5.12.2010. Richard Falk pro Davutoglou

5.12.2010. Richard Falk pro Davutoglou
RICHARD FALK : Ahmet Davutoğlu — Turkey’s Foreign Minister


December 5, 2010 posted by Debbie Menon · 1 Comment

Given the flow of recent events I felt it might be helpful to make my appreciation of Davutoglu’s approach and achievements available to an American voice.

Over a year ago I published a short profile of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, in the Turkish daily newspaper, The New Zaman. After the May 31, 2010 flotilla incident involving an Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla led by the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, Mr. Davutoglu demanded an apology from Israel as the basis for the restoration of normal relations.

Along with other Turkish leaders, Davutoglu questioned the Israeli narrative and criticized Israel for its brutal tactics that defied international law and morality.

A few months ago in collaboration with Brazil, Turkey attempted to work out an arrangement with Iran that was designed to provide it with the enriched uranium required for its energy and research programs, while removing most of Iran’s low enriched uranium from which nuclear weapons could be fabricated.

This diplomatic initiative caused a great deal of criticism of Turkey’s foreign policy independence, and Turkey was instructed ‘to stay in its own lane,’ which was an impolite way that Washington used to instruct Turkey to mind its own business, and one wonders what exactly is Turkey business if it not avoiding a war in the Middle East and addressing issues causing friction between its most important neighbor and other states.

The ultra-imperial outlook that makes relations with Iran a matter within the foreign policy domain of the United States, but not of Turkey, is quite revealing, and reinforces the contentions in WikiLeaks disclosures that Davutoglu worries the United States because he supposedly has a grandiose conception of the Turkish role in the Middle East, a view that is certainly shared by Israel.

In my view, Turkey especially, but the region and the world is extremely fortunate that Davutoglu has tried to pursue such a creative and constructive diplomatic course during his brief tenure to date as foreign minister that discovers and then takes advantage of the potential for peace and reconciliation, as well as exhibits a consistent respect for international law and a commitment to global justice, and does so on the basis of an exceptionally deep and ecumenical historical, cultural, and strategic understanding of world politics.

Davutoglu surely seeks to realize the full Turkish potential for exerting a positive influence against this background, but with sensitivity to the limits of the possible and the diversity of orientations and outlooks that must be accommodated to resolve the menace of violent conflict. In my view Davutoglu’s approach is a model of the sort of statecraft that responds brilliantly to the urgencies of the twenty-first century. It is my fervent belief that the world and the United States would be much better off if such a realistic visionary was guiding its foreign policy!

As my short article acknowledges, I write as a friend as well as an engaged citizen pilgrim and observer of world order. Given the flow of recent events I felt it might be helpful to make my appreciation of Davutoglu’s approach and achievements available to a wider audience. Despite the importance of subsequent developments, I stand by the profile as originally presented.

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University is also author of Explorations of the Edge of Time : The Prospects for World Order;Crimes of War: Iraq and The Costs of War: International Law the UN and World Order after Iraq. He is the current UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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