Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to placate the West on the Israel, Armenian, and Cyprus files as he plans to consolidate more power in a presidential run.
Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported on Sunday, quoting experts and other sources, that Erdogan’s AK Party plans to evade further criticism from the West on human rights and the growing dictatorial nature of the government by normalizing relations with Israel, moving to resolve the Armenian issue, and resolving the Cyprus dispute.
The surprise apology to the Armenians, acknowledging their pain under Ottoman rule, was the first time the government made such a statement.
“There are two imminent dangers with huge consequences for Turkey now lurking in the recesses of Erdogan’s mind.
One is to resolve the Cyprus issue, no matter what. He will go for a solution regardless of Turkey’s or Turkish Cypriot interests,” deputy chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Faruk Logoglu, told Today’s Zaman.
Turkish and Greek Cyprus leaders met in February for peace talks aimed at settling the dispute, which has divided the island between the Turkish north and Greek South.
“The other is the Armenian issue. Erdogan offered condolences to the Armenians to pave the way to an eventual apology,” he said.
Speculation has it that Erdogan will run for president in August.
August’s election will be the first popular vote for the presidency. Until now, the president has been chosen by parliament and played a largely ceremonial role.
Erdogan has said that will give it more authority, and has vowed to exercise its full powers if elected.
Reuters contributed to this report.