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HisDaughter
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« on: April 26, 2011, 10:15:50 AM »

Turkish FM warns Israel not to repeat flotilla 'mistake'
 jpost.com

In 'Sydney Morning Herald' interview, Turkish foreign affairs minister discusses new Turkish flotilla and a potential Taliban office in Istanbul.

In an interview on Monday in the Sydney Morning Herald, Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu issued a warning for Israel as a second Gaza-bound flotilla is planned.

''We urge Israel not to repeat the same mistake," he said, referring to last year's raid on Mavi Marmara. "It is Israel's responsibility not to implement [a blockade] against Gaza. A fact-finding mission of the UN declared that this … is illegal."


Davutoglu also reiterated his belief that the incident on the Mavi Marmara occurred in international waters. "The Meditteranean does not belong to any nation," he said.

During the interview, Davutoglu also confirmed that Turkey was considering hosting an office for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

According to Davutoglu's statements in the article, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was fully supportive of the idea. "Of course we support him," Davutoglu said of Karzai during the interview. "If there is anything Turkey can do, we will not hesitate to contribute."

According to Davutoglu, Turkey had been approached by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani to create offices for several groups, not just the Taliban. The Taliban request was, ostensibly, The Sydney Morning Herald reported,  to "give them a base from which to hold negotiations for an end to the war."

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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 10:04:59 AM »

The revolution’s missing peace – or piece?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
BURAK BEKDİL  (Opinion Column in Turkish newspaper)

 Cordially speaking, President Abdullah Gül thinks the missing element of the Arab spring is a sustainable Arab-Israeli “peace.” But he in fact means that the revolution’s missing element is “a piece of Israel.”

President Gül was right when he wrote, “Whether the uprisings (in the Middle East and north Africa) lead to democracy and peace, or to tyranny and conflict will depend on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace,” in an article that appeared in the New York Times on April 21.

One could even praise President Gül for offering Turkey’s capacity to facilitate constructive negotiations: “Turkey, conscious of its own responsibility, stands ready to help,” he wrote in the same article. But Mr. Gül’s chicly worded opus was a polite threat rather than a genuine, impartial peacemaking effort. I never thought Gül would rush to confirm what this column argued only nine days before the president’s New York Times editorial.

“The difference between the rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is that the Iranian talks about ‘no Israel’ in plain language while the milder Turk talks about a ‘smaller Israel’ in subtle language. To achieve the goal of ‘no Israel, the radical Mr. Ahmadinejad resorts to bombs he says he is not building. For his ‘smaller Israel,’ the moderate Mr. Davutoğlu resorts to politics,” I said in my article published in the Daily News on April 12.

President Gül proposes “serious consideration” of the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, which proposed a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders and fully normalized diplomatic relations with Arab states. I am not sure if re-proposing the Arab League’s proposal makes Turkey a fair broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But, perhaps, given his ideological genetics, the Israelis should be grateful to President Gül for not proposing a return to Israel’s pre-1948 borders, which probably will be the next Arab League proposal if Israel agrees to the first. Probably to be followed by a proposal to return to Israel’s pre-1897 borders…

President Gül wrote: “Sticking to the unsustainable status quo will only place Israel in great danger. History has taught us that demographics are the most decisive factor in determining the fate of nations. In the coming 50 years, Arabs will constitute the overwhelming majority of people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.” Now, this is problematic…

What kind of danger does Mr. Gül think Israel will face if it sticks to the status quo? More suicide bombers? More rockets? More sophisticated warheads over Israeli soil? An Iranian nuke? Will the Arabs collectively attack Israel when they believe their population has grown sufficiently? Are the Arabs not already an overwhelming majority in the lands where they are in conflict with Israel?

In such bold context, Mr. Gül further “warned Israel,” that it “cannot afford to be perceived as an apartheid island surrounded by an Arab sea of anger and hostility.” Mr. Gül should have checked his facts. Sorry to remind you, Mr. President, but Israel was surrounded by an Arab sea of anger and hostility even before 1967 (and even in 1948).

It’s about the holy books, Mr. Gül, not where borders are drawn. And, Your Excellency, you should know this better than anyone else, as evinced by the Israel-hatred among your Islamist comrades back in the 1960s when secular Turks were not part of “that Arab sea of anger and hostility.”

The president also prophesized, “It will be almost impossible for Israel to deal with the emerging democratic and demographic currents in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world.” Peel away the layers of diplomatic courtesy in that line, and you will get what the president actually wanted to say: Agree to “our” (Arabs’) terms or you’ll regret and pay for that in the future when the Arab population is big enough to drown you in a sea of hatred and hostility.

How many more lives must be taken so that Mr. Davutoğlu and his comrades can pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque “in the Palestinian capital (Jerusalem)
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 08:09:09 PM »

Activists: New Gaza flotilla in final planning stages 

haaretz.com

Pro-Palestinian activists said on Tuesday that they are in the final stages of organizing their sea convoy to the Gaza Strip, which is planned to be much bigger than last year's flotilla, which was raided by Israeli forces.

Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the botched commando operation on a Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, that was part of the flotilla on May 31, 2010. The incident drew world attention to the humanitarian situation in Gaza and plunged ties between former allies Israel and Turkey to a new low.

Huseyin Oruc, a spokesman for the group that operates the Mavi Marmara - said this time an international coalition of 22 non-governmental groups hopes to send 15 vessels with up to 1,500 people. Last year, six ships and about half that number participated.

The target date for departure of the new flotilla is the first anniversary of the raid, but it could be delayed, partly because it clashes with Turkish election campaigning. Organizers say the new effort includes activists from Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Canada and the United States.

On being returned to Turkey in August, the Mavi Marmara was renovated by activists for the new flotilla. The boat has since become an icon for the IHH, which hands out small plastic models of the ship, emblazoned with the Turkish and Palestinian flags, to visitors at its headquarters.

"Everybody is getting ready," Oruc said in an interview with The Associated Press at the Istanbul office. He predicted that Israel, mindful of negative fallout from last year's raid, would not try a similar operation this year.

Israeli military officials say naval forces have been busy preparing for the new flotilla for weeks. They said the navy is taking the flotilla very seriously, but plans to use different tactics this time around. They declined to elaborate, but said the goal is to stop the flotilla while avoiding casualties.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the operation.

Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said a recent conference of donors to the Palestinians had called on all parties to send any humanitarian aid through land crossings.

"People coming by sea are doing it as a provocation and are looking for violent confrontation. We call on all relevant parties to display responsibility and shun violence," said Palmor, noting aid for the region is provided by the United Nations, international groups and through the Palestinian Authority.

Espen Goffeng, an activist in Norway, said the target for departure of the new flotilla was early summer, and that activists might finalize the date at a meeting in Europe in early May.

"It's not like a march up the street," he said by telephone. "We need to buy boats, we need to buy cargo, we need to move people around, we need hotel rooms, we need food."

Turkey holds parliamentary elections on June 12. IHH, which says it plans to send 100 to 150 people on the flotilla, is inclined to launch its ship after the vote for fear any controversy could disrupt the election debate. The group communicates closely with the Turkish government, but says it does not need permission to send its boat to Gaza.
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 03:55:49 AM »

It would seem that they want to start a war, and they just might get it done. I think that Israel should give the flotilla very few choices, NONE being close to what they want.
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 08:58:32 AM »

It would seem that they want to start a war, and they just might get it done. I think that Israel should give the flotilla very few choices, NONE being close to what they want.

I do too.  It is said that Israel has one of, if not the strongest military forces in the world.  Turkey is one to watch in bible prophecy.  Although they have been friendly with Israel and the U.S. in the past, it is exactly that; the past.  According to Walid Shoebat and others, the antichrist can be expected to come out of Turkey and not the EU.  Turkey is also Muslim and friendly with other muslim countries now.
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 03:13:30 PM »

I do too.  It is said that Israel has one of, if not the strongest military forces in the world.  Turkey is one to watch in bible prophecy.  Although they have been friendly with Israel and the U.S. in the past, it is exactly that; the past.  According to Walid Shoebat and others, the antichrist can be expected to come out of Turkey and not the EU.  Turkey is also Muslim and friendly with other muslim countries now.

I looked up Walid Shoebat and bookmarked his web page for study when I get the time. I think that I've heard him speak before. I'm open-minded in looking at other entities than the revived Roman empire for the emergence of the Anti-Christ. Regardless, we appear to be on the edge of big things happening. Thanks for the information and sharing the articles.
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 09:41:18 PM »

I looked up Walid Shoebat and bookmarked his web page for study when I get the time. I think that I've heard him speak before. I'm open-minded in looking at other entities than the revived Roman empire for the emergence of the Anti-Christ. Regardless, we appear to be on the edge of big things happening. Thanks for the information and sharing the articles.

You've got to get the "Islamic Antichrist" by Joel Richardson!  Fancinating!
Also, "God's War on Terror" by Walid Shoebat.
Or go to YouTube and look these guys up and listen to them!

Let me know.
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2011, 02:31:55 PM »

I was just listening to a radio interview of Walid Shoebat by Simon Conway and I find it interesting that the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul's name means 'Slave of Allah the Beast'.

"On May 19th Walid did radio interview with Simon Conway drive time talk show host with WHO in Des Moines Iowa. In this interview Walid predicts that Hamas will recognize Israel because Turkey will arrange and pressure Hamas to do so. This will be a ruse by both Turkey and Hamas to help the world pressure Israel to divide the land and will lead to the covenant of death mentioned in Isaiah 28 which G-d will not let stand. Predicting the exact time frame is not productive but we believe that this treaty will be arranged over next two to five years possibly sooner."

Some more interesting reading:

http://www.shoebat.com/blog/   "By Peace They Will Deceive The World"

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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 11:51:30 AM »

Quote from: Soldier4Christ
Some more interesting reading:

http://www.shoebat.com/blog/   "By Peace They Will Deceive The World"

Thanks for the reminder. I had this site bookmarked and wanted to do some serious reading there. I forgot all about it until now. Things are blunt, to the point, and "interesting" from an informed perspective.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 09:22:43 AM »

Polls show support for ruling AK Party near 50 percent  
todayszaman.com
 
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is on course for a third consecutive election win on June 12, with support at around 50 percent, according to surveys published on Wednesday.
 
A survey by pollsters Konsensus published in Habertürk newspaper put support for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party at 48.6 percent, which would mark an increase from the near 47 percent which it achieved in the 2007 vote.

A separate survey by Sonar showed support for AK Party at 50.93 percent, according to the polling company's website.

A day earlier a survey by lesser known polling company DORInsight had shown support for Erdoğan's party at 39 percent, well below the 45-50 percent level recorded by better known pollsters.

The success of the AK Party, an economically liberal but socially conservative party, has been driven by strong economic growth in near nine years in power.

The Konsensus poll was conducted between May 18-28 and based on 3,000 voters. The published details did not include a margin of error or specify how many provinces the voters came from.

Support for the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which is under new leadership, was at 28.3 percent of the vote and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at 11.6 percent, above the 10 percent threshold needed for a party to enter parliament.

Sonar's poll was conducted between May 24-31 and based on 3,000 voters. The published details did not include a margin of error, but it said the voters came from 39 provinces.

CHP support was seen at 25.78 percent and MHP at 12.45 percent, Sonar said.

The polls suggested there had been little impact for the ultra-nationalist MHP from a sex video scandal which led to the resignation of 10 leading party members.

If his party wins a strong mandate, Erdoğan has promised to overhaul Turkey's constitution, written in the 1980s after a coup. However, the latest poll indicated it would not have the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to change the constitution without going to a referendum.
 
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 09:24:43 AM »

CHP (The Republican People’s Party) : created in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is now led by Mr. Kemal Kilicdaroglu. It has been a stronger centre-left party since its fusion, in February 1995, with the then main left-wing party SHP. The fusion has however prompted many ex-SHP politicians to defect from the CHP party and join the DSP ranks. Many blamed the former for not being left-wing enough: Mr. Baykal, leader of CHP until May 2010, was indeed in favor of liberal economic policies and of the Customs Union in general. Following the general elections of April 1999, CHP - which obtained only 8.7% of the votes - disappeared from the Parliament for the first time in its history. ex-leader Mr. Baykal was seen as the responsible of this defeat and he lost the control of the party after the Extraordinary Grand Congress of CHP and he resigned. During the elections of 2002, ex-leader Mr. Baykal re-gained his seat and they were able to get 19.39% of the votes, thus became the second and the main opposition party in the parliament. In 2007 they joined their forces with DSP and got 20,88% of the votes, bringing in 112 deputies. After the elections, members from DSP have left the party and returned to their original party.

MHP (National Action Party) : ultra-nationalist party (also known as the Grey Wolves, from the name of it's youth movement) founded in 1969 by the late Alparslan Türkes. Structured as a typically para-military organization, MHP was largely responsible for the escalation of violence in the late seventies. MHP was dissolved after the 1980 coup while Türkes and others were convicted in the early 80’s for the murder of several public figures. In 1995, Türkes is allowed to reconstitute MHP and take part in the elections which earned the party 8.5% of the vote. Türkes’ funeral in april 1997 drew 300.000 people including politicians of all parties. Türkes has been succeeded by Dr. Devlet Bahceli, in spite of the opposition inside the party of Tugrul Türkes, son of the party's founder. MHP became the second Turkish political party after the April 1999 general elections and got 129 seats in the Assembly. It's new leader Bahçeli is drawing a different profile than earlier leaders and bringing a new line for their politics different from their past. During the elections of 2002 they got only 8.34% of the votes and couldn't go to the parliament. But in 2007 they've got 14,27% of the votes and managed to bring 70 deputies in the National Assembly.

AKP (Justice and Development Party) : Founded in 2001 as a pro-Islamist party by Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gul, AKP gradually gained higher votes in each local and general elections surprising other political parties. In 2002 they won 34,3% of the total votes and became as the first party from the polls, with Abdullah Gül first as the Premiere, then Tayyip Erdogan after his political ban ended. All three coalition parties eliminated. CHP emerged as main opposition. For the first time in almost two decades, AKP ended up forming a single-party government. AKP rejects the "Islamist" label and claims that it is a pro-Western mainstream party with a "conservative" social agenda but also a firm commitment to liberal market economy and European Union membership. In the elections of 2007 they got 46,58% of the total votes and won the elections for the second time, bringing in 341 deputies.

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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 09:35:33 AM »

Europe’s Neighborhood: Can Turkey Inspire?

Since the Arab Spring dawned,Turkey’s potential value as an inspiration for and facilitator of reform in the Middle East and North Africa has been a heated topic of discussion. Critics have been concerned that this debate would both work against Turkey’s EU integration by distracting intellectual and political attention and complicate domestic political dynamics through overemphasis on Turkey’s Muslim identity — in essence making Turkey more Middle Eastern rather than spreading reform and open society.
 
Though Turkey’s intensified engagement in the MENA region is inevitable, the shape of Turkey’s influence is not predetermined. The concentration of the debate should already be on how to make Turkey’s influence a positive one, while mitigating potential risks.

Recalling the significant role that interaction between Turkish and European civil society played in driving Turkey’s positive change raises the question of whether Turkey’s civil society development and related institutional transition experiences are transposable to the EU’s southern neighborhood. Looking more closely at the concrete example of Turkey’s experiences in adapting European approaches to women’s rights can shed light on the feasibility of this notion.

Given vested interests and strategic limitations, Turkey’s official approach to democratization in the region is expected to involve contradictions and may on occasion strain relations with the Western alliance as well as with counterparts in the neighborhood. Ankara’s diplomatic efforts to counsel democratic reform in the region (with an initiative ongoing in Syria currently) have so far yielded little or no results. In contrast, Turkish civil society may be able to play a more consistent and active role in assisting neighbors who venture on the longterm endeavor of building a culture of democracy. For this to materialize, there is a need for synergy between Turkish and European counterparts, as well as an informed demand from Turkey’s respective neighbors. The continuation of Turkey’s Europeanization journey will also be important for Turkey’s far-reaching contribution to positive change among its neighbors.

Turkey’s Not-so-Unique Formula

The freedoms and opportunities enjoyed in Turkey that set it apart in Europe’s neighborhood have largely been a function of Turkey’s Europeanization. Over recent decades, Western literature and interaction with European counterparts played an important role in building awareness among Turkish journalists, activists, and intellectuals. Benchmarking of European standards by NGOs and EU leverage — particularly after candidacy was achieved in 1999 — played a central role. This was distinctly the case in bringing about revolutionary legal reform progressive state policies towards gender equality. Though these European influences have taken on a life of their own in Turkey, some of the most challenging steps lie ahead.

Turkey and the Muslim Middle East share traditions and structural economic challenges that obstruct women’s equal standing in public life and trap women in controlling social networks. Social services and public administration fall short of compensating for these socioeconomic realities. These problems do not mean Turkey is regressing. In fact, many of today’s challenges can be characterized as transition pains. Breaking through the current plateau in women’s empowerment requires holistic policy design, political will, and continued socioeconomic change

Just as the problems are not Muslim, neither are the solutions. The wheel needs neither to be re-invented, nor adapted to a Muslim context. Spain, also traditionally patriarchal, lagged behind Europe in gender equality and violence until recently. It has, over the past two decades, not only caught up, but surpassed most other European countries in terms of gender parity — with relevant legislation, strengthening of law enforcement institutions, and allocation of resources to this end. To the extent that Turkey takes Spain as a model, so can a country like Egypt take Turkey as one. In short, for more effective regional democracy inspiration and assistance, Turkey needs to deepen and consolidate its Europeanization journey, not stall mid-stream.

Dissecting Soft Power — The Place of Islam

Turkey’s potential influence in the Arab world is a function, among other things, of shared religion and the related cultural affinity. The Turkish Prime Minister’s high-profile defiance of Israel, and his defending various controversial Muslim leaders on Western platforms arguably compounded Turkey’s popularity on the Arab street. In fact, Turkey’s secularism and good relations with the West are seen as obstacles to Turkey serving as a model in the Middle East by a sizeable proportion of Arab societies. Should we conclude that it is mutually exclusive for Turkey to intensify its Eastern and Western engagement? Not necessarily.

The kind of engagement that empowering intellectuals in the Arab world calls for is not the same kind of populistic engagement that arousing the Arab street involves. Turkey’s having a seat at Euro-Atlantic tables and raising its democratic and development levels are important pillars of its traction in the neighborhood.

Informed choices by opinion leaders and politicians of the respective recipient neighboring countries will determine which aspects of the Turkish experience are utilized. Ultimately, the liberal young political activists of Tunisia who are cautious about alienating conservative voters can, for example, point to the legal framework in Turkey while advocating that equal rights for women does not mean a split from Islamic conviction. In their long struggle lobbying conservative parliamentarians for progressive reform, Turkish women’s movement activists have in the past also justified their demands by drawing on examples from other Muslim countries. Developing the relatively weak ties between Turkish human rights advocates, journalists, dissidents, youth movements, women’s civil society organizations, and civil society organizations in the common neighborhood of Turkey and the EU is important.

Turkey’s experiment with using faith to promote progressive change may also be relevant for some Muslim reform advocates. For example, in order to promote girls’ education, besides infrastructure development, monetary incentives, and penalties for families that withhold their daughters from school, Turkish Imams have been tasked with delivering supportive messages in Friday prayers across the country. Another case in point is the ongoing scholarly review of hadiths (sayings and traditions attributed to Prophet Muhammad), with a view to weed out the suggestions of women’s secondary status. Promoting progressive interpretation of religion can arguably empower women’s struggle against discrimination in conservative environments. However, such initiatives can not replace, but only supplement, law, effective enforcement, protection mechanisms, civic mobilization, and political will. Over-rating the role of Islam in solutions to basic problems that require strong institutions, civic participation, and economic development would be a mistake. Along the same lines, while Turkey’s Muslim culture can reinforce its inspirational strength, substantiating this influence will require more concrete engagement with the needs of the people.

 cont....
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 09:36:41 AM »

Europe’s Neighborhood: Can Turkey Inspire?   cont...

Seeking Synergy

There is no clean-cut model for the winds of change in the neighborhood stretching from North Africa to Central Eurasia. Not only is each society in the region very different from the other, but they are also presented with a wide range of competing examples. Given how polarized Turkey is domestically, it should come as no surprise that different groups from Turkey itself attempt to export disperate so-called Turkey-models to prospective recipients. One need only look at Azerbaijan, to which ethnic nationalist networks and Muslim brotherhood networks from Turkey have been advocating contrasting visions for two decades. From that example, one can conclude that if there is a risk, it is that the West-oriented liberal democrats in Turkey — who have played the biggest role in Turkey’s own transformation — risk falling behind in the race to influence neighbors. Neighbors motivated by the liberalization phase of Turkey’s complex evolution need to play a proactive role to engage these segments of Turkish society.

While Turkish women’s NGOs have experience working in social settings defined by tribal structures in Eastern Turkey, European women’s NGOs have valuable experience gained by East European EU accession. On issues such as utilizing social media, the transmission may very well be reversed; Turkish social movements have much to learn from some of their neighbors’ more active use of such Internet resources. The United States may be most influential in spreading values and activism through education, while Georgia has the most recent example of radical reform of police force.

Rather than assuming Turkey possesses an upper hand on the basis of popularity among neighboring masses, more modesty is called for to find synergy. To get plugged into the causes of reformists in the region and to play a more active role in their affairs, Turkish civil society and media is already benefitting from the language skills, sources, experiences, and funding of their Western counterparts.

Until recently, those in Turkey with a Western-oriented outlook largely neglected Eurasia and the Middle East; vice versa, Turkish groups with networks and advocacy among Eastern neighbors were not plugged in to the Western policy community. This is slowly changing but to find synergy between Turkish and European civil society in a more substantial and lasting way, adaptation of visions, resources, and structures will be important.

Conclusion

The argument that Turkey does not need Europe because it possesses stand-alone regional power is misplaced, but it has been seeping into the Turkish mainstream. Turkey’s EU vocation is still critical not only for strategic reasons but also for more effective use of soft power and to be a stronger role model. Turkey is yet to prove that it can sustainably overcome some of the major problems it shares with its Eastern neighbors. How Turkey deals with the challenges ahead will also be critical in determining whether Turkey can continue to inspire its neighbors — Muslim or otherwise.

Though Turkey’s transformation itself is a work in progress, it is precisely because similar problems with its neighbors still exist that Turkey’s example is perceived to be “within reach.” That being said, Turkey needs to be moving forward on the challenging fronts in order for this element of inspiration to be sustained. Even though Turkey’s progress can be seen as a sign that a Muslim country can overcome these hurdles, the flipside is that a stalling or regression on the part of Turkey can perpetuate perceived civilizational divides.
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 09:39:31 AM »

69 percent of Turkish public supports EU membership, survey finds
todayszamen.com

Sixty-nine percent of Turks support Turkey's European Union membership, although relations with the EU are stagnant, and Turks regard relations with the EU as the country's most important foreign policy issue, according to a recent survey.
 
The survey “Foreign Policy Perceptions in Turkey,” conducted on Dec. 6-14 last year by KA Research and the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) with 1,000 respondents, found that the most supportive region for the country's EU membership is southeast Anatolia with 91 percent of those polled, followed by east Anatolia with 87 percent. The lowest support for the country's EU membership comes from central Anatolia with 58 percent.

“Support for Turkey's EU membership in these regions can be explained by looking at political and economic factors. These two regions will gain from increased welfare and they will significantly benefit from Turkey's democratic transformation on the path to EU membership,” the report said.

“It is noteworthy that EU membership is still considered one of the most important foreign policy issues, even though it is not on the agenda during the election process in Turkey,” said TESEV Board of Directors Chairman Can Paker, referring to the upcoming June 12 elections, at a press conference on Wednesday.

Paker added that since Turkey is on the brink of creating a new constitution, it is important to stress the EU criteria and the EU membership of Turkey, 60 percent of whose trade is with European states.

 

When asked why they want Turkey to be a member of the EU, 22 percent of the respondents said “easing visa restrictions,” 21 percent said “economic benefits,” 13 percent said “for democracy,” 8 percent answered “job opportunities, decrease in unemployment” and 7 percent said “increased living standards.”

Of the 26 percent of the respondents who did not support Turkey's EU membership, the most common reason given was that Turkey was strong enough on its own, with 21 percent, while 10 percent of the respondents stressed the differences between the moral and cultural values of Turkey and the EU, 8 percent said that the EU did not want Turkey and 6 percent of the

respondents stated they did not want Turkey to become an EU member because Turkey is a Muslim country. Financial crises faced by the EU states have not gone unnoticed, as 6 percent of the respondents said that the EU is failing.

When asked when they thought Turkey would become a member of the EU, 49 percent of the respondents said that Turkey would become a member of the EU within the next five to 20 years, while “never” was the most popular answer with 30 percent. On the other hand, there are some optimists -- 16 percent -- who think that Turkey will accede to the EU within the next five years. According to 20 percent of the respondents, Turkey will become a member within the next five to ten years.

In the survey, when asked to list the biggest obstacle to Turkey's EU membership, the most common answer given by the respondents was xenophobia/Islamophobia, with 22 percent. Other answers included the unwillingness of the EU countries with 7 percent, Turkey's population with 4 percent and terror, also 4 percent. Only 3 percent of the respondents stated that the biggest obstacle to Turkey's membership was the Cyprus issue.

“These responses are consistent with the view that the EU is making it harder for Turkey to become a member for religious and cultural reasons, a sentiment that is becoming increasingly widespread in Turkey,” stated the report, written by TESEV's Mensur Akgün, Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar, Aybars Görgülü and Erdem Aydın.

Akgün indicated that a peaceful, compromise-based solution within the framework of the UN parameters in Cyprus was supported by 31 percent of the respondents. In the survey, 8 percent of the respondents wished to see the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) -- which is located south of Turkey on the northern part of Cyprus -- become part of Turkey, while the 6 percent who want the KKTC to remain independent are a distinct minority.

When asked about Turkey's most important foreign policy issues, relations with the EU was the most common answer with 14 percent, while relations with Israel are second with 7 percent, followed by the United States with 5 percent and the Cyprus issue with 4 percent.

The survey results indicate that those who think the US is unfriendly towards Turkey are 52 percent while those who think that the US is friendly account for 27 percent of those polled.

“The fact that 33 percent of the respondents see the US as the second most unfriendly country towards Turkey after Israel is important, as it shows that the majority of people in Turkey have a negative view of the US's approach to their country,” Senyücel said.

When asked to evaluate US President Barack Obama, 80 percent of Turkish respondents have a positive opinion of his election but when asked to comment on President Obama's performance as of December 2010, 67 percent of the respondents evaluate his performance positively, representing a 13 percent drop. As a result, Senyücel said that although the Obama presidency has not fully satisfied the expectations of Turkey's public, it is still regarded positively.

Evaluating at a panel yesterday, Mustafa Aydın from Kadir Has University referred to the results of the Pew research, which was conducted in May this year and found that only 10 percent of those polled viewed the United States positively, compared to 77 percent who viewed the country negatively. He indicated that the results of the Pew research were not so different in the previous year, making Turks those with the most negative evaluations of the US in the world.

 
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 09:40:24 AM »

69 percent of Turkish public supports EU membership, survey finds   cont...

Senyücel and Akgün pointed out that the way the Pew research asks questions comes to the fore when comparing its results with the research done by KA and TESEV. They also said that the timing of the Pew research is important as the public uprisings in the Middle East have intensified since December, when the KA and TESEV survey was done, increasing negative sentiments toward the US.

They also added that most survey results show there is not a structural anti-Americanism in Turkey and if the US would like to see more sympathy from the Turkish public, Washington D.C. should strengthen its contacts with Ankara and take Turkey's interests and warnings seriously in the area of foreign policy.

TESEV researchers also pointed out positive trends in Turkey-US relations, as 53 percent of the survey respondents see the future of the relations positively, and the respondents from the Southeast of Turkey were the most optimistic in that regard (60 percent).

Meanwhile, 82 percent of the respondents believe that Turkey can be a cultural model for the countries of the Middle East, 80 percent believe it can be an economic model and 72 percent say it can be a model politically.

The researchers also indicated that the Turkish public embraces peaceful solutions, which are stressed in Turkish foreign policy, as 75 percent of the respondents support Turkey's efforts for mediation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, 50 percent support rapprochement with Armenia and 58 percent support sending peace forces to Lebanon. Of the respondents, 52 percent also indicate satisfaction -- versus 31 percent dissatisfaction -- with the way foreign policy decisions are made.

Twenty-five percent of the respondents also regard the prime minister, and another 25 percent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the most important actor in foreign policy making, while only 5 percent think that Parliament is most important, while 2 percent say that the army is most important.

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