Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, November 04, 2002
I still think the Turkish election news is not on-balance bad. Why? (1) The most radical elements from the old Islamist parties are not part of the Justice and Development Party coalition; they have their own, radical Islamist party. (2) The Justice and Development Party ran on a clear platform of support for the secular constitution, support for the alliance with the U.S., and so forth. If they break faith with the people on these matters, they will destroy their electability. (3) The military will not allow the subversion of the constitution, and the Justice and Development Party knows this. So even if they want to subvert the constitution, they will be very wary of doing so. (4) All that being a given, having an Islamic-oriented party take responsibility for government policies that are pro-Western and pluralist is extremely good.

Again, the key element in the equation is that the military will not allow the constitution to be subverted. If Justice and Development is smart, they will be focused on serving their constituents and helping the country prosper. If they do that, they will strengthen their party and also provide a strong model for non-theocratic Muslim parties. If they are stupid, and try to subvert the constitution, there will be a military coup which would, basically, put Turkey back to square one circa 1997. Which isn't such a terrible square to be in. In the meantime, we in the U.S. have got to support Turkey in every way possible; if the military ever changed its mind about the necessity of anchoring Turkey in an alliance with America, the damage to our general position in the Middle East would be incalculable.