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Monday, April 6, 2009


No such luck. After praising the regime, here are the newspaper’s criticisms:
  • “Reforms have since stalled—partly because of opposition from civilian nationalists and generals who still wield too much clout. (The trial of 86 people accused of plotting a military coup is a reminder of the dark side of Turkish politics.)”
This seems to suggest that any problems in Turkey are due not to the regime but to its opponents. The reference to the trial does not seem to be a critique of the regime framing people but of evil forces wanting to overthrow the good government.
  • “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also seems to have lost enthusiasm for the European Union bid and the reforms that are the price of admission. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been especially unhelpful, making clear that he will do all he can to keep Turkey out of the European Union.”
  • In other words, if Erdogan doesn’t want to make reforms it is the fault of Sarkozy and “We are concerned about Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic tendencies. His government’s decision to slap the media mogul Aydin Dogan with a $500 million tax bill smacks of retaliation against an independent press that has successfully exposed government corruption.” Here is a reference to repression of the media but only in the context of the “safe” issue of corruption. No hint of how the government’s supporters have tried to promote anti-Americanism, antisemitism, anti-Western conspiracy theories, and Islam. 
  • Turkey should get Iran, Sudan and Hamas to engage in “improved behavior.”

This assumes that Turkey or anyone can moderate militant Islamists who engage, respectively, in seeking nuclear weapons, engaging in genocidal activities, and creating a Taliban-style regime while promoting the most systematic antisemitic campaign since 1945.
But have no fear, Obama to the rescue: “Mr. Obama’s visit is likely to soothe hostile feelings. But he must go beyond that to secure a relationship with an important ally and an important democracy in danger of backsliding.”

That’s it? As Turkey’s government becomes allied to the region’s most radical, anti-American forces and transforms the country’s society in a reversal of the secularist state that has governed for so many decades, the Times defends that government except on marginal points.

Unfortunately, the Times seems to feel that America only has one enemy, and he’s now retired and living in Texas.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to

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