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31 July 2016


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David Habakkuk


‘The Turkish military historically has a secular culture and views itself as a protector of the post-Ataturk democratic society.’

Are these people utterly stupid?

Have they simply failed to grasp a central lesson of modern history?

There is no natural and necessary compatibility between liberalism and democracy.

Sometimes they are compatible, sometimes they are not.

The conditions under which they are compatible, and what to do if those conditions are not met, are recurrent political problems in all kinds of different societies.

And they are central dilemmas in modern ‘republican’ thought, going back to its origins in the Italian Renaissance revival of Roman ideas.

For God’s sake, what do they teach in contemporary universities?



You are an erudite and keen observer of history. In your opinion how would contemporary domestic social/cultural/political divides and geopolitical conflicts compare with other epochs? Are we in a more contentious period or right around the median?



"For God’s sake, what do they teach in contemporary universities?"

"Job training," at least in U.S. Every "ad" (both for profit and public service announcements) for higher ed encourages students to go to college b/c college grads make X dollars more over their lifetime. They naturally ask, when they are thrown hard questions with no immediate "practical" relevance, "how is this going to help me make those X dollars I was promised."


It is interesting to watch the twitter feed on #Incirlik.
It is heavily driving by RT and Sputnik and retweets every few minutes. Then there are the photos which show 'rioters' largely standing around, all male, middleclass looking with pre-printed, which means purchased signage in Turkish. The graphically superimposed image of the burning American flag is at night when the image it is imposed on is in daylight. The flag is made of paper and from a very large printer. Trucks are idling with lights on and windows rolled up so AC is on but are stationary which means drivers aren't paying the high price of Turkish fuel themselves and they seemed linked to a local municpalality. The few security guards photographed are standing around, texting, very casual. If they were expecting truck bombs through the gates that would not be their pose. If they were expecting a coup from inside the base, one might expect them to be looking inward which they are not. Erdogan and Putin meet on the 9th so I would expect a continuation of this type of propaganda from Turkey and Russia until then. It took RT and Sputnik about a week to work out the story line.

Trey N

Turkey has been trying to be "European" for a century now, with what results?

NATO has used Turkey as a base for provocations against the USSR/Russia for over half a century (including putting the missiles there that led, in turn, to the Cuban Missile Crisis). The US/NATO used Turkey as a conduit for arms (from Libya) and jihadis to attack Syria, but left the Turks twisting in the wind after the Su-24 incident last fall.

The EU has denied Turkey membership since its founding in 1993, and the Germans just admitted that Turkey will only be allowed in "when hell freezes over."

Maybe the Turks have finally woken up and smelled the coffee, similar to the successful black businessman who finally realizes that no matter what he does or how hard he tries, he is *never* going to be allowed to join the all-white country club. When a devastating reality like that finally sinks in and the delusional bubble pops, it can cause quite a reaction....


Huntington described Turkey as a torn country. The fact the military was illiberally tasked to guarantee liberality was telling. Suggests the founders of that tradition determined an active and concerted force would be necessary to restrain the tendencies of the Ottoman/Islamic substratum.

Same applies to Germany and Russia. They are not naturally liberal countries. But we project Anglo developmental and historiographical 'understandings' onto these peoples.


David, I have long been of the opinion that universities in the US exist solely for the employment of and financial enrichment of the faculty and administration. Would that I could lay my hands on William Buckley's column of many years ago regarding the rapid dumbing down of college curriculums. These are vapid, PC in the extreme and nearly mendacious in their content. I make those observations after viewing the college level educations of my early 30's sons and step-children.


trey N

"he is *never* going to be allowed to join the all-white country club." IMO you are a few decades out of date on this. pl



"I would expect a continuation of this type of propaganda from Turkey and Russia until then. It took RT and Sputnik about a week to work out the story line." Ah, so you too believe that the evil bear is plotting against us. pl

robt willmann

Off topic, but yesterday an outstanding achievement was done by Luke Aikins -- a parachuter and skydiver who also trains U.S. military commandos in advanced skydiving -- as he jumped from 25,000 feet without a parachute and landed in a 100 square foot net above the ground. His grandfather kept parachuting after World War 2, solo into his 80's, and Aikins is a third-generation skydiver, with over 18,000 jumps--




The jump itself--


His little company through which he trains for the Department of Defense is one in which the taxpayers most likely actually get their money's worth.



Political conformity. We've been indoctrinating students since the left took over in the late 70's.


"For God’s sake, what do they teach in contemporary universities?"

Need for 'safe spaces'.
'Tolerance' for mass immigration and LGBTQxyz, but zero tolerance for any opposing viewpoint.
White men are evil, as is anyone who doesn't agree with all the politically correct crap.

What they certainly don't teach is any sort of independent or critical thinking.



"... the employment of and financial enrichment of the faculty and administration." I agree with the sentiment. Just look at the recently most recent hire for interim head of the city of Baltimore's school system, Deray $$$ Mackesson. Skill set - organizing protests. Payoff - a two year guarantee of $167K/year.



Concurrently in Cologne:

Seems a pretty well organized bit of "spontaneity" for an afternoon rally. Another message to Merkel and her citizens? If they were truly concerned with the "freedom" of Turkey wouldn't they go home to save it?

 Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;

It is still too early to write a general breakdown but:
1-About ten secular colonels who had been purged and jailed during the Sledge-Hammer and Ergenekon travesties have been re-instated and were promoted to general/admiral rank last week by tayyip & co.
2-The gulen gang, creatures long-time peddled as mild-islamists by the likes of graham fuller and henri barkey ( a neo-con slease and a neo-con levantine sleaze, respectively), as well as Pravda-on-the-Hudson, has been demolished. They will never amount to much in Turkey after this. I might remind my fellow pilgrims that, while beer does come in lie flavors, Islam does not.
3-According to Turkish press, the police presence around Incirlik AFB (~7,000+) is to prevent a new "coup". Supposedly it is against the Turkish Air Force part of the base. Entry or departure of TAF personnel to/from the base is being prevented. This is a semi-reasonable account of what is going on: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-30/turkey-surrounds-blocks-access-natos-incirlik-airbase-amid-speculation-second-coup
4-The separatist kurds are carrying out attacks and causing quite a few casualties-and they are being dealt with.
5-There have been no ISIS attacks so far!
6-What will happen in Turkey is still not clear. Things might be more understandable after 8/9.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

And I guess there was never despotism or absolutism anywhere West of the Diocletian Line?

The current liberal dispensation in US or France or Spain emerged came out of where exactly?

Come off it man; Liberalism has to be built upon existing Customs or Intellectual Reasons - preferably on both.

In the absence of both, a liberal dispensation cannot exits - that is the reason that Muslims struggle with Liberalism; there is nothing in the intellectual tradition of Islam that deals with the idea of Freedom to the extent that Western European thinkers have done so over the last 1000 years.



The primary objective the media is to spin and obfuscate the fact that fundamentalists have seized control of Turkey and that America’s 25-year money making scam has morphed into a World War with Islam. The West’s foreign policy is a disaster. To rescue NATO troops and retrieve the hydrogen bombs would be an admission of failure. Saving them will be put off until after November 8th election no matter the risk.

The Democratic Party has made Russia its enemy and are attacking Donald Trump as Vladimir Putin’s black hearted ally. An insane war with Russia and a nuclear holocaust appears inevitable if elected.

Hank Foresman

Erdogan has successful destroyed the Republic that Ataturk. What Erdogan has done is effectively made Turkey a pariah to Europe and the end result will be Turkey will be no longer a part of NATO and any hopes of joining the European Union are finished. Would not be surprised there are mass executions of the generals and admirals to ensure they are not around to meddle. Turkey will be another third world nation in a matter of years.
We ought to be moving our nukes out forthwith.

Babak Makkinejad

Turkey was a military dictatorship under Kemalists until after 1948, when under US pressure, the military agreed to a façade of multi-party democracy.

When that produced an Islamic-oriented Prime Ministers, they removed him and hanged him and a number of other such people.

You are quite correct that "Liberalism" - a collection of ideas and ideals that are predicated on a certain generosity of the soul, intellectual bravery, and tolerance of dissenting views and practices is not intrinsic to republicanism.

That is why, republicanism and freedom are not necessarily co-extensive; there was more freedom under Franco than there was under Kemalists even in their good days.

Ayatollah Khameneie mentioned the absence of an intellectual discourse and tradition on the subject of Freedom in Islam last year and he urged the Muslim Thinkers to study the work of Europeans on this subject and develop ideas of Freedom within a Muslim milieu - likely the work of decades, if it is ever taken up.

In regards to your question about Republican Ideas and their Roman pedigree; I do not think that this subject is studied at all in any depth or seriousness in Muslim countries; the Classical Civilization is thought to be irrelevant to the Civilization of Islam - no hopes from that angle.



"When that produced an Islamic-oriented Prime Ministers, they removed him." Good, IMO these bastards are the enemies of the Turkish people. You want medieval Islam to return? Well if you do I mistook you for another. You know that Shia Islam can adapt to modernity. Why do you not want it? pl

FB Ali

"What Erdogan has done is effectively made Turkey a pariah to Europe and the end result will be Turkey will be no longer a part of NATO and any hopes of joining the European Union are finished".

Sob! Poor Turkey! What could be a greater honour for it than to be part of Europe, the West and NATO. Double Sob!

FB Ali

" He dismissed 400 Turkish officers including 37 generals and admirals in response to alleged coup conspiracies between 2007 and 2010" - ISW

If I recall rightly, these trials, convictions and dismissals were instigated and carried out by the Gülenistas (who were then allied to Erdogan). It was the Gülen organization that was trying to purge the secularists from the military. As Ishmael Zechariah tells us above, some of these people have recently been reinstated by Erdogan.

The dangerous Islamists are the Gülen people. Yet Fethullah Gülen sits comfortably in Saylorsberg, Penn.

Trey N

Yeah, I'm a living fossil... This was just what popped into my head, and was the best example I could come up with for the point I was trying to get across.

We went on a family vacation about 1966 to tour the western battlefields, and I still remember how strange it was to see the "Colored" signs over the water fountains and restrooms in Vicksburg.

My grandfather would talk about going to town once a week in a mule-drawn wagon as a boy, and how amazed he was to get to live long enough to see men walking on the moon.

The social changes I've seen in my relatively short lifetime are almost as astounding. It's so sad to realize that in spite of such progress here at home, American soldiers are still fighting and dying in foreign wars that don't make any sense to the most citizens. Some things never seem to change....

dilbert dogbert

Dani Rodrik's comments:

Babak Makkinejad

I do not believe in overthrowing democratically elected governments. I also believe that the electorate has a constitutional right to be wrong - in Turkey as well as in US.

Ultimately, the successes or failures of constitutional systems depend on the people.

I do not wish for the return of Medieval Islam in Turkey (or anywhere else); something that was defeated by superior Civilizations of West and Russia.

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