Monday, July 19, 2010

What's so funny 'bout Volleyball and Construction?

Turkey is an awesome country with one of my favorite foreign policies. Not because I agree with everything...that's hardly the case. But mostly because they're so damn interesting. Not zany in the Ghaddafi sense, but also not close-vested either.

Lest we forget, Turkey is a real place. They are displaying this through their "Hey, we build stuff internationally! Almost as much as the Chinese" articles coming through the grapevine. And its pretty fantastic indeed. All of the booming construction in Central Asia and the Middle East is coming through Turkish construction. Which is pretty awesome, considering the history of Turkish construction. Lost in all of the questions in ABC or CNN about "the Turkish direction" is the fact that Turkey's done a very good job of constructing a Near Abroad for themselves. And every single one of these huge construction companies has ties with the government, the military, and all of that. Halliburtonism is not an American monopoly.

That said, these things happen as well. And while there is no clear "Directive from Erdogan caused this" sort of thing, well, I mean, Turkey has taken the initiative in turning the Turkish-Israel relationship into what it is today. And I mean that with all due care.

Thats why its fascinating. how Turkey can act so much like a Real Important Country on one hand and be involved in these petty squabbles (Volleyball!) on the other. And its why I could never see things like the PKK issue happening in the US. Turks get so much money from construction in Kurdish Iraq...as cynical as it seems to bomb the countryside to boost the cities that're being built...that's a lot more sinister and a lot more clever than I'm willing to give anyone credit for. Its much more likely to be disjointed and clumsy.

Because that's where Turkish Foreign Policy is right now. Dancing across the line between "brilliant and deft" and "disjointed and clumsy." Poor Mr. Vela got his interview with Karayilan tortured by the Telegraph. Not only do we not spell "Recep" as "Recip" but also
A triple-bombing struck the resort of Marmaris in 2006, while a year later a suicide bomber struck a popular shopping street in the capital, Ankara. 
does not a pattern of bombings in make. The "oh scary terrorists make things go boom" part of the PKK is passe. Their smart maneuverings are more of the
He said the PKK would soon declare "democratic autonomy" in Kurdish regions of south-east Turkey. "If Turkey does not accept this, it is their problem," he said.
variety. Declaring your own autonomic republic, cutting off taxes, and thumbing your nose is a much more effective revolution than killing foreigners. The PKK is in no position to rely on the Barzanis and Talabanis in Iraq any longer, not with all of that aforementioned construction. So they're much better off burning bridges and calling it autonomy.

And Turkish foreign policy is still trying to figure out their internal policing. For all of Davutoglu's genius, he hasn't been able to make a singular theory of foreign policy yet. And until then, its the jerk-stop-leap of the AKP years past. I'm not as smart as Davutoglu, I'm not able to think of anything clever enough to serve them in the future.



And in unrelated news, congrats to Turkmenistan for finally getting their own blog on EurasiaNet! For a newssource focused on Central Asia, its about time, so go to Sifting the Karakum for all of your sand-sifting and source-divining on the land between the Caspian and the Kopets. This reminds me how badly I need to update my blogroll...

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