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Benefit or liability? Response to Werner.

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Going Islamist?
in response to reader comment: Erdogans gamble

Submitted by David (United States), Jun 9, 2005 at 23:20

I think the US relation with Turkey as it was ended quite a few years ago, and the polite posturing is just a vestigial echo. Turkey is more of a liability than a benefit in the strategic sense for the US and that is why Erdogan got a polite handshake and nothing else whatsoever.

Frankly it has nothing/little to do with his Islamist background, Turkey's military leaders visiting Washington have been getting a very cold shoulder for two years.

I have to disagree with commenter "Werner" below. He has his facts wrong. Islamacism is in fact RAPIDLY spreading precisely in the cities. When "Werner" says "urban Turkey is modern and carefree," he must be talking about the few blocks around the international hotels. Istanbul has now grown to 15 million (my company used to handle a lot of business related to that growth and I have been going to Turkey for 20 years). The "urban"population is in fact squalid and a hotbed of dissatisfaction with Kemelism, secularism and anti-clericism.

Turkey's trade with the Islamic and Arab world has been rising and is now a huge hunk of their relations. Trade with Europe in the important sectors such as textiles is in permanent decline.

As far as positive influence by Turkish communities in countries like Germany, that is a fallacy. These communities are split with the assimilated part of the the younger generation completely detached from Turkey and having no influence or concern, and other groups of young people who are unsuccessful (and to a much higher degree than the general German population - permanently unemployed) who are very Islamist precisley because of their failure to succeed and resulting humiliation living in an EU country. Don't forget the most vitriolic of the Sept 11 hijackers were educated Moslems living in Europe.

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