Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald revisits the question of Turkey’s entry into the European Union:
Cartoon rage in Turkey has been relatively muted. That does not and should not obscure, however, the fact that Turkey represents a civilization fundamentally different from that of the Europeans, and that its bid to join the E.U. should be resolutely resisted.
It is not true, not anymore, that the most farseeing Americans in the American government, or on its fringes, still think that the official line — United States wants Turkey in the E.U. — is meant, whatever public pronouncements are still made in Washington that repeat the old formulas. Like light that arrives from a distant star even after that star has been extinguished, policy is often made on the basis of previous considerations.
Turkey was much more important to the United States during the Cold War than it is today. Islam was always seen as a “bulwark against Communism.” Turkey dutifully enrolled itself in the campaign against the Soviet Union, not only or not mainly because of hatred of Communism, but because it was in so doing helping to checkmate its oldest enemy, Russia, and in the process, acquiring enormous benefits as a member of NATO. Turkish troops went off to fight bravely during the Korean War, and managed to find time to convert South Koreans to Islam (there are now 50,000 such Muslim tokens of Turkish self-esteem). Turkey was a place for airbases and listening posts. The generals in Ankara were so modern, so forward-looking, so much “our kind” — even more “our kind” than the Terry-Thomas mustachioed generals in Pakistan. And of course unlike the Pakistani version, the Turkish defense establishment was, indeed, secular, and the preserver of the Kemalist legacy and the Cult of Ataturk.
Turkey’s usefulness after the Cold War was to continue the mixture as before, to serve as a staging base for American military operations in the Middle East, and as a “staunch ally” against a new enemy. But that enemy now consisted, clearly, of fellow Muslim regimes. As the Iraq War has shown, Turkey has not exactly met expectations, naive as they were, and believed in as they were by people of influence. Some of those — Richard Perle for example — served as agents of Turkish interests, and still are promoting the idea that there is nothing to worry about with Erdogan. It is not an accident that so many of the miscalculations having to do with Iraq, were based on a misunderstanding of the power and pull of Islam.
But it is dawning on many, perhaps even in Washington, that Ataturk’s constraints on Islam were not permanent. Nor would it be wise ever to take them for granted, even if the kind of Turks we like were to hold firm power. Anyone from tycoons to writers to generals are likely to be the secularist kind, who for their own good reasons would like Turkey in the E.U. in order to dilute the Islamic menace within Turkey. They also want this possibly so that these beneficiaries of Kemalism who did not work to expand it nearly enough, or to suppress the Islam that keeps bubbling up from below, to make their own lives thereby easier.
Islam remains the permanent defining feature of Turkey. At best it is only containable, despite the creation of a class — possibly 1/4 of the population — that can be described as secular, and of a mythology about Ataturk and the “Turk people” that serves as a substitute for the masses of the alternative mythology and system of worship provided by Islam. Better that Ataturk be worshipped than Muhammad, though none of us need subscribe to its other features, includinng the claim that the “Turks” were present in Anatolia since the time of the Hittites and were the real source of everything good there, including the Byzantine Empire, which of course had nothing to do with either the Seljuk or the Ottoman Turks.
But Islam has proven its durability. After 80 years of official Kemalism, backed up by the army and the entire class of enlightened Turks, the canonical and immutable texts of Islam have survived the pressure from that particular despotic Ataturkian will. If after the creation of a large class of beneficiaries of its systematic constraints on Islam, if after 80 years of the carefully-cultivated Cult of Ataturk, nonetheless an Erdogan can arise and enjoy so much support, it is very telling. And that support has been demonstrated in so many ways, including the vicious nonsense from a leading Turkish figure about the American soldiers behaving “worse than Nazis” in Iraq, and the popularity of a Turkish reprint of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and the latest Turkish hit movie, with American soldiers behaving like those fiendish Nazis and American Jewish doctors who remove organs from Abu Ghraib prisoners to sell on the market in “New York.” That is what is going on. It is insufficiently remarked in Washington but not, one suspects, in certain European capitals.
By now it is clear, even possibly to Condoleeza Rice and to Richard Perle, that Turkey cannot be taken for granted as being permanently secularist. And that Europe should not be asked to take a chance on Turkey because the Americans are too inarticulate, timid, or unable to understand that there are threats other than the purely military kind. There is the Da’wa threat, and the demographic threat, both felt far more keenly in Europe. Many European countries, it is true, have allowed Muslim interests to cunningly plan on the pre-existing mental conditions of antisemitism and anti-Americanism to split Europe from the United States, its natural civilizational ally.
But as Europe weakens, the current American administration, so preoccupied with the tarbaby of Iraq, is now treating the bravest Europeans — the upholders of their own rights in the face of Muslim aggression and bullying — with contumely. It was disgusting for the slightest disapproval of those cartoons to be shown. It was a matter of Danes freely exercising their right of free speech. If any further comment was to have been made, it ought to have been directed at those making death threats and burning down embassies and creating forged cartoons to whip up mobs still further — and that should have been it.
In the same way, it is now the American government that appears, at least formally, to be trying to force the Europeans to accept Turkey. The American government cannot face the idea, cannot deal with the idea, that Islam itself — not “extremists” or “Wahhabists” — is a permanent problem for all non-Muslims, and that expanding the role of Muslims and of Islam within Europe is not a good but a terrible idea. Nor can it accept that admitting Turkey will not tame Islam. It will not somehow create that fictional “European Islam” that keeps being mentioned by Tariq Ramadan without any explanation of what understandings of Islam could possibly be derived from the same immutable, canonical texts that are read in Ramallah and Rawalpindi and Riyadh, being read by Muslims in Rome or Rotterdam or Rotherhithe or Rheims.
Any expansion of Islam within Europe is not a good idea for Europe or for North America or for Infidels anywhere, from Australia and Thailand and India to the southern Sudan and southern Nigeria, to Brazil and Argentina. It would lead, inevitably, to greater turmoil and tension within Europe for its indigenous Infidels, to their demoralization, and to their temptation to embrace, as the only means to save themselves, local Fascists. And this temptation will grow if the respectable parties do not embrace and articulate a defense of Europe and its values, or what were thought until recently to be its unshakeable values, as against the threat of Islam, with its completely different view of the individual, of the role of religion, of the rights guaranteed to individuals as opposed to the sinister collective, the umma, and of the division of the world between Believer and Infidel that is so central to Islam.
Refusing to recognize and to articulate the problem will merely lead to the slow-motion (or perhaps speeded-up) destruction of the cradle and center of Western civilization — Western Europe. In what sense could American civilization or the West survive if, for example, Italy were to be islamized and taken over by Muslims? What would this mean for all of us?
Yet Bush and Rice moved heaven and earth last year to ensure that Turkey’s application for admission would not be stopped. Bush even called Karamanlis to insist that Greece vote “the right way.” Perle and others were called in to make Erdogan appear to be a “moderate” leader, and the siren-song that “there is nothing wrong with Islam, it’s just those extremists” was employed yet again to force the Europeans to accept Turkey.
It should be clear that the inclusion of Turkey in the E.U would lead to further mosques and madrasas in Europe, further concessions to Muslims (which we shall soon see in the wake of the cartoon controversy) and easier migration of Arabs, through the entry-port of Turkey, into the EU. Once into one country, Arab and other Muslim immigrants cannot be stopped at any other borders. They will be able to move freely, live more easily, anywhere in the E.U. that they want, as will Turks. And not all of those Turks will be reminiscent of Orhan Pamuk or Halil Inalcik.
Do not, at this point, blame the United States entirely, whether or not Turkey is allowed in. The indigenous forces of appeasement within Europe are very strong. The American government has shown in the past that it has little power of persuasion over the E.U. bureaucracy, to which it is antipathetic. And in any case that bureaucracy has been at the center of Europe’s appeasement of Arabs and Muslims. Some of that bureaucracy’s former members are now spread out: Prodi is running in Italy, and Chris Patten has quite undeservedly been made the plummy “Chancellor” of Oxford. The American government includes more of those who now realize that Houston, we have a problem, and that problem that will not go away happens to be rooted in the nature of Islam and not merely in these “extremists” we keep hearing about: rooted in the texts that Believers read, hear, recite, repeat. The problem is not to be cured by jobs or by ending poverty (there is not that much poverty in Saudi Arabia), nor by “reaching out” to Muslims and telling them endlessly how much we admire them, how wonderful they are, how sorry we are ever to have tolerated any criticism of Islam within our own countries, by our own citizens, and how we will do our best to suppress such criticism — because it can only get in the way of that great and natural “dialogue of civilizations” in which we place our hopes.
Instead, that problem of the Jihad, of the menace of those who think, as Muslims are taught to think, that “Islam must dominate and is not to be dominated” is much more likely to be reduced to manageable proportions insofar as Muslims themselves will be put on notice and never allowed to forget that the Infidel world now and from now on understands what the matter with Islam is, and is accordingly permanently wary and alert. The Infidel world should put Muslim states on notice that it will no longer permit unrestricted immigration, will no longer allow the delivery of major weaponry (not merely WMD, but anything beyond jeeps and rifles), and will deny access to Western medical care, education, and so on, to citizens of any state that does not clearly and definitively renounce the jihad in word and in deed. But the idea that any Muslim state would actually do so is a fantasy.
Still, only thus will a sufficient number of Muslims, alarmed at the state of their own lands, realize that the game as before cannot continue. Only then may little Ataturks arise here and there, and perhaps along with them some “reformers” (which is the name that will be given to them, though they are more aptly to be called “constrainers” on Islam). Constraining the political role of Islam with Muslim countries is part of the appropriate response, but only part.
The surest way to create the conditions for this is the very reverse of the received wisdom. Do not help the Muslim countries. Do not increase the contacts with them. Do not risk American lives to “rebuild” a country such as Iraq, but leave it now to its own devices — neither lives, nor money, nor attention, should be further lavished in such a misallocation of resources when there is a worldwide problem to be dealt with. That problem is best dealt with by letting the obvious political, economic, moral, and intellectual failures of Islam become obvious to all, not least to thinking Muslims, who will be disturbed into action if they can no longer count on sending their children, or themselves, to the West.
We must stop rescuing, subsidizing, protecting the Islamic world in the vain hope that this somehow will change the nature of Islam. Not at all. It will continue to permit the continued health of the jihad against us, and the continued demographic conquest, accompanied by a kind of intellectual conquest as Europe throws over its own history, its own past, and substitutes a made-in-Cairo version of that past, of Europe. That must end. And to that end, one must start somewhere. Refusing to hasten the transformation of Europe — that is, refusing to admit Turkey into the E.U., and along with Turkey all sorts of other Muslim immigrants as well, is that start.