Monday, September 24, 2012

Erdogan's wish list: 'Regime change in Damascus & Baghdad ... & an Israeli 'apology'!'

"... Ankara's expectations for Obama are quite high.The first issue is indeed Syria. Ankara believes that Obama will develop a more effective Syria strategy. More than wish, .... Some believe that President Obama, after an election victory, will go as far as unilateral action for regime change in Syria. Some in Ankara believe the US will at least help Turkey create some sort of security zone in northern Syria. Expectations vary, but there is one clear point: Ankara's first demand from Obama in his second term is to revisit the American position on Syria.
The second expectation concerns Turkish-Israeli relations. Many in Ankara believe that Obama will be more critical of Tel Aviv in his second term, a view also shared by many in Israel. ...Ankara expects that the new Obama administration will put pressure on Israel to offer an apology expeditiously.
The third expectation relates to military matters, in particular to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In this area, it is vital for Turkey to obtain more sophisticated technical support from the US. Ankara's particular demand is for US-made Predators that would help Turkey overcome its intelligence deficit in its struggle with the PKK. Similarly, serious military reform is needed, as there has been no substantive technological purchase in the last 10 years. Turkey is without even the necessary number of Cobra helicopters. Ankara knows very well that its military arsenal is far more limited than is ideal for protecting Turkey's image in the region.
Fourth, Ankara wants Obama to continue its support for Islamic actors in the Middle East. It is Ankara's priority to sustain the legitimate participation of Islamic actors in the political game. Egypt's elections bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to government is a typical example. But Ankara takes the same position in other cases, including that of Palestinian Hamas.
Finally, Ankara hopes that Obama will help Turkey oust Nouri al-Maliki from office in Baghdad. For Ankara, Maliki has become the biggest structural threat to Turkey's regional position. Therefore, Ankara has already declared that purging Maliki from politics is a main goal of Turkish foreign policy. As in the Syrian case, Ankara believes that the US has not done much to engage in Iraqi politics. Many in Ankara even believe that it is the tacit support of Washington that has kept Maliki in office...."

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