Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, is visiting Israel as part of an effort to achieve some form of regional stabilization. Turkey has maintain good relations both with Israel and Arab nations which enables it to serve as a mediating force in the Middle East. Turkey, also, has its own reasons for maintaining peace. Ten percent of its population is of Kurdish descent which creates extensive sympathy for the new Kurdish nation. Kurdish rebels continue attacking Turkish forces and then retreating back into Iraq.
President Bush has failed to draw upon Turkey as an active player in the effort to achieve stable conditions in the Middle East. It is led by a Muslim government which endeavors to satisfy secular groups within the nation and its military for years has been close to Israel. Perhaps, if Condi Rice would spend more time interacting with Turkish leaders, it might be possible for that nation to assist in dealing with radical groups such as Hizbullah.