Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Islamists Strike Again in Turkey

Those eager to admit Turkey into the European Union (and this includes the geo-politically obtuse President Bush) might want to take note of this morning’s incident in a Turkish courtroom. Prominent Judge Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin was assassinated, apparently by a radical Islamist, inside his own courtroom.

The attacker was apparently carrying papers that identified him as a lawyer - although it is not known if these were genuine - and made it past security guards undetected.

He reportedly burst into a committee meeting of the Council of State, the top administrative court, at 1000 local time (0700 GMT) shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is great) as he fired his weapon.

Tansel Colasan, deputy head of the Council of State, said the attacker yelled "I am the soldier of God", and said he was carrying out the attack to protest against the court's decision on headscarves.

He was arrested immediately.

What did Judge Ozbilgin do to incur the wrath of Islamists?

Judge Mustafa Birden made headlines earlier this year when he ruled that schoolteachers, who are banned from wearing the Islamic headscarf at work, could not cover their heads even on their way to school.

An Islamist newspaper printed photographs of him and fellow judges from the court's second chamber, which deals with education issues.

The judge’s assassination has sent shockwaves throughout Turkey’s ruling class.

The court's decision on headscarves has been condemned as illegal by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling party has Islamist roots.

Mr Erdogan, though, was quick to condemn Wednesday's attack, and said the culprit would be severely punished.

Nevertheless Deniz Baykal, chairman of the secularist main opposition Republican People's Party, said the government's policies were responsible.

"I hope those who still can't see where Turkey is being dragged, who refuse to see it, will take this as a warning," he said.

"Unfortunately, blood has spilled into politics in Turkey. Turkey is being dragged into a very dangerous situation. Everybody should come to their senses."

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said the attack would not undermine Turkey's secular constitution.

"These attacks will never reach their goal," he said, adding that the justice system would not be intimidated and would be loyal "to the secular and democratic republic".

Today’s assassination comes as a surprise only to those who are unwilling to deal with the reality of Islam. Turkey’s eighty year flirtation with Western-style secular democracy has been made possible only by frequent interventions of the Turkish military, which rolls out periodically – and quite unconstitutionally – to squash the Islamists (1960, 1971, 1980, 1997). But they always come back. Recent Turkish elections gave the Islamists considerable presence in the Turkish national legislature, and their power is only expected to grow (barring another military crackdown). Islamists will never, for religious reasons, accept Western secular government. Never. It runs counter to Islamic culture and tradition, which are far to deeply rooted in Islamic soil to be extirpated by Western idealists. And the Islamists will always win, because they are willing to resort to violence first, carrying out the worst forms of violence, and continue the violence indefinitely. The forces of secularism and "moderation" simply don’t have that sort of resolve. So much for President Bush’s notion that democracy will be a panaceia for the Islamic world’s problems. The rising popularity of Islamists in Turkey should also bring an immediate end to any discussion of Turkey’s entry into the EU. Once an EU member, Turks would have freedom to move across Europe. Worse, the EU’s second most populous nation would be a Muslim country whose government is increasingly dominated by Islamists. What sort of policies would the EU come to favor in such a situation? Policies friendly to the US? Not likely. Policies friendly to preserving Europe’s Western Heritage? Not a chance. Policies friendly to advancing Muslim interests inside Europe? Bingo. Will President Bush grasp this? Probably not.


At 2:39 AM , Anonymous Another Infidel said...

Oh I don't know - is W really so stupid that he doesn't get it - or is it that he is a de facto Saudi mole in the highest position in USA? The world needs Tancredo as the US President.

Excellent posts, BTW.

At 11:18 AM , Anonymous fred said...

I live in Ankara, where this shooting occured. Today at work, my wife (Turkish) was discussing with her employer (also Turkish) this particular event. My wife's co-worker floated the daringly unoriginal Turkish theory that the US and/or Israel were actually behind it all.

Her 'rationale' for this theory was that 'everyone knows that the US plays games in Turkey' and, then, to drive her point home, she added, 'and no one knows what the US is really up to in Turkey.'

Now this might seem to raise the question: If you don't what what the US (and by extension, or course, Israel) is up to in Turkey, how can you know that it is 'playing games'? This may seem to some readers a fairly simple observation, but believe me, and I speak as somebody who lives here, such a cerebral leap is so far, far, outside the range of Turkish inquiry as to be virtually unfathomable. (I am not kidding.)

If you were to actually broach this question in conversation, people (and by this, I mean 'educated' people) would stare at you blankly, and with increasingly visible trepidation. After you had explained yourself for the third or fourth time, they would then either curse you as an American monster or worship you as an intellectual god (again, I am not kidding.)

Theories of this sort are as common as . . . I strain for metaphor . . .as tamales in Tijuana, and as little scrutinized. And bear in mind that in virtually every measurable way, Turkey is the most sophisticated society in the region. Nevertheless, this way of analyzing both domestic and internal conditions, and for that matter, personal setbacks, is so deeply ingrained in the Turkish psyche as to be unshakable.

Just thought those in the outside world might want to know.

At 11:36 PM , Blogger JB said...

All four coups weren't to combat islam.

The 1960 coup was to overthrow the DP government that was trending to more authoritarian leadership to become a one party system that they replaced in 1950.

In the 1980 coup, islam was a concern, but leftists/communists were an even stronger concern.

The 1997 coup be memorandum is really the only anti-Islamic coup of the Turkish military. In the past they encourages Muslim tendencies to fight Communism (just like the U.S. did in Afganistan) and are paying for it now.


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