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Going Cold Turkey

Posted on February 27 2010 3:00 pm
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by David Solway

One of the major questions confronting Western strategists and politicians today has to do with the political direction in which Turkey, a presumed ally and Western lynchpin in the Middle East, seems to be heading. Is it the beacon nation it has long been assumed to be, a stalwart democracy firmly rooted in Islamic soil? Or is it, on the contrary, a fundamentally Islamic nation now shaking off its Western trappings and faux identity to re-enter the theological orbit of the past? Who are we treating with, the Young Turks or the old Ottomans?

As Dinesh D’Souza writes in The Enemy at Home, it is time “to retire the tiresome invocation of Turkey as a model for Islamic society. No Muslim country is going the way of Turkey, and even Turkey is no longer going the way of Turkey.” But is not Turkey an electoral democracy and does it not therefore merit our approval and support? We in the West appear to have forgotten that elections in themselves do not constitute democracy.

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