Driving through Central Anatolia last month I smiled at a huge banner in the heart of a town, which read: “Inform the police when you see strangers and suspicious persons – on the police hotline 155.” An updated version of this clever neighborhood watch policy could read: “Inform the police when you spot Israeli spies disguised as pink elephants and dragons – with stamps that read ‘Israeli spy.’”
I wonder how Amb. Nick Burns feels about the headline the Boston Globe put on his op-ed. He doesn’t say Turkey is a “superpower.” He writes: “Turkey may even now be more powerful in the Middle East than Germany, France, and the UK.” Well, none of those three countries is a superpower, and Turkey is in the region, so you would expect it to have as much weight. The headline is just more Turkey hyperbole.
It's the film that is making millions of Turkish hearts swell with even more patriotic pride than usual. Fetih 1453, a turbans-and-testosterone epic, has not just smashed all Turkish box office records with its all-action, CGI retelling of Mehmet II's capture of the old Byzantine capital, Constantinople, it is being hailed as a reaffirmation that a resurgent Turkey still has world-conquering blood in its veins. Nothing sells like nationalism in Turkey, and the film's director/producer, Faruk Aksoy – who has already made the $17m (£11m) budget back three times – is planning another epic on Gallipoli, where Atatürk, the founder of the modern republic, fought off the British. It's a fair bet it won't be Churchill's finest hour.
Steven Cook says the danger of Turkish, Egyptian, and Saudi proliferation, in response to an Iranian bomb, is nil. Read the article: your guess is as good as his. He did miss this new poll from Turkey. Q: “In reaction to a possible threat from a nuclear armed Iran, should Turkey develop its own nuclear weapons or rely on NATO’s protection?” 54% said Turkey should develop its own nukes.
If Turkey has one priority these days, it’s maintaining its soft power and popularity within the Middle East—and any sort of military intervention involving Turkish boots on the ground in Syria would directly undermine that. Ankara speaks out publicly against Assad, gathering international support for political action against him, but tries to stay in the background when it comes to military action. You might call it “leading from behind.”
“While Turkey is an important partner in the Nato alliance, it is not indispensable. If Turkey’s actions lead it to be seen as a source of instability for Nato, then the alliance may well find a way to reconsider the country’s membership.” Given Turkey’s churlish and polarizing conduct at the Nato summit in Chicago (detailed here), this might be a good time to do just that.
Since the military officers cannot decide to buy the weapons they might fancy, and their shopping lists must be in line with the government’s security/threat perception white-paper, we should rather ask: which high sea does the government plan to have a heavy military presence on? Turkish military operations on the oceans? The invasion of Chile? Japan? Australia? Which political deliberations would justify such a big acquisition? Has the government endorsed that plan? Against which security target(s) in the next 20 years would Turkey use its aircraft carrier?
I’m reading this gusher in Der Spiegel, and I hit this line: “Turkey, disparaged only a few years ago as the ‘sick man on the Bosporus,’ has since established itself as a global power.” Global, no less. But then elsewhere I read this: “The brand value of Turkey’s top 100 firms does not even equal half of the brand value of US computer giant Apple.” Could someone please define “global power”?
Turkey is hinting at intervention to contain the crisis on its border, and developments such as military redeployments, consular closures, and parliamentary authorization may give Washington advance warning of Ankara's plans.
• Changed Prospects for Turkish Military Intervention in Syria by Soner Cagaptay http://t.co/kRg5Girq
Quick: What country jails the most journalists? If you guessed China, you were close, but no cigar. Twenty-seven reporters are in prison there. If you guessed Iran, you’re getting warmer—forty-two in prison there—but you’re still off.
How many of you guessed Turkey?
Measuring strictly in terms of imprisonments, Turkey—a longtime American ally, member of NATO, and showcase Muslim democracy—appears to be the most repressive country in the world.
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