Erdogan’s Calculations
Erdogan’s Calculations
Sunday, February 22,2009 07:11

In the International Herald Tribune, David Phillips calls on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to improve relations with Israel and work towards normalization of relations with Armenia and Cyprus. Phillips accuses Erdogan of courting Hamas for electoral gain and cautions his willingness to embrace “the Islamist street”. With the distinct reality that Congress could pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, Erdogan faces a showdown with Europe and the U.S..  While his recent actions may help him at the ballot boxes, they threaten Turkey’s relations with its most powerful allies.  Acting pre-emptively to open the Turkish-Armenian border and normalizing relations with Armenia would help avoid a stand off. Sound relations with Turkey are critical to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Phillips recognizes that the administration, however, may be at Erdogan’s whim in avoiding a potential diplomatic crisis.

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