In-depth Business Intelligence
of US $
is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)
Books on Turkey
Update No: 152 -
The West: Yes or No?
Turkey is keen to be accepted as part of the Western world. Some 75% of its
people, according to opinion polls, deem themselves to be Westerners. The
Islamicist party in power, the AKP, is utterly opposed to Muslim extremism of
any sort. The Turks wish to become members of the EU, a hallmark of Western
But there are another people, the Armenians, who wish to do so too. As it so
happens, they have a prior right to a claim to join, dating back to 300 AD, when
they founded the very first Christian state. If the countries adhering to the
Treaty of Rome, are not part of Christendom, what else are they?
This is the nub. Turkey's claim to join is based on the fact that 5% of their
territory is in Europe, just north of the Bosporus. But, actually, it is more
powerfully based on the fact that the founding moment of modern Turkey was the
rule of a most remarkable man, Ataturk (1922-37). He put the Ottoman heritage
behind the Turks, drawing on the tradition, nevertheless, of the Young Turks,
radical reformers of the Ottoman state before 1914. He secularised and basically
Westernised his nation, even converting the script of their mother tongue to a
This is the solid reason why the Turks want to be in the European Union. But,
alas, too many existing member citizens, particularly in France and Germany want
The First World War still counts
Events that took place in the First World War, that awful disaster and yet
foundation moment of the modern world, are still at work today. Awful things
were afoot; and recrimination is still being begat and wrought.
The Armenians are never going to forgive the massacre of millions of their kind
in 1915 at the hands of the Turks, as the Ottoman Empire fell apart. There are
perhaps a very few centenarians left alive who can attest to it.
It is a curious, but very telling fact about human nature that the Turks are
still in denial. They are adamant that that they did nothing wrong in 1915.
Hitler put the point in a rather different way in 1938 when he said: 'Who now
remembers the Armenian genocide?'
He obviously did; and had a genocide or two on his mind to perpetrate on the
sly. It would become the Turks to own up to this business, as do the British
that they set up concentration camps in the Boer War. Most nations have
skeletons in their cupboards.
The giant Armenian question
The normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey has hit a reef. Turkey
considers that progress being made in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict is an essential condition of this normalisation, and Azerbaijan will
probably demand this for the sake of Turkish-Azerbaijan relations. However
Yerevan says that these two issues should not be connected.
Almost the same idea was expressed by Russian Premier Putin during his Turkish
counterpart's visit to Russia. He said that both issues are complicated enough
in themselves, and linking them will make their resolution even more
complicated. Azeri officials observe that as the Russian and Armenian positions
coincide in this, Moscow does not support change in the South Caucasus.
Russia does not want to resolve the Karabakh conflict because then Armenia would
not need Russian military assistance. Azeri analysts and political figures think
that Putin did not say anything new. Co-Chairman of the Azeri Social Democratic
Party Araz Alizade has stated that Russia supports establishing Turkish-Armenian
relations for its own benefit, on its own terms.
The Sochi solution?
There is a very important development afoot. The interested parties are meeting
at Sochi, the winter resort, on January 25. The presidents of Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Russia are convening to resolve the outstanding issues of the
But there is one outstanding absentee – the president of Turkey. The conference
will be likely to fail.