Turkey Steps Out

ANKARA — Davutogluism is a mouthful. It’s not going to make Fox News anytime soon. But if I could escort Sarah Palin, Tea Partiers and a few bigoted anti-Muslim Europeans to a single country illustrating how the world has changed, it would be the home of the D-word, Turkey.

Ahmet Davutoglu, who birthed a foreign policy doctrine and has been Turkey’s foreign minister since May 2009, has irked a lot of Americans. He’s seen as the man behind Turkey’s “turning East,” as Iran’s friend, as Israel’s foe, as a fickle NATO ally wary of a proposed new missile shield, and as the wily architect of Turkey’s new darling status with Arab states. The Obama administration has said it is “disappointed” in Turkey’s no vote on Iran sanctions last June; Congress is not pleased, holding up an ambassadorial appointment and huffing over arms sales.

When I asked Davutoglu about the visit last week of Stuart Levey, a senior Treasury department official, to Ankara to talk about Iran sanctions, he bristled: “We don’t need any advice,” he told me. “We are a responsible country of the U.N. system and a member of the U.N. Security Council. We voted no. That is our decision. We have no need to be told by anyone, we will implement the U.N. Security Council resolution. But as for unilateral resolutions — American or European — we will look at our own national interest. Is it wrong to have strong economic relations with neighbors?”


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