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Watching Turkey, Part 3

July 18, 2011

Turkey has taken a more central role in the Middle East dialogue.  Given that, the question should come up regarding where Turkey stands.  This news report provides another interesting data point on Islamism in Turkey.

Turkish police detained 15 suspects Wednesda [sic] in connection with an al-Qaida-linked plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the New York Times reported. The plot was the second al-Qaida attempt broken up in as many months in Turkey, which is experiencing a surge in movement-oriented and jihadist Islamism.

It is good that the Turkish government is clamping down on these activities.  However, as we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, et al, outcries from the populace can drive drastic change. 

In January 2010, the BBC reported that Turkish police had arrested 120 al-Qaida suspects in pre-dawn raids across the country… The BBC report noted that the country had “pockets of sympathy for jihadist Islam,” numbering as many as 5,000 violent Salafists.

Non-violent Islamist ideology has also made advances in the country, with the Islamist Justice and Development Party seizing a strong majority in parliament. The party has attempted to change Turkey’s traditionally secular laws and constitution, in an effort to remove state-enforced secularism in public institutions…

Salafists among the people, and non-violent ideologists in the halls of government.  Where does Turkey’s path lead?

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