The West's invasion propaganda - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

The West's invasion propaganda

Ottoman lands have been exposed to four big attacks in the past 200 years. The empire relentlessly resisted all four. I wrote about this in yesterday's column.

Every siege attack has its own focal point and own propaganda tactics. These are:

Propaganda #1: Religious discrimination.

The U.K., Germany, Portugal, Spain, France and Russia have always founded many churches, schools and hospitals in the countries they invaded and occupied. Thus, through these they Christianized the people in these countries.

While Europe lived the peak of modernism and strayed away from religion in the early 1800s, they used religion as the point of argument in their foreign politics.

They started to pressure the Ottomans in order to protect the rights of the Christians living in these lands. This issue was constantly kept on the agenda. The Russians interfered in our internal affairs using the Orthodox as an excuse, while the Germans, French, and British used the Catholics and the Protestants as their excuse. Faith, the freedom of worship and places of worship were turned into tools of political pressure.

Thus, the foundations of the riots in the Balkans were laid. Different religions were torn from the Ottoman Empire. Religious minorities were on the first lines of texts like the Constitutional Monarchy and the political reforms made in 1839 known as the Tanzimat and Lausanne. Whereas for 400 years, none of the nationalities living under Ottoman rule had complained about religious discrimination.

Propaganda #2: Ethnic discrimination

Ethnic discrimination has always been one of the most effective propaganda models the West has ever used. Nationalism was used with religious discrimination as propaganda tools in the Balkans. The Balkans fell in to the clutches of ethnic discrimination with the breeze of the French Revolution. Thus, as a result, the Balkans nearly split up into 10 ethnic countries. Russia, on the other hand, incited the Armenians and Kurds in the east.

The most frequently used form of propaganda by the British has been Arab nationalism. Lawrence is the best example for this. European newspapers and agencies were full of the so-called Ottoman oppression of Armenians, Kurds, Arabs and other minority groups before World War I. Do not forget that nationalism is always a person's most intense feeling.

Propaganda #3: Separating sects and beliefs

This was not enough for the West, which detached other religions and nationalities from the Ottomans. They started to incite sectarianism to disperse the unification of Muslims. The best example for this is the instigation of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and Shiism in Iran and Iraq. This form of propagation was developed as a tool against Islamic unification and was actually successful. A historical example for this would be the birth of the term “Islamism.”

The birth of the terms 'Pan-Islamist and Islamism'

The Ottomans resisted greatly against the occupation of Egypt and Cyprus by the British, Algeria and Tunisia by the French and Caucasia and Crimea by the Russians between the years 1870 and 1881. Ottoman intellectuals were resisting the occupation through the “Unification of Islam” defense line.

On the other hand, Western intellectuals and politicians started to attack the Muslim nations who were defending their land, the Ottoman land. They labeled these Muslims, who were trying to defend their country, as “pan-Islamists,” like they labeled the Russians who were showing tendency to expand as “pan-Slavists.”

This term was then included in literature as “Islamist.” This term wasn't used in Turkish, Arabic, Persian or the Ottoman language. The term was first used by Franz von Werner, a German soldier, and Arminius Vambery, a Jewish German scientist in 1873-1878, and was then popularized by Gabriel Charmes, a French journalist. Finally, Russia used this term to incite. (Professor Kemal H. Karpat, “İslam'ın Siyasallaşması,” p 27)

The objective of this propaganda was to reserve these people who were defending their countries from the Muslim masses, and to alienate them. The term Islamist was then used to label people, starting with Sultan Abdülhamid and then everyone who stood against occupation, as “radical.”

Ottoman intellectuals like Babanzade Ahmet Naim objected to the usage of these terms and insisted that the only term that had to be used was “Muslim.”

(Professor İsmail Kara, “Türkiye'de İslamcılık Düşüncesi/1,” p 34)

The term was later used by the West to discriminate, isolate and radicalize Muslims. The term, despite going through different phases and changing, is still used to discriminate and marginalize Muslims.

Propaganda #4: To separate democracy and human rights

Europe, which has been separating nations, sects and beliefs, has used democracy and human rights as a trump card in the last century. They accused Sultan Abdülhamid of being a “dictator” and portrayed him as the leader of an oppressive regime. There propaganda was so effective that many Ottoman intellectuals and politicians actually supported this. In the end they dethroned the Sultan and the collapse was initiated.

The terms dictator, law, democracy, human rights and environment were then used every time they decided to occupy a country. Western media voluntarily became the political propagator.

The propaganda against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is exactly the same as that used a century ago. The caricatures, photographs, analyses and stories used are exactly the same. Take notice of who uses the terms Islamist, jihadist, Daesh or Salafi.

There is always a propaganda model before an occupation starts. It aims to accuse you so that you start to constantly be on the defense. The Muslim world, including the Ottomans, have never had a strong media network, because they have never seen propaganda and communication as being important.


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