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Clash of Civilizations

Reader comment on item: Does Turkey Still Belong in NATO?

Submitted by Rafi (United States), Apr 7, 2009 at 13:10

One thing Dr. Pipes left out was the potential that Turkey's position in NATO could prevent a Clash of Civilizations, the likes of which Samuel Huntington discussed in the early 1990s. We prevent civilizational-clash (which has never in history ended positively, even for the winning sides, because the destruction and loss of cultural heritage is simply devastating) by resisting its temptation. Turkey's presence in NATO provides a bulwark against that temptation, on the part of both the West and the Islamic world. Removing Turkey could push us into such a clash long before it's really necessary, or looking to our favor. The time for dialogue has not run out yet, not even close.

That said, perhaps the West has not had enough dialogue on the relationship between West and Islamic. "Floating" this idea could spark much more dialogue, even if it results in Turkey having a stronger position in NATO. The fact that the Turkish people generally like having a Western orientation allows the hypothesis that, facing the pressure of being ousted from NATO, the Turkish people would reform their government. They've done it numerous times in the past, even well before the 20th century.

Frequently, the best diplomatic relationship is not the most stable one. Stability is better than open war, but a completely stale relationship is not a living relationship. Perhaps the time has come to rock the boat a bit more with Turkey and possibly provoke some (limited) tensions. The key is how to frame the message so we don't fall into a civilization-clash.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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