Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Turkish Elections - Here Comes The New Islamist Era

Well, the final results from Turkey's election are about in. And while it could have been worse, Tayipp Erdogan's Islamist AKP Party got almost everything it wanted. Erdogan's AKP got almost exactly 50 percent of the vote, which means they'll end up with around 325 seats in parliament, about 60% and a third term in power.

The secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) got about 26 percent of the vote and 135 seats, while the far Right ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) got 13 percent, giving them 54 seats. 36 seats went to independents, mainly Kurdish candidates.

Erdogan and the AKP are going to remain firmly in control for another four years, and presumably longer. While they were short of the 357 seats they wanted that would have let the AKP rewrite the Turkish constitution any way they wanted, they're well within range of the 330 seats they'll need to submit a new constitution for a referendum. For that matter, deals with the independents or the MHP will probably allow the AKP to push through its program regardless.

Under the AKP, Turkey has slowly but surely progressed towards becoming an Islamist police state.Turkey currently has more than 60 journalists in jail for criticizing the regime or investigating brutality towards the Kurds and other civil rights issues, wiretapping and bugging by the government is increasingly common, and Turkey has its own government bureau, the Internet Moderating Agency that routinely controls information and blocks sites like YouTube.

Erdogan has already eliminated the last safeguards to the secular state Kamal Ataturk set up in the 1920's by purging the military, the guarantor of Turkey's secular republic according to the 1982 constitution, which Erdogan and the AKP now want to rewrite. And Erdogan has also compromised the judiciary by packing the courts with AKP approved judges.

What we're almost certainly to see in the future is the not-so-gradual drift of Turkey from ally to enemy, from a country with a western style democracy allied with NATO and the US to an Islamic Republic much more closely aligned with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. And it's worth remembering that Turkey has the largest conventional military in Europe, as well as the memory of their former empire.

Turkey's gradual Islamism is attracting keen interest from other Islamists in the region as a Sunni alternative to Iran's Shia villayat e' fiqh as established there by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Unlike the revolutionary government of Iran, Turkey's Islamist coup has been done gradually, using the framework of democracy as a tool to take power and ultimately eliminate it.

Along with the likely coming takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, this is a watershed event no less significant than the German elections of 1933.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

So far the "Arab Spring" has been an unmitigated disaster for America. It has seen many of America's most bitter enemies strengthened and it has seen America's already precarious position weakened even further.

The optimal approach to the "Arab Spring" very likely would have been to stop it all together, however, this was never a realistic option even if we wanted to do this. Furthermore, since we support liberty every where even though we can only guarantee our own, we would not want to be seen as thwarting anyone's desire for freedom.

As stated previously we could not have thwarted the "Arab Spring," even if we wanted to. Furthermore we wish to remain true to our "democratic" values. As such, we would not undermine it even if we could, which we can't. With these realities in mind our best approach would have been one of the following. 1.) Identify groups within the revolutions who would act to support liberty for the Arab people who would not be hostile to America. We could support these groups and perhaps they could rise to positions of influence within the affected countries. In this situation our just interests and the just interests of the people of these nations are fairly represented. 2.)Simply stay out of these things all together. Had we done this the governments of Egypt, Tunisia and others still would have fallen. It just would have taken longer. This would have allowed ample time for other groups within the affected countries to rise up who could act as a counter weight to the Muslim Brotherhood. Since it is human nature for people to seek to survive and expand their position, this is very likely what would have happened. By meddling in this this meant the governments of these nations fell faster than they would have had we stayed out of it. Sufficient time was not available for other groups to gain sufficient funding or other support who might have been able to counteract the Muslim Brotherhood to some extent.

While option 1 might be the optimal solution, given the strict limits in the capabilities of American Intel community and the American military, option 2 would have been the best option. While this worked its way out we could have been redeploying our military forces to defensible positions along our border. While its hard to be certain how it would have worked out, clearly it would have been better than what we are currently doing.

Our current foreign policy is to support democracy around the world and especially for Arabs regardless of how it may harm our national interests and it has harmed our national interests, perhaps irreparably. This is the danger of allowing ideology rather than common sense and national interest to guide one's foreign policy.

Frankly its not much better on the domestic economic front either. Here the main goal is preventing "global warming", "climate change" or whatever they wish to call it rather than growing economy. Essentially they are more than willing to run the economy off of a cliff over unproven science based upon an ideological belief.