Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ah, The Good Old Days When Turkey Liked Israel and the NY Times Liked Me; Turkey's Rulers' Ambitions Take a Hit

By Barry Rubin

Yes, there was a time not so long ago when Turkey wasn't ruled by Islamists and the New York Times wasn't ruled by far leftists.

Turkey has just had a major earthquake. Israel offered help; the Turkish government refused. Yet it was Israel's generous help at the time that was the breakthrough event for the close relationship between these two countries.

This is from the 1999 New York Times:

''Israelis are absolutely obsessed with the earthquake,'' said Barry Rubin, an Israeli scholar who has written extensively about the Turkish-Israeli relationship.

''There's a psychological as well as a political reason for this,'' Mr. Rubin said. ''Jews and Turks have historically been thought of as outsiders, especially in Europe. They are two peoples who are extremely conscious of who their friends are. But even though I've been following this subject for 10 years, I'm amazed at how many messages I've received since the earthquake. Israelis want to know what they can do to help, and Turks want to say how grateful they are.''

Now, Turks and Jews are still "outsiders" but the new solution of the regime in Ankara is to overcome this by making the prime Turkish identity as Muslims rather than as Turks. For a few months, this seemed to work as Arab Islamists were thrilled that Turks were sympathetic to Hamas, (Shia) Hizballah, Assad's Syria, and Iran. 

But now the Sunni Arab Islamists have their own heroes taking over in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and perhaps Syria. When Turkey's stealth Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan came calling in Cairo--and spoke too openly of his leadership ambitions for the region--the Islamists suddenly remembered that he was a Turk and not really one of them....

Read it all:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.