Sunday, November 30, 2008

Has Erdogan changed?

If PM Tayip Erdogan has been sounding a different tune since [Kemalist] hardliners failed to ban him and other AKP principals in July, the long shadow of the Turkish army has certainly been a factor. Even so, if he has failed to endear himself lately in Washington--as the Economist notes--it should not be forgotten that U.S. does not rate very high in Turkish opinion these days. Erdogan may also be doing what durable politicians usually do, namely reflect the views of their constituents. Also, should we be surprised that Erdogan is not rushing to embrace U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear program? In addition to economic ties, Turkey and Iran are cooperating effectively on several security fronts, esp. in the environs of northern Iraq where both countries see a threat from Kurdish militants.

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