In February, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel told this author to stay away from his country; at least he did so diplomatically. In June, Turkey’s ambassador to Bulgaria treated me in a remarkably rude and undiplomatic manner.
The occasion was a talk I gave, “On Turkey and Erdoğan – a partner or a threat,” for the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies think tank in Sofia. After mentioning my connections to and affection for Turkey, I explained that strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s inability to reconcile three competing priorities — Islam, Turkey, and Erdoğan — and the resulting contradictions that are likely to doom his regime. By the end of the event, Ambassador Süleyman Gökçe confirmed that prediction.
He came early, sat in the front row, and jumped up when the question period began. Ominously saying of me, “we know him very well in Turkey,” he went on to accuse me of cherry-picking facts and being an essentialist and an Orientalist. My record of “distortion, deflection, and delusion” prompted him to say, “I do not agree with any of the points you have raised.”
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