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Submitted by Metin Camcigil (United States), Mar 3, 2010 at 14:44

Dear Daniel Pipes,

Your article 'Crisis in Turkey' published in the National Review, about the developments in Turkey, is an excellent and clear analysis of the sad situation in Turkey. I am very thankful to you for this article, because Turkey is strategically important and economically potential country for the whole world. If you recall, in your address to the Ataturk Society of America at the Library of Congress on Feb. 15, 2003, you had advised "Moderate Islam is the solution, not no Islam. … You need to engage Islam". This was and still is the official policy of our government, which was developed by fear of militant Islam after 9/11.

Our officialdom in Washington does not seem to have registered Erdogan's (Turkish PM) numerous statements that "There is no moderate Islam; there is only Islam". It is true. Your accurate assessment of the direction taken by AKP in Turkey and by Gulen here in the US seems to be based on this truth. This is my reason for receiving your article with so much enthusiasm. I am very happy to see that in the interim years you gradually (I have been following your articles) came to the conclusion what the secularist Turks have been trying to explain all along: militant Islam has to be countered militarily; moderate Islam should not be allowed to enter politics. Was not this the idea of both Jefferson and Ataturk when they said there has to be a wall of separation between religion and politics? If democracy requires the military or the big money corporations to stay out of politics, why religion should not stay out? They are all big powers that can equally sway the public will. There is no way of countering moderate Islam with moderation. Because both the moderate and the militant Islam have the same objectives, only their means are different. One is obvious and brute, the other is conspicuous and conquering from within.

I wish to recall Erdogan's words that "Democracy is like a street car, you get off when you get to your destination"; and those of Gulen, "you will sneak into their bloodlines surreptitiously and patiently". The only way to counter moderate Islam is to keep it out. It is disheartening to see that our policy did not change even after the blunder of the CIA's "green crescent" that created the militant Taliban and "interfaith dialogue" Gulen movements. I hope we will not wait until the creeps in our bloodlines will invade our whole body. The religionists voice find welcoming ears, irreligionists' (secularists -in real sense, not as practiced; remember laicism?) is feared. That is why I can not publish this gratitude to you; I hope you will do me the favor.

Yours with many thanks,

Metin Camcigil
Fmr. President of the Ataturk Society of America


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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You and I agree. When I said "You need to engage Islam," I did not mean that the government should be moderately Islamic - no, I am a secularist. I meant that secularists need to address Islamic issues, not ignore them on the grounds that they are merely a pretext.

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