Is Turkey No Longer Part of the West?

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Almost a century has passed since the Ottoman Empire was dismembered and Mustafa Kemal set out to build the modern Turkish state on its ruins. Twenty years ago, no one in the West would have called into question the achievement of the man who eventually, with considerable justice, styled himself Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”). But many now fear that the political and cultural revolution he instigated in the 1920s will be overturned and that Turkey will cease to function as normal nation state, turn on the West, and try to upend the existing order in the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Continue reading

Turkey? In the EU?

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) recently made affectionate statements expressing admiration not for the European Union, but for the last Islamic caliphate — the Ottoman Empire, an expansionist Islamic realm that committed massacres, rapes, and sexual slavery of people in the lands it invaded. The question is when the EU will start acting like a self-respecting institution, and consider Turkey according to what it actually says and does? Pictured right: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

  • “What is the conquest?” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his audience. “The conquest is Hijrah [expansion of Islam through emigration, following the example of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and his followers from Mecca to Medina]. The conquest is Al-Andalus [Muslim Spain]. … The conquest is Salah al-Din al-Ayubbi [Saladin]. … It is to hoist the flag of Islam in Jerusalem again. … The conquest is to have the courage, tenacity and sagacity to defy the entire world even at the hardest times.”
  • “The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU. Let everyone know it like that.” — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On April 25, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, while speaking at the High-Level EU-Turkey Economic Dialogue meeting in Istanbul, said that the full membership process to the European Union was Turkey’s most crucial strategic target.

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Erdogan grows more radical

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent speeches and media remarks have been marked by an increasingly radical rhetoric. Among mainstream political leaders in Turkey today, Erdogan is by far and away the most hard-line and polarizing orator.

Radical anti-Western antagonism and paranoia, based on an extremist melange of Turkish nationalism and Islamism, have increasingly infused his speeches. The most striking example of this troubling metamorphosis was the speech he made during a ceremony held March 16 in the presidential palace to award “state honor medals” to army veterans and families of fallen soldiers. Continue reading