Saudi FM: "Now Turkey is the healthy man of Europe"
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal yesterday hailed Turkey as "the healthy man" of Europe, reversing the "sick man of Europe" label of the twilight Ottoman Empire by Western powers. Meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on the sidelines of the 65th session of UN General Assembly, al-Faisal praised Turkey's active foreign policy of recent years, saying that its vigorous economy and democracy have helped make it a regional power. During their meeting, Davutoglu and al-Faisal discussed a number of issues of common concern, such as the Middle East peace talks, Iraq, and Lebanon. Davutoglu also held bilateral talks with his Chinese, Pakistani, African, Ecuadoran, and Bahraini counterparts. He also attended a working lunch with his counterparts from Turkic-speaking countries, and a reception hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In related news, on Sunday Britain's Financial Times published a news analysis by David Gardner, its international affairs editor, criticizing European Union policy towards Turkey as a "notable failure." He wrote, "Though the route to Turkish accession to the EU is blocked by French and German objections as well as (Greek) Cypriot filibustering, there has been little effort to co-ordinate foreign policy with Turkey, which has re-emerged as a confident regional power in areas of vital interest to the EU, from the Balkans to the Middle East." In a related story, the new 2010 Global Outlook Surveys conducted by the Chicago Global Relations Council found that 69 percent of the US public isn't uncomfortable about Turkey emerging as independent from US influence. One in 10 Americans surveyed called Turkey a very important country, while 42 percent recognized it as at least important. According to the survey, Turkey is number 17 on the list of the most important countries for the US. Strikingly, it also found that Americans believe Turkey and Brazil will continue carving a place for themselves among major world powers in the years to come. An overwhelming majority of the US public, 82 percent, opposes a military attack on Iran, the survey found, and instead favors more economic sanctions (41 percent) or diplomatic engagement (33 percent).