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An Indepenent Turkey Remains to be Seen

Reader comment on item: Ambitious Turkey
in response to reader comment: Reponse to Turkey at the Crossroads- Again

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Jun 14, 2011 at 16:00

It took a while to find what it really was that this response to the crossroads-again tried to say. It is not about the 'English' used (for it is better English than my Turkish), but about the perceptions that as the world is posturing to be ready for the September challenges against Israel, Turkey is likely not to find its participation in the process very assuring. Even as the second flotilla is being made ready for the next attempt in provocation of an already out-of-control Middle East situation, Turkey's part is going to help define Turkey's place in the results-the question being is Turkey prepared to pay for its desire to be a world power.

Turkey's preeminence in its Ottoman past came from an entirely different mindset of the things oriental versus occidental. The influences of the United Kingdom in the orient was mixed, being confrontational in many places where Islam held great sway, to patronizing in other locations where trade made for strange bedfellows as the pound became the coin of the realm in so many Asian venues. In view of the wealth to be found in the Middle East, Turkey stood to gain more than the Arabs in realizing the revenue stream that now flows into the region, so why were they not able to gain the ear of the British as did the Arabs? You already know the answer.

Even under its Ottoman influences, Turkey remained independent, though sometimes diffident in its attempts to retain its power over the region. In the end, Turkey found itself wanting things it should have gotten, but was not able to obtain because of a leadership that lacked a true vision of what Turkey could be.

Now, maybe it is that PM Erdogan thinks that with a more solid Islamic flavor in his supposed 'secular' government, he can lead turkey into a greater influential position in the Middle East, posturing as a power broker for the more fundamentalist Muslim influences trying to remold the Middle East in o the revolutionary Islamic model. By asserting a more independent (yet, still Islamic) approach, he postures Turkey into a potential power play that will leave so many reeling from the circumstances when it fails, that it is not impossible to think that Turkey will get the blame when it goes all awry. That will not be necessarily true, but many will think it.

Turkey should not have made it harder to be Israel's friend-it's going to cost dearly. To be involved in further incitement against Israel puts Turkey in a hazardous position, one that cannot be too overemphasized. Turkey will once again be at the crossroads of history: it remains to be seen how Turkey will respond to the pressures of its alliances when its independent attitude is leveraged for the gains of those who would use Turkey for their own devising.

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