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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 237,972 182,848 147,700 21
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,790 2,500 2,530 92
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 157 - (25/06/10)

Vertigo
The Israelis have perpetrated an astounding atrocity by intercepting and occupying a humanitarian flotilla, bound for Gaza for the relief of the besieged Palestinians. On one of its six ships they killed as many as nine people, eight of them Turks, not counting the wounded and mutilated. The fleet was flying the white flag and was in international waters. Some of the ships had Turkish captains and staff. It is already having the most profound repercussions for Israeli-Turkish relations.

The Turks are utterly outraged. There were vociferous mass demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul, in which Israeli flags were burnt. Israel has lost its one and only ally in the Middle East.

This is no small matter for Israel. As a cynic, like Talleyrand, said of Napoleon's execution of the Duc d'Enghein, one could say of the affair, "it is worse than a crime; it's a blunder." Israel is now wholly dependent for its defence on the US. If there is another Arab-Israeli war, there is a distinct possibility that the Turks will come in on the Arab side. Moreover, the Turks have the most numerous and the best trained and armed troops in the Middle East, up to the standards of the very best in NATO, to which they belong.

The Turks had been cooperating in the Middle East peace process by mediating between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights and other matters. Benjamin Netanyahu, on his accession in March to the Israeli premiership, had the talks abruptly terminated. This naturally alienated the Turkish government. Now he has made the situation infinitely worse, affronting the Turks by continuing the blockade of the Palestinians, their co-religionists, and attacking those coming to their relief. Turkey has declared that Israel should be punished for its bloody transgression of international law. What form Ankara proposes that this should take remains to be seen.

Distancing itself from Washington
It might be thought that the accession of Barack Obama to the US presidency last year would have changed things for the better in American-Turkish relations. It has not been so.

The Turks have agreed to supply the Iranians with subterfuges, usable for peaceful purposes, but also for making nuclear bombs. So have Brazil and South Africa.

Neither of the latter belongs to NATO. Washington has refrained from rebuking them. Not so Turkey, which does.

The Islamist Turkish government, just as it feels for the Palestinians, feels for the Iranians. They reckon, not without reason, that their ultimate enemy is the US.

It is, alas, the case that many Turks now see the US as an enemy too. The Americans do not seem to appreciate the
Extraordinary double act the Turks have performed for them over the years since 1945. They have been a bastion of Western interests in the Middle East for decades, indeed in the world, fighting valiantly in the Korean War, more than a half century ago. They are now converted into foes of Israel.

This is a massive setback for Washington – and of course for Tel Aviv too! 


 

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