Peretz: Doesn’t much care for reading

A disgusted, and poorly informed, bleeding heart gushing out corn syrup  writes,

What is new that Bashir made his comments in Turkey where he arrived as a guest. He could not enter the countries of Europe without risk of arrest. Does Turkey really want to be a member of the European Union, the member countries of which would not allow Bashir to step one inch on their sovereignty without arresting him?

Or is Muslim solidarity with genocidalists the ethical and legal standard that Turkey most respects? This is an urgent question for Istanbul and for Europe.

At the time, Istanbul was playing host to the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit, where 49 African delegations gathered to discuss Turkey’s economic relationship with Africa as a whole. “Muslim solidarity” has little, if anything at all, to do with Bashir’s trip to Istanbul at all; the Turk’s desire to increase their access to African markets does. In the rather vague Summit Declaration, Turkey agrees with African states to “cooperate with vigor” on trade and developmental issues. The “solidarity” being offered was in regards to foreign investment: Islam is mentioned nowhere in the Summit’s declaration, or its website. The Turks were urged not to assist Bashir in seeking to suspend the ICC motions against him, as many Arab states have. This was, after all, an Turko-African Summit, not an Islamic one.

As the Turks are interested in African gas (they have a LNG deals with Algeria and Nigeria; they want more African suppliers as a result of Russia’s 67% grip on their LNG market), including Sudan, it is unlikely that the conversation between Mr. Bashir and Mr. Gull hovered over the topic of Darfur at great length. The Turks have not, like many other states, ratified the ICC’s foundational treaty, and have a peculiar sensitivity to topics relating to genocide, ethnic cleansing and the like. There is nothing in the cards that casts Turkey as a defender of human rights, especially not when the violators fit into its economic and geostrategic calculus. 

As for ICC participation being requisite for Europeanism, this is not the case. The Czech Republic, an EU member state, is not party to the ICC (though there is movement towards ratification). The countries that aren’t party to it fall very broadly into two categories: countries with great power status (the US, Russia, and China, for instance), and countries whose leadership is illegitimate and violent/countries with recent histories of blood and gore. In both situations the concerns boil down to power considerations. They may be justified by language about sovereignty (as in the case of China and Russia), but they are really about the ability of leaders and militaries to operate without fear of consequences from without. Turkey, like many other countries with internal unrest, fears that its leaders and personnel could be tried under the Court’s broad definitions of war crimes. ICC membership would strengthen Turkey’s case for EU membership, but the prospect of membership is so remote now, and the Turks so increasingly discouraged EU members’ by less legitimate concerns over their membership, that the implications of Bashir’s visit on Ankara’s relations with Brussels probably aren’t causing much of a fuss in Turkey. 

At the heart of Peretz’s post, though, is the idea that participation in the ICC should be some sort of barometer by which Turkey is judged to be “European” or “non-European,” and the belief that non-cooperation with it is somehow a special activity of Muslims or Muslim polities. It is not. The list of countries that are not party to the ICC includes many states along the global shatter belts, where conflict and rights violations are most rife. Only two members of the Arab League are party to it (Djibouti and Jordan), and of the Eurasian states, only Georgia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan are members. Ravaged countries like the Ivory Coast, Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Eritrea, and several of the Central American republics are not either. These are places where vested interests, recently or not so recently involved in war or violent upheaval, fear the ICC’s intentions and seek to avoid its powers for political reasons. “Muslim solidarity” is hardly something at work here. 

I’ve written about this before, but if Marty Peretz wants to take swipes at Muslims he should do a little more reading. It’d help his case if he read whole articles or did a little research before typing up his posts.

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