Saturday, February 03, 2007

The anti-American trend in Turkey

The news of what’s going on in Turkey is unsettling. Brian Glyn Williams reports in Jametown Foundations Global Terrorism Analysis [“Turks Join the Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan” [] ] that anti-Americanism has become “vogue” in Turkey:
“Some Turks believe that Jews blew up the World Trade Center and that the United States has secret plans to invade Turkey in order to create a Kurdistan on its territory. Such sentiments are not strictly limited to an extremist fringe; this is best demonstrated by the fact that Hitler's Kavgam (Mein Kampf) and Metal Firtna (a Tom Clancy-esque book depicting the "inevitable" U.S. invasion of Turkey) recently became bestsellers in Turkey.” . . . Americans are now starring in the role of kafir (infidel) targets for Iraqi and Taliban mujahideen on Turkish websites.”
If we have learned anything from the course of events in the last six years it is that what engages the public imagination matters. The public imagination matters in Pakistan; it matters in Saudi Arabia; it matters in Egypt. Whatever governments claim, however they pose themselves in the international world, their publics can have different sentiments. The instruments that shape the imagination of their publics -- film , fiction, the imaginative world created by the news media (which are now as much entertainment as they are news) – these instruments of communication exert such a power on public imaginations that they cannot be ignored. Eventually they will have their influence. The question in the case of Turkey is how strong, how widespread, this anti-American sentiment is. The best clues we have are the “best sellers”, the popular films, and, if we are to believe the Jamestown Foundation reports, they are not promising.

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