Sunday, May 06, 2007

Talking Turkey

or not, as the case may be.

I am not terribly keen on the "deafening shameful silence" game, but I would actually be quite interested in hearing what the Decent line might be on the current state of affairs in Turkey. The Islamist rubber is meeting the democratic road, and it looks to me like a genuinely interesting question for the Decent worldview - I had actually been expecting that this might lead to some schisms. But nothing (I have checked Aaro, Nick, Oliver Kamm, Norm, Harry's Place, the Jacksonaut site and the Euston Manifesto blog). I wonder why? My guess is that it is equal parts of the following:

1. Lack of knowledge and a realisation of what trouble shooting their mouths off got them into last time.
2. The fact that the AKP, while genuine Islamists, can't convincingly be portrayed as monsters.
3. The Kurdish Nationalist element among the Decents (Hitchens, also from whom nothing) haven't got much of a steer from their mates yet.
4. Post-Blair ennui and the fact that the whole Decent project seems a bit like last year's model rather than the sort of thing one might want to write a manifesto about.

There is some possibility of a "colour revolution" by the educated middle class in Istanbul (with the tacit approval of the army and the USA), so be ready for the Decents to pipe up and take the credit when it happens.

Update: Marko Attila Hoare, for the Scoopies, comes out in favour of the AKP (see comments). Will this be the direction for the Decent line? I suspect it will - I forgot that the Kurdish element are always going to tend this way because of the Kemalists' horrific record. Expect some infighting from the genuinely Islamophobic wing of Decency ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention this...

5/07/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough - but the other question here is Egypt, where you have an MB government as a likely outcome of free and fair elections.

5/07/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marc Lynch of Abu Aardvark has been quite good on the 'deafening silence' about Egypt's constitutional amendments, which are designed more or less specifically to prevent the MB gaining electoral success, and to ensure that Mubarak's son succeeds him in office. There has also been a quite severe crackdown on Egyptian bloggers, going much further than the poster boy HP/NC wrote about.

5/07/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

Personally I think Marko gives too much away to the AKP. The demonstrations in Istanbul are genuine, and although Erdogan himself is a pretty unobjectionable "Muslim Democrat", he has plenty of hairy-arsed would-be hand-choppers in his hinterland and should not be given the benefit of the doubt without limit. As far as I can see, the Turkish people have a structural preference for cohabitation in the government, and the army was responding to a genuine popular concern about the idea of having the executive branch run by the Islamists as well as the legislative. Obviously any coup is bad news and to be condemned in most circumstances, but I don't go as far as the Scoopies in holding it to be completely illegitimate for the Turkish Army to be having opinions on matters constitutional.

5/08/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you're not going to stop any army having opinions if it really seems to want to, and its intervention in '97 seems to have persuaded the AK crowd to keep to the straight and narrow - and without any bloodshed, either. But then that has to be the strategy: stay on the straight and narrow and the army's interventionist leanings will eventually wither, leaving whoever's in charge of the local Muslim Democrats by then to keep on doing the Adenaur impressions out of force of habit if not conviction.

Simon: Yeah, some cover will need to be broken on Egypt pretty soon. It's not as if Mubarak's crowd are above jailing people on "islamic" pretexts either. Interestingly, the very pro-US sandmonkey blogger recently shut up shop because he thinks the local Mukhabarat are after him as well as the liberal and Islamic bloggers.

5/08/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

I am tempted to be really provocative and start drawing parallels between the role of the Army in Turkey and the Supreme Court in the USA (given that the Supreme Court also militantly enforces a secular constitution, and has itself overturned a democratic election to put its own candidate in for President in the last ten years). But I suspect that this urge is simple mischieviousness rather than a profound insight into political reality.

5/08/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

over at Shiraz Socialist you can read Voltaire take a stab at it. A ferocious argument, then peace breaks out, and now i can't quite understand what he's saying or why. But yes I thought it was a genuinely interesting question for the decents.

5/13/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Department of not particularly surprising: Ayaat Hirsi Ali says all of us liberals must support the Turkish army as the Guardian of secularism, and presumably must take any coup-like action performed by said army in this spirit.

5/14/2007 11:27:00 AM  

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