Monday, February 28, 2011

Lessons of Arab awakening!

It is high time for the United States and its European allies to abandon policies of unconditionally supporting Israeli governments, to revitalize the peace process and work toward a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The need for Israeli governments to come to their senses has never been as urgent as it is today. Arab revolutions will inevitably help the Israeli people and the Jewish Diaspora at large to finally grasp that Israel’s security and wellbeing cannot be achieved without the same for the Palestinian people.
Turkey has surely played a role in the Arab awakening. There is no doubt that the Arab people are inspired by the Turkish example, which has shown the entire world that a Muslim-majority society can be both modern and democratic. No one can deny that policies pursued by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of establishing closer political, economic and cultural ties with the Arab people, as with all neighboring people, while taking a stand against atrocities and injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians, have helped Turkey to win the hearts and minds of the Arab masses.

The myth that Turkey under the AKP government has changed axis, and moved away from the West toward the Middle East, has also collapsed. The case is not Turkey moving closer to the Middle East, but the Middle East moving closer to Turkey. Sensible Americans and Europeans should well assess the contribution Turkey is making towards democratization in its region and also grasp the deceptive nature of arguments that claim Turkey under the AKP government is moving towards an authoritarian regime, put forward mainly by the neocon and Israeli lobby circles in the US. And for those European governments who want to exclude Turkey from European integration, developments in the Middle East seem to provide plenty of reasons to revise their positions.

The Arab awakening is inviting Turkey to also come to its senses. Turkey has to move further with reforms to consolidate democracy with European norms, not only for the sake of its own security and prosperity but to also for continuing to inspire its neighborhood. In this context it is imperative that the AKP government meets the democratic demands of its Kurdish citizens, and take all measures necessary to open the way for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down arms and take part in the democratic process. No one can stop Turkey from gaining greater hard and soft power when it reconciles with its Kurdish citizens.

Sahin Al Pay in Today's Zaman. More Here.

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