The Nemesis of Turkish Power

Turkey, not the EU, is currently making its presence felt in the world. But Turkey needs Europe as much as Europe needs Turkey: Europe is “a principle of moderation” for Turkey, while Turkey is “a principle of energy” for Europe, even if it is currently showing that self-confidence can easily turn into hubris.

PARIS – A few days ago, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab television network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding Gaza-bound ships, as they did last year. And in a speech in Cairo, he declared support for the United Nations’ recognition of a Palestinian state “an obligation.”

So, will a “Turkish Summer” be the first, if not the main, strategic result of the “Arab Spring”? Is the Middle East faced with a neo-Ottoman Turkey’s irresistible rise to regional power? And could the world be witnessing the “Orientalization” of Turkey?

The Arab revolutions, following on the European Union’s resounding “No, Yes, But” to Turkey’s membership bid, have reinforced among Turks the attraction of the Orient while liberating their mix of nationalistic and religious impulses. Indeed, Erdoğan makes more references to God in his public statements nowadays than he ever did in the past.