The Eden of the Middle East
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan became angry because the main opposition leader had called the Middle East a quagmire. âThatâs insulting,â the prime minister said. Before a court bans using the words âMiddle Eastâ and âquagmireâ in the same sentence, this columnist volunteers to call the peaceful, wealthy, healthy and happy region as âthe Eden of the Middle East.â
In Eden, however, Turkish diplomatic missions, once opened with a Kodak-moment, half-baked ceremonies, seem to be deserted: Cairo, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Mosul, Basra, and Baghdad pending. But the usual Turkish euphemism beats even Turkish standards.
The deputy foreign minister in Ankara said the 49 diplomatic personnel, including the consul-general in Mosul, and their families held hostage by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) âwere not actually being held hostage,â but âwere merely interned.â
A better wording could have been to say that they âwere being hosted by fine gentlemen,â or âwere partying together with their good Muslim friends.â The truth, however, puts that if an armed group raids a diplomatic mission and removes its personnel at gunpoint to an unknown location with the aim of negotiations to âwin favor(s)â from the country of origin, it is an act of hostage-taking, no matter what the officials from the country of origin may call it. The unlucky Turks did not vacate the consulate to attend a backgammon tournament against ISILâs backgammon heavyweights. Interned? Mind you, we are talking about an organization that was deemed âtoo extremeâ even for al-Qaeda, which renounced it.
Iraq, theoretically, was liberated 11 years ago...