Turkey’s “no problems with neighbors” foreign policy looks more and more like a hope rather than plan. Problems with Iraq, problems with Syria, and now problems with Israel have gotten serious. From today’s NYT:
Turkey said on Friday that it was downgrading its diplomatic and military ties with Israel and expelling its ambassador in a display of anger at Israel’s refusal to apologize for a commando raid last year on a Turkish protest flotilla bound for Gaza in which nine people died.
Relations with Armenia aren’t all they could be, and Turkey’s outreach to Iran has fallen short. Looking west, the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots don’t seem to be ready to meet Turkish requirements for a Cyprus settlement, and beyond that the EU seems ever less capable of doing what Via Meadia continues to believe is the right thing and put Turkey on a gradual approach to eventual membership.It’s not just that the neighborhood is tough; Turkey’s rising power in a neighborhood of failed or failing states in itself is a destabilizing factor. For Turkey to approach its stated goal of a “no problems” foreign policy, some of the most vexing problems in the world (Israel-Palestine, the Kurdish question, Sunni-Shi’a relations, Arab economic development) will have to be solved.Don’t hold your breath.