Friday, July 6, 2007, Turkish Daily News
Orhan Kemal Cengiz
Pew Global Attitudes Survey on how the United States is perceived throughout the world provoked much discussion in the media in Turkey. Of course the focus was on Turkey’s results, which showed that only 9 percent of Turkish citizens like the United States. According to the survey, Turkey may be the most anti-American country in the world now. However, a close look at the survey shows, as can be easily guessed, that sympathy toward the U.S. has gradually diminished all over the world in the last five or so years.
Do you think it is difficult to understand why? I do not. But the problem is that this antipathy, hate, or whatever you want to call it makes our world more and more insecure. These intense feelings are one of the strong elements in the vicious cycle that all of us in this world are currently experiencing. The United States’ response to terrorism provokes more terrorism and creates more terrorists. Then the United States’ takes a tougher position, which in turn causes more and more terrorists to join the ranks of terrorist organizations.
9/11 was really a very tragic incident and I felt the pain of it very deeply. I am very sorry for the Americans who lost their loved ones during this brutal and inhuman terrorist attack. I also believe that the United States could have reacted to this evilin a completely different manner by analyzing the root causes of the terror itfaced. What happened instead, we all know. The feeling of injustice is the most important condition for terrorism. The United States has been increasing this feeling with every step it has taken in its struggle against terrorism.
Iraq’s invasion based on bald lies about “weapons of mass destruction”, the scenes from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and the CIA’s rendition program all sent messages of injustice and unfairness to every corner of the world. The United States’ refusal to support neither the establishment of an International Criminal Court nor the KyotoProtocol showed everyone in the world that the United States was now set on pursuing its interest alone and at the expense of all other countries.
Consider the invasion of Iraq; it created not only a man made hell but also a playground for al-Qaeda. Our American friends and dear people of the United States should understand that their policies and actions make our planet less and less secure with each passing day. After 9/11, the United States could have reacted in a completely different manner. The troubling thing is that most Americans still think their government has done the right thing. According to the same survey I mentioned above, 51 percent of American citizens believe the war in Iraq has made the world a safer place as opposed to only 37 percent who disagree.
In that”safer world” medical doctors were caught by British police in connection with a car bomb investigation in London just a few days ago. It must be terrifying for Londoners to witness that the people to whom they normally trust their lives have turned out to be terrorists. These shock waves will reach every part of the world. But shall we start to think? Or shall we continue to do business as usual? Most probably Britain and the United States and, one after another, all of the European countries will create tougher immigration policies. They will adopt more draconian laws in the struggle against terror, the CIA will speed up its operations and discrimination against and exclusion of Muslims will increase. And the result of course will be more terror. This is the vicious cycle of our times. How will history speak of this phase of humankind? I think like this: “After 9/11, terrorist organizations began to rule the world. States became reactionary actors that aggressively and unwisely responded to every move made by terrorist organizations! The states and nations who struggled with terror failed to try to understand the human factor in these terrorist actions. Instead they continued to speak their jargon of ‘geopolitics’, ‘military actions’ and ‘power.’ If they had managed to see terror’s Achilles` heel, we would not have to live in this barbaric age!”
This Achilles’ heel, ladies and gentlemen, is the feeling of justice. When people in the world start to believe that they will win when they are right and not when they are strong, it is then that we will defeat evil. Otherwise all we will see will be more violence and more terrorist acts!
What is the definition of terrorism in international law?
The answer unfortunately is that there is no agreed definition of terrorism in international law. Asindicated by the U.N. Special Rapporteur, Ms. Kalliopi K. Koufa, “the ontroversial issue of terrorism has thus been approached from such different perspectives and in such different contexts that it has been impossible for the international community to arrive at a generally acceptable definition to this very day. Indeed, it may be that the definitional problem is the major factor in the controversy regarding terrorism.”