03 October 2012

A Monument in Ottawa

A good friend of mine and a loyal reader of this humble soap box, alerted me to the unveiling of a monument in Ottawa in honor of a slain Turkish diplomat.

I found this odd, to say the least. Turkey has always been a remote and distant entity for Canada. The only historic ties between them would be the sympathy felt in Canada for the Commonwealth Anzac Day casualties suffered at the hands of the Ottoman battalions defending Gallipoli.

That and a membership they share in NATO.

Their bilateral trade was tiny for a long time and only in recent years it nudged up (it sounds like a lot but the volume in question represents less than 1% of their foreign trade).

In 2006, Harper government recognized the Armenian genocide and relations have been frosty ever since.

Credit Fred Chartrand-The Canadian press
Suddenly, the same conservative government decided to befriend the Islamist government of Turkey by honoring a slain Turkish diplomat.

I was aghast.

The monument was designed and produced in Turkey and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu came for its unveiling.

According to the Globe and Mail the reason for that radical change was this:
An internal foreign policy review carried out last year for Mr. Baird identified Turkey has a key player in the world, and a country that Canada should be focused on.
I have to say that I feel somewhat conflicted that my hypothesis about the significance of Turkey as a regional power and a model for Islamist governments might be shared by the illustrious Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird of the Harper government.

The sad part is that I would feel equally conflicted if I found out that the Erdogan government (and its illustrious Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoglu) shared my views.

There are times it is hard to be a contrarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment