Newsweek's Zakaria hails Turkey as emerging regional power
In a farewell column over the weekend, Fareed Zakaria, a Newsweek International editor and writer for 14 years, now moving to Time magazine, hailed Turkey's emergence as a key regional and global player. Stating that 20 years ago, Turkey was seen as a "basket-case" economy, dependent on US largesse, protected by the American security umbrella, and seeking needed approval from Europe and the West, Zakaria stressed the remarkable changes Turkey has experienced in recent years. "Now Turkey has a booming economy, has an increasingly confident democracy, and is a major regional power," he wrote. "It is growing faster than every European country, and its bonds are safer than those of many Southern European nations." He continued, "There has been much worry about the activities of countries like Brazil and Turkey, with many Americans arguing that the two countries have become troublemakers, cutting deals with Ahmadinejad and turning away from America. But we have to understand the dynamic that is altering the power status of these countries." Stating that Turkey's foreign policy is becoming not so much Islamic as reestablishing the sphere of influence the Ottoman Empire had for 400 years, Zakaria said, "Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s sophisticated president, explains that while Turkey remains resolutely a part of the West, it is increasingly influential in the Middle East, Central Asia, and beyond." He quoted Gul as saying in a recent interview in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly: "Turkey is becoming a source of inspiration for other countries in the region." Arguing that the newly rising powers of China, India and Brazil are right in insisting that they be more centrally involved in the structures of power and global decision-making, Zakaria urged those powers to step up to the plate and act as great powers with broad interests in global issues such as trade, energy and climate change.