Humor Magazine

Roast Turkey

By Davidduff

As I watch, rather helplessly, as Turkey slowly turns and cooks on the spit, I am reminded of a post I wrote just over two years ago entitled "The decline and fall of Arab civilisation?" - and please note the question mark at the end!  I think I would alter that today to read 'The decline and fall of Islam' - without any query at the end.  You don't need a PhD in geopolitics to work out that the Islamic states of north Africa and the middle east are engaged in a gigantic internal struggle somewhat akin to that which occupied the English over the question of the Divine Right of Kings and then later the civil war which was to decide between monarchs and parliament.  All of that took centuries but things move faster these days, almost as fast as the speed of light which accelerates touches on a keyboard round the world virtually instantaneously.

Most of the various Islamic turmoils are difficult to work out because they are bedevilled by a variety of religious 'groupuscles' of either more or less fanaticism plus some embryonic secularists who have fallen for western ways.  However, in Turkey the situation is more clearly defined.  First of all, Turks have enjoyed two free-ish elections recently and there is something magical about voting - especially if you have never had the chance before.  It is such a simply device but just for that magical moment it empowers you and once enjoyed most people do not ever want to give it up.

Turkey, of course, is a divided nation and a huge gulf exists between town and country Turks.  The former have drunk (some of them literally!) at the well of western ideas but even more important they have prospered on western capitalism.  These twin influences have eroded their Islamism, particular amongst the young, both males and females.  The country Turks, of course, remain deeply conservative and the greater the perceived threat is to their Islamic religion the more fiercely they cling to it.  Mr. Erdogan, the prime minister, has played to this re-actionary segment of the population and duly won the (free-ish) election handsomely.  However, in gradually moving the nation further into compliance with strict Islamic laws he seems to have under-estimated the resentments of the young but noisy and violent youth of his cities.  They may be in a minority but the wealth of Turkey depends on the new urban industries and the unions will side with the westernised workers who form their membership.

Thus, all along the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean from Turkey, through Syria and down into Egypt we have "this sea of troubles" and it is difficult, if not impossible, to work out how it will end, although 'tears before bedtime' can be expected!


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