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Turkey chooses a new side?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
The United States' position in the Middle East may have taken a turn for the worse, with very little press coverage here at home. There's been an apparent change in Turkey's position toward the U.S. and the west. For some years, Turkey has been an officially secular society and government. Turkey officially supported Western interests in the region. They're a member of NATO. They even had several treaties with Israel.

Recently Turkey has been leaning more and more toward an Islamic state and society. Recent elections have favored pro-Islamic state candidates. The government has had to make some concessions away from secularism. But there's still officially on good terms with the U.S. and the west, but that might only be skin-deep. Recently, Turkey sided openly with other Muslim states, including Syria and Iran, in the Israel - Palestinian confrontation in Gaza. And Turkey has been getting more and more friendly with those Islamic states, as evidenced by recent meetings between President Assad and Prime Minister Erdogan. An official shift in Turkey's position would be a devasting blow for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. U.S. military forces depend on Turkish support and Turkish facilities for operations in the area.

I don't know whether this is a consequence of Turkey's repeated rejections from the European Union, perhaps coupled with western support for Kurds, or maybe it was just inevitable that Turkey would return to its Islamic heritage. My opinion is that it was inevitable. Kemal Ataturk is long since dead and gone, and anybody left who was living while he was still in power were just little children at the time. His influence on Turkish thought has long been waning. And so it's no surprise that Islam, which has been the dominant religion in Turkey for centuries, would come seeping back to the surface. Maybe "bubbling" would be a better turn of words.

It doesn't look too good.

And that's not even taking into account Russia, who's been getting cozy with Iran. Things could get pretty interesting for our new President.

some background:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...as-and-turkey/
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/o...3677.asp?scr=1
http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/gost...63&yazarid=298 (scroll down to bottom)
http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_...&lang=eng_news
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/58...ast-peace.html
post #2 of 22
I guess I just dont see the problem. America is secular and we got religious people in the goverment and its not a problem.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Perhaps you missed the point where the U.S. depends on Turkey for its military operations in the Middle East. If Turkey were to revoke its support for U.S. military operations, it would have a huge impact on the flexibility. Turkey allows use of some of its airfields, for example. Even worse, consider the consequences if our military aircraft were denied permission to overfly Turkey. Turkey forms a natural corridor between Europe and the Middle East. Take away Turkey, and you take away the northern approaches to practically anywhere in the Middle East. Russia isn't going to allow our aircraft to transit through their airspace. You become dependent on the southern approaches, which is mostly Saudi Arabia. And they've grown noticeable cool to our military's use of their facilities as well. Turkey siding with Syria and Iran would be a huge setback from a geo-political standpoint.

And Turkey is friendly with Egypt. That would put pressure on Egypt to join the party. The U.S. isn't very popular in the Middle East. If we lose the support of Turkey, then Egypt could go; perhaps Saudi Arabia, then Pakistan. Then we pull out of Iraq and Iraq goes. Then those several thousand American lives lost in Iraq will all have been wasted. If they haven't been already. Look at the big picture.
post #4 of 22
It's certainly worrying, and I wonder whether this shift in position is a reflection of the power struggle between Erdogan and the AKP (Jstice and Development Party) on the one hand, and the secular Kemalists in the military and judiciary on the other? There have been attempts to ban the AKP and bar Erdogan and Gul from politics for five years. There have also been all sorts of rumors of planned military coups (not unknown in Turkey)., e.g., this past summer.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Perhaps you missed the point where the U.S. depends on Turkey for its military operations in the Middle East. If Turkey were to revoke its support for U.S. military operations, it would have a huge impact on the flexibility. Turkey allows use of some of its airfields, for example. Even worse, consider the consequences if our military aircraft were denied permission to overfly Turkey. Turkey forms a natural corridor between Europe and the Middle East. Take away Turkey, and you take away the northern approaches to practically anywhere in the Middle East. Russia isn't going to allow our aircraft to transit through their airspace. You become dependent on the southern approaches, which is mostly Saudi Arabia. And they've grown noticeable cool to our military's use of their facilities as well. Turkey siding with Syria and Iran would be a huge setback from a geo-political standpoint.

And Turkey is friendly with Egypt. That would put pressure on Egypt to join the party. The U.S. isn't very popular in the Middle East. If we lose the support of Turkey, then Egypt could go; perhaps Saudi Arabia, then Pakistan. Then we pull out of Iraq and Iraq goes. Then those several thousand American lives lost in Iraq will all have been wasted. If they haven't been already. Look at the big picture.

I didnt miss it I just dont see why people have to jump to the assumpton that voting in religious people will change a whole countrys goverment. People seem to get the idea that America is in trouble because they think its getting less religious but then turn around and say its bad because Turkey might be getting more religious.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I made no assumption in general that "voting in religious people" will change a country's whole government. But in the case of Turkey, that's exactly what will happen. I didn't make any link in my post with any change in the U.S., nor did I intend to. The change, in Turkey, as it affects the U.S., is in how it affects U.S. presence in the region. I have no idea where you came up with that other part.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleeko View Post
I didnt miss it I just dont see why people have to jump to the assumpton that voting in religious people will change a whole countrys goverment. People seem to get the idea that America is in trouble because they think its getting less religious but then turn around and say its bad because Turkey might be getting more religious.
The US is, thankfully, fairly well protected by the Constitution against religion gaining too much influence in government. That isn't the case with Turkey. But, any change of policy that might come about by the election of pro-islamic candidates can only be speculation at this point.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippymjp View Post
The US is, thankfully, fairly well protected by the Constitution against religion gaining too much influence in government. That isn't the case with Turkey. But, any change of policy that might come about by the election of pro-islamic candidates can only be speculation at this point.
You pretty much hit on my thoughts. The US isn't a theocracy like what you can find in places in the Middle-east and in some other parts of the world. Religion doesn't govern the US, when it does I'll find someplace else to live.

The basis for the US Constitution came from the Roman natural law, which in a nutshell states that people have certain rights the government can't take away. While Christianity and it's many sub-sects are the dominant form of religion in the United States and while some of our laws were based on the Ten Commandments (which isn't an original Jewish or Christian concept by the way) our country borrowed heavily on Roman (as did a good part of the Western World) and British law. Like the Roman Republic once was, we too are a republic, albeit one with a democratic form of government.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
I made no assumption in general that "voting in religious people" will change a country's whole government. But in the case of Turkey, that's exactly what will happen. I didn't make any link in my post with any change in the U.S., nor did I intend to. The change, in Turkey, as it affects the U.S., is in how it affects U.S. presence in the region. I have no idea where you came up with that other part.

But my statment was in general so I dont know why you took it so personal. These boards are full of posts by people what think American should be a Christian nation but then the same people think Muslim nations are bad just in general. I tried serching for the posts but like I get hundreds of pages of stuff so like it gets talked about all the time
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleeko View Post
But my statment was in general so I dont know why you took it so personal. These boards are full of posts by people what think American should be a Christian nation but then the same people think Muslim nations are bad just in general. I tried serching for the posts but like I get hundreds of pages of stuff so like it gets talked about all the time
Just look at it as the "Intramural Sports" of organized religion.

Cheerleading and double standards are just part of the game.
post #11 of 22
Looks like you called this a few days before the announcement, Tim.

http://www.ansamed.info/en/news/ME01.@AM65242.html

Turkish Prime Minster, Tayyip Erdogan said today that Israel should be banned from the United Nations for having ignored the request by the Security Council of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by neetanddave View Post
Looks like you called this a few days before the announcement, Tim.

http://www.ansamed.info/en/news/ME01.@AM65242.html

Turkish Prime Minster, Tayyip Erdogan said today that Israel should be banned from the United Nations for having ignored the request by the Security Council of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
For some reason I don't think Israel is intimidated by the U.N., I know I wouldn't be.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by neetanddave View Post
Looks like you called this a few days before the announcement, Tim.
Ha ha Don't give me any credit .... there was this guy, let's call him "Zeke" shall we, who called this a very long time ago.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Essayons89 View Post
For some reason I don't think Israel is intimidated by the U.N., I know I wouldn't be.
Nah, they already told them to take a hike last week, which was grand, IMO. Just showing that Turkey seems to be turning away like Tim said.
post #15 of 22
There's more information in Today's Zaman, a Turkish English-language daily:
Gül, Erdoğan lash out at Israel for ongoing Gaza assault Municipal elections will be held March 29, which might play a role in what AKP leaders are saying.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
The United States' position in the Middle East may have taken a turn for the worse, with very little press coverage here at home. There's been an apparent change in Turkey's position toward the U.S. and the west. For some years, Turkey has been an officially secular society and government. Turkey officially supported Western interests in the region. They're a member of NATO. They even had several treaties with Israel.

Recently Turkey has been leaning more and more toward an Islamic state and society. Recent elections have favored pro-Islamic state candidates. The government has had to make some concessions away from secularism. But there's still officially on good terms with the U.S. and the west, but that might only be skin-deep. Recently, Turkey sided openly with other Muslim states, including Syria and Iran, in the Israel - Palestinian confrontation in Gaza. And Turkey has been getting more and more friendly with those Islamic states, as evidenced by recent meetings between President Assad and Prime Minister Erdogan. An official shift in Turkey's position would be a devasting blow for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. U.S. military forces depend on Turkish support and Turkish facilities for operations in the area.

I don't know whether this is a consequence of Turkey's repeated rejections from the European Union, perhaps coupled with western support for Kurds, or maybe it was just inevitable that Turkey would return to its Islamic heritage. My opinion is that it was inevitable. Kemal Ataturk is long since dead and gone, and anybody left who was living while he was still in power were just little children at the time. His influence on Turkish thought has long been waning. And so it's no surprise that Islam, which has been the dominant religion in Turkey for centuries, would come seeping back to the surface. Maybe "bubbling" would be a better turn of words.

It doesn't look too good.

And that's not even taking into account Russia, who's been getting cozy with Iran. Things could get pretty interesting for our new President.

some background:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...as-and-turkey/
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/o...3677.asp?scr=1
http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/gost...63&yazarid=298 (scroll down to bottom)
http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_...&lang=eng_news
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/58...ast-peace.html
Tim - This has been coming for some time. I agree with you that it was probably inevitable. But we've been cozying up with Georgia and the Ukraine for some time: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...OTQ&refer=home

Laurie
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes, and Putin's getting irate about it. So, you suppose that's a factor in Turkey's turn away from Europe and toward the Middle East? Now, it's getting REALLY interesting, if you've been following this Zeke fella.
post #18 of 22
Hero’s Welcome for Turkish Leader After Davos Walkout

Quote:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey flew home Friday to a hero’s welcome from some Turks, and a more muted response from others, after walking off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, following an angry exchange over the Gaza war with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Mr. Erdogan’s decision to leave the debate Thursday had all the overtones of a diplomatic incident, ruffling relations between Israel and a Muslim ally that seeks an important role as a mediator in Middle East peace efforts.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'd guess that was his plan all along.
post #20 of 22
Israel doesn't seem to be all that concerned. They are still going through with selling Turkey high-tech weapon systems

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...sh.aspx/160069
post #21 of 22
Youd think if something was worth worring about Israel would be the ones doing the worrying
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
I found it interesting that Sec State Clinton was in Turkey recently, and announced a trip there by Pres. Obama. It sounds like we're going to try to patch things up and sway them to stick with us. Good move. We need friends in the region. I hope Obama can work some of his charismatic charm on them.
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