11 thoughts on “Turkey’s Erdogan Fills Middle East Power Vacuum Left by U.S. – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. It is stunning to see a post like this from a progressive like you.

    Erdogan is a true leader with the potential of greatness? Can it really be possible that you believe that to be the case?

    A recent Time magazine article (June of this year) does a nice job of presenting who Erdogan is and what kind of “leader” he has been.

    Firstly, the article points out the similarity between his political party, the AKP, and the socially conservative wing of the Republican party in the US, noting that their “values agenda” has alienated much of the secular middle class in Turkey.

    Thousands of websites are banned, users are required to go through state-controlled filters (Facebook has been deemed “immoral” for instance).

    Under Erdogan, “the police have become increasingly powerful” and journalists have been detained and jailed without trial for investigating those in power. “Public leaks of private conversations have become commonplace” as journalist phones are regularly tapped.

    The article also highlights the “brutal environmental desecration” that has gone on under Erdogan’s leadership.

    In light of the progressive values espoused on this site, it is thoroughly shocking and inexplicable that there can be a post made here where Erdogan is called “a true leader with the potential for greatness” that is not meant ironically.

  2. I hope you’re wrong about the possibility of violence too. I only hope that the Israeli government will think twice about unleashing Hell on the basis that it may quickly roll out of its control.

    I think, as well, that a little caution is needed with regard to Turkey. To be sure, Erdogan’s profile in the Arab world is high. His stance on Gaza shamed the Arab leaders and I suppose, in a way, it’s the Arab desire for an Erdogan of their own that may have contributed to the Arab Spring.

    But the caution that Erdogan’s visit to Egypt has received is interesting. The Egyptians, and the Arabs as whole I think, have no taste for replacing one foreign power-broker for another.

    I would also add that (very very sadly) Turkey was well in bed with the dictatorships have have thus far been removed by the uprisings in the region. And that has laid bare the reality that Turkish economic activity in the Arab world is very damaging for local people.

    Take Libya as an example. You might remember that when the Libyan uprising began, Turkey had to arrange for the departure of 25,000 Turkish workers from Libya. Those workers were there because Turkish companies had struck deals with the Gaddafis that were highly exploitative of the Libyan people: they get the contracts, divide the spoils with the Gaddafis and Turks get the jobs. Libyans must watch as others take home money and they are left with nothing.

    It was this that made Turkey essentially take Gaddafi’s side when the revolution began. Many have forgotten but I remember it like it was yesterday and it was appalling. Only when it became evident that the Libyans were steadfast and not willing to give in, did Turkey recognise the NTC and even provide aid to it.

    To his credit, the Turkish foreign minister spoke candidly about his government’s error and was publicly apologetic when he spoke in Benghazi. The fact remains though, that Turkey’s influence, while a million times better than that of the United States (which ranges from barely perceptible to outright malignant), is still open to question.

    I can’t shake the feeling that Erdogan – while no doubt sincere in his belief that Israeli policies in Gaza are wrong – is behaving somewhat opportunistically. That’s life, you might say. That’s diplomacy. You’d be right.

    But I think that the Arab states should not go running into Erdogan’s arms.

    He should sing for his supper (and reign in his CEOs).

  3. Excellent post, Richard. Like all other states, Turkey has its problems, and Erdogan has a blind spot or two. But he’s the only leader of some standing who’s announced that he’s not putting up with Israel’s criminal behaviour any more — and he’s backing that assertion with action. Not only Obama, but also Canada and the European nations should get some spine and do likewise: if they all took similar kinds of actions the I-P conflict would be solved tomorrow.

    1. “a blind spot or two” and “Israel’s criminal behavior”

      Yes – Israel’s behavior often fails any measure of reason, but calling Erdogan’s treatment of the Kurds “a blind spot or two” suggests that you are using two very different and biased yardsticks to measure Israeli and Turkish behavior.

      Your post seems to suggest that his taking action in Israel would be welcome. We have seen his “actions” against the Kurdish population. Let’s hope the wished action against Israel is not of a similar vein.

      1. The Kurds, even more than the Palestinians, are politically fatherless whose blood is cheap, if not free.

        This is far from being the case with current day Israelis, and Erdogan seems to be calculated enough to know that.

  4. “…But at least this is a leader aware of the weaknesses of his country and working (perhaps too slowly in some areas) to repair them.”

    That’s exactly what George Galloway said about Assad…

  5. “well, Egypt wasn’t exactly an ally, but you know what I mean”.

    Well, if Egypt wasn’t exactly an ally of Israel, Pres. Mubarac certainly was.

  6. Obama’s situation is somewhat reminiscent of Clinton’s first term as Governor of Arkansas: an ideologically motivated (relatively) young academic having to come to terms with the harsh realities of American leadership – having been democratically elected to numero uno position means little against the strengths of other powers to be.

    Bill Clinton has certainly learned this lesson, I hope Obama manages to play his (disastrous) cards well and gets his own second chance at the helm.

    1. In terms of getting a “second chance at the helm”, Pres. Obama has been boxed in by AIPAc, “Jewish money” and the Jewish vote in respect of the positions he can take regarding I/P matters. So, 14 more months of ass-kissing.

      When (hopefully!) the “second chance” comes and the ass-kissing is no longer required, it is my urgent hope that he makes Netanyahoo and his ilk pay for the spit in his face that he has had to endure.

      Time will tell.

  7. Arduan is killing Kurds indiscriminately.
    He is invading the states around him and bomb them from planes.
    It is sad to see someone who shouts all day and everyday when he thinks Israel does that, shout applaud the Turks when they do it.
    an example:

    In addition, Turkey occupy half of Cyprus illegally. It has performed ethnic cleansing and has created there many settlements. I wonder how it’s leader is held as a great leader, while the same people who attributes the same allegations to Israel condemn its leaders ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link