Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald explains why Rumsfeld, Rice and Co. ought to be making serious plans about Turkey now:
For half a century Bernard Lewis has written, and more recently has given advice, on the assumption that Kemalism has worked. By Kemalism, of course, I mean, and Lewis means, the series of measures that together were intended by Kemal Pasha, or Ataturk, to systematically deprive Islam in Turkey of much of its political and social influence. In some ways it has indeed worked. Possibly as much as one-quarter of Turkey’s population was able to become secular. But those secular Turks were not sufficiently grateful nor sufficiently vigilant. And they were willing to limit, like liberals in the Western, Infidel lands, the power of the army. But secularists in Turkey could not afford to be like liberals in the Infidel lands. They were dealing with Islam — quite a different matter.
Some of those secularists have begun to retreat from that secularism and have begun to rediscover wondrous Islam, in rally-round-the-Qur’an fashion. Others (see Mustafa Akyol) have tried to present seemingly plausible (to them) but utterly cockamamie ideas about how to “reform” Islam. Akyol thinks that all one has to do is throw out the Hadith and Muhammad’s biography, and then that inoffensive Qur’an will turn those threatening Muslims into the non-threatening Muslims that they were back in — oh, back in 680 or 700 A.D., before the Hadith, and before that biography of Muhammad.
Bernard Lewis thought that Kemalism was permanent. He turned out to be wrong. He was too impressed with those westernized Turks he met, those fellow Ottomanists. He kept mistaking the exceptions for the rule. The Bush Administration did the same in Iraq, taking such unrepresentative men as Chalabi and Allawi and Kanan Makiya and all the others who had spent between 20 and 45 years abroad as “representative” of the “Iraqi” population.
The Cold War also helped in the miscomprehension of Turkey. Those Turkish generals in Ankara, and those brave Turkish soldiers in the Korean War, and those listening posts and airbases, so useful in the Cold war — well, they gave many in Washington the wrong idea. They did not understand Islam in any case, except as a “bulwark against Communism” (which it was, but it was also a “bulwark” against liberal democracy, against the Bill of Rights, against the rights and wellbeing of Infidels everywhere). They did not understand that Kemalism could not possibly be permanent, because Islam was, and Islam is. It can be tied down, as Ataturk wanted to tie it down, but constant vigilance is required to see that it does not escape from its box — as it has so obviously under Erdogan the sly.
Nor did it help when some in Washington, just a few years ago, were registered foreign agents and lobbyists for Turkey. The Turkey they were lobbyists for was already on the way to becoming a phantom. Now Turkey is full of blockbuster movies that depict American soldiers in Iraq as Nazis (or as one leading Turkish parliamentarian said, “worse than Nazis”), and a Jewish doctor as a Mengele-like figure, harvesting organs of dead Iraqis. And then there is the best-selling status of Mein Kampf in Turkey, and so much else.
Foreign policy must be made not on the basis of what Turkey was, or at least was becoming, but on the basis of what it is, and what it is becoming. It cannot be allowed into the E.U. The secularists in Turkey of course would like Turkey to be admitted, so that their own problem with the Islamic parties would be diluted and (they calculate), by such entry, would become the problem of all Infidels in Europe. They will have to prepare themselves mentally for that rejection. And then they must plan to use it to strengthen themselves and not Islam.
How to do this? Blame Islam, blame the “Arab” Muslims, blame the “other kind” of Muslim, blame Erdogan and his own antics. And make sure that the masses, the primitive masses who might otherwise be devout Muslims, will learn to blame too much Islam, and the “image problem” of Islam caused by the behavior of all those too-devout (and especially non-Turkish) Muslims, for that rejection. In other words, begin planning now to use it, for it will happen, to weaken the Jihad — and not to increase Muslim resentment of Europe as a “Christian club,” as Erdogan and company will try to do. This is nonsense, of course. The only religion-based club is the O.I.C., and Turkey shows no signs of quitting that.
Turkey today is not what it was in 1980 or 1960. It is not to be trusted by the Infidel world. In NATO, when secret meetings take place to discuss worries about local Muslims rising in the army and security services, or possibly getting their hands on political power and therefore on NATO weaponry, there will have to be discussions without Turks present.
How will this be done? Perhaps it is time to begin thinking of finding a way to ease Turkey out of NATO. Erdogan’s clear sympathies, and his behavior, should provide all the justification that is needed.
These matters have to be discussed now — not in five years. Rumsfeld and Company owe it to our future safety to start thinking about this deep within the Pentagon and the State Department, before a change in the political party running things prevents such discussions and new ways of looking at things from even being contemplated. Such a political change, if it occurs, can be blamed on the refusal of this obstinate administration to recognize that Iraq is a tarbaby, from which the Americans should come unstuck right now, using any excuse for leaving. For the Light Unto the Muslim Nations project (by which a Shi’a-ruled Iraq was somehow going to become a model for Sunni Arab states) is a dreamy idea both too over-reaching and at the same time too timid (for it pretends that Good or Bad Government in the Muslim world, and not the belief-system of Islam, should be the focus of Infidel policy); never again should Infidels attempt to prevent, as the Americans have been attempting to do in Iraq, sectarian and ethnic divisions within the Camp of Islam. And plan ahead: plan, for example, not to be surprised when Turkey is rejected by the E.U., and how to use that rejection to promote resentment against Islam, rather than letting the Erdogans use it to promote resentment of those Infidels in Europe, which he so wildly misdescribes as that “Christian club.”