Wilson Center’s Award to Davutoglu
Josh Rogin details the back-and-forth relating to the congressionally funded Woodrow Wilson Center’s award to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, including the ire of congressmen unsure about why the Wilson Center’s head would choose to honor Davutoglu, given Turkey’s recent support for the Iranian nuclear program and Hamas. The Wilson Center notes, however, that the honoree was selected in August 2009. What they don’t mention is that, as Prime Minister Erdogan’s chief foreign-policy adviser even prior to assuming his current ministerial rank, Davutoglu has been embracing not only Hamas but its most militant and terror-bloodied faction since February 2006. He has also played a role in Turkey’s embrace of blood libel.
The Wilson Center said in an e-mailed statement that the award is part of its fund-raising effort. This is itself problematic. As the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet has pointed out, the AKP and the Islamist cult leader Fethulleh Gulen have both become more prolific in funding overseas think-tanks (Cumhuriyet singled out Brookings). If the Islamist money is flowing, does the Wilson Center hope that, by showering praise on a controversial supporter of Hamas, it can get a cut of that as well?