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Subject: Militant Islam vs. Turkey
ilpars    6/22/2004 10:38:51 AM
This is a very good symposium telling why Turkey is the greatest enemy of fundementalism. I also like to know your opinions about the subject. (Especially from AK and Elbandeedo.) Symposium: Militant Islam vs. Turkey By Jamie Glazov | December 29, 2003 Why has Turkey become a target of Islamists' Holy Jihad? Joining Frontpage Symposium to discuss this issue with us today, we are joined by: Ersel Aydinli, an assistant professor of international relations at Bilkent University in Ankara and a former counter-terrorism officer with the Turkish National Police. He has a forthcoming book edited with James Rosenau, Paradigms in Transition: Globalization, Security and the Nation State (SUNY Press, 2004); Ali Koknar, the owner of AMK Risk Management, a private security consultancy with offices in Washington, DC and Turkey, specializing in counter-terrorism and international organized crime, and providing risk assessment and security services for business involved in the Middle East, Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Ali contributed to the Turkish portion of Combating Terrorism: Strategies of Ten Countries, a book edited by Prof. Yonah Alexander Director of the Counterterrorism Center at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, with an introduction by former DCI, Jim Woolsey, and published by the University of Michigan Press; Gerald Robbins, an Associate Scholar with the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute. He just returned from a visit to Turkey; and Walid Phares, a Professor of Middle East Studies and Religious Conflict and a Terrorism expert with MSNBC. FrontPage: Welcome to Frontpage Symposium gentlemen. Why are Islamic militants targeting Turkey in their latest terrorist attacks? Koknar: Let us clarify our terms of reference before we address that question: Terrorists who profess to be Muslim, but are declared otherwise by mainstream Muslim theologians, on account of their acts which violate the fundamental tenets of Islam, are attacking Turkey. Those terrorists are attacking Turkey for a number of reasons some of which have not changed in the last two decades. First and foremost, Turkey, as the ONLY functioning multiparty parliamentary democracy under constitutionally protected secularism in a majority Muslim country, is a manifest denial of the perverted version of Islam which these terrorists are advocating. They need to make sure that the Turkish way of peaceful coexistence and tolerance of other religions, particularly of Judaism, which has been practiced for the last 500 years, ends. The terrorists are attempting to drive a wedge between the Turkish people and their legitimately elected government which maintains the Turkish national policy of strategic partnership with the United States and strategic alliance with Israel. They are trying to make this policy as costly for Turkey as possible. It should also be emphasized that, while Turkey disallowed the transiting of the 4th Infantry Division via its territory in order to open the Northern Front in Iraq, it engaged in a number of activities, such as allowing the use of its airspace by Coalition aircraft and guided missiles, access via Turkey into Northern Iraq for US Special Forces and intelligence operatives, the logistic supply and medial/casualty evacuation of the aforementioned--which resulted in at least 1 US Special Forces NCO's life being saved after WIA in N.Iraq. Turkey also hosted Coalition aircraft making emergency landings at not only the joint US-Turkish Incirlik AFB, but at Turkish airbases close to Iraq, which evidence Turkey's collaboration with the US against Saddam's regime. Robbins: There are varying theories.I believe that the most plausible one regards what Turkey represents to the Muslim world – a successful experiment in democratic secularism. This is anathema to Islamic fundamentalism's agenda, in which religious tolerance (the synagogue bombings) and Westernization (targeting Britain's diplomatic and commercial interests, namely due to London active role in Iraq and overall battle against Islamic extremism) are fair game. Such blasphemy trumped Turkey's non-committal stance towards Operation Iraqi Freedom. Aydinli: I agree with the assertion that the biggest reason for Turkey being targeted has a lot to do with what Turkey presents as a political, sociological and cultural entity in this part of the world. As we all know, one of the largest goals of terrorism is to magnify the natural differences among the societies and groups so that the majority moderates who are generally builders and legitimizers of peace and stability would be forced to take a side along the lines of the radicals and radical ideas. From this perspective then, the bridging, uniting, and stabilizing image and mission of Turkey, which has even been multiplied by the existe
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ilpars    RE:Militant Islam vs. Turkey - Thomas   6/30/2004 5:52:23 AM
You are right on that Thomas. At early 1980's PKK was very small Communist organisation and Turkey did not have any problem with its Kurdish population. There were not even a law against using Kurdish language. At the start of 1980 Turkish economy was in bankrupcy. Normally Turkish government helps the farmers if they had a bad harvest. But in those years there were no money for it. Several years of successive bad harvest in South-East Anatolia did it. There were thousands of workless and penniless farmers. PKK propagated that Turks in Western Anatolia lived rich while poor Kurds are suffering. The propaganda was effective. Then Ozal made one of the biggest blunders ever. He tried to negotiate with PKK and declared that he is ready to talk anything including a federation. In tribal societies trying to negotiate when the other side using force indicates weakness. Many Kurds thought that Turkey was weak and about to collapse. That is when PKK with Russian money recruited thousands of Kurds in their camp. Then Turkish government made another mistake and this time acted very harsh. Using of Kurdish language was outlawed. Anyone suspected to have any relation with PKK has been imprisoned. That gave PKK local support. Then in time; Turkish economy recovered, Turkish politicians learned from their mistakes and corrected their privious mistakes (sadly slowly). Then PKK made its mistake and started to kill Kurds who did not support PKK. Local people understood that the truth about PKK and local support again turned to Turkish side. Then Turkish Army learned how to conduct an anti-guerilla war. Rest is history.
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Thomas    RE:Militant Islam vs. Turkey - ilpars   7/6/2004 9:46:36 AM
From what I understand: The tribal village society in Eastern Turkey has to at least some extend been demolished by the civil war. Further more there has been as is still a migration from land to city. Thus the agricultural problems in Eastern Turkey are being solved - unfortunately the hard way. I have for long held the conviction that we need a better coordination of military history and economic science: Military historians tend to discuss the influence of Napoleons ulcer on mashine gun development and economists tend to think being reasonable (people loosing their farm are NOT reasonable, they are desperate) solves all problems - and then look at the broken pieces after a war. The 20th century is one long lament of the rationalisation of agricultural production (much much less of industrial revolution in fact) and its social consequenses: Economists know the problem by heart, but economic measures are at best a support in the solution of the problems. Human rights critics have a valid point though; law enforcement procedures in Turkey tend to be very robust.
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