I argue today with the consensus view in Washington that things are going wonderfully in Ankara in "Turkey, Still a Western Ally?" It is one of many articles I have written on this topic. It sure feels lonely taking this position; but I am happy to note that a number of analysts share this outlook, with newer contributions added as they appear::
American Spectator: Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council mostly sees things as I do in his "The End of the Affair?" but he comes to a diametrically opposite conclusion about the European Union. He blames the AKP's ascent in part on EU slowness to respond to the Turkish application and criticizes "protectionist EU politicians who have precious little idea about what to do with a majority Muslim member and even less desire to find out."
Global Research in International Affairs: Barry Rubin, "Turkey's Islamist Regime: Who Will Stop the Reign?" Rubin observes that the AKP's country "is not the Turkey we have known for decades" and outlines some of the problems that implies.
The Jerusalem Post: Caroline Glick argues in "Turkey's abandonment of the West" that the U.S. government should consider "removing Turkey from NATO due to its expanding ties with Iran" and the Israeli government should "reassess its willingness to sell sensitive military equipment to Turkey given its close ties to Israel's enemies."
Journal of Democracy: Zeyno Baran, "Turkey Divided," sees the AKP being made up of "patient Islamists" and considers the existential question facing Turkey to be "to what extent the secular democratic republic established by Atatürk's principles and vision will prevail."
Middle East Media and Research Institute: R. Krespin, "Turkey-U.S. Relations At a Critical Juncture," sees things roughly as I do. Particularly noteworthy is the article's second sentence: "Turkey, an ally and partner of the U.S. for almost six decades, now sees the U.S. as the number one threat to its security and unity."
Middle East Quarterly: E. Haldun Solmaztürk, "Turkish Secularism Is Not Undemocratic," argues against Taşpinar's Foreign Affairs article and suggests that Shari'a guides Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "as much if not more than secular law."
The New York Sun: Youssef Ibrahim, "Why Turkey May Need a Coup d'État," argues that "a coup may be the only way to go" because "if a new election were to be held in Turkey, under the present structures, the Islamists are still likely to dominate."
Survival: Rajan Menon and Enders Wimbush, "The US and Turkey: End of an Alliance," deals with a related topic, glancingly negative about the AKP.
- Turkey Analyst: Soner Cagaptay, "The AKP's Foreign Policy: The Misnomer of "Neo-Ottomanism," exposes the AKP's phony historical references.
Comments: (1) Our numbers may be small but I am confident we shall prevail. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his colleagues will achieve that for us.
(2) For a flavor of the dominant, benign view of the AKP, note the Summer 2004 analysis by Graham E. Fuller, "Turkey's Strategic Model: Myths and Realities," where he compares the "new model" AKP with the "old model" Kemalism:
the good news is that today's Turkey, based on the remarkable realities of its evolution during recent years, is in fact now becoming a genuine model that finally offers a degree of genuine appeal to the region. The new model is based on serious utilization of democratic process; a willingness to act not just as a Western power but as an Eastern power as well; a greater exercise of national sovereignty supported by the people; a greater independence of action that no longer clings insecurely to the United States or any other power in implementing its foreign policies; considerable progress toward the solution of a burning internal ethnic minority (the Kurdish) issue; and a demonstrated capability to resolve the leading challenge to the Muslim world today: the management and political integration of Islam.
This newer model is much better for Turkey, better for the region, and better for Europe and the world, even if some in Washington still hope to preserve the mythical, old Turkish model. The key areas of change in Turkey that will drive the country's strategic outlook and policies over the next decade are Islam, prickly Turkish nationalism, its entry into the European Union, its role as a Middle Eastern state and as a multiethnic state, and its ties with the United States.
(December 6, 2007)