As the columnist Yusuf Kanli put it in the Turkish Daily News: “Things are changing in Turkey. People are becoming more conservative. Conservatives are becoming more nationalist. And nationalists are becoming racist.” He asks, like many of Erdogan’s critics, why “Turks [should] die in Lebanon for the security of Israel but not . . . in northern Iraq for the security of Turkey”? Lebanon is a diversion, some argue, from Turkey’s own battle against Kurdish separatist rebels in the southeast. ~The Times
It is interesting to see Erdogan’s Islamist constituents pulling him in one direction and at the same time the increased nationalist sentiments that his government has actively encouraged pulling in another. On the one hand, the Turks are being drawn into Lebanon in part because of Muslim solidarity, and on the other nationalists see this as a waste of resources that ought to be focused on fighting their real, immediate security threats. When we compare the Turkish example with the U.S., it would appear that our ideological and idealistic interventionists are most like Turkish Islamists, while realists and America Firsters are concerned with the national interest.