Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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

1 posted on 03/25/2003 7:20:59 PM PST by a_Turk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Shermy; aristotleman; prairiebreeze; RCW2001; Dog Gone; alethia; AM2000; ARCADIA; ...
ping
2 posted on 03/25/2003 7:21:31 PM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Well, the first thing Turkey can do is . . . stay the hell out of Iraq.
3 posted on 03/25/2003 7:26:08 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
bump.
4 posted on 03/25/2003 7:26:52 PM PST by Shermy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
As one who spent a few years in Turkey, worked with its military and developed the greatest respect for the nation and its institutions -

I am totally pissed.

5 posted on 03/25/2003 7:27:42 PM PST by spectre
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spectre
>> I am totally pissed.

So am I.. We could have used a whole new set of vets..
6 posted on 03/25/2003 7:33:56 PM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Turkey must own their decisions and their actions. If things muck up because the north wasn't secure, all eyes will be on Turkey. Amends or no amends.

Prairie
7 posted on 03/25/2003 7:34:31 PM PST by prairiebreeze (God Bless and Protect the Allied Troops. And their families here at home---they are soldiers too.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
I am very encouraged that Turkey has stayed pat so far. I think the repair operation has already begun.
8 posted on 03/25/2003 7:38:30 PM PST by Torie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
"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. "

At the very least. We are liberating Iraq. It's bad enough
we have to deal with Saddam and his thugs using 'human shields'. The last thing we want is more strife.

People may complain about US diplomatic errors, but look at the Turkish errors: they do NOT have billions in aid, they have the US now considering Turkey unreliable, they have kurds in Iraq now afraid of Turkish moves. etc.

And the US best division is doing an unscheduled tour of eastern med.

" ..have to convince them that this is not an Islamic plot to sever Turkey's ties with the West. "

Not doing a good job of it.
9 posted on 03/25/2003 7:44:36 PM PST by WOSG (Liberate Iraq! Lets Roll! now!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
first, I'm no authority on Turkish affairs. But I am one P.O.'ed American. On the surface, it looks to me like Turkey was more interested in a power play in Northern Iraq than assisting a longtime ally. This is a failed policy on Turkey's part. They will be condemned by the world if they make an unprovoked move into Iraq. And in IMHO, from the US perspective, I'd drop a few MOAB's on them if they do.
10 posted on 03/25/2003 7:47:06 PM PST by Paraclete
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Hello again a_Turk,

We have spoken several times and I always try to catch your posts regarding Turkey and the Middle East.

Your reasoned thoughts are one of the reasons I come to FreeRepublic.

I have my own thoughts on the current crisis in relations between our two countries and I offer the following analysis…

The current Government was convinced by some of its EuroCentric proponents that they had the best of both worlds. They could maintain a sympathetic face at home and pander to the Euros, and the French in particular. They had a somewhat cozy prior relationship with the Germans due to the huge numbers of Turkish “Guest Workers” the Germans have maintained for years. Which is indeed where many in the current Government were educated.

Meanwhile, they could also push the Americans to the hilt, demanding more and more, buying time until a decision could be reached in the UN.

When the time came to decide, they rejected the US request, then backpedaled, and ultimately were too late to be a part of the New Iraq

I am not a policy consultant, just an ex GI who liked your countrymen a great deal. It begs the question to average Americans, if these are The Turks, or just another E-Uropean power,

I guess I had always thought of Turks as different somehow.

Please in no way take this in any way personally, I guess I am just trying to understand.

Then agin, its 8 pm in California and it is pretty late for me to be spouting off like this.

Cheers,

knews hound

11 posted on 03/25/2003 7:56:40 PM PST by knews_hound (Anyone else play Day of Defeat?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Paraclete
Put the Turks right square on the list with France, Germany and Russia for betraying the United States. Put them on the list for payback. Frogs and Krauts: you can stand aside first for any economic participation hereafter in Iraq. You blew that one. Russians, you have about blown the last wisp of good will developed when you finally figured out that communism was a dead-end. We have tried to help you keep your leftover weapons out of terrorist hands, but you have been relatively uncooperative. And you have not been very friendly in this current unpleasantness. You and the perfidious Turks should consider, along with Iran, which has made a point of being nasty for a generation, that soon the possibility of a much enlarged Kurdish nation amongst you backed by the United States is a possibility. The Kurds would like it. They are helpful. You are not. Why should we not let that occur?
12 posted on 03/25/2003 8:06:43 PM PST by mathurine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
What's the point of having bases in Turkey when you can't use them when you need to?

Turkey is strategically important but less so after Iraq is liberated. As a democracy Turkey can do as it likes, but we won't forget.

13 posted on 03/25/2003 8:09:11 PM PST by Roy Tucker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Did you see Greta on Fox a few minutes ago? She tore the Turk ambassador's butt up. I'm getting to like Greta.
14 posted on 03/25/2003 8:20:16 PM PST by Pushi
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Turkey: France on the Med.

L

15 posted on 03/25/2003 8:26:55 PM PST by Lurker ("One man of reason and goodwill is worth more, actually and potentially, than a million fools" AR)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knews_hound
True that they were working all sorts of angles.

I don't know if I can give the ruling party leadership the benefit of having purposefully lost the troop vote though.. That part was a serious oopsie, IMO..

I still win though.. The religious right in Turkey won't be getting any votes for another couple of decades as a result of this debacle.
16 posted on 03/25/2003 8:58:10 PM PST by a_Turk (After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Pushi
http://www.ccnr.org/turkey_syndrome.html
17 posted on 03/25/2003 9:15:41 PM PST by pkpjamestown
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
I'm not sure some type of public 'explanation' would be very productive right now. May be better to just lay low, don't escalate things in Iraq, and let some of this blow over. Doesn't change what has happened, but talking about it won't change many minds right now. Decision made, now it will have to be lived with.

But that is just my opinion, from an armchair, with not a lot of knowledge of the region.
18 posted on 03/25/2003 10:00:52 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
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?

19 posted on 03/25/2003 10:17:50 PM PST by neuron2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: neuron2
Erdogan and the AKP won the plurality of the vote with 34% of the electoral pie. That means 66% of the Turkish electorate despise him and his party, but were to fragmented to keep him out of office. This is a statistic of great significance, but is not appreciated by most casual observers. Given the current appalling situation, it is highly likely that he and the AKP will have their butts handed to them on a shish kebab skewer come election time.
20 posted on 03/25/2003 10:26:51 PM PST by Mortimer Snavely (More Power to the Troops! More Bang for the Buck!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

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!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Allan
Ping
22 posted on 03/25/2003 11:45:28 PM PST by Nogbad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

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..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: a_Turk
Tuck Furkey.
26 posted on 03/26/2003 4:24:08 AM PST by jimbo123
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

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..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson