The internal divisions within Turkey have begun to boil over as evidenced by recent events. Ted Laskaris has a well thought analysis here. Regardless of how one views Turkey these days, its lack of stability is worrisome , especially for its next door neighbors. Traditionally, since Kemal's so-called modernization of the country, the Turkish military has been the guardian of Turkey's secular elite and status quo. How long the Generals can keep the emerging Islamists in line, even with their ability to declare martial law, is doubtful. During the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Shah's disciplined military machine was unable to stem the tide of a grassroots Islamic movement. Only time will tell whether secular Turkey, the centerpiece of a dwindling American effort to establish some form of modern non-Islamic government in the region, can survive.
As Turkey becomes more unstable, the possibility that the Generals will embark on some military adventure to galvanize the Turkish people against an outside threat, becomes increasingly more likely. Turkey, like Greece in 1974, is ripe for military adventurism. During Turkey's so-called War of Independence when Ataturk waged war against the indigenous Christian population and the Greek occupation forces, he united Turks as never before. For Turks of all stripes, the most serious internal and external threat Turkey now faces is the Kurdish people. The counter-insurgency in southeastern Turkey fueled by the PPK and tacitly supported by the Kurds in Iraq, in the view of the Turkish military, can only be ended if the sanctuaries in Iraqi Kurdistan are eliminated. More importantly, the Iraqi Kurds are sitting on top of the oil rich region of Kirkuk, once part of Turkey itself. For an economy that is barely chugging along, Turkey would benefit immensely from such an acquisition. It has the potential of jumpstarting Turkey's lackluster economic performance.
For Turkey's small Christian minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself, the future is bleak, regardless of which side wins the current struggle for power. The secularists are not about to give Christians religious freedom. To do so will mean that they have to give the Islamists similar freedoms. Conversely, the Islamists are headed toward establishing an Islamic State under Sharia law. Such a state has no room for freedom of religion for anyone other than Muslims. Either way, Turkish Christians are living, once again, on borrowed time.
The wild card in all of this is how events will be perceived by Iran, the United States and the European Union. Given the increasingly remote chance that Turkey will achieve membership in the European Union and the likelihood of a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq, all the pieces are in place for a Turkish thrust toward the oil wells of Kirkuk. The Turks have the military assets needed to achieve this objective. The possibility of a widening civil war and the eventual partition of the country may cause the United States to move into Iraqi Kurdistan to maintain a presence. Are the Turks willing to take on the Kurds and the Americans? Are they willing to form an alliance with Iran?
One thing is for sure in this equation, Turkey is part of the problem, not part of the solution.