Dr. Turkkaya Ataov at Jamia; Monday, July 4, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

Turkish Scholar Dr. Turkkaya Ataov Speaks on the ‘Arab Spring’

The Dr. Zakir Hussain Institute of Islamic Studies organized an extension lecture by a Turkish scholar, Dr. Turkkaya Ataov, on the topic: “Contemporary developments in the Arab world and their implication in the region.” The lecture was held at the Dayar-e-Mir Taqi Mir building, on Monday, July 4, 2011.

Dr. Turkkaya Ataov at Jamia; Monday, July 4, 2011 (Photo: Khalid Jaleel)

Ataov is reportedly, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, at Ankara University. And – as he stated in his own introduction – a Sunni-Muslim by birth, secular minded, and above all – a Kemalist, referring to the ideology ascribed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Though Ataov was supposed to speak on “contemporary developments in the Arab world,” he spoke on the history of the region, in relation to the Turks; and devoted most of his time speaking on the evil neo-colonial and imperialist designs of Western powers over the region; especially by the US.

His entire lecture could be summed up by his concluding line: “We don’t want the Arab spring to turn into a neo-colonial winter.”

For Ataov, Western powers like the US, France and Britain, might claim to be intervening in Libya and elsewhere in the region on humanitarian grounds, but the fact of the matter is, it is just a cover for their neo-colonial and imperialist policies which they have been pursuing for many decades now. As they have in the case of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

And as further proof of their duplicity in dealing with the region he said, they bomb Libya, because of their adversarial relationship with Gaddafi, while either remain silent or support the regimes with whom they have more cordial relations. For instance, with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

On a side note; Ataov made an interesting claim about the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. (Though he didn’t specifically mention 1967, I believe that is what he was referring to.)

He said, on a visit to Syria, a Syrian army general revealed to him, that the reason why the Arabs lost the war against the Israelis is because the Americans fought alongside the Israelis under the banner of Israel.

And on his return to Turkey, he even got corroboration of such a claim by a Turkish army general, who further claimed to have photographic evidence of Americans painting the Israeli flag over their American flags on their fighter planes, on board their war ships.

About Khalid Jaleel

Khalid Jaleel is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: khalidj [at] jamiajournal.com

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