Sometimes I feel I exist in a time-warp! Today, the CSM published an opinion piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago, based on my time in Turkey.
I still think its main argument is a really important one. It is that Obama– and a lot of other westerners–
- could learn a lot from Turkey about how a smart Islamist party can be a valued participant in a democracy.
That is such a valuable lesson. The AKP is such an intriguing party!
The reference to Egypt in the intro was because the piece was originally conceived, by me, to coincide with Obama giving The Speech, June 4, in Cairo.
Well, that was eight days ago. An eon in the fast-moving world of Middle East politics these days.
The concluding argument in the piece is this:
- in the Bush years, Washington worked actively to overthrow both Hamas and Hezbollah…
Several Bush-era officials openly questioned whether the electoral victories of Hamas and Hezbollah actually “proved” that a party could be both dedicated to Islamist principles and democratic rule over the longer term. Turkey’s experience provides intriguing evidence that it can.
Obama should value Turkey’s views on regional affairs. He may not be ready yet to go along with all the advice he receives from the AKP government in Ankara. But Ankara has much valuable experience that it can share with its NATO ally.
By the way, the dateline of “Adana” came about because I was writing the piece while Bill and I were being conveyed in a rather comfortable touring-car from Kappadokya to Hatay (Antakya)… So at some random point I looked out at the signs on the freeway and figured that the nearest town to where we were was Adana, which I think hosts a large US/NATO air base. I confess I never went into Adana, at all. Just rushed right past it, and rushed through Hatay as fast as we could, too.
And wow, that was just 13 days ago. Feels like two eons.