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Saving Turkey -- Saving Western Civilization?

Reader comment on item: Erdoğan's Decade as Prime Minister of Turkey

Submitted by GWK (United States), Mar 14, 2013 at 13:47

As the European Baby Bust unfolds into its 3rd generation (it's been 60 years since Europe's Baby Boom began to burst, and every one of Europe's annual cohort of newborns since 1964 has been smaller than the preceding year's cohort), the likelihood that Europe will survive another 100 years as a stalwart of Western Civilization is appearing grimmer and grimmer.

It was just 330 years ago (September 12, 1683) when the Ottoman Turks were defeated at Vienna and the decline of the Ottoman Empire began. For centuries after the misguided Western European Crusaders sacked and mortally weakened the militarily non-threatening cosmopolis of Constantinople, Western Europe allowed a new threat to press against its borders from Asia Minor. The Siege of Vienna in 1529 led by Suleiman the Magnificent, was the first of several attempts by the Ottomans to capture the city of Vienna, Austria and thereby dominate the heart of Western Europe. Yet, despite the defeat of the Ottomans 300+ years ago, the British and French decided to abet fundamentalist Arab reactionaries under the tutelage of Sheik Abdullah ibn Wahab to further weaken the power and wealth of the Ottoman Turks. (Thus began the House of Saud and the 1st time that Ottoman power over post-Crusades Mecca and influence over the rest of the Muslim world began to wane.)

In retrospect, it is amazing to reflect on the flashback that has resulted from Europe's historic pattern of opting to support theological Muslim extremists instead of mercantilist Muslim moderates. Sure, the Aramco treaties allied the House of Saud and Western financial interests, but the House of Saud annually invests a substantial portion of its oil proceeds into undermining theological interests that are moderate, and into its promotion of Wahabist (or as they prefer to call it, "Salafist") Islam.

As a historical aside, in the 1950s when it seemed that the Post WW2 Middle East was likely to opt for a politically nationalistic or socialistic path, Western strategists overtly decided to support Islamist forces within the region to challenge secular politicians who might shift the Middle East away from Western financial preferences. Again, what was the US National Security Council thinking??

The path that diminished the threat of Arab nationalism of the 1950s to eventually see the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Al Qaida in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Islamic Republic of Iran has not been a straight line, and the path from 18th C British support for Arabia's Sheik Wahab over the Ottoman Turks has not been directly responsible for the rise of global Islamism today. But certain linkages are clear.

IMHO, as Europe's Generations X and Y and Millenials begin to assume the reins of their survival and destiny, they have to take a stand for Western Civilization's 2,400 year old values … democracy, freedom of thought, speech and culture. Instead of opting to support those who endow the expansion of "shariah" and the spread of repressive theology, they need to make a choice between oil with a venomous after-bite, and supporting theologically moderate systems across the burgeoning Muslim world that promote freedoms for the Muslim World's women and educated liberals. If the West's successors to the Baby Boom cannot do this, then Western liberalism and values are all but doomed. As the good book says, "We reap what we sow."

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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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