Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 29-Oct-07
As Turkey prepares to invade northern Iraq, it's isolating itself internationally

Web Log - October, 2007

As Turkey prepares to invade northern Iraq, it's isolating itself internationally

A new "Young Turks revolution" is reestablishing strong Turkish nationalism.

Turkish officials have been talking for months about sending the army across the border into northern Iraq to root out the PKK Kurd terrorist groups, but it's always been mostly talk and little action.

College-aged student demonstrations Saturday in Ankara calling for a military invasion of Iraq to stop PKK terrorism <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: CNN)</font>
College-aged student demonstrations Saturday in Ankara calling for a military invasion of Iraq to stop PKK terrorism (Source: CNN)

Although pressure to invade has been building gradually after months of terrorist attacks in Turkey perpetrated by the PKK terrorists operating out of the Qandil mountains in Iraq's Kurdish region in the north. The pressure spiked up sharply last week when PKK terrorists ambushed a Turkish military patrol last Sunday, killing 12 soldiers and capturing eight.

The result was massive protests and street demonstrations by Turkish citizens, especially young Turkish college students, demanding that the army immediately cross the border into Iraq to destroy the PKK hideouts. Even prior to the ambush, Turkey's Parliament had voted overwhelmingly to authorize the government to order military incursions against the PKK bases in Iraq.

Tensions this week have risen much higher, with over 100,000 Turkish soldiers on the border, poised to invade, and the Turkish air force has begun bombing PKK positions in Iraq.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increasingly warned that his country will order increased military attacks against the PKK camps in Iraq. The Turkish foreign minister, speaking in Iran, said on Saturday, "Our patience has come to an end. All options are on the table."

Divergence of opinion in Turkey

As I've been watching this situation unfold in the months since the beginning of 2007, it's been clear to me that there's a divergence of opinion within Turkey itself: There are widespread demands from Turkish people to invade Iraq and destroy the PKK camps, but Turkish politicians, lead by Erdogan, have been as conciliatory as possible, conducting an international diplomatic campaign with the Iraq, U.S., Europe, Iran, Russia, and other countries to find a way to end the terrorist attacks without a Turkish invasion.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this divergence represents a split that I've discussed many times in many different contexts.

There are many reasons why a Turkish military incursion into Iraq to destroy the PKK bases is a bad idea. First, almost every nation in the world has said it would be a bad idea. And second, the PKK bases are buried deep in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, and a military incursion would most likely fail.

The revolution of the Young Turks

Mideast, showing Israel/Palestine, Muslim countries, and Orthodox Christian countries
Mideast, showing Israel/Palestine, Muslim countries, and Orthodox Christian countries

I've used the adjoining map several times on this web site to emphasize how Israel and the Palestinian terrorities, represented by a tiny red dot in the middle, are surrounded by vast regions of green, representing Muslim nations.

However, the fact that the nations in green are all Muslim nations doesn't mean that they're homogeneous, or that they agree on much of anything.

There are important ethnic differences that often override the common Muslim identity. The people in Turkey are Turks who originally came from central Asia; the people of Iran are Persians; the people on the Arabian peninsula are Arabs.

The last time that most of these Muslim nations were united was in the Ottoman Empire that was formed following the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) in 1453. By the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire was extremely powerful and controlled most Sunni Muslim nations in the region -- though not Shia Iran. The empire only began to fall apart in 1689, when the Ottomans disastrously and humiliatingly lost the War with the Holy League in Europe, as I described in my brief generational history of the Ottoman Empire.

The greatest level of genocidal hatred in all the crisis wars fought by the Ottomans was in the fault line between Islam and Orthdox Christianity. The map above shows Orthodox nations in orange.

The Crimean War of the 1850s was nasty and humiliating to almost all major participants (Turks, Russians, Europeans), and by the 1880s led the Turks to start wondering, "Why do we keep on trying to run an empire with all these different people in it?"

In the late 1800s, a Turkish identity movement had begun to form, promoting Turkish (as opposed to Ottoman) literature and culture. However, the Turkish nationalism movement didn't gain much traction with the public immediately, mainly because for centuries, years the great strength of the Ottoman Empire, and indeed the previous Islamic empires, was that they were all multi-ethnic and the Muslim rulers were really very good at preserving the rights and meeting the needs of their various ethnic minorities.

However, the Turkish identity movement became seriously nationalistic with the Young Turks coup in 1908. This led to an extremely bitter and hugely genocidal war from about 1910-1921, which included these elements:

The final blow came in 1921, when the Ottoman Empire was finally destroyed, and Turkey gave up its Muslim Ottoman identity and adopted a secular Turkish identity, with the intention of becoming recognized as part of Europe, rather than as a Muslim state.

In the following years, new countries were formed out of the pieces of Ottoman Empire, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan (as Transjordan).

Generational crisis wars for any society or country generally come in variable intervals, where one crisis war usually begins roughly 50-80 years following the end of the previous crisis war. The destruction of the Ottoman Empire was a major, devastating crisis war for almost all of the Sunni Muslims in the Mideast. (Incidentally, Iran also had a crisis war, but slightly earlier: The Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1910.)

So we would expect that all of these countries would have their next crisis wars around the 1970s or 1980s, and in most cases they were pretty much "on schedule" -- the Syria/Lebanon war, the Lebanese civil war, and the Iran/Iraq war.

But two countries, Jordan and Turkey, had different experiences.

Each country, each situation, has to be analyzed for events like unexpected invasions. When two nations on different generational "timelines" go to war with each other, there are a number of possibilities that must be analyzed -- the war may be a crisis or non-crisis war for either side or both sides, for example, or, in some cases, their generational crisis eras become aligned because of the war.

One of the most interesting cases is when a country in a generational Awakening era receives an unexpected genocidal invasion from a country in a generational Crisis era. The first country does everything possible to avoid war, often retreating (if possible), instead of fighting. But if the war is so devastating to this country that the country's inter-generational structure is destroyed -- which often happens in the case of a massive forced relocation of the population -- then the generational timeline for that country "resets" back to the generational Recovery Era (also called the High or Austerity era), just the same as if the preceding war HAD been a crisis war.

That's what happened to the Arabs in Palestine -- the Palestinians -- when there was a massive influx of European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. The genocidal 1948-1949 genocidal war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel cause the mass migration of huge numbers of Palestinian Arabs into Jordan, effectively resetting the generational "timeline" of the Palestine and Jordan to a Recovery Era following the war. That's why Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan are all entering generational Crisis eras today.

In about 10-15% of the cases, a country has a new crisis war more than 80 years after the end of the preceding crisis war. This is what happened to Turkey -- they're now deep into a crisis era, having not yet had a new crisis war since 1921. (Other countries that are similarly deep into crisis eras include Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.)

The original vision of a secular Turkey, promulgated by modern Turkey's found, Ataturk, in 1924, was that Turkey would be part of and associated with Europe and the West, rather than with the Mideast.

However, the old battles of World War I keep coming back, leaving Turkey to suffer one indignity after another at the hands of Westerners, including the following:

The Turkish people are more and more realizing that they're going to continue to receive what is, from their point of view, contemptuous treatment by the West.

Increasing xenophobia between Turks and West

Ever since Ataturk established a secular Turkey in 1924, the Turks have maintained an open, friendly attitude toward Europeans and the West. But that has been changing during the past few years.

There's been widespread reporting in the mainstream media that the Turks are becoming more hostile towards Americans because of the Iraq war.

But this is a total misrepresentation of the situation. The Turks have been getting more hostile to almost all major groups outside of Turkey, including Muslim groups.

In fact, among Muslim groups in different countries, the Turks appear to be the most hostile to others.

Here are the results of a recent poll by the Pew Global Attitudes group:

"Recent Pew Global Attitudes surveys show that negative views of the United States are indeed widespread and growing in Turkey. In fact, the United States receives a lower favorability rating (9%) in Turkey than in any of the 47 countries in the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey. This is down considerably from a 30% favorability rating in Pew's 2002 poll and from 52% in a 2000 State Department poll. There also has been a correspondingly sharp drop in the favorability rating for the American people (from 32% in 2002 to a mere 13% in 2007).

These negative views are also seen in Turks' opinions on American foreign policy. For example, just 9% of Turks support the U.S.-led war on terror, and only 14% think the U.S. considers the interests of countries like Turkey when making foreign policy decisions. Moreover, according to a 2006 Pew poll, a large majority (64%) of Turks believe that the efforts to establish a stable democratic government in Iraq will fail. This is the largest percentage in any of the 15 countries surveyed in 2006, including four other predominantly Muslim countries (29% in Jordan expressed this view, 25% in Egypt, 16% in Indonesia and 14% in Pakistan). Not surprisingly, in light of these negative views of the U.S. and American foreign policy, 86% of Turks now favor removing U.S. troops from Iraq, according to the 2007 Pew poll.

View of the EU and the West

Negative views also appear to be growing among Turks with respect to the European Union and to Westerners in general. Such negativity toward the EU is likely associated with disillusionment over Turkey's stalled bid to join the union. For instance, the favorability rating for the EU dropped from 58% in 2004 to 27% in 2007.

A combination of all these factors seems to be generating more negative views of Westerners generally. Of the 10 Muslim publics surveyed in the 2006 Pew Global Attitudes poll, for instance, the Turkish public showed the most negative views, on average, toward Westerners. The survey asked Muslims whether they associate people in Western countries such as the U.S. and European nations with a series of negative and positive characteristics, including "arrogant," "greedy," "immoral," "selfish," and "violent," as well as "generous" and "honest." The two positive characteristics were reverse coded to reflect the opposite. For this analysis, a negativity index that ranges from zero (extremely positive) to 7 (extremely negative) was created using this series of questions."

The following poll results, from the Pew study, show that, among all Muslim groups polled, the Turks had the highest negativity to Westerners:

      Average Negativity to Westerners
        Group                   Mean
        ------------------      ----
        Turkey                  5.2
        Indonesia               5.1
        Jordan                  4.8
        Egypt                   4.7
        Pakistan                4.4
        Nigerian Muslims        4.4
        British Muslims         4.2
        German Muslims          3.2
        French Muslims          2.7
        Spanish Muslims         2.7

The following results show the percentage of Turks who have favorable views three religious groups -- Christians, Muslims, Jews. (I wish they had distinguished between Western and Orthodox Christianity. I think it might have made a big difference.)

    Rating of Christians, Muslims and Jews

Percent of Turks with a very or somewhat favorable opinion of ...

Christians Muslims Jews % % % ---------- ------- ---- 2006 16 88 15 2005 21 83 18 2004 31 88 27

The above results are important because they show a significant TREND of decreasingly favorable opinion towards Christians and Jews.

This xenophobia is consistent with Turkey being deep into a generational Crisis era. We see similar xenophobia in other countries as well, though not yet as entrenched as in Turkey.

The next set of results may be surprising at first, but makes plenty of sense in view of the brief history of Turkey provided above.

  Turks Not as Favorable toward Arabs as Other Muslims

Percent with a very or somewhat favorable view of Arabs: Muslim group % ----------------- ---- Nigerian Muslims 90 Spanish Muslims 85 French Muslims 84 Indonesia 84 Pakistan 78 British Muslims 65 Turkey 46 German Muslims 45

Finally, an additional analysis of the same Pew Research data was done to provide a single index of "negativity" of one group to another.

The index is called the "Religious-Cultural Negativity Index," or RCN. On a scale of 0-7, with 0 being least negative and 7 being most negative, it measures the negativity of one group towards another.

Here's how the attitude of Muslim publics toward Westerners is described:

And here is a summary of the poll results:

"The data on Muslim attitudes toward Westerners ... revealed a variety of negative views. In the five majority-Muslim countries, as well as Nigeria, at least 40 percent of Muslims in the survey characterized Westerners as arrogant, violent, greedy, and immoral; meanwhile, relatively few said Westerners were generous or honest.... And Muslims in these countries were particularly likely to say Westerners were selfish—in all six, majorities suggested selfishness was common among people in Europe and the United States. Negative assessments of Westerners were fairly common across all six of these countries, although they were slightly more prevalent in Jordan and Indonesia. European Muslims were consistently less likely to associate negative characteristics with Westerners and were more likely to label them as generous and honest."

      The Religious-Cultural Negativity Index

Negativity of Muslim publics towards Westerners

Muslims Mean RCN ----------------- -------- Turkey 5.2 Indonesia 5.1 Jordan 4.8 Egypt 4.7 Pakistan 4.4 Nigerian Muslims 4.4 German Muslims 3.2 French Muslims 2.7 Spanish Muslims 2.7

As you can see, Turks are more negative toward Westerners than other Muslim groups, and significantly so.

Now we turn the tables, and ask about the negativity of Westerners to Muslims in general.

It turns out that Westerners are significantly LESS negative about Muslims than Muslims are about Westerners.

"The positive qualities from the survey included in our analysis were “generous” and “honest,” while the negative characteristics were “arrogant,” “greedy,” “immoral,” “selfish,” and “violent.” The results showed that many non-Muslims associated negative traits with Muslims.... Majorities of survey respondents in Nigeria, India, Spain, Russia, and Germany saw Muslims as violent. Large numbers, including majorities in India, Nigeria, and Russia, also considered Muslims arrogant. Many also associated selfishness with Muslims, although India was the only country where a majority did so. Non-Muslims were less likely to rate Muslims as greedy or immoral—in France, for instance, only 10 percent said Muslims were greedy, and just 18 percent labeled them as immoral.

Neither of the two positive traits included in our analysis was consistently associated with Muslims.... Still, many did characterize Muslims as honest and generous. Roughly two in three (64 percent) of French, 56 percent of British, and 52 percent of German respondents considered Muslims honest, and majorities in France (63 percent) and Nigeria (55 percent) saw them as generous."

      The Religious-Cultural Negativity Index

Negativity of Westerners towards Muslim publics Non-Muslim publics Mean RCN India 4.4 Russia 4.0 Nigerian non-Muslims 3.7 Spain 3.5 United States 2.9 Germany 2.8 Britain 2.5 France 2.1

A new Young Turks revolution?

The defining characteristic of the Young Turks revolution that began in 1908 was increased nationalism for Turkey. These survey results indicate that a similar process is occurring now, and Turks become increasingly negative and hostile to almost all other groups.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Turkey's central role in Asia Minor means it will play a central role in the coming "Clash of Civilizations" world war. The exact path that Turkey will take cannot be predicted, but a new war between Turkey and the West, especially between Turkey and the Christian Orthodox nations, is coming with absolute certainty. (29-Oct-07) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.