Hiding in plain sight

As the explosive, ongoing release of hundreds of thousands of State Department diplomatic cables shows, official Washington is anxious about the direction that Turkey’s government is taking the country — and particularly the influence of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, long credited as the architect of its foreign policy. And judging by the academic-turned-international-strategist’s doctoral dissertation, ...

BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

As the explosive, ongoing release of hundreds of thousands of State Department diplomatic cables shows, official Washington is anxious about the direction that Turkey's government is taking the country -- and particularly the influence of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, long credited as the architect of its foreign policy. And judging by the academic-turned-international-strategist's doctoral dissertation, they have good reason to worry.

The first batch of cables, published by self-described whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks on Nov. 28, express the unvarnished concerns of U.S. diplomats regarding the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has recently improved Turkey's ties to Iran and Syria and engaged in a high-profile war of words with Israel following the botched Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May. One November 2009 cable says that U.S. officials were "wondering if it could any longer count on Turkey to help contain Iran's profound challenge to regional peace." Another cable quotes a Turkish government official saying that Davutoglu exerts an "exceptionally dangerous" Islamist influence on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As the explosive, ongoing release of hundreds of thousands of State Department diplomatic cables shows, official Washington is anxious about the direction that Turkey’s government is taking the country — and particularly the influence of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, long credited as the architect of its foreign policy. And judging by the academic-turned-international-strategist’s doctoral dissertation, they have good reason to worry.

The first batch of cables, published by self-described whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks on Nov. 28, express the unvarnished concerns of U.S. diplomats regarding the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has recently improved Turkey’s ties to Iran and Syria and engaged in a high-profile war of words with Israel following the botched Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May. One November 2009 cable says that U.S. officials were “wondering if it could any longer count on Turkey to help contain Iran’s profound challenge to regional peace.” Another cable quotes a Turkish government official saying that Davutoglu exerts an “exceptionally dangerous” Islamist influence on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Michael J. Koplow is the policy director of the Israel Policy Forum and is on Twitter at @mkoplow.

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