Turkish President Abdullah Gul likes to walk, and where he goes, businessmen often follow. Gul likes the idea, probably more than his bodyguards, that the leader of a country whose foreign policy goal is to have no enemies and do business wherever it can is an unlikely target for anyone other than Kurdish militants back home.

The Turkish and Armenian Youth Orchestra is gathering for peace in Turkey. A total of 70 people will come together for three concerts. This is not diplomacy or football, it’s young people meeting in an international environment based in music, says the orchestra’s conductor, Nvart Andreasyan.

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.