As someone who was declared persona non grata by the Turkish government, in response to the declaration he made in his role as minister of education regarding the Turkish responsibility for the murder of the Armenian people, I - of all people - would like now to come to Turkey's defense regarding the matter of international responsibility.
In recent years, Turkey has amazed me. Turkey of today is the only Muslim country in our region that bears any resemblance to a democratic country. Not only is the country overwhelmingly Muslim, so is the ruling party, and the prime minister himself is a devout Muslim. And despite that, Turkey is perhaps the proof that Islam and democracy are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
This coming weekend, the leaders of the European Union will decide whether to launch official talks regarding Turkey's joining the EU as a full member. Turkey has been courting Europe for 40 years now, only to be spurned and rebuffed. Even if the EU leaders decide in Turkey's favor this week, the talks themselves will only begin months from now, and they are expected to last about 10 years. And even in 2015 there is no certainty that Turkey will in fact be recognized as a member state.
Europe has no interest in Turkey and has been conducting the affair with Turkey against its will. Why in fact should the 25 countries of the EU want it? Turkey is too big and has too many Turks; it is too poor; they are not "like us"; and they may cover the entire continent with traditional Muslim veils.
In order to abort the entire development, the EU has now set "preliminary conditions" for the talks. First, Turkey must immediately recognize the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek part of the island; second, it must improve the "state of human rights" in the country.
True, Turkey is still not yet Sweden, but its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made a far-reaching and surprising step in the right direction, and the "Midnight Express" is no longer roaring forward; it has definitely been slowed down.
While Turkish democracy is not yet a role model, the American president can only dream of a similar democracy in liberated Iraq. If Europe rejects Turkey with grimaces of fear and loathing, and if America for its part does not spur the Europeans to accept it, they will in fact be pushing it in the direction of Islamic fundamentalism as it sends out its tentacles all over the world.
The West is signaling to the Turks that they will forever remain on the outside, that they have no real chance of being desired and accepted, that they are wasting their time and efforts on introducing reforms. This signal is both unfair but even more important, it is dangerous: The Muslims of the world, from Pakistan to Palestine, understand and are taking in the message, and together they will unite in their vengeful fanaticism, creating a catastrophic reality of the entire world against all of Islam and Islam against the whole world.
Saudi Arabia, although not a candidate for the European Union, is warmly welcomed there. Red carpets are rolled out in honor of its royal family - the king, the crown princes and others - in all the countries of Europe and especially in the United States. Of this corrupt family, in whose schools the global terror of Bin Laden and his ilk incubates, no demands like those made of Turkey are made before it may be accepted in enlightened company. The depraved Saudis can be found in all international parlors and under every crystal chandelier.
In Saudi Arabia, they still amputate the hands of anyone who as much as steals an apple in the marketplace, and still stone to death women suspected of committing adultery. But that in no way cramps the style of the leaders of the "free world" in their rush to join the Saudi fan club.
If one can be a sought-after and pampered Saudi Arabia, why take the trouble to be a rejected Turkey? There is nothing like rewarding democratization and moderation, but why take a chance on internal conflicts?
In any case, impoverished Turkey has no chance of intoxicating the world with oil and drugging it with bribes. In their destitute state, the Turks will find it very difficult to replace the Saudi friends of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who needs to care for his huge corporation, Halliburton, which without the nectar of contracts will dry up.
It will not be long before Turkey becomes sick and tired of the humiliating attitude toward it and disgusted with the American hypocrisy, which reeks of French perfume, and the European sanctimoniousness that smells of American apple pie.
When that happens, when Turkey moves further and further away from its pro-Western orbit, all that will remain will be Bush and Cheney's Iraqi democracy as a model incentive for all the Arabs and Muslim in our region; along with Saudi Arabia, of course, as long as it holds on and doesn't fall apart. That is no way to build a safer world.
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