Monday, July 08, 2013

Settlement and Transferring In a Population

Israel is portrayed as committing an illegality by "settling" and to do so, by "transferring in its population".

Besides that being wrong, consider this (from an important article by Diana Muir Appelbaum)

...The settlement law of 1934 was designed to "create a country speaking with one language, thinking in the same way, and sharing the same sentiment," said Şükrü Kaya, minister of the Interior. It privileged persons of "Turkish culture," defined as Turkish-speaking Muslims and most Ottoman Muslims of every tongue who had fled into the empire, but not Kurds or non-Muslims. Kurds were also targeted for forced resettlement among Turkic speakers with the replacement of Kurdish culture as the goal, as were Alevis, Roma, Circassians, and other Muslim minority groups in Turkey.

The 1934 settlement law also defined a series of "type one" zones along borders, railroad lines, and other areas regarded as security concerns. Residence in these zones was restricted to persons of "Turkish culture." Settlers from this privileged category were given land and property taken from Kurds and non-Muslims. It was under this law that the 1934 ethnic cleansing of the Jews of eastern Thrace was carried out.

A far larger event was the Turkish takeover of the old Ottoman sanjak of Alexandretta, part of French Mandatory Syria. Ankara falsely claimed that the province was a majority Turkish area. Perhaps 40 percent of the population of the ethnically-mixed coastal province was Turkish. Nevertheless, the French and Turks colluded to produce a census "proving" the Turkishness of the province. Paris then allowed Ankara to rig a plebiscite that awarded the province to Turkey under the rubric of self-determination for a Turkish-majority area. Some 80 percent of the province's Christians and many of its Arabs fled. Ankara then imposed Turkish language and culture on the polyglot Muslim population that remained.

On September 6-7, 1955, the government of Turkey moved to cleanse Istanbul of its remaining Christians and Jews, including the 100,000 Greeks whose right to live in the city was guaranteed by the Treaty of Lausanne. Little was looted but ancient communities were destroyed. Although often associated with the Cyprus dispute, historian Dilek Güven argues persuasively that the government-organized riot is best understood as part of a policy of forcible Turkification. Houses and businesses owned by Armenians, Greeks, and Jews were identified, wire cutters, sledge hammers, welding machines, and other tools distributed, and on the assigned date, 100,000 rioters broke into non-Muslim homes and businesses destroying industrial equipment, personal property, and commercial goods while Christian and Jewish families huddled in terror. Many women were raped, and a dozen Christians were killed. The non-Muslim past was erased by rioters who smashed icons, burned churches, and broke into the Greek cemeteries of Şişli and Balıklı, opening the tombs and destroying the bones.  

This peacetime, government-sponsored ethnic cleansing in a modern, ostensibly democratic, country was a remarkable event, and not only because the Turkish government acted in violation of treaty obligations. Greece has not expelled the Muslim minority it retained under the Treaty of Lausanne and neighboring Bulgaria retains a large Muslim minority. Most nation states have large confessional minorities. But the Republic of Turkey has acted repeatedly and deliberately to expel Christians and Jews.

The Cyprus Case

The same approach was applied to Cyprus. The Ottomans conquered the island in 1570 and began moving Muslim settlers onto it in their usual manner, an effort that ended with the Battle of Lepanto a year later. In the wake of that defeat, the most the empire could manage was to appoint a Greek archbishop to govern the island's overwhelmingly Greek population. Cyprus would be poor, backward, and overwhelmingly Greek until ceded to Britain in 1878. The island prospered under British control, attracting significant Turkish immigration for the first time. It was never governed by the republic, which renounced all claims in the Treaty of Lausanne.

After World War II, the island's Greeks demanded that the British leave and enable unification with Greece. Britain, enmeshed in the Cold War, opted instead to please Turkey by creating an independent Cypriot State in 1960 with a complex binational constitution in which roughly 100,000 ethnic Turks shared power with about 500,000 Greeks. Britain, Turkey, and Greece retained the right to intervene to protect "the integrity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence" of the new state. Intercommunal violence escalated. On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded.

Whether Turkey had a treaty right to land troops to protect the binational state from Greek militants is a moot question, but the morphing of the invasion into permanent occupation was an act of pure imperialism. Turkey conquered more than a third of the island, forcing Greeks to flee. It quickly moved tens of thousands of Turkish settlers into the farms and homes of Greek Christian families. The majority of the Turkish population of Northern Cyprus is now comprised of post-1974 settlers and their families.

Interesting and relevant.

And don't forget the "Green Line".


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