Patrick Seale, NYTimes op-ed, "The Rise and Rise of Turkey": "A resurgent Turkey is rewriting the rules of the power game in the Middle East in a positive and non-confrontational manner. This is one of the few bright spots in a turbulent and highly inflammable Middle East."
New Visionary, documentary by Rageh Omaar for Al-JazeeraEnglish: "Turkey is quietly forging ahead with plans to become a regional superpower. Ahmet Davutoglu believes that Turkey has the makings of a regional superpower and that its deep historical and geographical connections with Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Central Asians and Caucasians are an advantage."
"Distinguished American journal Foreign Policy publishes every year the names of the top 100 intellectuals from various fields who have made a global impact. This year, in seventh place on the list, is Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu “for being the brains behind Turkey’s global reawakening.” In presenting the case for Davutoğlu, Foreign Policy wrote: “Under his watch, Turkey has assumed an international role not matched since a sultan sat in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace.”
"There is no doubt that as chief advisor to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government since November 2002, and as foreign minister since May 2009, Davutoğlu has been the main architect of Turkey’s new foreign policy vision, or paradigm, which he insisted builds on earlier traditions." -- "The Brains Behind Turkey's Global Reawakening," by Sahin Alpay.
In addition to the links above, it's informative to read Davutoglu's essay for Foreign Policy. And Margaret Warner of PBS reported on Davutoglu's reaction to Wikileaks' release of documents about Turkey: "We don't take these observations seriously," he said. In another interview, he said he'd have no problem if Turkey's diplomatic cables were published, because "we follow a foreign policy of principle..."
Shortly after the Wikileaks story broke, exposing more documents from the US embassy in Ankara than any other country, one of my Turkish acquaintances observed that "Turkey is very important to America because it is the leader of the Muslim world." I agreed with that. Then he added conspiratorially, "Did you know that America has 5,000 spies in Turkey?" I doubt that, I said. Maybe there are 5,000 US soldiers at Incirlik Air Base near Adana in the south of Turkey, and maybe 1,500 Americans at NATO's Izmir Air Base on the Aegean Coast, but they are soldiers, not spies. I am sure the US embassy in Ankara and consulates in Istanbul and Adana employ a few hundred people. "What would 5,000 spies DO in Turkey?" I asked.
"Well...some of them are writers, like yourself," my acquaintance said, staring at me with a look of bemusement, curiosity, and maybe a little bit of naive suspicion that I might be a spy. I had to laugh, as if "posing" as an English teacher at three Turkish schools would put me in a position to learn sensitive and secret information of interest to the US government. I don't think so.
"So I could actually get paid big bucks to make observations about Turkey that aren't really worthy of secrecy?" I asked.
Yeah, I could probably write cables as well-informed or as poorly informed as some of the documents revealed by Wikileaks. I generally believe that in this age of information overload, there is far more significant information in the public domain than gleaned from so-called spies. The problem is not enough analysts to make sense of it all. (Click for my full observations on Wikileaks.)
One also has to ask, in this post-Cold War world, what would "spies" in allied countries actually do? In these days of Google, it seems that "spying" is far less important than it used to be. There just aren't many secrets left.
Indeed, despite the initial sensationalistic hype that diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks would contain explosive information gravely damaging US-Turkish relations, nothing released so far about Turkey, when read in context, is shocking or even very surprising. The diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks provide some good and some bad analysis, some rumors and some unsubstantiated allegations, some reasons for embarrassment by mostly former diplomats, but not much that changes the fundamental relationship between Turkey and the US.
Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post had a provocative analysis, "How Wikileaks cables capture 21st century Turkey," complete with hyperlinks to the original cables. Turkey used to be "an authoritarian state that reliably lined up with the West," he wrote. Now, it is an emerging democracy "with a booming economy and big geopolitical ambitions."