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From the NYT:

Erdogan’s Party in Turkey Regains Parliamentary Majority

ISTANBUL — In a stunning electoral comeback, the Islamist party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regained its majority in Parliament on Sunday, ensuring Mr. Erdogan’s continued dominance of Turkish politics after months of political turmoil and violence.

The result will permit Mr. Erdogan to remain the country’s pre-eminent political figure while pushing the boundaries of the constitutional limits of the presidency, a largely ceremonial role.

With 99 percent of the votes counted, according to the state broadcaster TRT, the Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., captured 49.3 percent of the popular vote, giving it a solid majority of 316 seats in Parliament.

The victory for the A.K.P. came at great cost to the cohesion of Turkish society. Critics say Mr. Erdogan’s divisive rhetoric, by denigrating opponents as terrorists or traitors, helped polarize the country. And a government crackdown on dissent in the lead-up to the vote, with mobs attacking newspaper offices and a recent raid on a media conglomerate opposed to the government, raised concerns abroad about Turkey’s commitment to democracy.

The outcome was also a spectacular upset given that most polls had predicted a result similar to June’s national election, which had denied the A.K.P. a parliamentary majority for the first time in more than a decade.

The victory seemed to validate Mr. Erdogan’s electoral strategy of turning more nationalist, and taking a harder line with Kurdish militants in the southeast, where a long-running war resumed in recent months. Much of the party’s gains seemed to come at the expense of the far-right nationalist party, as voters switched to the A.K.P.

Nobody seems to be talking about it in coverage of Erdogan’s unexpected comeback, but wouldn’t Chancellor Merkel’s October 18th visit to Erdogan to try to bribe Turkey with money and E.U. rights in return for cutting back on the migrants have been a key event in validating Erdogan in the minds of wavering Turkish voters, especially in the minds of Turkish nationalists?

After all, Dr. Merkel spent the earlier part of 2015 humiliating Turkey’s old enemy, Greece. But now even mighty Germany is in submission to Turkey’s leader.

I certainly don’t know enough about Turkey’s byzantine politics to understand exactly what’s going on, but this scenario seems like basic human psychology. Voters pay attention to who looks like the alpha dog — e.g., look at how everybody is all excited by Rubio putting ¡Jeb¡ in his place. If the Moral Leader of the World and ruler of Europe comes and begs your President for mercy, well, maybe you’ll re-evaluate your objections to the guy. Whose bandwagon do you want to be on?

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Back on January 1, 2014 I published one of my favorite Taki’s columns, The Shadowy Imam of the Poconos, about Turkey’s Gulen Cult:

… For example, the current political shakeup in Turkey turns out to be a mashup of various obsessions and hobbyhorses of mine, such as byzantine conspiracy theories, test prep, the naiveté of American education reform, immigration fraud, the deep state, and even the Chechen Bomb Brothers’ Uncle Ruslan.

This lattice of coincidence begins with Turkey’s prime minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan, who is presently besieged by graft scandals following police raids on his inner circle.

With Turkey’s traditional ruling class—the secularist Kemalist generals—finally neutralized by the Ergenekon show trial, the Muslim civilian factions now appear to be plotting against each other. It is widely assumed among Turkish conspiracy theorists (i.e., roughly 98% of all Turks) that the prosecutorial assault on the prime minister was at the behest of Erdoğan’s former political ally, Fethullah Gülen, a powerful and mysterious Muslim cult leader holed up since 1999 in, of all places, the Poconos, where he has become America’s largest operator of charter schools.

But things move fast in Turkey. In 2014, Erdogan appears to have made a deal with the defeated Generals (here’s Harvard economist Dani Rodrik’s essay on how the Gulenists tried to frame his Turkish general father-in-law) and struck back against the Gulen Cult. The latest I’ve heard is that the Turkish government this month charged Imam Gulen with plotting a coup and have demanded life in prison for him.

On the other hand, things seem to have calmed down for the Gulenists in America. In 2014, the FBI raided numerous Gulen charter schools to figure out how they were skimming cash for their global operations from American taxpayers. But that FBI investigation has disappeared from the news for unknown reasons.

If I had to bet, I’d guess that the CIA had a sitdown with the FBI and explained that Gulen Cultists embezzling taxpayer dollars from local school budgets is a feature, not a bug, of America’s Global Grand Strategy. The Gulenists are in exile in Saylorsburg, PA in case Turkey ever needs a new government, and then voila we just happen to have a conservative Islamic but pro-American and pro-business government in exile ready to drop in. What’s a few hundred millions per year in skimmed charter school funds compared to controlling the Bosporus?

Or maybe I’m totally wrong about all this. Turkey is opaque to me.

In any case, the Gulen Cult is small potatoes at the moment, as President Erdogan now bestrides the world stage like a colossus, or maybe like somebody who has had one helluva run but whose luck is finally about to run out.

Don’t ask me.

By turning on (and potentially turning off) the outflow of Muslim “refugees” to the E.U., Erdogan has Chancellor Merkel desperately offering Turkey E.U. membership in return for the throttling back the outflow of Syrians and pseudo-Syrians into Europe. This might sound like the definition of Europe jumping from the frying pan into the fire in that the E.U. would grant open borders to 75+ million Turks But it must be a sweet moment for the Islamist Erdogan, who is being asked by Ms. Merkel to help her keep Europe Christian enough that it will elect women rulers like her in the future. Irony …

And then there’s the fighting in Syria. Erdogan has taken this opportunity to pound the Syrian and Iraqi cousins of his domestic enemies, the Turkish Kurds, who denied his party a majority in elections earlier this year.

I really can’t make sense of the new violence in Turkey regarding the Kurds at all.

For years Erdogan had been a force for less violence and better treatment of the Kurds in Turkey. As an Islamist, he was better situated ideologically to work out a friendly deal giving his fellow Muslims, the Turkish Kurds, some kind of federal autonomy within Turkey than had the previous secularist-nationalist governments. Ataturk had wisely forsworn claims to most of the Arab parts of the Ottoman Empire in building a cohesive nationalist Turkish state. Ataturk’s strategy worked pretty well considering the alternatives.

But Ataturk had stubbornly hung onto Kurdish regions by redefining Kurds as “mountain Turks.” As an anti-secularist, Erdogan seemed well situated to work out some kind of win-win federalist deal with the Turkish Kurds.

But the collapse of Syria and the rise of ISIS on the Iraq-Syrian border has brought the Kurds, who had been doing a good job of quietly picking up the Kurdish pieces of failing states like Iraq and Syria, into a more militant pan-Kurdish posture to resist ISIS. This in turn seems to have resurrected Ankara’s nightmare of a united Kurdish state that would detach a big chunk of territory from Turkey.

Recently, a couple of huge bombs went off a Kurdish political demonstration in Ankara. Immediately, the Turkish government blamed the Kurds blowing themselves up to make Turkey look bad.

After a few days, the Turkish government shifted to blaming ISIS. This has proven much more popular with foreign offices since everybody hates ISIS and they really are bad guys. Within Turkey, of course, lots of people believe conspiracy theories about the terrorist bombings being the work of the government. It’s not uncommon in Turkish history for this kind of thing to happen.

But now Erdogan has Istanbul’s ancient enemy, Muscovy, operating militarily in Syria on its Southern border.

Where this will go next, I don’t know.

Like I’ve been saying for a long time, calling somebody a “conspiracy theorist” is not a smear in Turkish culture. In Turkey, pride of place goes to whomever comes up with the most complicated conspiracy theory.

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Chancellor Merkel is starting to notice that her decision to unilaterally trash E.U. rules and let in countless Muslim from Syria (population 19 million) and who knows from where else maybe isn’t quite working out so hot. But, don’t worry, she’s come up with a new solution to fix her old solution: She’ll get the Turks to stop the Syrian invasion of Europe!

In return, she’ll merely give 79 million Muslim Turks the right to move to Europe.

Merkel Links Turkey’s E.U. Hopes to Stemming Flow of Refugees
By TIM ARANGO OCT. 18, 2015

ISTANBUL — Desperately seeking help to contain Europe’s migrant crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Sunday explicitly linked accelerating Turkey’s effort to join the European Union to Turkish cooperation in clamping down on the flow of refugees from Turkey to Europe.

Ms. Merkel, who has long opposed Turkey’s admission to the bloc, said she would support speeding up the process, a concession that underscored the importance European leaders place on Turkey’s cooperation in trying to contain what has become the largest flow of migrants since World War II, as people flee violence and deprivation in the Middle East and Africa.

“No country can shoulder the refugee burden alone,” Ms. Merkel said at a news conference with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey in Istanbul on Sunday. “The job has to be shared.”

For weeks, a deal in principle between Europe and Turkey has been discussed: it would include almost three billion euros, or about $3.4 billion, to help Turkey deal with nearly 2.2 million refugees, mostly from Syria, who now live in Turkey. At the news conference, Ms. Merkel and Mr. Davutoglu said no agreement had been finalized and that the details were still being worked out. …

In the early evening, Ms. Merkel met with Mr. Erdogan, Turkey’s pre-eminent decision maker, and they also discussed the migrant crisis, as well as the European Union accession process and counterterrorism.

In a statement, Mr. Erdogan said he had asked Ms. Merkel for support in accelerating Turkey’s efforts to join the union.

…. In the negotiations, Turkey has made visa-free travel to Europe for its citizens a top priority, and Ms. Merkel said she had agreed to push that issue forward. Turkey is the only country that has been formally accepted for possible membership in the union whose citizens must have visas to travel to Europe.

Turkey has long sought to join the European Union — formal talks began in 2005 — but the process has stalled in recent years, partly because of European concerns about Turkey’s human rights record and a government crackdown on the news media and freedom of expression.

And also because Turkey is filled with Muslim Turks, who, once included in the E.U. Schengen Zone, would be entitled to move anywhere they felt like. Here’s a 2004 VDARE article I wrote on Turkey’s attempt to get into the E.U. Back in 2002, Randall Parker cited French elder statesman Valery Giscard-D’Estaing’s frank talk about what adding Turkey to the E.U. would mean for Europe:

Mr Giscard d’Estaing told Le Monde that Turkey’s capital was not in Europe, 95% of its population lived outside Europe, and it was “not a European country”.

Asked what the effect of including Turkey in a future wave of European enlargement would be, he said: “In my opinion, it would be the end of Europe.”

Underlining his opposition to Turkish membership of the EU, Giscard d’Estaing said that letting non-European countries join the 15-member club would be “the end of the European Union.”

“The day after you open negotiations with Turkey, you would have a Moroccan demand (for membership of the union,)” said the 76-year-old politician.

Giscard’s comments reflected in blunt language what many EU politicians whisper privately, but they come at a particularly delicate time when Brussels needs Turkey’s cooperation to try to solve several problems related to enlargement.

But, now due to Merkel’s unforced error, own goal, whatever sports metaphor you want to use, the E.U. is begging Turkey not the other way around. From the Financial Times:

Commission officials briefed EU ambassadors on Thursday on the Turkish requirements for completing the terms of the action plan, including €3bn in fresh funds; unblocking about five chapters in Turkey’s EU membership negotiations; and visa-free access for 75m Turks to the Schengen border-free area from as soon as 2016.

Holy cow: “visa-free access for 75m Turks to the Schengen border-free area from as soon as 2016.”

The NYT article doesn’t mention the world “Schengen,” but does go on to mention that the Turkish government doesn’t have the world’s best human rights record. But, due to Merkel’s Boner, Europe is looking for its salvation to the tender mercies and transparent stratagems of the Top Turk.

If this reminds you of a Simpson’s episode about fighting invasive Bolivian tree lizards by unleashing wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes, well, you’ve come to the right place.

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Since 1991, the U.S. has enthusiastically supported Turkey joining the European Union. The moment of decision is fast approaching, with a report from the European Commission due on October 6th on whether or not to invite Turkey to begin “accession” negotiations.

If negotiations begin, EU membership is widely viewed as inevitable.

Yet extending all the rights and privileges of EU membership to Turkey would be disastrous for Europe—which, despite all the fashionable sniping heard in the U.S. these days, remains the heart of western civilization.

And it would be bad for America, Turkey, and the Muslim world as a whole.

The U.S. doesn’t have any direct influence on the issue. But we do wield a lot of politically correct suasion o f the kind that elite European opinion is unfortunately susceptible to:

“You aren’t going to—horrors!—DISCRIMINATE againstTurkey just because 95% of its territory isn’t in Europeand it’s populated by 69 million largely undereducatedMuslims, are you? C’mon, prove how unbiased andmulticultural you are by letting in Turkey.”

Alec Russell reported in the Daily Telegraph:

“President George W Bush yesterday called on the European Union to accept Turkey as a member and so expose the myth of the ‘clash of civilizations’ between Christianity and Islam. … ‘Including Turkey in the EU would prove that Europe is not the exclusive club of a single religion, and it would expose the ‘clash of civilizations’ as a passing myth of history,’ Mr Bush said.” Bush says Turkey must be allowed its place in EU June 30, 2004)

Of course, Turks fought stoutly alongside Americans in the Korean War, suffering the most killed-in-action of all our allies.

That’s more than Mexico, or some other of America’s self-proclaimed “allies” have done.

Turkey, with its impressive military tradition, was a crucial link in deterring Soviet aggression during the Cold War.

But both wars, Korean and Cold, are over.

It’s simply not in America’s economic interest to encourage Turkey to submerge into a trading bloc designed to maximize trade within the EU while penalizing imports from America.

Nor is it in America’s strategic interest to make more feasibleBrussels’ dream of a European military force separate from NATO. So far, such plans have largely foundered on the anti-martial feelings of Europeans unwilling to sacrifice their precious 1.3 children. But Turkey would make a separate EU strike force much more feasible by providing cheap, brave cannon fodder.

Whether it is in Turkey’s interest to join the EU is doubtful, too.Corruption is a huge problem in Turkey—revealed whenever one of the frequent earthquakes flattens hundreds of the shoddy buildings whose developers bribed safety inspectors. Massive subsidies from the EU in the hopes of bringing up Turkish wage levels to European levels would likely exacerbate the problem.

Nor is it clear that Turkey will be better off adopting post-modern European laws, as the EU insists. For example, the EU demands the abolition of the death penalty, yet the threat of execution encouraged captured Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to call for peace, thus ending the 15-year-long rebellion in which 37,000 died.

More importantly, the EU wants Turkey’s military to get out of politics. But it has only been the threat of a coup by the resolutely secular army that has kept Islamic fundamentalism in check in Turkey.

For all its problems, Turkey is, by Muslim standards, a successful nation-state. And that’s another argument against Turkey submerging itself in the transnationalist European Union: Turkish nationalism provides a role model that should not be extinguished.

As a political, rather than economic, unit, the EU supposedly exists to solve the problem plaguing Europe in 1914: aggressive, expansive nationalism. Ninety years later, this concern seems laughably out of date.

Yet in the Muslim world, especially among Arabs, nationalism is not the problem, it’s the solution. Transnationalism may or may not be the wave of the future in the postmodern West. But much of the Islamic world has yet to fully extricate itself from the medieval dream of a universal theocracy. Its evolution to nationalism would be progress.

National borders work to quarantine chaos. The lack of borders that Muslims respect as legitimate exacerbates the region’s instability.

Within the Muslim world, it has basically been the nationalists who have been forces for international stability—for example, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the secular Republic of Turkey in 1923; Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president who made peace with Israel at Camp David in 1978.

In contrast, the men who have spread anarchy abroad—such as terrorist supremo Osama bin Laden, Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein—have tended to believe, as ex-President Bill Clinton is reported to have said on Sept. 10, 2001, that “the world will be a better place if all borders are eliminated.”

Ataturk’s Turkish nationalism set the template that has kept Turkey (aMuslim but not Arabic-speaking nation) out of the international trouble that otherwise seems endemic to the Middle East.

Of course, Turkey recently won a long, brutal internal war with its Kurds. (The unlucky Kurds are one of the larger nations without a state.). But Western governments, before the issue of EU accession arose, largely chose to ignore what Turkey does within its borders, so long as it remains a good neighbor.

The EU is designed to smother nationalist feelings. For Turks, however, the alternative to healthy nationalism would be Islamism, which is much more dangerous.

Finally, Turkish accession would be very bad for Europe.

Turkey’s population within a couple of decades will be larger than Germany, currently the largest EU state. Turkish Muslims would be the single largest voting bloc within the EU. And it would be difficult to denyTurks for long the right possessed by other EU members to migrate anywhere within the EU.

How many Turks would move to Europe if given the chance? Well, about 1/6th of all people of Mexican descent in the world live in the United States. But the more realistic comparison would be Puerto Rico, which has unlimited legal migration rights with its rich neighbor, the U.S.

According to George Borjas, about 1/4th of Puerto Rico moved to the US mainland in a couple of decades, until the federal government started bribing Puerto Ricans to stay home with food stamps and the like. That would mean close to 20 million additional Muslims moving into Europe proper—on top of the 15 to 20 million already causing so much trouble.

That would be a cultural, political, and security disaster—not just for Europe, but also for the U.S.

Think about it this way: Admitting Turkey to the European Union would be very like admitting Mexico to the United States.

Indeed, Mexican President Vicente Fox explicitly wants an EU-likerelationship with the U.S. and Canada. His former foreign minister Jorge Castaneda told the L.A. Times in 2001:

“That’s what Fox essentially wants, the type of resource transfers that occurred in Spain and, before Spain, in Ireland, and, after Spain, in Portugal and Greece. The Germans were willing to build highways in Spain. Somebody else has to build our highways. We don’t have the money.” [Jorge Castaneda: Mexico's Man Abroad, LA Times, August 12, 2001, By Sergio Munoz]

For comparison:

  • Turkey’s population is 69 million compared to Mexico’s 105 million.
  • Turkey’s long term economic potential, while not awful, appears limited by a mediocre national average IQ. (A country’s average IQ is an absolutely crucial datum in thinking about world affairs, but you won’t see it cited many places other than

Turkey’s IQ structure appears to be fairly similar to Mexico’s. Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in IQ and the Wealth of Nations do report one solid study of Turkey: the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices was standardized on a representative sample of 2,277 Turkish children in 1992. The Turkish children averaged 90 on a scale in which theBritish average 100. Two studies of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands reported averages of 88 and 85.

Lynn and Vanhanen’s database contains only one study for Mexico, and that from the less developed Southern Highlands, where the average was 87. They also report three studies of Mexican immigrants in America, with averages of 84, 95, and 84. The authors of The Bell Curve,

Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, gave 91 as their best guess for the average IQ of Latinos.

All is not lost in Europe. Some Europeans have got the message. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently reported in the Daily Telegraph:

“A European commissioner set off a furious row yesterday after warning that Europe’s Christian civilization risked being overrun by Islam. Fritz Bolkestein, the single market commissioner and a former leader of the Dutch liberals, said the European Union would ‘implode’ in its current form if 70 million Turkish Muslims were allowed to join. “

“He predicted that Turkish accession would overwhelm the fragile system and finish off any lingering dreams of afully-integrated European superstate. In a speech atLeiden University, he compared the EU to the late Austrian-Hungarian empire, which took so many different peoples on board in such a haphazard fashion that it eventually became ungovernable.”

[Muslim millions threaten EU values, says commissionerSeptember 8, 2004]

Valery Giscard-D’Estaing, who was so weaselly about the Soviet threat when he was President of France, has surprisingly emerged as the Defender of Christendom by publicly expressing strong opposition to admitting Turkey. He says it would be the end of Europe.”

And he’s right.

So why is the Bush Administration pushing this dangerous step?

Haven’t we learned lately that we don’t know enough aboutforeigners in general—and Muslims in particular?

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Turkey, VDare Archives 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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