Monday, July 23, 2007

Turkey's Islamist Victory Cements A Path Towards An Islamic Society In This Vital NATO Ally

Since the 1920's revolution in Turkey that upended centuries of the Ottoman Empire rule of Turkey, Turkey officially revamped it's image as a secular state that wanted to become a respected member of the modern world. Now with this weeken's landslide by the Islamist party candidates in Turkey, the role of Turkey as a key member of NATO and as a cornerstone state in the European Economic Union remains somewhat in question.

If Turkey drifts too far from the status of a modern secular state and increasingly becomes an Islamic religion influence state, then a sense of concern will only grow within NATO and the European Economic Union about whether this is indeed a real partner state. This could eventually impact the continued role of Turkey in both organizations if this drift towards Islam continues. Turkey is now in the role of a delicate balance. Can a government controlled by strong Islamists keep up enough appearances of a secular state, or will this government continue to grow the power of the Islamic elements and religious leaders?

For now relations within NATO and the European Economic Union will continue much as before. But at some point the brakes may start to go on as the type of civil liberties and freedoms with this secular state are chipped away and replaced with more and more Islamic laws and regulations.

Turkey could even emerge as something of a danger to Western interests if the slide towards Islam becomes too strong as well. All of this should give the leaders of Turkey pause to be sure that they continue the present secular state path or else endanger their role as the only main Muslim member state of both NATO and the EU.


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