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Turkey's geography, history and today's situation

Reader comment on item: NATO's Turkey Challenge

Submitted by Michael S, Apr 19, 2018 at 06:24

Hello, Daniel

You brought up the question of NATO's role in the modern world, and Turkey's connection to it. NATO has been, from its inception, not an alliance AGAINST Communism, as much as it has been an alliance to PROTECT "Western Values". It continues today, in its best moments, in that capacity. As you pointed out, Turkey once shared Western values, and threw in its lot with us to protect them. Now, it no longer shares our values.

Some maps might help the reader to understand what, exactly, IS "The West". First, we have a map of the countries that European citizens can easily travel to:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/Visa_requirements_for_the_European_Union_citizens.png/800px-Visa_requirements_for_the_European_Union_citizens.png

Interestingly, the US and Turkey are both only marginally connected to Europe. Looking at this from a US perspective, we have:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/Visa_requirements_for_United_States_citizens.png/800px-Visa_requirements_for_United_States_citizens.png

This shows the EU and US to be a little closer to each other, and Turkey again somewhat marginalized. A map of where UK citizens can easily travel, completes the picture of NATO countries that are de facto close to one another:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Visa_requirements_for_British_citizens.png/800px-Visa_requirements_for_British_citizens.png

Again, notice that Turkey is sort of slipping away. Now, who is NATO protecting its own AGAINST? To make a long story short, look at this map:

https://i.stack.imgur.com/Ll7Fg.png

The colored areas are countries subject to the Great Khan in the 13th Century. They include China, Iran, and much of Russia... oh, and much of Turkey as well. A look at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization lat year, gives the same feel:

https://www.cfr.org/content/publications/SCO-Map-New-Members.jpg

Again, Russia and China are the main areas, along with Central Asia and, again, with Turkey on the margin. The modern-day SCO certainly isn't a Mongol league; but the two groups, separated by some 800 years of history, share the same geography.

In the long term, it's geography that dictates which way a country will go. Turkey has been a part of NATO; but it's been a PERIPHERAL part of NATO. It's also a peripheral part of the SCO and, for that matter, of the Middle East.

The counterpart to the "Mongol" half of the world, what I would call the "Great LAND Empire", is the "Great SEA Empire", aka the West. We claim to be held together by shared values; and indeed, we do share some values; but moslty, we are held together by commerce, and the lifeblood of our commerce is control of the high seas. The West consists of North and South America, Western Europe, Israel, Japan & S. Korea, Taiwan, Australia and a few countries here and there; and it is the US Navy that links us all together.

Turkey has been dancing between the idea of being "Western", "Eastern" and "Middle Eastern". Under Erdogan, it seems to be feeling its oats and thinking of itself as a fourth great bloc, a revived Ottoman Empire. Ezekiel 38-39 talks about a time, during the latter years (now) when Israel has returned to its homeland and is prospering, when it will attack Israel. WHY will it do this? Mostly geography, helped along by human nature and Erdogan (God)'s big head.

Nothing should be really surprizing in all this. HR McMaster seems to have gotten it right on this matter, in his gut feeling.

Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

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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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