Last week just before President Bush left for his Middle East tour, he met with Turkish President Gul in Washington. Here is an AP story discussing the background of our present relations with Turkey and what those meetings were about. But, what could the last two paragraphs mean?
While in the United States, the Turkish president is to meet with representatives of the Meskhetian Turks. A minority group ousted from the Soviet, the Meskhetians were bounced around to other Soviet republics until settling in Krai, a territory of Southern Russia.
The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program undertook what it calls one of the largest refugee resettlement programs in 2005-2006 to bring as many as 18,000 Meskhetians to about two dozen cities in the United States.
Meshketian Turks came to Hagerstown, MD. We were told these Turkish Muslims had been persecuted by Christians in Russia and that although Turkish, Turkey did not want them back. We also heard the rumor that the Bush Administration agreed to take thousands of these displaced persons (displaced at the end of WWII) to help out Turkey, to remove a sticky problem, in the run-up to the Iraq War. And, by the way, the Meshketians did not live in refugee camps but some had homes to sell before arriving in America. So, why would President Gul wish to meet with representatives of the Meshketians in the US? Thought they didn’t want them in Turkey.
In searching around for more information on the Meshketians, I came across a report (scroll down) from the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs which says that the Meshketians did not exist before about 1950 but are a conglomeration of various Turkish ethnic and religious groups (several forms of Sunni Muslim) that have joined together and are “militantly Muslim” and “anti-Russian.” The report goes on to say that many want to emigrate to Turkey. Just great, and so why would the Bush Administration, with the help of contractor Church World Service, feel the need to bring 18,000 to a city near you?
And one last thought, next time you see a Crop Walk in your community think about the fact that you are helping the sponsoring organization, Church World Service, bring more Muslims to America. What! Aren’t there enough persecuted Christians in the world needing help?