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Why Turkey, and why now
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: NEILL LOCHERY
Date: Nov 25, 2003
Start Page: 13
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

Though Thursday's attacks were directed against the British Consulate and the London-based HSBC banking group, the real target was Turkey itself - its fragile democracy and strategic relationships with the West. Sadly, to many Middle East experts these attacks have not come as surprise, as Turkey has long been considered a logical target for regional terrorist groups.

Here Turkey's close relationship with Israel may very well have played a role. Since the mid-1990's Turkey has developed strong strategic, military, political and economic ties with Israel, and is currently Israel's closest ally in the region. Strategically, both countries share a border with Syria. Both dislike the Ba'ath regime in Damascus - Israel for obvious reasons and Turkey because of Syrian support for the PKK Kurdish guerrilla group. Indeed, Turkish security forces involved in the fight against the PKK have been receiving lessons from the Israelis.

In truth, the aims of the bombers run much deeper and focus on destabilizing Turkey's fragile democracy. This places increasing Western economic interests in Turkey in jeopardy.

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