After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the dike that had held back the military hordes of Asia from Europe collapsed. Very soon, the European nations realized that the new conquerors were not the bearers of any civilization, even primitive; instead, they were bloodthirsty destroyers, living parasitically on the Christian populations they oppressed. In the 16th century, the Renaissance reached its peak in Western Europe, whereas, in the Turkish-conquered lands of Eastern Europe, the clock of civilization stopped on May 29, 1453.
The Western Christian nations began to feel the threat of the Ottoman Turks, who had established themselves in Western Asia, North Africa, and the Balkans. The formation of the Sacra Liga Antiturca (Holy Anti-Turkish League) by Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Venice, and the Papal States led to the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. The overwhelming victory of the Christian nations—thanks, in part, to a significant Greek contribution of thousands of soldiers and oarsmen, recruited from the Greek islands and especially Venetian-held Crete—did not eliminate Turkish expansionism; it was, however, the first time that the European nations had rallied together and defeated their common enemy. “On that day the Ottoman arrogance was smashed,” writes Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, who fought on board a Spanish vessel. According to French writer Michel de Montaigne, “the battle of Lepanto initiated the start of the gradual and inevitable decline of the Ottoman Empire.” Three-and-a-half centuries later, in 1923, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, and the Turkish Republic formed.
Today, the Turkish Republic is knocking at the door of the European Union. Europeans are being asked to embrace a people who historically, politically, geographically, and especially culturally do not belong to Europe. As the voices against Turkey’s accession have multiplied, Europe has become increasingly divided. Unlike many European governments that support the European “future” of Ankara, no European nation supports Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
The political establishment in Greece supports Turkey’s desire to join the European Union. The liberal governing New Democracy party and the socialist opposition PASOK party tell tales about “Greek-Turkish friendship” because they believe that, by pursuing this relationship, they can calm the aggressiveness of Turkey. Turkey is not very likely to make political concessions, given Greece’s expression of unconditional support. On October 3, 2005, Turkey began the accession talks without assuming any political obligation toward Greece and Cyprus.
At the same time, 80 percent of the Greek people are against Turkey’s accession to the European Union—and for good reasons. Historically, the arrival of the Turkish tribes proved disastrous for the Byzantine Empire. The Greeks remained under the Turkish yoke for almost five centuries. The Muslim Turks considered the Christians an inferior race, calling them rayah (subjects), giaour (infidels), and kafir (idol worshippers). They made a science out of impalement, while massacre, rape, plunder, and arson were indispensable parts of Turkish culture. The surviving Christians were heavily taxed and could not find justice—or even testify—in the Islamic courts. The best Christian boys were snatched away from their parents and made to serve in the Ottoman army (the special corps known as the yeniceri), while the best Christian girls were abducted for the harems of the powerful Turks. The Byzantine aristocrats were butchered, Islamicized, or forced to flee to Europe. The sultan stripped the Christians of their best lands, which were handed over to Turkish “holy warriors” or to mosques. Art declined, the letters were neglected, and illiteracy spread to the conquered lands. Wherever the Turkish empire spread, it brought destruction, barbarism, decay, and terror.
According to Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I, “the Turks are a primitive, barbarian, bloodthirsty, bully, braggart, base, mean, miserable people.” In his diary, he goes into more detail:
The alphabet and writing were unknown to the Ottoman Turkish tribes. Neither books they wrote, nor poets they produced, nor architecture they developed, nor cities they built[—]whatever they acquired was stolen and they downgraded it. They didn’t even have a normal administration. Violence was their only law. They were neither farmers, nor settlers, only barbarian horsemen and plunderers. Victory for them was to crush the nations that were more developed than them and snatch their property. During the 14th and the 15th century they raided the cradle of modern civilization, which had spread religion and culture to Europe. Back then many nations lived there peacefully and happily. From the oppressed they snatched the fruits of civilization, but not their civilization.
Have the Turks changed since then? Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and the greatest Turkish national hero, was a supporter of the Young Turk regime that committed the Armenian genocide during World War I. After the war, he led the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus and the ethnic cleansing of the Greeks of Ionia and the rest of Asia Minor. In 1955, Turkey launched a violent pogrom against the 150,000 Greeks of Constantinople, who fled to Greece for safety, leaving their property behind. The patriarchate of Constantinople, a remnant of its glorious past, faces continuous obstacles in its operation and is regularly the target of bomb attacks and protests by Turkish fanatics.
In 1974, Turkey invaded the Greek island of Cyprus, in an operation aptly named “Attila,” and, since then, occupies her northern half with 40,000 troops. The Bush administration and the neocons denounce the presence of the Syrian army in Lebanon but do not even mention the Turkish troops in Cyprus—armed with U.S. weapons that are there to defend NATO interests against rogue Middle Eastern states.
In 1995, the Turkish parliament passed a resolution threatening Greece with war if she expands her territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 miles, as the new International Law of the Sea allows, and as Turkey herself has done elsewhere. In 1996, Greece and Turkey clashed over the ownership of Imia in the Aegean Sea. Turkish commandos landed on the isle-rock and shot down a Greek helicopter that attempted to fly over it, killing three Greek officers. After the United States intervened, war was averted, but, since then, the Greek isle-rocks in the Aegean Sea are considered a neutral zone, though their borders are clearly defined by treaties and maps.
Internally, Turkey represents herself as an ethnically homogenous country. However, despite great efforts by Ankara, the various ethnic groups have not been assimilated, and they retain many elements of their former Greek, Armenian, or Arabic identity. Today, the Kurds are the largest of over 40 ethnic groups in Turkey.
Geographically, Turkey is clearly an Asian state. Her only European part, Eastern Thrace, makes up just three percent of her land. Nonetheless, Turkey is attempting to present herself as part of Europe, mimicking Europe’s democratic institutions. Still, the Turkish parliament and military are closely connected. The political and military leadership exploit widespread illiteracy, securing power by cultivating fear of neighboring nations among the masses.
Turkey is a Muslim country where Islamic fundamentalism has found fertile ground among the poor, who are easily manipulated. According to a recent poll by the Turkish Economic & Social Studies Foundation, 21.2 percent of the population supports the enforcement of sharia (Islamic law); 46 percent observes the salah (daily prayers); 62.4 percent attends mosques on Fridays; and 92.2 percent fasts during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In 2003, a Turkish Al Qaeda cell bombed the British consulate and the HSBC Bank in Constantinople, killing 30 people and wounding 400 others. Injured Chechen terrorists are regularly treated in Turkey with the help of Turkish Islamic aid groups, and financial and material aid to Chechen terrorists flows through Turkey. Imagine all of those Muslim terrorists moving about freely in Europe with a simple display of their identity cards.
Turkey’s birthrate is explosive. Today, her population is 73 million, and it is estimated that it will reach 100 million by 2020. Such a development will significantly influence not only Greece but all of Europe if Turkey is permitted to join the European Union. At this rate, the Islamicization of Europe will happen “peacefully.”