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Should they desire it, the modern Turkish army could storm Europe up to the borders of Paris. None of the countries separating France from Erdogan’s Islamic republic are capable of opposing the Turkish military even if they acted in concert. In both quality of arms and manpower, the Turks are superior. Hard to believe? Let’s look at some statistics:
The Turkish armed forces have at their command over 800,000 troops. The army is equipped with over 10,000 tanks and APCs. The air force flies over 400 warplanes (mainly upgraded F-15/16s) and 450 modern combat helicopters. The Turkish navy has over 168 war vessels. As part of NATO, the Turkish air force also administers 200 ‘shared’ US nuclear missiles.
Compared to the militaries of the UK or Germany, Turkey is a superpower.
Turkish strength matters for two reasons; first, its neighbourly position to Europe. Second, because any deportation or change in the status of Muslims in Europe will inevitably tread upon Turkish toes.
A clear majority of Germany’s Muslims are of Turkish descent. Unlike the Algerians of France, these migrants are therefore backed and supported by a near-by state with a modern military. Germany’s own military is nowhere near as large. For an equivalent situation, imagine if Pakistan was in the same geographical position as the Czech republic and had a military larger and more powerful than the UK. Could Britain afford to address the Pakistani situation in its own territory without taking into account the strength and nearness of the Pakistani state? Of course not.
Turks are loudly offended by even the slightest gesture of support for the Kurds and Armenians and have successfully bullied Germany on both of these issues. Imagine how much more virulent and threatening its anger would be in the case of explicitly anti-Turkish measures by the German state…
Alongside its military prowess, the Islamic superpower has a very dynamic economy. Unlike the struggling nations of Europe, the Turkish economy has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Unemployment, once a massive domestic problem, is now dwindling to a manageable intensity.
On the back of this growth, the movie industry in Turkey is also beginning to flourish and has led to some calling the country the ‘Hollywood of the Islamic world’. Sophisticated blockbusters are being produced which depict America, Israel and the Jews as evil and the Palestinians and Muslims as saintly victims.
Ever since the flotilla raid in which Turkish Islamists were killed by IDF commandos, Israel and Turkey, once in (awkward) alliance with one and other, have been in a state of cold hostility. While it seems next to impossible that the two countries will ever exchange direct blows, Israel has reason to feel nervous over the Turkey’s switch to pro-Palestinian advocacy in international diplomacy.
What should the West do about Turkey? Well, for one, I suggest the country is removed from NATO at the first opportunity. The cold war is dead now and the logic of the alliance died with it. While the West is kind and generous to Ankara, we rarely see kindness flowing the other way. When ISIS besieged the Kurdish town of Kobane, the inaction of the Turkish military (stationed only a few miles to the North) was chilling to the blood. Turkey also continues to occupy Northern Cyprus in contravention of international law and against Western demands for negotiations.
If we need to have an alliance in Asia Minor, I suggest we switch our focus to Turkey’s greatest historic victim – Armenia; the first Christian majority country in history and a genuine oasis of Western civilisation in a swelling sea of Islamic hatred.