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Subject: America-Turkey relations
ilpars    7/2/2004 4:43:47 AM
A good summary for America-Turkey relations. Americans in Turkey By William J. Walsh The Weekly Standard | June 30, 2004 As the NATO summiteers descend upon Istanbul, the city of Constantine, Justinian, Mehmet the Conqueror, and Süleyman the Magnificent, one hopes that in between drinking sweet apple tea and noshing on baklava while looking over the Golden Horn, the American diplomats, military men, and bureaucrats will raise their eyes and look at the vibrant, interesting country around them. Turkey and the United States share tremendous interests, but their relationship has recently hit some shoals, though not yet run aground. Both countries must take a step back from day-to-day annoyances and take the long view. Turkey could be a major ally of the United States in the Middle East, along the lines of Japan or Korea in Asia, or Germany in Cold War Europe; and the United States represents a way for the Turkish Republic to integrate more deeply into the West in parallel (or even as an alternative to) its efforts to join the European Union. The last major U.S.-Turkish diplomatic venture, the negotiations to allow the Fourth Infantry Division to invade Iraq from Turkish territory, ended in pointless acrimony and has led to frustration on both sides. The Turks have felt relatively marginalized in American decision-making in Iraq, and Americans have nursed grudges against the Turks. American officials must not allow the failure of negotiations to poison the relations between us, as the French foreign ministry's machinations have poisoned relations between Washington and the Elysée. In this instance, tactical amnesia may be called for, given Turkey's strategic and ideological importance in the ongoing war on terror, and its underlying project of discrediting radical, totalitarian Islamic-flavored ideology. The Turks, by contrast, must resist the urge to pander, for domestic political reasons, to the elements of the AK Party's constituency who might sympathize with the Islamist critique of politics. They should do as much as possible to raise the profile of those religious and political thinkers within Turkey who are attempting to reconcile secular government and Muslim belief. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated on numerous occasions that this is precisely the task his party has set itself, creating a "Muslim Democrat" model along the lines of Europe's Christian Democrat model of the early and middle twentieth century. So what can be done to improve relations? The United States can afford to be generous, and should be. First, Turkey desperately needs economic assistance, but has no desire for more IMF or World Bank "aid" of the type which has worsened their plight. After meeting President Bush, Erdogan told the press, "I proposed to President Bush that they take us into NAFTA." We should take him up on it through a bilateral trade agreement, or as the first step in creating a transatlantic free-trade area. Not only would such an agreement boost Turkey's frail economy but it would explicitly demonstrate the friendship and solidarity between the United States and a Muslim country at a time when our enemies paint us as implacable enemies of Muslims. Our second gift should be military aid. Not only is the Turkish military a critical institution in its domestic affairs, but the Turkish Armed Forces are the second largest force in NATO after the U.S. military. The Turkish general staff has a short wish-list of equipment and financial assistance: utility and navy helicopters, ship-development programs, a regional missile defense system, a cancellation of some debts, and resumption of the Foreign Military Financing program cancelled in 1999. What should we ask of the Turks in return? Economic liberalization, privatization, continued campaigns against corruption and police abuse, and a constructive engagement with Iraqi Kurdistan, which given its secular, pro-Western outlook is potentially Turkey's best ally among its Muslim neighbors and a potential guarantor of the integrity of Turkey's eastern border. Moreover, if Turkey wishes to influence the Iraqi government, the Kurds are their natural interlocutor, as they will be the strongest voice for local and regional control, as well as minority rights. (Turkey maintains an interest in the rights of the Iraqi Turkmen, who are actually ethnic and linguistic Western Turks, not relatives of the Türkmen of Central Asia.) Despite our recent quarrels, the United States and Turkey would both reap tremendous gains from closer cooperation. Is there reason to be optimistic? Perhaps. President Erdogan was, after Tony Blair, the most important head of government to attend Ronald Reagan's funeral in Washington. Erdogan and President Bush are both statesmen with abiding religious faith and a keen sense of the enemy we both face from Islamist terrorists. Even in the run-up to the NATO Summit, terrorists have set off deadly bombings in Ankara a
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Thomas    RE:America-Turkey relations   7/2/2004 5:42:56 AM
Personally I don't see how the middle-east and former Soviet republics can be run without a central role for Turkey.
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jastayme3    RE:America-Turkey relations   10/31/2005 7:00:39 PM
One problem is most americans aren't as cold-blooded about international affairs as I(rightly or wrongly) flatter myself on being. After all we have only been in the spotlight for fifty years. Nonetheless we have a short memory as well so I doubt the "fourth-division" thing will last long. I was never angry, because I always knew Turkey had it's interests as well and they can't always be the same as ours. Naturally I would like to see good relations between Turkey and US. I can't think of any thing we need each other for at this specific momment but we can always have something(oh good grief-I sound like I'm writing a "press to Turkey" in a Diplomacy game). More seriously-did you have anything specific in mind Ilpars-or was it thinking long term?
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Pars    RE:America-Turkey relations   11/1/2005 6:25:47 PM
It is very interesting to examine the USA-Turkey relations lately. It seems like USA foreign relations are directed by 2 different force. 1 force genuinely tries to improve it the other one knowingly trying to sabotage it. A simple fact, if USA really wanted Turkey in 2nd Gulf War or really wanted to pass 4th Divison; it was not very hard thing to do. Either US diplomats handling the talks were very inept or simply USA did not want to involve Turkey into Iraq. I mean Turkey is always very pro-American in his foreign relations. You have to be really good or bad in diplomacy to strain it as it happened at 4th Divison case.
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Pseudonym    RE:America-Turkey relations   11/1/2005 8:07:06 PM
"It seems like USA foreign relations are directed by 2 different force. 1 force genuinely tries to improve it the other one knowingly trying to sabotage it." Actually its not really sabotage. It is the fact that the USA is a Free Country, where we can use the letters Q and W. It is called Moral Conflicts. "A simple fact, if USA really wanted Turkey in 2nd Gulf War or really wanted to pass 4th Divison; it was not very hard thing to do. Either US diplomats handling the talks were very inept or simply USA did not want to involve Turkey into Iraq." Actually reality is that the Turks want to squash any hope of Kurdish autonomy or nationhood from Iraqi Kurds. After we left the Kurds hanging after GW1, we were not about to screw them over again by giving the Turks free reign to destroy their Leadership. In fact if you question this please google Turkey on the matter. I remember a nice little front page article before GW2 in which the former Turkish Leader stated his case forcefully. His case had no mention of the PKK and was directed solely at Turkey's threat to NEVER ALLOW THE APPEARANCE OF KURDISH AUTONOMY. Not just to never let the Kurds have their own nation, but not even allowing them the APPEARANCE of a nation. Turkey has some serious problems, which is why it will not get into the EU. I know they are a magnitude better than EVERY other Muslim nation, but the fact remains, they got some problems that they need to fix. WE SUPPORT FREEDOM NOT OPPRESSION. "I mean Turkey is always very pro-American in his foreign relations. You have to be really good or bad in diplomacy to strain it as it happened at 4th Divison case." Nope we just were not going to toss the Kurds to the wolves.
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career909    RE:America-Turkey relations   11/2/2005 12:44:41 AM
Why not? We sold kurds before. We saw them get gassed, ran over with tanks. We are going to send kurds to the wolves. Its matter of time. What can we have in common with bunch of terrorist and rag heads?
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Pars    RE:America-Turkey relations; Pseudonym   11/2/2005 4:26:46 AM
Turkey was and will be against any border changes in Middle-East. That is not news. I wonder if you prefer to see more Balkanisation and chaos in Middle-East; which will create more weak nations (such as Lebanon) which can not stand against terrorist organisations.
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Pseudonym    RE:America-Turkey relations; Pseudonym   11/2/2005 2:43:08 PM
Nope, I just have a sense of honor and loyalty. So now every Muslim is a terrorist and raghead career? Please google Turkey and Genocide. Please research how the Kurds have been treated throughout history. THERE IS BLOOD ON EVERYONES HANDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Which means sorry Turkey, we will support you but we are not best friends. We do not condone terrorism of any kind, whether it is the PKK or the Turkish Military. So here we sit, trying to fix a few problems, without bringing in yet another problem of having to deal with Turkey destroying the LEGITIMATE Kurdish Leadership in Iraq. Your way would have literally DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE INSURGENCY SO TURKEY COULD CONTINUE ITS OPPRESSION OF THE KURDS. THAT IS REALITY. Instead of 20% of the population to fight, we would be at war with almost half of Iraq. More dead Americans so Turkey can insure there is no "appearance" of Kurdish authority. I mean after centuries of brutal oppression against the Kurds in their own territory you want us to hand the Iraqi Kurds off to them as well. What kind of sick sadistic people are you.
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Pars    RE:America-Turkey relations; Pseudonym   11/4/2005 4:22:47 PM
Hmm. Let's see. My Grandfather is a Kurd. And I think I know Kurdish history much better than you do. Turkey had Kurd Presidents, Kurd 4 star generals in the army. What kind of opression is this. In the 1915-1922 Turk-Armenian war; Armenian bandits killed most of the population of his village which includes his 2 bigger brothers. Do I think bad about Armenians? No why should I. That was very sad affair but it was war and the people that did it are not living any more. War and genocide is 2 very different things. Turkey do not oppose any Kurdish leadership in Iraq. General Turkish position is we are against any new country on the map. Simple isn't it. By the way in your accusation of an entire people to be something; I figured that you are a racist or at least a culturalist. Am I right?
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FJV    Is this man telling lies?   11/4/2005 4:55:15 PM" />
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Pars    RE:Is this man telling lies?   11/4/2005 5:37:58 PM
He is using unreliable sources and acepting them as true. There are offical Ottoman reports written during WW1 than states that 200,000 Armenian Ottoman Citizens and about the same number Turks and Kurds died during 1915-1918 Armenian-Turkish incidents. Yes, the numbers are sadly very high. High enough to bring bad memories to both sides. But in the end it was a civil war. No Armenians died in Istanbul or Western Anatolia in where there was no revolt.
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