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Turkey’s Gain Is Iran’s Loss

>> неделя, 20 юни 2010 г.

Turkey’s Gain Is Iran’s Loss

By ELLIOT HEN-TOV and BERNARD HAYKEL
Published: June 18, 2010

Princeton, N.J.

SINCE Israel’s deadly raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara last month, it’s been assumed that Iran would be the major beneficiary of the wave of global anti-Israeli sentiment. But things seem to be playing out much differently: Iran paradoxically stands to lose much influence as Turkey assumes a surprising new role as the modern, democratic and internationally respected nation willing to take on Israel and oppose America.

While many Americans may feel betrayed by the behavior of their longtime allies in Ankara, Washington actually stands to gain indirectly if a newly muscular Turkey can adopt a leadership role in the Sunni Arab world, which has been eagerly looking for a better advocate of its causes than Shiite, authoritarian Iran or the inept and flaccid Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf.

Turkey’s Islamist government has distilled every last bit of political benefit from the flotilla crisis, domestically and internationally. And if the Gaza blockade is abandoned or loosened, it will be easily portrayed as a victory for Turkish engagement on behalf of the Palestinians. Thus the fiery rhetoric of Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeals not only to his domestic constituency, but also to the broader Islamic world. It is also an attempt to redress what many in the Arab and Muslim worlds see as a historic imbalance in Turkey’s foreign policy in favor of Israel. Without having to match his words with action, Mr. Erdogan has amassed credentials to be the leading supporter of the Palestinian cause.

While most in the West seem to have overlooked this dynamic, Tehran has not. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a regional summit meeting in Istanbul this month to deliver an inflammatory anti-Israel speech, yet it went virtually unnoticed among the chorus of international condemnations of Israel’s act. On June 12 Iran dispatched its own aid flotilla bound for Gaza, and offered to provide an escort by its Revolutionary Guards for other ships breaking the blockade.

Yet Hamas publicly rejected Iran’s escort proposal, and a new poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 43 percent of Palestinians ranked Turkey as their No. 1 foreign supporter, as opposed to just 6 percent for Iran.

Turkey has a strong hand here. Many leading Arab intellectuals have fretted over being caught between Iran’s revolutionary Shiism and Saudi Arabia’s austere and politically ineffectual Wahhabism. They now hope that a more liberal and enlightened Turkish Sunni Islam — reminiscent of past Ottoman glory — can lead the Arab world out of its mire.

You can get a sense of just how attractive Turkey’s leadership is among the Arab masses by reading the flood of recent negative articles about Ankara in the government-owned newspapers of the Arab states. This coverage impugns Mr. Erdogan’s motives, claiming he is latching on to the Palestinian issue because he is weak domestically, and dismisses Turkey’s ability to bring leadership to this quintessential “Arab cause.” They reek of panic over a new rival.

Turkey also gained from its failed effort, alongside Brazil, to hammer out a new deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The Muslim world appreciated Turkey’s standing up to the United States, and in the end Iran ended up with nothing but more United Nations sanctions.

In taking hold of the Palestinian card, Prime Minister Erdogan has potentially positioned Turkey as the central interlocutor between the Islamic/Arab world and Israel and the West, and been rewarded with tumultuous demonstrations lauding him in Ankara and Istanbul. Meanwhile, the streets of Tehran have been notably silent, with Mr. Ahmadinejad’s regime worried about public unrest during the one-year anniversary of last summer’s fraudulent elections.

Prime Minister Erdogan has many qualities that will help him gain the confidence of the Arab masses. He is not only a devout Sunni, but also the democratically elected leader of a dynamic and modern Muslim country with membership in the G-20 and NATO. His nation is already a major tourist and investment destination for Arabs, and the Middle East has long been flooded with Turkish products, from agriculture to TV programming.

With Turkey capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of Arabs, Iran will increasingly find it harder to carry out its agenda of destabilizing the region and the globe. For Americans, it may be hard to see the blessings in a rift with a longtime ally. But even if Turkey’s interests no longer fully align with ours, there is much to be gained from a Westernized, prosperous and democratic nation becoming the standard-bearer of the Islamic world.

Elliot Hen-Tov is a doctoral candidate and Bernard Haykel a professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton.

http://www.nytimes.com

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Literature:Elif Şafak, Turkey’s most-read woman novelist

>> петък, 18 юни 2010 г.

Literature:Elif Şafak, Turkey’s most-read woman novelist


Elif Şafak is Turkey’s most popular female writer. She has also gained fame abroad, not only for her literary accomplishments but also because of the lawsuit brought against her in Turkey because, in one of her novels she refers to the mass killings of Armenians in 1915; that is in The Bastard of Istanbul. The suit was dropped. Euronews met up with Şafak in Lyon, France, where she was attending a book festival. We asked her about her impressions of Europe, her writing and culture.

euronews: Elif Şafak, welcome to euronews.

Elif Şafak: Thank you.

euronews: Why are you so in favour of European Union membership for Turkey?

Elif Şafak: Europe needs Turkey, too. We all face the same dilemma. What kind of world, what kind of future do we all want? Europe has to ask itself this question too. Do we want to live in a world where everybody looks like each other, thinks in the same way and dresses in the same way? Or do we believe in the energy and synergy that people from different backgrounds and cultures may create in coming together around common values, while also accepting the differences? In this regard I believe Turkey may contribute a great deal to Europe, with its very dynamic and young population and its very rich culture.

euronews: What will both sides gain from such a coming together?

Elif Şafak: If you talked to a politician, you would probably get different answers. The language of politics is different. ‘We’ and ‘they’, ‘I’ and ‘other’ are the main players in politics. Politicians always create and need an ‘other’. But writers and artists can not. There is no ‘other’ for me. As a writer, I must be able to build bridges between myself and others. No culture can prosper by isolating itself from others. Different entities must be able to come together and create something beautiful together for cultures to increase their prosperity.

euronews: Do you think Turkey is culturally ready for that sort of coming together with the West?

Elif Şafak: Certainly. Turkey is a European country. But of course this doesn’t mean it’s like Norway, for instance. Turkey is a country of great synthesis. It has colours from its Ottoman, İslamic and eastern past. But at the same time it’s a country which western culture has enriched. This is a great synthesis in itself. I believe that the polarization which took place after 9/11 did not do the world any good. There has been so much talk about the so-called differences between us and others, İslam and western democracy. There are people who believe in ‘the clash of civilizations’. But there is no such thing. The meeting of cultures is a far bigger reality. The spirit of our time tells us so.

euronews: What do you think of those who see Europe as a Christian club?

Elif Şafak: There are various tendencies in Europe itself. Europe does not have only one voice. And besides that it has a very large Muslim population within it. It keeps taking in immigrants, which shows it is cosmopolitan. That is why I believe Europe has the power to digest all these differences. We should not disregard this point. I don’t think that a Europe of only one colour and one voice will do any good to Europeans.

euronews: We have been witnessing a political transformation in Turkey. As a writer, do you also see a transformation of outlook?

Elif Şafak: There is an incredible dynamism in Turkey. Writing and reading novels is the writer’s job. Most readers of novels in Turkey are women. They are the ones who keep the literature world in Turkey alive. Europe is not all that aware of this dynamism, and I find it very ironic that we do not
know each other well enough, even though we are so close geographically, and so interrelated. How well do the Germans know the Turks or the French? How well do we know them? We should be able to move beyond cliches.

euronews: What’s the role of literature in this?

Elif Şafak: I believe that literature should take no sides. It should not alienate masses but make them meet. That’s why I say the mission of a writer is not to push people aside but to build bridges. This is especially so in story telling. Stories are so universal and human that they require no visa or passport; they travel constantly around the world. Because empathy is the essence of story telling.

euronews: Your latest novel, ‘The Forty Rules of Love’, which tells a love story in the light of Sufism, has been a big success both in Turkey and abroad. Why? Do you think people are hungry for this kind of love that goes hand in hand with spirituality?

Elif Şafak: We try to understand what comes next, after this life. We try to make sense of life, death and love, and the coming together of lovers. They are universal issues. Sufism is well-known but not as well as it should be. I tried to approach the concept of love from different angles. I looked at it a bit from the East and a bit from the West. I looked at it in today’s world and I went back to the thirteenth century. I tried to look at love in both its material and spiritual dimensions. I tried to make them all meet in the novel.

euronews: You once said ‘East and West are illusional concepts we created in our minds’. Meaning what, exactly?

Elif Şafak: If you perceive the world just as a political map, you can draw boundaries very easily. But if we perceive the world from a humanistic and
cultural viewpoint, how can we draw boundaries?Everything is so connected! We should see this. everybody’s stories are interrelated, especially after 9/11. Our fates became interrelated. Unhappiness in Pakistan affects happiness in Canada. A financial crisis in America depresses people in Russia or China. We are living in world where everything lives in everything else’s embrace. This has
always been so, but we have just realized it.

euronews: You write your novels both in Turkish and English. Are you the same Elif Safak in both languages or do you change when you change language?

Elif Şafak: I write in English because I like travelling between languages, cultures and cities. When I write in English, my mindset is mathematical. But I have an emotional connection with my writing in Turkish. When changing languages we enter the labyrinths of other languages. We start talking with the rules, with the melody of the new language. I mean that we are not master of the language; it is the language that shapes US, our imagination and our mindset. So, yes, one does change when the language one is using changes. Thinking, daydreaming and even dreaming in more than one language contribute to who we are. We live in an age of constant mobility, of nomadism. That is the reality of our time.

euronews: Elif Şafak, thank you.
Elif Şafak: I thank you,too. 09.25

Copyright © 2010 euronews

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Are regional issues splitting US and Turkey ?

>> вторник, 15 юни 2010 г.

Pro-Palestinian Turks demonstrate in Ankara - 6 June 2010 The US refusal to condemn the Israeli raid on the Gaza ships angered Turks

It's been a difficult few weeks for US-Turkish relations.

First there was the nuclear deal with Iran mediated by Turkey and Brazil last month. It was meant to build confidence but irked Washington.

Then the Obama administration stopped short of condemning Israel's raid against a Turkish ship heading to Gaza, upsetting Ankara.

After that came Turkey's vote at the UN Security Council on sanctions against Iran - a "No" vote on an issue of key strategic interest to the US.

Newspapers in Turkey described it as a turning point in ties between countries that have been allies for decades.

Washington 'disappointed'

In an interview with the BBC, US State Department official Phil Gordon said Washington was "disappointed that (Turkey) didn't stand with the United States as a longstanding Nato ally".

The assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia said he did not doubt that Turkey was sincere in wanting to work with the international community to prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear programme.

Turkey voting against UN sanctions on Iran - 9 June 2010 Turkey voted against a US-backed resolution on tougher sanctions on Iran

But he added Turkey clearly had different views about the sanctions resolution.

Despite the disappointment, US officials have tried to sound sanguine about the disagreements with Turkey.

"Turkey and the United States have never been without their differences, and we have some important differences now, but we also have a lot in common that we're working together on," said Mr Gordon.

Foreign policy evolving

However, the tension raised questions in Washington about whether the US is losing Turkey as an ally.

While the relationship may be changing, so far no one either here or in Turkey is worried about a breakdown. But everybody is closely watching Turkey's evolving foreign policy.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates made comments in London that suggested Turkey was turning away from the West.

While he did not quite state it as an established fact, he did make clear why he thought Ankara could be going in that direction.

"I personally think that if there is anything to the notion that Turkey is, if you will, moving eastward," said Mr Gates, "it is, in my view, in no small part because it was pushed, and pushed by some in Europe refusing to give Turkey the kind of organic link to the West that Turkey sought."

If this is the view in Washington, then it is likely the Obama administration will be careful not to act in a way that could further push Turkey towards the Arab and Islamic world.

The US also needs Turkey in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Turkey extending ties

Turkey has also rejected the notion that it is looking more East with such a vehemence it seems to suggest it is worried about sending the wrong signals to the West.

Continue reading the main story

We had no choice but to vote like this

Nuh Yilmaz Seta (Turkish think-tank)

Turkey is simply trying to "diversify its relations," says Nuh Yilmaz, the Washington DC director of the Turkish political think-tank Seta.

It is pursuing ties with countries with which it had limited or bad contact before, he said. Turkey's vote at the UN was not about embracing Iran even if that was the impression it left.

"We had no choice but to vote like this," said Mr Yilmaz. "Not because Iran is right, but because we had to stand by the deal that we reached with Iran, together with Brazil."

Strategic role

But there is little doubt that Ankara is slowly becoming a more assertive regional player. And that could make it a strategic competitor to the US.

"Turkey is no doubt playing a more active role in the region," said Mr Gordon in the BBC interview.

And that could be helpful, he said, as when Turkey mediated between Israel and Syria in 2008.

"I don't think, though, that this is at the expense of the West...We certainly haven't sensed any lessening of Turkey's desire to have a strong relationship with the United States and a strong relationship with Europe."

'Headache for the West'

Others see it differently, arguing that Ankara sees not only a leadership void in the Middle East but also weakened US influence.

Continue reading the main story

Turkey has seen the leadership of the region up for grabs - and is going for it

Josef Joffe Editor, Die Zeit newspaper

"Next to Iran, Nato member Turkey is now the biggest headache for the West," wrote Josef Joffe, editor of the German weekly Die Zeit, in an opinion piece published in the Financial Times.

"With Egypt sinking into torpor and Riyadh firmly ensconced on the fence between Washington and Tehran, Turkey has seen the leadership of the region up for grabs - and is going for it," he added.

Part of that desire to lead has pushed Turkey to ride a wave of anti-Israel sentiment in the Arab world, starting with the Gaza offensive in 2008 and continuing with the Israeli raid against the Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, on 31 May.

Washington has expressed concern about the tensions and said it was working to calm things down. While Turkish language towards Israel has been acerbic and threats have been made to reduce ties with Israel, no concrete moves have been taken yet.

Turkey's expectations

Mr Gordon said the US would work to preserve its relationship with Turkey though he also made clear the US had expectations.

"We hope and expect that Turkey will abide by the resolutions (imposing sanctions on Iran) as all other members of the UN are now required to do."

Turkey, too, has expectations. Turkey wants Washington to back its call for an international investigation into the flotilla incident.

Mr Yilmaz from the Seta think-thank warned that developments on this front would have an impact on Turkey's attitude towards the US in the future.


http://news.bbc.co.uk

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Turkey's first nudist hotel plan hits hitch !

>> събота, 8 май 2010 г.

Turkey's first nudist hotel plan hits hitch !

By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Istanbul

Hotel Adaburnu Golmar in Turkey
Guests can go au naturel around the pool

What was billed as the Muslim world's first nudist hotel has been forced to close, just six days after it opened.

It was shut after a local authority inspection which found that one of the balconies did not conform to the architect's drawings.

The first 12 sparsely-clad guests at the 64-room resort in Datca on the Turkish Riviera have had to be moved to more conventional accommodation.

The hotel owner said he hoped to modify the balcony and re-open by Wednesday.

Entrepreneur Ahmed Kosar, a 15-year veteran of the Turkish tourism industry, told the BBC that he was always looking for new niches to exploit in the $20bn (£13.6bn) business, and that a number of European clients at his other hotels had expressed an interest in nudism.

The resort was constructed in a quiet spot on the Datca peninsula, east of the popular resort of Marmaris.

It offers guests the opportunity to bare all around the pool, or to take a special shuttle bus to a private beach where nudity is tolerated.

Mr Kosar said he was campaigning to re-open the hotel, and argued that many other hotels in the area have been allowed to continue operating despite not getting some of the many different licences required in Turkey.

It took him two years to build, and he said there were no objections from the local inhabitants, provided the naked tourists confined themselves to the grounds of the resort and the private beach.

The hotel is only open to foreigners - Turks are not allowed to stay - and the staff, nearly all male, keep their clothes on.

Mr Kosar would not be drawn on the subject of whether officials from the governing AK Party were behind the closure - the party is frequently accused of quietly implementing a conservative Muslim agenda in many parts of Turkey.

But he said that if his project continued to be blocked, he would consider moving it to another country like Croatia or northern Cyprus.

http://news.bbc.co.uk /

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Doctor Fish Treat Psoriasis in Kangal !

>> вторник, 4 май 2010 г.

Doctor Fish Treat Psoriasis in Kangal.

Fish Spa

There are easier ways to exfoliate than immersing oneself in a hot spa pool with hundreds of voracious fish. But that is what you will experience in Kangal, in Central Anatolia, Turkey, fish spa.

The spa sits beside a snow-melt swollen river, in a valley 1,600m (5,250ft) up in the mountains of this remote agricultural region. It has made a name for itself, and its resident “doctor fish” (Garra rufa obtusa), as a treatment for psoriasis, a painful skin complaint that afflicts about 125 million peoples worldwide (2 to 3 percent of the total worldwide population).

Fish Spa

The healing powers of the fish were discovered by a shepherd and his flock in 1917. He stumbled into marshy ground with an injured foot and found the open wound besieged by fish. The wound healed and eventually word got to the outside world about these efficacious little creatures.

The combination of the metal-rich mineral waters, the fish and mountain sunlight have been helping psoriasis sufferers ever since. The first rudimentary spa was built here in the 1950s. The present hotel buildings, spa pools and changing facilities were built in the 1970s. There are two open-air and two indoor pools, each home to hundreds of small fish.

The fish have made a name for themselves as bio-therapists. Members of the carp and minnow family, the two species of fish in the spa pools appear to survive the 37 degree water with no ill effects. I ventured into one of the outdoor spa pools. The fish were hungry after a spring when few visitors had braved the blood-warm waters while being pelted by hailstones or snow.

Fish SpaIt might sound masochistic but it was surprisingly fun. The normally vegetarian fish homed in on areas of dry skin, around heels and, particularly ticklish, the soles of your feet. But for a psoriasis sufferer, the fish target the plaques — areas of sore, red and thickened skin. The more benign beasts, the “lickers” (Nickname for Garra rufa obtusa), rarely exceed a couple of inches in length. They cruise their way along the surface of your skin, gently scraping off and munching loose skin flakes. Less gentle are the aptly named “strikers” (Nickname for Cyprinion macrostomus), who employ more of a hit-and-run mechanism. Very fast, they dart in, take a chunk out of you and swim off to enjoy their spoils at leisure.

Fish Spa

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, this removal of superfluous skin flakes aids sufferers because “it may help topical medications to penetrate, which is why some people may notice some improvement, but we are not aware of any other proven benefits”.

The psoriasis treatment regimen is not for the fainthearted. Twenty-one days of twice- daily, four-hour bathing sessions in the fish pools is prescribed, plus drinking 1.5 litres of spa water a day on an empty stomach. However, many of the guests saw a major improvement in their skin condition during the treatment. (For more detail, click here).

>>>


Balikli Kaplica Spa, Kangal, Sivas, Turkey.

Ambience
Accommodation is basic but clean — think 1970s youth hostel. The public areas in the hotel are smoke-filled, particularly the television room in the evenings, where Turkish guests meet to play cards and dominoes. Bring a DVD player, iPod and books.

Quality of experience
Good, although the fish spa pools are the only game in town, and the only “therapist” other than the fish is an onsite nurse who doesn’t speak English, although the manager can translate.

Food
Tasty local meals — lots of aubergine dishes, fresh tomato salads and local lamb.

In-crowd
The hotel caters for people who are willing to try anything to tackle their psoriasis. Repeat visitors come from all over the world.

Wallet watch
$22 (£12) a day full board, plus $50 a day for access to the pools.

Need to know
Turkish Airlines fly via Istanbul to Sivas on Fridays and Sundays: www.thy.com

Fish Spa

Fish spa can also be found in China. [Link]

(Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/destinations/turkey/article670696.ece)

http://edwindwianto.wordpress.com

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Turkey's first hotel for nudists welcomes foreign guests to bare all !

>> четвъртък, 29 април 2010 г.

Turkey's first hotel for nudists welcomes foreign guests to bare all !


Last updated at 11:36 AM on 26th April 2010

British holidaymakers in Turkey are being invited to shed their inhibitions and their swimming costumes with the launch of the country’s first naturist hotel.

Visitors to the Adaburnu-Golmar hotel on the country's Aegean coast, set to open on May 1st, will be able to work on full-body tans in the resort grounds and will also be able to take advantage of the hotel’s private nudist beach, a short drive away.

Bathers are pictured swimming at the Adaburnu-Golmar hotel

Guests will be able to dine 'au naturel' at beside the Turkish hotel's pool

Hotel guests will have to cover up indoors but can eat ‘au-naturel’ at the pool bar and outdoor dining terrace from 8am to 8pm.

The beach in front of the hotel, near the popular resorts of Marmaris and Bodrum, is a public area so off limits to nudists but the resort is offering guests the chance to sunbathe as nature intended on a private beach, located a 20-minute drive away.

"Nudism is allowed inside the hotel premises, but not on the nearby public beaches," Ahmet Cosar, bookings manager at the Adaburnu-Golmar hotel told local newspaper Milliyet.

The Adaburnu-Golmar hotel's private naturist beach

The hotel's private naturist beach is located on the Aegean coast and will be open exclusively to foreigners

The private naturist beach will be open exclusively to foreigners and the hotel will spare any blushes by providing a free shuttle bus to and from the beach.

Facilities at the 600-metre beach include sunbeds, umbrellas, showers and a beach bar serving cocktails and food.

Nude sunbathers will, however, have to share their beach with the goats and chickens that belong to the hotel owners.

Adaburnu-Golmar nudist hotel, Turkey
Nudists on a beach

Waterslides, a fitness centre and hamman are all in the offing at the Adaburnu-Golamr hotel plus a shuttle service to a nearby naturist beach

The hotel, which is near the town of Datca and bills itself as a ‘lovely new family-owned hotel’, opens on 1st May. Other facilities at the hotel include a large pool with waterslides, a Turkish hammam, a fitness centre, boules and table tennis.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk /


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A family quarrel !

>> сряда, 21 април 2010 г.

Turkey's president


A family quarrel !


Is Abdullah Gul ready to challenge Recep Tayyip Erdogan ?

Apr 15th 2010 | ANKARA | From The Economist print edition

 A Turk in his palace

THE elegant office of President Abdullah Gul says something about Turkey. Its bay window looks out over Ankara. On a wall hang landscapes by an Armenian Ottoman court artist, Ivan Aivasovsky. Under Mr Gul’s predecessor, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the window was walled in and the Aivasovskys rotted in the cellar. A dour former judge, Mr Sezer rarely travelled. Mr Gul completed his 61st foreign visit as president (to Oman) this week. Overtly pious, yet pro-Western and a free-marketeer, Mr Gul symbolises the new global ambitions of his country.

To most of the world Mr Gul is a moderate, who in five years as foreign minister balanced the excesses of his mercurial prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr Erdogan publicly sparred with Israel, but Mr Gul quietly lobbied Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Mr Erdogan stands for charisma, Mr Gul for common sense. But now an undeclared battle is brewing: Mr Erdogan is believed to covet the presidency, but Mr Gul wants to keep it.

One problem is that nobody, not even Mr Gul, seems to know when his term expires. “Do I have seven years or five years? I don’t know,” Mr Gul says. The trouble is that when parliament (dominated by Mr Erdogan’s mildly Islamist Justice and Development, or AK, party) elected Mr Gul to the job in 2007, it introduced changes to have the next president directly elected by voters for a renewable five-year term. The question is whether Mr Gul can benefit from this and run again; or whether he, like previous presidents, can serve only a single seven-year term and step down in 2014.

Legal opinion is divided, but politics will surely prevail. The Gul camp argues that the president is entitled to another term. Mr Erdogan’s allies disagree. “Mr Erdogan supported Mr Gul’s presidency. It’s his turn to make sacrifices for Mr Erdogan,” says a source close to the prime minister. A general election is due next year. Should AK win a third term, Mr Erdogan may be tempted to use the mandate to elevate himself into the presidency. Some believe that the AK’s latest attempts to reform the constitution, including measures to enhance the president’s powers, are tailored for Mr Erdogan to take the job. But what if Mr Gul decides to stand against him? That could split the party and even bring down the government.

The party faithful ridicule this idea. In Islamic tradition, they argue, the ambitions of any individual are set aside for the common good of the umma, or community. They may be right. Mr Gul and Mr Erdogan began their careers in Turkey’s Islamist movement and have been close for years. They co-founded AK and secured its first election victory, in 2002. Mr Gul was prime minister to start with, as Mr Erdogan could not take his parliamentary seat until March 2003, when he made Mr Gul foreign minister.

Differences between the two did not surface until 2007, when Mr Gul announced his bid for the presidency, apparently against Mr Erdogan’s wishes. The chief of staff, Yasar Buyukanit, promptly threatened a coup, on the grounds that Mr Gul’s wife, Hayrunissa, wears the Islamic headscarf (banned in state institutions), making her husband unfit to be president. Mr Erdogan then called a snap election, giving Mr Gul a platform to campaign for his presidency. When AK won again, with an even bigger share of the vote than in 2002, Mr Gul duly got the job.

This was a huge blow to the generals. Had Mr Gul not stuck to his guns, their views might have prevailed. Mr Gul’s mild demeanour disguises the steely will that first led him to rebel against Necmettin Erbakan, founder of Turkey’s political Islamists, who was ousted as prime minister in a “soft coup” in 1997. Although he does not have Mr Erdogan’s popular support, he retains influence inside AK. But will he keep it when Mr Erdogan draws up candidates’ lists for the next election?

Much may depend on the election result. Should AK do relatively badly, Mr Erdogan’s presidential ambitions will be squashed and Mr Gul might count himself lucky to have his seven years. What is clear is that, so long as Turkey’s opposition parties are ineffectual, the only serious challenges to AK come from within.


http://www.economist.com

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İsmail Aramaz has been posted to Sofia !

>> понеделник, 5 април 2010 г.

Foreign Ministry reshuffle promotes younger diplomats !

President Abdullah Gül has approved a decree reshuffling key ambassadorial posts at the Foreign Ministry, including postings to London, Moscow, Rome, Tel Aviv and Balkan capitals.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu personally telephoned the ambassadors subject to the reshuffle in order to let them know about their assignments and also spoke to their spouses and thanked them for their support.

According to the decree, Turkey’s Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oğuz Çelikkol, who was publicly humiliated by a senior Israeli official in January, has been posted back to Ankara. Çelikkol will be replaced Kerim Uras, a young diplomat with expertise on Cyprus affairs. Foreign Ministry sources said Çelikkol could be posted abroad in the next decree since the ministry has “a high opinion of him.”

The posting in Tel Aviv will be Uras’ first ambassadorship as the decree in general is a reflection of Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s approach of appointing younger diplomats to senior posts.

In a major reshuffling in August that included new appointments to 45 key positions, ambassadors who have served only one tour abroad dominated key diplomatic positions, including deputy undersecretary posts.

Ambassador Hüseyin Diriöz, currently the top foreign policy adviser to the Turkish president, has been posted to Rome. The outgoing ambassador in Rome, Ali Yakıtal, was last month recalled to Ankara in line with diplomatic protocol as he is the subject of an ongoing investigation over charges of “sexual harassment.”

Ambassador Aydın Sezgin, who is currently serving as the director general for intelligence at the Foreign Ministry and who is known for his expertise on the Armenian issue, has been posted to Moscow. This is also Sezgin’s first posting abroad as ambassador, although he served as Turkey’s consul general in Paris under the title of ambassador in the first half of this decade.

Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, the deputy undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry for the Caucasus and Central Asia, who has been closely involved in normalization efforts with Armenia, has been posted to London, replacing Ambassador Yiğit Alpogan.

Among those who have become ambassador for the first time with this decree is Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Özügergin, who has been posted to Zagreb at a time when Turkey’s focus on the Balkans affairs is intense.

İsmail Aramaz has been posted to Sofia, Ali Rıza Çolak to Belgrade and Gürol Sökmensüer to Skopje -- all of three have been appointed ambassador for the first time. Another young diplomat who will for the first time serve as ambassador is İnan Özyıldız, the current deputy director general for security affairs. Özyıldız has been posted to Beirut as Turkey’s former ambassador to Lebanon, Serdar Kılıç, was recently appointed the new secretary-general of the National Security Council (MGK), an institution that brings together top civilian and military officials. According to the decree, which will become official after being published in the Official Gazette, Ali Savut has been posted to Lisbon in order to replace Kaya Türkmen, who has been posted to Lefkoşa; Akın Algan to Tunisia; Murat Adalı to Jakarta; Nihat Civaner to Kinshasa; Ali Rıfat Köksal to Abuja; Lale Ülker to Astana; Tanju Sümer to Bern; and Aslı Üğdül to Senegal.

Ambassador Oğuz Demiralp, who was posted as ambassador to Bern in the summer of 2009, meanwhile, has been appointed as Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations office in Geneva.

05 April 2010,Monday
SÜLEYMAN KURT ANKARA

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Online Muslim sex shop in the Netherlands is all halal !

>> четвъртък, 1 април 2010 г.


From The Times

March 31,2010

Online Muslim sex shop in the Netherlands is all halal !

Roger Boyes,Berlin

It’s not quite the Kama Sutra or The Joy of Sex but it does offer a similar kind of assistance: the first online sex shop for the Islamic world has opened in the Netherlands.

But there is nothing sleazy about “El Asira” — “Society” in Arabic. Indeed, the website looks positively demure. The home page depicts a street divided by a line; women customers click on the left of the line, men on the right. Inside the shop — navigable in Arabic, English and Dutch — customers can shop for massage oils, cocoa butter lubricants and aphrodisiacs such as Pure Power, a capsule that claims to “heighten male performance, desire and pleasure”.

Whether these services will also heighten the pleasure of religious fundamentalists or Dutch Islamophobes remains to be seen. Tensions run high in the country of Geert Wilders, the far-Right politician who has denounced what he calls a “tsunami of Islamification” of the Netherlands; six years ago the film-maker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim for making a documentary about Muslim women.

The founder of the website has been careful to take religious advice and so far his business has been a hit. “We had 70,000 hits in the first four days,” said Abdelaziz Aouragh, a Dutch citizen born and raised in Amsterdam of Moroccan parents. His aim, he says, is to change the idea that Islam is in some way hostile to women.

“The image of women in the kitchen, submissive, dressed in a burka isn’t true,” he told the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. “There is a lot of love. Islam has a lot of respect for women. Our shop puts the woman at the centre of things.”

To be on the safe side, Mr Aouragh consulted Boularia Houari, who preaches in various Dutch mosques and gives lessons in the Koran. The imam told him: “It’s important in Islam that both men and women reach orgasm. If a woman is not satisfied, she will use impure methods such as masturbation or vibrators.”

Another imam, Abdul Jabbar, also said that there was no fundamental objection to selling sexual aids providing that they were not toys and were sold only to married couples.

It is unclear how the online shop will determine the marital status of its clients but it does make a big point of trying to treat sex with respect. All ingredients are halal, that is to say, permissible under Islam. None of the products displays naked people and there are no vibrators or pornography in stock. Even the mildly racey pink panties are said to be halal.

“We want to share with other Muslims in a positive way our contribution to a broader view of sexuality and eroticism within the Muslim community,” the website says. The shop seems set to stay online for the time being, unwilling to risk the wrath of more conservative clerics who warn of the corruption of morals of second-generation Muslim immigrants.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk /

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan

>> вторник, 30 март 2010 г.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Alle Artikel und Hintergründe

29.03.2010

SPIEGEL-Gespräch
"Von Völkermord kann keine Rede sein"
Ministerpräsident Erdogan: "Wir versuchen, das Land auf den  Stand der zeitgenössischen Zivilisation zu bringen"
Zur Großansicht
Agata Skowronek

Ministerpräsident Erdogan: "Wir versuchen, das Land auf den Stand der zeitgenössischen Zivilisation zu bringen"

Der türkische Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 56, über Ankaras Verhältnis zur EU, die Debatte um den Genozid an den Armeniern und seine Vermittlerrolle im Streit über Irans Atompolitik

SPIEGEL: Herr Ministerpräsident, Ihr Land bietet derzeit ein verwirrendes Bild. Es ist moderner und offener als vor Ihrem Amtsantritt, und es ist gleichzeitig frommer und islamischer. Wohin führen Sie die Türkei: nach Westen, nach Europa oder nach Osten?

Erdogan: Die Türkei hat sich in den vergangenen siebeneinhalb Jahren stark verändert und modernisiert. Wir nehmen, anders als die vorangegangenen Regierungen, den Republikgründer Atatürk beim Wort und versuchen, das Land auf den Stand der zeitgenössischen Zivilisation zu bringen. Dabei schauen wir in alle Himmelsrichtungen - wir wenden uns also nicht vom Osten ab, wenn wir nach Westen schauen. Wir sehen das als einen Prozess der Normalisierung.

SPIEGEL: Das Erste, was ein Besucher nach der Passkontrolle am Flughafen in Istanbul sieht, ist die riesige Alkoholabteilung eines Duty-free-Shops und ein Plakat, das für eine Ausstellung der freizügigen Arbeiten des späten Picasso wirbt. In der Mittelmeerstadt Alanya dagegen gibt es Hotels, an deren Stränden Männer und Frauen heute getrennt baden - was vor Jahren undenkbar war.

Erdogan: Was Sie bei Ihrer Ankunft am Flughafen gesehen haben, ist ein schöner Ausdruck von Freiheit. Was Sie aus Alanya erzählen, höre ich zum ersten Mal. Doch wenn es stimmt, dann ist auch das ein Beispiel von Freiheit. Der Besitzer eines solchen Hotels und seine Gäste nehmen ein Recht wahr, das wir respektieren müssen.

SPIEGEL: Diese Woche empfangen Sie Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, die nicht möchte, dass die Türkei auf absehbare Zeit der Europäischen Union beitritt. Was werden Sie ihr sagen?

Erdogan: Die Türkei hat 1959 ihren Antrag auf assoziierte Mitgliedschaft in der EWG gestellt. Das ist 51 Jahre her. Keinem anderen Land ist eine solche Prozedur zugemutet worden. Trotzdem waren wir geduldig. Heute aber sind wir kein Land mehr, das eine Mitgliedschaft in der EU nur anstrebt - wir verhandeln bereits um diese Vollmitgliedschaft. Wenn uns heute Vorschläge gemacht werden, die vom verabredeten Rahmen dieser Verhandlungen abweichen

SPIEGEL: Sie meinen die "privilegierte Partnerschaft", die Frau Merkel einer Vollmitgliedschaft der Türkei vorzieht.

Erdogan: dann ist das genauso abwegig, als wenn Sie mitten in einem Fußballspiel die Elfmeterregeln ändern würden.

SPIEGEL: Ihre Regierung versucht, die Türkei als eine neue Regionalmacht aufzubauen. Wozu brauchen Sie Europa überhaupt noch?

Erdogan: Es geht nicht darum, was wir brauchen, es geht um ein gegenseitiges Bedürfnis. Die Türkei ist keine Last für Europa, im Gegenteil: Sie nimmt der EU eine Last ab. Zusammen mit Spanien führen wir die Uno-Initiative "Allianz der Zivilisationen" gegen den Extremismus, davon profitiert Europa. Wir sind seit 1996 Mitglied der Zollunion, wir erfüllen die politischen Kriterien, die in Kopenhagen festgelegt wurden - ja, wir sind sogar näher daran, die ökonomischen Maastricht-Kriterien zu erfüllen als manche EU-Mitgliedstaaten. Ganz zu schweigen davon, dass wir Gründungsmitglied der OECD und seit 1952 in der Nato sind. Das macht uns zu einer Brücke zwischen dem Westen und 1,4 Milliarden Muslimen.

SPIEGEL: Die Türkei ist sehr selbstbewusst geworden - und Sie gelten als der einflussreichste Politiker, den das Land seit Atatürk hatte. Sehen Sie sich in der Rolle eines "Sultans", wie manche Anhänger aber auch Kritiker Sie bezeichnen?

Erdogan: Ich bin der Vorsitzende einer Volkspartei - und würde mich deshalb nie mit Atatürk vergleichen, jenem Mann, der die Republik gegründet hat. Ich habe keine Absicht, ein Padischah, ein Sultan, zu werden. Es reicht mir, wenn die Leute gut über mich sprechen.

SPIEGEL: Warum erkennt die moderne Türkei den Völkermord des Osmanischen Reichs an den Armeniern nicht an? Der Auswärtige Ausschuss des US-Repräsentantenhauses hat eine Resolution zu diesem Genozid gebilligt

Erdogan: Wenn ein Journalist das Wort Völkermord verwendet, dann sollte er vorher genau hinsehen. Von einem Völkermord an den Armeniern kann keine Rede sein, Völkermord ist ein juristischer Begriff. Ich habe 2005 dem damaligen Präsidenten Armeniens, Robert Kotscharjan, einen Brief geschrieben und ihm darin mitgeteilt, dass dies keine Angelegenheit für uns Politiker ist - sie muss von Historikern erforscht werden. In türkischen Archiven gibt es dazu Millionen Dokumente, mehr als eine Million davon wurden seither durchgesehen. Wenn es in Ihrem Land Archive gibt, schrieb ich Kotscharjan, dann machen Sie die zugänglich. Und wenn Historiker nicht ausreichen, dieses Thema zu klären, dann lasst uns Juristen daran beteiligen, Politikwissenschaftler, Archäologen.

SPIEGEL: Historikerkommissionen seien ein ideales Mittel, solch einen Streit endlos zu vertagen, sagen die Armenier. Und dass Politiker nicht von Völkermord sprechen sollen, sehen wir anders. Einer, der dieses Wort verwendet hat, ist der heutige amerikanische Präsident.

Erdogan: Wenn er dieses Wort benutzt hat, dann war das auch von ihm ein Fehler. Ein Wort wird nicht dadurch richtiger, dass es ein Präsident verwendet. Im Übrigen sind die USA in dieser Angelegenheit keine Partei. Amerika sitzt, wie die anderen Länder, in dieser Sache nur auf der Tribüne. Beteiligt sind nur wir und Armenien. Das ist unsere Geschichte. 1915 war die Türkische Republik noch nicht gegründet, es war die Zeit des Osmanischen Reichs, das damals mit Deutschland verbündet war.

SPIEGEL-Gespräch

"Von Völkermord kann keine Rede sein"

Ministerpräsident Erdogan: "Wir versuchen, das Land auf den  Stand der zeitgenössischen Zivilisation zu bringen"
Zur Großansicht
Agata Skowronek

Ministerpräsident Erdogan: "Wir versuchen, das Land auf den Stand der zeitgenössischen Zivilisation zu bringen"

2. Teil: "Es handelte sich um eine Schlacht"

SPIEGEL: Ist die Republik nicht der rechtliche Nachfolger des Osmanischen Reichs?

Erdogan: Die Türkei wurde zweifellos auf den Überresten des Osmanischen Reichs gegründet. Kein Volk kann seine Herkunft verleugnen; wer seine Herkunft verleugnet, versündigt sich. Wenn nach der historischen Aufarbeitung etwas Ernsthaftes ans Licht kommt, sind wir bereit, uns unserer Geschichte zu stellen. Aber es ist wichtig, dass auch die Armenier bereit sind, sich ihrer Geschichte zu stellen.

SPIEGEL: Welcher Geschichte sollen sich die Armenier in dieser Sache stellen?

Erdogan: Es handelte sich nicht um massenhaften Mord der einen an der anderen Seite, sondern um eine Schlacht. Dabei sind Türken gestorben ebenso wie Armenier, die treue Bürger des Osmanischen Reichs waren. Einige von ihnen wurden später aber vom Ausland gesteuert und erhoben sich zu einem Aufstand. Das muss man sehr genau untersuchen.

SPIEGEL: Warum haben Sie diese schwierige Debatte jetzt zusätzlich angeheizt und von einer möglichen Ausweisung aller illegal in der Türkei arbeitenden Armenier gesprochen?

Erdogan: Es stimmt mich traurig, dass Sie das so sehen. Ich habe davon gesprochen, was wir machen könnten. Wir haben jahrelang Armenier ohne Aufenthaltsgenehmigung geduldet. Dies müsse nicht immer so sein - mehr habe ich nicht gesagt. In aller Welt wird offen über das Problem illegaler Arbeiter diskutiert - wenn aber die Türkei eine solche Erklärung abgibt, fühlt man sich gestört. Warum?

SPIEGEL: Warum bestrafen Sie Armenier in der Türkei für Genozid-Resolutionen, die im Ausland verabschiedet werden - in den USA und zuletzt in Schweden?

Erdogan: Wer sagt denn, dass wir die Armenier dafür verantwortlich machen? Ich habe das nie behauptet. Vor einem Jahr haben wir einen Annäherungsprozess zwischen der Türkei und Armenien begonnen. Wir wollen unsere Beziehungen normalisieren. Und da fasst der Auswärtige Ausschuss im US-Kongress plötzlich auf Befehl der armenischen Diaspora einen Beschluss, der die Ereignisse von 1915 als Genozid bezeichnet. Das hilft niemandem. Wir wenden uns an die armenische Diaspora und jene Länder, die die Diaspora unterstützen: Es gibt in der Türkei Armenier, die Staatsbürger sind, und solche, die illegal in unserem Land leben. Bis heute haben wir die Frage der Ausweisung nicht in Betracht gezogen, aber wenn die Diaspora weiterhin Druck macht, könnten wir uns dazu imstande sehen.

SPIEGEL: Sie wehren sich gegen den Begriff Genozid, benutzen ihn selbst aber vielfach. Israel zum Beispiel werfen Sie einen Genozid im Gaza-Streifen vor. Sudans Staatspräsidenten Umar al-Baschir wiederum verteidigen Sie mit den Worten, ein Muslim könne gar keinen Genozid begehen. Sind Muslime etwa bessere Menschen als Juden oder Christen?

Erdogan: Sie reißen die Wörter völlig aus dem Zusammenhang. In diese Falle tappe ich nicht. Ich habe gesagt, dass man die Ereignisse in Gaza gewissermaßen als Genozid bezeichnen könnte: 1400 Menschen sind dort gestorben, viele durch Phosphormunition, mehr als 5000 Menschen wurden verletzt, 5000 Familien obdachlos.

SPIEGEL: Und im Fall des Sudan?

Erdogan: Da habe ich von einem Prinzip gesprochen. Ich bin Muslim. Aber ich habe meine Religion nie mit anderen Religionen verglichen. Ich habe gesagt, dass ein Muslim einen Völkermord, so wie ihn die Vereinten Nationen definieren, nicht begehen kann. Der Islam ist eine Religion des Friedens. Die Muslime glauben: Wer einen unschuldigen Menschen tötet, der handelt so, als hätte er die gesamte Menschheit getötet.

SPIEGEL: Zurzeit sitzt die Türkei als nicht-ständiges Mitglied im Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen, außerdem ist sie als jenes Land im Gespräch, über das ein Austausch von in Iran angereichertem Uran erfolgen könnte. Werden Sie Sanktionen gegen Teheran unterstützen? Die IAEA, die Internationale Atomenergiebehörde, hat Zweifel an der friedlichen Natur des Atomprogramms.

Erdogan: Das ist falsch. Die IAEA hat so etwas nicht festgestellt.

SPIEGEL: In ihrem letzten Bericht heißt es ausdrücklich, dass Teheran nicht hinreichend kooperiert hat, um eine nicht friedliche Nutzung auszuschließen.

Erdogan: Das sehe ich anders. Iran hat angeboten, sein angereichertes Uran ins Ausland zu bringen, im Gegenzug haben die Iraner nuklearen Brennstoff verlangt. Die Frage ist nun, wo dieser Tausch stattfinden soll. Der ehemalige IAEA-Direktor Mohamed ElBaradei schlug die Türkei dafür vor. Dem haben die Amerikaner zuerst nicht zugestimmt, dann waren sie einverstanden. Nun warten wir auf eine Antwort Irans. Iran schien diese Möglichkeit in Betracht zu ziehen, doch dann riss diese Verbindung ab.

SPIEGEL: Wenn sich Iran weigert, werden Sie dann Sanktionen unterstützen?

Erdogan: Wir müssen zuerst versuchen, eine diplomatische Lösung für das Problem zu finden. Schon mehrfach wurden Sanktionen gegen Iran beschlossen, aber was ist das Ergebnis? Gelangen jetzt etwa keine amerikanischen, keine deutschen Waren nach Iran? Auf indirektem Wege schon. Natürlich gibt es Mercedes in Iran. Es gibt Peugeot. Ich spreche gern offen. Ich hasse es, in der Politik Dinge zu verstecken. Was wir hier brauchen, ist: Diplomatie, Diplomatie, Diplomatie. Alles andere bedroht den globalen Frieden und bringt sonst gar nichts. Und haben diejenigen, die Druck ausüben, nicht selbst Atombomben? Die Türkei ist keine Atommacht, aber es gibt in dieser Region ein Land, das Atomwaffen besitzt.

SPIEGEL: Sie meinen Israel.

Erdogan: Iran hat zurzeit jedenfalls keine Atomwaffen. Wir sagen ganz klar: Wir möchten überhaupt keine Atomwaffen in unserer Region.

SPIEGEL: Haben Sie das Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad genau so zu verstehen gegeben?

Erdogan: Selbstverständlich. Ich spreche mit ihm genauso offen, wie ich mit Ihnen rede. In dieser Region möchten wir keine Atomwaffen.

SPIEGEL: Herr Ministerpräsident, wir danken Ihnen für dieses Gespräch.


Das SPIEGEL-Gespräch führten die Redakteure Daniel Steinvorth und Bernhard Zand.

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Ottoman dreaming !

>> петък, 26 март 2010 г.


Turkey and Africa !

Ottoman dreaming !

The Turks have new ambitions for trade and influence in Africa !

Mar 25th 2010 | KINSHASA AND YAOUNDE | From The Economist print edition

 Flying the Turkish flag in Africa

MBOMBO IBRAHIM MOUBARAK, an Islamic cleric who runs Cameroon’s Islamic humanitarian-assistance programme, has a dream. “Turkey must reclaim its mantle as leader of the Islamic world,” he said on March 17th, as Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish president to visit Cameroon and Congo. Mr Moubarak believes that Turkey’s brand of moderate Islam, which embraces Western-style democracy and the free market, offers a model for Africa’s Muslims. He sees nothing sinister about the mosques, madrassas and schools built, restored or run by Sunni Turks across the continent.

Mr Gul’s African expedition was more about finding new markets than new converts, which helps to explain the presence of some 140 Turkish businessmen in his entourage. The economic crisis has hit Turkey’s trade with the rest of Europe. So the “Anatolian tigers”—small-and medium-sized entrepreneurs from Turkey’s conservative heartland—are eyeing opportunities in Africa. And Africans are responding with enthusiasm. In Yaoundé your correspondent was approached in the loo of a five-star hotel by a Cameroonian lady saying “I want to sell timber to Turkey.”

The Turks in turn want to sell Africans a range of finished goods, from washing powder to jeans. Turkish contractors are angling to build airports, housing and dams. Turkish Airlines now has regular flights to Addis Ababa, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. Mehmet Buyukeksi, president of Turkey’s exporters’ association, says that Turkish exports to Africa have leapt from $1.5 billion in 2001 to over $10 billion in 2009. “We believe in the future of Africa,” he declares.

Turkey cannot hope to match up to the likes of China or India. Yet Mr Gul believes it has a competitive edge. “We have come here with a clean slate, with a humanist approach,” he says. In fact Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Sudan were all once part of the Ottoman empire. But farther south Turkey is on virgin turf. Locals often have bitter memories of rapacious Western colonialists and Arab slave traders. This is another reason why Turkish Islam has such appeal—and can be so good for business.

Ebubekir Keskin, a 37-year-old Turkish businessman who settled in Douala, Cameroon, three years ago, swaps Turkish-made pasta for local timber. He says his business model is based on alliances with local Muslims. “Being Muslim helps big time, soon we will overtake the Italians,” he boasts. His ambitions are bolstered by members of Turkey’s largest Islamic fraternity, led by a moderate Muslim cleric, Fetullah Gulen, who lives in America. Gulenists now run 60 schools in 30 African countries. Staffed by locals and Turks alike, the schools are patronised by the offspring of elites lured by Western standards of education (if not mandatory Turkish-language classes).

One day Turkey would like political clout in Africa as well. Its decision to declare 2005 “the year of Africa” was linked to its ambitions for a seat on the UN Security Council. It duly got one, with all but one African country voting in its favour. It has opened or plans 12 new embassies in Africa. Young African diplomats are being trained in Ankara. Scholarships to Turkish universities were doled out during Mr Gul’s latest trip.

Turkey’s desire to join the European Union can sometimes complicate its African ambitions. Faced with EU howls, it had to withdraw a recent invitation to Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur. Widespread abuses in other African countries that Turkey is wooing could yet cause further headaches.

Mr Gul is undaunted. “There are many people like us here, the Lebanese for example,” he notes. He might have added Armenians and Greeks too. But many of these are descendants of Christians who were killed or deported as the Ottoman empire collapsed, and went on to be big traders in provincial African towns. Unlike their fellow Africans, their feelings for Turkey may not be warm.

http://www.economist.com /


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