There is a promise of a new day in Turkish-American relations, a new beginning. As they say in the South: fine and dandy! Couldn't be better.
Especially when you hear it straight from the horse's mouth. The U.S. vice-president tells the prime minister of Turkey that bilateral relations are entering a new day. Hopefully, a bright and shiny day.
Except among those who are going to experience that shiny day with Turkey are such old faces as Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Bannon, whose names alone might darken even the Arizona sun in mid-August.
You might know Bannon, executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right news, opinion, and commentary website, now Trump's personal advisor and member of the U.S. National Security Council. Mr. Bannon had Gorka appointed as a senior member of his staff at the White House. He is now a deputy assistant to the president. Gorka is the author of the "Global Jihadist Movement" theory. The Washington Post reports that he is the one who helped the Trump White House put together the Muslim Ban decree.
The son of a Hungarian nationalist with a deep Catholic faith who was saved from Soviet torture at the last minute and migrated to Britain, Gorka believes it is not the radicals or fundamentalists who resort to terrorism; it is Islam itself that makes believers resort to violence, because Islam makes jihad obligatory for the faithful. He says he has read the Quran. According to the Washington Post, Gorka's academic credentials on the subject of Islam are non-existent. He cannot read and speak Arabic. He went to college in London and spent three years in the British army. He worked in many think tanks in Washington and was eventually fired from all. He worked with almost all the Bush-era neo-conservatives but some of them challenged his views on Islam. In the end, he created his own "institute."
Gorka and his wife, who also worked in the same think tanks as her husband, found in Trump a very good listener for their theories. Their grisly description of al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorism was being repeated by then-candidate Trump verbatim: "Children slaughtered, girls sold into slavery, men and women burned alive, crucifixions, beheadings and drownings. Ethnic minorities targeted for mass execution. Holy sites desecrated."
These fiery speeches failed to tell the American people that what was happening was not a total war waged by Muslims against Christianity or Judaism worldwide. Almost all the Muslim countries joined in the war against those who tried to hijack the religion but could not pull ordinary people into their sectarian terror.
Right after the inauguration, in a speech he made in Florida, Gorka showed his audience a photograph of a dead brown-skinned man, lying on the ground with a Kalashnikov next to him; when the audience cheered, he said, "We can win now, because there is a new sheriff in town."
In order to be credible, the new sheriff ought to promise a new day with new and credible advisors around him. The Gorkas are not among them.
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