Erdoğan is man of the year, Arab author claims

December 17, 2009, Thursday/ 16:45:00/ CUMALİ ÖNAL
The man of the year is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prominent Lebanese journalist, author and political analyst Samir Atallah wrote in his column in the An-Nahar daily published in Lebanon on Wednesday.

In his article titled “Extraordinary Year 2009 and Sultan Recep,” Atallah wrote that Erdoğan made Europe’s “sick man” (Turkey) one of the healthiest in the world. Stressing that Erdoğan made the Turkish lira, which was as worthless as sack paper, one of the most valuable currencies, Atallah said Erdoğan has started to resolve the Kurdish issue that has been stalled since the time of [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk [founder of the modern Turkish Republic] and has attempted to solve the Armenian issue.

Also a daily contributor to the Asharq Al-Awsat daily, Atallah said while strengthening its relations with Syria and Iran, Turkey has also reduced its relations to a realist level with Israel, adding that Turkish-American relations are not the same as they were 50 years ago.

While stressing that through constitutional reforms to join the EU Turkey has surprised the leaders of Germany and France, Atallah stated that Erdoğan has not shaken the founding philosophy of the republic set forth by the founder. Calling Erdoğan “the owner of Anatolia and two rivers, [the Tigris and the Euphrates], which are the sources of abundance,” Atallah said freeing the Golan Heights, the southern territory of Syria currently occupied by Israel since 1967, is also a job for Erdoğan.

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