Sunday, August 2, 2009

The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 2

Continuing from the last post titled, “The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 1” which can be accessed here (which is based on an article by Basil Markezinis which can be found here), Markezinis outlines the theoretical framework of Davutoglu's thought:

The theory of Davutoglou is centred on the idea that the strength and future of a country depends, first from its “geopolitical depth” - geographic position secured within the Muslim world in general via the control of the major straits (Bosphoros, Suez, Hormouz, Malacca, and also partially Gibraltar) which separate the warm seas of the world, and on the other hand, it also risks an “internal systemic competition” – from its historical depth. The combination of these two he named “strategic depth”.

Then Markezinis then outlines the theory in four steps (only two translated today):
1. Davutoglu's argument starts from the area of religious doctrine - Christian and Islamic - in which he makes his first claim, that there is no incompatibility between Islam and Western democracy. This claim is developed along two axes. Firstly, Davutoglu highlights the resurgence of all the major religions in modern political dialogue - especially in America - thus preventing, very intelligently, any objection to religion as a factor that "infects" political thought. Secondly, he correctly points out that the Koran simply proposes a set of fundamental values without imposing a specific political mechanism for their implementation. In order to show that these values are not foreign to our own - because, despite his emphasis on Islam, he believes that Turkey has a critical role to play in Europe, and in which he considers a European country - he lists examples such as “the justice, humanity, equality and freedom”.
2. Then when he focuses on the full integration of Turkey in the EU, his argument is conducted in a different way, beyond the religious or philosophical. Davoutoglou relies on these two ways: he uses Turkish history; and furthermore, he also argues that this integration will be beneficial for Europe, because only this way can it hope to become a “global player”. Once again, after having made a theoretical proposal, he does not support it by concrete evidence. The basis of the argument is conducted in a very skillful way, using arbitrary spatial shifts, which make the conclusions of the author at least debatable. The history used for his argument is based on a broad understanding of the geographical size of the country in the past. It suffices to present a few excerpts from his text in order to clarify our analysis.

"Turkey is an Asian country, a European country, a neighbor of the African continent directly connected to the Eastern Mediterranean, a Balkan country, a Middle Eastern country, Caucasian country, a Central Asian country, a country of the Caspian Sea and, indirectly, a Gulf country (because of its association with the Gulf via Iraq)"

To be continued.....

Source: To Ethnos on Sunday (Basil Markezinis), Antipodes

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