Monday, October 26, 2009

Turkish PM Erdogan tries to position his country in mediator role

In an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper Turkey's prime minister Recep Erdogan chastised the West on its Iran policy. According to the Turkish prime minister the West is treating the country unfairly over its nuclear programme. Erdogan told the Guardian that Western fears that Iran wants to build the bomb were basically ''gossip'' of a similar kind as the one that has led to the invasion in Iraq.

Erdogan's comments come as a team from the UN nuclear watchdog continues its inspection of the previously secret uraniam plant near the religious city of Qom.

The West is using double standards when dealing with Iran according to Erdogan, who also labeled any military striky against Iran ''crazy''. Interesting: Erdogan's remarks come just before his trip to Tehran where he will meet with both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It is interesting to see how Turkey tries to maintain a balance between East and West. On the one hand, it is clear that the Turks don't want to risk their potential entry in EU with some Western firms who want to do business with Ankara complaining that the Turks seem to comply with EU regulations more than EU members themselves. On the other they want to maintain good relationships with mighty neighbors like the Russians and Iran. This is understandable as well, because Turkey doesn't have much oil and gas itself. The only thing that the country has is an important role in the gas and oil distribution into Europe via a huge network of pipelines. Recently, the Turks used a football match with Armenia also to show their new mediator role. They tried to improve the relationship with the smaller neighbor - hurt by the historical massacre at the beginning of the 20th century - in a to some extent orchestrated effort to gain this more important regional role. Even the surprising action of not giving Israel permission for air force exercises above Turkish soil (permission that Israeli Air Force has gotten so often before this recent denial!) is understandable when analyzing Erdogan's other actions this month.

But let's be fair: Erdogan is basically right. Most of the states that object to any move by Iran to build a nuclear arsenal - including all the permanent members of the UN Security Council - possess of large nuclear infrastructures themselves.

Erdogan: "So although Iran doesn't have a weapon, those who say Iran shouldn't have them are those countries which do," he added. His comments come as world powers await Iran's response to a new proposed deal over its uranium enrichment program. Under the arrangement, Iran would send some enriched uranium to Russia to be turned into fuel. The proposed deal is seen as a way for Tehran to get the fuel it needs for an existing reactor, while giving guarantees to the West that its enriched uranium will not be used for nuclear weapons. But inside Iran it is clear that opposition against the proposal is growing. After all: none of the permanent members of the UN Security Council would accept this kind of deal themselves.

It is important for the world (both politically and economically) that a deal with Iran is struck quickly. We believe that Erdogan can play an important intermediary role and welcome the Turkish initiative. The big question is however if the US, Russia and China will be willing to give Turkey this moment of glory. Problem is that - by doing so - these non-EU nations will at the same time make it almost impossible for the EU to keep Turkey out and it is clear that opposition against Turkish membership of EU is still quite strong in many member states.

Political Chessgame of Turkish PM
Let's follow this international political chess game carefully, because it is definitely the one with the most far-reaching consequences at the moment. Consequences that will have an impact on so many other factors that will affect Emerging Markets like: exchange rates, interest rates, oil prices, gold prices, stock market developments et cetera.

No comments:

Post a Comment