U.S.-Turkey Relations Headed Over a Cliff

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - After 9/11, I was among those hailing the Turkish model as the antidote to "Bin Ladenism." Indeed, the last time I visited Turkey in 2005, my discussions with officials were all about Turkey's efforts to join the EU. That is why it is quite shocking to come back today and find Turkey's Islamist government seemingly focused not on joining the EU but the Arab League - no, scratch that, on joining the Hamas-Hizbullah-Iran resistance front against Israel. I exaggerate, but not that much. Turkey's Erdogan today is the most popular leader in the Arab world. Unfortunately, it is not because he is promoting a synthesis of democracy, modernity and Islam, but because he is loudly bashing Israel and praising Hamas instead of the more responsible Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. It is very troubling when Erdogan decries Israelis as killers and, at the same time, warmly receives in Ankara Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the bloodshed in Darfur, and while politely hosting Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government killed and jailed thousands of Iranians demanding that their votes be counted.

2010-06-16 07:40:01

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