Richard Falk is an Anti-Semite, a 9/11 Truther and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. All three things make him especially qualified to author an Al Jazeera editorial calling for turning the capital of Turkey, a genocidal Islamist repressive state currently trampling on the human rights of its Kurdish and Alevi populations, while illegally occupying and settling Cyprus, into the capital of the world.
I suppose it had to be either Istanbul or Tehran, and Falk does have a Turkish wife. If he had an Iranian wife, maybe it would be Tehran.
I find none of these cities as sufficiently endowed with the combination of features that might justify christening it as the capital of the world. But I do have a promising candidate: Istanbul.
This may seem surprising, because although achieving a much higher profile in the last decade, Turkey as a state is not viewed as belonging to the top tier of countries in the world, including among emerging states, its currency is not much valued beyond its borders and its language is spoken only in its own country, among a few nearby Turcoman minorities and some central Asian countries that gained independence a couple of decades ago when the Soviet Union fell apart.
As well, Turkey has some severely troublesome internal problems, especially its inability to accommodate the grievances of 12-15 million Kurdish minority and important international unresolved issues such as its relationship with the Armenian diaspora and its various tensions with Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Syria and Iran.
There are more serious issues as well that make Istanbul’s candidacy problematic in many quarters. It is situated in Turkey that has some severe unresolved human rights issues and has not come to terms with either the Armenian genocide of 1915 or the Kurdish struggle for autonomy and self-determination
By “inability to accommodate the grievances of 12-15 million Kurdish minority”, Richard Falk means that the Erdogan regime has a lamentable tendency for imprisoning Kurds for crimes like using their own language or singing their own folk songs.
But the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights urges you not to get bogged down over such minor human rights issues as genocide because it’s a great tourist spot.
Istanbul is a city of choice for those international travellers in search of touristic fulfillment and it rarely disappoints visitors despite its awesome traffic that clogs streets well past midnight and its polluted air… Istanbul is convenient to reach for global gatherings, and Turkish Airlines was recently selected as the best in Europe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the moral authority of the United Nations.