Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 9 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/18/10

Turkey's Ascendancy, the Russification of Israel and the Future of the Middle-East

By       (Page 1 of 8 pages)   5 comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 49775
Message M. Nicolas Firzli

Adapted from an article first published in the Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 15 2010

Since the beginning of this century, Turkey has shown impressive results both on the economic and political fronts, growing three times faster than the EU average in the past ten years, while demonstrating that Islamic culture is fully compatible with democracy, constitutional government and the rule of law. But, the Turkish Miracle was met with a combination of disdain and skepticism in Brussels, Berlin and Paris - where conservative commentators and politicians regularly warn their readers of the growing "Turkish threat" (1)- a rather peculiar way of thanking Ankara for having stood by Western Europe throughout the Cold War! Having been repeatedly rebuffed by the European Union, Turkey, by far the most advanced Eurasian nation, has progressively rediscovered its Asian and Middle-Eastern hinterland, rebuilding age-old ties with Damascus, Delhi, Baku, Beijing and Teheran.

The economic dynamism and cultural openness of Turkey today stand in stark contrast with the ossification of Israeli society: having to deal with the consequences of its continuing military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is increasingly shifting away from the Western ways of its founding fathers (e.g. David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, was trained as a corporate lawyer in Warsaw and Istanbul) toward an obsessive focus on colonial control- crudely stereo-typifying the autonomous Muslim populace it seeks to subjugate, and thus reproducing the xenophobic worldview its right-wing leaders inherited from Czarist Russia. Here, we will try to understand the historical and ideological roots of the rise of Turkey, in interactive relation with European and Asian attitudes, and how they relate to the current cultural drift of Israeli society towards renewed violence and rigid militarism.

Many Turks are understandably disappointed with Europe: the systematic opposition to Turkey's EU admission (2) (even though less developed nations such as Croatia, Cyprus and Bulgaria were allowed to join), the sarcasms with which Turkish diplomatic efforts to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis have been received in European capitals, the accusations of "Oriental duplicity - etc. were a shock to many in Turkey, be they secular Istanbul urbanites or lower-middle-class Islamic-orientated conservatives. The people of Turkey resent the caricatured way their country is described in the columns of Le Figaro, L'Express, Die Welt and The Daily Telegraph: "What have we done to deserve this?" is a question often heard in Turkey and in the Muslim world at large these days" Yes, a significant segment of the European political elite is now openly anti-Turkish and anti-Asian. But it was ever thus: even in the late 19th century, when hundreds of sincerely Europhile Turkish and Arab intellectuals, aristocrats and civil servants made the effort to learn French (or German) and adopted Western ways and ideas (some even claiming to be "agnostic" or "atheist" to please their Parisian peers), Europe remained largely indifferent, if not hostile, to their genuine cultural efforts. As long ago as 1903, a vexed Turkish secularist could write that "One can deduct from the writings of these two eminent [French] historians that Midhat Pacha [the Ottoman Empire's most secular, pro-Western statesman] was, together with the political movement he represented, a fanatical warmonger, hostile to Christians, an enemy of Europe and its civilization; and that by proclaiming the Constitution, Midhat's only goal was to fool Europe: that it was the "ultimate and most audacious act of his impudent masquerade'" (3)

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Rate It | View Ratings

M. Nicolas Firzli Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

M. Nicolas J. Firzli is Director of the CEE Council, a Paris-based economic strategy think-tank.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Turkey's Ascendancy, the Russification of Israel and the Future of the Middle-East

Europe's Economic Predicament: the Broken Bismarckian Promise

Infrastructure Investments in an Age of Austerity

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: