The Corner

Turkey and the Pope Redux

Shots were fired in front of the Italian consulate in Istanbul by a Turkish Islamist.  Unfortunately, the incident is becoming the rule rather than the exception in Turkey.  Following the Danish cartoon crisis, a Turkish Islamist murdered an Italian priest.  Another Turkish Islamist murdered a Supreme Court justice in protest of a ruling against the veil.  The Prime Minister embraced Hamas’ most unrepentant hardliner whom even the French wouldn’t go near and then met one-on-one with Fatih al-Hassanein, a Sudanese financier of al-Qaeda (Turkish officials present in the October 2 White House meeting say this was a topic of conversation with President Bush).  The AKP refuses to explain billions in illegal subsidies.  Incitement in AKP circles is out-of-control.  In my own case, long before I had ever written about Turkey, a newspaper close to Prime Minister Erdogan’s party labeled me “an enemy of Islam.”  Unfortunately, our public diplomacy is failing.  MEMRI had just issued a report showing how many Turks perceive the US Ambassador, Ross Wilson, to support the Islamists.  It’s been almost a year since Wilson arrived in Ankara.  Diplomacy is not about doing the ostrich-head-burying routine.

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.


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