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Turkey's Historic Blunder
TCS ^ | Ariel Cohen 04/24/2003 | Ariel Cohen

Posted on 04/25/2003 8:30:55 PM PDT by pkpjamestown

After weeks of the geopolitical equivalent of friendly fire casualties, Ankara has finally allowed U.S. aid to move to Northern Iraq. Two weeks earlier, and after lengthy delays, it permitted the U.S. Air Force to use Turkish airspace for strikes against Iraq. This saved about $1.6 billion in aid to Ankara, but it was too little, too late.

At the critical juncture in a run-up to the war, the Turkish government failed to pass the authorization for the use of the Turkish air bases and for transit of the crucially necessary U.S. 4th Infantry Division through the Turkish territory. Despite the Bush administration offering Turkey $6 billion in military and economic aid as an incentive to facilitate U.S. troops deployment for the action in northern Iraq, Turkey's refusal to grant the U.S. request has made those payments moot - with devastating economic consequences to the ailing Turkish economy.

Turkish AK (Justice and Development) Party's Islamist government, led by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdagan, a political newbie, and foreign minister Abdullah Gul, quoted broad opposition of the Turkish public as the main reason to limit U.S. involvement in Turkey. Some polls said that over 90 percent of the public rejected the war. The government, however, did not impose the customary party discipline in the crucial parliamentary vote to allow U.S. troops to deploy, thus sending a subtle message to the members to vote as they like. An Ankara-based analyst with close ties to the foreign policy and military establishment who requested anonómity told TCS that two factors contributed to Erdagan's failure to prevent an unprecedented crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations: lack of policy experience and a hidden Islamist agenda.

The adamant opposition to the U.S. use of air bases and troop transit is likely to signal a watershed in the U.S.-Turkish relations and raises fears on both sides that the strategic ties between Washington and Ankara will never be the same again. Turkey reminded Americans of the old English proverb, "a friend in need is a friend indeed" - by indeed failing to come to America's aid.

Many U.S. policy makers are fuming, because they view Ankara as throwing decades of close military cooperation to the wind. The Turkish military, for years favorites of the U.S., seem to be unable or unwilling to challenge their Islamist political masters. The anger is palpable, because the Pentagon had counted on Turkey to facilitate the opening of a crucial northern front against Saddam. Instead, a nightmarish scenario of Turkish-Kurdish hostilities has emerged, albeit briefly. Turkey's loud and threatening insistence on deploying its own troops in Northern Iraq to "control" the Kurds - but refusing to fight or even help to fight Saddam, was duly noted.

In the end, Turkey has sent up to 3,000 troops and some observers into Kurdistan - allegedly to prevent emergence of independent Kurdish state. Pentagon planners counted on the Kurdish militia known as peshmerga to attack Saddam's military and to assist the U.S. in securing northern Iraqi oil fields around Mosul and Kirkuk earlier than they could do it.

Moreover, reported contacts between Iranian envoys and the Turkish government earlier this spring further complicated prosecution of the war as the U.S. was trying to ensure that Tehran and Ankara do not enter the fray to partition Iraqi Kurdistan and secure the oil fields for themselves. Such a development would have further complicated American involvement in volatile Northern Iraq.

While speculations continue as to what caused the Turkish-American rift - AK Party's inexperience or an Islamist hidden agenda - advisors to the Turkish military interviewed in Washington and Ankara list a series of concerns that may be detrimental to Turkey in the future. They stress that the leading European states will never adopt Turkey into the expanded European Union, while closer integration with the Muslim world, advocated by the previous Islamist government let by Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, will derail Turkey's economic and technological progress. Thus, they say, abandonment of close ties to the U.S. is a strategic catastrophe for Turkey, comparable with the defeat in the naval battle of Lepanto in the hands of the Venetian Republica Serenissima, or bashing at the walls of Vienna in 1682 in the hands of the Polish king. Finally, some compared Turkey's blunder with entering World War One on the side of the German Axis. All three events signaled major geopolitical deterioration in the fate of the Ottoman Empire: the end of domination of the Mediterranean, the end of expansion into Europe, and the end of the empire itself.

These experts believe that Washington's policy toward Ankara may reflect a number of changes in the future. Not only will the U.S. not deliver the promised $20 billion dollar assistance package, it is likely that the Bush administration may instruct its Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund to oppose future bailouts. While it will be for the benefit of the Turkish economy in the long run, in the short run Ankara will feel slighted.

U.S. may cease seeing Turkey as a special strategic partner, or even as a reliable ally. This is at the time that links with small Gulf states, and NATO candidates such as Romania and Bulgaria, which provided crucial air bases, are stronger than ever. As Iran is arming itself with ballistic missiles and, quite possibly, nuclear weapons, the Pentagon may not be as happy with Turkey's participation in ballistic missile defense programs led by the U.S. as it was only some months ago. Further, on the technology transfer side, Washington may lean on Israel to curb or stop the current wide ranging cooperation between the Turkish military and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and military industries on both sides.

For decades, Ankara counted on Washington to support it on a number of sensitive bilateral issues, but today Washington will be less likely to side with Turkey against Greek claims in the Aegåan Sea. The U.S. State Department may become more critical of Turkey on the Cyprus partition issue. Despite past support of the Turkish membership in the European Union, as President Bush repeatedly stated, this no longer may be the case. In addition, it may be more difficult to see Ankara as a balance to Moscow in Central Asia, especially as radical Islam, not Russian neo-imperialism, is currently viewed as the main threat in the region. Long-standing U.S. support to the Baku-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline (MEP), including financing issues, may not be as enthusiastic as it was.

The Armenian-Turkish relations are particularly sensitive. For years, the American-Armenian community has built its muscle in the Congress. The Armenian lobby counts over 100 members on both sides of the isle, many on key committees and with a powerful political clout. Turkish experts fear that the Bush administration will drop its long-term resistance to classifying Ottoman atrocities against Armenian civilians in 1915 as an "Armenian holocaust". In 2000, President Clinton personally intervened to defeat House Resolution 596 - a draft legislation to express the attitude of the Unites States on the Armenian alleged genocide. While that Resolution was defeated, after the recent U.S.-Turkish friction, this may not be the case in the future. Congressional recognition of the Armenian 'genocide' by the Ottoman authorities may become relevant if and when reparation claims by genocide survivors or their heirs may be launched.

Finally, the imbroglio may end potential U.S. support for future Turkish military involvement in domestic politics. If the Turkish military is incapable of weighing in on a matter of vital importance to the U.S., why would Washington tolerate in the future violations of democratic norms by the military as it did in the past? In the long run, Turkey may be dealt with "on case by case basis", a senior Washington military expert and a retired U.S. military intelligence officer said, "but the memory of what happened will hang like a dark cloud, slow to dissipate."

The U.S.-Turkish ties that were forged during the Korean and Cold War are set back by decades, not years. Turkey is about to pay a high price for what many in Washington and Ankara see as the largest strategic blunder of its leaders. It will take a lot of efforts on both sides to put this Humpty-Dumpty together again - and a thankless and difficult task that may be.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: cyprus; europeanunion; greece; iraqifreedom; israel; nato; nonallyturkey; turkey; waronterror

1 posted on 04/25/2003 8:30:55 PM PDT by pkpjamestown
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To: pkpjamestown
While I agree with most of the piece, the first sentence is a misnomer:

After weeks of the geopolitical equivalent of friendly fire casualties...

Friendly fire casualties happen accidently. What Turkey did to us was on purpose.

2 posted on 04/25/2003 8:43:53 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: pkpjamestown
When the second Turkish vote came in, I told my wife that "This means an independent Kurdistan." And it does.
3 posted on 04/25/2003 8:50:00 PM PDT by Iris7 (Sufficient for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.)
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To: pkpjamestown
As much as a Greek, I would love to see Turkey taken down a peg, I know that the State Department weenies will pander to the Turks within months if not week
4 posted on 04/25/2003 8:53:26 PM PDT by dinok
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To: EternalVigilance
"There are whispered rumors in Turkey of a military Coup", in last week's Insight Magazine
5 posted on 04/25/2003 8:55:22 PM PDT by blam
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To: pkpjamestown
There is an important opportunity here to work with the substantial elements in Turkey that see this as a blunder to muster effective opposition to the Islamofascists trying to take Turkey over and expose its truly backward, Luddite nature in a country that is proud of being more modern than the rest of Islam.
6 posted on 04/25/2003 8:58:40 PM PDT by AmericanVictory
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To: Iris7
"When the second Turkish vote came in, I told my wife that "This means an independent Kurdistan." And it does"

----
I doubt any such indipendent state could include any Turkish territory, as their military is simply too strong for any rebel forces to overcome.

I doubt the US will be furninshing and significant military support to the Kurds with witch to attack the turks, thus burning any small remaining influence we have with the turks.

Unless Iran totally Implodes none of their territory will become part of a Kurdistan.

So that leaves nothern Iraq, but Bush has already promised that Iraw will not be partitioned or divided up.

So where will this Kurdistan come from??
7 posted on 04/25/2003 9:16:52 PM PDT by konaice
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To: AmericanVictory
"There is an important opportunity here to work with the substantial elements in Turkey that see this as a blunder to muster effective opposition to the Islamofascists "
-----

Its an opportunity IF and ONLY IF an islamic state does not come to existance in Iraq. If that happens all bets are off.
8 posted on 04/25/2003 9:19:14 PM PDT by konaice
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To: konaice

So where will this Kurdistan come from??


The Republic of Iraq with three states?
9 posted on 04/25/2003 9:20:24 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: konaice
Watch, wait, and see.
10 posted on 04/25/2003 9:20:39 PM PDT by Iris7 (Sufficient for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.)
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To: Iris7
"Watch, wait, and see."

Oh, come on, you can do better than that. I was really hopeing you could enlighten me....



11 posted on 04/25/2003 9:22:34 PM PDT by konaice
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To: konaice
Your enlightenment is your problem.
12 posted on 04/25/2003 9:30:43 PM PDT by Iris7 (Sufficient for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.)
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To: pkpjamestown
What goes around.......
13 posted on 04/25/2003 9:30:57 PM PDT by pkpjamestown
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To: pkpjamestown
One of the most stunning aspects of the Iraq War is the manner in which the bankrupt intellectual assumptions that have underlied American foreign policy since World War II have been brutally exposed. It has been a revelation to realize that many countries that have enjoyed privileged positions with the American government, and who expected that American servicemen would continue to bleed on their behalf when they had problems, couldn't have cared less when a time of US national crisis occurred. I have developed a real disgust for our Foreign Service because these incompetent bureaucrats have continually fallen down by improperly assessing these political situations time and again. It makes me sick to think of the American blood and treasure that has been squandered on ungrateful countries and unproductive alliances through the years, such as France, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia,and others. This situation could not have developed without the foolish and harmful recommendations of our incompetent State Department. Newt Gingrich is completely correct. Now that the idiocy of our foreign policy has been revealed, I'm waiting to see if there will be any positive and constructive change within our government to end this problem. I will guess that if the Republicans allow these things to revert back to their former decrepitude, they will lose the support of the very people that have put them in office.
14 posted on 04/25/2003 9:51:13 PM PDT by vanmorrison
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To: vanmorrison
Only the "foreign office" has a consistent, (good or bad), foreign policy.
15 posted on 04/25/2003 10:02:34 PM PDT by pkpjamestown
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To: blam
Military Coups never happen in Turkey...the military simply tells the political parties in charge that its time for an election...thats the hint phrase. The politicans then spend three months trying to define themselves and the military forces them to admit what the party really wants. This usually is an effective manner of running the country.
16 posted on 04/25/2003 10:04:43 PM PDT by pepsionice
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To: vanmorrison
Laumer's "Retief" stories are the best written about the State Department. They are done with truly witty exaggeration.
17 posted on 04/25/2003 10:10:04 PM PDT by Iris7 (Sufficient for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.)
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To: pkpjamestown
Good read. I don't believe that the Turkish betrayal signals the creation of an insependant Kurdistan, it signals the emasculation of the Turkish economy. Their betrayal of our alliance will come with huge consequences. Washington must pop their economy like a zit as an example to others. I hope the vote felt good for the 90% of Turks who wanted to slap us in the face because the 26 billion mentioned in the article is just a begining.

18 posted on 04/25/2003 11:13:58 PM PDT by Owl558
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To: pkpjamestown; a_Turk
"For decades, Ankara counted on Washington to support it on a number of sensitive bilateral issues, but today Washington will be less likely to side with Turkey against Greek claims in the Aegåan Sea. The U.S. State Department may become more critical of Turkey on the Cyprus partition issue. Despite past support of the Turkish membership in the European Union, as President Bush repeatedly stated, this no longer may be the case. In addition, it may be more difficult to see Ankara as a balance to Moscow in Central Asia, especially as radical Islam, not Russian neo-imperialism, is currently viewed as the main threat in the region. Long-standing U.S. support to the Baku-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline (MEP), including financing issues, may not be as enthusiastic as it was. The Armenian-Turkish relations are particularly sensitive. For years, the American-Armenian community has built its muscle in the Congress. The Armenian lobby counts over 100 members on both sides of the isle, many on key committees and with a powerful political clout. Turkish experts fear that the Bush administration will drop its long-term resistance to classifying Ottoman atrocities against Armenian civilians in 1915 as an "Armenian holocaust". In 2000, President Clinton personally intervened to defeat House Resolution 596 - a draft legislation to express the attitude of the Unites States on the Armenian alleged genocide. While that Resolution was defeated, after the recent U.S.-Turkish friction, this may not be the case in the future. Congressional recognition of the Armenian 'genocide' by the Ottoman authorities may become relevant if and when reparation claims by genocide survivors or their heirs may be launched. Finally, the imbroglio may end potential U.S. support for future Turkish military involvement in domestic politics. If the Turkish military is incapable of weighing in on a matter of vital importance to the U.S., why would Washington tolerate in the future violations of democratic norms by the military as it did in the past? In the long run, Turkey may be dealt with "on case by case basis", a senior Washington military expert and a retired U.S. military intelligence officer said, "but the memory of what happened will hang like a dark cloud, slow to dissipate."

BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!!

19 posted on 04/26/2003 12:11:48 AM PDT by Happy2BMe (LIBERTY has arrived in Iraq - Now we can concentrate on HOLLYWEED!)
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To: pkpjamestown; a_Turk
The U.S.-Turkish ties that were forged during the Korean and Cold War are set back by decades, not years. Turkey is about to pay a high price for what many in Washington and Ankara see as the largest strategic blunder of its leaders.

BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!! BBWWAaaaaHHHaaaaahHhaaa!!!!!!!!!

20 posted on 04/26/2003 12:13:47 AM PDT by Happy2BMe (LIBERTY has arrived in Iraq - Now we can concentrate on HOLLYWEED!)
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To: vanmorrison
I have developed a real disgust for our Foreign Service...

There has been a great deal in the news lately about Bush being forced to choose between Rumsfeld and Powell. If that is the case, then the career Diplomats at the Department of State will have stabbed another appointee in the back.

Those people are not Americans. They accept assignments in the Foreign Service and some never see America again for decades until they have reached a very senior diplomatic rank. They have the option of taking their promotions in the field and simply move from the embassy in Madrid to the embassy in Lisbon without passing go at the State Department. That process does not breed good American foreign service officers, it breeds citizens of the world who happen to be paid by America. Ergo, their alliegience is to the other diplomats they will see at other postings regardless of which political party is in power here.

Their aloofness and arrogance is one reason that Madeline Albright was such a fit at State. She is a damn poor scholar whose primary fireld of academic inquiry was the relations between the press and the State Department. Look up her bibliography sometime, you'll wonder how she got ANY respect from intellectuals.

Her penchant for five star hotels and restaurants fit nicely with the perks imagined by our pristine Diplomatic Corps as their due because of the crassness of the citizens in America.

If Powell cannot get control of our State Department, we need to cashiere all of the members of the Diplomatic Corps and simply start over. Joe McCarthy was a blight on this land but you know what? He was not completely wrong. If there is an agency of the United States that harbors any old line Communists and a great number of Socialists, it is the State Department. They need to be stationed in America at least every three years for three years so that they do not develop a cotiere of frinds on the payroll of other countries that all conduct their own foreign policy at the afternoon teas regardless of their instruction from the political set and their crass behavior. Let them sweat a little.
21 posted on 04/26/2003 2:04:00 AM PDT by lshoultz
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To: Iris7
"Laumer's "Retief" stories "

I couldn't agree more!

22 posted on 04/26/2003 1:07:02 PM PDT by bribriagain
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To: lshoultz
Those people are not Americans. They accept assignments in the Foreign Service and some never see America again for decades until they have reached a very senior diplomatic rank. They have the option of taking their promotions in the field and simply move from the embassy in Madrid to the embassy in Lisbon without passing go at the State Department. That process does not breed good American foreign service officers, it breeds citizens of the world who happen to be paid by America. Ergo, their alliegience is to the other diplomats they will see at other postings regardless of which political party is in power here.
That sounds plausible. But what is the Democratic Party's excuse?

23 posted on 04/26/2003 1:34:12 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: konaice
Exactly, which is why we need to confront Iran right now and discredit the concept of the Islamic state by doing so. Next to taking away their oil weapon, the best thing we can do is have a lot of Iranians dancing in the streets to celebrate the fall of their monstrous present regime.
24 posted on 04/26/2003 7:47:45 PM PDT by AmericanVictory
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

25 posted on 07/25/2012 5:38:16 AM PDT by SJackson (I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people people die of natural causes)
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