Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Turkey's continuing emergence

Rami Khouri writes today of "Turkey's Superb Balancing Act":

The tensions with Israel due to the Gaza war and the Israeli attack on the flotilla of humanitarian aid ships represent a new element in the region: truly independent Muslim-majority states that will not allow themselves to be pushed around and insulted by Israel or Western powers, as most Arab states allow. . . .

Turkey’s relations with Israel today comprise only one aspect of its multi-faceted regional strategy, which also includes good relations and diplomatic activism with foes of Israel like Syria and Iran. The emergence of a stronger Turkey that is more directly engaged with all in the region is a positive development, and any one party that thinks it can win Turkey totally to its side is probably engaged in wishful thinking.

More than anything, I suspect, people in the Middle East - as opposed to the often corrupt regimes that govern them - have wanted to be allowed to conduct their own affairs without decisions being imposed upon them by Israel or stage-managed by the U.S.  Turkey, at long last, seems to be achieving that.  The US Congress, of course, sees that purely in terms of Turkey falling under the sway of "Islamic radicals" hell-bent on destroying Israel.  In so doing, they drive away from the US a proud democratic state - and people - whose continued friendship could still do much for Obama's outreach to the Muslim world - not that the Israel lobby finds that of any real import.



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