Monday, August 4, 2008

Just Another Conspiracy Theory?

Someone with whom I frequently speak ran an interesting idea by me before I left Turkey last week and I have yet to share it. While conspiracy theories are rife in Turkey, especially when it comes to covert United States intervention in Turkish affairs and the "hidden hand of global capitalism," this particular narrative came to me not as a conspiracy theory, but as a possible explanation for how AKP so narrowly survived closure. Further, the person from whom it originated is not someone from whom I expect to hear vast conspiracy theories, and is in no way normally hostile toward the United States or a frequent commentator on the "hidden hand" aforementioned. Here goes: AKP was saved by the Constitutional Court after a consensus was reached between Erdoğan and Washington over Iran. After gaining Turkey's support for a hard-line stance against Iran at a time when relations between the two countries are improving (see July 2 post), Washington uses its considerable influence over the TSK to in turn push the latter to send a message to the Constitutional Court to issue the razor-thin majority in opposition to closure that was delivered.

I post this scenario not because I or the person who relayed it to me thinks that this is definitely explicative of the verdict, but rather because it is food for thought at a time when the American neoconservative crusade against AKP has raised tensions here and amidst the anxiety so many Turks feel that the United States is determined to use Turkey for its own designs in relation to Iran. While Washington still seems very much undecided as to what exactly it is going to do about Iran, fears that its hawks might come to power in the near future give rise to considerable concern. This concern is further legitimated by reports that some U.S. policymakers are determined to wage war against Iran. For an example of such reportage, see Seymour Hersh's most recent coverage of Cheney plans to initiate a Gulf of Tonkin-style affair in the Persian-Arab Gulf. No wonder the Turks are so prone to worry.

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