Sunday, July 18, 2004

Turkey Takes a Step Toward Islamic World

Description of Selected News: "Turkey Takes a Step Toward Islamic World

By Hassan Hanizadeh
The recent trip of Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri to Ankara and his talks with Turkish officials open a new chapter in diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Syria and Turkey are Muslim countries with an 850-kilometer common border. Their ties have faced many vicissitudes during the past three decades during which the two countries made accusations against each other. These accusations led to Turkish troops massing on the Syrian borders in 1999, but the wise stance adopted by Syrian President Hafiz Asad prevented the outbreak of war between the two countries.
Although Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is knocking on the door of the European Union, the country is considered to be part of the Islamic world due to its geography and population.
Turkey and Syria can play a significant role in resolving the problems of the Islamic world, especially the Palestine and Iraq issues, because of their proximity as well as their historical and cultural affinities with the two nations.
Turkey has adopted certain stances that have brought it back to its natural home in the Islamic world, such as its recent adoption of positive stances on issues of the Islamic world, its downgrading of diplomatic relations with Israel, its support of the Palestinians, and the hosting of the recent meeting of foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
The moderate government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his firm stance toward the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian nation created the hope for Muslim nations that Turkey, despite its tendency toward the West, feels some responsibility about the complicated issues of the Islamic world."

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