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News week international examines Turkey's new assertive foreign policy

News week international examines Turkey's new assertive foreign policy

Turkey is "remaking itself as the center of the politics and economics of its own region," according to a top story in Newsweek international magazine's current issue, and while it was once "an unquestioning US ally, and at odds with most of its neighbors, Turkey is now forging a new foreign policy, with itself at the very center." Stressing the error in seeing Turkey as establishing an alliance with the Muslim world, reporter Owen Matthews wrote, "It's a mistake to see Turkey as being 'with' the EU and US, or 'with' the Muslim world or Russia. All are parts of a new, strongly Turkey-centered policy that rests on its geography and economic position. In practice that means that while Europe remains Turkey's top foreign-policy priority, it's not the only one." Arguing that Turkey's interests occasionally come into conflict with those of the US, NATO and Europe, the story continued: "Turkey has long been seen as having 'strong muscles, a weak stomach, a troubled heart, and a mediocre brain,' says (Foreign Minister Ahmet) Davutoglu, referring to Ankara's history of lashing out at neighbors and making piecemeal alliances. Now it is time for Turkey to 'be European in Europe and Eastern in the East, because we are both'." Dismissing analysts who claim that the US can no longer trust Turkey, the article said, "Ankara's newly assertive view is that Turkey remains an ally of the US – except it is also increasingly willing and able to push its own agenda if it believes its security would be endangered by following Washington's line." On Turkey's European Union accession bid, it said, "(D)espite the fact that Germany and France continue to pour cold water on Turkish EU hopes, Ankara has pressed on with deep, lasting, EU-inspired reforms," and cited the government's major constitutional reform package set for a referendum in September as evidence of Turkey's determination. Turkish leaders know that they cannot start to work on key issues with the EU without a major overhaul of the Constitution, it said, adding that whatever the motives behind the package, it will bring Turkey one step closer to the EU, whether the Union wants it or not.

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