Given my leanings toward Byzantine and Serbian history, I don’t have much love for Turkey. Not to mention the ethnic cleansing of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in WWI. As most students of history know, Turkey tried to pursue a middle ground between secular liberalism and Islamic fundamentalism. The result wasn’t a golden mean but an uncomfortable combination of both–the worst of both worlds. It wanted the apparent benefits of modern liberalism: advanced societies, medical and technological breakthroughs, and a formiddable army. It also wanted the glory of the Ottoman days, something at odds with Imperial Liberalism.
In any case, I suspect Turkey’s identity crisis is nearing an end. She sits upon the most important trade route in the world. Half a dozen of the world’s most important oil pipelines pass through her borders. She is a member of NATO, though I suspect that relationship will prove…interesting in the near future.
Turkey is trying to fill a gap in the Islamic world. Per Huntingdon, Islam is the only civilization that doesn’t have a core state. Turkey wants this leadership role, but for the past 50 years it couldn’t achieve it. Muslims are usually divided with each other and in the absence of a common enemy (be it USA or Israel), there’s more infighting than at a Baptist deacons’ meeting.
Fastfoward to the Israeli raids on Gaza flotilla. All Muslim and Arab countries are condemning, which isn’t saying much. Turkey and Syria are actually threatening war. I suspect that if Turkey can fight a reasonably successful war against Israel, even if only bringing it to a standstill, she can begin to reclaim her glory days.
Unfortunately for Turkey, without American military support, her army isn’t that formiddable.