Although this blog's name is inspired by Sauti Kubwa ("Big Voice"), the late lead singer of Rumba Japan, a band that played in Nairobi in the early years of this century, it won't focus unduly on Swahili nicknames, rumba music or indeed any other African issues.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Cameron's travels (3)

A lot of hoo-haa (much of it misplaced in my opinion) has been generated by some of Cameron's remarks in Turkey and India.

His speech in Turkey generated considerable angst from various bloggers, including the down-to-earth Iain Dale, the excitable Melanie Philips (also here) and The Economist's reflective Bagehot.

I find it hard to get agitated one way or the other about Turkey. For as long as I can remember, it has been the "next big thing" that was set to arrive on the world stage, transforming relations between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and between the West and the Islamic world. Ankara has never lived up to these expectations and the country always seems to punch below its weight. Why should it be any different now?

Turkey certainly filled a useful role during the Cold War on NATO's southern flank, and it continues to be a stabilising counterweight to other regional players (Iran, Syria, Russia). Perhaps we're best off leaving it as a semi-detached Western ally, rather than trying to give it more significance than it deserves.

Ankara may be useful as a stick with which to tease Paris and Berlin, but if anyone gets over-excited about the prospect of Turkey as Britain's "special friend", just throw a bucket of cold water over them by mentioning:

1. Northern Cyprus.
2. Kurds.
3. Armenians.

(A pause here for a tip of the hat to Gyppo Byard for a witty Turkey-based headline.)

As for the usual Pakistani splutterings after Cameron stated the obvious about Islamabad's support for terrorism, I am - once again - reminded of Captain Renault:

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