• Upcoming Events

    Monday 11/8
    Peter Beinart
    "Israel: Have we lost that loving feeling, and can we get it back?"
    5-7pm
    Davis Auditorium
    Sturm Hall

    Monday 11/8
    The Muslim Student Association is hosting an Eid Mubarak dinner from 6-8 pm at the Korbel Cyber Cafe.

    Wednesday 11/10
    A Faculty Panel will discuss different issues surrounding the Occupy Wallstreet movement.
    Noon in the Cyber Cafe

  • Contact Us

    Cliff Martin
    clifton.martin86@gmail.com

    Brett Schneider
    schneider.brett.a@gmail.com

    Doug Garrison
    garrisondh@gmail.com

    Kara Kingma
    klkingma@ole.augie.edu

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 19 other followers

Turkey’s Kissinger?

The New York Times has a great article up on Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Dahvutoglu.  Rather than describe it, I’ll give you the first two paragraphs, and if you want to read more you can follow the link.  Oh and also there is a new weekly poll up (just to the right of where your eyes are looking now).

In the fall of 2009, relations between Serbia and Bosnia — never easy since the savage civil war of the 1990s — were slipping toward outright hostility. Western mediation efforts had failed. Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, offered to step in. It was a complicated role for Turkey, not least because Bosnia is, like Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country and Serbia is an Orthodox Christian nation with which Turkey had long been at odds. But Davutoglu had shaped Turkey’s ambitious foreign policy according to a principle he called “zero problems toward neighbors.” Neither Serbia nor Bosnia actually shares a border with Turkey. Davutoglu, however, defined his neighborhood expansively, as the vast space of former Ottoman dominion. “In six months,” Davutoglu told me in one of a series of conversations this past fall, “I visited Belgrade five times, Sarajevo maybe seven times.” He helped negotiate names of acceptable diplomats and the language of a Serbian apology for the atrocities in Srebrenica. Bosnia agreed, finally, to name an ambassador to Serbia. To seal the deal, as Davutoglu tells the tale, he met late one night at the Sarajevo airport with the Bosnian leader Haris Silajdzic. The Bosnian smoked furiously. Davutoglu, a pious Muslim, doesn’t smoke — but he made an exception: “I smoked; he smoked.” Silajdzic accepted the Serbian apology. Crisis averted. Davutoglu calls this diplomatic style “smoking like a Bosnian.”

Davutoglu (pronounced dah-woot-OH-loo) has many stories like this, involving Iraq, Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan — and most of them appear to be true. (A State Department official confirmed the outlines of the Balkan narrative.) He is an extraordinary figure: brilliant, indefatigable, self-aggrandizing, always the hero of his own narratives. In the recent batch of State Department cables disclosed by WikiLeaks, one scholar was quoted as anointing the foreign minister “Turkey’s Kissinger,” while in 2004 a secondhand source was quoted as calling him “exceptionally dangerous.” But his abilities, and his worldview, matter because of the country whose diplomacy he drives: an Islamic democracy, a developing nation with a booming economy, a member of NATO with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a canny, forward-thinking populist who has drastically altered Turkish politics. Erdogan and Davutoglu share a grand vision: a renascent Turkey, expanding to fill a bygone Ottoman imperial space.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: