Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Turkey At A Crossroads

Turkey is undergoing yet another Rite of Passage. Torn between it's need for a secular government and legitimate European recognition and the fundamentalists in a nation that is 99% Muslim, Turkey has opted to side with its political allies and risk terrorism by its fanatical minority.

If you visit Turkey you will find that people are affable to Americans on one hand and extremely anti-American politically. This is the dichotomy of the Turk. They seem to have no problem with young people cheating you on the cost of a piece of bread yet will get upset if you happen to be holding a camera while you are cheated.

So the heads of the Turkish government have tried to split the difference, allowing the use of airbases but limiting the size of the American force that can use them, hoping this will assuage the Parliament that is overwhelmingly dominated by a party with Islamic ties. The Turks have not realized that the middle of the road is the worst place to drive.

They have a need to be part of Europe. A Muslim country as a part of Europe would be a coup for Muslim legitimacy but how will Turkey react to an overwhelmingly secular, even anti-religious EU? How will Turkey gestate the tens of thousands of pages of economic and social regulation that Europe thrives on?

The Turkish government looks to European hegemony as protection for the idea of separation of Church and State ... and it's a worthy goal, but the suspicion is there that they're only playing along until they get what they want, and then they'll side with Islam over Europe.

Article Here


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