Turkey Goes Bad

Steven Den Beste analyzes
the fallout of Turkey’s refusal to allow US troops to attack from Turkish territory
. It’s clear that whatever sweetheart deal the Turks have been given by United States in exchange for cooperation has now gone down the drain.

Turkey has always been a relatively unstable democracy. Den Beste wonders if we won’t see another series of military interventions by the Turkish military, similar to other incidents in Turkish history. The ruling AKP leans further to the Islamic end than most in the Turkish military would like, and worries over the potential for Northern Iraq to break away into an independent Kurdish state are likely to be foremost on the minds of Turkish military planners.

Either way, this spells the downfall of the AKP in Turkish politics. The US is no longer going to bend over backwards to provide aid to Turkey, and will no longer support Turkish entry into the EU. The US can use its influence to make it clear that the IMF will not bail the Turks out when their economy goes south, which will only lead to more popular revolt against the AKP. The worst-case outcome in all of this is the rise of a more stringently Islamic party – an event which would quickly result in the same kind of military intervention that occurred in the early 80’s. At best, the AKP will quickly fade away, and a more open and accomodating party will take their place. In the meantime, however, it appears as though this choice will have some strong negative consequences for Ankara.

6 thoughts on “Turkey Goes Bad

  1. The sad thing is that Dan Beste’s imperialist article is probably right. George W. and co.’s single issue foreign policy has us climbing in bed with corrupt xenophobes and stamping out relationships with true democrats.

    The AK Party was the best thing that happened to Turkey. Bulent Ecevit and the former Centre Left Coalition had proved themselves to incompatent bureucrats more interested in self-preservation of the party then of the nation. Ecevit was also the man in charge in the 70’s when Turkey liberated North Cyprus.

    Tayyip Erdogan is a man of charisma, charachter, and vision, who probably was the only leader in the last decade of Turkish politics with the vision to begin to eliminate the Millitary’s overinfluence in the government. Entry to the EU should depend on qualifications, and not on support for US millitary policy. But in Bush’s one dimensional foreign policy the latter has become the reality.

    I do think in the end Turkey will reconsider because they want a share a of the say in how Iraq is divided. The Kurdish issue will trump the will of 94% of the people. They like us have faced terrorism, suicide bombers, and have watched non-demcrats try to change their way of life.

    But in the end I urge all you conservatives to remember one thing Turkey is a DEMOCRACY!! It is not the best democracy, still has a lot of work to be done, and is not at EU standards, but its politicians are accountable its people. In democracies (unlike nations like Saudi Arabia who helped us in the first gulf war) politicians are ACCOUNTABLE to the constituents. Looks like the American love of democracy has just come back to bite us in the ass. I bet Washington wishes they had some corrupt despot in Ankara that they could manipulate to capitulate to American demands. Sadly sometimes democracy and american foreign policy are not always on the same page!!

    But who cares about Turkey?? We have Bulgaria on our side!! Yeah.. there is a nation with a long history for respect for pluralism and for freedom. But as long as they kiss our ass they become “new europe” while those are don’t are “old europe” or in this case “not in europe.”

    Anyone who still wonders why we are hated worldwide deserves a labotomy!!

  2. The Kurds were set to get screwed over AGAIN with Turkey on board–maybe they’ll get a homeland, though I doubt it. But I think their chances are better than with Turkey.

  3. I think a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq is not viable. We have seen the PUK and KDP fighting it out. There are many Kurds in Turkey who have no desire for their own state. I talked at length with 2 kurdish men in Dublin who dispelled the myth that all Kurds want independance. Any Kurdish state would likely be very poor, politically run by warlord factions such as PUK and KDP or the Turkish based Kurdish terror groups PKK and Hezbollah. A new democratic pluralistic Iraq with its mixture of Shi’ite and Sunni Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Yezidis , and Assyrians might offer the Kurds the best chance. In similiar fasion you see the Turkish government lightening some of the laws on Kurdish broadcasting and such and are moving to slowly promote the language. The best future for Kurds does not lie with a Kurdistan.

  4. I agree with Justin on the point about Kurdistan, it’s simply a dream that would quickly degenerate into a nightmare. Nationalist movements such as the Kurdish movement exist more as romantic ideals than as anything that could produce a prosperous and free state.

    Where I disagree is in the point about "new Europe". Whatever the history of states such as Bulgaria, they are now states that represent the future of Europe. The growth rates and political freedoms of many former Soviet-bloc nations are expanding each and every day. In terms of picking allies, forming an early alliance with Eastern Europe is the wisest choice we can make.

    The AKP’s Islamist ties are exceptionally worrying. The role of the military in Turkish politics has often been that of the savior of democracy. As recently as 1980’s military takeovers have resulted in quick restoration of democracy in Turkey. (This may seem entirely counter-intuitive to Americans, but this is a tradition in Turkey that reaches all the way back to the formation of modern Turkey by Ataturk in 1922.) Given the choice between a period of military rule followed by democratic restoration and the AKP leading Turkey into Islamic theocracy, I’d chose the former in a heartbeat.

  5. Quick response here: Islamist does not equal bad. Erdogan is NOT leading Turkey into theocracy. He is actually more willing to pass reforms needed to enter the EU than Ecevit was. This includes human rights abuses, the excessive role of the millitary, kurdish cultural rights, etc.. I’ll tell you what. I would rather have a democratic government that is willing to meet Western standards even if it had a bit of Islamic tint than a government that is secular but is unwilling to reform and cowtows to the millitary. Secular fundamentalism is dangerous… and Turkey’s secular regimes have often times been very repressive not only to Muslims, but to Christians and Jews. Moderate Islamism trumps a glorified version of Fascism anyday, and sadly I think Turkey was headed in that direction.

  6. I want to retract the above statment. I was 19 years old when I wrote this. I had never been to Turkey at this point in my life. I was simply judging out of ignorance and biased western media coverage. You can see how silly and stupid this post is just by looking at how I linked Bulent Ecevit, a social democrat and left winger, with so-called fascism. I also retract the idea that Turkey’s secular regimes treated Christians and Jews badly, that is nonsense. Once again, I was a young 19 year old kid when I wrote this and this is before I had a balanced idea of what Turkey was about. Turkey turned out to be 100% right not to follow the foolish invasion of Iraq. The above statment reflected the naivety I had back then, and not my feelings now. I don’t know whether to laugh at myself or hold my head in shame for this posting.

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