Foreign Policy Blogs

“You cannot put out fire with flames”

turkey_parliament_blog23This was the Turkish proverb quoted by President Obama in his speech yesterday before the Turkish Grand National Assembly to say that the U.S. does not aim to fight extremism through force. The President’s speech was remarkably general, but at the same time, he made some important gestures towards the Muslim world. In case you missed the major political element of the speech, this was the Executive’s first address to a majority Muslim country.

With respect to the Muslim world, President Obama gave the enduring quote: “The U.S. is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.” He clarified this comment with remarks about how America’s relationship with the Muslim world should not be based solely on opposition to terrorism. He also said that the U.S. will aim to convey deep appreciation for the Islamic faith.

Much of the speech was actually dedicated to Turkey’s achievements and future prospects. The New York Times has analyzed the choice of Turkey as both an example of cooperation between a Muslim country and the U.S. – but also as a way to push for “more acceptance of the separation of religion and state” – both in Turkey and throughout the world.




Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;


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