Turkey’s Growing Assertiveness
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 8th June, 2010
One of the most interesting geo-political developments in recent months is Turkey’s increased prominence on the world stage. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came out strongly against Israel’s Operation Cast Lead 18 months ago — winning plaudits not only from his own population but from the Arab world as well — and he has now condemned the Israeli assault on the Gaza aid convoy as state terrorism. Previously, Turkey had been quite close to Israel, even acting as a peacebroker between Israel and Syria, but bilateral relations have plummeted now. In contrast, Turkey’s ties with Iran have strengthened and Ankara is building itself up as a regional power. This makes it all the more important that the West — to which Turkey is linked through its membership of NATO — nurtures relations with Turkey. That includes eventual Turkish membership of the European Union, when Turkey fulfils certain political as well as economic criteria. In the meantime, Turkey’s own economy is growing at a rate Europeans can only envy. This is a great regional power in the making.