Suddenly, Turkey has become a major player in the Islamic assault on Israel. This is an extremely dangerous situation, because Turkey is a full-fledged member of NATO, and, as such, possesses the full range of NATO weaponry, including U.S. Stealth Fighters.
I have been to Turkey, and I can personally testify to the fact that Turkey is very much a nation divided. The large cities, such as Istanbul (which I visited) are completely secular and westernized. Istanbul features bars and nightclubs, and the young women wear high heels and mini-skirts. My guide, on a few of my Istanbul day trips, was the perfect example of this.
However, I also crossed over to the Asiatic side of Turkey, and traveled through a number of rural towns and villages. Which is to say, I turned the clock back fourteen hundred years. In the Turkish Outback, you see the women in Burqas and veils, and the men in turbans.
All of this division dates back to the early years of the twentieth century, when Turkey was ruled by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President. It was Ataturk who turned Turkey westward and established a secular government. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Kemal_Atat%C3%BCrk
Between then and now, however, and particularly in recent years, the Islamic extremists have gradually re-established their hold on the Turkish political system, until we find ourselves where we are today, with Turkey playing a leading role in attacking Israel.
If fact, I visited Turkey in November, 2003, and most of the political winds have shifted in the few years since then. However, it is important to realize that the changes have taken place in the political arena only. The military remains firmly in the hands of the Ataturk secularists, and this is our best chance for peace in the region.
My greatest fear, in the wake of the Turkish inspired flotilla that tried to run the Israeli blockade, was that the Turkish Navy might sail in support of a second flotilla. That has not happened, and, I am hoping that it has not because the ruling Islamists realize that the Military would refuse to accept such an order.
Also, I simply cannot believe that the emancipated Turkish women in the cities would simply bow their heads and return to a life of Sharia-mandated subservience. I also cannot believe that the Turkish men I met would stand for their westernized way of life to be turned upside down.
At this juncture in history, the prevailing winds seem to favor Islam, largely because the Western Nations are sitting back and empowering them through inaction. In Turkey, however, the battle is between religious Muslims and secular Muslims, the latter being a contradiction in terms. The outcome of this battle, may well set the tone for the future direction of the Mid-East.