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A major step for Turkey

Rooftops in Ankara, Turkey

As Prime Minister Erdogan showcases Turkey's prestige on a visit to the White House, the country has its ratings upgraded...

May 19, 2013 9:45 by



The source said Washington was keen for Turkey to repair damaged ties with Israel and ease tension with Cyprus at a time when the discovery of new offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean could be a win-win proposition for all sides.

Ankara has the alliance’s second largest armed forces after the United States. A key achievement of Erdogan’s government has been gradually to cement civilian control over the military in a country which witnessed three coups between 1960 and 1981.

ERDOGAN LEGACY

Quijano-Evans said the ratings upgrade should drive more FDI into Turkey, which had attracted less than its share compared to other emerging markets.

That could help the country press ahead with import substitution policies in areas such as metals and petrochemicals to reduce its current account deficit, and diversify its exports away from its depressed core market in western Europe.

It could also help with a number of ambitious grand projects including a third major international airport for Istanbul, a “Kanal Istanbul” shipping lane to be carved out parallel to the Bosphorus from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

In the economic as well as the political and diplomatic spheres, some analysts see a risk of “imperial overreach” as Turkey’s global ambitions rise.

Ulgen said Erdogan’s effort to reshape the constitution to create a strong executive presidential system with himself at the pinnacle was one such risk. But dogged opposition, including within Erdogan’s own party, meant he was unlikely to succeed.

“We see the risk of overreach very clearly in foreign policy on Syria, where Turkey thought it had much more ability to influence governments in the region and it hasn’t been able to push out Assad,” he said.

But the NATO source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the alliance does not comment on its members’ policies, said there was a risk of hubris as Erdogan sought to build a legacy comparable with that of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded modern Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman empire.

“Turkey wants to call itself a global power,” he said. “It has great potential but it still has a lot of problems and difficult relations in the neighbourhood.”



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