President Barack Obama is continuing his love affair with Turkish Islamist leader Recep Erdogan. As Erdogan continues to undermine Turkish democracy, throw hundreds of moderates into jail, destroy the nation’s institutions, help Iran, throw hysterical tantrums about how much he hates Israel, promote Islamism in the region, and is fresh from still another meeting with Hamas leaders, Obama continues to use Erdogan as his guru.
When the two men met at the Seoul, South Korea, Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, Obama practically slobbered over the anti-American ruler, calling Erdogan his “friend and colleague….We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues.” [Emphasis added]
When Erdogan goes to elections or is criticized by the opposition he uses statements like this to “prove” that his policies aren’t radical or anti-Western at all. Here’s a man whose regime can help terrorist groups organize a violent confrontation with Israel, preside over a virulently anti-American media, insist Iran isn’t seeking nuclear weapons and has a wonderful government, and then be lionized by the president of the United States.
“I think it’s fair to say that over the last several years, the relationship between Turkey and the United States has continued to grow across every dimension. And I find Prime Minister Erdogan to be an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues.”
What did the two men talk about? Well, they first discussed Syria, an issue on which Obama praised Erdogan’s “outstanding leadership.” In fact, Turkey has helped to engineer an Islamist leadership in the Syrian National Council that wrecked any chance for opposition’s unity. Turkey’s rulers did this not to promote democracy but to promote the Muslim Brotherhood. [Emphasis added]
Now, according to reliable sources, Obama is discouraging Erdogan from advocating a no-fly zone and safe haven in northern Syria because theU.S. government has basically decided not to help the opposition,which will ensure that the Syrian dictatorship crushes it and continues to be Iran’s main ally in the region.
Instead, Obama is opting, in his words, for “a process whereby a transition to a representative and legitimate government in Syria takes place.” In other words, Obama advocates a deal between the opposition and the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad If this sounds like a contradiction, remember that this is also the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood line but is opposed by both the Free Syrian Army and the moderate oppositionists. [Emphasis added]
Of course, however, this strategy will merely buy time for the regime to achieve a bloody victory. Erdogan is now headed to Tehran where he will try to convince his friends there to stop helping their friends in Syria. Does that sounds like a mission likely to succeed?
Erdogan and Obama also discussed Iran. While Obama kept up his superficially tough language (“I believe there is a window of time to resolve this question diplomatically, but that window is closing”) he also indicated his strategy on that issue. In exchange for assuring Iran “the right to engage in peaceful nuclear power,” he thinks that Tehran will give up its ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons. He thinks it is possible to negotiate a deal with Iran.
And how can Obama use Erdogan as his intermediary with Iran when the Turkish ruler made an unauthorized–according to administration officials!–deal with Tehran in 2010 that sabotaged the delicate U.S. drive to toughen anti-Iran sanctions? Indeed, Obama gave Turkey a waiver on implementing the sanctions and Turkish trade with Iran keeps growing, in direct contradiction to Washington’s supposed strategy! For Obama to use a man who is, in effect, in cahoots with the Iranian regime, who has said that he doesn’t believe Iran is building nuclear weapons and stressed his friendship toward that dictatorship, is remarkable. [Emphasis added]
Erdogan is totally indifferent to U.S. interests over Iran while, regarding Israel, he sounds more like Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the issue than like any past American president.
Obama’s policy toward Iran will also inevitably fail, merely giving Tehran more time to build nuclear bombs. And as Obama appears weak, he encourages Iran to be more aggressive, thus making an eventual war more rather than less likely.
Obama did chalk up one small achievement, getting the Turkish regime to reopen the Eastern Orthodox seminary at Halki. Yet on everything else—including Erdogan’s dreadful human rights’ record—Erdogan gives nothing while getting everything. And, as we’ve seen previously, Obama apparently said nothing to encourage Erdogan to ease his regime’s passionately anti-Israel policy that has periodically crossed the line into open antisemitism.
In the end, Erdogan gloated:
“A very, very important point has been that from the moment Barack became President we upgraded the status of our relations from a strategic partnership to a model partnership, which he also placed a lot of importance on.” He will again meet Obama in June and that “will also lead to a significant increase once again for those relations.”