Whither Turkey

I’ve been a bit pre-occupied this week but have spent part of today trying to catch up to the Turkish situation. I think Fareed Zakaria makes the best case scenario that this is essentially a collision of two backlashes. The first was against the extremely secular government that Turkey had for a long time (veils were forbidden in public places, for example). The second is response to Erdogan’s rather authoritarian approach to bring more Islam into the public space and the natural fears that this will lead to fundamentalism.

I’m not sure how this will play out but I’m more optimistic about this than I was about the Arab Spring. For one thing, Turkey already has an established democracy and a secular society. There isn’t really anything like the Muslim Brotherhood to step in and start to assert true Islamism.

Still, it’s critical that we keep an eye on what’s going on. Turkey is our most critical ally in the region (non-Israel division). What happens in Turkey is far more important than what happens in Syria, Libya or Egypt.

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  1. Mississippi Yankee

    I’m not sure how this will play out but I’m more optimistic about this than I was about the Arab Spring. For one thing, Turkey already has an established democracy and a secular society. There isn’t really anything like the Muslim Brotherhood to step in and start to assert true Islamism.

    Hal I truly believe that if you were to get a more European view of what’s been happening in Turkey (as opposed to the Newsweek/CNN view) you might come to a little bit different conclusion. English speaking papers throughout eastern (and western) Europe have been warning of Erdogan’s fundamentalist drift right along with his clampdown on individual liberty.

    And although Turkey is at the crossroads of the Middle East it is also a NATO country. The ramifications of a power grab by top officials, however incremental, will be profound.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    I do worry that the Erdogan government has been drifting that way. They’ve been instituting alcohol bans in a country that basically has no alcoholism. and so on.

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  3. hist_ed

    Turkey is our most critical ally in the region.

    Uhhh, I’d call Turkey a distant second to Israel. Not really sure Turkey is an ally right now.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    I do worry that the Erdogan government has been drifting that way.

    By the time the topless beaches have gone it’s already too late… Egypt has fallen.

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    I’m shocked that anyone actually thought Fareed Zakaria had the slightest clue as to what he was talking about.

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  6. HARLEY

    Im sure that the current Administration will try to ignore this like they did the uprisnings in Iran, tell the protesters go back home or some shit.This drift to the fundamentalist side has been coming for the last few years. It was a year or so ago they cut off all their military co-operation, and joint avation programs.

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