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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Steve Kinzer’s Reset is a bold exercise in re-imagining the United States’ big links in the Middle East. His essential question is: what if Turkey and Iran, of all nations, are to be Americas critical partners in stabilizing the region — not Saudi Arabia and Israel? He says that Iran to the Middle East is what Germany is to Europe. Without Germany there is no peace in Europe – without Iran there is no Peace in the Middle East.

What about a Brazil-Turkey-Iran triangle on a nuclear-fuel deal? What does actually Turkey want? What about these last two weeks and Turkey having established itself as leader of the Islamic world pro-tempore – because of the vacuum in Arab leadership?

The full name of the newly released book is: “RESET: IRAN, TURKEY AND AMERICA’S FUTURE” and its author presented it at the Baruch College of the City University of New York. The evening was co-sponsored by the Light Millennium organization and The American Turkish Society and my feeling was that both those organizations were just as bewildered as anyone else of the changes in Turkey these last few years. www.lightmillennium.org is connected to the Department of Public Information (DPI) at the UN. Also a puzzlement.

The US has quite neglected Turkey besides pushing for its incorporation into the EU; the truth is that in the last two weeks there was more attention paid to Turkey in the US then in all of the history of the US.

Kinzer says that in both, Turkey and Iran, there is an understanding among the people of elections and parliament, as they had years time to assimilate the concept of democracy, this as an internal matter, and not as the result of an imposition by a foreign army. He sees opportunities to work with the UN when looking at the situation on the ground, and understanding the shift of Turkey away from its previous cooperation with Israel and Saudi Arabia and the sometimes half-legal activities when these countries were used by a US Administration to effect something that they could not get through US Congress.

In the Q&A time I was able to help try to focus the attention on the latest upheavals and my feeling that these can actually lead to the Reset not so much for Washington but actually for Turkey and the Middle East in General.

As we pointed out in the past, Turkey’s attempt to enter the EU was unrealistic for many reasons – not the least from a position that looks at what are the real interests and the forte of Turkey itself.

Turkey was trying to join what it thought were the Lions of Europe, but neither does Europe have lions anymore, nor did they want Turkey in their midst. While chasing after Europe, Turkey missed out on becoming the natural leader of the newly independent five, mainly Turkic States of Central Asia. Now Turkey is RESETTING by stretching out hands to the Arab World, to Iran and even Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Turkey is a late-comer so it thought to do some pyrotechnics in order to create the credibility for its move.

I mentioned my having come to Baruch College after viewing the movie that was supposed to convince people at the UN that slingshots, crow bars and batons used in face-to-face battle, as used on the Mari Marmara ship of the coast of Gaza, are regular equipment of civilians. So, this was a Turkish organized effort for Turkish policy reasons.

Having established through this flotilla business its in-good-standing credentials with the Muslim world, the real question is to what purpose they will be using these credentials now. To turn this into a question to Mr. Kinzer, I asked him what does he wish Turkey to do in two weeks from now.

His answer was as I expected – Turkey can deescalate now, get off the wrong horse as winner, and start lead in positive directions as the Arab countries of the Middle East and also Iran, could now let them handle the path of search for solutions.

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