Monday, October 25, 2010

Turkey's Aspirations

Turkey has had a most interesting history. It seems the country perplexes itself; it is uncertain whether it is Asian or European. Not surprising, since it straddles both Asia and Europe. Its European persona stresses secularism, while its Asian element clings to Islam. Who said never the twain shall meet?

It was once a powerhouse of Islamic presence in the world. From Turkey emanated the order and function of Islamic countries under the Ottoman Empire. Until it lost its power and prestige and succumbed to being regarded as a backwater, one that struggled with its heritage, and which conundrum was finally settled by Mustafa Ataturk who chose secularism over overt theism to guide his country.

Turkey increasingly, under the current government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, is investing itself in closer ties with its Muslim neighbours. Prime Minister Erdogan's Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a huge departure from the previously-secular-invested governments that evolved throughout the 20th Century with Turkey as a majority-Muslim country, but a parliamentary-secular one. Its military was always involved in seeing that it remained a secular country, true to the vision of Kamal Ataturk.

Much has changed since the gradual ascension to power in 2002 of the AKP, as Turkey has increasingly turned itself into an Islamist-governing country, although some elements of its former secular state have not yet been completely overturned. Its military, however, has undergone some hard times, with Prime Minister Erdogan's government claiming former high-ranking Turkish elite army officers were involved in a conspiracy to unseat him and return the country to full secular rule. Hundreds of army officers have been arrested. And the country is in the process of reducing the ranks of its military.

Formerly closely aligned with Europe, and intent on pursuing membership in the European Union (despite French and German disinclination to admit it), under Erdogan the country has ruptured its once-close ties with Israel, and fragmented its association with the United States in favour of renewing binding ties with Iran and Syria. In the process recognizing and supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in their incendiary war against Turkey's former ally, Israel. Where once the two countries, Turkey and Israel, held joint war games, Turkey now accuses Israel of 'genocidal' intentions against the Palestinians.

Turkey has full knowledge in its own background of what construes genocide, having committed that full-scale atrocity itself on its Armenian population in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Something which Turkey has always strenuously denied, despite evidence to the contrary. Turkey has also nurtured warm relations with Sudan and its president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, despite the latter's indictment for war crimes in Darfur. Prime Minister Erdogan claims to be more comfortable in the presence of mass murderer al-Bashir, than with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"A Muslim", Mr. Erdogan claimed, seriously, "can never commit genocide". In one fell swoop, declaring the innocence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Turkey's innocence. "It's not possible", insists Mr. Erdogan. Ask the Armenians, they will describe in excruciating detail just how it is possible. Speak to the Greeks, they too will attest to the cruelty and vicious behaviour of Turks, since both of them bitterly contest ownership of Cypress. Or speak to members of the Kurd community, anxious to finally have a homeland of their own, and in the process earning the brutal response of Turkey.

Germany's Chancellor recently bemoaned its large Turkish immigrant demographic that has not integrated into German society, remaining a thorn in the side of immigration-and-integration with a growing mood of black resentment in the German population. Not entirely the fault of the immigrant Turks; they were brought in as cheap labour. France is unequivocal in its dismissal of the 77-million Turks representing European culture and traditions, rather than Asian. And Turkey, after attempting for so many years to be accepted into the EU is frustrated beyond measure.

To the point where this increasingly Islamist country has taken to taunting the EU over its "Islamophobia". "If the EU wants to prove that it is not a Christian club ... then it should take the necessary measures to prevent the threat of rising Islamophobia throughout Europe", claimed Turkey's chief negotiator, minister for EU affairs. Absorbing Turkey within the EU will do precisely nothing to 'prevent the threat of rising Islamphobia'. It is the exacerbating lack of interest within Islam to combat ferociously blatant fanatical Islam resulting in violent jihad that causes aversion to Islam in the West.

The nomenclature of "Islamophobia" is an Islamic invention, a blunt sledgehammer of moral condemnation that the world of Islam uses to convince itself that the West is engaged in a war on Islam, when the truth is the reverse; fanatical Islam is at war with itself and with the West in its determination to mount an international terror war to result in a global Caliphate. And nowhere does Islam itself condemn this terror outright, and work to erase the dread disease from its midst.

Turkey, which bills itself as a potential "vital asset for the EU" as a bridge between Europe, the West and the Muslim world, is increasingly demonstrating to the discomfiture of the West, that it is not fit to bridge any 'gap', but is, on the other hand, investing itself in increasing the 'gap'. It cannot have matters both ways. Yet the country insists it can and will.

Just as militant, violent jihadis commit themselves to their irreversible course of action to mount a global terror war to benefit Islam, so too do Muslim authorities in government and academia and the mosque and madrases, encourage the warriors of Islam to mount their vengeance against a world prepared to advance without it.

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