by Caroline B. Glick
Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week
It isn't that
Until this week, both
In February 2006, when Erdogan became the first international figure to host Hamas leaders on an official state visit after the jihadist group won the Palestinian elections,
Jerusalem made similar excuses for Ankara when during the 2006 war with Hizbullah Turkey turned a blind eye to Iranian weapons convoys to Lebanon that traversed Turkey; when Turkey sided with Hamas against Israel during Operation Cast Lead, and called among other things for Israel to be expelled from the UN; and when Erdogan caused a diplomatic incident this past January by castigating President Shimon Peres during a joint appearance at the Davos conference. So too, Turkey's open support for Iran's nuclear weapons program and its galloping trade with Teheran and Damascus, as well as its embrace of al Qaida financiers have elicited nothing more than grumbles from Israel and America.
Initially, this week
Tuesday was characterized by escalating verbal assaults on the Jewish state. First Erdogan renewed his libelous allegations that
Erdogan's anti-Israel and anti-Semitic blows were followed Tuesday evening by Turkey's government-controlled TRT1 television network's launch of a new prime-time series portraying IDF forces as baby and little girl killers who force Palestinian women to deliver stillborn babies at roadblocks and line up groups of Palestinians against walls to execute them by firing squad.
The TRT1 broadcast forced
But even if the AKP's rise to power was eminently predictable, its ability to consolidate its control over just about every organ of governance in Turkey as well as what was once a thriving free press, and change completely Turkey's strategic posture in just seven years was far from inevitable. For these accomplishments the AKP owes a debt of gratitude to both the Bush and Obama administrations as well as to the EU.
The Bush administration ignored the warnings of secular Turkish leaders in the country's media, military and diplomatic corps that Erdogan was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Rather than pay attention to his past attempts to undermine Turkey's secular, pro-Western character and treat him with a modicum of suspicion, after the AKP electoral victory in 2002 the Bush administration upheld the AKP and Erdogan as paragons of Islamist moderation and proof positive that the US and the West have no problem with political Islam. Erdogan's softly peddled but remorselessly consolidated Islamism was embraced by senior American officials intent on reducing democracy to a synonym for elections rather than acknowledging that democracy is only meaningful as a system of laws and practices that engender liberal egalitarianism.
In a very real sense, the Bush administration's willingness to be taken in by Erdogan paved the way for its decision in 2005 to pressure
As for the Obama administration, since entering office in January it has abandoned US support for democracy activists throughout the world in favor of a policy of pure appeasement of US adversaries at the expense of US allies. In keeping with this policy, President Barack Obama paid a preening visit to
Then there is the EU. For years
At the same time, by consistently refusing to permit
For its part, as the lone Jewish state that belongs to no alliance,
In the first instance it is crucial for policymakers to recognize that change is the only permanent feature of the human condition. A country's presence in the Western camp today is no guarantee that it will remain there in the future. Whether a regime is democratic or authoritarian or somewhere in the middle, domestic conditions and trends play major roles in determining its strategic posture over time. This is just as true for
The loss of
Moreover, it is only by being willing to recognize what makes an ally an ally and an adversary an adversary that the West will adopt policies that leave it more secure in the long run. A military-controlled Turkish democracy that barred Islamists from political power was more desirable than a popularly elected AKP regime that has moved
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.
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