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Mein Kampf a Bestseller in Turkey

| 16 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Well, it's wildly popular elsewhere in the Mideast and the Islamic world... so why not in Turkey too? Blogger Homocon notes that:

"Booksellers in Turkey are reporting soaring sales figures for "Mein Kampf," or "Kavgam" in Turkish. Hitler's political manifesto has been a top 10 bestseller in the past two months...and at least two new Turkish language versions of "Mein Kampf" are now out in paperback.

Asked to comment on the phenomenon, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said: "There is no racism in this country." Homocon has more about Turkey's new bestseller.

A while ago, Winds of Change noted the popularity of Hitler's Mein Kampf in the Arab world. National Review did a whole article on the subject, and "Their Kampf - Hitler's book in Arab hands" is excellent. This isn't a fringe phenomenon, either... as MEMRI's translations often remind us it's a mainstream thing in government newspapers. Ahmad Ragab, a columnist for the Egyptian government paper Al-Akhbar, is only one example among many opinion-makers to "give thanks to Hitler, of blessed memory," and whose only expressed regret is that Hitler had not murdered every last Jew. There are many other examples.

A while back, a blogger observed that the great question of our time is whether the Arab/Islamic world can reconcile with tolerance and modernity - and noted that nobody knows the answer. Still true, on both counts.

UPDATE: A small glimmer of light. After getting a lot of press attention in Europe, Turkey banned the second printing of the Turkish translation.

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Tracked: January 31, 2006 7:38 PM
Enforcing Godwin's Law: from The Volokh Conspiracy
Excerpt: Back in 1994, a friend at a radio station in Colorado asked me to be a guest on a small talk radio show in Alaska. The Alaskan interviewer, who had been told that I was strong supporter of gun rights, began by asking me if I agre...


was Mein Kampf a bestseller 5 years ago?

Its as predictable as it is unfortunate that Turkish people (and others throughout the Islamic world) are now turning to Hitler for inspiration. American agression in the Middle East has doubtless created the same sense of "victimhood" for Islamic peoples as the German people felt between the wars. Hitler's efforts to tap the anti-semitism of the German people are finding an audience eager for a scapegoat to blame for the sense of powerlessness they feel in the face of America's attempt to impose its will on Muslims.

Good Job George! You've managed to turn the population of a nation that before you showed up, was striving toward acceptance of Western tolerance and diversity, into a nation that feels victimized and is becoming increasingly hostile to Western values!

Yes, the Saudis are wasting their money setting up all those Wahabbi madrassas. They should just set back, relax and let George do it. All bad things are the result of Americans at work in the world subverting fredom and democracy.

"There is no racism in this country." LOL, a state founded on an ethnic basis has no racism ...

It surprises me that this book wasn't banned worldwide at the end of World War 2.

I think that's because the war was fought to displace the book-burners, not to replace them.

Yeah P, as an American, I'm awfully ashamed of our aggression against Turkey. It's been a de facto colony of the US since. . .when exactly?

Yes, the Saudis are wasting their money setting up all those Wahabbi madrassas. They should just set back, relax and let George do it. All bad things are the result of Americans at work in the world subverting fredom and democracy.

The support of the Saudi royal family for the Wahabbis was a means of "buying them off" --- conservative Muslim leaders basically traded silence with regard to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia for tons of cash which was used to indoctrinate an entire generation of Saudi children into Islamic fundamentalist orthodoxy.

This is basically why the US was forced to abandon its Saudi bases --- the US wanted the royal family to stop its support of Wahabbists, and Saudi Arabia said that the only way that could be accomplished is if US troops left Saudi soil.


Yeah P, as an American, I'm awfully ashamed of our aggression against Turkey. It's been a de facto colony of the US since. . .when exactly?

figure around 1954 or thereabouts, when the US opened its first military base on Turkish soil. Turkey became an important outpost in the cold war against the Soviet Union at that point, with Turkey becoming dependent upon US/NATO forces for its defense against "Soviet agression"; the presence of that base pretty much determined Turkish foreign policy at least until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

So Turkey has been our de facto colony since 1954 because we had military bases there for the Cold War, and that explains why Mein Kampf is a bestseller there now? So why isn't it a best seller in Germany? Japan? South Korea? Italy? Guam? England? I'm afraid I'm just not smart enough to grasp your logic on that one P.

So Turkey has been our de facto colony since 1954 because we had military bases there for the Cold War, and that explains why Mein Kampf is a bestseller there now? So why isn't it a best seller in Germany? Japan? South Korea? Italy? Guam? England? I'm afraid I'm just not smart enough to grasp your logic on that one P.

One would suggest it is because Turkey is an Islamic nation, and the nascent anti-semitism that is found in Islamic cultures has grown as a result of the Israel-Palestine conflict, making Turkey an especially fertile field in which Hitler's philosophy could take root.

But since such complex considerations are beyond you (or more correctly, you use what little intellect you have in order to avoid unpleasant facts, rather than considering them) I don't know why I waste the bandwidth explaining things to you.

lukasiak has his hand up again: was Mein Kampf a bestseller 5 years ago?


Mein Kampf was translated into Arabic (and many other languages) in the 1960s and has been popular for decades in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, the Palestinian terrorities - even in Indonesia and the Muslim far east. Historically, it is the sixth best-selling book of all time among Palestinians. It also influenced Ba'athists and other Arab nationalist movements.

The state of Bavaria claims copyright to the book, which is of course banned in Germany, and they have unsuccessfully tried to stop worldwide distribution.

The only successful copyright action to suppress Mein Kampf was in Connecticut in 1939. Hitler's literary agents sued a Hearst publisher to stop the sale of an annotated - and anti-Nazi - English edition translated by Alan Cranston (later a California senator).

The publisher argued that Hitler's copyright was invalid because it had been obtained in Austria, which no longer existed after the Anschluss. The Connecticut courts rejected this argument and ruled in Hitler's favor. An injunction stopped the sale of the book.

Mein Kampf is not yet popular on American college campuses, where The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The International Jew have made a big comeback, but it will probably get there soon.

Oh, so we planted nascent anti-semitism in Turkey and started the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now I understand. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you to supplement my meager intellect.

More on Mein Kampf in East Jerusalem, from MEMRI. From the 1995 introduction by Luis Al-Haj:

Adolf Hitler does not belong to the German people alone, he is one of the few great men who almost stopped the motion of history, altered its course, and changed the face of the world ... Hitler was a man of ideology who bequeathed an ideological heritage whose decay is inconceivable.
We made a point to deliver Hitler's opinions and theories on nationalism, regimes, and ethnicity without any changes because they are not yet outmoded and because we, in the Arab world, still proceed haphazardly in all three fields.

This was written in 1995, mind you, so I guess Lukasiak would have to say "Good job, Bill Clinton." Or maybe, "Good job, Monica Lewinsky."

Has anybody considered the possibility that Mein Kampfs popularity has less to do with animosity towards the US and Israel but because the Kurds and possibly the Armenians provide effective stand-ins for the Jews. Turkey, like Weimar Germany, has what it considers a besiged diaspora of Turks across Syria and Iraq (possibly Iran - I don't know) and certainly Turkmenistan is also ethnically Turkish. Turkey at the end of WWI lost vast parts of a declining but significant empire -- Weimar Germany also suffered a great psychological blow in the dispossession of land taken on the Eastern front. Turkey is on the front line of military (Iraq) and economic (EU membership) changes that are causing great structural changes that it cannot control because it must react to demands of foreign elites. The same elites are giving the opportunity for formerly oppressed ethnic minorities greater autonomy and voice. Turkey is hyper-belligerent towards Kurdish claims on Kirkurk. Until recently it even refused to admit that such a person as a "Kurd" existed, they were "Mountain-Turks." Turkey recently chose to mark the upcoming aniversery of the Armenian genocide by issuing a list of more than 500,000 Turks killed by Armenians. Certainly I'm sure there's some really nasty garden variety anti-semitism in Turkey but I'm not sure things are a simple as they seem. (And yea, sure there's anti-Americanism in Turkey, BTW anybody pay attention to what goes on in the French and British press over the pass two years.) The fact that Mein Kampf sales are corrlated with consipiracy theories about remotely controlled earthquakes is more of a moonbat factor. A dangerous moonbat factor but a moonbat factor nonetheless. As for the bestseller Metal Storm nobody would have you think that because the DaVinci Code toped best seller lists people suddenly accept the notion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had kids.

BTW, does anyone recall the extensive Turk-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation in the 1990's? I believe its slowed but hasn't stopped. Is anybody aware that the Turkish and Israeli navy and air force train together?

JD... that's a damn frightening thought. No, I hadn't considered it. I still think it's highly unlikely, but you never know how something like this could evolve.

There's a worst case for us to ponder, alright. Yikes.

The de facto veto power of the Turkish Armed Forces is reassuring, at least. And with Turkey up for EU admission, the Mein Kampf thing has to be getting uncomfortable for its government. Or will be, with just a little bit of international notice.

Re: Turkish-Israeli military cooperation, that's impaired but still going on. It has historically aligned around their shared interest in (read: antipathy for) Syria, Iraq, and later Iran. That commonality of interest has frayed a bit with the election of a moderate(?) Islamist government in Turkey, but it has not wholly disintegrated. Israel has also been rumoured to be helping the Kurds in Iraq or operating with them, the rumours were always shadowy, and almost certainly exaggerated. Regardless, Turkey's Islamist party government expressed official concern.

Still, a relationship remains. See this recent piece in Defense Industry Daily, for instance, which covers a UAV contract (Israel makes the world's best operational UAVs). Something tells me the Israelis have probably mentioned this issue to their military contacts as a concern...

lukasiak has his hand up again: was Mein Kampf a bestseller 5 years ago?

gee Greg, do you think you could take things just a little more out of context?

The subject is Mein Kampf in Turkey, and its emergence as a best-seller there. Pointing to sales elsewhere five years ago does not address the question that was asked --- which was clearly a question regarding best seller status in Turkey five years ago.

I ran across this article on the political climate in Turkey, which may help to explain some of what we're seeing. It didn't make for comforting reading, either.

Robert L. Pollock in The Sick Man of Europe - Again:

"On a brief visit to Ankara earlier this month with Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, I found a poisonous atmosphere--one in which just about every politician and media outlet (secular and religious) preaches an extreme combination of America- and Jew-hatred that (like the Turkish artists) voluntarily goes far further than anything found in most of the Arab world's state-controlled press. If I hesitate to call it Nazi-like, that's only because Goebbels would probably have rejected much of it as too crude.

Consider the Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's favorite. A Jan. 9 story claimed that U.S. forces were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that mullahs there had issued a fatwa prohibiting residents from eating its fish. Yeni Safak has also repeatedly claimed that U.S. forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah. One of its columnists has alleged that U.S. soldiers raped women and children there and left their bodies in the streets to be eaten by dogs. Among the paper's "scoops" have been the 1,000 Israeli soldiers deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, and that U.S. forces have been harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. "organ market."

It's not much better in the secular press. The mainstream Hurriyet has accused Israeli hit squads of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul, and the U.S. of starting an occupation of Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. At Sabah, a columnist last fall accused the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, of letting his "ethnic origins"--guess what, he's Jewish--determine his behavior. Mr. Edelman is indeed the all-too-rare foreign-service officer who takes seriously his obligation to defend America's image and interests abroad. The intellectual climate in which he's operating has gone so mad that he actually felt compelled to organize a conference call with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey to explain that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the recent tsunami."

Hmm, maybe they're ready to join the EU after all. Worse:

"In the face of such slanders Turkish politicians have been utterly silent. In fact, Turkish parliamentarians themselves have accused the U.S. of "genocide" in Iraq, while Mr. Erdogan (who we once hoped would set for the Muslim world an example of democracy) was among the few world leaders to question the legitimacy of the Iraqi elections. When confronted, Turkish pols claim they can't risk going against "public opinion."

...which they are happy to quietly foster. Another double-dealing regime with Islamist sympathies isn't what the region needs.

And when even the liberal writers of the West Wing notice, you're in trouble:

"All of which makes Mr. Erdogan a prize hypocrite for protesting to Condoleezza Rice the unflattering portrayal of Turkey in an episode of the fictional TV show "The West Wing." The episode allegedly depicts Turkey as having been taking over by a retrograde populist government that threatens women's rights. (Sounds about right to me.)"

So is Pollock's prediction of a Turkey that will find itself friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe, unless it abandons the cultivated hate and begins acting like a society with a future.

The path of blame and hate has been walked by others in the Islamic world. It has not been a happy journey. There are countervailing forces in Turkey, but one might be forgiven if one wondered: "for how long?"

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