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Friday, May 29, 2009

Turkey, Long A Bridge Between Two Worlds, Moves Away From The West

I interprit it as 8 long years of Bush Cheney reign of the West.
By Nichole Sobecki GlobalPost
ISTANBUL -- Turkey has long been the bridge between Europe and the East, between the Christian and Muslim worlds. This was largely due to its location, the fortune -- or, some might say, the misfortune -- of geography.
For much of the past century, Turkish leaders have equated the East with backwardness and the West with modernity. While this attitude has allowed Western leaders to sleep comfortably, assured of a cultural, political and physical "bridge" that promotes what they see as moderate values in a geo-strategically important country, it has led Arab countries to regard Turkey with something between wariness and resentment.
But times, it seems, are a changing. Under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has been sending emissaries throughout the region, cultivating close ties with Iran, Syria, Sudan and the Gulf countries, as well as with Russia. Trade with the country's eight nearest neighbors -- including Syria, Iran and Iraq -- nearly doubled between 2005 and 2008, from $7.3 billion to $14.3 billion.
"In Washington there has long been a debate over whether Turkey was moving away from the West," said Soner Cagaptay, senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. "Recently, however, that debate has shifted from 'Is Turkey moving away?' to 'Yes, they are, and what can we do about it.'"
Many interpret this reorientation of Turkish policy as a return to the country's Ottoman history -- a policy of "neo-Ottomanism," as some are calling it. In February, Asharq Alawsat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, highlighted these changes in a widely circulated column, "The Return of the Ottoman Empire?"
Others argue that such a perspective masks the true force behind Turkey's shift in policy, pointing out that Turkey is asserting itself exclusively in the Muslim Middle East while ignoring the other areas of the Ottoman realm. LinkHere
Iranian Official Blames Mosque Explosion On U.S.
Following the explosion that ripped through a Shiite Muslim mosque in south-eastern Iran and killed over 20 people Thursday, one Iranian official is publicly accusing the United States of being involved. According to Reuters, Jalal Sayyah, the Deputy Governor of Sistan-Baluchestan province, where the explosion occurred, told a semi-official state radio station that, "The terrorists, who were equipped by America in one of our neighbouring countries, carried out this criminal act in their efforts to create religious conflict and fear and to influence the presidential election....It has been confirmed that those behind the terrorist act in Zahedan were hired by America and the arrogance's other hands."
Also snatching up the accusation banner is Tehran's Substitute Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami (not to be confused with reformist former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami), who told a large congregation at Tehran University that "discernible" clues exist to implicate the US and Israel in the explosion, Albawaba reports.
Suspects behind the explosion were quickly arrested by provincial police Thursday, who provided no further details, according to DPA News.
According to the Reuters report:


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