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Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies

technology for peaceful purposes. Neither Iran nor any other country in the region should acquire nuclear weapons. Diplomacy should be given priority to dissuade Iran from acquiring weapon-grade enriched uranium; in fact, Turkey is the country that will be most affected by Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Against all advice of from its allies in the West, Israel continues to turn a deaf ear to pleas to refrain from disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians and from the construction of new settlements beyond 1967 lines. Opposition to this policy is also building up both in Israel and in the Jewish Diaspora in the United States. Indirect talks between Israel and Syria, where Turkey served as go-between, are stalled as a result of the bombing and occupation of Gaza on 3 January 2009. Relations with Syria, on the other hand, have rapidly evolved in the right direction in recent years. In 1998, Turkey almost sent troops into Syria to force it to expel Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the PKK terrorist organization. Syria cooperated with this expulsion. This began a complicated process whereby Ocalan was captured with the tacit tolerance of the Greek Embassy in Nairobi and brought to justice in Turkey. As a result of this and other developments, the relations between Turkey and Syria improved in 2009 to the level of a lifting of the reciprocal visa obligation. The relations between Turkey and the various Middle Eastern countries have placed Turkey in a particularly good position to contribute to the peace and stability of the region because: 1) it understands the mentality of the peoples of the region; 2) it enjoys the trust of both sides in various conflicts in the region; 3) it is part of the Islamic world as are all of the Middle Eastern countries; and, 4) it has means to use its soft power to contribute to both peace and stability and the solution of conflicts in the region. E. The Balkans Turkey is actively engaged in Balkan affairs not only because of their historical Ottoman background, but also because of Turkey’s geographical proximity and the existence of Turkish speaking communities in many Balkan countries. As a result, Turkey took active part in NATO operations in Serbia. Turkey on the European doorstep


Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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