Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Why is everybody so surprised?

There seems to be a minor international kerfuffle over Turkey's turning Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. What's most surprising to me is that most of the complainants seem to think this is a single action to be condemned in isolation.

Erdogan has been systematically undoing Kemal Ataturk's reforms for years, to all appearances with the enthusiastic support of the Turkish people. It was Ataturk who decreed that Hagia Sophia should become a museum instead of a mosque. Naturally reversing that change was on Erdogan's list. What did the international community expect?

I think it's unfortunate that Turkey is reverting to traditional Islam, but it's not my country and I'm not sure I have any standing to tell them not to go down this road. The last few years in Turkey have been an object lesson in the difficulty of changing any culture by decree. Even a national hero can't make those top-down decisions stick after his death.

Those arguing for our continued military presence in places like Afghanistan and Iraq should take note.


Francis W. Porretto said...

From what I've read, Ataturk made a point of secularizing Turkey's army in the hope that, were Turkish Islamism to resurge, the army would constitute a bulwark against it. Erdogan, aware of the army's potency in any national conflict, set to work on it from the beginning of his rise to power. Once he was certain he could rely on its backing, he charged ahead with the other changes he wanted.

Margaret Ball said...

That's my impression too, Francis. It's ironic that the army's cooperation was vital to both Ataturk and Erdogan, isn't it?

Georgiaboy61 said...

The change of the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque is/was entirely predictable,given that President Erdogan is a neo-Ottoman who sees himself as the next Saladin or a figure on par with that giant of Islamic history.

Ataturkism is dying in Turkey, and that nation is reverting to its historical mean as an explicitly Islamic nation. Erdogan is doing more than talking; he is waging jihad via the hegira just as the prophet did, in this case into Europe. Erdogan is the driving force, and has been for some time now, behind the tidal wave of "refugees" flooding into old Europe, most of whom are military-age, unattached young males. Gee, what about that?

We could ask "What fool admitted them to NATO?" - but the answer to that one wouldn't be very flattering to the home side, so maybe we'll just let that one ride....