As we reported on Saturday, the U.S. State Department issued a warning for Americans in Turkey. Fox News says, “The U.S. issued a dire warning to its citizens Saturday about “credible threats” to tourist areas in Turkey on the same day Turkish authorities exploded a roadside bomb in Istanbul.
The emergency message from the U.S. Consulate urged Americans to exercise “extreme caution” in public squares and docks in Istanbul and the Mediterranean beach resort of Antalya. “The U.S. Mission in Turkey would like to inform U.S. citizens that there are credible threats to tourist areas, in particular to public squares and docks in Istanbul and Antalya,” U.S. officials said in the statement. “Please exercise extreme caution if you are in the vicinity of such areas.”
Turkey has been decimated by four suicide bombings this year.”
I’d like to have a succinct historical discussion about what has now come about in Turkey. It’s important to understand historical context in order to develop strategies to defeat the global Islamic jihad.
Islam’s historical trajectory all changed around 628 AD after the successful taking of Mecca by Mohammad at the Battle of the Trenches, when he ordered the beheadings of some 3,000 people. That success completed his goal of “payback” against the Banu Qurayza tribe that had ridiculed him about his “night ride to Jerusalem” forcing his migration — Al Hijra — to Medina. Subsequently, the corresponding verses of the Koran became more violent as Mohammad became a violent and bloodthirsty warlord, leading nearly 33 combat raids. After the consolidation of Mecca, Mohammad set his sights elsewhere, namely the Byzantine Empire. It was then that Mohammad sent his infamous letter to the Emperor Heraclius offering him what has become the traditional three options for infidels: conversion, subjugation, or death.
From that point on there was a dedicated and focused cause for the armies of Islam to conquer that place, then known as Byzantium…later to become Constantinople, home of the Eastern Holy Roman Empire. And so it was that the Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Mehmed II finally achieved that goal in 1453. The once great city was conquered, its inhabitants slaughtered and the name changed to Istanbul. The armies of Islam had been successful in crossing into Europe and taking the Iberian Peninsula, what we know as Spain in the 7th century. The “Moors” of North Africa changed the name of the region to Al Andalusia and if it were not for Charles “The Hammer” Martel and the Battle of Tours 732 AD, perhaps Europe would have had a very different culture — certainly not one that produced Charles Montesquieu for whom James Madison relied upon for the construction of our three branches of government.
And as we know in January, 1492, the final Muslim stronghold in Spain surrendered to the United Christian forces after the marriage of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon. The hopes of the Islamic Caliphate of Al Andalusia ended…but the hopes to restore it are still contemplated to this day.
When you understand the concept of Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al- Harb, lands once conquered by Muslims are deemed always Muslim. Therefore, what happened in 1453 with the Fall of Constantinople heavily impacted history. The Ottoman Empire’s influence grew far and wide across the region, along with its barbarism. The Ottoman genocides and savagery against Christian minorities is monumental, and recognized by many except for this current Obama administration. Their slaughter of Armenians, Assyrians, and Kurds still haunt generations today.
And just as to the West, the Ottomans sought to expand their conquest to Europe, that had already conquered much of the region from the Balkans into what we know as Romania today. However, Western civilization rallied at the Gates of Vienna in 1683, turned back the marauding hordes of the Ottomans — and Europeans were introduced to coffee.
Still, it was not until World War I, 1918 specifically, until the Ottoman Empire was defeated and the great Islamic caliphate that had been the vision of Mohammad with his letter to Heraclius ended. The new leader of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, their hero of Gallipoli, had a different vision for a modern Turkey: a secular Muslim nation. That had been their destiny until a new Turkish leader evolved, Recip Tayyip Erdogan, who has dangerously associated, supported, and enabled the rise of the modern day islamic jihadism — Islamism.
In August 2007, “Speaking at Kanal D TV”s Arena program, PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, “˜These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
I came across another very interesting commentary from September 2013 from the UK Telegraph blog section laying out something we in Western civilization do not want to accept, “In fact, there is only One Prophet Muhammad, and there is only One Allah, and there is only One Quran, and there is amongst Muslims only One Islam, hence there can be Only One Muslim. A Moderate Muslim is an oxymoron because there is no such thing as a “Moderate Islam.”
The writer goes on to explain that it is not about “moderate Muslims’ but rather cultural Muslims — similar to secular Jews it appears — “Cultural Muslims are religiously unobservant, secular or irreligious individuals who still identify with the Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up”.
The Islamic jihadists Erdogan has embraced are now coming back to bite his hand. As well, the centuries-old conflict with the Kurds is coming home to roost against Turkey. Because Erdogan did not continue with the vision of Kemal Ataturk, he finds himself in a very precarious position. He has reluctantly allowed U.S. forces to attack ISIS positions from bases in Turkey. And the Obama administration, who referred to Erdgoan as a great friend, has allowed him to attack Kurdish forces, whom the U.S. says it supports, yet starves for logistical support. And of course, Turkey shot down Russian aircraft who were supportive of Bashar Assad, the government Erdogan is supporting the Islamic jihadists to take down.
This is a situation needing leadership, and here would be my play. First, I would support the Kurdish Regional Government, with the caveat, get their Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the YPG under control. I would eventually support an independent Kurdistan — heck if we can have a country named Southern Sudan, why not? Then the pressure is on Erdogan, to stop attacking the Kurds and stop supporting the Sunni Islamic jihadists. I would force Erdogan to honor the vision of Ataturk and restore a secular Muslim nation that stands strongly against Islamism. I would tell Erdogan his role is to prevent the cross border activity supporting ISIS.
My concern is that this morass spills over and becomes the basis for a greater conflagration, no different than how the great powers stumbled into World War I. Leadership is about vision, and as George Santayana once quipped, “those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Sadly, America has abdicated its leadership role as our president prefers the tango.