8/01/2014

Lost in translation?

    Chomsky on Turkey's Stand in Gaza Crisis


      Recently in an interview with Turkish Anadolu Agency, Noam Chomsky commented on Turkey's stand on recent Gaza crisis. The Turkish language version of that interview had "Haksızlığı kabul etmeyen tek ülke Türkiye" headline which exactly means "Turkey is the only country which doesn't accept the injustice". According to the same version of the report Chomsky commented that "İsrail'e karşı güçlü tavır alan ve Filistinliler'e yapılan haksızlığı kabul etmek istemediğini açıkça söyleyen tek ülke Türkiye'dir" which exactly means "Turkey is the only country which took a strong stand against Israel and clearly stated  its non-acceptance of the injustice against Palestinians". 
     Reading Chomsky's commentary both in English and Turkish language versions I was a little bit confused, first of all because is is known that Chomsky is one of the most prominent critics of Turkish State and its policies, so he will not use that kind of rhetoric. Besides, the two language versions of the agency's report had different wording, especially Chomsky's comments. In the English language version we read Chomsky as saying  that “Turkey is, at the moment, the only country that has taken a strong stand against Israel"(as we can see in this version Chomsky's exact words differ from the above quoted Turkish language version). And as Anadolu Agency  commented "Chomsky [talking] broadly on the latest Israeli attack on the Palestinian enclave, reserv[ed] his praise for Turkey and and his ire for the U.S"
So it  was interesting to me both Chomsky's praise of Turkey and the difference of the two versions of the report. Besides it was known that earlier many countries, especially many Latin American countries also took a strong stand against Israel on recent Gaza Crisis and this fact is certainly would be well known by Prof. Chomsky.  So I decided to email Prof. Chomsky about this issue. 
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HG: Yesterday I saw your interview with Turkish "Anadolu Ajansı" with the title "Haksızlığı kabul etmeyen tek ülke Türkiye" which means "Turkey is the only country which doesn't accept the injustice". Since Turkey is not the only country which responded to Israel and I'm sure this fact is very well known by you and you are well known critic of Turkish State(and you won't use this kind of rhetoric to praise Turkish State) and since the English language version of that interview didn't match exactly with the Turkish language version I wanted to draw your attention to this fact. 

NC: The report quotes me as saying that "Turkey is, at the moment, the only country that has taken a strong stand against Israel, telling the whole world that it is against Israeli massacres in Gaza." The quote is accurate. So is the contents, as far as I know.  I haven't come across a stand as strong as Turkey's elsewhere, but would be glad to learn about it.

HG: Concerning your "I haven't come across a stand as strong as Turkey's elsewhere" response to me, I strongly agree with that, but as far as I know many Latin American countries has condemned Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip or for example Chile suspended trade talks with Israel over Gaza bombing(further information How Have Latin America’s Political Leaders Responded to Israel’s Siege on Gaza?). And since Turkey tries to use this opportunity to improve its image in the Islamic world and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan tries to gain some support among its Muslim population(there is presidential elections in Turkey next month) so Turkey's stand in this problem is not sincere which I'm sure you know very well. Because of that I was surprised by your praise of Turkey(as Anadolu Agency reported).

NC: I take it, then, that we agree that the statement was correct.  It is true that Chile suspended
negotiations under pressure by its large Palestinian population, and other Latin American
countries have harshly protested as well, but Turkey's stand is unique, and uniquely important
because it is a NATO ally and hence should be a model for others.
I think that's important to say, questions of sincerity and motivation aside[emphasis added].

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The email correspondence took place between July 26, 2014, 7:36 PM and July 27, 2014,  5:23 PM

Husik Ghulyan

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