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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Turkey: the AKP's foreign policy, another example of growing Islamism

More about this which is one of the most worrying things happening in foreign policy now, whatever Estonian president chooses to think:

The AKP, however, viewed Turkey’s interests through a different lens – one colored by a politicized take on religion, namely Islamism. Senior AKP officials called the 2004 U.S. offensive in Fallujah, Iraq, a “genocide,” and in February 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan compared Gaza to a “concentration camp.”
The AKP’s foreign policy has not promoted sympathy toward all Muslim states, rather, the party has promoted solidarity with Islamist, anti-Western regimes (Qatar and Sudan, for example) while dismissing secular, pro-Western Muslim governments (Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia). This two-pronged strategy is especially apparent in the Palestinian territories, where at the same time that the AKP government has called on Western countries to “recognize Hamas as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people,” AKP officials have labeled Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the “head of an illegitimate government.”
According to diplomats, Abbas’ last visit to Ankara, in July 2009, went terribly.
As the cancelled military exercises with Israel show, the AKP’s a la carte, moralistic foreign policy is not without inherent hypocrisies. An earlier example came in January 2009, when, a day after Erdoğan harangued Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as Jews and Israelis, at the World Economic Forum in Davos for knowing “well how to kill people,” Turkey hosted Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha in Ankara.
This is a dangerous position because it suggests – especially to the generation coming of age under the AKP – that Islamist regimes alone have the right to attack their own people or even other states. In September, Erdoğan defended Iran’s nuclear program, arguing that the problem in the Middle East is Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
Some analysts have dismissed such rhetoric as domestic politicking or simply an instance of Erdoğan losing his temper. But Erdoğan is an astute politician, and he is now reacting to changes in Turkish society. After seven years of the AKP’s Islamist rhetoric, public opinion has shifted to embrace the idea of a politically united “Muslim world.
 So, now Turkish citizens are more pro-Islamist than when they voted him? Do I need to remind that Saudi Arabia has awarded Erdogan with King Faisal International Prize for "services to Islam by defending the Islamic nation"?
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