Turkey was long the model Islamic state: pro-Western, democratic, relatively modern and secular. But since Islamists won control of Turkey’s government in 2002, that country has steadily been slipping out of the Western orbit. A decisive moment came in 2003, when Turkey refused to allow American forces access to invade Iraq from the north.
Last week, Turkey effectively canceled an international military exercise by refusing Israeli participation at the last moment. This was followed by Turkey’s inking an alliance with Syria and debuting a television series on Israeli baby-killers. Caroline Glick concludes that Turkey has been lost to the West:
Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week Turkey officially left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis.
It isn’t that Ankara’s behavior changed fundamentally in recent days. There is nothing new in its massive hostility toward Israel and its effusive solicitousness toward the likes of Syria and Hamas. Since the Islamist AKP party first won control over the Turkish government in the 2002 elections, led by AKP chairman Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the Turks have incrementally and inexorably moved the formerly pro-Western Muslim democracy into the radical Islamist camp populated by the likes of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, al-Qaida and Hamas.
Turkey’s break with the West; its decisive rupture with Israel and its opposition to the US in Iraq and Iran was predictable. Militant Islam of the AKP variety has been enjoying growing popularity and support throughout Turkey for many years. The endemic corruption of Turkey’s traditional secular leaders increased the Islamists’ popularity. Given this domestic Turkish reality, it is possible that Erdogan and his fellow Islamists’ rise to power was simply a matter of time.
But even if the AKP’s rise to power was eminently predictable, its ability to consolidate its control over just about every organ of governance in Turkey as well as what was once a thriving free press, and change completely Turkey’s strategic posture in just seven years was far from inevitable. For these accomplishments the AKP owes a debt of gratitude to both the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as to the EU. …
As for the Obama administration, since entering office in January it has abandoned US support for democracy activists throughout the world, in favor of a policy of pure appeasement of US adversaries at the expense of US allies. In keeping with this policy, President Barack Obama paid a preening visit to Ankara where he effectively endorsed the Islamization of Turkish foreign policy that has moved the NATO member into the arms of Teheran’s mullahs. Taken together, the actions of the Bush and Obama White Houses have demoralized Westernized Turks, who now believe that their country is doomed to descend into the depths of Islamist extremism.
It’s a bleak picture. But then, Islam has a bleak history.