As Turkey has started to move into Syria, it is useful to recall, as an insight into a widespread Turkish mindset, a July 8, 2019 column entitled “Stopping Western Civilization” and published in the Turkish pro-government Milli Gazete daily.
Here is MEMRI’s summary:
Turkish columnist Mehmed Şevket Eygi asked readers: “Can we allow Western civilization to destroy the world and humanity?” He said that the West was “a civilization not of peace, but of war” and that it was “colonialist, imperialist, extremely capitalist, selfish, and hedonist.” He warned that “if the West is not blocked, if no one hits the breaks[sic], humanity will collapse. The religion of Islam and the Muslim world will do this service of blocking and hitting the breaks.[sic] In one way or another.” He further said that “the imperialist Zionists want to take the world under the domination of Israel by starting a civil war between Muslims and Christians in Europe. If this war does not happen as they want it to, they may be erased from history.”
Following are translated excerpts from Mehmed Eygi’s column.
“The West Is Colonialist, Imperialist, Extremely Capitalist, Selfish, And Hedonist”
“Can we allow Western civilization to destroy the world and humanity?… What has this civilization done? What is it doing? It is making and destroying. It did many things and destroyed them in the first two world wars. It is bringing the world and humanity to the third big war, and this time no stone will remain on top of another, nor will a head remain on a torso, there will be a return to the stone age. If we allow the West to do this, we will be committing suicide together with the West. The West advanced very far in the sciences and produced atomic bombs and nuclear weapons. Today there are enough nuclear weapons stored to kill humanity not one time, but a few thousand times…
“Colonialist, imperialist, extremely capitalist, selfish, and hedonist”? The peoples of the West long ago ceased to be either “colonialists” or “imperialists.” Some Western countries are “extremely capitalist,” such as the United States, moderately capitalist, as Canada, and socialist in still others, as Denmark and Sweden. The West is hardly “selfish.” The U.S. has by itself given unstintingly, nearly $3 trillion in foreign aid since 1950; Europe has given an equal amount. The Muslim members of OPEC, by contrast, have received $25 trillion from oil revenues since 1973 and have given away almost none of it — a few billion dollars — and that always to fellow Muslims. Perhaps Eygi would care to comment on that disparity.
The West, he claims, will “destroy the world and humanity. It will mark a return to the stone age.” How is the West doing this? Apparently by having lots of nuclear weapons. But atomic weapons not only hastened the end of World War II and saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but also were what kept the peace during the Cold War, with the policy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). Does Mohamed Eygi have any reason to believe the West is “suicidal,” as he claims? Why didn’t the West, if it is so hellbent on destroying things, not use a nuclear weapon, say, on Iran? For that matter, why haven’t the diabolical Israelis who apparently control everything, and have hundreds of nuclear weapons, not used them against the Islamic Republic? Could it be that “the West” — America, Israel — is not as irredeemably evil as Eygi appears to believe?
“The West has ruined the ecological balance of the world. As the ices melt, water will come flood the shores, and hundreds of millions of people will be made miserable. Western civilization is a strong, superior civilization but it has a structure that does not obey creation, the world, and human dimensions. Western civilization has broken off from wisdom, from good sense. Western civilization is a civilization not of peace, but of war. The West is colonialist, imperialist, extremely capitalist, selfish, and hedonist. The West will not leave the Islamic world, which has a population of one and a half billion, alone to lead a life suitable for its religion and its civilization. The West sees democracy as a fundamental requirement not open to discussion, but does not recognize this right for Muslims.”
So it’s the West alone that has ruined the “ecological balance” of the world? Really? By this, Mehmed Eygi means that it is the West that is responsible for the carbon emissions that lead to global warming. He hasn’t kept up with the latest data. The United States was once the biggest emitter, but years ago it was overtaken and surpassed by China. China has more than 3 million factories, ten times the number in the U.S., and many of them are colossal in size. China has 350 million motor vehicles, and its number keeps rising, while the U.S. has 260 million, and its numbers are flat. China surpassed the US as the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2006 and is now responsible for 27 per cent of global pollution, according to energy giant BP. It emits more carbon dioxide than the US and the EU combined.
Mehmed Eygi may not realize it, but fossil fuel use in Europe — the most important part of “the West” — has steadily decreased, while there has been a steadily increasing use of renewables, solar and wind energy. Outside the West, use of fossil fuels is increasing, and not only in China. India’s carbon emissions are growing faster than in either the U.S. or China. One country that Eygi might want to look at is his own, Turkey, where fossil fuel use is steadily increasing, and in 2017, the country emitted 526 million tons of carbon emissions. It is not now the West that is “ruining” the “ecological balance,” but China, India, Russia, and many third-world powers such as Turkey.
Carbon emissions are not the only problem causing “ecological” disaster. So is the massive destruction of trees that naturally soak up and trap co2. Since 1978, over 750,000 square kilometers (289,000 square miles) of Amazon rain forest have been destroyed across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana. Why are these trees being destroyed? So that they may be replaced with farmland, and the raising of livestock, chiefly cattle. Eygi does not mention the harm done, to the climate, not by the West, but by these third-world countries that are destroying the Amazon rain forest and the trees that are so critical to trapping co2. This way of harming the world’s “ecology” is something Eygi fails to recognize.
Eygi should simply have said that all the industrialized economies of the modern world have been built on fossil fuels, that those fossil fuels are used everywhere, and that the West is no longer the main offender; since 2006, China has been by far the greatest contributor to global warming, with more co2 emissions than the U.S. and Europe combined. But that would not have fit Eygi’s charge that “the West” is responsible for everything that ails the world.
“Ninety percent of the wealth of the people of the West are in the hands of 100 families, people, and institutions. Most of the West has fallen into the clutches of atheism. If the West is not blocked, if no one hits the breaks [sic], humanity will collapse. The religion of Islam and the Muslim world will do this service of blocking and hitting the breaks [sic]. In one way or another. The West has broken its bonds with the Creator. Wouldn’t it have been good if the First World War had been prevented? Wouldn’t it have been good if the Second World War had been prevented? Unfortunately, they happened, and caused great catastrophes, destruction, and slaughter. The third world war has not broken out yet. We have the chance to stop it. Only Islam and Muslims can do this…”
Eygi’s insistence that “ninety person of the wealth of the people of the West are in the hands of 100 families, people, and institutions” is impossible to either accept or refute, because we have no idea what those words “people” and “institutions” mean. Who are those “people? Does he mean “Americans”? “Jews”? “Malefactors of great wealth”? And what does he mean by the word “institutions”? Does he mean to include universities, which in the U.S. have $560 billion in endowments? Is he counting call charitable institutions which, in the U.S. alone, annually receive $420 billion? Yes, there is a great concentration of private wealth in the U.S. — much less so in Europe — but it is far from being as concentrated as Eygi believes. In the United States, where the concentration of wealth is greatest among the major economic powers, 100 families do not own 90% of the wealth. Instead, 1%, or 3.3 million people, own 40% of the wealth in the U.S. That’s a dramatic difference.
Mehmed Eygi believes that though the West, he surprisingly admits, is “a strong and superior civilization,” only Islam and Muslims can prevent a third world war from breaking out. That’s because Muslims are everywhere at peace, while the West is aggressive and hostile. It was “the West” that, Eygi claims, caused World Wars I and II. It would be more accurate to say that the true “West” of liberal democracies and human rights — England, France, the U.S. — did not start World War I, but fought against the aggressors, that is, the militarists of Austria-Hungary and Germany, and the Hamidian horror of the genocidal Ottoman Empire. The Second World War was fought against three powers: Militarist Japan, which was never part of the West, while both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany were no longer part of the West, except geographically, for they both utterly rejected the Western ideals of democracy, human rights, and tolerance.
Eygi claims that “only Islam” will be able to prevent a third world war. That war, he claims, would be started by the West. But is this true? Where has Islam been able to prevent wars? Islam is a fighting creed; Muhammad himself participated in dozens of military campaigns. The Qur’an commands Believers in 109 verses to take part in violent Jihads against the Unbelievers, to “fight” and to “kill” and to “smite at the necks of” and “to strike terror in the hearts of” the Unbelievers. How does this permanent call to arms comport with Eygi’s claim that Islam alone can prevent a third world war?
Today, all over the world, there are many armed conflicts, and most of them involve Muslims. Let’s do a little review of these conflicts. We could start with the Jihad being conducted against Israel by the Fast Jihadists of Gaza and the Slow Jihadists of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a Jihad which has no conceivable end for the Muslims except the disappearance of Israel. The West seems to think the Arab-Israeli conflict is a “problem” that can be solved: it is, rather, a situation to be managed. In Syria, since 2011 a civil war has been raging, between the Alawite-led military of Bashar al-Assad and the mainly Sunni opposition. Five million Syrians have left the country, while another six million have been internally displaced. Those who have left their homes constitute fully half of the Syrian population of twenty-two million. In Iraq, ever since the despot Saddam Hussein was removed, the outnumbered Sunnis who had been privileged during Saddam’s rule are still unwilling to acquiesce in their loss of power, while the Shi’a Arabs who outnumber them 2-to-1 are not about to relinquish their newfound political and economic power. In tiny Bahrain, the Sunni ruler has managed to suppress the protests of his majority-Shia population by making use of Saudi and Pakistani troops. Qatar is enduring the third year of a blockade, and a cutting of diplomatic and trade ties, by Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, meant as punishment both for its good relations with Iran and for its continuing support of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Yemen, a civil war between Shi’a Houthi rebels and the Sunni government has become a proxy war, as well, between Iran, backing the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia (and the Emirates) backing the Sunni government. This war began in 2015 and shows no signs of stopping.
In Iran, the government has since 2003 been dealing with a low-level insurgency in Baluchistan, on the border with Pakistan, which has its own Baluchi insurgency to contend with. In Afghanistan, America’s longest war continues, with trillions having been spent. Nonetheless, the Taliban has managed to retake control of about half of the country. In Pakistan, war is made on Christians by Muslim vigilantes. Churches have been bombed, Christians killed singly and in groups. Some have been accused by Muslim coworkers of blasphemy, others of doing such things as drinking from a communal glass used by Muslims. Some have been attacked not for anything they did, but for what Christians thousands of miles away have done. Attacks on Christians in Pakistan spiked, for example, just after Jyllands-Posten, in Denmark, published its cartoons of Muhammad. More than twenty years ago, in 1997, John Joseph, the Bishop of Faisalabad, committed suicide to protest the horrific treatment of Christians in Pakistan and the failure of the government to protect Christians or to punish their tormentors. Since 1997, treatment of Christians has only gotten worse.
In North Africa, there is also conflict among Muslims. In Egypt the military regime of Abdelfattah el-Sisi is engaged in fighting both the Muslim Brotherhood and remnants of the Islamic State in the Sinai, a conflict that shows no signs of winding down. Meanwhile, Muslim terrorists continue to attack Coptic churches, pilgrims, and worshippers. In Tunisia, an uneasy peace reigns between the secularists, headed by Caid Beji Essebsi, and those who follow the “moderate Islamist” Rachid Ghannouchi of the Ennahda Party. In Libya, various militias, based in Benghazi, Tripoli, and Zintan, have since the overthrow of Qaddafi in 2011 been vying for power through armed struggle. Every week brings fresh news of a supposed “victory” — now by this side, and now by that — but the end is nowhere in sight.
There are other intra-Islam conflicts: the Berber protests in Algeria that call for greater recognition of Berber culture and use of the Berber language; the Kurdish struggle for autonomy in Iraq and Syria and Turkey. In Afghanistan, the Sunni Taliban were waging a war of extermination against the Shi’a Hazara, a war that was halted only when the Americans arrived. Should the American military pull out of Afghanistan, who will then protect the Hazara? Or does Mehmed Eygi deny that there ever was such a campaign against the Hazara, because Muslims are essentially peaceful?
And there are the many Islamic terrorist groups: Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, Al Shebaab, Abu Sayyaf, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad are the best known, that have brought death and destruction throughout the Muslim lands, and also into the heart of the West. About these groups Eygi has nothing to say.
In Turkey itself, the military continues its campaign against the low-level insurgency of the Kurdish PKK. But Mehmed Eygi doesn’t mention that campaign, just as he doesn’t mention the various wars among Muslims based on ethnicity (between Arab and non-Arab), sect (between Sunni and Shia), level of religious fervor (between mainstream Muslims and “Islamists”), and on political rivalry (between those who, even if identical in ethnicity, sect, and religious fervor, are nonetheless competitors for power). About the violence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eygi remains silent. It would spoil his narrative of a third world war caused by the West, which only peaceful Islam can halt.
“Will Islam will be able to stop Western civilization? The imperialist Zionists want to take the world under the domination of Israel by starting a civil war between Muslims and Christians in Europe. If this war does not happen as they want it to, they may be erased from history. Laicism and secularization, meaning separating religion from the world, are the bridge to irreligiousness and atheism. The enemies of Islam, since they understand that they cannot erase Islam and the ummah entirely, want to produce a new squeaky-clean, moderate, and reformed Islam that is humanism or an ideology of people, that is Islam only in name…”
So according to Eygi, it takes Israel — that is, “the Jews” — to deliberately start a civil war between Muslims and Christians in Europe. But how would Jews do that? Have they been writing the columns of Al-Qaradawi in Qatar? Or serving as speechwriters for Mohamed Al-Tayeb, the Sheikh Al-Azhar? Or distributing blood-chilling Friday Sermons to imams across Europe that denounce the Infidels? There is no need for sinister Israeli ventriloquists; Muslim clerics have been denouncing Unbelievers for the past 1,400 years. And they continue to do so, unhindered, right in the heart of Europe.
Of course, there is rising tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. It is entirely a function of Muslim behavior and attitudes. Many of the 46 million Muslims who have arrived in Europe in recent decades have done so as economic migrants, eager to take advantage of the many benefits that generous European welfare states have lavished upon them: free or highly subsidized housing, free education, free medical care, unemployment payments (sometimes even without having had previous employment in Europe), family allowances, and more. These Muslims have higher rates of unemployment, and much higher rates of criminality (especially for violent crimes such as rape and murder) than either the indigenous non-Muslims or any other non-Muslim group of immigrants. None of this is the result of a Jewish conspiracy to start a civil war. Muslims, too, have been largely unwilling to integrate into Western societies. That is not a result of diabolical Jewish manipulation. The Qur’an tells them that they are not to take Jews or Christians as friends, “for they are friends only with each other.” (5:51) They learn, in the Qur’an, the while Muslims are “the best of peoples,”(3:110), non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings.” (98:6)
When Muslims take over whole streets and squares in European cities for prayer, in violation of the law, they have not been trained by Jews to behave this way. When they establish their No-Go Zones, where non-Muslims are made to feel distinctly unwelcome, and even the police fear to enter unless in groups, they were not following instructions from Jews behind the scenes. When Muslim grooming gangs in the U.K., that over many years destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of victimized British girls, this had nothing to do with Jews. And those grooming gangs led many people in the U.K. to think ill of Muslims and Islam. Their horror and revulsion at the gangs had nothing to do with Jews stirring up trouble; it was a perfectly understandable reaction to the Muslim criminals and their crimes. The only question that remains is why it took the British authorities so long to investigate.
When Mehmed Eygi warns about the “imperialist Zionists” who “want to take the world under the domination of Israel by starting a civil war between Muslims and Christians in Europe,” he is trying to deflect attention from the hostile and aggressive attitude toward Christians, commanded in Qur’anic verses, of many Muslims in Europe. Instead, he points to those who have become for Muslims the permanent villain: “the Jews.” These “imperialist Zionists” he denounces are apparently not very good at the imperialist game. Certainly they are far less impressive than the Ottoman Turks, who controlled for centuries a vast empire. These “imperialist Zionists” live in a country that is less than 1/1,000 the size of the Arab states, a state so small that you can scarcely see it on a world map. Some imperium. If they are “imperialists,” then where is their empire?
“If this war does not happen as they want it to, they [the ‘imperialist Zionists’] may be erased from history. Laicism and secularization, meaning separating religion from the world, are the bridge to irreligiousness and atheism. The enemies of Islam, since they understand that they cannot erase Islam and the ummah entirely, want to produce a new squeaky-clean, moderate, and reformed Islam that is humanism or an ideology of people, that is Islam only in name…”
If the Israelis don’t manage to start a civil war in Europe between Christians and Muslims, then they will likely, in his view, disappear, be “erased from history.” But why? For seventy years, Israel has existed without needing any kind of war between Christians and Muslims to sustain it. Why should such a war be vital to its survival now? Eygi doesn’t offer an explanation. He provides instead a series of statements, each more implausible than the next, which we are supposed to take on faith.
Then he discusses those who want to reform Islam. He is deeply contemptuous of these would-be reformers. They are, in his view, “enemies of Islam” from within who want to change it, to make it “new squeaky-clean, moderate, and reformed,” that is, into an “Islam only in name.” All these Muslims who want to reform Islam are not Muslims at all; for Eygi, their so-called “reforms” would only deprive Islam of its essence. But what is its essence? Not something that is mere “humanism.” Eygi wants Islam to remain as it has been for the past 1,400 years, the faith that relentlessly, and unapologetically, wages Jihad. And as the Muslims in Europe continue to do so, by whatever instruments prove most effective (terrorism, conventional warfare or qitaal, propaganda, wealth, demographic Jihad), the mild-mannered Europeans will finally be pushed, not by the machinations of “imperialist Zionists,” but by the outrageous and menacing behavior of Muslims themselves, to physically fight back. Eygi calls this a “civil war.” But that implies that Muslims have long been in Europe, are part of Europe, with as much right to be there as the indigenous non-Muslims. That’s incorrect. They are invaders, helping to destroy from within what Mehmed Eygi dared to admit is a “Western civilization [that] is a strong, superior civilization.” And any European response adequate to the task of removing the menace should be identified correctly, not as a civil war, but as a “Reconquista.”