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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

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Friday, August 3, 2007

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“Moderate” Turkey and Regional Power

Turkey Courts Islamic Power

by Ferdinand III

One does not have to be an expert on Turkish Affairs to appreciate some obvious facts related to the recently held Turkish Elections. These observations run counter to the usual euphoria and fawning over Turkey’s supposed moderation. Turkey is a deeply Islamic state; intensely rural and agricultural; and has designs on playing a leading role in Islamic and Middle-Eastern affairs. It is not European, not much of an ally, and certainly not western-oriented.

Turkey’s “Natural Governing Party”, the AKP, won the recent election on two key issues-Embracing Islamic ideals and economic growth. A benign view of the AKP’s win holds that Turkey’s economic growth and progressive liberalization will align its political and trade goals with that of Europe and the USA. The AKP, seen as largely honest stewards of Turkey’s modernization, and guarantors of rising living standards, will embrace the ideas of secularism and European standards, in order to promote stability and political advantage. In this scenario the AKP’s acceptance of Islamic rules and conduct into hitherto secular areas of Turkish life is largely symbolic and has more to do with buying the rural vote, then with any real desire to roll back the secular state. So state Western Turkophiles and their biased media supporters. Here is another scenario which is far less sanguine, in its interpretation.

Turkey, as the rump remnant of the Ottoman Empire, was established by Atarturk in 1922, to be a secular state opposed to Islamic culture. Atarturk and Turkey’s ruling elite knew that Muslim culture would retard Turkey’s modernization. Indeed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire was brought about in part by a slow 400-year collapse in all areas of socio-economic and military affairs, thanks to Islam. For Atarturk, only a western-styled reformation could cleave Turkey from the Ottoman failure and ensure a separation of mosque and state- the vital premise and basis of any program of modernization. That legacy is now being eroded and called into question.

Western apologists for Turkey, who trumpet its “moderation” forget three facts, Turkey is firstly a rural and agriculturally based economy. Second, Turkey aspires to play a greater role in near Eastern and Islamic Affairs. Third, with the collapse of Soviet Russia, and Russian aspirations to control the Bosporus (which forced Turkey to embrace NATO and the USA), Turkey feels more capable in mixing Pro-EV policies with decidedly neutral or even belligerent actions in the long war with radical Islam.

Turkey’s population of 88 million is still 60% rural. There are of course clear differences between the urban centers and the hinterland. Muslims in rural areas tend to be less well educated, more devout, conservative, and indifferent to Europe. The educated urban class appears to be softly pro-Europe, more liberal and more interested in consumer and material Westernization. Yet the balance of political power, as the recent elections proved is shifting from Atarturk’s urban secularism, (protected by the military), to the country. The Turkish army, long the arbiter of power, appease to the decidedly nervous. A rough but true calculus is that as Turkey’s military’s influence wanes, so does Islamist power wax.

Economically, Turkey is still largely agricultural with high debt levels, low productivity, and a pre-capita income, 1/3 of that of Europe. Istanbul and Izmir might be centers of finance, trade and modernity but the rest of the country is not. GDP growth is on balance at 7% P.A., with a rising share of foreign investment. This is of course a positive. But what if Turkey’s increasingly wealthy economy only fuels, a la Russia, a rise in nationalism? What if greater prosperity leads only to more Turkish assertiveness?

This is one good reason why (amongst many), that Turkey should not be allowed in the EU. Why should EU taxpayers finance a non-European State, so it can posture more effectively and enhance its power more securely, within the Islamic world? Turkey is not a bridge to the Muslim world. It is a part of the Muslim world. With the rise of Turkish nationalism, and the demands that Islamic culture and Sharia Law play a more prominent role in Turkish life, the West can expect Turkey to be less of an ally, and more of an obstacle.

The road from Atarturk secularism, to Turkish Islamic nationalism is in the long view of history, inevitable. Atarturk had embraced European liberal ideas, for Turkey to reform itself and survive. As Turkey accretes economic strength, builds it wealth through trade and investment and sees its population surge to over 100 million by 2020; it is not whimsical to expect that calls to rebuild the caliphate; overtly support Islamic ideals; and politically protect Turkic language brethren in Central Asia, and Muslim “Brothers” in the near abroad; will dominate Turkish politics.

Contrary to Turko-phile apologia, the AKP’s recent victory is confirmation that the long path from a “European” Turkey, to an Islamic Turkey is alive and well and barring a military coup in combination with a secular party impervious to Islamic demands which can form a stable government, inevitable.

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