DOIU – Esteem through death

Esteem through deathNewspapers informed us of a peculiar case a few days ago. A soldier was under interrogation andldquofor not resisting ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].

andrdquo We had read about a similar incident some years ago with almost the same wording. Before going into the details of both incidents and the mentality behind them let me make my statement: Human life is more precious than the reputation and the land we live on.

What makes a andldquohomelandandrdquo is human endeavor combined with nature and ethical conduct that contributes to the common good (values that we share).One of the most repeated axioms of Turkish political culture is the centuries-old saying, andldquoEmpower the individual so that the state becomes powerful.

andrdquo With such a vital principle in mind, a society should not try to gain esteem from the death of its citizens rather than celebrating life.Let us come to the point: On Jan.

1, 2015, a noncommissioned officer by the name zgur rs from the 2nd Border Battalion located in Kilis crossed the border in pursuit of smugglers. Militants of the notorious ISIL put a gun to his head and took him prisonerFour days after his kidnapping, he was brought back by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) under circumstances not explained to the public.

rs was appalled to receive an affidavit from military authorities stating that he would interrogated on the grounds of andldquonot resisting ISIL.andrdquo He will be discharged dishonorably if he is found guilty.

What he is accused of is lowering the esteem of the armed forces and the state.I was ashamed to read this news, knowing that not so long ago the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul was handed over to ISIL without a single shot fired by the personnel guarding it.

Only a week ago the Suleyman Iah tomb and the garrison protecting it composed of the elite Special Forces was vacated and destroyed. The territory, which is legally Turkish soil, was soon occupied by ISIL.

Can these officially sanctioned and ostentatiously celebrated acts be sources of real esteem for any institution or the administration in charge?Yet I personally see the evacuation of these sites as necessary to save human lives. Consulates can be reconstructed, and so can tombs, but lost lives cannot be retrieved.

What I criticize is the poor judgment demonstrated in keeping the consulate personnel in Mosul while ISIL was on the march and presenting the evacuation and destruction of the Suleyman Iah tomb as a andldquolegendary military operation.andrdquo Let us be honest at least to ourselves!Isnand#39t captivity in the hands of an enemy sufficient agony and sacrifice for the captured soldier in the line of duty?Let us admit: War may end up with death, imprisonment or survival.

Those who survive may be victors or victims. But we always want to emerge victorious, as if other fates are uncommon in Turkish history.

A nation that boasts of having founded 17 states must be aware that 16 of them have been lost — the latest being the Ottoman Empire. Yet we are not ready to accept outcomes other than a clear victory.

Imprisonment in war is not a voluntary act. It is the outcome of either a tactical or strategic mistake.

Blaming the individual soldier for falling captive and not considering the role of the institution and the administration is not fair, to say the least.The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have accused NCO rs of andldquodefaming the state and the army by not resisting ISIL.

andrdquo This accusation totally omits the reason why ISIL is so active and effective beyond the southern border and how this fact is related to Turkeyand#39s Syria policy.Another example of such a double standard and callousness for human life is DaIlIca On Oct.

21, 2007, the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) attacked a military outpost in DaIlIca, Hakkari province. It kidnapped eight soldiers despite the fact that intelligence had warned the unit of prior PKK activity in the vicinity.

On Nov. 5, the PKK, having proven its military capability, returned the soldiers.

Officials did not rejoice at the return of the POWs. The returning soldiers were arrested and tried in the Van Military Court on the grounds of andldquotarnishing the reputation of the state by falling captive [to a terrorist group].

andrdquo They never benefitted from the understanding and compassion of the nation that sent them to war The minister of justice of the time is on record has having said, andldquoI cannot accept the fact that our soldiers have become captivesandhellip I hardly rejoice [at] their return.andrdquoWhat a poisonous self-esteem it is that is lost so easily when it comes to imprisoned soldiers.

Would their death bring more esteem and dignity to the nation or the country?If so, I invite all those people in critical government positions to send their sons, rather than those of the poorer families, to war to gain more esteem from their deaths. Maybe then they will understand how dear human life is.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman