Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kerry Courts the Muslim Brotherhood

by Jacob Laksin

As the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry might be expected to be wary of bestowing legitimacy on Islamic extremists. But no such caution was in evidence last Friday, when the Senator met with three of the top officials in the Muslim Brotherhood​’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). What makes the meeting all the more notorious is that the three officials – FJP Vice-Chairman Essam El-Erian, FJP Secretary-General Mohamed Saad Katatni, and FJP chairman Mohamed Morsi – are outspoken Islamists who belie the Brotherhood’s much-cultivated image of tolerance and moderation.

Take Mohamed Morsi. He has been quoted on the Brotherhood’s website calling Israel a “Zionist usurper” that “has been created by the international terrorism and injustice.” Morsi also believes that Israel, and any nation that supports it, is perpetrating “genocide” against the Palestinians. Both Essam El-Erian and Mohamed Saad Katani, meanwhile, have made it clear that they wish to see Sharia become the law of the land. “If you want to know what principles guide our party let me tell you: the principles of the Islamic Sharia law,” Mohamed Saad Katani told Aljazeera in November. El-Erian has gone further, echoing Egypt’s Salafists by declaring: “No one dares oppose the application of Sharia law.”

If Kerry was aware of his interlocutors’ views, he did not show it. Instead, he heaped praise on the recent Egyptian elections, which saw the FJP win nearly 40 percent of seats, as a model of transparency and integrity. Kerry also pledged American support for Egypt’s new Islamist government and called for the U.S.-funded International Monetary Fund to shore up the government with financial support. Not only did Kerry not take the opportunity to challenge the Brotherhood’s more extreme views, but he rewarded them with the promise of additional assistance.

Kerry’s diplomatic blessing of the Brotherhood dovetails with a growing courtship of the Islamist group by the Obama administration. Last February, the administration’s national intelligence chief bizarrely described the Brotherhood as “largely secular.” This November, the administration further tried to smooth the course for outreach to the Brotherhood when William Taylor, the U.S. “special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East,” said that the U.S would be “satisfied” if Egypt’s elections produced a victory by the Brotherhood. Now it seems the administration is expanding its contacts to the Islamist group. Accompanying Kerry to the meeting was Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt. The sit-down marked the third time in as many months that an American official has met with the FJP.

Ironically, this outreach comes a time when the mask of moderation that the Brotherhood donned in the run-up to the elections appears to be slipping. After conducting a series of interviews with Brotherhood leaders in recent weeks, New Republic correspondent Eric Trager reported: “Far from being moderate, these future leaders share a commitment to theocratic rule, complete with a limited view of civil liberties and an unmistakable antipathy for the West.”

Trager offered abundant evidence to justify the charge. Despite suggesting that they would respect Egypt’s past treaties with Israel, Brotherhood leaders clearly view Israel in much the same way as their Palestinian offshoot, Hamas. One Brotherhood MP Trager interviewed displayed an image of a burning Israeli flag in his office. Brotherhood leaders also regard Sharia as the primary basis of Egyptian laws, and there are indications that the Egyptian government is preparing to put in place Sharia-based laws like bans on interest banking, alcohol, so-called immodest dress, and mixed bathing on Egypt’s regionally famous beaches. And for all their lip service in support of democracy and free speech, a Brotherhood-dominated government is unlikely to respect either. As Brotherhood leader Abouel Fotouh told Trager, “It’s not allowed for Christians to come and say that the Sharia is wrong.”

Less than a year after Hosni Mubarak’s fall and the celebrations of Tarir Square, Egypt’s future is looking decidedly bleak. Along with the even more extreme Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood now holds nearly 70 percent of the seats in Egypt’s government. All indications are that it is trying to realize its long-held conviction that “Islam is the solution.” Given that possibility, the least one would expect from America’s diplomats is to avoid justifying the Brotherhood’s aims by giving its top leaders an uncritical hearing and pledging American support for a Brotherhood-led government. Yet that is exactly what Kerry and the Obama administration have done. It won’t be long before they regret it.

Jacob Laksin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Specter of Jizya Returns to Egypt

by Raymond Ibrahim

In Egypt, calls for jizya—the tribute doctrinally demanded and historically collected from conquered infidels—are increasing day by day, by those who wish to be true to the words of Koran 9:29:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the religion of truth [Islam], from the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued.

Accordingly, days ago, Ahmed Imran—a candidate of Egypt’s Salafi party, the “Party of Light,” which won some 20% of votes in recent elections—called for the return of jizya (which was abolished under colonial pressure in the mid 19th century). Sounding like a Western apologist of Islamic supremacism, he distorted history and spoke of jizya in glowing terms:

I say to those who fear that we might govern, that it was the Muslims who liberated the Copts from Roman slaughter and that Copts are obligated to pay the jizya, and it will only be half a dinar, taken from the rich and given to their poor.

Earlier, Abu Shadi, another Salafi leader—though not one running for office, and so extra candid—announced that Egypt’s Christians must either convert to Islam, pay jizya and assume inferior status, or die.

Nor is the return of jizya limited to Salafi discourse. Running for Egypt’s presidency, Hazem Abu Ismael, a former Muslim Brotherhood member still affiliated with the group, said he would impose jizya on the Copts.

And Dr. Mohamed Saad Katatni—the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party which won 40% of the votes—reportedly said that Copts would not pay jizya now, implying that the idea of collecting tribute from subdued “dhimmi” Copts is very much alive among the Brotherhood, only dormant till a more opportune moment (naturally, the Brotherhood later denied he said such a thing).

Moreover, increasing numbers of attacks on Christians in Egypt revolve around extorting jizya. For instance, last summer a priest was almost

killed at the hands of the Salafis because of his refusal to pay them jizya money…. [T]he church’s priest had declared that the Copts would not pay jizya, in any way, shape, or form. This is what caused the Salafis to want to banish him from the region, so they could collect jizya from the Copts.

Here, then, is another truism: Wherever and whenever there are calls to return to “true Islam”—whether by 9th century Ibn Hanbal, 14th century Ibn Taymiyya, 18th century Abdul Wahhab, or 21st century Salafis, and the countless no-names in between—it is the surrounding non-Muslims who will always be first to suffer; first, in the words of Koran 9:29, to “pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued.”

Raymond Ibrahim


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Politics of the Power Rangers

by Dan Aridor

Secretary Clinton's latest comments about Israel at the Saban Forum, (same Mr. Saban of the Power Rangers commercial success) voiced concern regarding Israel's democratic process, highlighting two main issues: the discourse about women in Israeli public life as a whole and legislation curtailing foreign contributions to so-called "Human Rights Organizations." Secretary Clinton chose (according to media reports; no transcripts are publicly available) to liken the women's rights situation in Israel to the situation in the south of the United States during the time of discrimination in the days of Rosa Parks in 1955. She also compared Israel's internal democratic processes to Iran -- complementing Iran in the process. These are sweeping and strong statements -- unheard of by a U.S.secretary of state -- that require comment.

The timing of Secretary Clinton's comments is baffling. Egypt just elected the Muslim Brotherhood as a main parliamentary party with a strong showing for the followers of the Saudi extremist version of Islam: the Wahhabis, or Salafis, practitioners of the extreme form of Islam required in Saudi Arabia.. Neither the Muslim Brotherhood not the Wahhabis can be accused of being strong women's' rights supporters "Salafis object to women in leadership roles, citing Muhammad as saying that 'no people succeed if led by women,' Dec 3rd, 2011) In Tunisia, things are not much better: the "Committee for Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of vice" has been launched (Anna Mahjar-Barducci, Dec 7th, 2011, Hudson, NY). Examples from Saudi Arabia are many: women are not allowed to drive; those who do, will be lashed -- a relatively "easy punishment." Recently, a Saudi Woman was beheaded for witchcraft and "Sorcery" (CNN, Dec 13th, 2011). In Afghanistan and many other states Islamic states, raped women can be stoned to death for "adultery" -- guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent, not an easy task, as the proof required is the testimony of four male witnesses to the coupling. Women in the Arab and Muslim world in general do not have the same ing-heritance [inheritance] rights, marriage rights or divorce rights. And during the so called "Arab spring" in the Tahrir Square, female reporters from the US and France were sexually assaulted by gangs to the point where the foreign media now refuse to send women reporters to Egypt.

This mistreatment of women is not restricted to the Arab world: Europe has serious issues of its own. As Sharia enclaves spread through the heart of Europe, there is also the attempt to enforce Muslim Sharia law over women in its midst. In the enclaves of Sharia law zones in Copenhagen, Denmark "where Call to Islam [a Danish Islamist group] says it will dispatch 24-hour Islamic 'morals police' to enforce Sharia law", (Soeren Kern, Hudson NY Oct 24th, 2011), or In London where were "Islamist[s] were reported to be openly targeting women and homosexuals in an attempt to impose Sharia law" (A. Millar, Hudson NY, May, 9th, 2011). This is the formal problem we are witnessing what the Western liberal media either "sanitizes" or refuses to discuss. Only lately Arutz 7, (, quoted a report by Yehuda Bello, that Norway has just had a Muslim rape wave. Mrs. Yasmin Alibahi Brown ("a women of the left", according to November 30th 2010) speaks of a British national rape problem which needs to be openly discussed, and other incidents. So does former Home and Foreign Secretary in the British Labor party, Jack Straw (, Jan. 11th, 2011).

So what brought about the recent wrath of Secretary Clinton on Israel regarding women?

Reports about the segregation of men and woman at a line of buses in the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Not only is that ultra-religious community well-known for its objection to Israeli democracy and its laws, but this segregation for a few hundred feet inside that neighborhood was rejected by the Israeli Supreme Court, and its decision will be enforced by the police. Apparently Secretary Clinton missed this news. The other women's rights issue that brought about Secretary Clinton's strong remarks concerned women's singing in front of ultra-religious soldiers. This small class of ultra-religious soldiers chose not the listen to the women singing; however much one might disagree with their decision, there seems no reason to impose listening to woman singing on ultra-religious soldiers, or anyone else for that matter. However, the women's singing was not barred: some soldiers who asked to be dismissed left the performance.

Recently an American Jewish Rabbi was enlisted into the American Army and permitted to have a beard, for religious reasons, although his comrades in arms are not allowed that privilege. This, in the U.S. as well as in Israel, is also a part of democracy and the right to practice one's faith without imposing a state religion.

Secretary Clinton, however, did not limit her comments to these fringe incidents: she chose a sweeping statement of concern over women's rights in Israeli public life as a whole. A quick look at Israeli public life and women's role in it can bring sad thoughts about her motives, her level of knowledge, or the motives of those who briefed her. Further, making such sweeping statements Secretary Clinton belittled the great achievements of past and present day women in Israel's public, economic and private life. A short list:

  • Heading the Israeli Supreme Court is a woman (Mrs. Beinisch).
  • The head of the biggest two opposition parties in the Knesset are women:
    • M.K. Yechimovich (who was elected only recently to head the Labor party)
    • M.K. Livni, who is a former minister of foreign affairs and a Prime minister candidate (from Kadima).
  • A woman, Orna Barbivai, was recently appointed Major General in the Israel Defense Force.
  • Majorities of employees in the attorney general's office are women. Two former Solicitor Generals of the state were women, and later promoted to the Supreme Court.
  • Women are combat pilots and military commanders -- even ultra-religious men.

Also, the strong presence of a woman in Israel's public life is not limited to the public sector.

  • Heading two of Israel's biggest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are women:
    • Mrs. Shari Arison as an owner in Hapoalim (her staff also consists mostly of women).
    • Mrs. Galia Maor as the C.E.O. of Leumi; apparently her the successor is also a woman.
  • Serving as the CEO of the first International Bank of Israel is Mrs. Smadar Barber Tsadik
  • Until recently Mrs. Zehvit Cohen headed the biggest investment house and one of the biggest corporations in Israel.
  • The next time an Israeli journalist interviews Secretary Clinton, it could well be a woman: there is a strong women's presence in the media in all jobs; and the list goes on.

Moreover, Israel had a woman prime minister in 1969, more than 25 years before the US had a first woman secretary of state (Madeleine Albright in 1996). The comparison to Iran seems even more unveiled when remembering the murderous nature of the Iranian regime towards its own population and its brutal treatment of the opposition, especially women.

In short, Israel has nothing to be ashamed of either in women's rights or women's presence in every aspect of public and private life.

Secretary Clinton's attack on Israeli democracy and its standards by was not limited to women issues. There has been a recent attempt by the Israeli parliament to balance carefully the right of organizations in a democracy to operate freely, and the right of the Israeli public to know who funds these organizations. Some of the so-called "Human Rights Organizations" in question are also funded by foreign governments, such as Ireland and Britain, which have been actively participating in the internal and external Israeli policies and politics – some interventions bordering dangerously on attempts to subvert Israel's democracy. A recent example is the discredited Goldstone Report (now disavowed by Justice Goldstone himself: its findings that Israel committed war crimes in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza strip, were based mostly on unsubstantiated material provided by some of these foreign-funded non-governmentsal organizations,.

No sane, self-respecting democracy could allow such actions. American law, for example, requires any foreign individual, organization or government donating funds to be registered as a foreign agent.

Think of it: America, capable of dealing with the slightest foreign intervention, still finds it necessary to regulate and account publicly for funding by foreign governments, or "agents of influence." But Israel -- the size of Vancouver Island, surrounded by 21 countries pledged to exterminate it, with far less deterrence power than the U.S. and much more to lose from such interference -- is reprimanded for trying to regulate it, too by the U.S. Secretary of State.

If the American administration is the measuring stick we are to follow, the Israeli government is well within American standards in attempting to regulate, or at least to demand transparency and accountability in foreign governments' interference in its domestic policies. But the American administration goes even farther: Where America interferes in other nationalities, such as Iraq, the American administration refuses to allow the local Iraqi juridical system to be applied to its soldiers -- and rightly so. The US also refuses to participate in the International Criminal Court -- again for the wholesome reason that its soldiers and commanders should not be subjected to unaccountable international law -- often biased and with no further recourse -- in place of Constitutional law.

These regrettable words of Secretary Clinton were not restricted to just one Clinton. The former president, William Jefferson Clinton, personally involved in negotiations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, saw firsthand saw how former Palestinian Chairman, Yasser Arafat, with his second-in-command, Mahmoud Abbas, refused offers from then-Israeli Prime Minister Barak (currently Minister of Defense) with never even suggesting a counter-offer. Yet, a few months ago, former President Clinton attacked both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel internal politics for the lack of peace in the region. In an uncharacteristic display of ethnic labeling, President Clinton blamed the Russian immigrants to Israel for creating a lack of peace by shifting the demographics towards the right-leaning parties -- as if political preferences in a democracy were inapopropriate. He presumably woukd never have spoken that way about immigrants to the United States -- even if they voted Republican.

Shortly after taking office, President Obama was quoted as saying that he wished to put some space between the US and Israel. It seems such comments by him, and both Secretary Clinton and former President Clinton, are a part of this effort to denigrate Israel while never even asking the Palestinians to stop the hourly whipping up of murderous thoughts that saturates thiertheor government-run media, their textbooks, summer camps and even their crossword puzzles ( We can add to the mix Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

In contrast to her regrettable comments about Israel, Secretary Clinton only recently called on Egyptian Islamists to respect "democratic norms," as if her request could expect to inspire any real results.

Currently in the Middle East, democracy, respect for human rights, women's rights, minorities rights, rule of law and a parliament by and for the people -- including a strong showing of women – seems limited to a group of one: Israel -- precisely why refugees from Sudan, Somalia and other paragons of human rights are willing to take enormous risks to reach Israel, which remains the one oasis of openness, individual liberty and lack of bias in their wider neighborhood.

If anyone is not convinced about the status of woman in the Arab world, he should ask Saudi women-- assuming he could meet even with them without their being "protected" by a male relative

It seems that we will not hear about any of that, or any other repressive acts against women in the Arab world -- or about the developing enclaves of Sharia law in the heart of Europe -- from Mrs. Clinton, who is actively "engaging" with the Taliban, which totally represess and discriminates against women.

Attacking Israeli is easy - there are never any adverse consequences for the attacker. But tackling the real issues facing women in the world is harder and needs someone with true courage. Secretary Clinton's remarks against Israel are saved for the comfortable, adoring, embracing Saban forum. She is again preaching to the converted, but the wrong kind.

Dan Aridor


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Palestinian Leadership: It Is Forbidden to Normalize Relations with Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who planned to hold a conference in Jerusalem and Bethlehem this week were forced to cancel the event after receiving threats from Palestinians.

The conference was organized by the Israeli Palestinian Confederation, a group that seeks to promote peace and coexistence between the two peoples.

The organizers of the conference were hoping to hold elections for a new "parliament" that would consist of Israelis and Palestinians and that would offer itself as a third government to the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

The first conference, which was supposed to take place at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem, was cancelled at the last minute after angry Palestinian protesters demonstrated in front of the hotel. The protesters shouted slogans denouncing the event "because it promotes the culture of peace" and is designed to "normalize" relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The demonstrators also shouted slogans strongly condemning Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh, who was supposed to be one of the main speakers at the conference. Because of the protest and out of fear for his safety, Nusseibeh decided not to come to the hotel.

The Palestinian protesters later stormed the conference hall, forcing the frightened Israeli representatives to leave the hotel.

The following day, a similar "anti-normalization" demonstration forced the Israeli and Palestinian peace activists to cancel an event that was scheduled to take place in the town of Bet Jalla near Bethlehem.

The protesters later explained that their move was in line with the Palestinian Authority's policy of banning any form of normalization with Israel. This is the same authority that signed the Oslo Accords with Israel and whose senior leaders carry Israeli-issued VIP cards that enable them to move around freely – a privilege denied to most ordinary Palestinians.

Some Palestinians said that the demonstrations were in fact initiated by top Palestinian officials in Ramallah who do not want to see Israeli and Palestinian representatives working together to promote peace and coexistence.

By banning such public gatherings, the Palestinian Authority leadership is further radicalizing Palestinians.

This was not the first time that the Palestinian Authority or some NGOs had come out against activities that supposedly promote normalization between Israelis and Palestinians. Over the past few years, they have cancelled many events of this type under the charge that it is forbidden to normalize relations with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority and these NGOs are also coordinating their activities with other "anti-normalization" groups in the Arab world, specifically Jordan and Egypt.

At the end of the day, it is such activities that drive Arabs into the open arms of Muslim fundamentalists. The "anti-normalization" campaign also serves to undermine the minority of moderate Arabs who still believe in coexistence and peace.

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is shooting itself in the foot. In the future, its representatives will be afraid to return to the negotiating table or conduct dialogue with any Israel out of fear for their lives. If Palestinian academics such as Nusseibeh are afraid to appear in public with Israelis such as Uri Avineri, Ruth Dayan and Shlomo Ben-Ami, this speaks volumes about where Palestinian society is headed.

Khaled Abu Toameh


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The New York Times hates Israel

by Isi Leibler

The brouhaha over the recent New York Times column by Tom Friedman highlights the newspaper’s increasing hostility against Israel. Today, it would not be an exaggeration to state that the editorial policy of the NYT towards the Jewish state is virtually indistinguishable from the blatant anti-Israeli hostility promoted by the UK based Guardian or the BBC.

Fortunately, the broader American public opinion has never been more supportive of the Jewish State than today. The only exceptions are the liberals, some of whom have become increasingly disenchanted with Israel and now tend to identify with their European counterparts and their excessive bias against Israel. This manifests itself on American campuses and to some extent in far-left sectors of the Democratic Party. It represents the source of the tensions which have evolved between Israel and the United States following the election of the Obama administration.

One of the principal long-term contributing factors to the erosion of liberal support can be attributed to increasing vitriolic hostility against Israel displayed in the pages of the New York Times. This trend climaxed with the election of Binyamin Netanyahu who has been subjected to a constant and unprecedented barrage of fierce personal and political condemnations from its editorials and leading columnists.

Despite Jewish ownership, throughout its history, the New York Times has rarely displayed affection or sensitivity towards Jewish issues. As far back as 1929, during the Arab riots in Palestine, the local Times correspondent, Joseph Levy, boasted that he was a committed anti-Zionist.

There is ample evidence that during the Holocaust, news of the slaughter of the Jews was relegated to the back pages allegedly out of cowardly concern that undue clamor about the plight of the Jews might reinforce the anti-Semitic claim that the war against the Nazis was a Jewish war.

Since the creation of Israel, the NYT could be said to be "fairly objective". But from 1967 onwards, this evolved into sharp criticism. However, it was with the election of Prime Minister Netanyahu, that the editors embarked on a determined all-out campaign to undermine and demonize the Israeli government whilst invariably providing the Palestinians with a free pass.

A constant stream of unbalanced editorials blasted Israel for the impasse and mercilessly attacked the government. It continuously "put the greater onus” for the failure of peace negotiations on Netanyahu "who is using any excuse to thwart peace efforts" and" refuses to make any serious compromises for peace".

Its columnists and op-eds have done likewise. For a newspaper purporting to provide diverse opinions, it rarely publishes dissenting viewpoints from its editorials and in house columns which only find fault with the Israeli government. One notable exception was Likud MK Danny Danon, to whom the NYT provided a column in which he expressed a viewpoint far to the right of the government which simply amounted to a cheap effort to discredit the government by conveying a far more hardline position than the reality.

Its principal columnists Tom Friedman and Roger Cohen (both Jews) and Nicolas Kristof have been leading the charge in castigating Israel and unabashedly praising the Arab Spring.

In a recent column, Kristof described a dinner with a PR savvy group of Moslem Brotherhood activists. Kristof approvingly quoted them claiming that their support was strong "for the same reason the Germans support Christian Democrats or Southerners favor conservative Christians”. He also postulated that "conservative Moslems insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood is non-discriminatory and the perfect home for pious Christians – and a terrific partner for the West". Kristof concluded that "it's reasonable to worry. But let's not overdo it… Our fears often reflect our own mental hobgoblins”. Kristof did not meet the Muslim Brotherhood chief cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al Kardawi, the organization’s most powerful religious leader, an evil anti-Semite who supports the murder of Jews.

Roger Cohen is another regular columnist whose undisguised hostility towards Israel led him to condemn the Jewish state's "obsession with the [Iranian] nuclear bogeyman" and praise Turkey's anti-Semitic Prime Minister Erdogan whilst condemning Israel for not apologizing to the Turks over the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

Virtually every op-ed published was hostile to Israel. Last month, the NYT published a piece which went to the lengths of challenging Israel’s position on gay rights. In May PA President Mahmoud Abbas published an op-ed falsely accusing Israel of initiating the war in 1948 by expelling Palestinians Arabs and obligating Arab armies to intervene. Initially, the NYT refused to publish Goldstone’s withdrawal of apartheid and war crimes charges against Israel, only doing so some months later after it had appeared in the Washington Post.

But it is Tom Friedman's most recent column, which is the most outrageous.

In his uniquely arrogant manner, over the past few years Friedman has been consistently mirroring NYT editorials castigating Netanyahu who he loathes and alleging that Israel had become "the most diplomatically inept and outrageously incompetent government in Israel's history". He accused Netanyahu of choosing to protect the Pharaoh rather than support Obama who aided the “democratization” of Egypt. He went so far as to say that Netanyahu was "on the way to becoming the Hosni Mubarak of the peace process".

Last February, after being in Tahrir Square, Friedman exulted that the “people” had achieved "freedom" and were heading towards democracy. He dismissed concerns that the Moslem Brotherhood would become a dominant party.

In his latest column he broadly condemned all aspects of Israeli society even quoting Gideon Levy, the Haaretz correspondent, who most Israelis regard as being more aligned with the Palestinian campaign against Israel than his own country. He described Levy as "a powerful liberal voice" and quoted him alleging that Israel is becoming a failed democratic state.

What provoked the greatest indignation was his remark "I sure hope that Israel's Prime Minister understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That motivation was bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby".

For a Jew, purporting to be a friend of Israel, to effectively endorse the distorted thesis relating to the Israeli lobby promoted by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer is unconscionable. Friedman is effectively parroting a hoary anti-Semitic libel asserting that Congress has been "bought" by American Jews who represent 2% of the population and that the vast majority of the American public supporting Israel and Congress are simply stooges, manipulated or bribed by the Israeli lobby.

It places him on a par with the anti-Semitic attitudes promoted by Pat Buchanan and one may rest assured that Israel’s enemies will fully exploit his remarks as a means of discrediting American support for the Jewish State.

Friedman continued, suggesting that Netanyahu should test genuine American public opinion by speaking at a liberal campus like the University of Wisconsin, absurdly implying that far left liberal campuses are more representative of American attitudes than the democratically elected Congress.

New York Times editorials and columns like that of Tom Friedman should not be treated lightly. They must be viewed in the context of the recent condemnations of Israel emanating from higher echelons of the Obama administration. Unless vigorously repudiated, these critiques will have a drip effect with the potential of undermining the hitherto prevailing bipartisan consensus over Israel.

Isi Leibler


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Haaretz: The Paper for Thinking People?

by Efraim Karsh

Of the countless threats of Arab violence in the run-up to the November 29, 1947 Partition Resolution and in its wake, none has resonated more widely than the warning by Abdul Rahman Azzam, the Arab League's first secretary-general, that the establishment of a Jewish state would lead to "a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades."

Unfortunately, the longstanding failure to trace the original document in which the threat was made has given rise to doubts regarding its veracity, and by implication - the murderous Arab intentions: not least since the historical truth has been erased from public memory by decades of relentless pro-Arab propaganda.

Small wonder, therefore, that when the missing document was recently found, with an annotated full translation published in the Middle East Quarterly, which I edit, Haaretz columnist and self-styled "new historian" Tom Segev, who had spent a good part of the past two decades turning the saga of Israel's birth upside down, went out of his way to whitewash Azzam's threat and downplay its significance. "There is something pathetic about this hunt for historical quotes drawn from newspapers," he wrote, without disputing the threat's contents or authenticity. "Azzam used to talk a lot. On May 21, 1948, the Palestine Post offered this statement by him: 'Whatever the outcome, the Arabs will stick to their offer of equal citizenship for Jews in Arab Palestine and let them be as Jewish as they like.'" He then quotes Ben-Gurion's alleged description of the League's Secretary-General as "the most honest and humane among Arab leaders."

Azzam might have talked a lot, but there was no contradiction whatsoever between his public threats and private assertions. He privately told his Jewish interlocutors that their hopes of statehood would meet the same calamitous fate as the crusading state, and he reiterated this prognosis in the newly-discovered document. A week before the pan-Arab invasion of Israel on May 15, Azzam told Sir Alec Kirkbride, the powerful British ambassador to Amman: "It does not matter how many [Jews] there are. We will sweep them into the sea." Even the actual Palestine Post report, from which Segev chose to bring a misleadingly truncated quote, had Azzam describe the Arab-invaded State of Israel as "a bridgehead into Arab territory" (that is, a crusader-like alien implant) that must be fought and destroyed for "otherwise they will be fighting us here, in Transjordan, and elsewhere in the Arab State."

It is true that Azzam was prepared to allow survivors of the destroyed Jewish state to live as Dhimmis, or second-class citizens, in the "Arab Palestine" that would arise on its ruins (after all, his statement was made in a memo to the UN seeking to justify "the first armed aggression which the world had seen since the end of the [Second World] War," to use the words of first UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie). But this can hardly be considered an indication of moderation. If anything, it affords further proof, if such is at all needed, that the gap between "the most honest and humane among Arab leaders" and the basic Jewish aspiration for national-self determination was as unbridgeable in 1948 as it is now.

But the story doesn't end here. For Mr. Segev didn't content himself with distorting the contents and significance of a key historical document but also sought to besmirch those who brought it to public attention by claiming that they lifted it from Wikipedia, to which it had supposedly been uploaded by one Brendan McKay - a professor of computer science at the Australian National University in Canberra.

This claim is not only false but the complete inversion of the truth. There was no trace of the newly-found document in Azzam's Wikipedia entry at the time of the document's publication in the Middle East Quarterly. On the contrary, noting the long-misconceived May 14, 1948, as the threat's date - it was actually made on October 11, 1947, in the run-up to the partition resolution - the Wikipedia entry (accessed October 3) questioned its very existence:

One day after the State of Israel declared itself as an independent nation (May 14, 1948), Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and Transjordanian troops, supported by Saudi and Yemenite troops, attacked the nascent Jewish state, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. On that day, Azzam is said to have declared: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades". However, Joffe and Romirowsky report that this "cannot be confirmed from cited sources". Benny Morris, who had previously quoted it in his books, refrained from using it in his book 1948 "after discovering that its pedigree is dubious".

In other words, rather than upload Azzam's original threat to Wikipedia (or to any other publication for that matter) as falsely claimed by Segev, Mr. McKay, who on September 22, 2010 informed fellow Wikipedia discussants of having obtained a copy of the original interview in which the threat was made, failed to share his important discovery with the general public so as to keep Arab genocidal designs on the nascent Jewish state under wraps.

Why Mr. McKay agreed to pass a copy of the document to the evidently pro-Israel David Barnett, an American international politics student who had been chasing the document on his own, thus enabling it to see the light of day at long last - including, eventually, in Wikipedia - is not entirely clear: in a private communication, he declined my offer that his name be added as co-author as he didn't "have a good opinion of MEQ".

It is clear, however, that instead of minimizing Azzam's threat and patronizing him in the worst tradition of the "white man's burden" approach, Mr. Segev should have marveled at an important discovery that lays to rest one of the longest running debates on the 1948 war and helps his country reclaim the historical truth after decades of relentless distortion. But then, some journalists simply cannot handle the truth.

Nor, so it seems, can their editorial colleagues.

On October 24, three days after the publication of Segev's article, I emailed my response to Aluf Ben, Haaretz's editor-in-chief, and was informed that the paper's op-ed editor would be in touch. Yet it was only six weeks later (on December 5), after much haggling during which I agreed to cut the article's length by half, that a Hebrew translation was (almost invisibly) published in the inside pages of the op-ed section. When I kept insisting that the original English-language article be also published I received the following response on December 12:

I'm afraid that we will not be able to publish this piece due to space limitations in the English edition of the newspaper. Our paper is considerably smaller than the Hebrew edition and we give priority to pieces published on the main editorial page of the Hebrew paper, which is why you were passed over last week. I had hoped to find a spare slot this week, but this has not been possible.

I would be pleased to be in touch with you directly next time one of your pieces is published on our opinion pages, so that I can receive the original English version in time to consider it for the same day's newspaper.

It is doubtful whether the editors believe their own words. Not only are space limitations wholly irrelevant in the case of an online publication, which is what essentially is, but the editors have had my article for seven weeks, which should have given them more than ample opportunities for a timely publication.

Worse: the fact that Haaretz took the trouble to have Mr. Segev's Hebrew-written piece translated to English, and to have my response translated to Hebrew, while refusing to post an English-written article on its English-language website - where the main defamatory damage to my professional reputation was intended to be done - cannot but be seen as a blatant cover up of a professional misconduct by one of its most senior columnists.

While there is nothing new or surprising in a paper's refusal to own up to its misreporting or publish facts and analysis contradicting its political line, it is ironic that "the paper for thinking people," as Haaretz habitually flaunts itself, would engage in the shoddy business of truth suppression and mouth shutting at a time when it self-righteously fights an alleged attempt by the Israeli government to do precisely that.

Efraim Karsh is director of the Middle East Forum, research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College, and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iraq's Violence is for Iraqis to Tackle

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

In light of a series of attacks in Iraq at the end of November and the start of this month, there have been numerous warnings of an upsurge in violence in the country. Numerous media outlets have tied the incidents to the withdrawal of U.S. troops, which is expected to be complete by Christmas time.

However, the problem with such analysis is that there is an excessive tendency in mainstream media to look at very short-term fluctuations when it comes to examining incidents of violence in Iraq. The number of attacks can vary somewhat on a weekly basis, but now that the American military presence is in the process of being rapidly drawn down, media are simply paying more attention to militant strikes.

The reality is that if one looks at monthly statistics compiled by the Iraq Body Count project and the Iraqi ministries of Interior, Health and Defense, the average number of monthly deaths decreased in November compared with the previous month. Iraq Body Count showed a 17 percent decrease in fatalities between October and November, while the ministries showed a 28 percent decline. Given that insurgent attacks have generally followed a seasonal pattern whereby they decrease in frequency in winter owing to less favorable weather conditions for operations, these figures are not surprising.

Nonetheless, it is still worthwhile to analyze what changes there might be, if any, in the number of militant attacks the coming year. The two most common lines of argument do not stand up to scrutiny.

First, many have expressed concern that the insurgents will be emboldened by the absence of American troops. However, this reasoning ignores the fact that U.S. forces were withdrawn from Iraqi cities in June 2009, and since then their role has been very limited as regards daily security. Indeed, the Americans have faced numerous restrictions on their freedom of movement, and have only been called in occasionally to assist in counter-terrorism operations. Besides that, they have been involved in training Iraqi security forces.

Over the coming years, the role of training is likely to be taken on by private contractors from the United States and elsewhere. Even so, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is already contemplating the eventual return of American troops in a training capacity. As he put it in a recent meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden: "No doubt, the U.S. forces have a role in providing training of Iraqi forces."

Another widespread argument, associated with those who have opposed the U.S. presence in Iraq, is that insurgent attacks will decline as militants no longer have an occupation force to fight. However, this view neglects the nature of the insurgency in Iraq today. The Sunni Arab community accepts that it lost the civil war with the Shiites for control over Baghdad in 2006-2007, and appreciates that it must adapt to the fact that Shiites are leading the political process. The remaining insurgents are either hard-line Islamists aiming to re-establish Iraq as the center of a dreamed-of caliphate (for instance the Islamic State of Iraq, the local branch of Al-Qaeda) or members of the Naqshibandia militant group linked to the banned Baath Party.

Hence, the grievances of these insurgents are primarily ideological. Accordingly, they will continue to fight the Iraqi government anyway, regardless of whether there is an American presence or not. In any case, the Naqshibandia is now calling on its members to attack Americans on Iraqi soil after the military withdrawal, evidently having in mind those affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Therefore, it seems fair to say that the terrorist threat to the country will probably remain unchanged. However, terrorism is not the sole factor to consider when assessing instability. Two recent problems that have come to light could well lead to new violence in Iraq.

The first of these is violence between political factions, even those of the same ethnic and religious group. This was evident in a recent clash that began in Zakho in Dohuk province in Iraqi Kurdistan, between the Islamist Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). Clerics affiliated with the KIU condemned as un-Islamic businesses such as liquor stores – owned by Assyrians and Yezidis – which induced their followers to vandalize and burn alcohol stores, hotels and massage parlors. In response, the KDP, which is part of the ruling coalition of the autonomous government, urged its supporters to rally in protest, culminating in significant damages to KIU offices in many towns. The tensions persist.

On a wider scale, it has been suggested that many individual assassination incidents are the result of violence between political factions in government, rather than the work of insurgents. Owing to absence of the rule of law in Iraq, the explanation is conceivable.

The second potential problem lies in disputes over territorial boundaries. A Kurdish news outlet recently reported on a bill proposed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani – and apparently supported by many Kurdish and Shiite politicians – that seeks to redraw the boundaries of provinces in disputed Arab-Kurdish areas, seeking to reverse the changes implemented by Saddam Hussein as part of the late leader's "Arabization" program. If this bill passes, it could generate protests and counter-protests that might lead to violent clashes between different ethno-religious factions.

The main issues affecting Iraq's stability after the American withdrawal will be challenges for Iraqis to confront and resolve. They are independent of the American troop presence, whose game-changing impact in the country has often been exaggerated.

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and an intern at the Middle East Forum.

Source: The Daily Star (Beirut);

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

U.S. to Leave Iraqi Airspace Clear for Strategic Israeli Route to Iran

by Rowan Scarborough

The U.S. military’s fast-approaching Dec. 31 exit from Iraq, which has no way to defend its airspace, puts Israel in a better place strategically to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iraq has yet to assemble a force of jet fighters, and since the shortest route for Israeli strike fighters to Iran is through Iraqi airspace, observers conclude that the U.S. exit makes the Jewish state’s mission planning a lot easier.

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the Iraqi military will maintain radars to monitor the country’s airspace, but it has not taken possession of American F-16s to guard that space.

“The country has a capable and improving capability to see the airspace, a viable system to provide command and control, but no system to defeat incoming air threats until it gets either the F-16s or ground-based systems or, optimally, some of both,” Gen. Buchanan told The Washington Times.

Iraq made the first payment in September for 18 F-16s that will not arrive until next fall at the earliest. This means Israel would have a theoretical window of about 12 months if it wants to fly over Iraq unimpeded by the Iraqi air force.

Retired Air ForceGen. Thomas McInerney, who advocates a U.S. strategic bombing raid to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites, agreed that Iraq’s open airspace would make it easier for an Israeli mission.

“Yes, it will be,” he said. “However, it will be much easier for Iranian forces to get to Israel through Iraq via land and air.”

Gen. McInerney said he thinks there is a good chance that Iran, stretched economically by Western sanctions and fearing threats from Israel, will launch a war against the Jewish state through Iraq.

“Our departing Iraq will be a huge strategic mistake,” he said of the Dec. 31 deadline for all U.S. forces to leave.

Iraq’s ruling Shiite majority has historic ties to Iran’s dominant Shiite society, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned Tehran against meddling in his country’s politics.

Unknown is the role of U.S. jet fighters stationed outside Iraq but within striking distance from Navy carriers in the Persian Gulf, or possibly Kuwait.

“I would hope we would jump to defend Iraqi airspace,” said James Carafano, a military analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “These are the kinds of contingency plans that ought to be put in place.”

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, like his predecessor, Robert M. Gates, has downplayed the impact that an airstrike might have on Iran’s quest for an atomic bomb. The Islamic republic has denied that it is trying to make a nuclear weapon.

In an appearance this month at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Panetta said U.S strikes might set back the nuclear program two years and acknowledged that some Iranian targets remain elusive.

“The indication is that, at best, it might postpone it maybe one, possibly two years,” said Mr. Panetta, who also has mentioned three years as a possible delay. “It depends on the ability to truly get the targets that we’re after. Frankly, some of those targets have been difficult to get at.”

Rowan Scarborough


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

What Drives Turkish Foreign Policy?

by Svante E. Cornell

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) was reelected to a third term in June 2011. This remarkable achievement was mainly the result of the opposition's weakness and the rapid economic growth that has made Turkey the world's sixteenth largest economy. But Ankara's growing international profile also played a role in the continued public support for the conservative, Islamist party. Indeed, in a highly unusual fashion, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began his victory speech by saluting "friendly and brotherly nations from Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Amman, Cairo, Sarajevo, Baku, and Nicosia."[1] "The Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans have won as much as Turkey," he claimed, pledging to take on an even greater role in regional and international affairs. By 2023, the republic's centennial, the AKP has promised that Turkey will be among the world's ten leading powers.

In a scene that would have been unimaginable a decade ago, the head-scarved wife of newly reelected Turkish prime minister Erdoğan greets well-wishers with her husband. Turkey's founder Kemal Atatürk saw such public displays of religiosity as a hindrance to the creation of the new, secular Turkish Republic.

At the same time, Turkey's growing profile has been controversial. As Ankara developed increasingly warm ties with rogue states such as Iran, Syria, and Sudan while curtailing its once cordial relations with Israel and using stronger rhetoric against the United States and Europe, it generated often heated debates on whether it has distanced itself from the West. Turkey continues to function within the European security infrastructure—although more uneasily than before—but has a rupture with the West already taken place, and if so, is it irreversible?

AKP Changes Focus from West to East

The basic tenets that guided Turkey's foreign policy since the founding of the republic included caution and pragmatism—especially concerning the Middle East. An imperial hangover from the Ottoman era drove home the lesson that Ankara had little to gain and much to lose from interjecting itself into the acrimonious politics of the region. Notwithstanding occasional differences with the Western powers, Ankara concentrated on playing a role within Europe.

The AKP appeared to maintain this course during its first term (2002-07) as seen in its focus on EU harmonization as a means to join the union. But in its second term (2007-11) it departed significantly from this approach. Guided by the concept of "strategic depth" elaborated by Erdoğan's long-term advisor-turned-foreign-minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Ankara increasingly focused on its neighborhood with the stated goal of becoming a dominant and stabilizing force, one that would function as an honest broker and project its economic clout throughout the region and beyond.[2]

The official slogan, which could be called the Davutoğlu doctrine, was "zero problems with neighbors." Ankara rapidly developed relations with the Syrian government to the level of a strategic partnership; Turkish officials also began cultivating closer economic and political ties with the Iranian and Russian governments, both large energy providers to the growing Turkish economy. It also reached out to the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq, a previously unthinkable move. In another bold but ultimately failed move, the AKP leadership sought to mend fences with Armenia; its predecessors had never established diplomatic relations with Yerevan due to its occupation since the early 1990s of a sixth of Turkic Azerbaijan's territory, including the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh.

These moves were generally welcomed in the West. Critics in Washington deplored Ankara's overtures to Tehran and Damascus, but the incoming Obama administration went on to develop rather similar outreach policies of its own. The AKP argued that it could function as an interlocutor with these regimes on Turkey's border with which Brussels and Washington had only limited ties and that a more active Turkey would also benefit the West. Ankara's eagerness to mediate in regional conflicts also brought goodwill. The Turkish government offered its good offices in bridging differences between Syria and Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and between the rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas. Western leaders generally gave the AKP the benefit of the doubt as it assured them that its outreach could help moderate rogues and bring them within the international system.

An Axis Shift

Yet Ankara's actual course soon began to deviate substantially from its official narrative. Three issues in particular have generated concern about the AKP's foreign policy intentions: Iran, Israel, and Sudan—and more recently, renewed belligerence on Cyprus.

Ankara's policy of engagement with Tehran was welcomed as long as it was influencing the Iranians, rather than the other way around. But Erdoğan and his associates soon began to move away from the stated objective of acting as a mediator between Iran and the West, becoming increasingly outspoken defenders of Tehran's nuclear program. In November 2008, Erdoğan urged nuclear weapons powers to abolish their own arsenals before meddling with Iran.[3] Soon afterwards he termed Ahmadinejad a "friend"[4] and was among the first to lend legitimacy to the Iranian president by congratulating him upon his fraudulent and bloodstained election in June 2009.[5] Turkish leaders then began to publicly juxtapose the issue of Israel's nuclear weapons with Iran's covert program,[6] and in November 2009, abstained from a sanctions resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) against Tehran that both Moscow and Beijing supported.[7] In May 2010, in a display of defiance, Erdoğan and Brazilian president Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva made a well-publicized appearance in Tehran on the eve of a U.N. Security Council vote on a new round of sanctions on Iran, holding hands with Ahmadinejad and announcing their alternative diplomatic proposal to handle the Iranian nuclear issue.[8] In the scope of two years, Ankara had become Tehran's most valuable international supporter.

The breakdown of Turkey's alliance with Israel is another cause of concern. The AKP at first sought to mediate between Syria and Israel as well as between the two Palestinian factions, Fatah and the Islamist Hamas.[9] Yet in 2007, following Hamas's violent takeover in the Gaza Strip, Ankara broke the Western boycott of the movement when it invited Hamas leader Khaled Mesh'al to Ankara.[10] Following Israel's offensive against Hamas in December 2008-January 2009, Ankara became the chief castigator of Israel in international forums.[11] In January 2009, Erdoğan famously walked out of an event at the Davos World Economic Forum after starting a shouting match with Israeli president Shimon Peres; Turkey subsequently disinvited Israel from planned joint military exercises under the NATO aegis.[12] By the spring of 2010, a nongovernmental organization closely connected to the AKP, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, designed and implemented the notorious Gaza flotilla[13] aimed at putting Israel in an untenable position regarding its blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. When eight Turkish citizens were killed in fierce clashes with Israeli commandos boarding the ship, Davutoğlu called the event "Turkey's 9/11,"[14] and a series of Turkish leaders threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Israel while Erdoğan stated in no uncertain terms that he did not consider Hamas a terrorist organization.[15] Ankara later downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel to the level of second secretary.

More worrisome is Erdoğan's military posturing, including threats of confrontation with Israel. In September 2011, he argued that Turkey would have been justified in going to war with Israel following the Gaza flotilla incident.[16] In addition, the Turkish navy was ordered to "ensure freedom of navigation" in the eastern Mediterranean, including supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza—raising the danger of a direct confrontation with the Israeli navy upholding the blockade on Gaza, which a U.N. inquiry commission has deemed to be legal.[17] Moreover, the Turkish air force has begun installing a new identification friend or foe (IFF) system on its F-16s, replacing the built-in system that automatically designated Israeli jets or ships as friendly thereby preventing armed clashes between the Turkish and Israeli forces. The new system produced by the Turkish company Aselsan does not automatically designate Israeli ships or jets as friendly and will supposedly be deployed across the Turkish armed forces.[18]

Ankara has repeatedly referred to Sudan as its main "partner in Africa" though it is far from being Turkey's largest trade partner on the continent.[19] Ignoring the growing international outrage over crimes against humanity committed by Khartoum-aligned militia groups in Darfur, Erdoğan voiced support for President Omar Bashir during a 2006 visit, stating he saw no signs of a genocide.[20] The Sudanese president was invited twice to Turkey in 2008, and by 2009, Erdoğan publicly argued that Israel's actions in Gaza were worse than whatever had happened in Darfur[21]—a mind-boggling assertion given that the Gaza fighting claimed about 1,200 lives, an estimated 700 of whom were Hamas terrorists[22] while in Darfur over 300,000 people have perished. The progression of Turkish policies in all three cases suggests a move from an honest broker and regional peacemaker toward siding with one of the parties involved—the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Hamas in the Hamas-Fatah relationship, and Iran and Sudan in their confrontations with the West.

Early in its tenure, the AKP proved willing to agree to far-reaching concessions on the Cyprus dispute—so much so that it provoked the ire of the Turkish general staff. But lately, Erdoğan has reacted harshly to the Cypriot government's decision to develop natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, threatening to send in the Turkish navy and air force to the area to "monitor developments."[23] In so doing, Erdoğan seemed oblivious to the implications that a military dispute with an EU member would have on Turkey's relations with Brussels.

The distancing from the West has led Ankara closer to both Moscow and Beijing—culminating in Turkey's joint military maneuvers with China in October 2010, the first such with any NATO country—in what has been described by AKP critics as an "axis shift."

A Center of World Politics?

A number of factors have been cited to explain the shift in Turkish foreign policy. While Ankara has undergone tremendous domestic change in the past decade, an arguably more significant shift is Turkey's emergence as an economic power. Since 1990, Turkey's gross domestic product has quadrupled, exports have grown by a factor of five, foreign direct investment by a factor of 25, and the value of traded stocks by a factor of 40. While economists have increasingly begun to issue warning flags regarding Turkey's current accounts deficit and risks of overheating, such concerns have yet to translate into the political field. It is only natural that Turkey's newly found economic clout would translate into more self-confidence on the international scene. Ankara's "rediscovery" of the Middle East is part and parcel of this: Turkish exports are looking for new markets, and hordes of businessmen regularly accompany Turkish leaders on their numerous visits to Middle Eastern states. Given the close ties between politics and business in the region, closer political ties provide Turkish businessmen with preferential treatment. In Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq, the dynamic is inverted: The growing presence of Turkish businesses there after 2003 helped open the way for a political rapprochement with the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil.

Secondly, alleged Western mistakes are often viewed as an important factor in this transformation—including the view of former U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates who blamed the EU's cold shouldering of Turkey for the country's "drift."[24] While Ankara sided with Western states in major foreign policy issues in the past, this relationship was based on perceived reciprocity. However, since Turkey began negotiating for EU accession in 2005, opposition to Turkish membership not only grew in Europe but became ever more clearly articulated in terms of Ankara's cultural identity: Was Turkey in fact European at all? Overt calls by French and German politicians against Turkish accession had a profound impact in Ankara where politicians of all stripes denounced this stance. Most Turks now believe that Ankara will never join the EU, and internal support for membership has dwindled. Europe's alienation from Turkey has clearly had foreign policy implications.

Meanwhile, ties with Washington suffered primarily as a result of differences over Iraq. Turkey's involvement was crucial to the 1991 Kuwait war, but Ankara was left dissatisfied by the war's outcome—chiefly due to the significant damage to Turkey's economy that Washington did little to soften, and the emergence of a de facto independent Kurdish entity in northern Iraq. The events since 2003 saw a rapid deterioration of relations as the war in Iraq indirectly led to the resurgence of Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK) terrorism in Turkey. Until 2007, the U.S. administration failed either to exercise sufficient influence on its Kurdish allies in northern Iraq to rein in the PKK or to allow Turkey to raid PKK bases inside Iraq.[25] This generated substantial resentment across Turkey's political spectrum.

To be sure, some of the differences that have arisen with the West may well be attributed to Ankara's resurgent self-confidence, or what one observer termed "Turkish Gaullism"—a Turkey that is "more nationalist, self-confident and defiant."[26] The new self-confidence is explicit: Foreign Minister Davutoğlu often laments the trepidation and lack of self-confidence of previous governments, implying that a Turkey at ease with its identity and history can play a great role in the region and beyond—one that is not locked into the one-dimensional focus on Western alliances but rather appreciates the "strategic depth" that Turkey had in the former Ottoman lands. In a 2009 speech in Sarajevo, Davutoğlu laid out Ankara's ambition: "We will reintegrate the Balkan region, Middle East and Caucasus … together with Turkey as the center of world politics in the future."[27]

The Role of Ideology

Much as the AKP rejects any definition of itself as "Islamist" because it rejects the term as such,[28] it equally opposes the idea that its foreign policy is ideologically grounded, or that it is distancing itself from the West at all. In a 2010 interview, for example, President Abdullah Gül rejected any notion that Ankara had turned its back on the West. Turkey "was now a big economic power that had embraced democracy, human rights, and the free market." It had become a "source of inspiration" in the region, he said. "The U.S. and Europe should welcome its growing engagement in the Middle East because it [is] promoting Western values in a region largely governed by authoritarian regimes."[29] Such assertions notwithstanding, the growing tendency of Turkey's policies to go from mediating to taking sides—and to consistently side with Islamist causes—underscores the question of whether ideological factors are indeed at play.

The question is particularly relevant given the AKP's roots in a strongly ideological milieu: the Turkish Islamism of the Milli Görüş school, dominated by the orthodox Naqshbandiya order.[30] The Naqshbandiya has been the hotbed of Islamist reaction to westernizing reforms since the mid-nineteenth century, thus predating the creation of the republic. The Milli Görüş movement was its political vehicle, which mushroomed at first in Germany among expatriate Turks before becoming a force in Turkish politics in the late 1960s. During a brief stint in power from 1996-97, leading figures in the Turkish Islamist movement had called for the introduction of Shari'a and pursued a foreign policy that sought to distance Turkey from the "imperialist" West.[31] The founders of the AKP publicly broke with that movement in 2001 in the aftermath of the military's shutting down the main Islamist Fazilet party. The "young reformers" led by Gül and Erdoğan openly repudiated Islamism, emphasized their commitment to democracy, cultivated an alliance with the Turkish liberal elite, and sought to have the new party accepted as a mainstream conservative force by performing an 180-degree turn in embracing both the market economy and Turkey's EU membership aspirations.[32]

This ideological transformation was quite abrupt and top-down but while the AKP largely stayed true to such democratic rhetoric during its first term in office, it is striking to what extent its consolidation of power since 2007 has been followed by a growth of authoritarian tendencies at home and a distancing from the West in foreign policy.

Statements suggestive of reassertion of Islamist ideology are plentiful. Addressing a crowd of 16,000 Turks in the German city of Cologne in 2008, Erdoğan equated the assimilation of Turks, urged by German politicians, to "a crime against humanity."[33] In reference to Sudanese leader Bashir, he stated in 2009 that "a Muslim cannot commit genocide."[34] At the same time, the prime minister's statements on Israel show not only a growing antipathy toward the Jewish state but are strikingly evocative of the anti-Semitic tendencies pervading Islamist movements across the world. Thus, in 2009 he blamed "Jewish-backed media" for allegedly spreading lies about the Gaza war. Similarly, when the Economist endorsed the Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in the June 2011 elections, Erdoğan accused it of working on behalf of Israeli interests, castigated the CHP's leader for being an Israeli tool, and expressed regret over the fact that the CHP, under Turkey's second president Ismet Inönü, had recognized the State of Israel,[35] alluding also to a growing perception "equating the star of Zion with the swastika."[36]

Many of Erdoğan's most combative statements have occurred during electoral campaigns and could be interpreted as electoral populism. Nevertheless, given his dominance of the Turkish political scene, these stated views should not be dismissed out of hand. Indeed, the formulation and conduct of Turkish foreign policy has in the past several years been dominated by Erdoğan and Davutoğlu, who is widely considered the architect of the AKP's foreign policy and a major influence on Erdoğan's views. With a long academic career preceding his ascent to political fame, Davutoğlu has left a substantial trail of published work that provides ample insights into his worldview.

The AKP's Alternative Worldview

While Davutoğlu's best-known work is his 2000 book Stratejik Derinlik[37] (Strategic Depth), of equal interest are his earlier works: a doctoral dissertation published in 1993 as Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory[38] and his 1994 volume Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World.[39] These works are dense, theoretical treatises, as are several lengthy articles published in the Turkish journal Divan in the late 1990s. While heavy going, the main thrust of Davutoğlu's work could not be clearer: It is dominated by a deep conviction in the incompatibility of the West and the Islamic world, and by resentment of the West for its attempt to impose its values and political system on the rest of the world.

Davutoğlu argues that the "conflicts and contrasts between Western and Islamic political thought originate mainly from their philosophical, methodological, and theoretical backgrounds rather than from mere institutional and historical differences."[40] He focuses on the ontological difference between Islam and all other civilizations—particularly the West. While most of this work is almost two decades old, Davutoğlu has continued to reiterate the same views, showing their continued relevance to his thinking. In a 2010 interview, for example, he stressed:

All religions and civilizations before Islamic civilization had established a demigod category between god and man. In fact, civilizations except the Islamic civilization always regarded god, man, and nature on the same ontological level. I named this "ontological proximity."… Islam, on the other hand, rejects ontological proximity between god, nature and man and establishes an ontological hierarchy of Allah, man, and nature.[41]

Davutoğlu's problem with the Western "modernist paradigm" lies in its "peripherality of revelation," that is, the distinction drawn between reason and experience, on the one hand, and revelation on the other, resulting in an "acute crisis of Western civilization."[42] By contrast, Davutoğlu underscores the Islamic concept of Tawhid, "the unity of truth and the unity of life which provides a strong internal consistency" by rejecting the misconceived secular division of matters belonging to church and state.[43] Such a view is neither merely theological nor theoretical, and its main implication is that the Western and Islamic worlds are essentially different and that Turkey's long-standing effort to become part of the West is both impossible and undesirable. It is impossible because it goes against the country's intrinsic nature: the "failure of the Westernization-oriented intelligentsia in the Muslim countries … demonstrates the extensive characteristic of this civilizational confrontation."[44]

As far as Turkey is concerned, Davutoğlu concludes that Atatürk's republican endeavor was "an ambitious and utopian project to achieve a total civilizational change which ignored the real cultural, historical, social, and political forces in the society." Thus, "the Turkish experience in this century proved that an imposed civilizational refusal, adaptation, and change … cannot be successful."[45] Moreover, it is undesirable, because the West is in a state of crisis. As early as 1994, he argued that capitalism and socialism were "different forms of the same philosophical background" and that "the collapse of socialism is an indication for a comprehensive civilizational crisis and transformation rather than an ultimate victory of Western capitalism."[46] Thus, the downfall of communism was not a victory of the West but the first step to the end of European domination of the world to be followed by the collapse of Western capitalism.[47]

Davutoğlu approvingly characterizes the emergence of the Islamic state as a response to the imposition of Western nation-states on the world but takes the argument one step further: Viewing globalization as a challenge to the nation-state system, he suggests that "the core issue for Islamic polity seems to be to reinterpret its political tradition and theory as an alternative world-system rather than merely as a program for the Islamization of nation-states."[48]

Indeed, Davutoğlu's worldview has important consequences for how recent, key world events are interpreted in Ankara. For example, since the 2008 financial crisis has affected the West much more severely than emerging economies, it could easily be taken as evidence of the supposed "acute crisis of the West" that Davutoğlu wrote about twenty years ago, vindicating his view of Western civilization in decline.

Not only do Davutoğlu's writings and Erdoğan's statements dovetail, they also demonstrate the power of ideology that lies behind some of Turkey's most controversial foreign policy stances. Indeed, the tendency of the AKP government to side increasingly with Islamist causes, its growing attention to non-Western powers combined with its increasing criticism of the West, can be fully understood only if the ideological background of Turkey's top decision-makers is taken into account. This is not to say that the other factors previously cited are not useful in grasping changes in Turkish foreign policy. But it suggests that they are insufficient and that the ideological component must be factored in for a full understanding of Ankara's evolving policies.

The Challenge of the Arab Upheavals

The Arab uprisings of 2011 have been challenging for Turkey, which has seemed to struggle with formulating its stance in the face of unfolding events.

Ankara was an early cheerleader for the Egyptian revolution: Erdoğan called on Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to resign on February 2, 2011,[49] making him the first world leader to do so. This behavior was markedly different from Turkey's reaction to the 2009 events in Iran, which otherwise bore great similarity to the Egyptian protests. In the Iranian case, far from urging Ahmadinejad to step down, Erdoğan was among the first to congratulate him on his fraudulent reelection.[50] Likewise, Davutoğlu repeatedly refused to discuss the validity of the Iranian presidential elections, promising "to respect the outcome of Iran's political process"—in marked contrast to the decision to take sides in Egypt's internal struggle.[51] This ostensible inconsistency lay to a considerable extent in the ideological affinity of Turkish Islamism with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (and for that matter—with the Shiite Islamist regime in Tehran) and the pervasive hatred generated by the Mubarak regime within the global Islamist movement as a result of its repression of the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

If Ankara was unequivocal on Egypt, Libya proved more complicated. When violence in Libya escalated, the Turkish leadership refrained from taking a clear stance. In fact, Erdoğan and Davutoğlu initially opposed U.N. sanctions on the Qaddafi regime and rejected calls for a NATO operation in the developing civil war. Erdoğan, Gül, and Davutoğlu cast doubt on Western motives, referring to "hidden agendas" and the West's thirst for oil resources.[52] Ankara eventually relented when some of its reservations were taken into account and later approved the NATO operation, calling for Qaddafi's resignation in April,[53] formally withdrawing its ambassador from Tripoli and recognizing the Transitional Council in early July.[54] Following the collapse of Qaddafi's regime, Turkey tried to maximize its influence in the country, and Erdoğan was received more warmly during his visit[55] than either French president Nicolas Sarkozy or British prime minister David Cameron.[56]

However, the deteriorating situation in Syria proved the most difficult for Ankara to handle. From a country with which Turkey almost went to war in 1998, Syria had become what one expert called "the model success story for [Turkey's] improved foreign policy."[57] A seemingly solid rapprochement developed between the two countries, involving the lifting of visa regimes, economic integration, and deepened strategic relations. In particular, Erdoğan developed a close personal relationship with Bashar Assad. When Assad's violence against civilian protesters escalated over the spring and summer of 2011, Ankara took upon itself to caution the Syrian regime to exercise restraint. Despite repeated trips by Davutoğlu to Damascus, Turkish efforts appeared to yield no result. By June, Erdoğan was declaring that "we can't support Syria amidst all this,"[58] and in early August, Turkish leaders spoke of being unable to "remain indifferent to the violence" and demanded reform in Syria.[59] Later that month, President Gül stated that Turkey had lost confidence in Assad[60] but did not call for his resignation though it seemed only a matter of time before Ankara would be forced to take that step.

Ankara's response to the turmoil in the Middle East, thus, lends itself to several conclusions. First, it shook the policy of "zero problems with neighbors" to its core. The refugees pouring across the Turkish border, fleeing Assad's crackdown, triggered an inevitable test of the Davutoğlu doctrine. Ankara proved unable to use its clout with the Assad regime to affect any significant change. Moreover, its growing criticism of Assad led to a deterioration in Turkish-Iranian ties: Official Iranian media outlets have openly criticized Ankara's stance on Syria since June 2011, hinting that it was doing the West's bidding in the region.[61] The Turkish government's decision in the fall of 2011 to accept the stationing of U.S. missile defense systems was very much linked to these new tensions with Tehran while also in all likelihood an attempt to ingratiate itself with Washington and reduce the impact of its increasingly harsh anti-Israeli policies.

Davutoğlu's "zero problem with neighbors" policy was always predicated on the unrealistic assumption that none of Turkey's neighbors had any interests or intentions that ran counter to those of Ankara while neglecting the difference between the regimes and peoples of Turkey's neighbors. Likewise, the alienation of Israel was based on the equally unrealistic assumption that Turkey would never need the friendship of either Israel or its allies in Washington. But mostly, perhaps, these policies have been based on the notion that the United States and the West need Turkey more than Turkey needs the West. This might make sense if Ankara is growing economically while the West is in the throes of crisis, but it might well prove a dangerous assumption given the risk that Turkey's economy could enter a crisis of its own in the not too distant future.

A second conclusion is that the AKP government had grossly overestimated its influence in the Middle East. Erdoğan's hard line on Israel has indeed made him a darling of the Arab street, and the AKP government spent significant efforts building trade relations across the region. While Ankara peddled its clout in the Middle East as a key reason for the West to be supportive of its decisions, the events of 2011 suggest that at least for now its rhetoric has not been matched by actual influence. Erdoğan's visit to Egypt in September 2011, when the Muslim Brotherhood appeared unwilling to adopt his suggestion that they emulate Turkey's political system, is a case in point.[62] This is not to say that Turkey is not a rising power, rather that the country's leadership has been unable to realistically gauge its true level of influence. Indeed, building regional influence of the type to which Turkey aspires is a process that takes place gradually and incrementally over decades and not as an immediate result of the hyperactivity of Davutoğlu's diplomacy.

Finally, Ankara's policies never squared the circle of the AKP's rhetorical embrace of democracy and human rights, on the one hand, and its focus on developing ties with the authoritarian regimes of the region on the other.[63] Indeed, a policy of "zero problems" essentially suggests the absence of principles or, for that matter, concrete and well-defined national interests. While some of the missteps in regard to Libya and Syria can be understood against the backdrop of Turkish overconfidence, the dramatic divergence in Ankara's attitude to the various countries in the region cannot be so easily explained. Indeed, the slack that Turkey's leadership was willing to cut Iran's Ahmadinejad or Syria's Assad, or even Libya's Qaddafi, stood in marked contrast to the vehemence with which it denounced Egypt's Mubarak.

In the fall of 2010, the author asked a former AKP minister and deputy chairman why Turkey was so much more assertive on the Gaza issue than the Arab countries. The answer was straightforward: One should not misconstrue the Arab regimes with the Arab countries. These, he argued, are all monarchies that are doomed to collapse. When that happens, democratic forces sharing the AKP's views on these issues would seize power.[64] While the response was indeed prescient given the events that would follow, it betrayed a deep disdain for the pro-Western regimes of the Arab world as well as an expectation that Islamic movements would replace them and see Turkey as a leader or model.

Indeed, this senior official's perspective echoes Davutoğlu's worldview. It indicates an expectation of a fundamental remake of the Middle East with the demise of the pro-Western regimes. Thus far, the vision might not differ much from that of Western supporters of the wave of popular protests sweeping the Arab world. The question, of course, is what would succeed the regimes that had hitherto been safely ensconced in power for decades.

While in the early 1990s, Turkey was touted for its secularism and democracy as a model for the newly independent Muslim-majority states of the former Soviet Union, in the wake of the Egyptian revolution, Ankara was looked to as a model for a different reason: In the words of The New York Times, it was perceived as "a template that effectively integrates Islam, democracy, and vibrant economics."[65]

Indeed, Islamist movements across the Middle East—primarily in North Africa—have emulated the AKP's approach to gaining power through democratic means. The question, however, is: Do these movements see a party that truly democratized its ideology and accepted underlying liberal democratic principles, or a party that successfully used the democratic system in order to achieve power without being committed to democratic values and ideals? The jury is still out on this question, but the developments in Egypt are indeed cause for concern given the Muslim Brotherhood's growing dominance over the country's political scene.

As the AKP's recent authoritarian tendencies have become increasingly acknowledged, its credibility as a force of true democratization in the Middle East has suffered concomitantly. More and more it appears that the AKP—and Turkey—has adopted a rather simplistic understanding of democracy as majority rule: In societies where the overwhelming majority are conservative Muslims, democracy will ensure that the political forces representing these conservative Muslims will be ushered into power.


While there is much to suggest that Turkey's role in the world is likely to grow, confidence appears to have turned into hubris. At the bureaucratic level, Turkey's state apparatus—especially the Foreign Ministry—is hardly equipped to handle the load of initiatives coming from Davutoğlu's office, and expanding the foreign policy machine can only happen gradually. Thus, many Turkish initiatives have been less than well prepared, suggesting a top-heavy approach rather than balanced and serious planning. This was true of the opening with Armenia, and similarly, Turkish leaders appeared truly surprised when the Turkish-Brazilian deal on Iran failed to prevent new sanctions against Tehran at the U.N. Security Council.

Nonetheless, Turkey is now an active and independent player in regional affairs whose clout is likely to continue to grow in coming years. It is also a less predictable force than it used to be and one whose policies will occasionally clash with those of the West. This is, in part, a result of Turkey's economic growth, of the mistakes made by the West in alienating Ankara, and of Turkish overextension, which is in turn related to an inflated view of its newly found role in the world. But the role of ideological reflexes and grand ambitions, in particular those of Turkey's two foremost decision-makers, Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, must not be underestimated. These impulses are likely to continue to have policy consequences as Turkish leaders will interpret events from a distinctively different—and Islamically-tinged—viewpoint than their Western counterparts.

While a cause for concern, Ankara's changing foreign policy is not necessarily a cause for alarm. On many issues, Turkey is a power with which the West can work: As the Libyan operation showed, suspicions of Western motives notwithstanding, Ankara came around to join the undertaking. The reaction to the Syrian crisis and Turkish cooperation on missile defense are further examples of this possibility.

But significantly, whenever Turkey and the West will cooperate, it will be because their interests happen to align rather than as a result of shared values. Where the values of the Turkish leadership do not align with those of the West, most prominently concerning Cyprus and Israel, Turkish behavior will continue to diverge from the Ankara the West used to know. It is increasingly clear that the Turkish leadership does not consider itself Western, a worldview that will inevitably have far reaching implications for Turkey's role in the Euro-Atlantic community.

[1] Hürriyet (Istanbul), June 13, 2011.
[2] See, for example, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Stratejik Derinlik: Türkiye'nin Uluslararası Konumu (Istanbul: Küre Yayınları, 2001).
[3] Hürriyet, Nov. 17, 2008; The Economist (London), Nov. 27, 2008.
[4] The Guardian (London), Oct. 26, 2009; Sofia (Bulgaria) Echo, Oct. 26, 2009.
[5] Svante E. Cornell, "Iranian Crisis Catches the Turkish Government off Guard," Turkey Analyst, June 19, 2009; Hürriyet, Feb. 2, 2010.
[6] Middle East Online (London), Mar. 17, 2010; The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 8, 2010.
[7] Reuters, Nov. 27, 2009.
[8] The Economist, May 17, 2010.
[9] The New York Times, May 21, 2008; Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), June 30, 2009; Reuters, June 10, 2010.
[10] Khaleej Times (Dubai), Feb. 19, 2006.
[11] Ha'aretz, Jan. 13, 2009; Eurasianet (New York), Feb. 4, 2009; The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 13, 2009.
[12] Hürriyet, Oct. 11, 2009.
[13] The Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2011; Michael Weiss, "Ankara's Proxy," Standpoint, July/Aug. 2010.
[14] The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 6, 2010.
[15] Radikal (Istanbul), June 4, 2010; The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2010.
[16] The Telegraph (London), Sept. 13, 2011.
[17] The New York Times, Sept. 1, 2011; Today's Zaman (Istanbul), Sept. 12, 2011.
[18] Today's Zaman, Sept. 13, 2011.
[19] Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C.), Jan. 15, 2008.
[20] Milliyet (Istanbul), Mar. 30, 2006.
[21] Today's Zaman, Nov. 9, 2009.
[22] "The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre's Response to the Goldstone Report," Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, Gelilot, Israel, Apr. 4, 2011.
[23] The New York Times, Sept. 19, 2011.
[24] BBC News Europe, June 9, 2010.
[25] Gareth Jenkins, Turkey and Northern Iraq: An Overview (Washington: Jamestown Foundation, 2008), pp. 15-20.
[26] Ömer Taspinar, "The Rise of Turkish Gaullism: Getting Turkish-American Relations Right," Insight Turkey, Jan.-Mar. 2011.
[27] Gökhan Saz, "The Political Implications of the European Integration of Turkey: Political Scenarios and Major Stumbling Blocks," European Journal of Social Sciences, no. 1, 2011.
[28] Daniel Pipes, "Erdoğan: Turkey Is Not a Country Where Moderate Islam Prevails,", updated Apr. 12, 2009.
[29] The Times (London), July 3, 2010.
[30] See, for example, Birol Yesilada, "The Refah Party Phenomenon in Turkey," in Birol Yesilada, ed., Comparative Political Parties and Party Elites (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), pp. 123-50; Itzchak Weissmann, The Naqshbandiyya: Orthodoxy and Activism in a Worldwide Sufi Tradition (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 152-6; Svante E. Cornell and Ingvar Svanberg, "Turkey," in Dawid Westerlund and Ingvar Svanberg, eds., Islam outside the Arab World (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), pp. 125-48.
[31] Banu Eligur, The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), chap. 3; Birol Yeşilada, "The Virtue Party," in Barry M. Rubin and Metin Heper, eds., Political Parties in Turkey (London: Frank Cass, 2002); Gareth H. Jenkins, "Muslim Democrats in Turkey," Survival, Spring 2003, pp. 45-66.
[32] William Hale, "Christian Democracy and the AKP: Parallels and Contrasts," Turkish Studies, June 2006, pp. 293-310; Sultan Tepe, "Turkey's AKP: A Model 'Muslim-Democratic' Party?" Journal of Democracy, July 2005, pp. 69-82.
[33] Der Spiegel (Hamburg), Feb. 11, 2008.
[34] Hürriyet, Nov. 9, 2009.
[35] Ha'aretz, Jan. 13, 2009; Reuters, June 6, 2011; Bugün (Istanbul), June 4, 2011.
[36] Sedat Ergin, "Can the Symbols of Nazism and Judaism Be Considered Equal?" Hürriyet, June 22, 2010.
[37] Istanbul: Küre Yayınları, 2001.
[38] Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1993.
[39] Kuala Lumpur: Mahir Publications, 1994.
[40] Ahmet Davutoğlu, Alternative Paradigms: the Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1993), p. 2.
[41] Kerim Balci, "Philosophical Depth: A Scholarly Talk with the Turkish Foreign Minister," Turkish Review, Nov. 1, 2010.
[42] Davutoğlu, Alternative Paradigms, p. 195; idem, Civilizational Transformation (Kuala Lumpur: Mahir Publications, 1994), pp. 13-4.
[43] Davutoğlu, Alternative Paradigms, p. 196; Michael Koplow, "Hiding in Plain Sight," Foreign Policy, Dec. 2, 2010.
[44] Davutoğlu, Civilizational Transformation, p. 64.
[45] Ibid., pp. 107-8.
[46] Ibid., p. 64.
[47] Ibid., p. iii.
[48] Davutoğlu, Alternative Paradigms, p. 202.
[49] Press TV (Tehran), Feb. 2, 2011.
[50] Halil M. Karaveli and Svante E. Cornell, "Turkey and the Middle Eastern Revolts: Democracy or Islamism?" Turkey Analyst, Feb. 7, 2011.
[51] Cornell, "Iranian Crisis Catches the Turkish Government off Guard."
[52] World Bulletin (Istanbul), Mar. 24, 2011.
[53] Al-Arabiya (Dubai), May 3, 2011.
[54] Al-Jazeera TV (Doha), July 3, 2011.
[55] Bahrain News Agency, Sept. 14, 2011.
[56] The Guardian, Sept. 15, 2011.
[57] Henri J. Barkey, "Assad Stands Alone," The National Interest, June 14, 2011.
[58] Today's Zaman, June 10, 2011.
[59] The Turkish Daily News (Ankara), Aug. 1, 2011.
[60] The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2011.
[61] Sobh'eh Sadegh, quoted in Burak Bekdil, "Zero Problems, a Hundred Troubles," Hürriyet, Aug. 9, 2011.
[62] The Huffington Post, Sept. 13, 2011.
[63] M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli, "Vision or Illusion? Ahmet Davutoglu's State of Harmony in Regional Relations," Turkey Analyst, June 5, 2009.
[64] Author interview with an AKP deputy chairman who requested anonymity, Ankara, Aug. 2010.
[65] Landon Thomas, Jr., "In Turkey's Example, Some See Map for Egypt," The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2011.

Svante E. Cornell is research director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.