The resilience of talk about the so-called “Turkish model” is amazing. The diplomats and analysts who banter it about recall an idealized past in which Turkey maintained separation of mosque and state. Those days are long since gone. Now word comes from the Turkish press that Prime Minister Erdogan has the ambition to reform Islamic finance internationally. His tool? Turkey’s Central Bank. Alas, this should not occasion any surprise: Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul worked in Islamic banking in Saudi Arabia, and upon taking power, Erdogan and Gul quietly replaced all the technocrats on Turkey’s banking board with Islamic banking experts. As Turkey heads for elections in June, the country is nearing the point of no return. One thing is certain. The Turks’ traditional dream of European Union membership is dead.
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