Monday, October 26, 2009

Turkey: Friend of Iran

A little while ago, Caroline Glick published a controversial article called, "How Turkey Was Lost to the West." It can be summarized with the following excerpts:
Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week Turkey officially left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis. ... Turkey is lost and we'd better make our peace with this devastating fact. But if we learn its lessons, we can craft policies that check the dangers that Turkey projects and prepare for the day when Turkey may decide that it wishes to return to the Western fold.
Although some dismissed her analysis as exaggerated, alarmist, or merely reflective of a hardline Israeli position, the Guardian has a story up today that lends weight to her conclusions. The Turkish Prime Minister states categorically of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "There is no doubt he is our friend," while at the same time criticizing European states such as France and Germany. As the Guardian puts it,
Friendly towards a religious theocratic Iran, covetous and increasingly resentful of a secular but maddeningly dismissive Europe: it seems the perfect summary of Turkey's east-west dichotomy.
Turkey, long a loyal and valued U.S. ally, severely damaged that status by its behavior at the outset of the Iraq War. By blocking U.S. deployment through its country at the last minute, it essentially rammed a knife into the back of America, disrupting U.S. invasion plans and causing numerous problems. By that act Turkey demonstrated that it can no longer be trusted as a U.S. ally. It is also in the process of destroying its well-established strategic cooperation with Israel, in favor of cozying up to its enemies. And as the U.S. works to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, what is the position of our "ally" Turkey?
"Iran does not accept it is building a weapon. They are working on nuclear power for the purposes of energy only."
That's Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, spouting Iranian propaganda. The Guardian notes, 
Erdogan's views will interest US foreign policy makers, who have long seen his AKP government as a model of a pro-western "moderate Islam" that could be adopted in other Muslim countries.
It's obviously past time for a reassessment.

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