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Was Turkey ever part of the West, Daniel?

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Leaving the West?

Submitted by Nikephoros (United States), Feb 20, 2013 at 01:02

There is an interesting talk by the Greek Turkologist, Neoklis Sarris online. In it, he explains that the Turkish modernization/Westernization was spurred because Turks perceived that the revolting Greeks beat them because they were considered European and thus garnered the support of Western powers. So the Turks according to him made what shallow efforts at modernization they have made so far, only to appear European. One example: Ataturk decreed the hat as the official headdress, but did not change the menality of the head underneath. Even that little they did to obtain the benefit of Western support, and not because they wanted "the thing in itself" which is to be European.

Now it is no different. I used to remember Turkey being the most or one of the most pro-American nations in the world. Yet now it is the most anti-American. Why? Because Turks cannot perceive that Kurds or should we say "Turks of Kurdish origin" don't like the way they are treated under the racist Turkish regime and want to transform totally Turkish state from its ultra-nationalist mold or even cede from it. The Turkish concept of devlet, which we translate as a state is something most Westerners cannot fathom. Sarris pointed in one of his Tomes programs that the Turkish state dictates opinions for the populace to adopt and that even Turkish civil society is totally dominated by the state. Even abroad in Europe, most Turkish colonist's lives are controlled by Diyanet mosques, Turkey based cultural organizations, etc. So now that it appears like to most Turks that they will eventually lose a part of "their country" to Kurdish aspirations, the party is over in regards to their Western orientation. They cannot perceive why wronged Kurds would revolt in a liberation struggle, instead using their devlet concept they can only understand that some imperial power is trying to split "buyuk Turkiye", since they cannot account in their mental model that Turkish Kurds could be independent, stateless actors. In the Turkish mind, "Turks of Kurdish origin" can only support the Turkish state or be genocided by it. Lately they have been very suspicious of the USA and Israel, since they cannot take any self blame or understand why despite American support, Kurds still want to revolt from their heavy handed rule.

In a 2006 interview, former CIA deputy chief in Turkey from 1986-89, Philip Giraldi stated:

Turks were very aggressive in a counter-intelligence sense.... Embassy officers who were known or suspected to be CIA were surveilled whenever they went out, had their phones tapped, and their apartments were bugged.My apartment had microphones in the table lamps, for example, and everything I said on the phone was taped and analyzed. I was routinely surveilled when I went out to lunch, sometimes by teams of as many as one dozen surveillants using cars and radios. ... I certainly know that the [American-Turkish] relationship is regarded as cool and that the Turks are extremely mistrustful of the United States, primarily due to our failure to suppress PKK activity in northern Iraq. ... You must be aware of the fact that the so-called "friendly" relationship between the two countries[Israel and Turkey] is very narrowly focused. It is largely the Turkish Army's General Staff that keeps the relationship going, because it provides access to US military assistance and weapons that would otherwise be embargoed.
The Turkish public and the government, on the other hand, are rather ambivalent, if not hostile, to the relationship.

The hagiography of Turkey as a staunch Western ally and good Cold Warrior is something that the Turkish side insisted on, since the Turkish devlet is used to dictating how history is interpreted and researched to the Turkish public and civic society, so they expected the same deferment from the Occident. However, now that Turkey is a frenemy transitioning to an enemy, it behooves us to abandon this and critically examine what Turkey was and what it will continue to be, a bandit state.


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