Interesting piece by Stephen Kinzer in the Guardian today:
Turkey’s key interest in the region is the same as America’s: stability. Only in a stable region can Turkey’s economy continue to boom. For the US, only stability will allow the withdrawal of combat forces from the region, assure energy security, and calm tensions that stoke terror. So any policy that helps calm the Middle East is good for both countries…
Whatever the effect of Turkey’s new foreign policy direction, it is not fixed for all time. It has changed considerably over the last decade, and the same could happen in the decade to come. National elections are expected next year. Panicking too quickly about one leader’s impulses is unnecessary in a democratic state where alternation in power is an established tradition.
Good ties between Turkey and the US serve the cause of regional peace. So do good ties between Turkey and Israel. All three countries should do whatever necessary to salvage this “power triangle”.
And this on a similar theme by the ever-excellent Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy:
But now we see the neoconservatives turning on Turkey, even though it is a well-functioning democracy, a member of NATO, and a strong ally of the United States. Of course,Turkey’s democracy isn’t perfect, but show me one that is. The neocons have turned from friends of Turkey to foes for one simple reason: Israel. Specifically, the Turkish government has been openly critical of Israel’s conduct toward the Palestinians, beginning with the blockade of Gaza, ramping up after the brutal bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009, and culminating in the lethal IDF attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. As Lobe shows, a flock of prominent neoconservatives are now busily demonizing Turkey, and in some cases calling for its expulsion from NATO…
Although the United States and Israel do share certain common interests, it is becoming increasingly clear that their interests are not identical. This situation puts die-hard neoconservatives in a tough spot, as it could force them to choose between promoting what is good for America or defending what they think (usually wrongly) will be good for Israel. And insofar as prominent neocons continue to beat the drums for war, it behooves us to remember both their abysmal track record and their underlying motivations.