Tuesday, June 15, 2004


East is East

The recent overtures to the Arab world at the expense of Israel are making some believe Turkey is itching for the presidency of the IOC, although Erdogan maintains that "friends tell friends the painful truth", referring to Israel. This is magnified when coupled with necessary reforms toward the military.

Concern emanates from the Jersulem Post:

In recent weeks, the AKP launched a frontal assault on its chief domestic rival – the country's powerful military. As part of constitutional reforms intended to harmonize the country's legal system with European standards, Turkey's parliament on May 7 overwhelmingly approved a raft of laws substantially trimming the military's power. They include the removal of military officials from national broadcasting and education oversight committees, the elimination of state security courts previously used to try political crimes, and stripping the military of its budgetary autonomy, making its previously-independent national security planning subject to parliamentary oversight and review.

The effects of this erosion of power are already being felt. Turkey's military establishment, the traditional guardian of Mustafa Kemal Attaturk's secularist legacy, has long been the main proponent of strategic ties with Jerusalem. Its progressive loss of control over the country's security policy has therefore called into question the durability of Israel's most important regional alliance.

Israeli policymakers, dazed by the rapid turnaround in the strategic partnership, are now scrambling to mend fences. But the Israeli government's ability to alter this trend is limited; the health of Israeli-Turkish ties remains largely dependent on the political priorities and foreign policy trajectory of the AKP itself.

And, at least for now, their future is uncertain, as Turkey continues to drift away from its traditional role of an independent, pro-Western partner in the Middle East.


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