News from earthquake devastated areas of Syria and Turkiye continues to acquire a political flavor on multiple levels.
From the Washington Post providing a platform on weaponization of the earthquake against the Syrian government to Turkiye’s internal political trends using the catastrophe to advance a divisive agenda in an already volatile region are clear examples.
One group which caught the attention of some media outlets utilizing the earthquake for its regressive political narrative is the nationalist political trend in Turkiye.
As reported by the London-based Middle East Eye, Turkish nationalists are actively pushing the narrative against Syrian refugees in Turkiye as looters and potential future “occupiers” of Turkish cities like Hatay and Kilis.
Turkiye’s nationalist political trend is not new.
Over the past century the debate among key socio-political groups in Turkiye has never been about whether or not a certain group is nationalist or not, but whether it is nationalist enough.
Overall, in Turkiye, for several decades the Turkish nationalist political trend always formed a controlled “opposition” function of the state serving as a social control valve.
Crescent International analyzed this phenomenon in June 2020.
However, the regressive narrative pushed by Turkish nationalists is not specific to Turkiye alone.
The so-called far-right nationalist groups throughout the Muslim world, intentionally or not, act as fifth columnists and geopolitical spoilers.
This is the case in all locales where nationalism has acquired a socio-political muscle in the Muslim world.
In Lebanon, the projection of so-called Lebanese identity to counter its Arab-Islamic identity is utilized to pressure Hizbullah on the internal political front.
It is the only force in the Muslim world which drove zionist Israel out of occupied territories on its own terms.
Kurdish nationalism, in the face of Iraqi Kurdish groups, as well as those in Syria and Turkiye act as the region’s spoilers by constantly being a threat to Iraqi, Turkish, Syrian, and Iranian territorial integrity.
In North Africa, decades long attempts to impose Arab identity upon the Berber people in Algeria has created unnecessary internal frictions which could have been easily avoided.
Even in the post-Soviet regions of Central Asia, nationalist narratives are continuing to act as regional destabilization catalysts, as ethnic clashes of 2020 in Kazakhstan have shown and more recently between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
While the so-called nationalist groups in Muslim countries claim to safeguard the territorial integrity of the states they live in, they actually end up being the primary catalysts of internal civil strife and a threat to their country’s territorial integrity.
The Muslim world has always been cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic and multi-religious.
The injection of European-instigated nationalism in the Muslim world after its brutal colonization established a socio-political setting, alien to the region’s intellectual and demographic ethos.
It is not hard to identify the political mischief of nationalist forces in the Muslim world based on their track record.
For example, in Lebanon, the so-called Lebanese Forces and Phalangist militias are implicated in collaborating with occupying Israeli forces and guilty of massacring Lebanese citizens.
Nationalist Kurdish trends in Syria and Iraq continue to remain a primary proxy for western meddling in the region, while Turkish nationalists block all possibilities of settling the Kurdish-Turkish strife through rational and peaceful means.
Nationalism is a narrow-minded political ideology which cannot serve as a pillar of development in an already volatile region like West Asia.
Any socio-political group hosting the nationalist creed as its foundation in West Asia is a force which will only aggravate regional and internal tensions.