When World War I was over, almost all Muslim lands were occupied by Western colonial powers. Western superiority, which emerged from the Industrial Revolution and the succeeding philosophy of the Enlightenment, had reached its zenith. Western colonization was realized not only in the form of physical occupation, but also by cultural occupation. Such an intense process of colonization broke all the resistant dynamics of the Muslim world by blowing up traditional values.
Turkey and Afghanistan acquired their independence right after WW I, while the struggle of other Muslim countries for independence lasted until the 1950s.
Anglo-Saxon colonial culture cultivated native rulers to serve as a buttress for their colonial governments; thus, a mandatory ruling class controlled the people for the sake of colonialists.
The energy that Western colonizers spent to maintain colonial governments in occupied Muslim counties was doubled in Turkey. They succeeded to holding Turkey between life and death.
In the post-Cold War era, the emergence of the United States as the sole superpower in the international arena led it to disregard the role of international law and the United Nations. The U.S. no longer required any legitimacy for its occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Iraq was occupied through false claims of weapons of mass destruction, the ineffectiveness of the U.N. and unlawfulness in international relations were clearly exposed. Although 13 years have passed since the occupation of Iraq, chaos and rule of force continue to rule in the region.
After almost a century, independent countries have raised their standing in the international arena. In particular, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Egypt have reached a certain level of economic and political power and can no longer be easily controlled by the West as before. In the face of such a process of revitalization in the colonized Muslim world, the Western colonial empire lost much power.
In recent times, tension has been clear between the European Union and Turkey. Germany's putting the issue of the Armenian deportation on its agenda is a clear reflection of that tension. In reports published by the European Council, a discourse of hatred has appeared against Turkey, which has been a chronic candidate for the EU.
Twenty years ago, the EU had innumerous actions against Turkey's membership in the EU:
- Intervening in Turkey's normal political mechanisms by supporting pro-Western governments
Intervening in Turkey's economy and forcing it towards bankruptcy
Overthrowing existing political power through organizing a coup d'état
Discrediting politicians who resist their agenda through media
The EU and the U.S. can no longer change Turkey's government by their own accord due to Turkish citizens having a better grasp of their own national interests.
The critical attitude of the EU member states toward Turkey, which reflects itself in an aggressive form, is not related to their desire for more democratic rule in Turkey. On the contrary, they have demonstrated a behavioral disorder towards Turkey, as they can no longer control it. Seeing the West as a grandfather who faces the risk of losing his own grandchildren, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seizing the opportunity to make Turkey a much more rich, democratic and free country.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.