Neighbors Warily Eye a More Muscular Turkey

(Japan Times) Shlomo Avineri - Erdogan's threat to consider using the Turkish Navy as a military escort for further flotillas to Gaza borders on saber rattling, as does his declared willingness to use force to prevent the Republic of Cyprus from exploring for gas in its continental shelf. Indeed, Erdogan's has warned of a diplomatic rupture with the EU if Cyprus accedes to the EU's rotating presidency in 2012. At the same time, renewed violent incursions into northern Iraq in pursuit of alleged guerillas suggest a reversion to hardline anti-Kurdish policies. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq only seems to have encouraged Turkey's will to create a cordon sanitaire on the Iraqi side of the border. During Erdogan's recent visit, many Egyptians were not happy about his hectoring them - and other Arabs - to follow Turkish policies and to regard Turkey as their Muslim leader. A new sultanate? Erdogan as the new Saladin? Turkey could be a bridge between the West and the East, between Islam and modernity, and between Israel and the Arabs. But it runs the danger of succumbing to the arrogance of power, which has corrupted and sidelined many strong states in the past. The writer, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a former director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry.

2011-11-04 00:00:00

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