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Militarist Turkey - a generous customers in the West

Reader comment on item: Crisis in Turkey
in response to reader comment: Turkish people

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Mar 7, 2010 at 16:11

Baran wrote :

> ... So, according to Daniel Pipes Turkish people do not know what's good for them , do not understand the concept of democracy, what's best for the nation and only the generals know it all. The generals who spend virtually all of their adult life perfecting the art and science of killing fellow human beings know when Turkish democracy has gone awry and have the duty to negate, to override the will of the people by toppling the duly elected governments.<

Well, you have to bear in mind that in Turkey words don't exactly mean what they mean west of Turkey. A country which knows no freedom of speech is a very unlikely place to be called a 'democracy'. So, whether it is ruled by the unelected generals or by the duly elected imams ( Erdogan is an imam by the way), it will never be a democracy in our sense but a more or less efficient Oriental police state concerned first of all with controlling what people say and think.

> ... Kemalism has been and remains chief obstacle to the development of genuine western style democracy in Turkey and to Turkey's joining Europe. <

I am afraid that you're both right and wrong here, my friend. You're right because indeed Kemalism has become a barren tedious medieval dogma in Turkey like Islam which it opposes. True, it is a bit more progressive than Islam but as every dogma it hinders free thinking and precludes any freedom of speech and so eventually loses any potential advantage it might have. Anyway, if you said in Turkey what you write here, you'd be jailed for 3 years.

The reason I say you're not quite right is that Turkey has ALWAYS been a third-world police state. Kemal's methods to crush dissent didn't differ so much from Sultan Abdul Hamid's methods to achieve the same result. And you know what was beore Abdul Hamid, don't you? In terms of efficiency Kemal proved of course a more successful tyrant.

But to have a genuine Western democracy you need Westerners , i.e. a 1000 year old culture with Reformation, Enlightenement, Rationalism , Individualism, Freedom of Thought and Speech and not a 99,8% Moslem monoculture with traditions of obscurantism, militarism, contempft for the individual, state worship, honour killings, abject conformism as in Turkey. Islam(=submission) and freedom are mutually exclusive and without freedom you can have no genuine democracy. What you can have in Turkey is what you can see now - a parody of Western institutions clamped by an Oriental straitjacket.

> Gen Mustafa Kemal -later Ataturk- did not believe in democracy, locked up all opposition leaders and then turned a multi-party political system into a single-party "republic". <

As far as I remember , he appointed all these leaders and told them to play the role of opposition in his "parliament". They did and were hanged for it. Ghazi Kemal wanted to have appearances of modernity and parliamentary rule but preferred to live in the more comfortable realities of despotism. They suited his despotic character perfectly well.

> As he failed to produce any children to succeed him the new country became a de facto republic. He was no different from Saddam Hussein, Gen Franco of Spain or Joseph Stalin.<


> Turkish generals continue to invoke his name and legacy to preserve and protect their status as "untouchables", prerogatives and privileges. It is understandable that they will try very hard -and even enlist the services of people like Daniel Pipes-to preserve status quo. <

As you correctly notice, there is too much at stake in terms of prerogatives and privileges (first of all hefty wages and pensions ) to give them up without a fight and an outcry.

> The interesting question is why... side with gangs of generals! There has to be a good reason for it, that's for sure.<

Well, in my opinion the Kemalist pashas are not just geneorously paid. They are also generous and appreciated customers of leading Western arms companies. Profitable business relations have been maintained for so many years after all between both. Imagine - the second biggest NATO army that produces hardly anything of importance at home and buys most of its weapons and equipment abroad - mainly in the USA ! Could you afford or risk losing such a customer ? It is a nightmare for too many influential people in the West, I am sure.


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