The Corner

Turkey and the Pope

Sorry—one more non-election post:  The Turkish press is reporting that Prime Minister Erdogan’s schedule (travel to the NATO summit) will not allow him to meet the Pope when Benedict XVI visits Istanbul later this month.  I don’t buy it, especially as the Pope will be in Turkey for longer than Erdogan will be at the summit. It reminds me of how Erdogan’s schedule wouldn’t allow him to meet the Israeli deputy prime minister, but the same day he found plenty of time for the Syrian foreign minister.  So much for dialogue.  I value Turkey as an ally, but something is amiss.  I outline my concerns here.  (Andrew may disagree; the Prime Minister’s advisor, in an angry letter to the WSJ today certainly does; but I’m willing to debate the issue).  After the US elections, this is one more issue that needs to be on US foreign policy radar screens.  Turkey is too important not to pay attention.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.