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A recipe for the survival of secular government in Turkey

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March

Submitted by James Vesce (United States), May 8, 2007 at 17:34

At this point, it may take the fragmentation of Iraq, and an incursion by the Turkish military into Kurdistan, to preserve secular government in Turkey. Here's why this may be the case, though I don't claim to be an expert like Dr. Pipes.

Erdogan, the Prime Minister, and Gul, the Foreign Minister, are both Islamists. Islamist ideology has spread to 15%, possibly 20% of the population of Turkey in recent years. The Islamist influence in the Turkish government prevented us from staging our military in Turkey when we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq following 9-11, though it had been less powerful the first time we went into Iraq and so we were allowed to stage our military in Turkey during the presidency of George H. W. Bush.

The EU is Islamized in its foreign relations due to the political economics of oil and of immigrant Muslim populations in Europe, and discourages the Turkish military from protecting secularist government in Turkey (the EU doesn't want to alienate Iran or Saudi Arabia, major Islamist trading partners who could turn off the oil supply if antagonzed). In the past, the Turkish military is where the people have turned to for protection from Islamist influences, but that was before Islamists were so powerfully represented in government and in the population, and that was before Europe was so Islamized in its relations with Turkey. Economic stability in Turkey is currently seen as having come from the Islamists in government, particularly during the last handful of years, and from positive relations with with an Islamized EU.

If Iraq fragments, and a separatist Kurdish territory is invaded and claimed by the Turkish military, it could put the secularist military in control of oil-rich land that Turkey has had a frustrated claim to since the end of WW I. Economic prosperity could be seen as springing from the military. Violent attacks into Turkey by the Kurds, which continue every year with increasing energy and frequency, would be seen by the people as having been quelled by their military. The military would be seen as bringing oil to the table in Turkey's efforts to bargain their way into the EU. The EU would then have an opportunity for trading with a non-Islamist oil partner in the Middle East, one who was powerful enough to not be intimidated by Iran or Saudi Arabia, and the EU would have less reason to criticize the Turkish military in fluence in the Turkish government.

Iran, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are all watching for such a move by Turkey, aware of Turkey's frustrated claim, which they have anticipated since the partitioning of the Middle East at the end of WW I, but which has been forgotten by most Europeans and Americans.

So I ask, Dr. Pipes, is any of this convincing?


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