Montag, 13. April 2009

Blessing Turkey

President Obama's first trip abroad was hailed as an impressing success: And indeed it was. He rebranded the United States in the eyes of many and almost certainly in the eyes of those, where the US has suffered the most in recent years. He convinced France and Germany to support his Afghanistan strategy and deploy more troops (although only few troops, that is no small success, considering how reluctant the Western European nations are to engage in a theatre that they already consider a quagmire to say the least) and he received general agreement to his economic policy at the G20 in London. But his short trip to Turkey left me wondering: Why would the United States officially support Turkey's membership aspirations with regard to the European Union and at the same time emphasize that Turkey is a Muslim country and hence different - this difference is the only reason he was able to make a point by going to Turkey. So Soner Capagtay was absolutely right in elaborating in more detail today:

"President Obama's April 6 speech to the Turkish parliament in Ankara has addressed Washington's concerns over Turkey's turn from the West. In his speech, Obama tackled the erosion of Turkey's liberal democratic values. He also took up Turkey's recent foreign policy differences with the United States. Lately, a civilizational view of world politics has formed in Ankara, relativizing good and bad according to religion and splitting the Turks from the West. In the latest incident, at the Davos meeting in January, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chided Israel's president for "killing people" -- and then returned to Ankara to host the vice president of Sudan. Since September 11, Turkey is fact becoming a "Muslim" nation, and a member of the "Muslim World." The only way to counter this conception -- as well as Turkey's turn towards illiberal politics at home and a civilizational view in foreign policy -- is to emphasize Turkey's Western vocation. By speaking strongly in favor of a Western and European Turkey, Obama did exactly that, putting Turkey back in the West."

See the rest of his remarks on:

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