The first visit to Turkey by European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton begins Tuesday. As the nation's bid to join the bloc is on the verge of collapse in the face of strong opposition by some EU members, some question whether Turkey is turning its back on Europe.

July 7, 2010

[Syrian President Bashar] Assad's balanced position was a surprise. Instead of getting up and cursing Israel for its "aggression" against a Gaza-bound flotilla in May, he acted like a responsible neighbor by trying to calm the dispute.

The Balkan Express departed from Ankara last week and will travel throughout the Balkans to improve relations between Turkey and Southeastern European countries during a 50-day trip.

Later on Monday, however, a spokesman for the Turkish government told the Reuters news agency that Davutoglu had been misquoted in the newspaper reports. The official claimed that Davutoglu actually said that relations with Israel would not improve if an apology was not issued.

Turkey is acting with a new level of self-confidence in the international diplomatic arena, and no one should resent the country for trying to build up its status as a regional power - or for trying to look beyond the narrow confines of Europe.

Turkey has said before it was reviewing ties with the Jewish state. But Davutoglu's words are the first time Ankara has explicitly threatened to sever ties unless its demands are met.

Turkey told Israel at face-to-face talks in Brussels this week what it should do to mend ties damaged when Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza aid ship more than a month ago, Turkish officials said on Thursday.

July 1, 2010

Having supposedly turned its back definitively on Israel, the EU, and the West in general, it turns out Turkey engaged in talks with . . . Israel and the EU...it's useless to deny the fundamental shifts emerging in Ankara's strategic calculus, both regionally and further abroad.