March 10, 2011

Mucize Kuruyemiş Fındık Diyarı Türkiye” –“The Miracle Hazelnut comes from Turkey” shines in bold red letters on small packages of nuts. The flight attendant on this Turkish Airways flight TK0829 to Istanbul hands out another round of snacks. The white crescent moon and star decorate all treats. Later on, I learn that Turkey is a leader in hazelnut production, earning about 825.9 million U.S. Dollars from exports. As mentioned in historical documents, the hazelnut has grown for 2300 years on the Black Sea coast in the north of Turkey.

As oppressive Arab regimes totter and topple under the pressure of democratization movements, Israel needs to engage directly with the region’s increasingly politically empowered peoples. But can Israel implement an effective public diplomacy and harness “soft power” with the citizenry of its neighborhood? The answer must be yes; but Israeli public diplomacy strategy and analysis over the past decade provide little guidance for outreach to Arab publics.

Washington hosted two high-level Turkish diplomats this week and had a chance to listen to the Turkish administration’s foreign policy vision spanning from Eurasia to the Middle East and North Africa during various think tank discussions.

Speaking after 6th meeting of the Turkey-USA Economic Partnership Commission held in Washington D.C., Foreign Ministry deputy undersecretary Selim Yenel, responsible for bilateral relations and public diplomacy, said, "we discussed technical assistance of the United States to make Istanbul a center of finance on the global scale...

Journalists in Turkey marched in protest on Friday after police arrested 10 reporters and writers, detentions that prompted the European Commission to warn the EU candidate country over its democratic credentials.

February 28, 2011

In the miraculous year of 1968 we were exposed to the winds blowing both from the West and the East, we were attracted to both the Flower Children in the United States and the Red Guards in China.

I do not believe you can successfully use the Turkish template or replicate the Anatolian model in Middle Eastern and North African countries, where anti-government protests are spreading rapidly and taking down authoritarian leaders who have failed to live up to the expectations of their people.

Ten members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council paid a four-day visit to Turkey this week, aimed at strengthening bilateral relations. Led by its chairman, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, the delegation met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as with members of parliament's Turkey-Afghanistan Friendship Group.