Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time for Turkish Power

As I return to Pax Ottomania, I can't help but think about the situation in the Levant.  I found it interesting that I was on my way to the Sea of Marmara, the Mavi Marmara issue would resurface.  The Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss criticized Bibi for his handling of the Mavi Marmara, and I agree.  He is perhaps one of the better independent voices of leadership in Israel.  I do have my criticisms of Turkey as well.  Of both sides, for their Middle Eastern stubbornness and priggishness.

My bigger issue with Turkey is this: they have deigns and designs of being a regional power. Actually, they already are.  Once the sick man of Europe, today Turkey is strong.  Turkey is doing well, and is in a robust position. I think the EU needs Turkey these days more than Turkey needs it.  I bet the EU wishes it could swap Greece for Turkey these days.

 It is a regional power who could go global with a bit more exercise of power, soft and otherwise.  Turkish leadership is in high demand these days.  It is taking the lead in Somalia, and played a rising power role in Libya.

It could use to show a little more leadership close to home, and I don't mean with Israel and Palestine.  There are enough negotiators involved in that one, and Turkey hasn't been one to help the situation but rather inflame it.  But Turkish leadership in regard to Syria would be more welcome.  If Turkey wants to be a power, it can't allow slaughter in its backyard.  I agree with Larry Haas, who writes we will be haunted by the slaughter in Syria.  But their is a role for Turkey to play in a rising power capacity.  Good conflict resolution, as shown by Qatar, makes for good pd (as others have noted as well). A bit of Pax Ottomania might be the right ticket for Turkish public diplomacy.

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