By intervening in Lebanon, Europeans have made a far-reaching, risk-fraught, and, at the same time, correct decision. The reason is that the future of Europe’s security will be determined in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Europe, whether it likes it or not, has taken on a new, strategic role in the region. Should it fail, the price will be high.
In view of the serious risks that Europe has assumed, in full awareness of the consequences, it is of the utmost importance that a European “Grand Strategy” for the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East be developed, so that Europe can calmly and clearly define its interests. In any serious variation of this Grand Strategy, Turkey will need to play a central role – politically, militarily, economically, and culturally.
Safeguarding Europe’s interests today means establishing a strong link – indeed an unbreakable bond – with Turkey as a cornerstone of regional security. So it is astonishing that Europe is doing exactly the opposite: firmly closing its eyes to the strategic challenge posed by Turkey.
Successful modernization and democratization of Turkey – with a strong civil society, the rule of law, and a modern economy – will not only be hugely beneficial for Turkey, but will also export stability and serve as a model for transformation in the Islamic world. Above all, the successful modernization of a large Muslim country will make a decisive contribution to Europe’s security.