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 Turkey's neighbors, the problems inherent in this policy become clearer. Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Armenia

Under Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey has invested tremendous priority in building economic, cultural and political bonds, particularly with Iran and Syria, including fostering warmer relations with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

This has come at the cost of Turkey's hitherto strategic alliance with Israel – 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.

The Arab Spring may force a reconsideration of Turkey's regional foreign policy.

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 Turkey's southern border, now fleeing Al-Assad's murderous slaughter of his own people.

Whereas Erdogan was passionate and heated in his moral-high-ground criticism of Israel's military response to the Hamas missile attacks from Gaza onto Israel's cities, he has been notably tight-lipped in response to the wholesale slaughter of Syrian civilians by their own leadership.
The hypocrisy of this double-standard foreign policy may become an embarrassment for Turkey – and force a re-evaluation.

"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, Israel.

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". 

Coming soon? 


  1. Garnel Ironheart14 June 2011 at 15:18

    No one is sure what Turkey's doing these days. For a couple of years they've been trying to form an alliance with Syria-Iran. now they're screwing Syria over by accepting refugees and broadcasting what Assad's doing. What's going on?


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