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An Implosion Down the Road?

Reader comment on item: Erdo─čan's Decade as Prime Minister of Turkey

Submitted by Ron Thompson (France), Mar 14, 2013 at 12:33

In recent historical reading - Guy Arnold's sweeping and impressive 1,000p Africa: A Modern History (2005), I am struck by the contrast between Erdogan's decade of driving Turkey away from the secular ideal of Ataturk, and the history of Algeria in the 1990's. At the time, one was tempted to deplore the Algerian army's decision to refuse to abide by the election which brought fervent Islamists to the brink of power. Although the country paid a terrible price - over 100,000 killed, most of them civilians - yet Algeria is certainly much less of a threat to the West because of that decision and quite probably its people are better off. The current Algerian leader Bouteflika has been in power a little longer than Erdogan, and I don't recall reading anything about him being an Islamist threat.

One wonders where the West, and in particular israel, would be if the Turkish army had followed the Algerian example, and stayed true to the message of Ataturk? It bears remembering, I think, that Ataturk was the only leader in 1400 years who tried to take a country out of Islam. I wonder if we'll ever see another?

Ron Thompson


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Yes, the mid-1990s were a terrible time in Algeria but things came out relatively decently.

That said, the country is ripe for an Islamist upheaval.

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