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Is Turkey preparing to open a Military front against Al-Assad

This is a discussion on Is Turkey preparing to open a Military front against Al-Assad within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by explorer9 Turks were never considered the colonial power in the region because they “by no means” occupied ...


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Old November 1st, 2012   #76
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Turks were never considered the colonial power in the region because they “by no means” occupied the lands by military means (as you mentioned in previous post that the region was loosely controlled by ottomans and that in my view was the sole reason).
The Turks were certainly considered as a colonial power by the Arabs who lived under Turkish rule, irrespective of whether it was 'loosely' controlled or that the land was not occupied by 'military means'. Even today, many Arabs who had ancestors who lived under Turkish rule will tell you how much they resented and distrusted the Turks and how the prefered the Brits. It may have been a long time ago, but irrespective of how you perceive it, I assure you that most Arabs at that time considered the Turks an occupying colonial power. One of the main reasons that Turkey had such good relations with Israel - until the incident at sea over the Gaza flotilla - is because attempts to establish strategic relationships with Arabs countries in the past didn't go anywhere due to its Ottoman past, which was still a cause of much distrust amongst the Arabs. It is only now, that Turkey/Arab relations are entering a new phase.

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Old November 1st, 2012   #77
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The Turks were certainly considered as a colonial power by the Arabs who lived under Turkish rule, irrespective of whether it was 'loosely' controlled or that the land was not occupied by 'military means'. Even today, many Arabs who had ancestors who lived under Turkish rule will tell you how much they resented and distrusted the Turks and how the prefered the Brits. It may have been a long time ago, but irrespective of how you perceive it, I assure you that most Arabs at that time considered the Turks an occupying colonial power. One of the main reasons that Turkey had such good relations with Israel - until the incident at sea over the Gaza flotilla - is because attempts to establish strategic relationships with Arabs countries in the past didn't go anywhere due to its Ottoman past, which was still a cause of much distrust amongst the Arabs. It is only now, that Turkey/Arab relations are entering a new phase.

Fariz.

better not to compare apples with oranges. Post Kemalist Turkey implemented inward approach and totally abandoned its eastern neighbors. This has nothing to do with Ottoman past and only the culmination of look west policy of Mustapha kemal and his successors. The policies of now ruling AK party is widely considered as neo Ottoman especially in western geopolitical circles. Mavi Marmara incident is just a “case in point” of that only.

Kemalist, secularist and Nationalist are still the ardent opponents of neo ottoman policies of the incumbent Government and vocally propagate the westward orientation. So the policy shift in Turkish political landscape to reach out its Arab and Muslim neighbors is widely welcomed and appreciated by Arabs of East, West and Levantine.
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Who's making an 'apples and oranges' comparison ??

I simply stated that the Arabs did view the Turks as colonial occupiers and my reference to why Turk/Arab relations were not close in recent times is to show that it is related to the past, in the way they still perceive theTurks due to the Ottoman history. Policies adopted by Mustapha Kamal after WW1 may play a part but the main reason the Arabs traditionally view the Turks with distrust is because of the Ottoman era.
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Who's making an 'apples and oranges' comparison ??

I simply stated that the Arabs did view the Turks as colonial occupiers and my reference to why Turk/Arab relations were not close in recent times is to show that it is related to the past, in the way they still perceive theTurks due to the Ottoman history. Policies adopted by Mustapha Kamal after WW1 may play a part but the main reason the Arabs traditionally view the Turks with distrust is because of the Ottoman era.
I used that phrase against you statement on “Turkish strategic relation with Israelis and its Ottoman connection”

Suffice to say that Arabs of Levant, North Africa and Peninsula region have always respected the Turks especially after the victory of Constantinople and later they acknowledged them as the heir apparent of Arab Caliphs. There may be discord under few rulers but in general they were considered as just rulers. Modern day Turks are in the same way respected by Arabs for their Ottoman legacy as well.
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I have never heard about Turkish Colonialism in Middle East and North Africa. Turks were never considered the colonial power in the region because they “by no means” occupied the lands by military means (as you mentioned in previous post that the region was loosely controlled by ottomans and that in my view was the sole reason)..
This is very frustrating. It's like discussing the British Empire with someone who thinks that it was an entirely good thing for all the conquered territories.

You are completely, utterly, wrong. The Turks conquered their empire by force, by military conquest. Where they held it, they held it the same way. They often ruled indirectly (e.g. via the Greek Phanariotes in parts of the Balkans), or, as I described, allowed parts of their empire effective independence as client states, but even there, the client regimes held power by force of arms, whether their own or Turkish. The local rulers were almost always foreign to the territories they governed (though where they were long-established, as in Tunis, hereditary governors became assimilated) - and that was deliberate. Their power initially, & in some cases always, depended on the threat of Turkish arms. All of this was, of course, no different from other empires.

When the Ottoman empire started re-establishing its rule over Arab provinces which had been self-governing for long periods, in the 19th century Ottoman revival, they did so by sending armies to re-conquer them. They weren't welcomed with open arms. They fought long & bloody wars, not always successfully, to establish control. They fought a 20 year war to take back Libya, for example. Hejaz was conquered in 1517, & again 300 years later, & rebelled in WW1. Asir was re-conquered in the early 19th century, out of control again by the 1840s, re-conquered by 1872, & held down by numerous forts garrisoned by Turkish troops. There was another rebellion in the 1900s. Yemen was re-conquered starting in the 1830s, but San'a didn't fall to the Ottomans until the 1870s.

You have a romantic vision, strongly coloured by prejudice. It's wrong - just as wrong as the romantic vision of benign British officials ruling over contented natives that used to be commonplace in this country.
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This is very frustrating. It's like discussing the British Empire with someone who thinks that it was an entirely good thing for all the conquered territories.

You are completely, utterly, wrong. The Turks conquered their empire by force, by military conquest. Where they held it, they held it the same way. They often ruled indirectly (e.g. via the Greek Phanariotes in parts of the Balkans), or, as I described, allowed parts of their empire effective independence as client states, but even there, the client regimes held power by force of arms, whether their own or Turkish. The local rulers were almost always foreign to the territories they governed (though where they were long-established, as in Tunis, hereditary governors became assimilated) - and that was deliberate. Their power initially, & in some cases always, depended on the threat of Turkish arms. All of this was, of course, no different from other empires.

When the Ottoman empire started re-establishing its rule over Arab provinces which had been self-governing for long periods, in the 19th century Ottoman revival, they did so by sending armies to re-conquer them. They weren't welcomed with open arms. They fought long & bloody wars, not always successfully, to establish control. They fought a 20 year war to take back Libya, for example. Hejaz was conquered in 1517, & again 300 years later, & rebelled in WW1. Asir was re-conquered in the early 19th century, out of control again by the 1840s, re-conquered by 1872, & held down by numerous forts garrisoned by Turkish troops. There was another rebellion in the 1900s. Yemen was re-conquered starting in the 1830s, but San'a didn't fall to the Ottomans until the 1870s.

You have a romantic vision, strongly coloured by prejudice. It's wrong - just as wrong as the romantic vision of benign British officials ruling over contented natives that used to be commonplace in this country.
Why frustrating? We may have difference of opinion on certain points or even different opinion that is why the discussion is sequentially going on. I think here we got indulged in the legitimacy of empires? You have rightly put forward certain historical specifics and that are historical facts though little exaggerated. As I stated categorically in post # 79 that there was the period when Arabs opposed the decisions of ruling caliphs in Istanbul. To be very precise the Tanzimat Period started in 1839, Both Mahmud 11 and Abdulmejed forced the reforms on people. The so called reforms were equally opposed by Arabs and Turks. That is the period of imposition and revolts that you rightly mentioned.

I am contesting your point of equating Master / Servant relationship of western colonialism with Ottoman rule of Arab land. In my view barring few patches of disgruntlement the relationship between Ottoman Turks and Arabs were harmonious in most part of the history.

If you examine my posts I have desisted in pointing out on Ottoman conquest of Balkan, Caucuses and Northern Europe that we can discuss separately and there we may find more points of convergence.
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Old November 2nd, 2012   #82
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I used that phrase against you statement on “Turkish strategic relation with Israelis and its Ottoman connection”

There may be discord under few rulers but in general they were considered as just rulers. Modern day Turks are in the same way respected by Arabs for their Ottoman legacy as well.
Let me again explain what I meant so that there will be no room for misinterpretation.....

Over the years there off course have been economic, political and cultural links between the Arabs and Turkey but for reasons connected to the fact that the Arabs lived under Ottoman rule, relations between the Arabs and Turkey never reached a point where a strategic relationship existed or where there were close defence ties. It was for this reason that Turkey in the 1990's turned to Israel and both countries which were in a way still viewed by Arabs as 'outsiders' subsequently developed a close relationship - one way in which Turkey benefited was support provided by the Jewish lobby whenever the Armenian and Greek lobbies protested against the sale of U.S. arms to Turkey. Bear in mind that Turk/Jewish relations go back a few hundred years, when Queen Isabella expelled Jews from Spain, they were welcomed with open arms into Turkey by the Ottoman sultan. Even today, the Turks still haven't forgiven the Arabs for the 'Arab Revolt' which they view as a stab in the back, because unlike the Bulgarians and Greeks, the Turks were fellow Muslims who cooperated with the British and the French. In 1948, despite having a real army, Turkey offered to help to the Arabs who attempted to prevent Israel from being formed and in 1949, to the deep dismay of the Arabs, officially recognised the state of Israel.

In recent times, due to Turkey having downgraded its ties with Israel - as a result of the incident at sea - Turkey is refocusing its attention towards the Arabs and the Arabs are reciprocating. So there is a valid reason why I mentioned Turkish ties with Israel and why I mentioned that there IS an Ottoman connection in the way the Arabs viewed the Turks, i.e, when Assad the elder first met Brezhnev he was asked why Syria still distrusted the Turks and he received received an hour long lecture by Assad as to how the Arabs had suffered under Ottoman colonialism! The one Arab country that did have 'close' relations with Turkey in recent times and did not view the Turks with the same prejudice and mistrust as fellow Arabs did is Jordan and this is also related to history. Under Ottoman rule, the Hashimites was the guardians of the holy places, thus they had a more pleasant experience under Ottoman rule then their fellow Arabs. Emir Hussin and the future king Abdullah spent many years in comfortable exile in Turkey and when the last Ottoman sultan died in San Remo, it was Emir Hussin who paid for his funeral!

You may be of the opinion that the Arabs in those times did not view the Turks as an occupying colonial power for the reason that the Ottomans 'loosely' controlled the Arabs lands they occupied and that the land was not occupied by 'military means' but let me assure you, most Arabs DID indeed view the Turks as an occupying colonial power..... You only have to ask any Arab who had ancestors living under Turkish rule or to examine written Arab accounts from that period. The Arabs to some extent may have respected the Turks as you said but they still regarded them as a colonial occupier, if they didn't, they wouldn't have participated so eagerly in the 'Arab Revolt'...

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The Arabs to some extent may have respected the Turks as you said but they still regarded them as a colonial occupier
The British were greatly respected by the Pashtuns. Didn't mean that Pashtuns didn't shoot British soldiers. The Sikhs & British respected each other. They fought two vicious wars, & quite a few Sikh PoWs joined the INA.

Respect is not liking. One can respect an enemy. One can even respect & hate at the same time.
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Let me again explain what I meant so that there will be no room for misinterpretation.....

Over the years there off course have been economic, political and cultural links between the Arabs and Turkey but for reasons connected to the fact that the Arabs lived under Ottoman rule, relations between the Arabs and Turkey never reached a point where a strategic relationship existed or where there were close defence ties. It was for this reason that Turkey in the 1990's turned to Israel and both countries which were in a way still viewed by Arabs as 'outsiders' subsequently developed a close relationship - one way in which Turkey benefited was support provided by the Jewish lobby whenever the Armenian and Greek lobbies protested against the sale of U.S. arms to Turkey. Bear in mind that Turk/Jewish relations go back a few hundred years, when Queen Isabella expelled Jews from Spain, they were welcomed with open arms into Turkey by the Ottoman sultan. Even today, the Turks still haven't forgiven the Arabs for the 'Arab Revolt' which they view as a stab in the back, because unlike the Bulgarians and Greeks, the Turks were fellow Muslims who cooperated with the British and the French. In 1948, despite having a real army, Turkey offered to help to the Arabs who attempted to prevent Israel from being formed and in 1949, to the deep dismay of the Arabs, officially recognised the state of Israel.

In recent times, due to Turkey having downgraded its ties with Israel - as a result of the incident at sea - Turkey is refocusing its attention towards the Arabs and the Arabs are reciprocating. So there is a valid reason why I mentioned Turkish ties with Israel and why I mentioned that there IS an Ottoman connection in the way the Arabs viewed the Turks, i.e, when Assad the elder first met Brezhnev he was asked why Syria still distrusted the Turks and he received received an hour long lecture by Assad as to how the Arabs had suffered under Ottoman colonialism! The one Arab country that did have 'close' relations with Turkey in recent times and did not view the Turks with the same prejudice and mistrust as fellow Arabs did is Jordan and this is also related to history. Under Ottoman rule, the Hashimites was the guardians of the holy places, thus they had a more pleasant experience under Ottoman rule then their fellow Arabs. Emir Hussin and the future king Abdullah spent many years in comfortable exile in Turkey and when the last Ottoman sultan died in San Remo, it was Emir Hussin who paid for his funeral!

You may be of the opinion that the Arabs in those times did not view the Turks as an occupying colonial power for the reason that the Ottomans 'loosely' controlled the Arabs lands they occupied and that the land was not occupied by 'military means' but let me assure you, most Arabs DID indeed view the Turks as an occupying colonial power..... You only have to ask any Arab who had ancestors living under Turkish rule or to examine written Arab accounts from that period. The Arabs to some extent may have respected the Turks as you said but they still regarded them as a colonial occupier, if they didn't, they wouldn't have participated so eagerly in the 'Arab Revolt'...
You have rightly pointed out the historical facts and I am compelled with your words. I wanted to you to come to this point. I am of the view that it was Turks who left Arabs not the vice versa. The betrayal of Sherif of Mecca to Ottomans and later Al- Saud’s treatment with the Turkish wardens of two holy mosques is well documented fact.

The Sherifate came to an end shortly after the reign of Hussein bin Ali, ruled from 1908, who rebelled against the Ottoman rule during the Arab Revolt of 1916. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and its subsequent dissolution in 1923, Hussein bin Ali declared himself Caliph. The British granted control over the newly formed states of Iraq and Transjordan to his sons Faisal and Abdullah (current King Abdullah-2 is his grandson). In 1924, however, in the face of increasing attacks by Ibn Saud, Hussein abdicated his secular titles to his eldest son, Ali bin Hussein, who was to become the last Grand Sharif. At the end of 1925, Ibn Saud conquered the Hejaz and expelled the Hashemites. The House of Saud has ruled the holy cities and the Hajj since that time.


Yes you are right it was Ottomans who sheltered the Jews along with Arabs of Andalusia. It is also important to mention here that it was the last Ottoman Caliph who refused to sell the land for the creation of Israel against the huge debt relief (may be the same refusal was the reason of his banishment).

As i tried to explain in my previous posts that recognition, establishing relation and transforming it in to strategic level with Israel was the culmination of Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s policies to emulate western principles of social, political and strategic outlook (betrayal of Sherif might have played a role too) .

Have a look at the analogy, Israel was created in 1948, Turkey recognized the Jewish state in 1949, Turkish accession process to NATO started in the same period and she was inducted in NATO in the year of 1952.

Since 2001 when Islamic leaning leader Recep Tayyap Erdogan came in to power under the banner of AK Party, he has shifted his policy to look eastwards and formed good relationship with fellow Muslim countries in general and Arab world in particular. His foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has put lot of efforts to regain the lost Arab and Muslim world with renewed vigor.

Hafez Al Assad and other dictators like him who fomented the “already expired” Arab Nationalism to tighten the grip of their respective countries and they tried to paint Ottomans as the oppressors of Arabs.

Israel’s attack on Gaza, Erdogan’s spat with Perez at Davos and Mavi Marmara incident are the chain of events where Turkish leadership acted and reacted out of their ideological position and that in my view is “to take Arabs along” akin to their Ottoman ancestors. Most of the Arab intellectuals and masses are of view that policies of Kemalist were more anti Arab than of Ottomans.

Suffice to say that Turkish- Arab relationship was marred by its history and there were mistrust but that was least created by Ottomans themselves. In my view it was the few Arabs who betrayed the Ottomans and later the policies of Kemalists (may be moderately stemmed from Arab betrayal) were by and large responsible for that.
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Old November 2nd, 2012   #85
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As i tried to explain in my previous posts that recognition, establishing relation and transforming it in to strategic level with Israel was the culmination of Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s policies to emulate western principles of social, political and strategic outlook (betrayal of Sherif might have played a role too) .
The policies of Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s policies aside, Turkey's relationship with Israel - which started in the 1990's - was a result of the Arabs rejecting a similar arrangement with Turkey. TheTurks were desperate for a 'friend' in the Middle East it was only after Turkey 'failed' with the Arabs, that it approached Israel. If Turkey had established a 'close' defence/security relationship with the Arabs, it would not have done the same with Israel at a later date, as the Arabs would not have approved. That Turkey's 'relationship; with Israel happened when it did had more to do with realpolitik and political conveniance than with policies set in place by Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s.

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Hafez Al Assad and other dictators like him who fomented the “already expired” Arab Nationalism to tighten the grip of their respective countries and they tried to paint Ottomans as the oppressors of Arabs.
For most ordinary Arabs the Ottomans were the 'oppressors' and that is the point I've been trying to put across to you. For some reason, you seemed to have formed this very mistaken impression that the Arabs did not view the Turks as colonial occupiers and were perfectly happy to live under Turkish rule. Assad the elder and other Arab dictators did not have to paint Ottomans as the oppressors of Arabs to maintain their grip on power for the simple reason that most Arabs did view the Turks as oppressors! They painted the Israelis and 'foreign elements' as oppressors and aggressors of Arabs, and used this to maintain their grip on power. By the way, Assad and many other leading Alawites had Turkish blood in them - it was not the Turks as a whole that they despised but Turkish Ottoman rule. As I mentioned, there is a reason why the Arabs so willingly participated in the 'Arab Revolt' in cooperation with the British and the French....

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Old November 3rd, 2012   #86
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The policies of Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s policies aside, Turkey's relationship with Israel - which started in the 1990's - was a result of the Arabs rejecting a similar arrangement with Turkey. TheTurks were desperate for a 'friend' in the Middle East it was only after Turkey 'failed' with the Arabs, that it approached Israel. If Turkey had established a 'close' defence/security relationship with the Arabs, it would not have done the same with Israel at a later date, as the Arabs would not have approved. That Turkey's 'relationship; with Israel happened when it did had more to do with realpolitik and political conveniance than with policies set in place by Mustapha Kemal and his successor’s.



For most ordinary Arabs the Ottomans were the 'oppressors' and that is the point I've been trying to put across to you. For some reason, you seemed to have formed this very mistaken impression that the Arabs did not view the Turks as colonial occupiers and were perfectly happy to live under Turkish rule. Assad the elder and other Arab dictators did not have to paint Ottomans as the oppressors of Arabs to maintain their grip on power for the simple reason that most Arabs did view the Turks as oppressors! They painted the Israelis and 'foreign elements' as oppressors and aggressors of Arabs, and used this to maintain their grip on power. By the way, Assad and many other leading Alawites had Turkish blood in them - it was not the Turks as a whole that they despised but Turkish Ottoman rule. As I mentioned, there is a reason why the Arabs so willingly participated in the 'Arab Revolt' in cooperation with the British and the French....

Though the discussion is in order yet it got little drifted from the original subject but i hope that we would definitely reach to the point of convergence and get back on tarck.

The reason of Ottoman demise was the same like other preceding Middle Eastern Moslem empires of Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimid’s, Ayyubids, Mamluks and the circumstances were almost the same too. “Every rise has its set” so does the Ottomans. Nature abhors a vacuum so the vacuum was filled by western backed despots in the newly created sovereign Arab states.

To be very precise the Tanzimat Period started in 1839, both Mahmud-2 and Abdulmejed forced the reforms on its populace. The so called reforms were equally opposed by the Moslems Arabs, Turks and Kurds. That is the period of imposition and revolts that you rightly mentioned. I would advise you to study the struggle between unionist and secularist in the late 19th and early 20th century Turkey.
I would suggest you the two books with distinct perceptive on the same subject “With the Turk in wartime” by Marmaduke Pickthal and “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by T. E. Lawrence ,that would definitely help to reach the conclusion on the discussed subject.


Who is more loved and liked by Arabs amid to ideologies of Turks. The Ottomans & Kemalist: Sultan Mehemt, Selim and Suleman or Mustapha Kemal, Ismet Inonu kenan Evren. Erdogan, Gul or Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Deevet Bacheli.
Answer lies in the above comparison itself, Turks like & love Ottomans and Neo Ottomans respectively rather than the later one the Kemalist and secularist.
No doubt that it was the real politik, what was Turkey able to give to Arabs that time and vice versa. Offcourse the orientation of leadership matters most in these decisions.

In my view up gradation of ties with Israel was more to do with Kurdish insurgency than with Arabs. Even Erdogan visited Israel in 2006 with a large delegation comprising leading businesspeople. Now contrast with harsh reaction of Erdogan against Israeli atrocities to Palestinians and with his predecessor’s reaction at their time in power.
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Old November 6th, 2012   #87
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Though the discussion is in order yet it got little drifted from the original subject but i hope that we would definitely reach to the point of convergence and get back on tarck.

The reason of Ottoman demise was the same like other preceding Middle Eastern Moslem empires of Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimid’s, Ayyubids, Mamluks and the circumstances were almost the same too. “Every rise has its set” so does the Ottomans. Nature abhors a vacuum so the vacuum was filled by western backed despots in the newly created sovereign Arab states.

To be very precise the Tanzimat Period started in 1839, both Mahmud-2 and Abdulmejed forced the reforms on its populace. The so called reforms were equally opposed by the Moslems Arabs, Turks and Kurds. That is the period of imposition and revolts that you rightly mentioned. I would advise you to study the struggle between unionist and secularist in the late 19th and early 20th century Turkey.
I would suggest you the two books with distinct perceptive on the same subject “With the Turk in wartime” by Marmaduke Pickthal and “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by T. E. Lawrence ,that would definitely help to reach the conclusion on the discussed subject.


Who is more loved and liked by Arabs amid to ideologies of Turks. The Ottomans & Kemalist: Sultan Mehemt, Selim and Suleman or Mustapha Kemal, Ismet Inonu kenan Evren. Erdogan, Gul or Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Deevet Bacheli.
Answer lies in the above comparison itself, Turks like & love Ottomans and Neo Ottomans respectively rather than the later one the Kemalist and secularist.
No doubt that it was the real politik, what was Turkey able to give to Arabs that time and vice versa. Offcourse the orientation of leadership matters most in these decisions.

In my view up gradation of ties with Israel was more to do with Kurdish insurgency than with Arabs. Even Erdogan visited Israel in 2006 with a large delegation comprising leading businesspeople. Now contrast with harsh reaction of Erdogan against Israeli atrocities to Palestinians and with his predecessor’s reaction at their time in power.
I know a few turks. These are turks who live there not Americans of turkish decent. They dont like the Arabs. Like really. The only thing they really have in common from their point of view is Islam other than that.....

I'm not sure how to take Erdogan. I think at heart he is a politican who uses islamist sensabilities as a way of druming up support similar to the liberals or far right would.

As for assad..well its more like no one really likes him but he has provied atleast some stabilty and judging from what the ME has become sense the arab spring began thats rare these days.

I think We pretty much assured chaos after the fall of the regime by waiting and not doing anything. By now everyone has weapons and seasoned fighters and the fanatics have recruited and gained power in places. The people who would stop this have all been run off as refugee's killed or become fighters themselves. 50/50 chance of a civil war or a serious growth in radical islam in the nation even when he falls.

Reminds me of a NPR show. They interviewed this family which had their house hit by a artillery shell. Killed most of them. One of the women asked where was the US and said they would remember that......made me so angry. First that we were just expected to rescue everyone. Then that this was expected after basicly every middleastern country we seem to help ends up helping those who bomb us or go against us.....sigh

No matter who wins i see it biting the US in the butt.
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I know a few turks. These are turks who live there not Americans of turkish decent. They dont like the Arabs. Like really. The only thing they really have in common from their point of view is Islam other than that.....

I'm not sure how to take Erdogan. I think at heart he is a politican who uses islamist sensabilities as a way of druming up support similar to the liberals or far right would.

As for assad..well its more like no one really likes him but he has provied atleast some stabilty and judging from what the ME has become sense the arab spring began thats rare these days.

I think We pretty much assured chaos after the fall of the regime by waiting and not doing anything. By now everyone has weapons and seasoned fighters and the fanatics have recruited and gained power in places. The people who would stop this have all been run off as refugee's killed or become fighters themselves. 50/50 chance of a civil war or a serious growth in radical islam in the nation even when he falls.

Reminds me of a NPR show. They interviewed this family which had their house hit by a artillery shell. Killed most of them. One of the women asked where was the US and said they would remember that......made me so angry. First that we were just expected to rescue everyone. Then that this was expected after basicly every middleastern country we seem to help ends up helping those who bomb us or go against us.....sigh

No matter who wins i see it biting the US in the butt.
Yes that seems quite bona fide. The reason here is again common belief of Islam too, Turks believe that Arabs collided with the Christian west to bring down Islamic Ottoman Empire.

Yes, Erdogan is a politician and he has the great ability to judge the undercurrent within and beyond, in the greater Middle East.

For me it’s a natural process of change where minority sect will not be able to rule majority with ease like before in the Middle East (including Bahrain).
I think that time has come for the final assault against Al-Assad; yes chaos is assured but not akin to Iraq as Syrian demography is predominated by Sunnites unlike Iraq where Shiets are only just numerically superior.

The problem is the trust factor, people of the region do not see US as a true and just super power any Government elected by people will have to go to voters in successive elections.
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Old November 6th, 2012   #89
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Worth reading article on rapid & rabid geopolitical transformation in Middle East / North African region.


Islamists, judging by the use of the term in the global press, is a simplified way of referring to all Muslim groups seeking some form of Islamic rule in the Middle East.

Like most simplistic expressions, "Islamist," is laden with hidden traps. The first Islamist trap is believing that all Muslim groups seeking some form of Islamic rule in the Middle East are of one mind and body. They are not. The second Islamist trap is assuming that all groups seeking some form of Islamist rule are



inherently hostile to the interests of the United States and its allies. Some are, and some are not. The third Islamist trap is thinking that the US and its allies can stop the Islamist surge now sweeping the Middle East by diplomacy, sanctions, and covert action. The verdict on this supposition has yet to be rendered, but the outlook is not promising. The fourth and most lethal Islamist trap is the belief that force alone can stop the Islamists. Iraq and Afghanistan suggest otherwise.

The dangers of assuming that all Islamists are the same is easily illustrated by a brief review of the four main Sunni Islamist currents competing for control of the Middle East.

Islam lite
The most liberal of the four main Islamist currents is Islam Lite, the sarcastic Turkish nickname for the Justice and Development Party that has ruled Turkey within a secular framework for more than a decade. Islam Lite, the most forward looking of the four Islamic currents, has built Turkey into the world's seventeenth largest economy, consolidated Turkish democracy, brought Turkey to the doorstep of membership in the European Union, reaffirmed Turkey membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and established Turkey as the dominant Muslim power in the Middle East and beyond.

This is not to deny that the Justice and Development Party does have an Islamic agenda that seeks to create a more Islamic state in Turkey and the Arab world. At the domestic level, the Justice and Development Party has implemented sweeping Islamic reforms that promote veiling (head scarfs), prayer in schools, and other Islamic practices outlawed by Turkey's revolutionary leaders in the aftermath of World War I. While these Islamic reforms are hardly earth shaking, seculars worry that they are but the first step in the Party's much deeper Islamic agenda.

At the regional and international levels, the Justice and Development Party's Islamic agenda includes support for Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, Tunisia, and the Gaza Strip. It also calls for an independent Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories. All have soured Turkey's relations with Israel, but war between the two former allies is not in the picture.

Partnership with the US and EU is an essential component of Islam Lite. Subservience is not. Some observers accuse Turkey of using Islam to extend its regional influence. The Israelis, by contrast, worry that Turkey will use its military power to extend its Islamic reach.

While neither thought can be discounted, the Islamic Lite model practiced in Turkey does demonstrate that moderate Islamic rule is compatible with democracy and development. Much like Turkey itself, the Justice and Development Party provides an avenue for cooperation and dialogue between the West and Muslim currents throughout the Middle East.

Things, however, may not be as simple as they seem. The Turkish model is deeply rooted in Turkish history and culture and may not be exportable to either the Arab world or the Islamic regions of Central Asia. Also problematic is the weakness of Islamic Lite currents in other areas of the Middle East, All, with rare exceptions lack a firm organizational network and their popular support base pales in comparison to those of the Muslim Brotherhood and even the more extremist Salafis.

The Muslim Brotherhood
Next in the hierarchy of religious extremism comes the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's largest and most powerful Islamic organization. The Brotherhood now rules in Egypt and Tunisia and exercises profound influence throughout the region. The name may differ from place to place, but they are all Brotherhood offshoots.

The odds are that it will control most of the Arab Middle East by the end of the decade.

The foundation of the Brotherhood's success is a vision of Islam that promises Islamic morality, modernity, welfare, honesty, capitalism, stability, and development in a single and seductive package. It is this seductive package that has enabled the Brotherhood to capture the center of the Sunni Islamic community.

Popular support, in turn, is bolstered by an organizational structure that spans the globe. In contrast to Turkey's Justice and Development Party which is overwhelmingly focused on Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood is first and foremost a Muslim organization that places Islam above nationalism. Egypt is the headquarters of the Brotherhood, but its goal is a Middle East dominated by moderate Muslim rule. Brotherhood dominance in one country is used to strengthen Brotherhood influence in others.

In sum, the Brotherhood possesses a forward looking agenda that includes democracy and development within an Islamic framework. This differs markedly from the Turkish Lite model which is willing to pursue democracy and development within a secular framework. The Brotherhood is willing to cooperate with the US and the EU, but only on terms that advance its Islamic agenda. This, too, differs from a Turkish model that places Turkey's national interests above Islamic interest.

The Brotherhood, in common with the Islamic Lite model, pursues its Islamic agenda in a patient and pragmatic manner that avoids violence if possible. This said, the Brotherhood is more directly involved in supporting Hamas and other affiliated Islamic movements than the Turkish Justice and Development Party. While the Turks exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to ease its efforts to crush the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip, the Muslim Brotherhood offers hands on support to Hamas. It is not a combatant, having upheld Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, but neither is it without blood on its hands.

The West is not anxious to deal with the Brotherhood, but it may have little choice in the matter. If elections are held in the Arab world, the Brotherhood will either win the elections or possess so much power that it can prevent any other group from ruling effectively.

Salafis
The salafis are exceptionally conservative Muslims who believe that the Koran and Sunna (sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed) should be followed to the letter. This includes accepting the rule of tyrants as the will of God. God will judge the kings and tyrants when the time comes, but that is his call and not theirs. The salafis also feel honor bound to force other Muslims to accept their most restrictive vision of Islam. In the salafi view, humans are too venal to follow the true path of Islam unless all vestiges of temptation are removed from society. This includes the temptations of the flesh and requires the full veiling of women. In cases of rape, women are condemned for provocation.

The Wahhabi doctrine of Saudi Arabia and most areas of the Gulf is salafi to the core. The senior Wahabi clerics are part of the ruling elite in Saudi Arabia and control both the religious police and the education system. They also play a key role in the Saudi security system by justifying the rule of the Saudi monarchy as the will of God. The Gulf monarchies cannot rule without them.

While dominant in the Gulf, diverse salafi currents are emerging as a major force in Egypt and Tunisia, two of the most westernized countries in the Arab world. The first free parliamentary elections in Egypt saw the salafis capture about 25% of the vote in comparison to the Brotherhood's 40%. When you add the Islamic Lite votes to the total, the Islamists garnered some 70% of the popular vote. Subtract the Christian vote, and the Islamists garnered close to 80% of the Muslim vote. The election campaign was bitter, but when the Brotherhood emerged as the Islamist candidate in the run-off elections, they were supported by both the salafi and the Islam Lite currents. Both are now involved in a bitter struggle to pull the Brotherhood in their respective directions.

As things currently stand, the Salafis are a powerful, backward looking current whose global reach, supported by Saudi oil wealth, preaches virulent anti-Americanism. Unlike the Brotherhood, the salafis are neither patient nor pragmatic. They don't rebel against Muslim leaders, but they are active supporters of violent attacks against the US and its allies. Salafi supporters in Egypt and Tunisia have also been involved in violent acts against Christian and secular currents whom they view as a threat to Islam.

These attacks are also designed to force a conflict between the reigning Brotherhood regimes and secular currents in these westernized of countries. Nationality doesn't matter, neither does reality. Faith will assure the return of a Sunni theocracy modeled on the 7th century Arabia. Shia need not apply. In the meantime, the salafi will do everything in their power to force Muslim societies to live according of Islamic law. The Muslim Brothers are flaming liberal by comparison. It is vital that the West keep the Muslim Brotherhood on the moderate track and avoid pushing them into the salafi camp.

Jihadists
The Salafis, in turn, give way to the jihadists intent on cleansing society by violence. Nothing else will do. Symbolized by bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the jihadists differ from the mainline Salafis in three key ways. First, they have arrogated unto themselves the right to excommunicate Muslim leaders by declaring them to be kafirs or non-believers. Most salafis deem excommunication to be the right of God unless individuals denounce their belief in God and refuse to accept the Prophet Mohammed as his Messenger. Second, by excommunicating political leaders for their cooperation with the US, the jihadists are absolved from Koranic scriptures requiring them to support their ruling tyrants and kings. Rebellion and assassination await. Finally, it is not enough for the jihadists to impose strict Islamic law on society. All Muslims societies, in their view, have been so corrupted by their association with the West that they must be totally destroyed and rebuilt in a purely Islamic framework. The only way to achieve this, goal, from the jihadist perspective, is violence. There is no scope for pragmatism. Bin Laden is gone and al-Qaeda has been weakened, but the jihadists have simply decentralized into a multitude of localized groups intent on terror. When one is crushed, others evolve to fill the gap.

Traps and consequences
The trap of viewing the main Islamist currents as a cohesive force deprives the West of much needed flexibility in dealing with the competing Islamic movements most likely to dominate the Middle East during the coming decade. Turkey's Islamic Lite is compatible with the stability and development of the Middle East, but the jihadists are not. The Muslim Brotherhood could go either way, while the salafis, ardent supporters of retrogressive extremism, are sheltered by their ties to the Saudi monarchy. You can't have one without the other. The jihadists are a clear and present danger to everybody. This, of itself, provides a basis for cooperation between the West and the more moderate Islamic currents.

The trap of viewing the main Islamists currents as being of one mind and body sets the stage for believing that all Islamist currents pose an imminent danger to the US and its allies. How could it be otherwise when Islamic Lite is painted with the brush of the jihadists? The battle lines for an inevitable conflict between Islam and the West have been drawn. Panic and islamophobia soar. So does anti-Americanism in the Islamic world. All that remains is a fuse.

The drawing of battle lines, in turn, unleashes the trap of urgence. Something has to be done, but what? Iraq and Afghanistan have dulled the West's taste for drawn out guerilla wars. As former Secretary of Defense Gates framed the issue, "Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army to Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined." This was a direct quote from General McArthur, This sets the stage for an endless series of sanctions, covert actions, and drone strikes which stoke extremism, anti-Americanism and, eventually, a new explosion.

If sanctions and covert actions don't work, the trap of assuming that the US can save the world from the Islamist threat by military force remains. I stress the US, because America's EU allies are bailing out, while Japan, China and Russia are pursuing Middle East agendas at odds with that of the US. The jIhadists love it because it gives them the opportunity for cheap victories against a demoralized and over extended US military that has already shifted its emphasis from the Middle East to East Asia. As the proverbial rhyme states:

"For want of a nail a shoe was lost.
For want of shoe a horse was lost.
For the want of a horse the rider was lost.
For the want of a rider a message was lost.
For the want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost."

For want of recognizing the complexities of Islamic currents, the Middle East could be lost.


Asia Times Online :: Beware of the Islamist trap
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Old November 6th, 2012   #90
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As for assad..well its more like no one really likes him but he has provied atleast some stabilty and judging from what the ME has become sense the arab spring began thats rare these days.
All of the regional dictators whom the U.S. and the West supported at one point or the other - including Saddam and Gadaffi - brought stability, until recently. Gaddafi went from being a 'tyrant' to 'friend/partner' and back to 'tyrant' again , it was more straigthforward with Saddam, he just when from being a 'friend/partner' to a 'tyrant', in slighly less than a decade.Which brings to mind that at one point [in 1996] discussions were also held with the Talban and consideration was given to officially recognising them as it was felt that the Talibs could bring stability to a war torn Afghanistan and were a better alternative to the warlords.

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50/50 chance of a civil war or a serious growth in radical islam in the nation even when he falls.
Syria is already in the midst of a civil war and has been for some time. Also, it is inevitable that there will be a growth in 'radical islam' - look at what happened in Iraq.

http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles...riakurd604.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20220183

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...s-war-in-syria

As you are no doubt aware, some of the foreign rebels had previously fought in Iraq [there have even been reports of a few Chechians] but not all are allfiliated with Al Aeda. One reason why the State Department didn't protest much in 1982 when Assad the elder - in response to an insurgency waged by the Muslim Brotherhood - razed Hama to the ground was because the Muslim Brotherhood were 'radical Islamists'. As far as the U.S. and the West was concerned, better to have a ruthless dictator in place than have 'radical Islamists' come into power.

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Originally Posted by Belesari View Post
First that we were just expected to rescue everyone.
Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that it is the U.S. that continously preaches democracy and human rights? Given that the U.S. has encouraged the rebels to overthrow Assad and has openly called for regime change in Syria, is it at all surprising that this woman - in her moment of grief and desperation - would expect some help from the U.S?

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Originally Posted by Belesari View Post
Then that this was expected after basicly every middleastern country we seem to help ends up helping those who bomb us or go against us.....sigh

No matter who wins i see it biting the US in the butt.
Your statement give the impresssion that it is an unselfish U.S. who has been let down by an ungrateful Arab populace, when this is not the case at all.

Disenchantment towards the U.S. is a result of decades of flawed policies practised in the region by the U.S. to serve its own interests and its goes back to the start of the Cold War. There is a profound reason why segments of the people who live in the Middle East [and the Muslim world] are 'unhappy' or 'unsatisfied', with the U.S. and it has largely to do with flawed policies that were highly detrimental to those living in the region and which also turned out to be highly damaging to American interests and its overall standing in the region. It is not 'them' who end up 'biting the US in the butt' but a case of the U.S. biting itself in the butt [and it has done a pretty good job of it] for continously undertaking self-serving policies that were flawed and were not in the interests of ordinary Arabs.

Instead of continously blaming 'extremists', 'Muslim fundamentalists' and 'jihadists' for all that has gone wrong in the region, U.S. policy makers and right wing neo-cons should perhaps engage in some soul searching...... Contrary to what many think, many Arabs have a high regard for the U.S. - they want a taste of American democracy and human rights - but what they detest is the U.S. policy of propping up dictators [who were never elected to serve American interests] and American unconditional support for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. I'm not in any way implying that the Arabs don't share any blame for the problems they have and continue to face but foreign interference also has played and continues to play a pivotal and it has been that way since the 19th century, the main difference now is that it is the U.S. and not Britain and France which is the 'dominant' player in the region. When Obama came to power and gave his famous speech in Cairo it raised the hopes of the Arabs and led to them to believe that the U.S. was adopting a new policy towards the region and was going to assume the role of an honest broker in the Palestinian/Israeli issue, unfortunately this was not the case. As long as self-serving and flawed policies are practised, groups like Al Qaeda will continue to thrive.

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