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Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Turkey’s Gain Is Iran’s Loss" or Is It Turkey's Turn to Destabilize the Globe?

In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Elliot Hen-Tov, a Princeton doctoral candidate, and Bernard Haykel, a Princeton professor of Near Eastern studies, conclude:

"With Turkey capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of Arabs, Iran will increasingly find it harder to carry out its agenda of destabilizing the region and the globe. For Americans, it may be hard to see the blessings in a rift with a longtime ally. But even if Turkey’s interests no longer fully align with ours, there is much to be gained from a Westernized, prosperous and democratic nation becoming the standard-bearer of the Islamic world."

Several questions:


Consider the following item reported earlier this year in The Guardian:

"Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an 'honour' killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.

The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.

* * * *

A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.

* * * *

Official figures have indicated that more than 200 such killings take place each year, accounting for around half of all murders in Turkey."


The authors of this op-ed ignore the various devastating Turkish bank crises. As indicated in a Today's Zaman column entitled "Turkish experience with banking crises resolution" by Murat Yulek:

"Following the 2001 banking crises, the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) acquired 20 private banks together with their liabilities. These liabilities totaled $32 billion, of which $26 billion was made up of deposits. Simultaneously, two large state banks -- Ziraat and Halk -- had to be recapitalized following the accumulation of large policy losses over the preceding years.
Turkey’s resolution experience

* * * *

The banking resolution process of 2001-2004 cost Turkish taxpayers $27.1 billion. Equivalent to 9.6 percent of Turkey's average gross domestic product (GDP) during that period, this figure does not include the significant cost of recapitalization of the two state banks, Ziraat and Halk. It also does not include the Treasury's cost of financing."

Anyone familiar with the Turkish banking sector knows that we have not seen the last such crisis, which will hit unexpectedly as an earthquake.


Consider the following from an item written by Jen Alic for ISA Intel:

"In a game that Turkey’s ruling AKP party seems rather adept at playing, the ‘democracy’ buzzword is being used in an attempt to push through constitutional changes that will give the government more control over courts that aren’t towing the party line."

Although Turkey might certainly be preferable to Iran and more susceptible to Western pressure and incentives, a consortium of the two countries is less than palatable.


  1. From what I see in the situation with flotilla, it is Turkey who successfully pressures West and moves it in the direction of Islamists, not vice versa. Turkey's "soft" approach to destruction of Israel gathers plenty of support and greatly compliments Iran's "hard" approach.

  2. Hen-Tov and Haykel fail to see the reality of Turkey today. Does not mean everyone else is blind. yet.

    Even I do not see a Turkey-Iran alliance except over their Kurdish 'problem'. More of a competition for regional hegemony and Turkey's aspiration to be a rising power like Brazil in the vacuum created by America and the EU.


  3. Your detections are quite funny and have no basis, Caesarea!!! you can not blink the facts Just Because you want to critize the writer of that article...
    The examples you gave above have long been written by some journalists who are the leading opponents of the ruling AK Party. You need to study more about Turkey and its region.