RESET - Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future
Author: Stephen Kinzer, Time Books, 2010
"Turks generally do not dwell in the past and forget and forgive...
Iran will never forget or forgive."
Photos: by Figen Bingul, Lightmillennium.org
Book review is written by
|Author of the RESET, Stephen Kinzer is presenting his book at the Baruch College on June 10, 2010.
||The Author is signing of his book RESET follow by his presentation at the Baruch College in NYC on June 10, 2010.
Yüksel OKTAY, PE
[Istanbul, October 4, 2010] This is a book that needs to be read slowly with references to the footnotes and at least twice in order to really understood everything told openly and also to realize the omissions of many important facts and observations on Turkey. The book’s title is ‘’Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future’’, but covers the events in the Middle East, Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia more than Turkey and Iran and makes references to many comments by others, including Israeli Ambassador to US Michael Oren, an open critic of Turkey for many years.
The 275 book has 19 pages of footnotes (p 219-238) and 10 pages of Bibliography which covers a wide range of subjects, but lacks many important books that tell the real story (1). Michael Oren’s book, "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present" is included but Kinzer does not mention the fact that the book completely ignores the role of Turkey and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the Middle East. Taner Akcam’s (written as Akcan) infamous book, ‘’A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish responsibility’’ finds a place but not Prof. Gunther Lewy’s book, ‘’The Massacre of Ottoman Armenians – a Disputed Genocide’’ and Sukru Server Aya’s book, ‘’The Genocide of Truth’’, which is not mentioned anywhere. (2).
There are also 7 pages of photographs, which was absent in his earlier book on Turkey ‘’Crescent and Star – Turkey Between Two Worlds‘’, including two of Ataturk, one dancing with a woman and the other with Shah of Iran, but lacks a real portrait of the greatest leader of the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (3).
Just before the table of Contents, there is a map of the the region without a title, perhaps due to the author’s indecision whether to call it ‘’Map of the Middle East’’ or ‘’Map of the Near East’’, as some prefer to call, especially the British and some Turks too. There is also the infamous map of ‘’Proposed Portioning of Anatolia: The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920), as if to remind the readers that it is still alive in the minds of many enemies of Turkey, some even active today. Then there is the map of sphere of influence in Iran, 1907, showing the northern part under the Russian influence, the southern part under the British influence and the center neutral.
This is an interesting book that compares the democratic evolution in Iran and Turkey and the developments under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Shah Reza Pavlavi, going back to the 19th century. There are quite a few revelations of wrongdoings by America over the years, such as the ousting of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, which the Iranians will never forget. However, there is no mention of America’s meddling in the military takeovers in Turkey, which have been written about together with Graham Fuller’s comment that ‘’Our boys did it.’’
Part one of four parts, ‘’For the People, in Spite of the People’’ begins with the story of an American adventurer, Morgan Schuster, who comes to Iran in 1911 as the Treasurer General of the Persian Empire, portioned at the time by Russia and Britain. In the second chapter the author tells about the occupation of İstanbul by the Allied forces and the story of Mustafa Kemal, starting with his sea voyage to Samsun with Bandırma. While Mustafa Kemal was in Sivas, an American delegation headed by General J. G. Harbored has a conversation with him. In the same chapter, Kinzer writes that Mustafa Kemal railed in one speech stating ‘’Islam, this absurd theology of an immortal Bedouin, is rotting corpse that poisons our life’’ (p. 66). This is the first time I read such a statement, which must be nothing more then hearsay?
Part two, ‘’Our Name Has Not been an Honored One’’ tells the story of the visit of battleship USS Missouri on April 5, 1946, which brought the corpse of Turkish Ambassador to the US, Ertegun.
Part three, ‘’Very Far Away’’, tells the story of Israel and the role that President Truman plays in its creation by the United Nations in two chapters, never mentioning his decision to drop two atomic bombs over Japan.
Part four, ‘’They Come together’’, begins with a quote from the Turkish Prime Minister; ‘’Communication and dialogue is the path to peace and compromise’’, which sounds fine but many believe was absent during the September 12, 2010 referendum on 26 Constitutional amendments.
Interestingly, there is no mention of the American missionary schools in Turkey which numbered close to 435 before the First World War and hospitals played a major role in the education of minorities and, according to many scholars, the creation of the Armenian issue. All schools were closed in 1923 and 7 were allowed to open later, which are still providing educational services except Talas American High School near Kayseri, which was closed permanently in 1967. American Hospital in Gaziantep, established in 1840, is still functioning today with many monumental tombs of the founding doctors such as Dr. Nute and many others, in its garden. The schools and the hospital are now being administered by SEV (Saglık and Egitim Vakfı) and supported by the American Board of Foreign Missionaries.
There is also no mention of the Fethullah Gülen movement which has many schools around the world, including America, some claim close to 1000, and has been in the news with the publication of a book by Hanefi Avcı. Prof Hatemi just revealed during a speech that these schools were established to further the American and Israeli causes?
This is a book which will be read widely by tens of thousands in America, due to the popularity of the author, and will find its way to many libraries in America, including a library in Washington Township in NJ where I borrowed the book. What the ordinary reader will come away with after reading this book will probably include the following:
- That Ataturk was an alcoholic and a compulsive womanizer, which the author has based it on what Zsa Zsa Gabor said (p. 64) and Ataturk had a nude belly dancer perform during a party given in honor of Shah of Iran in Ankara in 1934 (p. 76.) This is an outrageous statement that does not reflect the true character of Ataturk.
- Educational reforms and use of Latin characters was a disaster for the Turks who became illiterate over night (p. 67) without mentioning the fact that only 4 % of the population at the time knew to write and read.
- Turks only were responsible for the Armenian Tragedy who killed them all (p. 69), not mentioning over 27 revolts by Armenians across eastern Anatolia, especially very little about the Van rebellions that led to the relocations and the first shot fired by the Armenians, as explained in an article by Prof. Justin McCharty.
- Turks were responsible fort the departure of Anatolian Greeks (Rums) from Turkey (p. 69) but not mentioning the fact that Rums took the side of the invading Greek army and committed massacres and destruction between May 1919 and August 1922.
- Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, born in Afghanistan in 1297, who established Mevlevi sect and lived in Turkey until his death in 1273, was actually Persian (p. 218) without mentioning that he lived as an Ottoman Turk in Konya where he was buried.
The suggestion that America establish a three way dialogue with Turkey and Iran for a stable Middle East is not realistic. What is more realistic is the establishment of a working relationship between Turkey and America and allowing Turkey to mediate between the US and Iran. Turks generally do not dwell in the past and forget and forgive and therefore can easily work with the Americans under the right circumstances. Iran will never forget or forgive.
Kinzer also recommends a recalibration of US policy toward Saudi Arabia and Israel, which to this writer is no more than a wishful thinking. Everyone who believes in justice and fairness want an end to the Israeli – Palestine issue, including President Clinton who stated during a conference at Bilgi University on Saturday , October 2 that, if the issue is resolved half the venom in the world would be released. Yes, the US should change its policy of blind support of Israel, but how is that possible when even on the March 31 Mavi Marmara Boat seizure investigation, the US voted no among the 47 member nations with 30 yes votes.
|Stephen Kinzer presented his book to more than 200 attendees to an open to public program at the Baruch College in NYC on June 10, 2010
||The Author is signing of his book RESET during follow by his presentation at the Baruch College in NYC on June 10, 2010.
As a Turkish-American who has lived in the United States for over 53 years (not including 7 years spent in American High Schools in Talas and Tarsus) with extended stays in Turkey during the last 15 years, and with deep love towards both countries, I would like to make the following suggestions to Americans, both the Congress and the people:
- Apologize to the Turkish nation for the failure of the US Senate to ratify the Lausanne Treaty in 1923, which is still pending. (A similar plea was made by Bircan Ünver, as a personal open letter, who is founder of The Light Millennium organization in New York, http://www.lightmillenium.org )
- Apologize to the Turkish nation for not recognizing Mustafa Kemal’s government in 1920 and the Turkish Republic established in 1923 until 1927.
- Acknowledge the American obstacles placed in front of Turkey’s economic development by convincing some Turks to shut down the Airplane factory that Ataturk established in 1927, to recommend that Turkey build highways rather than railroads and to de-emphasize agricultural development.
- Stop support of the terrorist organization, as many claim, and the establishment of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq that will eventually include some parts of Anatolia. (The latest news is that England has been pursuing this since 1920)
- Acknowledge the role of America in the creation of the Armenian issue and reverse the proclamations passed by the assemblies of 41 States, declaring them null and void.
I would also like to recommend a book to Stephen Kinzer for his reading pleasure if he really wants to know who Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was; Jefferson and Ataturk: Political Philosophies, by Prof. Garrett W. Sheldon, which is not included in his long Bibliography.
A lot more can be written about the book which time does not permit. I hope concerned Turks will also read the book and write to Stephen Kinzer about the shortcomings of the book and misrepresentations which will not help the image of Turkey abroad.. Kinzer is very famous in Turkey with friends in many places for his introduction of Zeugma to the world in April 2000, but with the assistance of a Tarsus American College graduate local newspaper publisher which I just became aware of. He wrote his commentary on the 75th anniversary of Turkish Republic from Safranbolu back in 1998, with an appropriate title,‘’ Rising Tension Over Religion Marks Turkey's 75th Anniversary’’. The tension has continued over the years and 2015 will be crucial for Turkey when Armenians around the world will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the mythical genocide. Perhaps Kinzer can write about the truth if he cares to read ‘’The Genocide of Truth’’ by the old young Turk Sukru Server Aya.
Yuksel Oktay, PE, October 4, 2010, Istanbul
1. Among those missing from the Bibliography is a book by Chuck Wills that accompanied the PBS television series Destination America – The People and Cultures that Created a Nation by David Grubin, 2005. A review of the book is given below. Also, there is no reference to any of the many books of Prof. Justin McCharty, an expert on the Armenian issue. Prof. Heath Lowry, who showed the truth about Amb. Henry Morgenthau (1913 – 1916) is not mentioned either, whose book is also not included in the bibliography.
2. Formerly with Harvard University, Prof Gunther Lewy presents information on the Armenian issue, including massacres committed by the Armenians before, during and after 1915 in his book ‘’The Massacres of the Ottoman Armenians’’, but there is no reference to this book in RESET.
3. Prof. Ludwig of University of Kentucky picks Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as the greatest leader of the 20th century among the 350 that he has studied during a 17 year period. Prof. Lewy recently won a lawsuit against Southern Law center in Birmingham AL which claimed that he was an agent of the Turkish government.
Related links on the Lightmillennium.Org:
- Iran, Turkey, and America: Will it be a new 'Power Triangle'?
"Ataturk is little known in the United States, and Reza Shah is completely unknown.
Yet these were titanic figures whose careers reshaped Turkey and Iran forever."
- An Exclusive Interview with Stephen KINZER
Highlights from the public program on
“RESET: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future” by Stephen Kinzer,
Baruch College/CUNY, June 10, 2010.
-“The US needs to reset its own foreign policy.”
- Media Release for the public programs (pdf) Dated: May 13, 2010