Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2010 28 Sivan 5770

The New Wannabe Ottomans

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A Turkish Islamic group — the "Humanitarian Relief Foundation," often associated by Western intelligence agencies with terrorist sponsorship — orchestrated the recent Gaza flotilla. It was hoping for the sort of violent, well-publicized confrontation with the Israeli navy that later followed.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, immediately issued veiled threats to Israel. He then badgered the United States, Turkey's NATO patron ally, to condemn the Israeli interdiction.


While the world piled on in its criticism of Israel, there was also a sort of stunned silence over the actions of Turkey, without whose help the blockade-running flotilla would never have left a Turkish port.


Erdogan's hysterics emphasized the Islamic transformation of a once secular Turkey that has been going on for well over a decade. In 2003, Turkey forbade passage to U.S. troops in their efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq. State-run Turkish television instead aired virulent anti-American dramas, like "Valley of the Wolves," in which our soldiers appear as little more than blood-crazed killers who dismember poor Iraqi civilians.


Lately, Turkey has reached out to Iran and Syria. Both habitually sponsor Mideast terrorist groups and have aided anti-American insurgents in Iraq. Turkey and Brazil recently offered to monitor Iran's nuclear program, sidestepping American and European efforts to step up sanctions to stop Teheran's plans for a bomb.


Erdogan's anti-Israel attacks often match those of his newfound friends, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's Hasan Nasrallah. Former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, remember, once blamed the Jews for starting the Crusades, and for instigating World War I to create Israel. He also described them as a "disease" that needed to be eradicated.


What is behind the Turkish metamorphosis from a staunch U.S. ally, NATO member and quasi-European state into a sponsor of Hamas, ally of theocratic Iran and fellow traveler with terrorist-sponsoring Syria?


The Cold War is over. Turkey no longer guards the southeastern flank of Europe from the advance of Soviet communism, lessening its importance within NATO. Its Anatolian Muslim population grows, while more secular European and Aegean Turks have lost influence. Turkey senses a growing distance between Tel Aviv and Washington, and thus an opportunity to step into the gulf to unite Muslims against Israel and win influence in the Arab world.


Erdogan clearly identifies more with the old transnational Ottoman sultanate than with Kemal Ataturk's modern, secular and Western nation-state. Indeed, he has bragged that he is a grandson of the Ottomans and announced that Turkey's new goal was to restore the might of the Ottoman Empire.


And so, like the theocratic Ottomans of old, Erdogan's Islamic Turkey fancies itself a window on the West, absorbing technology and expertise from Europe and the United States in order to empower and unite the more spiritually pure Muslims across national boundaries.


Of course, Turkey tolerates no criticism about its own violations of human rights in suppressing its Kurdish population. It lectures Israel about occupied land but is silent about its sponsorship of the Turkish absorption of much of Greek Cyprus. It laments a divided Jerusalem but says nothing about the segregation of Nicosia.


Erdogan often accuses Israel of human rights violations, but to this day no Turkish government has ever acknowledged culpability for the genocide of the Armenians. Far from it: Not long ago, Erdogan threatened to deport Armenians from Turkish soil.


Where and how does all this end?


Turkey's new ambitions and ethnic and religious chauvinism are antithetical to its NATO membership. The United States should not be treaty-bound to defend a de facto ally of Iran or Syria, which are both eager to obtain nuclear weapons. European countries foresaw the problem when they denied Turkey membership in the now fragile European Union, fearful that Anatolian Islamists would have unfettered transit across European borders.


In response, the United States should make contingency plans to relocate from its huge Air Force base at Incirlik — a facility that Turkey has in the past threatened to close. We should brace for new troubles in the Aegean region and Cyprus, as a bankrupt and often anti-American Greece is now alienated from both the United States and northern Europe — and yet increasingly vulnerable to a return of Ottoman regional ambitions.


Just as the Shah of Iran's pro-Western, secular transformation failed and led to the Ayatollah Khomeini's anti-Western Islamic revolution, we are seeing something similar in Erdogan's efforts to turn Ataturk's Turkey back into the theocratic sultanate that ran the Eastern Mediterranean for more than three centuries.


If Erdogan is intent on a suicidal reinvention of Turkey into a pale imitation of Ottoman hegemony, we can at least take steps to ensure that it will be his mess — and none of our own.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


Archives

© 2010, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles