Monday, October 17, 2005

Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, and Iraq today.

I had a long conversation with a good friend of mine about the parallels between the formation of modern Turkey with what is going on in Iraq. He points out his skepticism and brings up the following observation: In the first years of the Turkey, auditors banned religious headgear (i.e. the Fez). This symbollic move, though pointless to a westerner with a classical liberal outlook, was a tipping point in turning Turkey from a sectarian to a secular civic society. He wishes to see some sort of action by the new Iraqi federal government, which would emphasize the secular authority of the state over the sectarian traditions that linger in that society. Such a move, in his opinion, would undermine the rule of the secular government over the religious factions that have traditionally dominated the country.
I am starting to understand his observation of the parallels between the founding of modern Turkey and the efforts to form a federalist Iraq. Though I'm much more sanguine than my friend on this. It has led me to seek out histories of the formation of Turkey and see what lies in store in Mesopotamia.


can said...

Yes, Türkiye is a good model for such developing countries.

On the other hand, except Türkiye, every country living under control of Ottoman Empire is still having trouble after the end of this empire. Balkanians, messopotamia etc. Near to the end of the empire, even it was not very strong, the emperors paid very much attention to those areas (there lives many nations and they lived peacefully). After the Ottomans, great forces of the new world are still playing with those countries. US plays with masopotamia against Europe, Russia plays with Balkanians against Europa etc.

The model will be useful but at first the great forces are to be with the same idea..

Mitch said...

Agreed. The parallels are there today with the Great Powers involvment then as in now. It is my hope that a man like Mustafa Kemmel emerges from Iraq to lead them to a modern and pluralistic future.