Article on Growing Turkiye in Its Region
(Ebru News/AP) An article by Reuters reporter Gareth Jones says the frenetic travel of President Abdullah Gul highlights Turkey's new self-confidence on the global stage. Gul's election to the presidency in August has reinforced a growing commercial and diplomatic trend to reach out beyond traditional Western partners to Turkic Central Asia, Russia, Iran, the Arab world and east Asia.
Citing expert analysts Jones writes that Turkiye's expanding ties with these regions, often driven by energy needs, should be seen as complementing, not replacing, its decades-old drive to join the EU.
The article quotes parliament member Suat Kiniklioglu as saying 'This new multi-dimensional foreign policy does not come at the expense of our European vocation, but our place in the world is changing."
'We lack the clout to broker big international deals, but we are getting to a point where Turkey is recognised as a player in places like the Middle East and Central Asia,' he said.
Jones notes that Turkiyes has good relations with both Iran and Israel, for example, and its peacekeepers are active from Kosovo and Lebanon to Afghanistan.
He further observes how Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also cleverly used threats to send troops into northern Iraq to fight PKK, hiding there to push President George W. Bush into sharing intelligence with Turkiye to help combat the terrorists.
Turkiye's more active diplomacy is not without its problems. The article suggests the United States, in particular, is vexed by Turkey's growing energy links with Iran, though Ankara has made clear it shares Washington's opposition to Tehran building nuclear weapons.
The reporter says that Turkiye aims to become an energy hub for Caspian and Central Asian oil and gas exports transiting to Western markets. Existing and planned pipelines across Turkish territory, the West hopes, will reduce its reliance on Russian energy exports.
Jones concludes 'Turkiye's higher profile on the world stage is directly linked to its EU candidacy... If Turkiye repudiated the EU connection, it would frankly lose much of its prestige with other countries. And Gul understands this very well.'
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