Turkey

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Articles after 2012
If Turkey falls...
The Turkish dictatorship
Articles before 2012


  • (april 2012) If Turkey falls...
    (Note: my website is banned in Turkey; Turkish residents cannot read my articles).

    There are reasons to believe that Turkey's economy might be overdue for a hard landing. (See for example (this article). The biggest problem seems to be a stubborn current account deficit which, at 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), is about the same as Greece's. Compared with its neighbor, the big advantage that Turkey has is control over its own currency, but devaluing the Turkish lira seems to have only postponed the inevitable. In fact, one theory is that the euro has forced Greece to face its problems before it's too late, whereas the lira is allowing Turkey to pretend that the problem does not exist and therefore to make it much worse in the near future.
    The Arab revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have looked up to Turkey as a model of democratic Islamic state with a modern, vibrant economy and even increasing political power on the world stage. That feeling has a mirror image in Turkey. Turkey has always made a point of distancing itself from the Ottoman Empire, but during a recent trip to Turkey i was amazed at how confident ordinary people are that Turkey is returning to Ottoman glory. The Ottomans (predecessors to the Turkish state) used to rule the vast majority of the Arab world, plus the Balkans, Greece and the Caucasus, and used to be the largest empire west of Russia and India at the time when the European "powers" were fighting each other all the time but tiny and poor (See this timeline of the Turks).
    However, there is one alternative future that neither the Arabs nor the Turks have contemplated: that the democratic, modern state of Turkey collapses exactly like the obsolete dictatorships of the Arab world did. That would be an incredible tragedy for the Islamic world, that is just beginning to feel that the worst is over and a revival of the great Islamic civilization is around the corner. If Turkey's economy collapses, it is very likely that social instability will follow. Turkey is already living in a permanent state of war against the Kurdish rebels, a cold war which is now de facto bloodier than the cold war between Israel and its enemies (Hamas and Hezbollah). While many in Turkey look forward to the day that Turkish influence will start expanding again over the old Ottoman regions, there is also a possible future in which the Kurds win independence in southeastern Turkey The world might suddenly awaken to the fact that Turkey has never been a truly democratic state: thousands of opposition figures are in jail, millions of websites are banned, and the government still refuses to recognize simple facts like the Armenian genocide. Turkey also suffers from the same demographic problems that affect the rest of the Islamic world: a booming population (that mainly perpetuates poverty and provides cheap labor to nearby countries) and an exodus of the non-Muslim minorities (towards Israel, Greece, the USA, Western Europe and now even the Slavic countries). As i have written elsewhere (see this history of Islam), the rapid decline of the Islamic civilization has coincided with the rapid exodus of non-Muslim minorities. Turks who are fond of the history of the Ottoman empire should read carefully who was administering that empire at its peak and what god their worshipped. The symptoms are not reassuring. On top of this troubling scenario, is the fact that Turkey is basically divided into several regions that have little in common: the European side (Istanbul and the other big cities of that peninsula) is... European (they even use the euro as the daily currency), the old Greek homeland (the southwestern coast of Turkey) is a tourist paradise, and northcentral Anatolia is still largely an agricultural world (the rest of Anatolia is engulfed in the Kurdish civil war). If the Turks had not been brainwashed into thinking that they are one nation, it would be natural for the European side (Istanbul) to secede and become full members of the European Union and for southern Turkey to restore the ancestrail ties to the Greek islands. Tensions like this are likely to emerge if the economy collapses the way it has in neighboring Greece.
    Now try to imagine the Islamic world after the possible collapse of Turkey: for the first time in its history, the entire region from Morocco to Pakistan would be in political, economic and social turmoil. You would have to travel to distant Indonesia in order to find a stable and prospering Islamic state (and one in which religious minorities still exist).

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2011 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (january 2012) The Turkish dictatorship. There is one country in the world that in december 2011 was keeping 97 journalists in prison, and it is not mainland China. It is a country with just a fraction of China's population: Turkey. Turkey also ranks among the countries that exerts the strictest censorship of the World-wide Web: one million websites are banned in Turkey (including this one, www.scaruffi.com). Israeli abuses against Palestinians are widely reported by the international media, but in recent months Turkey has killed many more Kurdish separatists (and civilians) than Israel has killed Palestinian militants, and even bombed its neighbor Iraq in a blatant violation of international law. Turkey also insists that the Armenian genocide never took place, and even insists that the rest of the world should say the same. The European Union is still negotiating the admission of Turkey, and Turkey is still a member of NATO. I was a strong supporter of both when Turkey was becoming more and more democratic. Now that it is becoming less and less democratic, one wonders what makes Turkey any better qualified than Egypt or even Iraq for admission in the European Union and NATO. The international community should impose sanctions on Turkey until: 1. It releases dissident journalists from prison; 2. It restores full access to the Internet; 3. It grants autonomy or independence to the Kurds; and 4. It fully recognizes the Armenian genocides, apologizes in public, and restores full diplomatic ties with Armenia. Turkey, that was one of the brightest hopes in the Middle East, is providing a bad example to its neighbors and becoming a danger to both democratic progress and stability in the region.
    See also: Turkey's sense of humour
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles before 2012

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