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response to your "Ambitious Turkey" article

Reader comment on item: Ambitious Turkey

Submitted by Prof. A. S. Argon (United States), Apr 13, 2011 at 12:30

Dear Daniel Pipes

My cousin in Istanbul sent me your article. I am sorry that you are displeased with the present policies of Turkey. As I note, so are many enlightened Turks. However, much of your displeasure appears to be based on Turkey's no longer following (blindly) the lead of the US. Clearly, Turkey is trying to find its constructive place in the new realities of the Middle East. It may be good to get used to the fact that Turkey will no longer be satisfied to be obedient lackey of the US. Labeling Turkey's present policies as "Neo- Ottomanism" is quite dismissive and very offensive to Turks. Turkey at the present is going through a deep societal transformation of empowering the major fraction of its population that is devoutly Muslim. Nevertheless, it finally follows an independent national policy, still guided by the basic tenets of the Republic established by Ataturk who for Turkey will remain for a very long time as the transformational figure.

Turks, while being proud of their Ottoman history are not following any vestigial Ottoman influence. Their policies in the Middle East, directed to their neighbors, is clearly to the national interest of the country, but requires a bit of fine tuning. Most enlightened Turks have only admiration for the creative aspects of Israel but are disturbed by the interminable and very myopic colonial policies of that country. In my view the present unfortunate misunderstandings between Turkey and Israel are temporary, and with good will from both sides will return to the previous mutually beneficial state. Regarding Turkey's dealings with Libya, they are no more confused than those of the US. Turkey's commercial interests with Libya are extensive and continue to have some residual influence. This must be noted.

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With kind regards,

A. S. Argon,

Professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at MIT

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