|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
FrontPageMagazine.com | 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