Tough Talk From Turkey's Erdogan
DAVID GREENE, Host:
And, Steve, the prime minister did sound to me pretty convinced that the U.S. image in the Arab world is in trouble.
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Welcome back to the program.
ROB MALLEY: Thank you.
INSKEEP: Reading President Obama's own speech back to him. What does that say about what's happen to the U.S. image in the Arab world the last few years?
MALLEY: At some level, you could say that the speech did more harm than any veto could have done.
INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about those two different speeches - a very pro-Israel speech last week at the United Nations. You could characterize it that way; lots of strong language supporting Israel and disappointing then to the Arab side. But then there was that other speech, and that was the one that Erdogan was reading back to him, if I'm not mistaken.
INSKEEP: And does this suggest - the fact that Erdogan can quote Obama's own words back to him, disapprovingly, suggests that the president of the United States has had to change course in the last couple of years in his approach to the Middle East, and his efforts for peace?
MALLEY: It appears to be giving up, which may be surrendering to reality, because it really doesn't seem to be much hope. But it's not going over very well in Ramallah or in the rest of the Arab world.
INSKEEP: U.S. doesn't seem to be able to get anybody in that part of the world to do what the United States would like them to do.
MALLEY: And three things come out: number one, greater impatience with Syria; number two, greater hostility towards Israel; and number three, greater skepticism towards the United States.
INSKEEP: Very briefly, is Turkey really that much more hostile to Israel? I know the rhetoric has been bad but there's still a lot of trade going on between those two countries.
MALLEY: Well, everything seems to be suffering right now. I don't think we're going to get to the stage of an escalation, a military exclamation; neither side wants it. But the rhetoric is escalating and what Prime Minister Erdogan laid today as conditions for normalization are simply not going to be met.
INSKEEP: Mr. Malley, thanks very much.
MALLEY: Thank you.
INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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