Turkey is a member of NATO, and as such might have been expected to participate fully in the military campaign to curb Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s brutal repression of his rebellious subjects. But from the beginning of international talks on Libya, the “soft-Islamist” Ankara government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development party (AKP) has followed an ambivalent course. Rather than joining in the anti-Qaddafi effort, Erdogan has offered a series of unhelpful “alternatives” to it.
Speaking to more than 10,000 supporters in Duesseldorf on Sunday night, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once again the source of some controversy across Germany when he called on his “compatriots” – many of whom hold German passports and were born there – to strongly resist assimilation and to make sure that their children master Turkish before they learn German.
Israelis have always lamented that Moses led the ancient Israelites to the one patch of land in the Middle East bereft of energy resources. It turns out the sea offered more promise. At the end of December, a huge natural gas discovery was confirmed in the Eastern Mediterranean inside Israel’s territorial waters. Once referred to as an “energy island” that not only lacked energy reserves itself but was also cut off from the huge energy resources of the nearby Arab nations, Israel may well become over the next decade an energy exporter.
Foreign leaders, rivals and allies, often find it useful to take anti-American positions, but Turkish prime minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan has taken the rarest of steps in threatening to sue the U.S. State Department in both national and international courts for defamation. At issue is the insinuation, laid out in U.S. diplomatic cables purloined by WikiLeaks, that Erdoğan is corrupt.
Some U.S. policymakers believe that Turkey is the future of Islamic democracy and that no political institution better exemplifies the desired hybrid of Western practice and religious values than the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
Hamas are resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land. They have won an election. I have told this to U.S. officials ... I do not accept Hamas as a terrorist organization. I think the same today. They are defending their land.
Turkey slides toward radicalization. And Barack Obama nominates for ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., a career diplomat with a proven track record of being weak on democracy and human rights.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is probably the happiest man in Turkey right now. He's just inherited the leadership of the country's secular socialist opposition, and now he's reaping the benefits of an incredibly boneheaded move by the "moderate" Islamists who run the country.
The street outside the IHH, the Turkish organization that recently dispatched the Mavi Marmara to its sanguinary fate in the eastern Mediterranean, suggests a hopeful world of multi-ethnic and religious harmony. Men and women in various forms of secular and religious dress—beards, clean-shaven, headscarves, burqas—walk in and out of the building in urgent conversation with Africans in dashikis, Swedes in stained proletarian-wear, anti-Zionist rabbis sweating nervously in black suits and payot. A gangly teenager strolls by in a T-shirt that reads, “Virgins required: No experience necessary.” It isn’t clear whether he’s off-message, highly ironic, or yet another Turkish kid who bought a T-shirt he didn’t quite understand.
A newly released policy report on Turkey by the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Academy in Washington caught my eye this week. The report was dubbed, “Getting to Zero: Turkey, Its Neighbors and the West,” and the brief’s analysis and policy recommendations unfortunately display a distinct pro-Turkish bias which fails to recognize that Ankara’s aggressive foreign and security policy posture is increasingly at odds with core U.S. and European interests.