Saturday, March 07, 2009

Turkey and Darfur

I'm used to Arab regimes not exactly covering themselves in glory when it comes to Darfur, but had expected better of Turkey. Emrullah Uslu takes a look at the reasons for Turkey's resistance to the ICC's indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir:
"It seems that Turkey does not want al-Bashir to leave his post, because Ankara hopes to keep Sudan a unified country. More importantly, the al-Bashir government supports Turkey's dispute with Cyprus. In addition, al-Bashir's government wants to see the Turkish military deployed in Darfur to control the territory (Aksiyon, January 1, 2008).

"Knowing that Ankara's main foreign policy objective in the region is to support the integrity of existing countries, one could expect Ankara to support al-Bashir for the sake of Sudanese unity. Even more, Ankara may hope to benefit from Sudan's recently discovered oil fields. These two possible motives have not been widely discussed in the media, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge about the region and perhaps even because Turkish diplomats are unsure about al-Bashir's future. Ankara's wholehearted support of al-Bashir would seem to indicate that Turkey considers Sudan to be an important country in its Africa strategy in the near future."

There's also a belief in much of the Islamic world that the international community's concern with Darfur displays a double standard that targets Muslims while letting others go, especially Israel. I'd argue instead that, after Rwanda, people are sensitized to genocide in Africa in a way they aren't to generalized human rights violations wherever they occur.

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