A report issued by the Washington Institute says Turkey has moved steadily away from its NATO allies and toward Iran, Russia and Syria.

The report, titled “The AKP’s Foreign Policy: The Misnomer of Neo-Ottomanism” and authored by senior researcher Soner Cagaptay, says Turkey’s new foreign policy – led by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP according to its Turkish initials – has come at the expense of Ankara’s relations with Israel, the European Union and the United States.

“Ankara will likely opt out of a NATO consensus on Iran, clash with the United States on how to handle Hamas and Hezbollah, and disagree with the EU and the U.S. on Russia,” the report said.

The report says Turkey has developed friendlier relations with Russia and the Islamic world than with the West. Mr. Cagaptay cited Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria as examples of Turkey’s growing ties in the Islamic world.

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“The AKP’s foreign policy has a weakness for Arab Islamists and their causes,” the report said. “The policy shows empathy towards Middle East Muslims and Islamists, though the same empathy is missing towards non-Muslims and non-Middle Eastern issues. Business deals play an important role in sustaining the stronger ties that Turkey is developing with Russia, the Persian Gulf states, Sudan and Iran.”

At the same time, Turkey refused to support Georgia during its brief war with Russia in 2008. The report said Turkey has also ignored its Central Asian neighbors, such as Azerbaijan and Georgia, to focus on relations with Russia.

Mr. Cagaptay wrote AKP, most of whose leaders speak Arabic and were educated in Muslim schools, has divided the world in religious blocs – either Christian or Muslim. AKP, which won power in 2002 and dominates parliament, has avoided criticism of Iran’s nuclear program while maintaining ties with Tehran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah.

“It [AKP] is pro-Hamas, pro-Syria, pro-Hezbollah, pro-Qatar, pro-Saudi,” the report said. “The AKP views the world as composed of religious blocs, and this disposition colors its views of the Middle East and the world.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.