Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Losing Turkey

Jim Henley:
The mere fact that the government felt the need to create exemplary democracies in the Arab world acknowledges that its audience, elite and mass Arabs alike, aren’t sold on the virtues of the liberal state. What they now see in both cases are exemplary democracies failing the most basic tests of the nation-state: securing the borders and maintaining internal order. The Lebanese lesson is even more dire: American speech and action since Israel began retaliating for Hezbollah’s prisoner grab announces that democracy gains an Arab state exactly no leverage when Arab and Israeli interests collide.
Now, Newsweek:
Since the beginning of the year, attacks on Turkish military garrisons and police stations have esca-lated across the country's southeast, along with random shootings, bombings and protests—many of them, authorities suspect, organized in Iraq. Already the Turkish military has laid detailed plans for possible helicopter-and-commando assaults, government sources tell NEWSWEEK. Meanwhile, Ankara's frustration with Washington has grown palpable. For all the Bush administration's repeated promises to crack down on the PKK, little if anything has happened. With elections coming next year, Erdogan could be pardoned for soon concluding that his forbearance might prove politically dangerous. "Moderate, liberal people in Turkey are becoming increasingly anti-American," warns Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. "That isn't good."
Man, if I were Turkish I'd be just about ready to write off the whole western experiment. No amount of reforms has been sufficient to get Turkey in to the EU, while white countries are given the green light. Israel is allowed to bomb a fellow Muslim country in to the dark ages, but Turkey is told to hold its horses while Kurds attack Turkish soldiers from American-held Iraq. Meanwhile, the forces of Muslim fundamentalism get stronger in the country every day.

Fundamentally, we've sent the message to Turkey - and other Islamic countries - that we will not support you, even if you do everything right. And may Jesus help you if you do anything wrong.

So exactly when do we start caring about losing a strategically crucial ally?


Battlepanda said...

Right. We cannot dangle the carrot forever. At some point muslim states got to see the advantages of modernity and democracy. Not so much right now.

Anonymous said...

Well, fortunately, the Turkish "experiment" with western ideas began a long time before Bush II. So no need to throw in the towel. But I must admit, the emotions here have gone from wry amusement from a President who obviously feels he was mandated equally by God (and the American people) through exasperation to anger. The problem now is that anti-Bushism is slowly turning into anti-Americanism; fortunately, Bush doesn't have all that much time left in office. And since US policies in general have been more benign than could have been the case, I think things will work out. Emre