The war on terror and Turkey's political future

Published 17.05.2019 22:46
Updated 18.05.2019 02:08

Nowadays, the concept of terror has become a sophisticated term. In the beginning, it was defined mainly in terms of violence. Now, it refers not only to violent acts but also to perception management in political life and to secret alliances in international power relations. Indeed, each terrorist organization nowadays resembles a state structure thanks to the implicit or explicit support they receive in the international arena.

After the end of World War I, Western powers emerged as the rulers of the world. As the greatest empires of the old world disintegrated, Western colonial or puppet states succeeded in their places. The belated unification of Germany and Italy was concluded with two world wars, a bloody struggle mainly among Western colonial powers, or "Western civil wars" as Samuel Huntington wrote in his controversial "Clash of Civilizations."

In the end, vast empires were divided into tiny states, especially in the Islamic world which was fragmented into small nations and tribal states. Shaping the borders of the new world map, the British colonial approach even laid out the world's "zones of war," which condemned certain regions to political chaos. They also set many ethno-religious problems into motion, which would become gangrenous in the long run, such as the Kashmir problem between India and Pakistan, the Hatay issue between Turkey and Syria, and the Kurdish-Armenian conflict in Turkey's southeastern regions.

Evolving into a social nightmare, World War II concluded with the deaths of over 40 million people. It was not only the result of Western colonial competition but also the expression of racism and anti-Semitism that had long existed in Western societies. Ultimately, Western political leaders put all the blame on Adolf Hitler, who was passed over as a mad man and an abnormality in the West.

In this international context, the modern Turkish nation-state has emerged as a vital international player in the region. As an example of democracy, the Turkish Republic now shines as a secular-democratic country with a Muslim majority. Although Turkey could have freed itself from the one-party governance of the Republican People's Party (CHP) in 1950 and Turkish democracy was regularly interrupted with coup d'états, and thus, followed a course under heavy military tutelage, Turkey is a remainder of the Ottoman Empire that has emerged as a regional political power with 200 years of democratic political experience.

Before the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011, Turkey's economy was booming with an average growth rate of 10 percent, a steadily growing export rate and national income, and significant political influence in the international arena. Rapidly turning into a first-class democracy, Turkey's economic growth, which had been equal to the growth of India's and China's economies, was accompanied by political reforms that brought Turkish democracy to the advanced level of European democracies.

Following the outbreak of Syria's civil war, the U.S.' Syrian policy began to conflict with the national interests of Turkey, one of their main regional allies. Despite being a member of NATO, Turkey had to distance itself from the U.S. to cooperate with Russia. Immediately after Ankara stepped back from the U.S. policies in the Syrian civil war, Turkey faced multifaceted attacks from three major terrorist organizations.

Existing for 40 years due to the implicit support of Western powers, the PKK has emerged as a regional player in Syria by cooperating with the U.S. under the name of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

As a portable terrorist organization that was designed by Western intelligence organizations for the Syrian civil war, Daesh realized most of its bloody terrorist attacks against Turkey. Fermenting inside the state structure for 40 years, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) succeeded in seizing the "nerve endings" of the Turkish state.

Turkey has simultaneously struggled against and succeeded in defeating these three murderous terrorist organizations – all of which had global allies.

Led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara now faces paying the political price for defeating these terrorist organizations.

Today, the PKK and FETÖ are directly and openly supporting the Republican People's Party (CHP) in the upcoming local elections in Istanbul. Leading an irreconcilable war on terror, the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) political power has been challenged by a counter-alliance backed by countries that secretly cooperate with these terrorist organizations.

As a democratic country, Turkey's war on terror continues despite heavy fallout in the political, economic and social fields.

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