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Turkey Turns From the West

Flotilla incident part of broader shift

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Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan today. He is flanked by Syrian President Assad.(Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

One wonders whether we are seeing more than just the inevitable post-flotilla fraying of Turkish-Israeli ties. By the way, those are significant: Turkey’s ambassador to the United States is demanding an Israeli apology for last week’s raid that will surely not be forthcoming; it is newly revealed that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan “did not work very hard to stop” the flotilla, which was on an obvious collision course with Israeli authorities; and overall ties between Israel what has long been its strongest ally in the Muslim world are in real jeopardy.

But are we seeing a more general Turkish reorientation eastward? This NATO member, recall, was already positioning itself as an alternative to the West in crafting a separate nuclear fuel swap agreement with Iran. Now, Turkey is increasing its economic eastern integration, as symbolized by the Trans Asian Railroad, which by summer’s end will be regularly running cargo between Turkey and Pakistan.

On top of all that, the rhetoric of some Turkish officials—I am thinking of that same ambassador, who twice referred to Hamas as needing to pay an essential role in the “final solution” to the Palestinian conflict (unfortunate wording of a principle the West currently does not find tenable)—is likely to alienate the West.

Maybe the most interesting symbolism came in the funeral of Furkan Dogan, the U.S. citizen who was one of nine civilians killed in last week’s raid. Dogan was born in Troy, New York, and though he had since lived in Turkey, he had been planning to return stateside. But his funeral was in Turkey.

Turkey Threatens To Cut Ties With Israel [WSJ]
Israel Owes Turkey an Apology for Flotilla Attack [WP]
Days of Planning Led to Flotilla’s Hour of Chaos [NYT]
Turkey Expands Economics Ties With East [JPost]
Turkish Ambassador Calls for Engaging Hamas [Foreign Policy]
Turkey Buries Flotilla’s U.S. Teen [WSJ]
Earlier: Reining in Iran

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Turkey Turns From the West

Flotilla incident part of broader shift

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