Germany is a nation well known, well respected. Everybody knows several German names. Everybody has, in his home, several items “Made in Germany”, be they technology, music, philosophy, literature, etc.
Germany's greatest shame was that it nurtured the Nazi ideology and was the homeland of the hideous crimes that this ideology produced. Germany' s greatest, recent at least, achievement, is that it sincerely, together with the French, engineered and worked for the concept of the European Union. A concept where, progress and human happiness has been radically and for good dissociated from the military muscle.
Of course, nobody would have taken seriously this change, unless combined with a true, deep and sincere apology. To the Jews, the Poles, the French, and all the rest. Few have any doubt of the sincerity of this dramatic shift of modern Germany; from the Nazi barbarism to the current dominant culture of tolerance, compassion, respect for the neighbor. Of course some idiots, fans of Hitler, will always be there. What is comforting is not that they are few; rather, that they will remain so.
The EU, Germany so much contributed to, is in this sense remarkable. It represents a dramatic leap forward, especially in that “muscles” do not really count any more. Today, it is rather the commercial and the cultural muscle that make the real difference.
Turkey, if it had not been for Kemal, would have remained an insignificant country, following a fate similar to other radical Islamist countries. This great reformer repositioned and radically restricted the power of the clergy; in this way, Turkey was given a chance, experienced a fundamental condition for progress.
To some extent this progress has really materialized. Turkey has more chances for progress, than other nearby countries with whom it shares common religious and cultural ties. It well realizes that its future lies westwards rather than eastwards, despite the many common races it will encounter in this, latter, direction.
This would have never happened without Kemal.
Turkey however has quite some way to go. If Germany, who has historically shaped, as few others, our mindset and our soul, knows how to apologize, why should we not expect the same instinct on the side of Turkey, for whom we have far less drive to feel in debt for any reason, whatsoever. Lets only restrict to the Armenian issue, among several others that one can easily and confidently raise against the Turkish legacy in the past century.
The EU is the great opportunity for Turkey. And far looking leaders there realize this. The EU, on the other side, has no fundamental reason to close the door to Turkey. The fact that Turkey is an Islamist or primarily Asian country, cannot be any real concern. The real issue is if Turkey will ever, practically, realize that the basic glue of the EU is that of anti-arrogance and pro-tolerance. And if it will realize that it is, itself, rather insignificant to challenge this dominant ideology, built on ecatombes of victims, across the centuries.
Turkey, if it wants to stay on path, will have to adapt, sooner or later. It will have to go to Armenia and bend its knee, in apology, just as Germany has so many times done here and there. It will have, even more fundamentally, to realize that, in our times, the muscle of Singapore and Luxemburg are far more “devastating” than its own.
Turkey will need a leader, even greater than Kemal, to have chances on this way.