More moves on the Eastern front…
EDITORS’ NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to film or take pictures in Tehran. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) shakes hands with Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Tehran October 27, 2009.
Tensions Between Turkey and the West Increase
New York Times
By DAN BILEFSKY ISTANBUL ? With Turkey’s prospects for joining the European Union more elusive than ever and the country reaching out to predominantly
Note EU-Digest:This New York Times report is a typical reflection of behind the scenes manipulation by political entities in Israel, the EU and the US, who are getting more and more frustrated in their efforts to develop a solid partnership with a Turkey led by a more and more unpredictable and increasingly less secular motivated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also shows the result of EU’s lack of sensitivity in its dealings with Turkey, as it relates to their membership in the EU. While the EU has allowed practically “Mafia run” Eastern European countries like Romania and Bulgaria to become members of the EU on a fast track, they have been turning the screws on Turkey at every possible occasion and slowing down their EU membership access procedures to a snails pace. Thirdly and possibly more accurate, the New York Times article, published in one of the most influential publications in the US favorable to the Obama Administration could also indicate that a regime change is in the making for Turkey? Time will tell.
Continuing a recent flurry of foreign policy outreach to Armenia, Syria, Iraq (and the Turkish PKK), Turkey is now embracing Pakistan and Iran.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) waves as he talks to his counterparts Vladimir Putin of Russia and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy during a video link in Ankara, October 22, 2009. Kazakhstan may supply oil for the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline linking Turkey’s Black Sea and Mediterranean coasts, Putin told his Turkish counterpart during the video link on Thursday. Picture taken October 22, 2009. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Prime Minister’s Press Office/Handout
Last week I interviewed a rather interesting Israeli politician who is known in Turkey only with negative connotations. Majalli Whbee is a Druze member and deputy speaker of the Israeli Parliament. A long time associate of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Whbee is known, even at home, as ?more monarchist than the king.?
Earlier this month, what should have been a multinational exhibit of military cooperation between the Turkish Air Force and its counterparts in the US, Italy, and Israel, has become yet another political snub in the growing public rift between Turkey and Israel. The joint exercise, which takes place every few years, was canceled indefinitely after Turkey withdrew Israel’s participation, causing the US and Italy to forgo the exercise in response. This public rebuff is one of many in a string of events that has shown Turkey’s visceral frustration with Israel’s handling of its incursion into Gaza late last year.”
By Philip Stephens, Economist, Published: October 22 2009
Small incidents can illuminate a bigger picture. A couple of weeks ago, President Abdullah Gul of Turkey opened an exhibition of Ottoman treasures in Paris. The display is the centrepiece of an effort to promote Turkey?s rich heritage. Mr Gul was joined by Nicolas Sarkozy. The French president arrived chewing a piece of gum.
TEL AVIV ? Turkey was said to have suspended up to $1 billion in proposed Israeli defense projects after canceling a major air exercise with Israel.”
Bitter Lemons, an online roundtable on the Middle East, this week covers the current turbulent state of Turkey-Israel relations. The discussion gathers four different experts (Two in Washington, one in Turkey and in Israel), who have some fairly contrasting views on the subject.
Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul (R) and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev (L) speak at the balcony of the Presidential Palace overlooking Ankara October 22, 2009.
The question ?Is Turkey turning East?? usually solicits unbalanced analysis and unwarranted fears of Islamization in the Western media. This is why when I saw Philip Stephens? recent column in the Financial Times with the title ?Turkey turns east as Europe clings to past,? I had a familiar feeling of déjà vu.
On 10 October 2009 in the city of Zürich representatives of Armenia and Turkey signed two crucial protocols: one on the development of bilateral relations and another on the establishment of diplomatic relations. The long confrontation between the two has involved a closed land frontier and ideological warfare over the political dimension of history and the historical dimension of politics. The question is whether this marks the beginning of a new stage of bilateral relations?
Senior Researcher, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
The signing of the Turkish-Armenian protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and further development of bilateral relations is an important milestone in the tortuous process of the slow-moving rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan. Clearly, the signing ceremony, with all its nail-biting suspense, marks the beginning of the story rather than its end. To better understand its significance and possible implications, the current feeble thaw between the erstwhile foes should be analyzed through answering the two key questions:
Have you seen the film ?Midnight Express?? It?s about an American who was caught in possession of drugs and sent to prison in Turkey. When I watched it, I was a little disappointed. I like Alan Parker?s work, but I found ?Midnight Express? below his usual artistic standard.
Speaking after participating in an EP-Turkey Joint meeting (JPC) in Ankara with Turkish parliamentarians today, ALDE representatives called for a deeper engagement between the European Parliament and Turkey’s Grand National Assembly at this critical juncture in Turkey’s accession negotiations. ALDE MEPs pointed in particular to the need for greater reconciliation efforts on the island of Cyprus between the two sides.
There’s a lot of talk these days about Turkey’s growing influence and reputation in the Arab and Muslim worlds. One place where this can be seen very clearly is in Gokce, a dirt-poor village near Turkey’s border with Syria. In the last year, the Arabic-speaking village’s men — many of whom still practice polygamy — have started looking for second wives online, where, thanks to Turkey?s growing clout and visibility in the Middle East, Turkish bride surfers are suddenly seen as quite a catch by women in the region.