Perhaps, among the most serious mistakes after 9/11 was to cast American foreign policy in terms of a “war against terrorism.” The word, “terrorism” is vague and does not refer to any specific nation or entity that will be compelled to surrender in order to end the war. A “war against terrorism” can go on into infinity since there will always be terrorists and murderers in our midst. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has raised new issues concerning this war. ‘President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” he urged, “and based on this new definition, a new American policy must be deployed in the Middle East.” Erdogan most probably was referring to organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas which are defined as being “terrorist” in nature. The prime minister has played a key role in seeking to mediate the conflict between Israel and Syria, but after the invasion of Gaza he suspended this effort. However, he is now prepared to resume the role of mediator and pursue a path to peace.
Erdogan’s government for decades has been engaged in fighting Kurdish insurgents who want to break away from Turkey. Based on that experience, he argues, “we see there is a diplomatic side, a social-economic side, and a psychological side. So we must adopt a very comprehensive approach in order to find ways to fight terrorism.” He notes “because terrorism does not recognized borders, has no religion or creed, one cannot approach the problem by saying my terrorist is fine and yours is not.” An excellent insight and one America must grasp.