Turkey's southward strategy aims to boost clout in Middle East (3)

15:15, July 22, 2010      

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STRETCHING TOWARDS THE SOUTH

Turkey's influence in the Middle East is increasing as it adopts a strategy of enhancing relations with Arab countries and maintaining a tough attitude toward Israel, analysts say.

Imad Jad, an expert with the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Xinhua Turkey did not want to lose the support of Europe and the United States, but also intended to win the support of Arabs.

The Arab countries woke up to the existence of Turkey in the region after the Israeli raid on the aid ship and believed Turkey knew "how to win the hearts of Arab countries," he said.

Said El-Lawendy, director of the international relations department at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, stressed the importance of Turkish-Egyptian and Turkish-Arab coordination.

In an interview with Xinhua, he said, "In light of the impediment to the progress of procedures adopted by Turkey to win membership of the European Union, there is another alternative of stretching towards the south."

"Some people imagine that Europe will resort to Turkey to be its port to south Mediterranean countries. So, it is a kind of Turkish political intelligence to resort to this strategic dimension whatever the justifications are," he said.

"There is no doubt that Turkey has become an important figure in the Middle East in particular," he added.

Arab countries regarded Turkey as a force which could help realize Middle East peace and common interest would push the ties between Turkey and the Arab world ever closer, he said.

Source: Xinhua
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(Editor:秦唯(实习))

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