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Questions for Dr. Pipes - Going forward, what now? Your suggestions for a western strategy concerning Turkey?

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: from muslims point of view

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Dec 18, 2010 at 09:20

Dear Dr. Pipes,

As you can see in this particular heated debate about Turkey, we all agree about the current islamist trend under Erdogan. We all agree, that, if left unchecked, it may have grave consequences for the entire region.

Where we however disagree is, how to deal with Turks, Turkey as a Nation and its government. I myself am to the opinion, that Turkey is not yet a lost case, whereas most others bundle the Turks right in with the rest of the fanatic islamist bunch, promoting a harsh approach and preventing them from ever joining the EU.

What is your opinion, looking forward? How can the West contribute or exercise influence to reverse the trend? Does it make sense to alienate the possibly largest muslim minority in central Europe, or can they in fact be seen and treated differently? Does it make sense to acknowledge a specific Turkish complexity of the problem and approach them in a differentiated manner?

While I share with you a strong, rather uncompromising approach to Iran, do you see potential with Turkey to lean west (again)? Reading Havas'feedback, is not my hypothesis supported, that indiscriminate resentment, justified in the case of SA, SYR or Iran, may actually drive vast amounts of Turks into the welcoming hands of Islamists (further)?

You have suggested clear strategies, going forward in terms of Iran. What is the MO you would deem as constructive in our (American and European) diplomatic dealings with the Turks?

What can we, should we, as a people and as western govs do to keep Kemalism alive in Turkey? Win an ally, rather than lose the bridge-head in the upcoming war of cultrues to the muslim fundamentalist block and/or the Russians?

If you have touched upon that specific topic before, I will appreciate the corresponding reference with gratitude.

Respectfully,

Michel C. Zala

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I offered my thoughts about US policy toward Turkey at http://www.danielpipes.org/6269/does-turkey-still-belong-in-nato.

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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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