(24 June 2010)
As I pointed out in Today’s Zaman, “Turkey’s foreign minister [, Ahmed Davutoğlu,] is trying to shine a light on regions and areas previously located in the darkness beyond Turkish recognition and comprehension. A case in point would be Turkey’s recent rapprochement to Iran. Trade between the countries is at an all-time high. Last year, the oddly named periodical Journal of Turkish Weekly claimed that “Turkey and Iran set the goal of doubling their $10 billion in trade to $20 billion by 2011.” In addition, Turkey’s attempts to mediate between Washington and Tehran and the joint Turco-Brazilian proposal to resolve Iran’s nuclear fuel issue indicate that Davutoğlu’s pseudo-Ottoman aims go well beyond traditional Ottoman lines. One should not forget that under the Safavids (1501-1722), Iran represented the strongest challenge to Ottoman primacy in the Islamic world and was a source of constant enmity, rivalry and intermittent warfare”. But now, “Turkey is pursuing “zero problems with neighbors” and partners further afield, and is thereby bridging the East-West divide in deft pseudo-Ottoman fashion — even trying to get Iran involved in supplying the EU with energy security in the years to come”, even though the idea to involve Tehran in the Nabocco project has since been shelved by the shareholders.