Turkey Waltzes With Itself in Vienna

Okuma Süresi: 3 Dakika

By Goran Mijuk

Vienna–It takes two to tango. But Turkey choose to waltz with itself at the World Policy Conference in Vienna, where political and industrial leaders stressed the need for increased partnerships around the globe.

Emboldened by the country’s growing global economic importance and political levy in the fast-changing Arab world, Turkish President Abdullah Gül this weekend called for the European Union and United Nations to adapt to new realities.

Embittered that talks to join the E.U. are being blocked by a number of countries, including France and Germany, Gül blamed the eurozone for having failed to play up to its own rules and called on the United Nations to reform its structure to reflect the growing importance of emerging economies.


Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül makes a speech at the opening of the World Policy Conference at the historic Hofburg palace in Vienna December 9, 2011.
Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül makes a speech at the opening of the World Policy Conference at the historic Hofburg palace in Vienna December 9, 2011.


All but pointing to Turkey as a potential new member of a revamped U.N. Security Council, Mr. Gül also offered the country as a role model and “inspiriation” for the Arab world, touting Turkey’s tradition of religious freedom, secularism and openness, much in line with the high-flung visions traded at the Vienna meeting.

Mr. Gül failed, however, to impress. Amr Moussa, former Secretary General of the League of Arab States and presidential candidate in Egypt, said at the meeting that Turkey won’t serve as a role model for the Arab world. Instead, he called for a new vision of democracy in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Mr. Moussa defended the need for deep-rooted and serious change in the Arab world. But he invited Israel too to adapt to the new realities that are emerging out of the “Arab Spring”. Mr. Moussa stopped short of making concrete demands, in line with a cautious diplomatic tactic that tries to bring all interest to the negotiating table.

Mr. Gül chose to be less diplomatic. Instead of joining a lunch with Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday and mend broken ties with the country, Turkey’s president took a stroll through Vienna and visited a mosque in the city.

According to media reports, Mr. Gül also took precautions to avoid meeting Mr. Barak in person in Vienna. The Israeli Minister retorted by leaving the Hofburg conference hall when Mr. Gül started his lament on the poor state of the E.U. and U.N.

Mr. Gül’s attitude can be explained by recent politics. Ties between the two countries have worsened ever since nine Turks were killed in 2010 when they tried to break Israel’s naval blockage of Gaza. Nothing has improved since as Israel has refused to officially apologize for the 2010 incident.

But a potential role model should act differently. Mr. Gül’s criticism of the E.U. and the U.N. would have carried more weight had he taken the opportunity to talk to Mr. Barak, especially during an informal lunch behind closed doors.

Instead of adding credibility to Turkey’s claim of being a modern, open society that plays up to global standards and even exceeds them in many aspects, Mr. Gül’s chose to waltz with himself, risking to step on many feet in the process.

This is simple power politics, not inspiration.

via Turkey Waltzes With Itself in Vienna – Emerging Europe Real Time – WSJ.

This article was made possible by the support of readers like you. Donate to Turkish Forum now.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *