Erdogan attacks the Dutch

Turkey’s war of words – Srebrenica Massacre

Erdogan blames the Dutch for the Srebrenica massacre!

Erdogan’s uprising in Turkey, which has EU and World leaders on alert, has shifted to diplomatic attacks. Erdogan dispatched his senior staff to Europe to court the 4.6 million Turkish citizens living in Europe to vote his way in the upcoming Turkish Constitutional referendum scheduled for Sunday, April 16. According to many analysts, the elections center on rule changes that augment his Presidential powers, with many claiming he will have full dictatorship powers.

See previous articles on Turkey in NATO here, and the huge migration problem with Turkey here.

EU leaders have been fighting back with the only tools in their war chest, banning the diplomats, refusing landing rights for their planes, and banning rallies.

The war of sharp words shows Erdogan comparing Merkel to Hitler, the Netherlands is full of “Nazi remnants and Fascists,” and suggested the Dutch ambassador go home.

The Dutch elections taking place today, March 15, 2017, which shows Geert Wilders, the anti-EU, anti-Muslim Dutch nationalist in the lead to win the election. However, many assume he will not be able to form a government as the other parties will be unwilling to join him. Wilders tweeted this recently, “I am telling all Turks in the Netherlands that agree with Erdogan, GO to Turkey and NEVER come back!”

Erdogan attacked the Dutch back for not letting his Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu land his plane for a rally. He exploded, saying, The Netherlands are reminiscent of the Europe of WWII, with the same racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.” Then he hit them where it hurts, blaming them for the massacre of Muslim men at Srebrenica, Bosnia, in July 1995.

Memorial Cemetary Copyright 2015 Craig Rawlings

The killing of more than 8000 men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War, was in fact carried out by the Bosnian Serb Army, under the command of General Ratko Mladic. Trials in The Hague have found many of the Serbian officers guilty, who carried out the massacre.

So, why are the Dutch being attacked? Is Erdogan right? Here is the sordid history.

The UN declared the Drina Valley in northeastern Bosnia as a safe area under UN protection in 1993 and dispatched UNPROFOR’s 370 Dutchbat soldiers to enforce the safe area and keep the Muslims from harm. Many locals moved to the area away from the war zones for protection. The Dutch troops failed to do their job resulting in Koffi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, describing the resulting mass murder of Muslim men and boys, “the worst crime on European soil since the second world war.”

Bullet holes in an abandoned house Copyright 2015 Craig Rawlings

“Right outside the gates of the Dutchbat compound (in Potocari a small suburb just north of Srebrenica) the Serbian army separated the women and children, from the men and boys, loaded the males onto buses, took them to the forest and shot them all,” explained one of the victims who survived and was temporarily working at the new makeshift museum being set up to honor the victims. His name will be kept anonymous as he was a victim of repeated rape and abuse by the Serbian soldiers.

“Why didn’t the Dutch soldiers stop it?” I asked. “They claim they had orders to stand down and not shoot,” was the answer.

Visiting the pristine and quiet Drina Valley will shake the soul of every visitor, as one can still see the bullet-riddled houses of people that don’t exist anymore. The area was at peace and an example of Christians and Muslims living side by side in peaceful harmony for over 400 years. Mosques and Christian churches still stand side-by-side.

Christian Churchs and Mosques were peaceful side-by-side for over 400 years. Copyright 2015 Craig Rawlings

Were the Dutch complicit? According to trail records, Prosecutor vs. Kristic,

On 13 July 1995, Dutchbat troops witnessed definite signs that the Serb soldiers were murdering some of the Bosniak men who had been separated. For example, Corporal Vaasen saw two soldiers take a man behind the “White House”, heard a shot and saw the two soldiers reappear alone. Another Dutchbat officer saw Serb soldiers murder an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the head and heard gunshots 20–40 times an hour throughout the afternoon. When the Dutchbat soldiers told Colonel Joseph Kingori, a UN Military Observer in the Srebrenica area, that men were being taken behind the “White House” and not coming back, Colonel Kingori went to investigate. He heard gunshots as he approached, but was stopped by Serb soldiers before he could find out what was going on.

The “White House” is right across the road from the Dutchbat compound, a now abandoned farm building. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he couldn’t speak as the guide pointed out the proximity of the building of terror that was within easy view of the Dutchbat compound.

There is a lot of denial and skepticism, with Russia vetoing a UN resolution to declare the genocide, and many claiming the numbers of men and boys killed is exaggerated.

Have the Dutch already paid the price for their failure?

The Dutchbat Battalion was found guilty by the Dutch courts for failing to protect some of the refugees in the safe area. The case revolved around five Bosniak refugees who were expelled from the safe compound on July 13. The court established legal liability of the Netherlands for the deaths of those expelled. But the bigger issue is, why didn’t the Dutch stop the separation of the Men and Women right outside their compound? Minister Voorhoeve of the Netherlands had ordered that,

Under no circumstances was Dutchbat allowed to cooperate in the separate treatment of men. A NATO battalion is expected to be able to exercise judgement when confronted with a conflict between rules of engagement and a specific order designed to protect refugees; moreover, it was the Netherlands and not the UN that had effective control of Dutchbat.

The UNPROFOR chain of command had problems. The Commander, Brigadier General, Hagrup Haukland was on vacation. His subordinate, Colonel Charles Brantx phoned Haukland twice on July 9, to inform him of the developing crisis in Srebrenica. It is reported there was confusion within his staff and he didn’t return to work until after the massacre. Charges of responsibility and denial among all involved go on to this day, devolving into a he-said, she-said scenario.

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