The City of the Great King

A Talk Given in Istanbul City Big Concert Hall on 22.02.03.

Heavy snowfall blocks the mountain passes of Anatolia, lays thick Persian carpets on the streets, paints white the mosque domes, churches and markets of your City, the eternal capital of great empires. I came from Jerusalem al-Quds via Moscow, two places intricately connected to the Second Rome. A few days ago I stood at the formidable walls of Jerusalem and read the still- preserved letters: the city was fortified by Suleiman the Magnificent, the great Ottoman Sultan.

Signs of Ottoman rule are found everywhere in Palestine, for the Ottomans were the protectors of the Middle East for 400 four hundred years. They took over the Byzantine Empire but preserved the rights and religious freedom of the Orthodox and not-so-Orthodox Christians. Your ferocious Janissaries gave the Middle East its chance to develop in relative peace until contemporary times.

We comprehend it now, when the much-maligned Empire is gone and the Turk no longer protects the people of Holy Land. For Westerners did not come as liberators from the Ottoman yoke; in my own city of Jaffa, Napoleon’s troops executed six thousand prisoners of war: Turks, Arabs, Native Palestinians. That was just a foretaste of Zionist occupation. Last week fifty innocent civilians, Palestinian women, children and men, were killed by General Sharon’s army and laid to eternal rest in the cemetery of Gaza, next to the mortal remains of thousands of Turkish soldiers who valiantly defended Palestine from the Zionist-led British army.

I came to you by the way of Moscow, the Third Rome of Orthodoxy, to tell you: Your neighbours in the East, Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Arabs and Russians, see you as equal human beings and feel empathy to you. Stop looking for alliance with the West. You are at home in the East. The leading Russian historian Lev Gumilev exalted the Russian Turkic comradeship-in-arms that broke the wave of Western Crusades in 13-14th Centuries. In modern times Vladimir Lenin gave a hand in friendship to Mustafa Kemal and forfeited all Russian claims to defeated Turkey, for he expected Turkey to sustain its historical role of protector of the East. Here is your destiny: by the very virtue of straddling the Bosporus, you should link the Orient of Islam and the Orient of Orthodoxy. The Empire is gone, but your responsibility remains. In the words of the Petit Prince, you are forever responsible for those you tamed.

I do not want to incite you against Europe. On the contrary. Why was the Ottoman Empire destroyed? It is usual to blame European Imperialism. But in Gaza, next to that of Turkish soldiers, I saw another big cemetery, that of British soldiers. They died in order to wrestle Palestine from Turkish hands and to break up the Ottoman Empire. Their country, England, reaped no benefit from this. Their soldiers, officers and politicians were ruthlessly killed by the Zionists. Ninety-two British subjects were blown up by our future Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, in the single-biggest act of Middle Eastern terrorism. Zionists benefited from the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. It stands to reason that they promoted its downfall: they wished to be rid of the Turkish Shepherd and to ravage his flock.

Now their plan is being realised. On the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, a brave new world riseth. First, Iraq must be destroyed. After that, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, until all the former Ottoman Empire and its neighbours from Pakistan to Africa are turned into a Zone of Special Interests for Israel, policed by the Turks. This plan was outlined by General Sharon many years ago, re-formulated by the Zionist Neo-cons Richard Perle and Douglas Feith in 1996, and is now upheld by the Wolfowitz Cabal, the people who run the US foreign policy. The American Jews paid for the mammoth posters now covering the walls of Israel: they call for take-over of the al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem. They prepare to tear down the Golden Dome of Haram a-Sharif, where the Prophet met Jesus Christ and united Islam with the previous Revelations of God. This will be done while American missiles rain on Baghdad, while American troops cross Anatolia to Mosul. And if it is done, it will have been done with the connivance of Turkey, of its ‘Islamic’ government.

I am sorry for you, friends. You were shepherds of the Middle East, now you help the Wolves. You were the rulers of men, now you have become the servants of Mammon worshippers. You were the protectors of Islam, now you allow the greatest desecration of an Islamic shrine to happen. Your government drives a hard bargain: How much will it get for the blood of its Arab brothers? It brings shame on you: Western papers scornfully speak of your bazaar manners and mercenary spirit. Stop it, before Allah decides that this Great City on Bosporus is too heavy a burden for the Turk, as it was too heavy a burden for the Byzantine.

Is this a war in the interests of Israel? in the interests of America? for Westernisation? for oil interests? for Christendom? Not really. Beyond the phantom of European Imperialism, a resurrected spirit, the spectre of the Judeo-Khazar Empire, is emerging as the Judeo-American Empire. In the 7th-9th Centuries, the Khazars, a Turkic people, became cannon fodder for the ruling Jewish elites. The slave-trading Khazar Empire spread from Kiev to the Caspian Sea, but the Khazars did not enjoy it: they were enslaved by their ruling caste. Now its spirit has come back, for President Bush reminds of a Khazar Beg, a formal ruler manipulated by others. The Americans will have no profit from their enterprise, nor will the Turks.

For this war is their war against Spirit, and Spirit is not to be trifled with. A short time ago, an American spacecraft carrying an Israeli military pilot had made some preparations for the war with Iraq. At nine o’clock sharp it was hit by lightning over Palestine, Texas. What other signs do you need? The destruction of the Mammon Temple, the World Trade Towers of Wall Street, is ascribed to a mythic al-Qaeeda group. A year and a half has passed, and though the Americans took over Afghanistan and led thousands of prisoners into captivity, they have not produced a single convincing proof for its existence. Experts say that no jet impact could have brought the towers down. Is this not a sign of the Spirit of fighting Mammon? Unseen by those who do not want to see, a new war is going on, a war of spiritual forces. Turkey should position itself on the right side in this war.

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.