Seek4media turkey, the new strongman of europe and diplomatic power in the middle east
Seek4media: Turkey, The New Strongman of Europe and Diplomatic Power in the Middle East Impervious to pressure, blind to the catastrophe unfolding across his country, President Assad of Syria appears to have lost touch even with the political realities of the Middle East. To ignore criticism from the West and brush aside calls for change from anxious Arab neighbours is foolish. But to send his troops out on a killing spree even as the Turkish Foreign Minister is warning him of Ankaras growing anger at the bloodshed across the border endangers the very survival of his repressive regime. Turkey is often underestimated by its Western allies, with long memories of lingering Ottoman sickness and more recent coups, instability and hyperinflation. Turkey today is a regional giant. A nation of 74 million people, with a yearly growth rate of 9 per cent, Turkey is now the worlds sixteenth largest economy, a country brimming with foreign investment, assertive self-‐confidence and international ambition. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently re-‐elected for the third time with more than 50 per cent of the vote, has now served longer as Prime Minister than any Turkish leader since Kemal Atatürk. While pursuing free-‐market policies and the long quest for European Union membership, his Islamist ideology has refocused Turkeys interest, for almost the first time in 90 years, on the Ottomans former empire in the Arab south. Turkey is again a formidable regional player, and one that is increasingly looked up to by Arabs envious of its success. One of Mr Erdogans early achievements was to improve Turkeys poor ties with Syria, a relationship blighted by an ancient border quarrel as well as Syrias opportunistic shelter given to Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK terrorist leader. Turkey has no qualms about using its large army to enforce its regional interests as it has from time to time in northern Iraq and the massing of troops on the Syrian border was enough to have Mr Öcalan swiftly expelled.
Trade, traffic and friendship followed: Syria became increasingly dependent on its powerful neighbour for its own modest development. Mr Erdogans high standing in both East and West is largely because of his skill at finding a compatibility between democracy and moderate Islamism. The Syrian uprising threatens Turkey in two ways: it sent waves of refugees across the border, and it is likely to bolster the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist elements that have little interest in the kind of Muslim democracy that Mr Erdogan espouses. He met Mr Assad several times, warning him that talk about reform meant little; what was needed was reform. That message has been rebuffed with a resort to presidential clichés about terrorist gangs that fools no one and insults Mr Erdogan, a prickly man who has already proved in his confrontation with the Turkish military that it is unwise to underestimate his acumen and ambition. Turkey has now given Damascus a two-‐week deadline to halt the killing machine. The alternative is not spelt out. But it is clear: a Turkish military incursion, to "protect Turkish interests". It would be applauded by the West unable to do much about Mr Assad and perhaps even by Syrias neighbours. And with Syrian troops already hurrying to the border, there is no doubt who would win: the Syrian opposition and the towns now under fire. President Obama is poised to call for Mr Assads removal. But only the Turks could enforce it. Ankara now speaks from a position of power. Seek4media is an independent voice on the web. We report todays news is tomorrow’s headlines responsibly and truthfully so that readers can improve their own lives and increase their understanding and respect for their neighbors next door and around the globe. In our approach and in our content, we uphold universal human values, rights, and freedoms. We are a business that puts our readers interests first, in all that we do.