Turkish academics have mixed opinions on Obama win

Turkish academics have mixed opinions on Obama win

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish academics have mixed opinions on Obama win

Soli Özel. DHA Photo

Turkish academics have mixed views about U.S. President Barack Obama’s new term. Obama will act relatively more “relieved” during his second term, since he is no longer faced with the risk of failing to be re-elected due to term limitations in the U.S., according to Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute. Under the second term of the Obama administration, the U.S. will “zoom out” from Middle Eastern engagement, he said, adding that the U.S. wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down “slowly,” despite Turkey’s intention to “speed up” the process.

Soli Özel, an academic in the International Relations Department of Kadir Has University, said the U.S. gave a clear message to Turkey about “its mishandling of the Syria crisis” by marginalizing the Syrian opposition with the Muslim Brotherhood’s dominance in the movement. The U.S. sent an obvious message that Turkey could not handle it, according to Özel. “We are not comfortable with the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement. We have decided to take this movement to a relatively weak place [Doha]; we will try something new there.”

‘US prefers soft transition in Syria, unlike Turkey’

Gülden Ayman, another academic in Marmara University’s Political Science Department, said the time factor regarding the Syria crisis was the key point where Turkey and the U.S. fail to agree. She added that in Obama’s second term this will come to the surface more than ever. While the U.S. wants a soft transition, Turkey demands an immediate international intervention in Syria. Ayman said such an action being supported by the Obama administration was not on the horizon.

“The best surprise is no surprise,” said İlter Turan, a professor at Istanbul Bilgi University. However, Turan drew attention to the alleged Armenian genocide’s 100th anniversary, which will be during Obama’s second term. Turkey has to deal with the 1915 incidents before 2015 by trying to find a new way of expressing its sorrow, Turan said.