Giyus.org: 2011 has been a stormy year across the Middle East – How do these revolutions and changes impact Israel?What led to the rise of the AKP, one could observe, was the secular Turkish community's underestimation of their particular influence. Now, the damage has been done and train's left the station on a collision course.
Minister Begin: I'll say something that everyone knows which is that is that no one knows. No one knows where things are headed, people guess and estimate, research institutions guestimate, intelligence services have their own assessments, but no one really knows. The Egyptian leadership didn't know a week before the revolution happened, and the same goes for the Tunisia leadership. It's all in an embryonic stage and I, according to my scientific background, am trying to guess as little as I can. So what I usually do in situation like this is put some constraints on my imagination. The way I proposed to do that is through observation of 3 democracies in the Middle East, since Democracy is what we're told these events lead to.
I start with Turkey, a long term democracy, even an improved version of democracy compared to Israel since they have a constitution. So Turkey has a constitution, an independent judicial system, elections that take place on time and are to a large degree orderly and transparent, a parliament, coalition and opposition, coalition crises from time to time,. So, it's a fine democracy. Turkey is also a member of NATO. But now we have to take into account that in the year 2002, a new government was elected. The AKP party ascended to the throne and this Islamist government voluntarily elected to turn their ambitions east wards towards Iran under Ahmadinejad instead of Europe and the European democracies, despite the fact that Turkey is a NATO member. They have aligned themselves publicly with the new bloc comprising Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. They have been supportive of all these bodies. Let's remember that AKP have their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon in the 20s of the last Century. These are the same roots; they are off shoots of the same plant. This will explain to you why the current Turkish government so readily supports Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which could not hold their conventions openly in Egypt under Mubarak, held them freely in Turkey for years. Finally, Turkey's alignment with Ahmadinejad, whose ambitions to eradicate Israel are well known, is repulsive. That's Turkey, a democracy – how far does it contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East today?
And then, we may have all overlooked something else: were the governments running Turkey really "secular"? It's not easy to tell, but if they were so opposed to recognition of the Ottoman empire's massacre of 1.5 million Armenians during WW1, something is definitely wrong, no matter what kind of governments were minding the store over the past couple decades.