Suat Kiniklioglu, Turkey’s “deputy chairman of external affairs” (we presume this is something like an assistant secretary of state), requests in tomorrow’s International Herald Tribune that the world, particularly Europe and Israel, make a “mental shift” regarding Turkey. According to Kiniklioglu, Turkey is still treated as though it is a pawn of the Great Powers, when in reality it has emerged as a regional force in its own right. Regarding the incident from earlier this month when an Israeli diplomat deliberately (and, it should be said, unwisely) humiliated Turkey’s ambassador, Kiniklioglu argues:
Israel appears to be yearning for the golden 1990s, which were the product of a very specific situation in the region. Those days are over and are unlikely to come back even if the ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., ends up out of government.
The A.K.P. has bucked Turkey’s traditional rigorous secularism in favor of a modified Islamist approach to governing. He continues:
The natural uniting and bonding in Turkey over the Ayalon affair should be an eye-opener for those who believe that all would be dandy if only the A.K.P. would fall from power. Friends and foes better treat our ambassadors accordingly. Clumsy efforts to humiliate a Turkish ambassador should never be part of Israeli domestic political calculations.
Fair points all. Even so, relatively young nations with Black Sea-sized chips on their shoulders have rarely boded well for short-term international comity.
A Little Respect, Please [IHT]