Obama Supporting Turkey’s “Tough Love Message” to Israel?


The New York Times and Bloggingheads ran this fascinating short clip of New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force Director Daniel Levy and Nuh Yilmaz, a Washington staff member of the Turkey-based SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research. (The longer exchange is embedded above).
Levy thinks Obama’s trip is validating of Turkey simultaneously furthering its role as a key strategic ally of Israel while at the same time expressing strong objections to the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territories.
Levy believes that this is the right balance — not putting Israel into an existentialist, defensive mode about all countries in the world but also having those countries tell Israel that its behavior with Palestinians is not only disgusting and a violation of human rights and territorial obligations but that this stance is undermining its long term security and eroding its relationships with allies.
Yilmaz also offered an interesting tidbit saying that while Obama is appropriately giving “a bear hug” to turkey — he should also squeeze turkey to abaondon its anti-semitism. .
Yilmaz also offered the interesting assertion that the way he sees it, George Mitchell’s view of the Israeli problem is closer to Turkey’s than any other country in the region.
Fascinating if true.
— Steve Clemons


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