Seek4media turkey, the new strongman of europe and diplomatic power in the middle east

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Seek4media turkey, the new strongman of europe and diplomatic power in the middle east

  1. 1. 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.      
  2. 2. 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.    

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