Critic of West named for top Turkish post

A WIDENING political gap between Turkey and Europe was underlined yesterday by details of a cabinet reshuffle due to be finalised this week.

Surprisingly, Mumtaz Soysal has been offered the job of foreign minister, despite being the man who has done most to wreck the economic plans of Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's 13-month- old coalition government.

Mr Soysal is an articulate academic and a former champion of human rights in Turkey, but is now better known for voicing sympathy for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, the coup plotters against Boris Yeltsin and the Chinese massacre of the Tiananmen Square demonstrators.

What will disturb Turkey's allies more than anything is Mr Soysal's suspicions about his country's Nato membership, integration with Europe and the six-monthly renewal of Operation Provide Comfort, the allied force that protects the Kurds of northern Iraq.

Despite the fact that his own Social Democrat party is a minority member of the ruling coalition, Mr Soysal led 90 MPs in suing the government for the way it was conducting its privatisation programme. The court case succeeded, putting in doubt planned privatisation income of nearly dollars 3bn ( pounds 1.9bn) this year, a major plank in an IMF-approved stabilisation plan for Turkey.

The reshuffle is principally an attempt by Murat Karayalcin, the Social Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, to strengthen his position.

Mrs Ciller told reporters she thought Mr Soysal as foreign minister would make little difference since she is the most senior policy-maker. She also knows that polls abroad show that her dashing image is still Turkey's biggest trump card as it comes under increasing pressure over continued torture, death squad- style killings and a failure to find a political solution to its Kurdish problem.

The most distasteful aspect of the affair has been the callous ditching of Hikmet Cetin, who in the past three years has proved to be one of Turkey's most successful, well-travelled and likeable foreign ministers.

However some of Mr Soysal's views will find an echo among the growing minority of Muslim Turks who feel a sense of injured nationalism and friction with the West over a range of policies including those towards Iraq, the Bosnia conflict, European Union enlargement and Russia's free hand in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballLive: Latest news from Champions League draw
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Scrum Master (Agile, Java, team recruitment)

£45000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Scrum M...

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Employability Tutor

£85 - £95 per hour: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are looking f...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?