Turkey Update. Prime Minister Erdogan declared victory on Sunday, 12 September, as voters approved a constitutional reform package in a highly debated referendum that will restructure the judiciary and curb military powers.
The referendum was regarded as a vote of confidence in Erdogan's government. Prime Minister Erdogan dismissed concerns about his government moving towards an establishment of Islam, saying he is committed to the country's 87-year-old secular state. Following the referendum victory, Erdogan committed himself to further reform, including a completely new constitution.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The referendum exposed how Turkey has become tri-furcated under the AK Party. The Party has little room for the educated sophisticated urbanites who live along the northwest coast. It has no place for the Kurds. Both groups only prosper in a tolerant, secular environment. That era is close to ending.
The election result showed that most Turks who live in the heartland of Anatolia are conservative, devout Muslims and opposed to Turkey remaining a secular state in the tradition of Ataturk.
European Union observers approved the outcome interpreting it as a sign of openness and modernity because it would restrain the Turkish armed forces from taking power and using the secular constitution as a justification. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The men with the most guns will try to take power whenever they think they need to and can succeed. They will rewrite the laws and the narrative later.
The Europeans are the most blinkered about this result, interpreting it as a move towards modernization and reform. The huge rural vote was not in favor of the European Union, much less adoption of modern values. It was in favor of making Turkey more pious under Sharia.
The bureaucrats of the European Union have misread the political situation in Turkey from the beginning. Their requirement to restrain the Turkish armed forces from acting as parens patriae to preserve a secular Turkey has worked to make Turkey a more Islamist state, the antithesis of European Union values.
Erdogan has promised to draft a new constitution and submit it for popular approval. The sign of his Islamist intentions will be how the new constitution treats Sharia, Islamic law. If Turkey enshrines it as the touchstone for all legislation, as it is in Afghanistan, then Turkey will no longer be a secular state, to which Erdogan professes to remain committed.
NATO leaders are watching on the sidelines as Turkey moves more towards becoming an Islamist state with NATO-compatible arms and training.
Phi Beta Iota: The USG does not think the way this analyst (NIGHTWATCH) does. He is the exception to the rule of cut and paste culturally clueless analysts that a pathologically inept national intelligence “culture” of secrecy, technology, and money have created. Lacking though, is a strategic analytic model and the ability to think about everything at once in multiple dimensions including historical, ecological, and demographic.