Not the Thanksgiving variety.
For many years I have pondered the terms of peace in the Middle East; however, the prospect of peace does not appear compatible with the current map of the region.
Turkey is situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, territorially and ideologically. There are a number of historical and current issues centered in or around Turkey that remain unresolved. I will not discuss them all here, but these are among the issues:
1. Regional water rights.
2. Unification of Macedonia.
3. Determining the territorial bounds of Islam.
4. Resurgence of the Caliphate. Historically, the Caliphate is the Islamic National Authority (INA).
STRADDLING TWO CONTINENTS
There is a territorial incongruity between East and West known as Turkey. Turkey straddles two continents and two cultures, resulting in a history of numerous military conflicts involving the Eastern Roman and Ottoman empires as well as the more recent Crimean War and the Russo–Turkish War, 1877–1878. In the late 1990's, we witnessed the Kosovo Conflict, which prompted the intervention of NATO to among other objectives prevent ethnic cleansing.
Given the historical record, it is reasonable to pause when considering the future of the Balkans and even Europe. Political Islam has expansionary aims. The radicalized version currently engaged in the War on Terrorism is determined to spread its philosophy of conversion or violence. The West cannot idle, thinking its political,social, and religious way of life will merely endure.
The solution to this threat, in part, is a policy of containment.
It seems natural to settle the western territorial bounds of Islam, and thus of Turkey, at the gateway to Europe, the Bosporus. The strategic significance of the Bosporus has been reduced by the advent of air power, but its symbolic significance remains immense.
The strategic significance of the strait was one of the factors in the decision of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great to found there in 330 AD his new capital, Constantinople, which came to be known as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. On 29 May 1453 it was conquered by the emerging Ottoman Empire.
Constantinople was a Roman imperial capitol for more than 1,000 years.
One option for the freed territory west of the Bosporus is the reconstitution there of Greater Macedonia. As illustrated by the map of ethnic Macedonia, the unification of the nation would require the considerable cooperation of the surrounding nations, particularly economically-strapped Greece.
You can read about Greater Macedonia here:
The most famous son of Macedonia is Alexander the Great.
A CLASH OF WORLDVIEWS
Turkey is an Islamic republic situated on the extreme underbelly of Christian Europe.
RESURGENCE OF THE CALIPHATE
Leadership in Islam is contested and will remain so until the issue of the Caliphate is resolved. The absence of a Caliphate is a hangover from WWI. It had been centered in Istanbul under the Ottoman Empire. In the absence of a Caliphate -- a single authoritative voice for Islam -- a vacuum was created that has facilitated the rise of extremist elements like Al-Qaeda.
The best way to defeat Al-Qaeda and its inevitable successors is self-policing from within the Nation of Islam by way of an authoritative and empowered transnational authority. The current strategy pits West against East and has inevitable pitfalls that arise when cultures clash.
A Caliphate could set the territorial bounds of Islam. The eastern bounds are the object of the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan, if I am not mistaken about the question of "vital interest". Another term for this is "containment". I would caution the Coalition that this issue cannot be effectively resolved short of a Caliphate; and, I would add, a Caliphate that is sympathetic to global pluralism, peace, and security.
(more to be added)
Religion should not be built on the premise of denial. For example, one should not be required to deny Jesus Christ in order to affirm Judaism.
It is better to affirm than deny.
In the interests of peace, the world of tomorrow needs to be characterized by cooperation rather than competition; a world in which all sides are winners and there are no losers.
Turkey is situated at the crossroads; yes, the crossroads of time. Turkey must decide whether it is European or Asia; whether it will look to the East or to the West for inspiration; whether it is Muslim or Christian. Perhaps for its long-term stability, Turkey will decide acceding its European territory is in the interest of its national and cultural integrity.