Get Turkey back into a real NATO alliance
Turkey has been drifting from the west, economically, politically, and culturally. Our goal in this article is not to advocate for a Turkish rejection of traditional Muslim values and provide a superiority argument for so-called “western culture”. That would be very dangerous and play into a hegemonic, eurocentric worldview which we do not support. The fact of the matter is, Turkey needs money, and sound economic advice. Those are two qualities that neither Iran nor Russia can provide or have going for themselves. Erdogan despises raising interest rates as he says it goes against islam, which condones usury . He also has a massive influence on the Turkish central bank, allowing him to have a huge impact on the entire Turkish economic situation.
However, as these detrimental economic policies take place and the Turkish Lira plunges (although it has experienced less inflation recently),Turkey is going to look for money. And the countries that will lend money to Turkey will likely have a large impact on the Turkish freedom of the press, freedom of expression and degree of political repression. China has shown an interest in Turkey, so looking at their other investments may be revealing. China has been heavily investing in Africa ($1 trillion by 2025) over the past couple years. Although it would be naive to ignore the fact that these investments are helping Africa a lot, especially in terms of infrastructure, let’s not forget the downsides. China’s goal is to build a diplomatic relationship with whoever is in power. This leads some corrupt and violent African rulers to thrive such as Yoweri Musevini from Uganda, a country in which China poured $607 million in 2018/2019.
China bought Turkey’s third largest port, Kumport for $940 million, and has investments in many other industries as well. Just think of how the situation of Uighur refugees, a Turkic Muslim Chinese group which the Chinese government has heavily repressed, will evolve. Hypothetically, China could use diplomatic soft power, due to business holdings in Turkey, to harden the life of the Uighurs. In short, in order to save Turkish democracy and the Turkish economy, Turkey should take great caution with who they deal with. There is obviously some resentment after the complicated and unsuccessful attempt at Turkey joining the EU. The west should realize that giving Turkey away to China will cause damage later on. The recent Turkish/Russian military cooperation should act as a wakeup call.
This article was written by Timothy Motte
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Special thanks to Professor Juergensmeyer for the insight.
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