Saturday | March 01, 2003
There seems to be a strain of opinion that runs like this: Yeah, yeah, the Turkish parliament rejected U.S. basing rights, but it was close. They'll just keep voting until the government gets the result it wants.
Could be true. So could this other idea I hear floating around: that in the end the Turks will do it because they know they have to. Doesn't pay to piss off Uncle Sam. He can be a mean old bugger.
But just consider the political hell to which Bush and Co. are consigning your average Turkish politician. One recent poll showed that something like 94% of Turks polled are against the war. 94%.
The current ruling party, the Justice and Development Party, has mildly Islamist roots -- to the point where some analysts wondered whether the Turkish military, which is the ultimate enforcer of Turkey's secular constitution -- would let them take power. They did, but made it clear they weren't happy about it.
The generals may have decided not to pick a fight because the JDP swept into office last year in a landslide of popular revulsion against Turkey's mainstream politicians, who have done a very effective job of trashing the financial system and the economy.
One of the party's main campaign promises was that it would be able to get Turkey into the European Union. But the Eurocrats thought about the consequences of having the Caucases, Syria and Iraq on the EU's eastern border, and said thanks but no thanks: we don't need another 10 million refugees. And they weren't very polite about it. Strike One.
The JDP also said it would be able to get better financial terms from the IMF, and maybe even some spare change from the USA -- "look, they need us, right?" But of course, the Bushies stiffed them. No more foreign bailouts, right? Strike Two.
So the party's MPs -- most of them total political greenhorns -- are already starting to get into hot water with the folks back home. And now we expect them to stand up and vote for something that is opposed, bitterly, by 94% of the voters.
This is roughly like asking your average GOP Congressman from East Texas to stand up and vote to let an army of homosexual BATF agents confiscate every gun in the country. It's suicide. And what do you know: Turkish politicians don't want to die anymore than Texas ones do.
The Bushies may still get what they want, but can you imagine what kind of anger they're generating? I realize they don't give a shit, but if we really are going to invade and occupy Iraq, we're going to need Turkey's help, and we're going to need it for a long long time.
But hey, maybe the Turkish military will take over. I mean, who needs that democracy crap, anyway?
Posted March 01, 2003 02:00 PM | Comments (28)