Saturday, May 15 2004 @ 04:26 PM MSD
|By Nuray Basaran|
“British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s visit to Turkey will come at a very important time. Britain is certainly still one of the most influential actors in international relations.
This visit should be seen through the lens of discussions on the European Union’s Constitution, a looming possible decision on a NATO role in the Middle East and Iraq, the fallout from the photos of torture in Iraqi prisons, and Britain’s role.
Britain is one of the key countries paving the way for Turkey’s EU accession talks, but unfortunately it’s not on the front lines. Its efforts to put the Iraq coalition under a NATO umbrella are not limited to Blair. Britain, like the US, isn’t ready to consider an Iraq exit strategy and so is planning to take an extensive role in Iraq’s reconstruction. Will Britain, with its historical experience of a presence on Arab soil, be able to achieve more success than the US? Britain’s place in our own history and politics was always unique. It had influential trade platforms and an important role behind the scenes in revolts against the Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s position and approach to regional issues is the most important concern for Britain now.
Thing are changing in Iraq nowadays. The instability in southern Iraq has spread to the north. That means that the security of the Kurds is also threatened. Turkmen are also being threatened by Arabs. Anger in the country is on the rise as the June 30 sovereignty handover and the NATO summit near. Britain has important, dangerous and risky ideas that also include opportunities for Turkey, and sees it as a powerful partner in the region. What kind of a plan does Turkey have for the meetings next month, which could determine our country’s destiny? ”