Monday, June 17, 2013

Turkey, Not Syria is the Major Problem in the Middle East

And Like in Syria, The United States Can Do Little But See It Play Out

The media, which is not made up of the sharpest knives in the drawer is currently focusing on Syria and the dilemma of the administration.  The dilemma is whether or not to intervene and see the violence increase, or stay out and see the violence increase.  Arming the rebels is a losing strategy, but then so is just about anything else.

The real problem in that area is TurkeyTurkey has the potential to be a great economic and political success story, a Muslim nation but a secular one with great economic potential.  But current leader of the nation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to slowly subvert the secular nature of Turkey, and to slowly subvert the democratic process.  He is now engaged in a nasty dispute with protestors, and is resorting to force, the policy that almost always fails.

Turkey - not the picture of an admirable government

 Turkish government forces moved swiftly on Sunday to stamp out the vestiges of the protest movement against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, chasing down antigovernment demonstrators into the stores and luxury hotels in Istanbul where they sought refuge after the park at the center of the unrest was cleared in violent clashes the night before.

If Turkey fulfilled its vast potential, it could become a member of the European Union, and a perfect example of how a secular Islamic nation can prosper with freedom and democracy and economic growth.  But by turning his back on religious freedom Mr. Erdogan runs the risk of creating a minor version of Iran.

Mr. Erdogan’s opponents are a cross-section of secularists, liberals, urban intellectuals and minorities who are divided in their political views but are increasingly united against what they consider as Mr. Erdogan and his Islamic allies’ attempts to impose their views on the country. Many critics have been especially upset by the prime minister’s recent campaign to crack down on alcohol consumption and his pursuit of vast urban development projects, which have enriched construction magnates with close ties to the government.

Mr. Erdogan has also antagonized many secular Turks in smaller ways, by telling women, for example, that they should have at least three children.

“He goes as far as getting in people’s bedrooms; he decides what we should eat and drink and how many kids we should have,” said a woman in the hotel lobby whose shoulders were burned by chemical-laced water.

Sound familiar, it’s right out of the playbook of right wing religious extremists.  And that playbook is the basic recipe for national disaster.

1 comment:

  1. Prime Minister Erdogan sounds like he has much in common with some Conservative politicians in the U.S.