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Archive for the ‘Somalia’ Category

And Yet Another U.S. Air Strike: Somalia, 1 September 2014

‘ U.S. attack targeted senior leaders of Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, officials say. CNN’s Elise Labott reports (2 Sept 2014)’.

The news agency AFP reports that “US military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, the government said Tuesday [, 2 September 2014], claiming ‘casualties’ but with no details if the main target was killed” . . . and the target might very well have been Abu-Zubayr . . . “Abu-Zubayr is the often used name [or kunya] for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives. The Pentagon have confirmed an ‘operation’ was carried out”.[1]

The AFP report continues that the ” air strike on Monday [, 1 September] comes days after African Union troops and government forces launched a fresh offensive against Shebab strongholds aimed at seizing key ports, and cutting off an important source of revenue for the Islamist rebels. Shebab fighters have largely fled in the face of the offensive that began Friday [, 29 August], and [Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region] said the air strike was targeting Shebab commanders as they gathered for a meeting . . . Nur said the strike hit a Shebab hideout used as a training camp for suicide bombers, in remote villages of the Lower Shabelle region, south of the capital. Godane, 37, who was reportedly trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban, took over the leadership of the Shebab in 2008 after then chief Adan Hashi Ayro was killed by a US missile attack. Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has recognised Godane as the head of the ‘mujahedeen’ in East Africa, although letters released after Osama bin Laden’s death show the late Saudi Islamist leader had lower regard for the Somali’s abilities. He is included in a third category of men on whom information warrants a $7-million reward, alongside Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader, but under the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, for whom a tip is worth up to $10 million, and Zawahiri, who fetches $25 million. The Shebab are fighting to topple Somalia’s internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighbouring countries that contribute to the AU force. On Sunday [, 31 August], the Shebab carried out a car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in the capital Mogadishu”.[2]



[1] “US air strike in Somalia targeting Shebab leader: government” AFP (02 Sept 2014). http://news.msn.com/world/us-air-strike-in-somalia-targeting-shebab-leader-government.

[2] “US air strike in Somalia targeting Shebab leader: government”.

Dirty Wars Trailer: JSOC in Action

It has been quite a few years now since Jeremy Scahill told the world about Blackwater and its nefarious actions, but now he is set to be back on people’s minds bothering administrations in an attempt to bring truth to the people: Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. Part political thriller and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time (29 November 2013).

The freelance journalist and researcher Dawn Paley tells us that “Scahill’s latest book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield [, released on 23 April] . . .  is a valuable volume for those wishing to better understand how current and past events in Mexico and Central and South America connect to the so-called war on terror. A must-read for anyone wanting to learn more about the US drone wars and targeted kill programs, Dirty Wars is a bit slow going off the top, but before long, Scahill introduces compelling characters and provides readers with access to entire families who have been adversely impacted by US war policies in Yemen and elsewhere. Dirty Wars also contains a number of items of specific interest to folks whose interests lie south of the US border. Using carefully gathered evidence, Dirty Wars makes it clear that American military campaigns do little more than exacerbate existing situations. Sadly, this is as true in the Western hemisphere as it is in the Middle East. Scahill carefully documents how the militaristic approach taken by the US government towards perceived terror threats in Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere has served to drive up the influence of local armed groups”.[1]

As such, Scahill wants to create a new meaning for the term ‘dirty wars’, which has been in use since the seventies to describe “state repression against political opponents, trade unionists and civilians in the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia)”,[ii] as Paley reminds us. Scahill’s Dirty Wars clearly refer to what is happening today, as the U.S. is flexing its covert military muscle. On the film’s dedicated website this can be read: “Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill stumbles upon a US night raid gone badly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan, where a witness swears to having seen American soldiers digging bullets out of the bodies of pregnant dead women. Scahill’s investigation leads him to unravel the secret manoeuvres of the shadowy and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as he is drawn into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and may never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix, and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for Obama’s “kill list,” including US citizens. From Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia, as well as back home in New York where he tries to piece the puzzle together, Scahill meets with Special Forces operators, military generals and US-backed warlords who go on camera and on the record—some for the first time. He tracks down the survivors of targeted assassinations and drone strikes, including the family of the first American citizen being hunted by his own government. Described as “a mystery thriller as compelling as any feature film” by The Huffington Post, Dirty Wars is also a New York Times Bestselling book (Serpent’s Tail publishers) by Jeremy Scahill on the same topic, exhaustively researched and footnoted”.[3]

[1] Dawn Paley, “Scahill’s ‘Dirty Wars’ Offers Lessons for Latin America” Upside Down World (10 July 2013). http://upsidedownworld.org/main/international-archives-60/4370-scahills-dirty-wars-offers-lessons-for-latin-america.

[2] Dawn Paley, “Scahill’s ‘Dirty Wars’ Offers Lessons for Latin America”.

[3] “FILM SYNOPSIS” Dirty Wars. http://dirtywars.org/blog.

Drone Wars

Drone warfare has increased dramatically since 2008 and there are over 60 bases across the globe engaging in a US drone missions. US drones are currently deployed in the skies of over 14 different countries, some for surveillance and others for attacking ground targets. The area of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, known as Waziristan is the locus of much of the drone operations. But are these weapons keeping us safe, or do they just incite further terrorist attacks? And is their use a violation of the Geneva Conventions?




As a bonus, here is Al Jazeera’s People & Power talking about the Attack of the Drones: The US government’s growing reliance on aerial drones to pursue its war on al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere is proving controversial. As governments are increasingly relying on drones, what are the consequences for civil liberties and the future of war? (18 July 2012).

Ethiopia: Somali Refugees Flee Fighting and Famine

‘Somalian refugees flee famine and fighting as the civil war continues against the government and al-Qaeda allies Al-Shabab. Kenyan troops increased involvement in the Somali conflict have virtually blocked off all escape routes from Somaliainto neighboring Kenya. As a result, Somalis have fled to Ethiopian refugee camps. Pulitzer Center Grantee Fred de Sam Lazaro discusses the reality of these overcrowded refugee camps on a segment for PBS NewsHour. Ethiopian border post Dolo Ado sees 400 new refugees a day, averaging a total of 135,000 refugees in the refugee camp so far. While aid organizations like the UN World Food Program provide resources to maintain the refugee camps, they will soon run out of funding. Doctors Without Borders Dr. Benjamin Levy states malnutrition is the systemic problem in these refugee camps. Levy believes that without food and funding from outside aid organizations, this problem will only persist’ (13 June 2012).

Fred de Sam Lazaro explains further that the “influx [of refugees into Ethiopia] has doubled from September to October [2011] at the remote Somalia-Ethiopia border post of Dolo Ado. More than 400 people, mostly women and children arrive each day, their needs triaged first by the aid group Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym, MSF. Many land next in the group’s emergency feeding center to rebuild bodies withered by days-long treks in blistering daytime heat and nights in the open. Settlement comes next, into four major camps that have been set up in this sprawling arid landscape. A fifth camp is under construction. For aid providers there are myriad concerns and imminent threats: sustaining food and physical security and the donations that are needed to sustain this growing population, now estimated at 135,000. And MSF physician Benjamin Levy isn’t sure he’s seen the end of the influx. Many Somalis, terrified and paralyzed by the conflict, may simply be waiting for the fighting to subside to escape from their drought-stricken homeland. ‘The situation is absolutely far from resolved’, he said. Even the advent of long-awaited rains is a decidedly mixed blessing because they raise the threat of disease outbreaks in a population physically battered by the ordeal to get to the camps”.[1]

[1] Fred de Sam Lazaro, “Ethiopia: Somali Refugees Flee Fighting and Famine” Pulitzer Center. http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/ethiopia-famine-somali-refugees-drought-al-shabab.

Turkey in Somalia as a Counter to Growing Iranian Influence???

As I wrote many months ago, ‘[o]ver the past months Turkey has tried to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, between Iran and the rest of the world, between Syria and Israel, and following the outbreak of the Arab Awakening, the state founded by Mustafa Kemal was quick to present itself as a future role-model for Arab nation states yearning for freedom and democracy . . . Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria have all continued their course without taking any account of the Turkish road to prosperity, so that the Turkish humanitarian intervention in the Horn of Africa might just prove to do the trick and turn Turkey into an international player of some importance’.[1]  And now the pan-Arab, international broadcaster Al Jazeera picks up on Turkey’s new pseudo-Ottoman overtures in Africa: ‘Turkey has been showing unparalleled interest in Somalia, starting with a visit from Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, in August last year. Al Jazeera‘s Nazanine Moshiri takes a look’.

China’s presence in Africa is well known, but as Miss Moshiri points out, Iran has also displayed an interest in the Black Continent, as illustrated by the former Pentagon official and current resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Michael Rubin: ‘On January 29, 2008, [Iran’s Foreign Minister] Mottaki declared that this year would mark a “milestone in Iran-Africa ties.” Three days later, while attending the Africa Union summit in Addis Ababa, Mottaki announced that Iran would soon host a summit of African foreign ministers in Tehran. The traditional pattern in which Iranian actions fail to live up to diplomatic rhetoric also appears to be changing in Africa, with Tehran developing strong partnerships with a number of states. The Islamic Republic has forged particularly strong ties with Senegal, once a Cold War ally of the United States but now quietly turning into West Africa’s Venezuela. President Abdoulaye Wade has traveled twice to Tehran to meet with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, first in 2006 and again in 2008. During his most recent visit, he provided a backdrop for Khamenei to declare that developing unity between Islamic countries like Senegal and Iran can weaken “the great powers” like the United States. It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a rhetorical flourish: on January 27, 2008, a week after Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio announced that he, too, would visit Tehran, Minister of Armed Forces Becaye Diop met with his Iranian counterpart to discuss expanding bilateral defense ties between the two states.Senior Iranian officials have returned the visits. On July 22, 2007, judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi and government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham –among the closest confidantes of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, respectively– departed for Dakar, where they met Wade and Senegalese prime minister Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré. Shahroudi declared, “We believe it is our duty to expand ties with Islamic countries and use the capabilities and potentials [sic] of Muslim states to help the growth and spread of Islam.” On March 12, 2008, Ahmadinejad left for a visit to the West African state. While the Iranian leadership might be most interested in expanding a Muslim bloc –especially one that might supplant the influence of Sunni Arab states– the Senegalese leadership seems most interested in immediate economic benefits. “Energy, Oil Prospecting, Industry: Senegal Benefits from Iranian Solutions,” a headline in the official government newspaper declared after Wade’s first visit to Tehran. After the reciprocal Iranian visit, Wade announced that Iran would build an oil refinery, a chemical plant, and an $80 million car assembly plant in the West African nation. Within weeks, Samuel Sarr, Senegal’s energy minister, visited Tehran and returned with a pledge that Iran would supply Senegal with oil for a year and purchase a 34 percent stake in Senegal’s oil refinery. Such aid probably came with strings attached. On November 25, 2007, during the third meeting of the Iran-Senegal joint economic commission, Wade endorsed Iran’s nuclear program. Senegal is not alone among those countries Tehran is cultivating. While Iranian officials trumpet Islam during meetings with Muslim officials, the Islamic Republic is willing to embrace any African state –Muslim or not– that finds itself estranged from the West in general and the United States in particular. Here, Sudan and Zimbabwe especially have been beneficiaries. Both European governments and Washington have sought to isolate Sudan for what many international human rights groups deem genocide in Darfur. As the international community sought to tighten diplomatic sanctions on Khartoum, Ahmadinejad moved to embrace Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Ahmadinejad was forthright: Iranian-Sudanese ties should be built around the understanding that both governments would defend each other in international settings. [In March 2008] Iran’s defense minister visited Khartoum and called the African state “the cornerstone” of the Islamic Republic’s Africa policies. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime president, has been as poisonous for his country as Bashir has been for Sudan. Mugabe’s government demonizes racial and ethnic minorities, and his economic policies have forced the breadbasket of southern Africa to face famine. But as the international community has isolated Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, Tehran has reached out to fill the gap. Iranian politicians may speak of their commitment to social justice, but their crass indifference to social issues and public health and well-being are on display as they work to transform Africa’s most brutal dictatorship into a pillar of Iranian influence in Africa. Mottaki initiated outreach to Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2006. The two countries pledged uniformity of policy. At a Tehran press conference in November of that year, Mugabe said, “Iran and Zimbabwe think alike and have been described [as belonging to] the ‘Axis of Evil.’ . . . Those countries that think alike should come together.” In subsequent days, the two countries signed deals to boost energy cooperation, restart Zimbabwe’s defunct oil refinery, and underwrite agricultural policies that have left the southern African nation on the brink of famine. The Iranian ambassador in Harare pledged to help Mugabe repel sanctions’.[2]  In other words, Turkey seems to have its work cut out . . .

[1] “Pseudo-Ottoman Overtures: Turkey as Champion of the Third World” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (19 August 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/pseudo-ottoman-overtures-turkey-as-champion-of-the-third-world/.

[2] Michael Rubin, “Iran’s Global Ambition” AEI Middle Eastern Outlook (17 March 2008). http://www.meforum.org/1873/irans-global-ambition.

Fear and Paranoia: London Conference on Somalia


In the great tradition established by Bush, Jr. the British Prime Minister David Cameron has now issued a warning, insinuating that the UK’s domestic security is at risk from Somali militants. Hyperbole and fear-mongering at its finest, and for good measure the name of that that “catch-all ghost entity” has once again been drummed up to garner support. It seems that Cameron is trying to construct a parallel with Afghanistan, as a way of securing the voting public continuing support, in a fashion similar to Bush’s high popularity ratings in the aftermath of 9/11 and the opening months of the invasion of the Hindu Kush. Will his stratagem work and will the British public be lured into voting Tory again next time around???  The BBC remarks that ‘British Prime Minister David Cameron has told the BBC that radical jihadist islamism in Somalia remains his biggest concern about the country. In an interview with BBC Somali Service editor Yusuf Garaad Omar, Mr Cameron said the international security threat from al-Shabab, which controls large areas of Somalia, is real and substantial. The British government is hosting an international conference on Somalia in London on Thursday [, 23 February] to discuss strategies to tackle the security situation, piracy and aid for Somalia. The conference will be attended by more than 40 political leaders from Africa, the Middle East and other countries’.[1]

The Telegraph’s Damien McElroy informs us that “Britain is to spend £20 million on a new civilian rapid reaction force to secure parts of Somalia wrested from the control of the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab”, once the AU forces have left the country”.[2] Thus, one could argue that Cameron felt compelled to up the ante and sharpen his rhetoric so as to justify this extravagant-looking expenditure to a austerity-struck home public. Like Bush kept on saying that America was battling the terrorists in Iraq, rather than at home in the U.S., Cameron now employs a similar figure of speech to convince his critics that spending millions of Pounds on yet another foreign war is not just justified but necessary to keep Britain safe. The Foreign Secretary William Hague supports the words of his boss: “We want to help Somalis find longer-term political solutions, and a key part of tomorrow will be capitalising on recent security progress on the ground. We can make a huge difference if we get this right”.[3]  Cameron and Hague imply that this £20 million spent on weapons constitutes yet another humanitarian intervention that will secure the West, while immobilizing the threat of radical Islam. Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab have become the latest configuration of evil now that the Taliban are seen as a necessary evil in the Hindu Kush and Al Qaeda elements are primarily conspicuous in their absence in the Af-Pak theatre. Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, has also been mobilized to present another Islamic threat, necessary for the continuation of the never-ending War-on-Terror. Will the Af-Pak theatre now be replaced by the Somali-Yemen axis as the locus for the West’s military interventionism???  Making his point abundantly clear, David Cameron told the BBC Somali service Al Shabaab “encourages violent jihad not just in Somalia but also outside Somalia. And there is a very real danger of young British Somalis having their minds poisoned by this organisation. So there is a terrorist threat that is current today, and if we are not careful, could get worse”.[4]

David Cameron has now ensured that Britain will stay the course on the ever-lasting War-on-Terror, but other world leaders are also attending the London Conference on Thursday, 23 February. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, and representatives of the World Bank, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as many others will be present too in London. It seems that a number of Yemenis will be able to attend: the ‘Foreign Minister Abu Baker al-Qirbi, who will represents Yemen in the conference, said the conference will discuss the Somali case and its security and political implications on the Horn of Africa and the world in general. The discussions will be based on seven headings: Security, Political Process, Local Stability, Counter-Terrorism, Humanitarian, and International Coordination, according to Al-Qiribi. Senior representatives from over 40 governments and multi-lateral organizations will come together in London with the aim of delivering a new international approach to Somalia. They will discuss how the international community can step-up its efforts to tackle both the root causes and effects of the problems in the country’, as reported by the Yemen Post.[5]

But not just Yemen, also Turkey – which now sees itself as the pseudo-Ottoman champion of the Third World, as clearly evidenced by the charity campaign organized by the Diyanet during last Ramazan – is present at the London conference. In fact, Turkey’s wily Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu abandons an unofficial meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Mexico to be present at the Somalia Conference. David Cameron thus calls upon the international community to endorse his bold moves to perpetuate the never-ending War-on-Terror. The conference organizers have released this statement, already echoed by the Yemen Post higher: ‘The international community hopes to agree a series of practical measures which will be published in the form of a communiqué at the end of the conference. Discussion will be arranged under seven headings:

Security: sustainable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and support for Somali security and justice sectors. Political Process: agreement to what should succeed the transitional institutions in Mogadishu in August 2012 and the establishment of a Joint Financial Management Board. Local Stability: a coordinated international package of support to Somalia’s regions. Counter-terrorism: renewed commitment to tackle collectively the terrorist threat emanating from Somalia. Piracy: breaking the piracy business model. Humanitarian: renewed commitment to tackling Somalia’s humanitarian crisis. International coordination: agreement on improved international handling of Somalia issues’.[6]

[1] “Cameron on hopes for Somalia conference” BBC News (2 Feb 2012). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17122583.

[2] Damien McElroy, “Britain to spend £20 million on new rapid reaction force for Somalia” The Telegraph (23 Feb 2012). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/somalia/9096795/Britain-to-spend-20-million-on-new-rapid-reaction-force-for-Somalia.html.

[3] Damien McElroy, “Britain to spend £20 million on new rapid reaction force for Somalia”.

[4] Damien McElroy, “Britain to spend £20 million on new rapid reaction force for Somalia”.

[5] “Yemen partakes in London Somalia Conference” Yemen Post (22 Feb 2012). http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=4774&MainCat=3.

[6] “Conference details” Foreign & Commonwealth Office. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/london-conference-somalia/conference-details/.

Erdoğan in TIME Magazine: The United Nations and the Rest of the World

(28 September 2011)

In the above clip the Turkish Prime Minister criticizes the opposition in Turkey for remaining “spectators” while world history is being made in their surroundings. He also pronounced some choice words regarding the UN: he asked whether the world was nothing but a slave of the UN’s five permanent members . . .

The Time reporter Ishaan Tharoor, reporting an interview with the Turkish PM – ‘Erdogan sat down with TIME’s Jim Frederick, Bobby Ghosh, Tony Karon, Matt McAllester and Ishaan Tharoor on the sidelines of U.N. meetings in New York City’ – writes in his preamble that “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the international statesman of the moment. Greeted as a rock star in Egypt and other countries transformed by the Arab Spring, the Turkish Premier looms like a colossus over the Middle East”.[1]

On the UN, Tayyip had this to say: “First and foremost, what is required is for the U.N. Security Council to say yes to the legitimate demands of the people in Palestine. If anything else should be discussed at this moment, it should be between two states. And there’s another fact we need to consider, primarily the borders of 1967. Israel first seems to have accepted going back to the borders of 1967, but somehow seemed to have got distanced from this ideal. They need to get closer back to it. Palestine is in a form of a maze right now. Through TIME, I’d like to make a call out to humanity: [The Palestinians] are there to exist. They are not there to be condemned to struggle in an open-air penitentiary. Israel’s cruelty in that regard cannot be continued any longer. And, of course, the legitimate demands for Palestine to be a recognized state should be catered to and considered both in the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly. Those who approach these demands negatively will never be able to settle their accounts with history”, going on talk about Turkey’s relationship with the Jewish state: “Our mutual relations with Israel would have been reinforced even further only if Israel hadn’t victimized the positive relations of two countries with [its 2010 raid] on the Mavi Marmara, which was navigating in international waters. The flotillas in question were bearing nothing but humanitarian aid, including toys, food and other sorts of materials. They were holding over 450 citizens from 32 countries. One of the casualties is an American citizen of Turkish descent. And right now the Israeli Prime Minister still alleges that the flotillas were actually loaded with weapons. Had they possessed the weapons that were alleged, why didn’t they fire back? There are reports issued by both the U.N. Security Council and U.N. agencies in Geneva about this incident, and you never see the slightest trace that the flotillas were carrying guns. The Israeli government is not being honest at all. Right now, as long as they refuse to apologize for the nine people of Turkish descent who lost their lives on the flotilla, so long as they refuse to pay compensation to the families, and of course as long as the embargo on Gaza has not been lifted, the relations between the two countries will never become normalized”.[2]

As for his trip of the Arab Awakening in Turkey’s hinterland, the PM declared: “Unlike others, I didn’t just go there to see a few people on the streets. I intentionally wanted to talk to the candidate presidents, the new political parties there, and I had the opportunity to get together with lots of people in order to grasp the situation. At my meetings, I said, all right, Turkey is a model of democracy, a secular state, a social state with the rule of law upheld. We are not intentionally trying to export a regime — we couldn’t care less. But if they want our help, we’ll provide any assistance they need. But we do not have a mentality of exporting our system”, switching to the special relationship between Turkey and America: “In the last nine years, relations between the U.S.  and Turkey have never recessed, never gone back, but they have not improved as much as we’d like. The relationship especially between Obama and us has always been very positive. Whenever we speak to each other, we talk about negotiations of certain processes whether in the region or more globally — we always talk about matters quite frankly. But of course what we want to see is relations getting reinforced at the upmost extent possible, particularly in the realms of the economy and commerce. Because Turkey has great potential to take advantage of.  We’re really willing to see more and more U.S. entrepreneurs conducting investments in Turkey. I’m optimistic for the future. I should tell you honestly, there are no tensions between us”, ending with a quasi-realistic appraisal of Turkey’s road to Brussels: “When [former French President Jacques] Chirac or [former German Chancellor Gerhard] Schroder were there, Turkey would be involved in all of the European leaders’ summits. But when [current Chancellor Angela] Merkel or [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy took over their offices, the ambience changed dramatically. Despite their attitudes, we were determined to continue this path toward E.U. membership. But unfortunately the trust among my people in E.U. membership started to shake and turn. We’re still determined, because no leader in the E.U. will be there forever. They’ll be replaced one day. We might be replaced one day. But Turkey is getting stronger as time goes by, and the situation of
many European states is quite obvious”.[3]

[1] Ishaan Tharoor, “Exclusive: TIME Meets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan” TIME (September 2011). http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/09/26/exclusive-time-meets-turkish-prime-minister-recep-tayyip-erdogan/.

[2] Ishaan Tharoor, “Exclusive: TIME Meets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan”.

[3] Ishaan Tharoor, “Exclusive: TIME Meets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan”.