O autor do artigo abaixo tem razão, os estrategistas turcos padecem de ilusão de grandeza e poder. Não percebem que a importãncia política da Turquia decorre da sua proximidade com o Ocidente e sempre que se afasta do Ocidente se enfraquece.
Why Turkish 'strategists' are unmistakably wrong
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Orhan Kemal CENGIZ
Something has been on my mind for a while but I do not know how I can put it in my column without risking provoking a prosecution under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.
How did I start to think about it? We have thousands and thousands of “strategists” who appear on television whenever a military matter is on the agenda. They keep talking about the future —what is going to happen and other things— of the region and of Turkey if such and such happens or does not happen, and so on. They comment on U.S. operations, on the possible military operations of Turkey and other actors. But I can not help thinking that what these people (most of whom are retired military personnel) are saying most of the time is far from reality. I am not a strategist and I do not know anything about military operations but my intuition tells me, from the gut level, that most of these “strategists” analyses are unmistakably wrong. These thoughts started to run in my mind again now that the cross-border operation into Iraq has become a “concrete” option since the National Assemblies resolution to this effect. When our “strategists” talk about an Iraqi operation it seems to me that they are analyzing a single tree without realizing the huge forest which has thousands and thousands of these trees. “We will get into Iraq and we will take out these bloody terrorists. Of course there are some important details. For example, we should consider how far we should go, whether we should only fight against terrorists or if we should also destroy their supporters.” It is that simple! Can it be? I do not think so. Before going into the details the Iraq case, let me try to explain why Turkish “strategists” are generally (there are of course brilliant exceptions) prone to make a wrong analysis. Strategy, I believe, can only be based on understanding the situation thoroughly and making a right assessment of some relevant factors, including, but not limited to, yourself, the opponent, and the terrain which can be understood as the surroundings. To make all this analysis successfully your perception should not be impaired by any illusion. You must have a keen understanding of reality, an understanding that requires you to be free from all kinds of psychological and mental distortions.
Emotions versus reality
I think what made some historical strategists great was their unbreakable attachment to reality. Hannibal, Alexander, Napoleon, and Fatih were amazing strategists, because, first of all they were able to see the things as they really were. When it comes to our “strategists” though, we see a bunch of people whose understanding of what is going on is heavily distorted by their mindset. They are nationalists, they see things through emotionally clouded lenses, their assessment of Turkey's role and power is fundamentally wrong (because they do not understand that Turkey's power comes from its being a bridge, being a democracy, from its potential to become an EU member, and its being an ally of the West and so forth) and they take it for granted, not considering that this power may increase and decrease according to the steps that Turkey takes. Their understanding of the root causes of some problems, like the Kurdish question, is far from reality. They do not have the habit of a realistic assessment of the past's mistakes. When it comes to an Iraq operation, in my opinion, if it goes beyond a deterrence and turns into actual invasion, as some of these brilliant “strategies” think is the most viable option, it would spell disaster for Turkey. It will make the Kurdish problem unsolvable and will create chaos. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) will use civilians as a shield by hiding themselves among them. Turkey will appear in the eyes of international public opinion as a brutal and aggressive power that attacks civilians and oppresses Kurds wherever it finds them. Turkey, when it gets into Iraq, will eventually confront Iraqi Kurds, and possibly more than the PKK militants. Actually some of these “strategists” are already talking about the necessity of punishing Iraqi Kurds for their help and support to the PKK. Basically they are talking about a full scale war. We will get into Iraq and we will teach a lesson to Iraqi Kurds as well as destroying PKK operatives and then we will get out easily!Unfortunately, everyone contributes to this emotional buildup and the Turkish people are taken to a point where nothing but an invasion can bring emotional catharsis! But the price of this emotional catharsis is so high. The PKK wants to isolate Turkey from the rest of the world. They want to make sure that only weapons and violence will talk. And our “brilliant strategists” are just about to give the PKK what it wants: Chaos!
* Orhan Kemal Cengiz can be reached at email@example.com.
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