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Obama's Heading to Turkey


womfalcs3
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He has left Prague for Turkey. Could it be?

He said that in his first 100 days in office, he would address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital city. This could be the location; Istanbul. It would make sense that he would deliver it from one of the more liked Muslim countries in the West. He wouldn't want to stir things up by going to a place deemed questionable. At the same time, he wants to deliver it from a place that is also not questionable for Muslims.

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Turkey is a tough place right now for any American president, even for Obama... Turkey is disgruntled over alot of issues with the US and Obamas charme alone will not work... plus the political situation in Turkey is very difficult right now since politicly it´s more of a western liberal country but muslim influence seem to slowly gain control. It´s very important that Obama re-establishes good relations with Turkey or otherwise our biggest ally in the muslim world might be lost in 1-2 decades

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Turkey is a tough place right now for any American president, even for Obama... Turkey is disgruntled over alot of issues with the US and Obamas charme alone will not work... plus the political situation in Turkey is very difficult right now since politicly it´s more of a western liberal country but muslim influence seem to slowly gain control. It´s very important that Obama re-establishes good relations with Turkey or otherwise our biggest ally in the muslim world might be lost in 1-2 decades

Very true. I grew up there and hope to one day soon visit again. It's a great place, and I'd hate to have a difficult time going there based on my being American.

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Turkey is a tough place right now for any American president, even for Obama... Turkey is disgruntled over alot of issues with the US and Obamas charme alone will not work... plus the political situation in Turkey is very difficult right now since politicly it´s more of a western liberal country but muslim influence seem to slowly gain control. It´s very important that Obama re-establishes good relations with Turkey or otherwise our biggest ally in the muslim world might be lost in 1-2 decades

I don't consider Turkey to be America's biggest ally in the Muslim world at all

Their parliament voted twice against allowing US troops to use Turkey as a platform to invade Iraq

They are becoming increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause

They have a lot of economic and military cooperation with Iran

Just because they're one of the most secular Muslim countries doesn't make them the biggest US ally

I don't think the US likes the AKP at all because they are very popular not just in Turkey but throughout the Muslim world

Very true. I grew up there and hope to one day soon visit again. It's a great place, and I'd hate to have a difficult time going there based on my being American.

You probably won't have a difficult time

There's probably not a single country in the world where you'd have a "difficult time" with an American passport

Although, I BELIEVE that Americans now need visas to travel to Turkey

Not sure on that

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I don't consider Turkey to be America's biggest ally in the Muslim world at all

Their parliament voted twice against allowing US troops to use Turkey as a platform to invade Iraq

They are becoming increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause

They have a lot of economic and military cooperation with Iran

You do the same mistake as the Bush administration, confusing allies with vassals

Turkey had very good and strong reasons to object the Iraq invasion (into Kurdish territory) especially coming from Turkish territory (also Kurdish territory). The Kurd situation was already very problematic, it would have been a total mess if Turkey would have agreed to start the Iraq war from its on territory. This had nothing to do with them being anti-american nor with the fact that they are a muslim country but was solely an important domestic issue of highest priority

Most of Europe has become increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause as long as it is peaceful (i.e. getting their own country in arrengement with Isreal) and the Turkish position is not really different than you will find in any European country. I don´t know anything about military coorporation with Iran you are talking about. But it is absolutely legal to have normal economic realtions with Iran

Turkey is a proud and very traditional country and looking back on houndreds of years of history (incl. being the center piece of the Osman empire), it is just natural for them to claim some kind of leadership role in their neighbourhood. It is also totally understandable that every country tries to do everything that is best them them first just like the US and European countries always did/do. If that was in conflict with the policies of the former US government, you can not blame Turkey

Anyway: If Turkey is lost to radical muslim influence then it is silly to believe that countries like Iraq have even the slightliest chance of avoiding that fate. Turkey has to play a major role in the peace process of the middle east because itt´s actually the only real secular democracy in the region

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You do the same mistake as the Bush administration, confusing allies with vassals

Turkey had very good and strong reasons to object the Iraq invasion (into Kurdish territory) especially coming from Turkish territory (also Kurdish territory). The Kurd situation was already very problematic, it would have been a total mess if Turkey would have agreed to start the Iraq war from its on territory. This had nothing to do with them being anti-american nor with the fact that they are a muslim country but was solely an important domestic issue of highest priority

Most of Europe has become increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause as long as it is peaceful (i.e. getting their own country in arrengement with Isreal) and the Turkish position is not really different than you will find in any European country. I don´t know anything about military coorporation with Iran you are talking about. But it is absolutely legal to have normal economic realtions with Iran

Turkey is a proud and very traditional country and looking back on houndreds of years of history (incl. being the center piece of the Osman empire), it is just natural for them to claim some kind of leadership role in their neighbourhood. It is also totally understandable that every country tries to do everything that is best them them first just like the US and European countries always did/do. If that was in conflict with the policies of the former US government, you can not blame Turkey

Anyway: If Turkey is lost to radical muslim influence then it is silly to believe that countries like Iraq have even the slightliest chance of avoiding that fate. Turkey has to play a major role in the peace process of the middle east because itt´s actually the only real secular democracy in the region

First of all, I wasn't trying to demonize Turkey. I was just listing the ways in which their policies go against that of the United States. Secondly, Europe isn't the United States. So you can't cite European countries' "support of the Palestinian cause" when we are talking about Turkey's relations with the United States. Thirdly, I don't believe any European leader has told Shimon Peres that he killed babies (which Erdogan did).

Turkey and Iran are trying to build a natural gas pipeline. Turkey doesn't have much energy reserves. Iran has a LOT of energy reserves. Turkey is the gateway to Europe. Hence, Turkey wants to become a major energy crossroads between the middle east and Europe. And I know it's perfectly legal for a country to have relations with Iran, but judging by the rhetoric coming from the US administration, legality doesn't mean much.

And lastly: I hate the term 'radical Muslim.' The AKP are not radical Muslims. They are Islamists. Do you know how many different manifestations of Islamism there are? There are probably more differences within these various groups than there is between Islam and the West. Moreover, in saying "Turkey is the only REAL secular democracy in the region" is dumb for a number of reasons. First of all, the level of political repression in Turkey is no less than that in Iran (and yet Iran is constantly being demonized for how it handles dissidents). I have been to Turkey and the personality cult surrounding Ataturk is unparallel anywhere else in the middle east. And if secularism is defined as the separation of religion and state, then Kemalism certainly fails at being secular. Because Kemal controlled and repressed religious practice. Turkey's treatment of Kurds has often come into question as well.

Now I am not trying to discredit Turkey. They are a democratic state and they have done a lot of good for the Muslim world (and I believe the AKP is fixing these problems). However, to put them above and beyond other Islamic countries is a gross exaggeration. By such a definition of democracy, Iran, Indonesia, and Malaysia would certainly fall under the same category (in spite of their flaws). Furthermore, secularism is not innately better than Islam. The Ikhwan in Egypt and Hezbollah in Lebanon are proof of that. Their relief/aid projects are certainly something to admire and respect.

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I don't think a secular government is innately better than a religious one, but I think it has been proven to be better.

My problem with secularism is this. Secularism, liberalism, and democracy: these are the "side dish." They are nice to have, but what truly makes them appealing is the main course which almost inevitably comes with it (industrial capitalism).

Industrial capitalism offers certain comforts which are unparallel in human history. This is what people want. However, is it sustainable? Let's assume that it would be possible for every person in the world to live like the average American. The earth would have to be six times larger than its current size simply to accommodate the higher consumption. Even in our current state -- with just a fraction of the total world population belonging to the industrial middle class -- many ecological and consumption problems have arisen.

The positive aspects of secularism are mostly tied with capitalism. And capitalism has shown itself to be unsustainable, especially if it were to be enforced universally. Granted, it is more sustainable than communism, but that's not saying much. I personally feel -- because of these problems I have mentioned -- that we need to look at modernism with a more critical eye.

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My problem with secularism is this. Secularism, liberalism, and democracy: these are the "side dish." They are nice to have, but what truly makes them appealing is the main course which almost inevitably comes with it (industrial capitalism).

Industrial capitalism offers certain comforts which are unparallel in human history. This is what people want. However, is it sustainable? Let's assume that it would be possible for every person in the world to live like the average American. The earth would have to be six times larger than its current size simply to accommodate the higher consumption. Even in our current state -- with just a fraction of the total world population belonging to the industrial middle class -- many ecological and consumption problems have arisen.

The positive aspects of secularism are mostly tied with capitalism. And capitalism has shown itself to be unsustainable, especially if it were to be enforced universally. Granted, it is more sustainable than communism, but that's not saying much. I personally feel -- because of these problems I have mentioned -- that we need to look at modernism with a more critical eye.

While I disagree with your marginalization of secularism, liberalism and democracy, I don't deny that there are problems with the modern system. A lot of people agree with you. I think that you are also mischaracterizing capitalism - it can adapt, either as people become more aware of problems (which is happening) or for any other reason that it becomes profitable/intelligent to pursue a different course. Moreover, there has been push back against assuming that we can apply large universal laws to how people will act, the question is finding a balance. I suppose it depends on your view of humanity, or belief in our capacity to change and realize problems. However, and I think this is the kicker with a lot of critiques of modernism (if you can call it that), you aren't offering any real alternatives. If you propose returning to monarchical religious rule a la Europe in the 1600's then that is obviously lunacy. Simply saying religion can be a guiding principle is in and of itself not a problem, but it does not address how we can work on the worlds issues.

I think that modernism/the Enlightenment project or whatever you want to call it is imperfect and incomplete, but you risk throwing the baby out with the bath water. The greatest strength of the system, I believe and hope, is that it can be changed and adapted. You can't look back and call the last 200 years unadulterated capitalism, because it hasn't been. Even right now, I think the public is asking itself some questions about the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and hopefully that leads to improvement in terms of sustainability as well as maintaining the 'side dishes' of individual rights, etc...

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While I disagree with your marginalization of secularism, liberalism and democracy, I don't deny that there are problems with the modern system. A lot of people agree with you. I think that you are also mischaracterizing capitalism - it can adapt, either as people become more aware of problems (which is happening) or for any other reason that it becomes profitable/intelligent to pursue a different course. Moreover, there has been push back against assuming that we can apply large universal laws to how people will act, the question is finding a balance. I suppose it depends on your view of humanity, or belief in our capacity to change and realize problems. However, and I think this is the kicker with a lot of critiques of modernism (if you can call it that), you aren't offering any real alternatives. If you propose returning to monarchical religious rule a la Europe in the 1600's then that is obviously lunacy. Simply saying religion can be a guiding principle is in and of itself not a problem, but it does not address how we can work on the worlds issues.

I think that modernism/the Enlightenment project or whatever you want to call it is imperfect and incomplete, but you risk throwing the baby out with the bath water. The greatest strength of the system, I believe and hope, is that it can be changed and adapted. You can't look back and call the last 200 years unadulterated capitalism, because it hasn't been. Even right now, I think the public is asking itself some questions about the strengths and weaknesses of the system, and hopefully that leads to improvement in terms of sustainability as well as maintaining the 'side dishes' of individual rights, etc...

You are right. Alternatives are few. Communism came as a reaction to it, and ultimately failed (remaining communist states are either dirt poor -- like Cuba or North Korea -- or have abandoned Communism all together, like China). In many Muslim countries there were Islamist movements which were a reaction to secularism and capitalism, but with not much success. You have counties like Sudan (which is essentially a failed state). And then you have the more powerful "Islamist" countries like Indonesia and Iran (which are essentially secular states which keep vestiges of Islamic law mostly for the purpose of propping up an Islamic image).

So you are 100% right. There are no feasilble alternatives -- at least at the moment -- which don't involve a complete upheaval and return to traditional systems of the past. And I HOPE that modernism can be fixed, and that the majority of the world can reap its benefits. But I have doubts.

maybe Obama can fix it :lol:

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You are right. Alternatives are few. Communism came as a reaction to it, and ultimately failed (remaining communist states are either dirt poor -- like Cuba or North Korea -- or have abandoned Communism all together, like China). In many Muslim countries there were Islamist movements which were a reaction to secularism and capitalism, but with not much success. You have counties like Sudan (which is essentially a failed state). And then you have the more powerful "Islamist" countries like Indonesia and Iran (which are essentially secular states which keep vestiges of Islamic law mostly for the purpose of propping up an Islamic image).

So you are 100% right. There are no feasilble alternatives -- at least at the moment -- which don't involve a complete upheaval and return to traditional systems of the past. And I HOPE that modernism can be fixed, and that the majority of the world can reap its benefits. But I have doubts.

maybe Obama can fix it :lol:

Right, I mean I'm not saying I have answers but I think our system as it exists is more conducive to finding answers than any alternatives. Negative philosophy doesn't particularly help anyone alone; pointing out flaws is important, but finding solutions is more important.

And, like I said, I think that our society has critical elements in it in the best possible way. Too often political debate is cheap, but there is some good stuff there. Outside of that there are other forums for debate (no pun), even, shock horror, universities (someone won't be happy with that comment). People should, and do, think critically about the system and that itself is part of the secular heritage (Kant, among many others).

I probably sound more optimistic than I am, because the problems can be staggering, but I don't really see the merits of a pessimistic or purely negative approach to these things, not that you have one, just in general.

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