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Dellusions of Grandeur - A bit of humility may be warranted, dear Turkish friends

Reader comment on item: Ambitious Turkey

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), May 19, 2011 at 11:40

As some amongst the readers here know, I am a friend of Turkey. I travelled the country on several occasions and happen to admire the people, their attitude, their hospitality and warmth. I am amazed, whenever I visit Istanbul, a true bridge between cultures, western and eastern.

Having read most of the comments thus far however, I feel that the staunch supporters of Erdogan and his present direction of diplomacy and politcs urgently need some form of reality check.

Dear Friends, I hate to tell you this, but you are N O T a superpower and will not be for the foreseeable future. Ottoman history is N O T that great, but as opposed to scientific, technological, cultural and philosophical awakening, as demonstrated by western development, rather a history of invasion, bloodshed and criminal genocides.

Turkey at present is N O T an economical power, eventhough it enjoys admittedly a period of growth. It is sustained by millions of Dollars transferred by millions of Turks living as emigrants in western Europe. No offense, but if you travel the US or Europe, then visit Turkey, every normal tourist will immediately recognize, that Turkey is at best an emerging third world country. Standard of living, roads, houses, banks, power grids, city planning, civil liberties, law, law enforcement up to and not limited to the armed forces are nowhere near the standard of any continental European or north American level. While the progress is certainly positive, there is no justification of any dellusions of grandeur for sure.

I can also appreciate that Turkey is trying to straddeling the fence between East and West. A fragile balancing act for certain. The confused policies in response to the Arab Awakening (Libya, Syria, Iran etc.) are a logical and somewhat understandable result.

Islam and especially Islamism have proven to damage most nations it ever infected. Should the wall between church and state further erode, that little progress may well prove to be vanishing fast.

I've always maintained that Turkey has progressed too far on the democratic route for the direction to be reversed. Too many Turks (especially living abroad) have already been infected with the virus of Democracy and Freedom, thanks to Attaturk, truly a visionary politician in this regard.

Having said that, history has proven that all democracies during their at times painful development, at some point stood at a crossroads, where straddeling the fence is no longer possible and a nation has to take a stand. Turkey approaches this point quickly, where she must decide to stand with oppressors of the likes of Gadafi or Iran, or embrace the achievements and prosperity of western style governing systems.

Libya has demonstrated this clearly, where Turkey has by now, due to its hovering and hesitating approach, not much interms of support amongst the pro-democracy forces left. Should Gadafi be forced out, which I consider only a matter of time, many Libyans may not forget the Turks standing idly by, while he bombed Misrata to the ground.

It may take time, as the frame parameters (religion, culture, history, tradition, structure) are not prone to establishing functioning democracies throughout the middle east quickly, but I for one recognize, that the tides are turning throughout the region and the regimes of the likes of Iran, Syria, Yemen may eventually be a thing of the past. The last decades of oil influence are already upon us. The Sheiks and Sultans, mullahs and emirs are already doomed, and wide areas with Islamism as guiding force will devolve back to the middle ages fast.

Turkey, sitting smack in the middle of it all, will have to make a decision to either join the league of free nations full-heartedly or degenerate inside a quagmire of devolving Islamist middle eastern nations.

Dellusions of grandeur are not helpful. Humility and respect, combined with a strong sense of reality and the corresponding policies is, what I personally recommend. The past is the past. Let go of your inferiority complexes vs the West. We won, you lost, get over it, move on.

Ask yourself honestly - do you know of any Muslim nation which could be considered as even a medium economical, military, cultural power today? There isn't one single nation on the same level as for instance Spain or Australia. The world's eminent voices are all Christian, Buddhist or Hindu. What does that tell you? The little power projection muslim nations exercise today is solely based upon their oil resources. But that dependence decreases fast.

Taking a step back, every objective observer will have to admit, that there is something fundamentally wrong with Islam dominated culture, which stiffled at all times and periods any dissent, debate and its resulting achievements from politics to technology, science to philosophy. Just look at the middle east, the core of Islamist culture - one big giant mess of medieval nations imploding one after another.

Turkey has a chance to choose the right path and fight any tendencies towards the obviously emerging Islamism. It has a chance to be a muslim nation and still prosper, if it does not allow for creeping in of Islamism into politics and daily life. Just watch, what is happening in Iran, then go to your polls and vote your true conscience. If you love your country and want your families to prosper, if you want to continue to be able to vote freely on the path to true democracy (No--- you are not quite there yet- see Freedom of Speech and Press....) - prevent Islamism from silently creeping into your daily life... while you still can.

Yes... Turkey is at a crossroads. Time to take a stand and stand with the free world as opposed to holding on to outdated doctrine and dogmas. Post Gaddafi Libya you likely lost already as friend and ally, let alone business partner. If you continue on Erdogans path, further nations will eventually fall away.

Are old resentments against the west really worth it, or will Turkey make the step into the 21st century?


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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Reader comments (70) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
I am Confused about your historical analysis [118 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Vance PainterJul 17, 2015 08:47224294
6Dellusions of Grandeur - A bit of humility may be warranted, dear Turkish friends [1004 words]Michel C. ZalaMay 19, 2011 11:40185353
imperialism [200 words]havasMay 29, 2011 02:46185353
11Turkish delusions: our dear Havas is saying that al-rabi3 al-3arabi (the Arab spring) is because of Turkey and its little mavi marmara [911 words]dhimmi no moreMay 30, 2011 07:57185353
17"It is not Islam's Fault that Muslim People are backwards"....Contradiction in itself, dear Havas [2176 words]Michel C ZalaMay 30, 2011 13:08185353
4India and Pakistan and islam [312 words]dhimmi no moreMay 31, 2011 07:12185353
1Turkish Hipocrisey. [114 words]aspaciaJun 10, 2011 13:05185353
islam problem? [111 words]havasSep 12, 2011 12:39185353
1Turkey's Problem Will Not Be With Islam Alone [459 words]M. ToveySep 14, 2011 15:32185353
war [457 words]havasSep 17, 2011 04:32185353
1'war'-Its Inevitability Already Forecasted [675 words]M. ToveySep 19, 2011 16:07185353
How unfair. [90 words]MuratNov 1, 2011 18:13185353
Try researching before making claims [23 words]KerryNov 1, 2011 20:11185353
1how unfair, go inside to know exactly why [332 words]muslimJun 25, 2013 05:25185353
4Ok Great, now go back to work. [181 words]PrashantJun 27, 2013 21:28185353
2Why Muslims backwards [223 words]boussaidDec 9, 2013 02:05185353
questioning islam? do a little research first! [219 words]saraDec 23, 2013 12:24185353
3Islam and fantasy [1313 words]dhimmi no moreDec 24, 2013 16:53185353
Why Muslims backwards [139 words]boussaidDec 27, 2013 15:38185353
IMO [270 words]edJan 17, 2014 13:26185353
3The Amazigh and Islam [435 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 6, 2014 17:56185353
1islam will rise again [55 words]sabAug 12, 2014 06:07185353
true pic of Islam [33 words]Rao MujahidAug 18, 2014 04:35185353
Islam Not to Be Blamed for Muslims Backwardness [141 words]syed sardar BadshahSep 10, 2014 07:29185353
rigid interpretations in the noble quran [141 words]MauriceNov 1, 2014 07:47185353
1Turkey [53 words]NiyazApr 17, 2011 22:13184385
i am happy turkey is back to its islamic roots [47 words]syed mohammad aliApr 17, 2011 11:47184371
1Turkey has Moved into Biblical Position - Is the World Really Ready for What's Next? [630 words]M. ToveyApr 18, 2011 12:18184371
8I am happy as well that Turkey is returning to its Islamic roots. [99 words]PrashantApr 18, 2011 22:38184371
2Someone needs a reality check [36 words]YovenApr 21, 2011 10:57184371
1Prashant's pipedream [76 words]janApr 21, 2011 15:58184371
2Time will tell whether Islamism in Turkey will bring prosperity or failure [141 words]PrashantApr 22, 2011 01:15184371
Dear [270 words]janApr 24, 2011 04:20184371
3Islamists in Turkey [114 words]PrashantApr 26, 2011 03:47184371
2I urge our dear Jan to leave islam and IRHAL (get lost) from England part deux [153 words]dhimmi no moreApr 26, 2011 07:44184371
1Islamism as a Tool of Erdogan's Will Bring Failure in Turkey [184 words]MarianApr 29, 2011 01:24184371
Khilafat and Muslim Ummah [25 words]Carlos de SouzaMay 25, 2011 07:46184371
Muslim murder Muslims more than any other force worldwids. [8 words]aspaciaJun 10, 2011 13:18184371
3atatürk and akp [400 words]havasApr 17, 2011 03:29184348
1Turkey runs true to color [24 words]Frank LukeApr 15, 2011 15:00184292
1Erdogan's Turkey [166 words]Jay1Apr 14, 2011 20:53184260
response to your "Ambitious Turkey" article [309 words]Prof. A. S. ArgonApr 13, 2011 12:30184225
3Turkey [208 words]Joe Six-PackApr 16, 2011 10:06184225
Read both sides [89 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 09:20184225
Related Articles [17 words]Emile TubianaApr 13, 2011 08:23184219
Dear Dr. Pipes [393 words]Debanjan BanerjeeApr 12, 2011 21:23184201
9Turkey is a tragedy. [293 words]batya daganApr 12, 2011 17:27184187
Ahmet Davutoglu has explicitily stated that the Qaddafi family must abdicate their power. [2 words]somaApr 12, 2011 13:35184186
The Smell of Smoke in Turkey [338 words]M. ToveyApr 12, 2011 13:04184184
6Turkey is a good country [19 words]SephardiApr 12, 2011 18:18184184
1Turkey at the Crossroads - Again [627 words]M. ToveyApr 14, 2011 12:37184184
3Reponse to Turkey at the Crossroads- Again [413 words]SephardiApr 15, 2011 18:45184184
1catholic priests [13 words]BulanikApr 22, 2011 16:27184184
Prophecies should be left in place of worship. [41 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 10:12184184
Turkey nonhostile? [39 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 10:15184184
Shephardi is living in Oz [11 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 10:20184184
Spiritual (Such as Prophetical) Things are Not Confined to Buildings Called Church [747 words]M. ToveyJun 13, 2011 12:03184184
An Indepenent Turkey Remains to be Seen [478 words]M. ToveyJun 14, 2011 16:00184184
1YAWN! [155 words]aspaciaJun 14, 2011 17:23184184
Oh Well - At Least You Knew the Words at One Time [161 words]M.ToveyJun 15, 2011 18:38184184
4Turkey [104 words]aliApr 12, 2011 11:48184181
5Turkey [31 words]HerzelianApr 13, 2011 18:56184181
turkey [169 words]aliApr 14, 2011 05:29184181
4Perceptions of Inequities- Gaza does Not Present the Best Intentions Turkey Can Offer [164 words]M. ToveyApr 14, 2011 17:01184181
Kurds [44 words]BulanikApr 22, 2011 16:46184181
Turkey is not friendly with Israel [6 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 10:22184181
2ali is antiJewish [50 words]aspaciaJun 11, 2011 10:27184181
4The Khaliphate arises again [115 words]yuvalApr 12, 2011 08:54184174
1Khaliphates Hold No Special Power over the Power of Israel's Almighty God [199 words]M. ToveyApr 12, 2011 18:51184174
4No place to run and hide. [39 words]batya daganApr 12, 2011 23:42184174

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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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