You may recall that when Barack Obama first came into office, one of the major themes of his foreign policy was the effort to reach out to moderate Muslim states. He made his first speech overseas as president in Turkey. And the president and his team made much of his childhood in Indonesia – and promised to schedule an early trip there.
Well, the relationship with Turkey is clearly not going as planned. The Obama team are disillusioned with prime minister Erdogan, who they regard increasingly as a political opportunist, playing to the Islamist gallery at home. The fact that Turkey opposed the latest Iranian sanctions resoluton at the UN, when even Russia and China voted in favour, will not be forgotten. Turkey’s emergence as a centre of opposition towards Israel is also worrying the Americans. In fact, as Stephen Walt points out, it has provoked some American neoconservatives, previously firm friends of the Turks, into unrestrained fury. Read more