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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
in response to reader comment: A recipe for the survival of secular government in Turkey

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), May 9, 2007 at 06:54

Dear James Vesce, you wrote :

> 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.

Real numbers can be much higher as thanks to the notorious Turkish police system many crucial data are never disclosed . So e.g. it's impossible to determine the percentage of shi'a Moslems in Turkey , as the statistics simply ceased in the 60-ties to mention them . Some estimate they are up to 20-30 % .

> 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.

True. Let's add also rabid antisemitism that is gaining ground in the Turkish "secular" hothouse. The 2003 bombing of a synagogue in Constantinople illustrates that trend fairly well.

> 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.

I agree.

> If Iraq fragments, and a separatist Kurdish territory is invaded and claimed by the Turkish military,

Yes , but this can be done if and only if America - who is the protector of the new Kuridsh state - gives a green light to the militarists in Ancara to invade . Had it not been for that little inconvenience the Turks would have long since wiped out and terrorised every Kurd in Iraq as they did at home . Now if America perseveres in its refusing to satisfy the Turkish wish , the militarists have something in their arsenal to use against America - Islam .

> 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.

Now , I have heard a different story. The Turkish military is essentially as Islamic as the Erdogan followers due to the simple fact that 98% of the population is Islamic and all soldiers are Moslems and both groups are momentarily colsely united by the same fundamental goal - the annihilation of the Kurdish "threat" with its centre in Suleymanya.

In view of some singular historical circumstances the appearances to the contrary - namely that the militarists for idealistic reasons oppose Islamists - must be preserved though . To deceive the West as to the true nature of the present shift of power in Turkey , a demonstration in favour of "secularism à la turque" has been staged by the militarists ... of course with tacit consent of the "Islamists". ( One can only wonder how many millions of Moslems would have attened a demonstration summoned by Ergodan if the militarists had allowed him to do that ? ) It is a good and potent means to scare - not to say blackmail - the West with a phanthom of Islamism in Turkey . It should show to the world that the militarists are as progressive and secular as the West wishes .

Now what do the militarists get as a result of such a demonstration beside Dr. Pipes' eulogy ? The message is simple - "unless you back us the secularists (=militarists) , you will have to deal with those bad Islamists . Choose !" But the militarists don't mean support for a coup d'etat . A coup d'etat is impracticable and counterproductive at the moment. They mean support for a Turkish military expedition against the de facto independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq which is a thron in the flesh of every Turk . I agree completely with you that oil is a major incentive too. It would more than pay the costs for a local genocide the Turks are so expert on carrying out and for bribing the media to belittle and deny the horrors of a Turkish invasion.

> 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?

Whatever Dr. Pipes' reaction , I find all you've written very convincing and very consistent with the well-documeneted history of traditional Turkish double-dealing and deception and with no less documented Western naivety and opportunism.


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