Wednesday, June 16, 2004
-----------------------Zebari: Erdogan is The Man
Instead of chuckling at Erdogan's statement of late-- "countries need to reform themselves, or else outside pressure will force them."-- Zebari has endorsed it:
At the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Istanbul, Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said yesterday that with its democratic and secular identity, Turkey is a good model for regional countries, primarily for Iraq.
Zebari told Zaman: "Turkey is a democratic country. There is a new development everyday on the issue of improving freedom. Turkey, as a Muslim country, has been a good model for the region with its democratic and secular identity." Regarding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's attendance at the G-8 summit, Zebari said: "This pleased us. I particularly like Erdogan's speech. I believe that the region needs reforms. Like you, we also want that to happen by the countries' own will..."
When Zebari was asked to comment on the fact that the outlawed terrorist organization, the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) has resumed its activities, Zebari said: "Now I represent Iraq. This has no south and north. All of the terrorist notions will be excluded from Iraq. We will no longer make Iraqi lands a base for attacks on its neighbors."
Still the irony does seem to be lost Erdogan, unless he knows that he is presenting Turkey as a country that has recently reformed due to outside pressure, viz a viz the EU.
-----------------------Of Mice and Men
Another pathetic attempt by the government to tie whatever concessions it needs to make with improvements to Northern Cyprus (Cyprus Mail):
Turkey is not likely to meet its EU obligations and extend its customs union to include Cyprus any time soon...
According to reports, Ankara is preparing a second letter through its permanent representative in Brussels to try and attach the extension of the customs union to the lifting of the embargo in the north.
There is no way EU accession can be taken seriously as long as Turkey does not recognize one of its member-- it can only drag its feet until December. The EU is saying "Recognize Cyprus and things will become easier for you" while Turkey is adopting the laughable position of "You guarentee EU membership, and we will recognize Cyprus."
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.