Is Erdogan's Re-Election Good-for-the-Jews?
Now re-elected to office for his third consecutive term, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has led his country consistently away from a Western orientation, to a more Eastern orientation.
Erdogan's foreign policy has been marketed under the catchy slogan "zero problems with neighbors". This sounds as controversial as motherhood and apple pie.
However, when one looks around at the identities of
's neighbors, the problems inherent in this policy become clearer. Turkey , Iran , Syria , Iraq , Lebanon … Armenia
Under Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu,
has invested tremendous priority in building economic, cultural and political bonds, particularly with Turkey and Iran , including fostering warmer relations with Hezbollah in Syria and Hamas in Lebanon . Gaza
This has come at the cost of
's hitherto strategic alliance with Turkey – with spectacular blow-outs at Davros (the public spat between Erdogan and Israel 's 85 year old President Shimon Peres) and of course the Marmara Flotilla attempted embargo-bust, in which 9 Turkish citizens were killed in the fight with Israeli troops. Israel
The Arab Spring may force a reconsideration of
's regional foreign policy. Turkey
Turkey has failed to take a leadership role during the regional revolts – neither for the incumbent dictators, Turkey's new-found allies & darlings, nor the rebels, who appear to uphold the progressive and democratic values on which Turkey's Republic is founded.
This awkward sitting on the fence, has reached a peak with the arrival of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees at and over
's southern border, now fleeing Al-Assad's murderous slaughter of his own people. Turkey
Whereas Erdogan was passionate and heated in his moral-high-ground criticism of
's military response to the Hamas missile attacks from Israel onto Gaza 's cities, he has been notably tight-lipped in response to the wholesale slaughter of Syrian civilians by their own leadership. Israel
The hypocrisy of this double-standard foreign policy may become an embarrassment for
– and force a re-evaluation. Turkey
"Zero problems with neighbors" may sound like motherhood and apple pie, but it now amounts to supporting butchery of Moslems by Moslems, while alienating the only (other) stable liberal democracy in the region,
Armed with his strengthened majority, perhaps (although I won't hold my breath) Erdogan will dump Arab "popularism", which hasn't proven popular with the Arabs, in favour of a return to warm relations with Turkey's erstwhile Western allies.
The first test will be how Erdogan handles the provocative Marmara Flotilla 2, which was due to set sail from Turkey into troubled waters a month ago, but was delayed till "after the elections".