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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oren: New Ankara policy a historic shift

The change in Turkey’s orientation and its return to the Middle East is an event of historic magnitude and nobody quite knows where it will lead, Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Oren, in a briefing with the Post’s editorial board, said there was “deepening discomfort” and “uneasiness” about Turkey on Capital Hill.

“We are living in a sea of change,” said Oren, a historian who has written two books on the Middle East.

“The change in Turkey’s orientation – literally toward the Orient – is an event of historical proportions. Turkey’s return to the Middle East after a hiatus of 90 years is huge, and nobody knows where this is going.”

Oren said that in addition to a “sea of change” in Turkish policy, there has also been a major shift in US foreign policy, with US President Barack Obama coming into power determined and serious about bringing change to American domestic and foreign policies alike.

By contrast, he said, the positions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government have, in most respects, been indistinguishable from those of previous governments, and that what is changing is not Israeli policy, but rather US and Turkish foreign policy.  

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