How Will the United States Avoid Paralysis with Turkey?
Many in Turkey and abroad try to analyze the new activism in Turkish foreign policy. Just when the Arab revolts led many to declare the heyday of the ruling AKP’s “zero problem with neighbors” principle over, and pointed at the inconsistencies of the Turkish government’s initial positions in Libya and Syria, these activist moves attracted quite a lot of attention. The United States had viewed Turkey as a regional part of the global U.S.-led order, and not a regional challenger. Things started to look slightly more problematic as the AKP government increasingly challenged the U.S. policy of favoring the interests of Israel, and sought to steal center stage from Israel in regional developments. The Obama administration must now choose between forcing Turkey to yield, which would eradicate whatever tenuous goodwill the United States had managed to build in the Arab street, or trying to change the Israeli attitude, which could damage Obama’s prospects for re-election.