Thursday, January 14, 2010

Turkey: Islamist proto-empire

'Turkey embraces role as Arab 'big brother'
By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS - After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in Ankara, many in the West referred to a new Turkish foreign policy called "neo-Ottomanism", suggesting a revival of the intellectual, political and social influence of the Ottoman Empire, which departed the scene 92 years ago.'

I can see what re-creating the Ottoman empire would do for the islamist rabble in power in Ankara, but what do the subject nations get?

When it existed in its first incarnation, the Ottoman empire existed simply for prestige purposes. The Ottoman overlords didn't build schools, infrastructure or industry- they didn't even build many mosques. They just parked in other peoples countries with enough troops to make sure they couldn't break away. The End.

How do you get political influence? Through military might. Turkey is a pipsqueak in comparison to Israel. If anybody should have influence in that part of the world it should be the latter. Intellectual influence? Really? What are the ideas? Join the new Ottoman empire- it is fun! The only ideas worthy of the name current in Turkey are islamist ones, especially revival of the Caliphate, which for hundreds of years was based in surprise surpise Istanbul. Fancy an islamist proto-empire on the south eastern border of Europe anybody?

'During the Israeli war of 2006, [Erdogan] firmly stood by the Lebanese, and in its immediate aftermath, sent 600 Turkish troops to take part in peacekeeping on the Lebanese-Israeli border by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Erdogan saw to it that $50 million worth of aid was given to reconstruct southern Lebanon, along with building 41 schools, five parks and a rehabilitation center worth $20 million.'

It appears that what neo-ottomanism means to Erdogan is the same thing that Pan-Arabism meant to Nasser- being top dog in the let's-destroy-Israel club. Turkey is already awash with both private and government-sponsored hate against Jews and Israel. Yay. Just what the world needs, another demagogue using Jew-baiting as a central plank of their foreign policy.

I would see this as at least the beginning of a re-orientation of Turkey away from the EU and secularism and towards the 'muslim world' and islamism. If that happens, it makes a war between islam and the rest of the world much likelier in the medium term. The following countries are already deeply infected with wahhabist/islamist ideas: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. If Turkey joins them, it can't be too long before the combination of self-deception, islamic emotionalism and over-confidence leads to an all-out effort by islamists to take over the whole region. That could easily lead to a Christian vs muslim war, with Christian Europe and US/Canada siding with Israel, against a regional coalition of Wahhabist/islamist countries.

I'm sure the islamists would like that. Islamic history is littered with these kinds of wars of conquest. I'm sure they would see it as 'glorious'. They wouldn't win, but it could be very messy.

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