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Turning to Turkey

For decades, middle easterners have seen Turkey as a western stooge. Now, with cooler US-Turkish relations and a more Islamic government in Ankara, the middle east is warming to its northern neighbour

By Hugh Pope   November 2006

The idea of a “Turkish model” that might calm and give a sense of direction to the middle east has often been conjured up in recent decades by hopeful policymakers, mostly in Washington and London. Few people in the middle east took much notice. Arabs and Iranians have long been distrustful towards the Turks, and the compliment was returned. The more easterly Muslims felt that the Turks’ relegation of Islam to the private sphere was too westernised, practically infidel.

So when I turned a corner in the stone-vaulted bazaar of the Palestinian town of Nablus recently, I was astonished to…

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