Max Boot: Contentions Egypt’s Army Following Turkish Model
Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is completing a history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism.
I am someone who believed it was time for Hosni Mubarak to go. I also believe Egypt must make the painful transition to democracy, while also being cognizant of the danger that militants could use the resulting chaos to seize power. Thus, I am of two minds about reports the Egyptian military is planning to carve out an extra-constitutional role as a defender of secularism....
But there is little doubt Egypt’s transition to democracy is a perilous one, and some of the perils could be mitigated if the military commits itself to being a guardian of a relatively liberal and secular state. The obvious model is Turkey, which for decades was a quasi-democracy where the military would step in from time to time to make sure that the secular principles of Ataturk were adhered to. Now we are seeing the consequences of the army’s diminished role with the Erdogan government steering the country in a more anti-Western, anti-Israeli direction. Turkey at least has some tradition of pluralism that exerts some degree of control–however minimal–over the Islamist government....
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