Is Turkey the Next Islamic State?

Jesus said that “But, if he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that ‘on the evidence of two or three witnesses, every word may be put beyond dispute.'” (Matthew 18:16)  So it was with great interest that I saw two very different Asia Times Online writers opine that Turkey is working on becoming the next Islamic state:

The reasoning for this runs as follows.

First, Turkey is another one of those nations that came out of World War I, like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Iraq.  Ethnically diverse with no real unifiying national identity, the only way to hold such a thing together is with force.  Only the Czechs and Slovaks managed to have a “velvet divorce.”  Yugoslavia’s was written in blood.  Iraq and Turkey have been held together by force.  It remains to be seen whether Iraq will stay together after the Americans are gone.

Turkey was forcibly put together by its “father,” Kemal Ataturk, who created a secular state with a new “Turkish” identity.  Problem is that many in Turkey aren’t Turks, most notably the Kurds.  When sheer state force is loosened, people look for another common identity, and in the Middle East Islam is just about it, which is why Islamicists win elections there, to the befuddlement of our elites.

Second, the Saudis, Sunnis as they are, are always looking to counter the growing strength of Shi’ite Iran.  The two obvious ways to put the squeeze on Iran are from the East (Pakistan) and the West (Turkey.)  The Saudis have been active in Pakistan for many years via the madrassas.  Turkey is their next geopolitical prize.  But, for Saudi Arabia, Islam isn’t Islam unless it’s Salafi Islam, and that’s a major problem for many Muslims, to say nothing of the West.

Third, our government, too enmeshed with the Saudis, are prepared to allow and even encourage an Islamic transformation of Turkey if it means help against the Iranians.

One of the big dangers in all of this is for Israel.  Turkey isn’t exactly an ally of Israel’s, but has traditionally valued its place in the Middle East.  Becoming an Islamic state seriously jeopardises that stance.

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