I have stated several times that Turkey has started a new foreign policy which is riskier but more attractive than the old obedient silent ally policy. I sincerely wish for its success. EU hesitancy certainly helped the change. Before this new line of policy started, many Turks had already lost hope in the EU front. It is not easy for a nation to wait for more than 50 years for a membership. It is a great humiliation and Turkey is not the only reason for that.
Current Turkish leaders’ Islamic origins certainly gave them the courage to continue. Even if previous leaders thought to have more assertive foreign policy, that hardcore secularist line had little ties with the public but dependent on Western powers in terms of lifestyles and ideological background, social capital etc.
“Moving Eastward” is a mistaken thinking. I believe new FP is an attempt of neo-Ottomanism. I believe Turkish elites are trying to gather power from Middle East to negotiate in better terms with the major Western policy makers…
and for the critics of being isolated, was Turkey ever not isolated? always in fight with her neighbours, dependent on mostly US to survive. Is that being not isolated?
In the mean time, with the existing leaders in both countries Israel and Turkey relations are doomed to end and US-Turkey relations will be worse… US Foreign Policy Establishment is too conservative to change and has forgotten diplomacy for ages and doesn’t want to see that being a superior war machine is not enough, something proved hundreds of times…
Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (C) receives a plaque from Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa (R) as Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (L) applauds during the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul June 10, 2010.? Read more » REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Turkey: an honest broker in the Middle East
Far from Teitelbaum’s view, the Erdoğan government is constantly battling obstruction and resistance from deep state groups such as the Ergenekon network
Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attends the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul June 10, 2010. Turkey said on Thursday that the U.N. imposition of sanctions on Iran was a “mistake” and that together with Brazil it would continue to seek a diplomatic solution to remove concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme. In a speech to a Arab and Turkish ministerial forum, Erdogan also announced plans to form a regional free trade zone with three Arab states — Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.? Read more » REUTERS/Murad Sezer
The Huffington Post (USA), June 6, 2010
Soli Özel *
From the confrontations with Israel over Gaza to the Iranian nuclear swap proposed recently with Brazil, Turkey has been in the global spotlight lately.
Because the ruling AK Party (Justice and Development Party) belongs to Turkey?s Islamist tradition, many see the turn of events that has brought Turkey to the world?s attention as the result of an ideological shift in Turkish foreign policy.
I would argue, however, that most of these incidents ? including the latest deadly flotilla incident that may have changed the nature of Turkish-Israeli relations forever ? stem from structural causes having to do with Turkey?s new vision of itself as a « center power » in the broader Middle East.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R), Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev (2nd L), Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz (R) and Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natik Aliyev (L) applaud during a signing ceremony in Istanbul June 7, 2010. Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding on natural gas exports on Monday as part of a deal that will set the framework for Azerbaijan’s gas exports to Europe.? Read more »
Interviews ? Council on Foreign Relations (USA), June 3, 2010
F. Stephen Larrabee, Distinguished Chair in European Security, RAND Corporation interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org
Turkey?s recent diplomatic differences with the United States and its sharpened deterioration of relations with Israel come from Turkey?s desire to reestablish its role as a major influence in the Middle East and Central Asia, says F. Stephen Larrabee, an expert on Turkey at the RAND Corporation. « Turkey is returning to a more traditional role, one in which it was closely involved in the Middle East for centuries, going back to the Ottoman Empire, » says Larrabee. He says the days when Turkey was a « junior partner » of the United States are over.
On May 31 Turkey woke up to two shocking incidents that took place in the eastern Mediterranean. A few hours apart, Kurdistan Workers? Party (PKK) militants attacked a naval post in İskenderun in the southern province of Hatay, and Israel attacked a civilian convoy in international waters, killing nine Turkish pro-Palestinian human rights activists and wounding
L?Humanité (France), 7 juin 2010, p. 4
Face à l?inertie des régimes arabes alliés à Washington, Ankara intensifie son bras de fer avec Tel-Aviv. La Turquie sort renforcée par le raid meurtrier israélien contre la flottille humanitaire de Gaza, au cours duquel neuf ressortissants turcs ont été tués, et entend user de son nouveau poids pour contraindre Israël à revoir sa politique envers les Palestiniens.
When Turkey harshly criticised Israel for its military assault on a flotilla carrying international aid in the Mediterranean, the European press accused them of double standards. The Lithuanian, Italian and Spanish media fear that the country is turning away from Europe and the west
Libération (France), 7 juin 2010, p. 6
Acclamé par la rue arabe, le Premier ministre turc engage son pays dans une voie diplomatique nouvelle qui inquiète les Occidentaux.
Partout dans les manifestations dénonçant le blocus de Gaza et l?arraisonnement sanglant du Mavi Marmara les drapeaux turcs flottent au milieu des drapeaux palestiniens. Ce week-end encore, au Caire comme à Rabat ou d?autres capitales arabes, des milliers de manifestants scandaient des slogans à la gloire de Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Le Premier ministre islamo-conservateur turc est leur nouveau héros.
Azerbaijan and Turkey yesterday (7 June) signed a deal to ship 11 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year to Turkey. Shipments would start in 2017 and some of the gas may be pumped into the EU’s planned Nabucco pipeline. Meanwhile, Northern Iraq declared in Turkey that it stands ready to provide gas supplies “to make Nabucco work”.
Non v?è dubbio che la flottiglia che puntava su Gaza era qualcosa di più d?una semplice spedizione destinata a portare soccorso umanitario ai civili palestinesi che vivono, in condizioni spesso disperate, nella soffocante striscia invasa e colpita dagli israeliani nel 2008. I pacifisti erano in realtà attivisti filopalestinesi, legati per tanti fili all?organizzazione terroristica di Hamas. Lo scopo vero della loro traversata era dichiaratamente provocatorio: forzare l?embargo e il severo blocco marittimo imposto da Israele lungo la striscia per ostacolare l?arrivo clandestino di armi e materiali balistici ai guerriglieri locali, sostenuti soprattutto dalla Siria e dall?Iran.
Le Monde (France), 5 juin 2010, p. 5
Propos recueillis par N. No.
Secrétaire d?Etat adjoint américain pour l?Europe et l?Eurasie, Phil Gordon était en visite, jeudi 3 juin, à Paris. Il a reçu quelques journalistes français.
Les Etats-Unis vont-ils demander à Israël de lever le blocus sur Gaza ?
Ce qui s?est produit est tragique pour tout le monde. Mais aussi pour le processus de paix. M. Nétanyahou devait venir à Washington ? le 1er juin ? pour parler du processus de paix. Le président Obama espérait aller de l?avant. Or il n?a pas pu venir à cause de cette tragédie. Nous espérions tenir un troisième round des pourparlers de proximité ? indirects, entre Israéliens et Palestiniens ? . L?incident ? au large de Gaza ? est tragique. Mais le problème est profond : c?est l?absence de pourparlers et la crise humanitaire à Gaza. Nous allons faire tous nos efforts pour améliorer la situation humanitaire à Gaza tout en assurant la sécurité d?Israël.
Agence France Presse, 4 juin 2010
Le divorce entre la Turquie et Israël, provoqué par le raid israélien sur la flottille pour Gaza qui a tué neuf Turcs, devrait renforcer le pouvoir islamo-conservateur à Ankara au moment où celui-ci a engagé une épreuve de force avec l?opposition laïque et kémaliste.
By Nicole Hyman
In the wake of mounting international criticism and condemnation of Israel?s clash with activists intent on breaking the blockade on Gaza, the Pixies, a veteran rock band, have canceled their concert in Israel. This comes hot on the heels of performance cancellations by the Klaxons, Gorillaz Sound System as well as Elvis Costello. However, it was news of the Pixies no show that hotted up the Twitosphere and got many finding the link between music and politics.
[Originally published in Irish Times] A decade ago, Israel and Turkey seemed to be “the” best friends in the Middle East. Today they are not only engaged in an unending war of words, but there is even blood between them. How did we get here? Turks have a pretty cordial history with the Jewish people. When the latter were expelled from Catholic Spain in 1492, the Ottoman Empire offered them a safe haven. The immigrant Sephardic communities flourished in Ottoman lands, becoming the most loyal non-Muslim people to the Sultanate until the latter’s demise in the first World War. When Israel was founded in 1948, Turkey was among the first countries to recognise it. The two states soon became allies within the Cold War context: they were both US allies threatened by the Soviet Union and its proxies. Some strategists even spoke of a pro-American “trident” in the region: Turkey, Israel and the Shah’s Iran. The Cold War context influenced not just Turkish policy-makers but also society, including the devoutly Islamic camp
[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] My friend Riyad Hammad, a Dubai-based Muslim businessman and an advocate of classical liberalism, sent me an e-mail the other day. His title was telltale: “In Turkey, we Trust.” This was just one of the countless messages that keep coming from the Arab world with regards to Turkey. Some of these are even plainly visible, as the Turkish flag flies in the hands of thousands of non-Turks in the protests against Israeli policies across the world. The star-crescent, I bet, has never become this popular beyond its homeland. And all this makes me proud as a Turk. I can even say that AtatÃ¼rk’s famous phrase – “how happy is the one who says I am a Turk” – looks more meaningful to me now then ever before.
Le Monde (France), 4 juin 2010, p. 20
Ce qui s?est passé cette semaine au large de Gaza confirme un revirement majeur au Proche-Orient : la fin de la relation privilégiée entre Israël et la Turquie. C?est un moment-clé. Il marque l?aboutissement d?une évolution amorcée il y a quelques années : Ankara prend ses distances à l?égard de son vieil allié, pour se rapprocher du monde arabe.
Le Figaro (France), 3 juin 2010, p. 14
L?essayiste analyse l?évolution des relations entre les deux pays, liée aux événements récents de Gaza. Toute l?affaire pourrait se décliner dans les deux phrases canoniques que l?on attribue à Talleyrand : « Pire qu?un crime, c?est une faute » ; et « on peut tout faire avec des baïonnettes sauf s?asseoir dessus » . Dans une tragédie absolument classique marquée par l?unité de temps (une seule nuit) et de lieu (des eaux internationales protégées par des conventions universellement respectées), le gouvernement israélien actuel a accompli ce que, faute de mieux, on ne peut qualifier que de passage à l?acte. Comme dans tous les actes névrotiques, la préparation est maintenant perceptible de longue date : frappé plus qu?il ne veut bien le dire par le véritable désamour d?une Turquie qui fut longtemps son allié principal dans la région, Israël a multiplié les faux pas et la brutalité.