David Cameron and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Sucking up to Turks is a waste of time. Turkey has some of the smartest politicians and diplomatists around and hearing warm words about how right they are is pointless. David Cameron's attack on Israel for turning Gaza into a "prison camp" in a speech in Ankara would not have impressed the Turks and rightly upset Israel and the Jewish community.
The Turks can hear language like that any day of the week from the flow of Israel-hating regional leaders who now flock to Ankara. What the Turks wanted from the new prime minister is concrete action to help Turkey realise its EU ambitions and for Britain to relax its onerous visa regime which makes it hard for Turkish businessmen, academics, students and the nation's growing middle class to come to Britain.
But Mr Cameron has just imposed a protectionist upper limit on non-EU citizens who will be allowed to enter Britain. Since most of those visas will be nabbed by North Americans and the old, i.e. white Commonwealth countries the chances of Turks or many citizens of countries east of the Bosporus getting into Britain get slimmer by the day.
On Europe, Mr Cameron can offer even less help. As part of his Eurosceptic ideology he withdrew his Conservative Party from the broad alliance of centre-right governing parties in Europe where key leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Poland's Donald Tusk, EU Commission and Council presidents, José Manuel Barroso and Herman van Rompuy meet in conclave to discuss and decide EU policy.
Mr Cameron and his Foreign Secretary William Hague judged this grouping to be too pro-European and instead found allies in ultra nationalist parties in East Europe to create a small European political grouping called Conservatives for European Reform. The Turkish ruling AK party has links of a sort with the main centre-right alliance.
In the past Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to present his Islamist party as a kind of latter-day version of post-war Christian democratic parties. There is something in the analogy but Christian Democracy has always accepted the Enlightenment settlement of separation of faith from state. It is far from clear that the AK party and Mr Erdogan himself understands and wants to practise this core element of European democracy.
- ONLINE ONLY: Academic Boycotts Teach Us Nothing
- ONLINE ONLY: Send in the Clowns
- ONLINE ONLY: Thatcher, Reagan and the Dictators
- The Resolute Courage of Margaret Thatcher
- America's New Isolationists Are Endangering the West
- An Alternative To Our Reckless Energy Gamble
- The Family is the Key to the Future of Faith
- Persecuted Muslims Who Love Life in England
- They Were the Future of the Tory Party, Once
- The Parable of the Stupid Samaritan
- Pope Frank: In the Footsteps of St Francis
- The Middle Kingdom's Problem with Religion
- We Abandon Christians in the East At Our Peril
- Feminism Or Islamism: Which Side Are You On?
- At Last: Gove Goes For the Culture of Excuses
- Is There a Way Out of the Tories' Modernising Mess?
- Online Only: The Kenyatta Dilemma
- Cameron is the Euro's Best Hope for Survival
- Census That Revealed a Troubling Future
- The Servant of the servants of God Departs in Peace