Turkey's foreign policy moves raise concern in West and at home
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post, 2010-06-07


The women wore veils.
The men donned green Hamas headbands with swirling Arabic script.
They gathered by the thousands in a sunny, working-class plaza in Istanbul,
bellowing: “Damn Israel!”

The Saturday demonstration seemed incongruous with
the image Turkey has long had in the West as
a secular friend of Israel and the United States.

But in recent days,
public anger has flared over
Israel’s bloody seizure of a Turkish-flagged aid ship headed to the Gaza Strip,
which is under an Israeli blockade.
The incident occurred
as Turkey has been strengthening ties with Muslim governments in the region --
becoming more vocally pro-Palestinian and
trying to head off new U.N. sanctions on Iran.

That has prompted worried speculation at home and abroad:
Is Turkey turning away from the West?

Are the actions of the current Israeli government
synonymous with [those of] the West?
So it would appear to Mary Beth Sheridan.]

Neoconservatives Lead Charge Against Turkey
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2010-06-10

Turkey and the Neocons
by Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-06-15

It couldn’t be more predictable.
Back when Israel and Turkey were strategic allies
with extensive military-to-military ties,
prominent neoconservatives were vocal defenders of the Turkish government
and groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and AIPAC
encouraged Congress not to pass resolutions
that would have labeled what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks during World War I a “genocide.”
(The “Armenian lobby” is no slouch,
but it’s no match for AIPAC and its allies in the Israel lobby).
The fact that the ADL was in effect protecting another country against the charge of genocide
is more than a little ironic,
but who ever said that political organizations had to be ethically consistent?
Once relations between Israel and Turkey began to fray, however --
fueled primarily by Turkish anger over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians --
the ADL and AIPAC withdrew their protection
and Congressional defenders of Israel began switching sides, too.

Last week Jim Lobe published a terrific piece at InterPress Service,
detailing how prominent neoconservatives have switched
from being strong supporters (and in some cases well-paid consultants)
of the Turkish government
to being vehement critics.
He lays out the story better than I could,
but I have a few comments to add.


if this doesn’t convince you that
virtually all neoconservatives are deeply Israeli-centric,
then nothing will.

This affinity is hardly a secret;
indeed, neocon pundit Max Boot once declared that support for Israel
was a “key tenet” of neoconservatism.
But the extent of their attachment to Israel is sometimes disguised by
the claim that what they really care about is freedom and democracy,
and therefore they support Israel
simply because it is “the only democracy in the Middle East.”


Labels: , , , ,