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To Ankara, Havas & Zacharia - TX for a sign of life

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: Thank you Mr. Zala for your detailed and accurate analysis

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Dec 19, 2010 at 09:09

Thanks, Dr. Pipes, for the reference to the article, in which on yet another dimension you outline, how Turkish politics under Erdogan have changed the landscape and how anti-Western and anti-American sentiments are on the rise - something Mr. Havas's response evidently symptomizes.

Your conclusion, that Turkey has thus become an unreliable partner of NATO , seems admittedly justified.
(At least, as long, as Turkey is governed by Islamists of the Erdogan line).

The artlcle however does not answer my actual questions, going forward. Is Tukey a lost case (such as Iran)? Is Erdogan thus entrenched, that the direction for Turkey as a nation can no longer be reversed? Will (shall) Europe passively observe, how Turkey becomes an islamist nation with the same irrational policy, as Iran?

Well, Mr.s Havas, Ankara and Zacharias, while I appreciate you showing "presence" in this debate, and I also acknowledge the harsh verbal attacks in this forum, the pressure you must feel from all sides, even your own, the ball is nevertheless in your court.

While I during my travels throughout the middle east usually used my Swiss passeport, I never felt compelled to do so, when visiting Turkey, where I always used my American passeport. As foreign observer, I see a clear difference between life on mainstreet Istanbul and for instance Tehran or Riad, where I at all times was compelled to look over my shoulder, avoid certain locations and sit with my back to the wall in any coffeehouse. I made my arguments in terms of a comparison between Iran and Turkey on many levels and dimensions. I felt that the virus of democracy has taken hold, even though it may be threatened at present by a government, which is in fact fiercely ant-western and eroding the principles of your great thinker, Attaturk.

I invite you now as "normal" citizens of Turkey to confirm or rebuke me. Just tune out the fanatics here, ignore their sarcasm and hatred, as they do not represent the average person in neither Europe not America, but please respond to the concerns I voiced in a more moderate and respectful tone, as those - you must be aware of this by now - are shared by an increasingly larger demography throughout the west.

I would like to know, how the average person in Turkey perceives the direction the country takes under Erdogan. How you see the danger of Islamism for your own nation. If indeed, as presented by me earlier, there are valid arguments to be made for "Moderate" Islam stemming precisely from your nation. If you yourselves understand the urgent need for reform of Islam, based upon which a possible solution to Islamist Terror can arise. Is Kemalism really dead in Turkey?

From Minarets in Switzerland, the Burquas in France, Sharia Law in the Uk to "multi-kulti" is dead in Germany and the heated debate about the Mosque at Ground Zero in NY... finally growing anti-Turk sentiments in Austria, if you consume the news from all these and more countries in the West, you must have come to the realization, that a groing number of people of my cultural background and of my own mindset are (rightfully) alarmed and in fear.

Radical opinions of the likes of DnM may well become the mainstream. 100,000 innocent deaths plus another 80,000 massively injured in terror attacks, committed in the name of Allah, during only the last 10 years is unacceptable. You must simply see, that there is a fundamental, intrinsic and acute problem with Islam, as it exists today. Too much smoke, not to acknowledge some fire.

It would take serious courage to, as a muslim, speak out against your own fringe and promote reform. But, as Dr. Pipes correctly concludes, a solution to radical Islam can only come from within Islam., can never be forced upon you from the outside.

What makes Islam so rigid, prevents its followers from questioning and improving the dogma? Where is your theological authority, willing to revisit the notion of Djihaad and finally end that abysmal interpretation, which justifies so much misery across the globe?

The discussion I would like to have with you openly and not just by direct e-mail exchange, in spite of the roar of the mob, is not about various historical justifications, stories of imperialism, genozides invadors, occupations and wars of the past, but of a present situation and problems, looking forward. Those problems and the violence are clearly presented by fundamentalists of the Muslim kind almost every single day. There is evidently no terrorism of Judeo-Christian origin at present, we don't know any Taliban or irrational regime of the likes of Iran. So, why is the muslim world seemingly incapable, some would say unwilling, to address this problem with a vengeance?

You simply must by now have come to see that it is us, being under attack by people stemming from your religious background, and not the other way around. As it was Saddam, causing the invasion by his irrational, brutal massmurdering actions, so it was the fanaticism of the Taliban and his allies from Al Kaeda, causing the engagement in Afghanistan.

Both engagements, being portrayed by islamist propaganda as "imperialism", must be seen as actions committed in self-defense.

The first eliminated an aggressive regime, bent on destabilizing a region the entire West is depending upon for its energy supply, the second is geared to prevent a potential nuclear conflict on the Asian subcontinent, hence must again be seen as self-defense against the chaos Muslim fundamentalists are trying to export to Pakistan, gushing oil on the fire of a pre-existing historical fire between Muslims and Hindus.

Your problem has become ours. The solution must come from you. Can you appreciate this notion?

Speak up. Right here and right now. Help me and others like me justifyig my trust in the sanity of the Turkish people. Hoping that you will elaborate on your own positions, perhaps grant us some insight into life in Turkey from a Turkish perspective, I thank you in advance for the courage to do so.


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