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Losing Secular Turkey to Islamic Fundamentalism

Losing Secular Turkey to Islamic Fundamentalism

Author: Geoff Dickson
Publication: Islam-Watch.org
Date: November 11, 2009
URL: http://www.islam-watch.org/iw-new/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=247:losing-secular-turkey-to-islamic-fundamentalism&catid=89:other-authors&Itemid=58

Turkey is the much-touted outpost of secular-democracy in the Islamic world. It has been a common exercise for Islamic apologists to refer to Turkey as an example to Islam's compatibility with secular-democracy against those, who argue that Islam is incomptaible with democracy and in a cultural or civilizational clash with the rest of humanity. It's seems those apologists are headed to a dead-end.

Turkey today stands at the cross roads between fundamentalist Islam and the secular democracy introduced by Mustafa Ataturk in 1924 after he abolished the Caliphate of the Ottoman empire.

Turkey also stands at the geographical crossroads between Europe and the Eastern Islamic countries, and up to now Turkey has acted in a mediation capacity between Israel and countries like Iran. However President Recep Erdogan dreams of a revived Caliphate and the past glory of the Ottoman empire. Erdogan has been implementing a policy of stealth Jihad in Turkey, quietly replacing pro-Western figures with fundamentalist leaders, especially in the military which has always been pro-Western. Since 1960, the military has intervened in Turkish politics three times in defence of secularism, which is enshrined as the bedrock of the nation's political system, laid out in the preamble of the republic's constitution. According to the Turkish Daily News, in 1995, Erdogan was quoted as having said: "Democracy is like a streetcar. You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you get off." [2] From his body language and recent actions, Erdogan is signalling to the world that Turkey is ready to disembark from the streetcar called Democracy.

In this article, we will examine the policy changes and government statements that underline a realignment of Turkey to Islamic countries like Syria, Lebanon and Iran, and the implications both for Israel and the West.

Turkey's changing direction

Formally, Ankara remains committed to joining the EU, but the idea of joining has lost much of its appeal after years of rejection and additional European demands to repeatedly prove that it is worthy.

Indeed, Germany and France remain adamantly opposed to Turkey's entrance to the EU. At a recent joint television appearance in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear their opposition to Turkish EU membership.

Turkey, however, has made efforts to develop better relations with Arab states and such other countries as Russia, Syria and Iraq - and even Armenia, a traditional foe.

Consider now a poem written by Recep Erdogan which reflects his true feelings:

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonetes and the believers are our soldiers. This Holy army guards my religion. Almighty, our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom". [2]

Hardly the words of a secularist!

Arab countries which never were enamoured with the post-Ottoman leadership now look with admiration to what is referred to as the "Turkish model."

In addition, Turkey is looking to re-establish its historical influence in the Turkic countries of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In this Central Asian region, Turkey sees itself in a peacekeeping role where it either ruled or dominated for centuries.

The apparent change in course for Turkish foreign policy may be due partially to a new generation of advisers surrounding Erodogan. Turkey's new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is one such influential adviser who has outlined what he calls a "multidimensional policy" contrary to what has been practiced. [2]

His predecessors have focused entirely on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Europe and the U.S.
Observers point out that Davutoglu's origins are from what is called Central Anatolia which encompasses most of modern Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran. He is said to be heavily influenced by Islamic thought and has no hesitation in embracing Turkey's past Ottoman empire which included countries over which Turkey seeks to regain influence. Given his eastern education, Davutoglu believes that Turkey should not be so committed only to a western orientation.

Davutoglu readily approaches countries deemed to be bad guys in the eyes of the U.S. - Syria and Iran, and such groups as Hezbollah and Hamas which the U.S. has labeled as terrorist groups.

The Turkey Israel alliance

Turkey, a secular country ruled by an Islamic-oriented party, had long been Israel's best friend in the Muslim world. But ties have cooled sharply over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's sharp criticism of Israel's winter war in the Gaza Strip.
News flash: Turkey bans Israel from military exercises.
The Israeli military said the Oct. 12-23 drill was delayed indefinitely "because of Turkey's decision to change the list of participating countries, thus excluding Israel."

The exercise was to have been the sixth annual manoeuvre of its kind. The military said it was to have included U.S., Italian and NATO forces.

Israeli defence officials said Ankara cancelled the drill after the U.S. pulled out over the Turkish decision to blackball Israel. [3]

Turkey initiates military exercises with Syria

NATO member Turkey and Syria hold first joint military exercise [April 26, 2009]

The joint Turkish-Syrian tank and armoured infantry exercise backed by air power begins across the Turkish-Syrian border Monday, April 27, and lasts three days.

DEBKAfile's military sources stress that it is the first joint military manoeuvre any NATO member, including Turkey, has ever carried out with Syria. It appears to have received a nod from the Obama administration and another first: Never before has an important NATO power staged a joint exercise with any Arab army.

Ankara's decision to launch the drill on the day Israeli commemorates its war dead - in league with Iran's leading ally - is a measure of how far Turkey's longstanding strategic pact with the Jewish state has fallen by the wayside of recent changes.

Washington's approval underscores its new policy of boosting the strength of the Syrian army as partner in a strong a three-way military coalition with Turkey and Lebanon. [4]

In Summary

Recep Erdogan and his Islamist AKP party have been moving closer to a fundamentalist position by purging the Military of its secular leaders and stacking the courts with Islamists. The second fall of Constantinople will be peaceful, and is almost complete.

In addition, Turkey is no more an ally of Israel and has broken Military ties as well as forging new Military alliances with Israel's enemies, including Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah.

Turkey has the second largest Military in NATO and has been supplied advanced weaponry by both the USA and Israel. A military alliance with these Islamist countries, which could also include Pakistan soon is an enormous threat to World peace.

Lest We Forget - the Armenian genocide

Many westerners today are intrigued by Turkey and its culture. However we must never forget what this nation is capable of. Over 1.5 million Armenians were killed in what can only be called a genocide through the deliberate actions of the Turkish government. Even today, Turkey denies this genocide ever took place!


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