Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Trouble With Reality

From Hurriyet Daily News:

Turkey urged Iran on Tuesday to take steps to defuse international concerns over its nuclear program, emphasizing its willingness to mediate between Tehran and world powers.

Iran needs to show goodwill and commitment to the international community to reduce concerns over its nuclear program, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in Tehran on Tuesday, adding that he had made some concrete proposals to the Iranians.

“We are continuing to work to stop unwanted developments that could hurt Iran, Turkey and our entire region. We are discussing new alternatives. We should work on reaching them together,” Davutoğlu told reporters at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

Davutoğlu arrived in Tehran late Monday and conducted high-level talks with Iranian officials Tuesday. He met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Secretary-General Said Jalili of the National Security Council before departing for Serbia in the late afternoon.

“There are some new concrete proposals made by us. We have conveyed our thoughts to the Iranians and I can tell you that I observed a very good atmosphere and response here,” said Davutoğlu in Tehran. The foreign minister said he would engage more and discuss Iranian responses with Western nations.
The Tehran conference Davutoglu attended is largely viewed as an attempt to counter the summit the Obama Administration organized in Washington two weeks ago. Turkey attended both summits, and again, the question is as it has been before: Does Turkey have the diplomatic clout to pull off a deal and appease both the West and Iran, and if it does not, what will failure do to its "zero problems" with neighbors policy? Turkey is in deep diplomatic waters here, risking much at a time when tensions continue to rise regardless. The trouble with reality is that sometimes it requires hard choices, and Turkey's policy toward Iran at the moment is seen by many as a test of just where the country will go in the future. I think this is more than a bit of an overstatement, but there are plenty of fixed eyes on Ankara waiting to see if Turkey can prove itself a bridge here. For a skeptical response by U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, click here. For recent commentary on Turkey's posturing, including Turkey's position on Israel and and its nuclear program, see Yigal Schleifer's post from a few days ago.

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