Geography is a bless and curse for Turkey, columnist says

<p style="text-align: left;">Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dreams of making Istanbul the new political and spiritual center of the Middle East, but Turkey is both blessed and cursed by geography, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.

&ldquo;Its central position makes it a significant force in Mediterranean, Balkan, Caucasian and Middle Eastern affairs, but that centrality also leaves Turkey exposed on all sides to potentially hostile powers,&rdquo; Walter Russell Mead said.

&ldquo;At the moment its relations with the European Union, Russia, Iran, Israel, Egypt and Greece are uniformly poor.&rdquo;

Mead said that the geopolitical situation in the Middle East is shapeless and chaotic, and the status quo is &ldquo;neither benign nor sustainable&rdquo; as wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya grind on with little serious efforts to make peace, and economic and political stagnation is rife across the region.

&ldquo;For now, the muddled Middle East is a place where no one is happy but American interests are reasonably secure,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Oil flows freely to the world&rsquo;s markets; Israel is as safe as a country in the region can be; and the defense of this messy status quo doesn&rsquo;t depend on large-scale deployments of U.S. power.&rdquo;

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