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Islamic Turkey as a better US ally against communism than secular Turkey

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Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Aug 24, 2010 at 09:37

Hi, Grand Infidel of Kaffiristan !

Let me add one more comment about the early stages of what we are witnessing in Turkey. Heyde was not the first to see through either the bluff or wishful thinking or both standing behind Kemalism. In 1955 French scholar Marcel Colombe published a very interesting article "Turkey and Islam" in "Revue française de science politique". I am going to quote a few passages from it. Having described all the officially advertised reforms by Ghazi Kemal he writes :

" [...]courts of law were sometimes put into operation against the obstinate opponents. But very quickly silence fell over the country and one could believe that through the iron will of Mustafa Kemal Islam had been definitively eradicated from the political and social life of the Turkish people. But was it really so? Facts seem to prove that nothing was further from truth than that.

First of all , it must be noted that even during the lifetime of Ataturk religion served as a criterion to distinguish between various ethnic elements constituting the nation; it allowed the Turks to dintinguish themselves from the old non-Moslem subjects of the Ottoman Empire that owing to the new legislation became citizens of the republic. On the other hand a few years after the death of Kemal the first symptoms of the awakening of Islam became evident. ..."

The author describes the opposition against publishing in Turkish in 1940 "The encyclopaedia of Islam" written by European orientalists and harshly criticized by Arab scholars as "distorting the true face of Islam". The Turkish friends of "true Islam" managed to publish their own "Türk Islam ansikopedisi".

Colombe continues :

"But it is especially after WWII that these Islamic tendencies became numerous. Here and there one could hear voices demanding the restoration of Islamic instruction at schools. All Turks who remained attached to their faith supported the idea which even some extreme nationalists also defended seeing in it the only instrument to fight "the leftist tendencies" of a part of the public opinion in Turkey. On 2.01.1947 after a long press debate the question was discussed in the parliament on the initiative of one deputy. [...] the government [...]was quick enough to make concessions and these concessions encouraged all the hidden tendencies of popular Islam to surface . On many occasions the press reported the reappearances of hijab in certain towns of Anatolia. On the other hand, despite the official ban, calls for prayer were recited in Arabic from the minarets and they could be heard even in the Grand National Assembly where on 4.02. 1949 during a plenary session two imams who took seat in the rows reserved for the public recited these calls for prayer in Arabic loudly . Both belonged to a religious brotehrhood. They were at once arrested and one of them made the following confession which hardly needs a further comment : " The society is rotten because morals and religions have been weakened. If a man has faith he needs no education and no culture. Allah gives him all the abilities and satisfies all his needs. The day when faith is reborn in this country all will be reborn."

At that moment religious brotehrhoods which had been banned re-assumed their more or less clandestine activities. In Ankara and in other cities leaflets were circulating . The population was invited to " destroy the satues and put an end to the era of idols , to shut down cinemas, theatres, and at the end to stop bringing wreaths and flowers for funerals." This propaganda brought results and starting from February 1951 statues and busts of Ataturk erected at city centres were overthrown, disfigured and crushed during the night . In was in this troubled atmosphere that on 22.11.1952 one famous journalist - Ahmad Emin Yalman , from the newspapaer Vatan - accused of being the enemy of Islam was attacked and wounded in Malatya by a young acolyte of a secret Moslem brotherhood.

This excitement didn't fail to find its expression in the Grand National Assembly either where a handful of deputies motivated either by their zeal or the desire to please their electorate didn't hestitate to demand the abolition of most reforms of the preceding period. Beginning from 1950 and especially before the general elections and since the takeover by the Democratic Party , many laws had been proposed with this objective in mind. Some deputies demanded one should come back to the 1924 Constitution which declared Islam to be the official religion of state and obliged the deputies and president of the republic to take their oath on the Quran. Others demanded that one should cancel the Latin alphabet on behalf of the Arabic alphabet and that all the neologisms in recent official documents be replaced by old respectable Arabic or Persian words. One deputy demanded that Friday should become again a day of rest so that the faithful could perform their prayers. In lycées one demanded the restoration of teaching Arabic on the same level as teaching Western languages. There were no projects and ideas, including the re-introduction of shariah in civil matters and replacing the hat with the fez, which didn't have their advocates . Never before had the desire of certain Turks been expressed with so much clarity and force to obliterate with a single stroke of a pen all the "damnable innovations" introduced by Kamal Ataturk ."

Having described how in this atmosphere concessions to Islam were introduced through the backdoor Colombe notes a very interesting thing :

"On could even argue that all these concessions were compatible with the gidelines given to Ankara by the 'Anglo-American advisors'. One can't reject this conjecture a priori . We have to remember that exactly at the moment Islamic instruction at schools was re-introduced Turkey was desperately fighting "the leftist tendencies" . However, one can reasonably suppose that this policy itself is not without dangers and may well lead to results which hardly correspond to the dreams of its pormoters".

Russian scholar D.E. Eremeyev is even more definite in his judgement. Writing about the same counter-reforms in Turkey he remarks :

"During those years Pan-Islamists became active again because creation of military blocs like the Baghdad Pact , later CENTO , had as its clear rationale "the defense of Islam against the communists". Panislamists demanded the return to the Arabic alphabet , to the old vocabulary (instead of Ataturkish newspeak -I. ) [...] in general they wanted to eliminate the borderline that emerged between Turkey and other Moslem countries as a result of Ataturk's reforms. They argued that the return to the Islamic ideals in Turkey would give her an opportunity to play anew the role of the 'sword of Islam' in the East and will create potent moral foundations for the common struggle against communist ideology. " (E.D. Eremeyev , The ethnic genesis of the Turks , Moscow 1971 , p.212-213 )

In other words ,1000 years of Islam in Turkey and the animal desire of the Turk to be Moslem cost what it may is not the whole explanation for the phenomenon. For strategic reasons this tendency to restore Islam in Turkey was seen with approval by the US which had assumed the role of Turkey's protector as early as 1947. As plans and moves were made in the 1950-ies to ally Turkey with such Moslem states as Pakistan, Iraq and Iran and less successfully with the other Arab states to form a broad Middle Eastern alliance against communism Islam had to play primamry role. A non-Moslem Turkey would have been an obstacle , a liability in the regional war game against communism while gradually re-Islamized Turkey promised many global advantages. For the same reason during that time the US even revived Pan-Turkic ideas in Turkey to serve as a useful tool to destabilize the Soviet Central Asiatic republics.

Submitting....

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