In recent years, especially after the rise of their beloved PM Erdogan with his Pro-Islam AK Party in the Turkish politics, there has been an evident change in the long pro-West political momentum in Turkey. 100 years after Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk decided to abandon its moribund shell and embrace westernized and secular modernization, Ottoman’s ghost made a clear comeback. The next thing you know: Erdogan was deploring Chinese genocide against the Uighur in a riot that it’s exactly the other way around in Urumqi; Erdogan was denouncing Germany to stop those blunt assimilation attempt to infiltrate his Turkish brothers in Germany; Edrogan was pressing hard on Syria and publicly condemning al-Assad amid his protest repression; Edrogan claimed Turkey ought to be the role model for all Muslim states when massive chaos broke out in the middle east; Edrogan made a strong political decry against Israel and even plan to visit Gaza to support Hamas.
It takes a fool to figure out what Turkey is aiming for. I am sure all Turks are overwhelmed in their mighty glory of the great Ottoman Empire. They are tired of modern Turkey. If one keeps sticking his face to someone’s butt for a long time he would definitely get sick of it. It’s natural that Turks get frustrated with the West and retrieved their old Ottoman spirit. It’s just a matter of time. The Ottoman ghost has always been there. It just needs a good timing to release in rapt. The secularization process was never thorough enough to switch people’s mentality for modern civilization. Islam may be covered with Turkish nationalism in domestic politics, but it has been always the sole guidance for the majority of the clannish Turkish population. Germany made a miscalculation by importing the Turk labors 50 years ago. Look what kind of troubles they got themselves into? Let’s not forget not long ago, the definition of Turk, through the legendary Millet System in the Ottoman Empire, was merely the people who believe in Islam. With hundreds of years of tradition in mixing religious identity and ethnic identity, would it not be called naive to wish to whitewash the old religious image away in a short time of period? Even in countries full of radical communists in the past, religious tradition would revive right away after the downfall of communism.
Apostasy was never an option for Turkey. Still, its statesmen are trying hard to maneuver in between modernity and tradition for years. In the old time Turkey would always pretend to be an inveterate allay of the West, thanks to the political intervention from Turkish military juntas. Now that they got a powerful political party and a skillful politician, juntas are no longer in power. The strong affiliation with tradition emerged under the water after years of hiding. When the west are badly battered by their own social and economic problems, Middle eastern long-lasting dictating regimes start to rumble in front of massive social turmoil, the Russians are still deeply trapped in post-Soviet trauma, it’s showtime for the Ottoman Turks.
Is it? Everything seems so right, except that the modern Turkey is no longer the great Ottoman Empire. The benefit of a move to side with the Islamist is still too immature to outweigh the adverse risk of pissing off the West. Turkey is not strong enough to go blatantly against the West at the moment, as long as US still views Turkey as a pawn in Middle East front-line, and Kurds are still restlessly harassing the Turkish rule in Southeastern Anatolian mountains. On the other side, the Muslim world was never really a true friend of the Turks either. I don’t think either Persians or the Arabs would be happy to embrace the leadership of the Turks, the foreign steppe people from the east as far as they perceive. Persians are heretic Shi’a and Arabs would never be subject to a Turk dominion once again. Nowadays Arabs in the middle east needs an extra allay to counter-balance Western’s influence. It should not be difficult for Turks to figure out their Muslim brothers are just using them for the time being. Their alliance is expendable with an expiration date. The space for Turks to maneuver is actually still very limited at the moment. Any drastic move would only serve Turkey the opposite of what it is intended to exert. It’s better to keep the Ottoman’s ghost in the closet a big longer I say.