Judging Turkey Fairly
Judging Turkey Fairly
Judging Turkey Fairly
Turkey is unarguably one of the most important countries in its region. With the fact that it has adopted the spirit of democracy and with its modern conception of Islam, it enjoys an influential position, not only in the region, but in a broad swath of the Islamic world and that position makes it valuable not only to the Muslim world, but also to the West.
The idea recently expressed by certain circles in the words “Is Turkey moving away from the West?” is one of the reflections of that value: In fact, even those proposing that idea know full well that the impression they are trying to create does not reflect the facts. The report “From Rhetoric to Reality: Reframing U.S. Turkey Policy” by Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman was a different way of expressing the idea in question.
The information in the report and the examples cited largely consist of prejudicial and one-sided interpretations. Criticisms that Turkey should act only in its own interest when it instead acts in the interests of the entire region are insincere; they are simply intended to wear it down by the use of the same old arguments. Nevertheless, if there is a criticism, the rational thing is to evaluate that criticism and see if there is any justification to it, and then respond. Turkey is a powerful country with just such a national mentality.
There are two main themes to the criticism aimed at Turkey by citing various examples: 1) That it is turning away from Western values by turning towards Islamic territories and 2) is developing an anti-democratic and repressive nature.
Turkey has always been a country that faced both East and West and it still maintains that position today.
Those who seek to clearly separate East and West and think that the East should only exist to serve the interests of the West seek not justice and democracy, but rather to control the East. We all know that a desire to rule which does not value people or respect opinions and beliefs cannot be a just one and, more importantly, that such a desire cannot establish security. It is impossible for it to bring stability, value or have any respect for a territory.
Turkey’s approach is one of supporting what is right even if the majority may not agree with it. Turkey’s heeding its conscience rather than its interests, acting in the light of what is right rather than adjusting itself to prevailing conditions is a sign that it is a country that can be comfortably trusted by both East and West; it would be wrong to perceive that as a threat.
The fallings out that occur between countries from time to time, as with Turkey and Israel, are not permanent. Turkey and Israel are two powerful countries in the region and are natural allies. The fact that commercial relations between Turkey and Israel are stronger than ever confirms that fact. 
Turkey has been changing together with the region over the last 10 years. It is dishonest and unrealistic to claim that this change is leading Turkey to adopt an anti-democratic line. One of the issues most commonly raised in that context is that of imprisoned journalists. However, one important fact is overlooked here; the majority of these people are on trial, not for being journalists and freely expressing their ideas and criticizing the government, but for links to illegal and armed radical leftist groups. No matter what their profession, be they journalists, lawyers, doctors or whatever, people with links to bodies regarded as terrorist organizations by numerous international organizations will obviously be tried in a similar way in all countries. What we are looking at is not an antidemocratic approach, but judicial measures within a legal and democratic framework intended to ensure the safety of citizens. (For Ministry of Justice data concerning the detained journalists, see http://www.basin.adalet.gov.tr/duyuruveaciklamalar/2012/cpj_ing.html)
Although Turkey has not yet reached the democracy it would like, it is taking major strides toward democratization. The rights acquired by Turkish citizens, whose existence was not even recognized until 10 years ago due to the oppression by secretive deep- state cliques, are causes for rejoicing for all Turks. Major improvements have also been made to the rights enjoyed by Armenian, Assyrian, Jewish and Christian citizens. The torture that used to be inflicted systematically is now almost non-existent. Unsolved homicides are no longer taking place, and efforts are being made to solve those that took place in the past.
Ofcourse there is still much to be done, but the value of the gains cited above is enormous. If the West remains under the influence of certain prejudiced circles within this process, if it does not treat Turkey fairly, then it will be making a historic error.
Turkey is not the friend of one single belief, idea or country: Its perspective is one that embraces all and treats everyone with the same respect. Turkey wants friendships, not enmities. It knows that its happiness cannot be built on another country’s unhappiness. More importantly, the spirit acquired during the 90-year history of the Republic, a modern and enlightened one devoid of extremism, but open to ideas and on the side of freedom, is of great value to Turkey and that spirit will lead the way to peace, friendship and brotherhood in the region and throughout the world.
Adnan Oktar's article in Arab Times