June 27, 2016
Prime Ministers Yıldırım and Netanyahu personally announced to the world that Turkey and Israel have decided to restore diplomatic relations. This is concrete evidence that even for the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) “precious loneliness” was no longer sustainable. To a certain extent the same goes for Israel, increasingly at odds with the US and the EU over the Palestinian issue. It seems that economic considerations, particularly prospects of cooperation in the energy sector have also played their part. Regardless, Turkish-Israeli reconciliation is a positive development not only for the two countries but also the Middle East in turmoil. During his press conference, PM Yıldırım avoided bravado; he was not triumphant and this too is welcome change.
First, a brief look at what happened six years ago: Okumaya devam et →
June 27, 2016
For some time, Grexit was mentioned as a possibility and that was troubling enough. Then came Brexit, dealing an unexpected blow to the EU and leading to understandable worries regarding the consequences for UK’s unity, the global economy, European security, NATO, West’s relations with Russia and China and even Washington’s pivot to Asia. This, however, was first and foremost a historic choice by the British people on their country’s future. And, the referendum campaign reflected a tradition of maturity and civility with the exception of the tragic death of Labor MP Jo Cox. This should be yet another lesson for all those Middle Eastern peoples engaged in medieval sectarian wars and for their leaders who are determined not to embrace democratic values and the rule of law. Okumaya devam et →
Fifty-one State Department officials have signed a “dissent channel memo” calling for a “more militarily assertive U.S. role in Syria”.
The availability of a “dissent channel” constitutes solid proof of respect for different opinions and their free expression in a government agency and is only to be envied. Secretary Kerry’s having a meeting with representatives of the group is also remarkable. In a department dealing with foreign affairs this all the more important because it ensures that policy decisions are adopted having taken full account of the collective wisdom of its members. Needless to say, once committed, foreign policy mistakes can be extremely costly and difficult to correct; a case in point being Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Okumaya devam et →
Phrases like “radical Islam”, “jihadist terror”, “Islamic extremism” and “Islamophobia” have been with us for quite some time. The Orlando massacre must have galvanized the behind closed doors debate on them. And, while some use them openly and with fury, others find it wiser to avoid doing this.
Mr. Trump, suggesting that all Muslim immigrants posed potential threats to America’s security, has renewed his call for a ban on Muslim migration into the United States and extend it to cover all nations with a history of terrorism. Mrs. Clinton said that a ban on Muslims would not have stopped the attack and neither would a wall. She also said that she’s not afraid to say “radical” Islam as she countered attacks from Mr. Trump that she’s too politically correct to use the phrase.
Although we are less than five months away from the November 8, 2016 US presidential election, I prefer to focus on what President Obama has said following the Orlando massacre. Here are excerpts from his statements: Okumaya devam et →
Israeli-Palestinian talks sponsored by the US collapsed in April 2014. On July 8, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza in response to rocket attacks by Hamas. 2,143 Palestinians and 71 Israelis lost their lives with 11,000 wounded. There was great devastation. Almost 100,000 people were left homeless. Israeli authorities and UN officials could not agree on the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. Following the declaration of a ceasefire on August 26, Hamas declared victory and PM Netanyahu stated that Israel had achieved her objectives. The understanding was that talks on substantive issues would start in a month in Cairo. They did and got nowhere. A new wave of Palestinian violence started, this time in the form of stabbings. Yesterday, four Israelis were killed and three injured in a central Tel Aviv shooting terror attack. In response Israel sent more troops to the West Bank and froze 83,000 permits for Palestinians to enter Israel. These had been issued as a goodwill gesture to allow greater freedom of movement for Palestinians during Ramadan. Okumaya devam et →
On May 24, 2016, Turkey’s new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım introduced his government’s program in the Parliament. Government programs hardly get any public attention because they routinely reiterate lofty principals, announce visionary policies and contain endless promises. This is Turkey’s 65th government. Had commitments by successive governments been fulfilled, Turkey would have been in the 22nd century today. Okumaya devam et →