Monday, June 27, 2011

Washington and Ankara meet on idealism towards Syrian uprising

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Mr. Namık Tan, concluded his speech at the Middle East Institute’s second annual Turkey conference with probably the most universal note used by a Turkish official. “Turkey will never let tyranny prevail over democracy and freedom.”
Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy for the last eight years under the directions of Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, on the contrary, would be described by and large as a realist one.
It can be argued that Ankara’s realist approach towards stability in the region continued through the first weeks of the Libyan upheaval. In the beginning of March, when Amb. Selim Yenel, deputy undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, was visiting Washington right about the time Moammar Gadhafi’s forces began his move to crash evolving rebel forces. Yenel’s message to Washington was: “We have to look out for our interests there... saying certain things are good, but living in the real world, of course our approach and our policies have to gear toward this realism.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser Mr. İbrahim Kalın also carried similar messages to Washington in the past. During a conference in Washington right before the Arab Spring started, Kalın was very much unwilling to talk about Turkey’s such moral role in discussions and considered related questions in terms of “democracy promotion,” a bad reminder of Bush’s Middle East foreign policy.
Last week though Kalın was much more forthright in Washington while talking about Turkey’s moral standing. Arab governments that will be “more democratic, transparent, that uphold the rule of law, human rights and prosper; will not be against our interests... because this is what Turkey wants to do... relations with the neighbors in the region,” Kalın remarked while explaining why Turkey will be straightened, not weakened, by the Arab Spring.
According to Kalın, another reason Ankara will be winner in the end is because Ankara is the only capital that has developed special relations both with region’s leaders and people, through hosting various opposition groups and continuing dialogue with Hezbollah, Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood.
For whatever the reasons are, Ankara’s newly pro-change posture is highly appreciated by the United States administration, in which Ankara applies one of the harshest languages in the region towards Damascus.
To set the record straight, it was not only Ankara who was pursuing a “stability first” attitude in the region. In 2009, newly elected President Barack Obama, all of a sudden, found his administration in a situation to deal with the Iran’s post-election unrest when Obama’s realist foreign policy was distancing itself from the “maligned” Bush’s idealist Middle Eastern policy. To undo the Bush years, Obama sought to repair somewhat strained relations with Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, started an encroachment with Bashar al-Assad, while downplaying the protests in Iran.
Nowadays, Obama’s June 2009 big speech in Cairo or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warning remarks in Doha addressing the region’s governments, which took place just about 10 days before the revolution started in Egypt, are the rare idealistic moments that the U.S. officials now can cling to while looking back.
Instead, as the Arab Spring tumbled several dictators, Washington rapidly swung towards idealistic tones, both in the beginning of the Libya operation and when he laid out his administration’s Middle East vision in May.
It is obviously not a given result that Ankara’s or Washington’s increased idealistic voices or their current pressing arguments against Syrian regime will pay off quickly. Social, economic and political shortcomings of the Arab nations, as many political scientists argue, indeed reasons for all to worry in the short term results.
Still, instead of supporting despotic regimes and being deceived by a fake stability, Ankara and Washington increasingly appear to believe that gone are the days of providing zero problems to despots.
It is not a bad policy change at all.

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Guest - dd
2011-06-27 14:11:52
  turkey has a long way to go to satisfy EU desires  

Guest - Fahd alharby, Madina, S Arabia
2011-06-27 02:15:19
  Turkey has an excellent chance after the early stumble in Libya,Syria is a strategic opening for Turkey to Contribute by kicking Assad out

Foreign policy implications of Turkish elections

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Washington, like many other capitals across the world, continued to discuss the impressive victory of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, throughout the week.
“I met [PM Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan twice and I would have also voted for him, if I could,” said Steven Cook, one of the Turkey observers, who recently raised many eyebrows in Ankara by his “Arab Spring, Turkish Fall” catchy article, in which he argued that the enormous change in the Arab countries proved that Ankara has no special insights into the region compared with the West, as the leaders of AKP argued for years.
Fifty percent of the vote, as would have given to any other administration, also gave a clear mandate and confidence to the AKP leadership. While across the Middle East, from Iran to Egypt, Morocco to Saudi Arabia, the regimes are bumping into all kinds of stability troubles, having concluded a fair and free elections, Turkey once more distinguished itself from the bunch and reminded all why Turkey matters so much to the Arab Spring.
Therefore, it can be argued that the June 12 election has not changed enough of the dynamics in Ankara to make us believe that Turkey will withdraw from its pro-active ambitions. Turkish activism has to continue and the static diplomacy of the Cold War is out of the question, most would argue, because of the location it occupies, the history it relates to and the largest economic clout in its region, regardless of any particular administration.
Erdoğan’s “balcony speech” on election night should have erased any doubts on this subject. Bülent Alirıza, the Turkey project director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, told me to pay attention to those victory greetings that were sent from Erdoğan to several cities in the region, and argued that Washington must have caught what all this universalist tone should encompass about Ankara’s future foreign policy desires.
Ankara’s attitude, when it comes to bloody crackdowns in Syria, became unusually aggressive as well. Ankara hosted the Syrian opposition figures, helped them to organize, condemned Damascus for its “savage” actions and opened its borders to thousands of refugees who are fleeing from Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless forces.
As if Ankara, with its outspoken demeanor toward the Assad regime, tries to erase some of the bad memories left behind from the Libya experience, during which Ankara was equally hesitant and unwilling to join to the international consensus to stop Moammar Gadhafi’s ferocious behavior. The U.S. State Department for the whole week has done nothing but praised Turkish open border policy and reiterated its support.
Erdoğan, while urging Assad to reform, has not chosen to isolate him yet. Richard Armitage, chairman of the American-Turkish Council, or ATC, and former deputy to the Secretary of State, while arguing this point over the phone also claimed that “the zero problem policy is now outdated by what is taking place in especially Syria.”
Even though Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu himself, in recent interviews, described the “zero problem policy” as not an absolute goal, but a mere struggle to change the old-state-mindset that considers “all neighbors as enemies,” the policy is widely understood and accepted as mainly as a stabilizer reflection of the Turkish foreign policy, in which Ankara prefers dictators over unstable democratic demands.
Another Turkey observer who argues that the change in the Arab world showed the limits of Turkish policy is Henri Barkey, at the Carnegie Endowment. According to Barkey, Turkey’s Middle East policies hit the wall with the Arab Spring. Barkey concluded in an interview that Turkish election results will not change much in the region because the Arab world itself is undergoing historic change, and Ankara like other capitals has no silver bullets to give any particular direction to a still much-unknown region.
According to the latest Gallup poll conducted in March-April in Egypt, Egyptians, overwhelmingly, want to create their own political path and are not in a mood to borrow from anyone else’s. Mohamed Younis, a senior analyst at the Gallup Center in Washington, argued this sentiment while sharing with me with the unpublished piece of the survey that relates to Turkey. According to this survey, only 2 percent cited Turkey as a political model for Egypt. On a side note, only 15 percent of Egyptians approve of Turkish leadership, 47 percent disapprove following the revolution.
Sunday’s elections proved how efficient and skillful the ruling party is. Erdoğan changed the rules of politics by increasing his party’s share in the votes for the third consecutive time and challenged the many widespread assumptions of old times.
A hundred years ago, the Ottoman Turkish Empire, under attack from Europe’s nationalistic sentiments in the preceding century, was at a breaking point while struggling to pay its foreign debt and to contain self-determinism.
A hundred years later, freedom, democracy and individual empowerment are the new rules of globalization, and Turkey this time around is positioning itself to reap the best long-term strategic advantages against its regional rivals, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, mainly because of its own democratic experience.
Finally, by writing and adapting a liberal, egalitarian and inclusive constitution, Turkey would guarantee to be driving aspirant of the more democratic region for years to come.
It is time Turkey cleaned its own house by setting the democratic standards much higher. If Erdoğan indeed leads such a process, as Cook said, “He can seal his place in history.”

Gülen movement’s US ride getting tougher

Friday, June 3, 2011

All eyes are focused on Turkey for yet another significant voting day, June 12. In Washington, lately, three questions occupy the minds of those who follow Turkey: First, they wonder whether the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, will be able to gain enough seats to write the Constitution by itself. Second, they wonder about the sex-scandal tapes, which wiped out a considerable number of high officials in the opposition National Movement Party, or MHP. And third, they want to know exactly what the Fethullah Gülen movement wants to do and what their ambitions and intentions are.
While the first two questions can only be speculated upon, Gülen-U.S. relations are becoming more interesting as the days go by. Gülen, the leader of millions of Muslim followers based in Turkey, himself lives in the U.S., and many in the country’s media are well aware of who he is.
The movement in Turkey has long since abandoned the policy of keeping equal distance from political parties. Especially during the constitutional referendum last September, members of the movement actively worked for the passage of the changes. The movement argued that it wasn’t politics they got involved with, it was a matter of principal; supporting the independence of the judiciary.
This time, though, it is a general election, and the movement’s media organs are openly supporting the AKP and doing so forcefully. Even olive branches offered by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the new leader of the main opposition party, CHP, to the movement on several occasions were turned down. In appearance, the CHP’s decision to put forward a few jailed Ergenekon suspects as candidates is the sticky point between the two. Having an ideological adversary like the CHP also works for Gülenists to show there is still more to be done in Turkey.
In the U.S. though, the biggest criticism appears to be the ambiguity about the group’s structure. Its informal membership of millions of followers worldwide, rapid increase in the numbers of schools and how they are funded in U.S., and a vast variety of narratives about its real power in Turkey continue to pique the interests of Turkey watchers. Today, there is even confusion over what to call the followers of Fethullah Gülen; while Gülen refuses to describe it as a “movement,” and rejects any direct link; other prominent figures of the group have no problem calling it so.
To Gülen’s credit, lack of transparency on the part of the movement, or as one U.S. investigative journalist called it, “evasiveness,” is not all reasonless, but merely the result of decade-long habit. The rigid secularism of the Turkish state since the beginning specifically targeted religiosity.
The Gülen movement, which started in the early 1970s, had therefore plenty of reasons to go undercover to avoid the wrath of the Turkish military, which was supported by a coalition consisting of the bureaucracy, judiciary and media for decades.
Sophisticated strategies, which were designed by Gülen and leading figures of the movement, foresaw that violence, or civil disobedience was not the answer for the future of Muslims in Turkey. Pursuing the best education and one’s elevation in every state institution was the answer to changing the country from the bottom to the top. The movement still believes that the circumstances are not entirely changed and that the old reactionary mindset of Turkish secularism is there and alive; therefore, it is not time to come out into the public sphere with full disclosure.
How the strategies that worked so well for the movement in Turkey can be translated into the U.S. is still an open-ended question. Obviously, the movement does not see the U.S. as an equal to Turkey; instead, the U.S. can be seen as the best market to prove that a pious Muslim can coexist and be perfectly happy in a Western democracy.
In the last couple of months, especially since Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener’s arrest in Turkey, negative publicity against the movement seems to be gaining momentum in the U.S.
“There is a great deal of interest and curiosity on the side of the U.S. media and unless questions about their closed structure and some other tax allegations are answered clearly, the U.S. media will not leave them alone,” said one U.S. Turkey observer in Washington. Arguing that hundreds of schools are being opened in more than two dozen U.S. states without any links or coordination of some sort, the movement fails to convince the U.S. media and the experts alike.
The United States’ Anglo-Saxon tradition and tolerance make it rather easy to organize and become involved with any kind of religious sect, as long as it is peaceful. When U.S. journalists and authorities feel they are left in the dark about some of a movement’s other activities, they complain they can’t find any spokesperson for the movement to ask their question; understandably, the mood turns sour toward the movement.
In addition to all of that, in recent times, some conservative Christian groups, who have considerable influence on conservative media and politicians, coupled with growing Islamophia in America, appear to be promising that the smooth ride the movement has so far enjoyed in the U.S. might get tougher.
As the movement increases its visibility in U.S., the scrutiny on its activities is also inevitably increasing.
The impression is that the movement is conscious about some of these shortcomings and is looking for ways to handle questions of transparency in the U.S. Only time will tell whether decades-old habits can be changed.

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Guest - Bissmich
2011-06-10 05:40:03
  Muratto, At least the US had the good sense to cut Turkey from the taxpayer dole.  

Guest - emre
2011-06-09 18:44:29
  Murat-to, are you arguing that two wrongs make a right?  

Guest - Muratto
2011-06-07 17:16:10
  Murat, you are a desperately lying paranoid! you must know that a pronoid person is someone who needs serious medical attention. Before you stretch you tongue out to the Gulen Movement regarding how American tax payers money intended, you first should really question as to how many $trillions of it has been donated to the israeli cause and elsewhere without the will and permission of the American citizens.  

Guest - economarriage
2011-06-05 20:39:20
  and do it now  

Guest - economarriage
2011-06-05 20:38:11
  gulen has to be open to American society. this is not turkey. no pressure in this country and everything should be transparent.  

Guest - Why?
2011-06-05 11:33:59
  It is maybe a stupid question, by why does teh Gulen movement have its base in US? The whole middle east is full of Islamic countries, so why not go there instead? Iran for example, has its whole country run according to Islamic principles, so why did he not go there instead? He probably would gain a lot of support in Iran from his "Muslim Brothers". To me it sounds as odd as if an American or a European would go to Iran and set up a Christian church for Europeans.  

Guest - Kemal Yuceturk
2011-06-04 22:58:58
  I was wondering the answers of the questions about Gulen's scholls, allegedly, but I found the answers after some researches which are available to public openly. These schools do not belong to Gulen Movement. They belong to to the public who live there. The schools are under the curriculum that are approved by U.S. school policies. All kind of ethnic students are currently having better education that U.S.-run public schools. These schools have been inspected regularly like any other schools in the neighborhood and found nothing wrong so far.  

Guest - Murat
2011-06-04 18:18:34
  Make no mistake about it, the Gulen MOVEMENT in the USA is being looked at not only because of their lack of transparency but because they are handling American tax money intended for the education of American children NOT to launder among Gulen's front groups or pay for their members h1-b Visas. There are many federal and state law abuses and violations this group is being investigated for. Islamophobia has nothing to do with it, it is their actions and behaviors that speak volumes about this group. Their williness to bribe local officals, media and academia with honors, trips to Turkey and campaign contributions will not get them far in America. Currently there are 120 charter schools managed by followers of Fetos. There are many charter school applications being denied by this group as well as expansionism: Arkansas, Hawaii, Tennessee, Colorado, Virginia and more. Until Hizmet can come clean as Dr. Joshua Hendrick has suggested there will be no more Gulen Schools in the US  

Guest -
2011-06-04 14:21:58
  This should not be about 'handling questions of transparancy', suggesting it considers another PR-problem 'to be handled'. There is either transparancy or there is not. In any democratic country there should not be any shady zones tolerated in education. It is about time that this movement is watched and questioned more closely. The strategy of being orthodox islamic while pretending to be secular, and being extremely ambitious in expanding in education at the same time will harm Turkey much more in the end. Trustful and open minded parents are being mislead. Please be aware of that.  

Guest - Jeannine
2011-06-04 12:53:07
  Thanks for this very interesting and informative article!  

Guest - ohohmrbill
2011-06-04 05:00:21
  Those of us who opposed the Gulen Movement are not Islmaphobic. We study their actions, behaviors and words. The Gulen Movement is very aggressive, very dangerous and will soon be found that charged of illegal actives. In Turkey unless you write favorably of Gulen you be thrown in jail or sued. Recently Gulen commanded his CULT followers to do the same. A few years ago if any parent or teacher of these schools talked about the connection to Gulen, principals and board members threatened them to stop talking with threats of legal actions. Now that they loosely admitting they are we are supposed to forgive them for that? For defending lies with lawsuits? We have nothing against the people of Turkey. But Gulen's agenda and his goons. I also think it is very irresponsible to hold his Turkish Olympiads this year. No foreign child is safe in Turkey until the terrorist activities and elections are over. We are watching our politicians very closely if they deal with any of Gulen's groups.

Will an Arab Spring be needed for Turkey?
 Sunday, May 29, 2011

The question of what exactly President Barack Obama wanted to achieve by his Middle East speech was on everybody’s mind in Washington last week, which was filled by Israel related events. Obama’s speech on the Middle East and “shocking” 1967 lines reference created a political earthquake between him and Israeli right wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with conservative Jewish-Americans, many of whom I talked with during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington.
The AIPAC crowd was not only woeful with Obama’s rhetoric but also was disturbed by repercussions of the Arab Spring across the region in addition to serious signals about the possibility of the peaceful protests’ arrival into Palestine. These vexations subjoined by the fear of loosing regional allies left and right were clearly reflected on Netanyahu’s body language at the White House, while lecturing Obama in front of a whole world.
Turkey was also another source of exasperation among the AIPAC crowd, which was lengthily discussed in two AIPAC panels. Robert Wexler, a former co-chair of the Turkish Caucus at the Congress, therefore had two extremely difficult tasks at the conference; to defend Obama’s speech against mostly wrathful audience, and explain the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, leadership to some other ireful listeners as not a total “enemy,” an observation, which Wexler only laughed at when I conveyed to him during post-panel conversation.
There certainly seems to be a “Turkey” problem for Israel, though it increasingly appears from Washington that the United States administration has been settling for a “modus vivendi” with “fretful” Turkish administration, by mainly pursuing a case by case approach in the relations.
Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, director of the Policy Planning at the State Department until just a few weeks ago, as the first woman to fulfill the position in U.S. history, in an interview after Netanyahu’s theatrical joint session of Congress address on Tuesday, stated Turkey did not exactly live up to the expectations of Washington as a regional partner in last two years, citing primarily the Tehran Reactor Deal, in which she refused to elaborate how exactly the accident happened.
On Syria, Slaughter sees the Turkish diplomatic efforts to persuade Assad regime so far “ineffective... since Syria is still continuing its violence against its people,” though she believes that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu “have a real opportunity to exercise regional leadership here.”
Ankara so far neither went far enough to join the West in sanctions against Assad regime, nor was able to stay indifferent to Damascus’ brutal crackdown on its civilians. In result, neither Damascus nor the West has come to appreciate its efforts.
Views greatly vary over what constitutes ‘naivete’ or “foresight” for Turkey’s Syrian policy. One “realist” Turkey and Middle East expert this week was seeking an answer behind what the expert called Turkey’s “unrealist” policy towards Syria, arguing that “since the basic power structures of the Syrian regime are strong and civilian protests are over-blown by the Western media,” why then does Ankara push Assad into Iran’s arms and demolishes decade long political and economic investments there?
What is taking place is probably the following: While S. Arabia, by large, is taking the lead of the counterrevolution forces in the region, the discussions continues in Ankara whether to take a lead of the “pro-change” forces during “the fourth wave of democratization,” as Slaughter calls the Arab Revolution, and this indecisive state of Turkish mind produces half-measured and thankless policies. “All previous waves of democratization have resulted in more democracies overall, those countries that make it, that cast off dictatorship and succeed in electing governments… over time they will also make the Middle East a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous region,” said Slaughter.
It is not only the Arab world but also Turkey has a tough road ahead. While the Arab world will live through upheavals, Turkey will undertake a historic mission to write its own, civilian Constitution following the June elections, deal with the Kurdish reality head-on and witness if the Ergenekon trials will do a just, so Turkey can start its normal life.
Slaughter warned, “The world is watching Turkey particularly in light of all the turmoil across the Middle East. Can Turkey continue to provide a model of a democracy, which embraces pluralism, tolerance, and basic human rights, including freedom of expression, in a Muslim-majority country? If it can, it will play an increasingly important role in 21st century politics. But if it fractures along religious-secular, civil-military, urban-rural, or democratic-autocratic lines in ways, which fail to integrate universal human rights with religious parties in a true democracy, it will lose its leadership position.”
Indeed, in the post-election period, it is Turkey who will have to update its own democratic credentials by creating such an inclusive constitution so it can lead by its own example in an evermore democratized region.
If the Turkish leadership cannot get these vital issues right, I am afraid, or confident, that we will witness the spirit of the Arab Spring begin with startling splashes in many corners of Turkey.
That is why, there is no other way for Ankara but to set audaciously a sample for best democratic norms, for its and region’s future.

Obama doubles down on Middle East peace process

Friday, May 20, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama made a great attempt Thursday to align his country with the ongoing Arab revolution through a speech on the Middle East.
Obama’s emphasis on the “self-determination of individuality” as a new principal attracted my immediate attention and appeared to supersede the Wilsonian national determinism of the beginning of 20th century.
Obama unequivocally placed his bets on the pro-change movement this time and stated: "The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder.”
Thursday’s speech at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., was the obvious sequel to the speech in Cairo, Egypt, two years ago, when Obama used a sort of an apologetic tone toward the Muslim world. Obama called the continuing Iraq War as “a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world” and made a significant effort to gain Muslims’ goodwill by trying to explain the motives behind the aggressive U.S. foreign policies of the last decade.
This time there was no apology. Obama appeared to be washing his hands of any ills that the Middle East has by claiming that colonialism ended a half-century ago. Obama seemed to have all but forgotten how the U.S. and the Soviets manipulated the region and clashed there most of that half century, in which "good" dictators, like Egypt's overthrown Hosni Mubarak, were well fed and patted by previous Washington administrations.
Overall though, the speech did a pretty good job in terms of recognizing and backing the enormous change that is occurring in the Arab world and summarized how the Obama administration has handled it so far: calling for political reforms and promoting human rights. From now on, as Obama unveiled economic incentives for Tunisia and Egypt, the economic development component is added as well to set a model for the region's other states that are undergoing similar upheavals.
Following these three steps, Obama bluntly completed his speech with a final principle, the “pursuit of peace” in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most did not expect Obama at this time to dig deeper into the stalled Middle East peace process, for there are too many obstacles to handle at once: the unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah, their decision to seek recognition from the United Nations in September and the resignation of the U.S. special envoy George Mitchell are just a few.
The first public presidential reference to the 1967 borders infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated that he was told by Obama that “there will be no surprises in the speech.” Israel’s official statement about the speech is certainly a good indicator of the Israeli administration's high level of unhappiness.
Josh Block, a former spokesman for American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and now a fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, told me that “by suggesting the Israelis should accept the 1967 borders as a baseline, albeit while retaining large parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem, [Obama] has rewarded the party who is the least cooperative and undermined trust with Israel, and hurt the prospects for peace.  Why do this now, when the [Palestinian Authority] is rejecting his requests, forming a ‘unity government’ with Hamas terrorists, and calling for statehood?
“Mentioning the ‘67 borders’ in this way, at this time, is a major mistake, that simply repeats the error made when the White House focused on settlements. This strategic error is manifold, and undermines, not advances, the prospects for peace talks.”
Obama, following this speech, has a meeting with Netanyahu on Friday at the White House, then he will speak at AIPAC’s annual conference on Sunday.
According to one Middle East observer in Washington, Obama's hovering approval ratings following Osama bin Laden’s kill made him confident to make this blunt push on the Middle East peace process, even though the re-election campaign is about to start and everyone knows how significant the Jewish vote in the American election cycle is. Obama must also feel more relaxed when sees that there are not many viable competitors on the Republican side. Obama, indeed, instead of stepping back from the miserably failed Middle East diplomacy of the last two years, has now decided to double down.
It is surely a very unpredictable weekend for U.S.-Israel relations and tense times for the Arab-Israeli process ahead of us. 
IMF source: Kemal Derviş is ‘almost impossible’
While popular with the bookmakers, Kemal Derviş' candidacy mostly elicits indifference within the IMF. The sentiment within the institution is that a viable candidate needs to have a pretty unique skill set. As the fund's activity is now focused on the stabilization of troubled economies in Europe, any future fund boss would need to be adept at navigating the delicate maze of European power relations and be able to gently, but resolutely, push all sides in the right direction.
"Derviş is not exactly an insider in the European establishment, and it is hard to imagine the Greeks listening to him lecturing them on fiscal responsibility,” according to one IMF source.
In addition, a short stint as minister of finance notwithstanding, Derviş comes from a development background, and that is not going to earn him any points in a crowd that hails almost exclusively from the finance and central banking community. Last but not least, his nomination would need a very strong push by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government, and no such endorsement has been made public so far.