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Damage control needed [Turkish Editorial]
The Turkish Times ^ | 3/24/2003 | Ilnur Cevik

Posted on 03/25/2003 7:20:59 PM PST by a_Turk

Both Erdogan and Gul have to explain to the American people why Turkey behaved like this

Our discussions with Turkish leaders over the weekend showed that they are fully aware that serious damage has been inflicted in Turkey's relations with the United States and urgent steps are needed for damage control.

The Americans were angered when Turkey could not pass a second motion in its Parliament to allow U.S. troops on Turkish soil. Then came the new motion that only allowed the Americans over flight rights that effectively shut even the use of Turkish bases to the U.S. But even then there were difficulties as technical problems and bargaining between Turkey and the U.S. held up the Americans who could not fly combat missions through Turkey to attack Iraq...

The Americans were hopping mad to see such treatment from a country that was considered a strategic ally. They felt let down by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

They had given all out support for the AK Party thinking that the model offered by this party with its Islamic roots but with a contemporary look would be a model for the proposed Middle East democracies. Now they are shocked and frustrated.

After much negotiations and even some ultimatums the Americans managed to win over flight rights and thus decided to use Turkish airspace for their combat missions against Iraq. However, they were also quick to announce they had completely scrapped the idea of opening a new front from the north of Iraq and that they were moving their forces and gear designed for this front to the southern front...

The Americans and Turkey also did not see eye to eye over Turkish intentions of sending new troops into northern Iraq above the current Turkish troop presence of 17,000 in the region.

From an atmosphere of warm relations Turkish-American relations have taken a nosedive turning from bad to worse. We fear that if things do not progress well in Iraq and the Americans can't progress in the war as they wish with their southern front they could put the blame on Turkey for not allowing the creation of a northern front.

Yes, it is clear the Bush administration is in no mood to listen to our ifs and buts but we do feel both sides have to start doing some damage control because as some American analysts point out Turkey's strategic importance is too significant to be ignored.

We feel Turkey could make some gestures to help the U.S. war effort if things do not go as well as Washington contemplates at this stage. Turkey can also forge closer ties with the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq to ease some of the American concerns and thus avoid any new complications in the efforts to liberate Iraq.

Both Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul have to launch a campaign to explain to the American people and especially the Congress why they have failed to provide more active support to Washington. They have to convince them that this is not an Islamic plot to sever Turkey's ties with the West. They have to convince them also that they were not Islamic fundamentalist sleepers...

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: erdogan; gul; irak; turkey; usa
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To: a_Turk
"I don't know if I can give the ruling party leadership the benefit of having purposefully lost the troop vote though.. "

Erdogan doesn't have the brains to figure out something that complicated.

21 posted on 03/25/2003 10:28:34 PM PST by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
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To: Allan
22 posted on 03/25/2003 11:45:28 PM PST by Nogbad
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To: a_Turk
Dear Turk:

As someone who lives in California, I have a slightly different opinion than those stated here. First, the article was excellent. Second, I do not feel the sense of betrayal that I feel towards France and Canada, and the positive sense of loathing that is directed toward Mexico.

Frankly, I know that in a deeply divided place, it is difficult to get anything done. Here in California the legislature, deeply divided between Reps and Dems couldn't even agree on a "support our troops" resolution without hours of harsh discussion.

Third, it seems that a Democracy like Turkey is should be able to vote on what is it's national interest. I personally think they made a poor choice and felt that they overplayed their hand, but in a democracy you live with the consequences of your actions. They won't have the economy boost of hosting coalition troops, they won't have any hand in post-war Iraq and they have missed out on aid and goodwill that could help out.

HOWEVER, while these consequences may seem hard, it may just be a learning experience for all sides. Democracy is like that sometimes. We learned about dealing with Turkey and they learned about dealing with us. Turkey did not deliberately sabotage us on all sides like France et al.

Anyway, hope this cheers you. I would like to visit Turkey some day - something I certainly wouldn't say about France. My kids were headed there for summer break - we changed their tickets so they spend NO time OR money in that pesthole.

Keep the democracy alive!
23 posted on 03/26/2003 12:42:04 AM PST by The Californian
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To: Diddle E. Squat
The press portrayed Turkey first as a beggar/blackmailer, and now as a villain ready to grab land.

The truth is that, even thought the Turkish government had made a real mess of things, the initial discussions concerned Turkey's wish of a unified Irak with a unified military and one in which all ethnic groups are considered equal.

And the current interest of Turkey in northern Irak has more to do with terror prevention and terrorist tracking than anything else.

But would an interview or two have an impact on the US public after centuries of bad press and this latest blunder? I would not be too optimistic..
24 posted on 03/26/2003 4:15:15 AM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
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To: neuron2
>> The religious right in Turkey won't be getting any votes for another couple of decades as a result of this debacle.

> Do you have any basis for this seemingly absurd claim beyond wishful thinking?

They have, within two months of being elected on a platform promising relief to the poor, managed to increase interest rates by about half and thereby the cost of internal debt service (bonds, etc) by about that much, resulting in brand new taxes in addition to new cost cutting and other austerity measures. This will clearly cost them votes.

Add to that their drafting of the bill to allow in US troops, even though unsuccessful, which went against the wishes of over 94% of the public..

I think they are through.. To think that they won't make any mistakes during the rest of their term would be wishful thinking..
25 posted on 03/26/2003 4:21:36 AM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
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To: a_Turk
Tuck Furkey.
26 posted on 03/26/2003 4:24:08 AM PST by jimbo123
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To: a_Turk
I say again....
Few could be more disappointed than I, at Turkey's feckless behavior on this matter..

Turkey F**KED up.....plain and simple..

They grossly OVERREACHED and attempted to take advantage of America during a period of grave danger.
Be it greed, ambition or fear of the Kurds --- Turkey's behavior put at risk - the lives of Americans and our TRUE ALLIES.

Older Americans like myself...that have visited and served with Turks -- will now be FORCED to think of Turkey with the SAME distrust and suspicion as we do France and Germany...

The events of the past few weeks have been a catastrophic error on Turkey's part.....regardless of any real or perceived errors committed by our State Department..

Semper Fi

27 posted on 03/26/2003 9:36:11 AM PST by river rat (War works......It brings Peace... Give war a chance to destroy Jihadists...)
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To: river rat
How can I disagree..
28 posted on 03/26/2003 9:47:08 AM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
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