These days, we are somewhat wont to think of the Turks as friends of The West. What greater indication is there of their love of The West than their quite public desire to join us, via The European Union?
But there is more to Turkey’s relationship with The West than meets the eye. The state itself is very secular. The military, which essentially established the modern Republic of Turkey, is quite active in ousting Islamist governments or governments it thinks has not been secular enough. Even today, the Turkish military remains a very important and powerful part of the Turkish government. Compared to other Muslim states in the region, Turkey is very open-minded, liberal, and secular.
But, whether we or the Turkish military like it or not, Turkey has been going through an Islamization phase. This goes unsuppressed thanks, in part, to the fact that the current civilian government is from an Islamist party (although relatively Islamist, as it tries to keep more obvious Islamism under wraps or unimplemented so as to avoid being ousted by the military). This Islamization has become evident with the Turks’ reactions to the liberation of Iraq, to the cartoons incident, and to Pope Benedict XVI’s comments taken out of context. Indeed, regarding the last example, there was even expectations that the Pope would cancel his trip to Turkey out of concerns for his security. The Pope’s plans did not change, but the government of Turkey did downgrade the Pope’s visit from an official state visit on the Turkish government’s invitation to a private visit on the Ecumenical Patriarch’s invitation. (The Patriarch of Constantinople (based in the Fanar district of Istanbul, which was once Constantinople), as the Ecumenical Patriarch, is the figurehead of the Orthodox Christian communion, much like the Archbishop of Canterbury is of the Anglican Communion.)
In “Attack of the Cyber Jihazis” by Doctor Bulldog of Doctor Bulldog, Doctor Bulldog links to a webpage that had been hacked by Islamist “black hat” hackers. What I found interesting was that the non-English text was not in Arabic, which I expected, but in Turkish. (Tellingly, they wrote: “Akıncılar Was Here !” Whoever this Akıncılar is, it is quite active in hacking websites.)
Turks are becoming active in the Islamist world. We should not longer consider the Turks as our allies. The government may want to cooperate with The West, but it will only be a matter of time before the people will force the government to withdraw its support for The West and for Israel. Unless the Turkish military steps in, but now perhaps it is too late for the military to change the people, even if governments can be changed.
It was only some time ago when Europeans referred to Muslims as “Turks,” reflecting Europe’s primary Muslim enemy: the Turkish Ottoman caliphate. After the fall of the Ottoman sultanate, Turkey became the least Islamist, most secular state of Muslim states. This happy fact may soon no longer be true, and soon we will talk about Turks with the same tone of an adversary yet again. My only hope is that the average secular Turk will stamp out this rising Islamism before it threatens their way of life too. So much for “Yurtta barış, dünyada barış” (“Peace at home, peace in the world”), motto of founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.