Axis of Evil: Now with Turkey!!!

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's difficult to plow through the many layers of rank idiocy in the assertion that Turkey is "lost to the Islamists"; I can identify at least a few...

  1. The insinuation that the oppression of the Kurds was launched by AKP, rather than by the secular Turkish Army.
  2. The odd definition of "democracy" that includes occasional military interventions into the democratic process, and the serial abuse of human rights.
  3. The idea that Turkish observance of human rights has gotten worse over the past eight years, contrary to all evidence.
  4. The idea that the AKP government is somehow unique in its reluctance to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide (it is, notably, unique in pursuing good relations with Armenia).
  5. The idea that "treating political prisoners humanely and canceling the death penalty" is contrary to liberal democracy.
  6. The idea that the strength of the AKP is primarily the result of the behavior of US Presidents.
  7. The notion that support of the Iraq invasion constitutes a sufficient test for residence in the civilized West.

It's fair to say that no one, and I mean no one, who has bothered to study Turkey for longer than a day would entertain any of these arguments; indeed, the last three are prima facie absurd even for someone who had never heard of a country called "Turkey."

But my biggest question is this: If you believed this garbage, what policy would you recommend? Would you try to kick Turkey out of NATO? Would you suspend US arms sales to Turkey, and US military exercises with Turkey? Would you cut ambassadorial level contact with Turkey (after all, if Turkey really is Iran, then they might invade our embassy any day now)? Would you call for an invasion of Turkey (I'm sure that the secular military leadership would greet American and Israeli troops with rose petals...)? Because the thing is, if Turkey is "lost to Islam," then we're not talking about Turkey moving into Iran's arms, or Turkey becoming part of Iran's axis; Turkey becomes the hub. Turkish military and economic power dwarf Iranian, and I suspect that if Ankara wished to go nuclear, it could do so in very short order. This is rather the problem with making support of Operation Cast Lead the fundamental metric of support for the survival of the Israeli state; you throw out the bathwater, then the baby, then the cat, and then somebody else's baby.

Here's the problem: Beating the bejeezus out of Gaza, whatever merits it may have had for Israeli security, also had costs. People, even in relatively friendly states, didn't think that the operation was sensible, or that it was conducted in a civilized manner. Endless bullying on the Goldstone Report won't change that fact. Support for every aspect of Israeli policy does not constitute the central divide between Western and Islamic civilization; Operation Cast Lead was just as unpopular in Europe as it was in Turkey, and Turkey's recent exclusion of Israel from military maneuvers only highlights the fact that Turkey has maintained a closer military relationship with Israel than just about any European country. Moreover, there's a reason why the Israeli leadership is unwilling to go as far as Caroline Glick in calling Turkey out; they are, by and large, far more concerned than she with the survival of the Israeli state.


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