Are the U.S. and Turkey Still Allies?

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obama.erdogan.jpg
(Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Steven Cook, writing in Foreign Policy, suggests that the Flotilla incident is the latest evidence that dreams of a “model partnership” between the United States and Turkey are mere fantasy. Cook suggests conceiving of Turkey as something closer to a “strategic competitor” with interests that sometimes converge but often diverge from those of Washington, particularly in the Middle East.
Cook says:

The Obama administration has yet to grapple with the ways the structural changes in the international system have affected U.S.-Turkey relations. All the talk about strategic cooperation, model partnership, and strategic importance cannot mask the fundamental shift at hand. The stark reality is that while Turkey and the United States are not enemies in the Middle East, they are fast becoming competitors. Whereas the United States seeks to remain the predominant power in the region and, as such, wants to maintain a political order that makes it easier for Washington to achieve its goals, Turkey clearly sees things differently. The Turks are willing to bend the regional rules of the game to serve Ankara’s own interests. If the resulting policies serve U.S. goals at the same time, good. If not, so be it…
Given the mythology that surrounds the relationship, the divergence between Washington and Ankara has proved difficult to accept. Once policymakers recognize what is really happening, Washington and Ankara can get on with the job of managing the decline in ties with the least possible damage. Obama’s goal should be to develop relations with Turkey along the same lines the United States has with Brazil or Thailand or Malaysia. Those relations are strong in some areas, but fall short of strategic alliances. “Frenemy” might be too harsh a term for such an arrangment, but surely “model partnership” is a vast overstatement. It’s time to recognize reality.

I agree with much of Cook’s analysis. He is certainly correct that Turkey and the United States are on opposing sides in the Israel-Palestine issue. The United States remains steadfastly committed to Israel, while Turkey under Prime Minister Erdogan has clearly distanced itself from the Jewish state and embraced the Palestinian cause. I also can see how disagreements between Washington and Ankara over Syria are likely to widen in the event of another conflict along Israel’s northern border.
On the other hand, there are areas of significant cooperation including, most significantly, in Iraq. Ankara’s influence there is widely considered constructive.
On Iran, yes there are differences between the Turkish and American positions, particularly in light of the recent uranium fuel-swap agreement. But Turkey can be forgiven for seeking to chart its own path given that U.S. policy toward Iran has failed for decades. I think Turkey is sincere that it does not want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and time will tell whether there is, in fact, less distance between the Turkish and American positions than may appear at the moment.
Cook’s full article can be read here.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

67 comments on “Are the U.S. and Turkey Still Allies?

  1. murat ece says:

    I am a Kurdish Atheist, and living in Istanbul.
    Half of my family are Armenian.
    Turkey is trying to bite off more than it can
    chew. Turkey has many unresolved problems such as
    Armenian, Kurdish problems, which can be easily
    manipulated. Turkey still could not solve its
    Kurdish problem and trying to solve regional
    problems, which is typical if you look at the
    Turkish history. They never plan something in
    advance, everything is done here is planned daily,
    these actions always led to a disaster. Look at
    the Kurdish problem, they tried to solve it but
    instead PKK is more stronger now.
    However, I always support Turkish national
    interests in the region. EU is not a trustworthy
    organization so Turkey should pursue its own
    interests. Russia is a major partner of Turkey and
    these two countries should have better and
    stronger relationships. While EU is rejecting
    Turkey, Turkey can be a role model for Muslim
    states and take the leadership. Turkey should turn
    its face East and North not the West. It is clear
    that USA’s and Turkey’s interests are on the
    collision course. If a country starts a war
    against Iran, Turkey would be the one who would
    clean the mess and be most affected. Turkey has
    not done anything except using diplomacy but never
    been applauded. Turkey always supported West, no
    matter what, but look what we have got. Constant
    humiliation from EU. If Turkey would not support
    USA in the cold war, and support Soviets, we could
    have a different World. We even have not got the
    half of the support that Israel gets from USA. We
    don’t get much support from USA’s media as well.
    Look at this incident, the media is acting like we
    are Iran. Israel and Turkey are allies of the USA
    but they act like we are Iran and Israel is always
    right.
    Turkey should pursue its own interests otherwise
    it will become a lonely state in the region. It is
    clear that EU is not going to accept Turkey, why
    we should blindly follow them and USA?

    Reply

  2. Sweetness says:

    Re: motives when arguing and the shape and “tactics” many of the arguments on these comments take, I found this clip from a rabbi talking about the classic dispute in the Talmud between Hillel and Shammai very illuminating…
    I was going to say that “in none religious terms” you can boil it down to “arguing in good faith,” but then realized there was that pesky word “faith”! Anyway, in layman’s terms, it’s about arguing in good faith and with a respect for the truth, as far as it can be humanly known.
    I think every good argument–as they say every argument For The Sake of Heaven–must also be accompanied by an argument, or a discussion, within oneself. Hope this doesn’t sound too preachy or “religious,” but it’s how I try to approach things, even when I fail at it.
    Anyway, here’s the clip. He does take a bit of a slap at the “Arab world,” but otherwise, he’s right on. Came upon this by accident…
    http://shalomtv.org/PGMG_DimensionsofDaf.htm

    Reply

  3. Emre says:

    First of all, thanks for all comments but there are lots of dirtiness of information i think.
    You compared hamas and pkk but they are different according to me.Lots of people says tha hamas is a terrorist group, i agree this idea sometimes because many people died because of hamas.But we must know that hamas defend their land, they had this land before 1947.Israel expand their territory in the course of time.They kill a lot of innocent people, and the some groups of Palestinians like Hamas attacked Israel.Israel and Palestine issue is like that.
    But Pkk and Turkey issue is very different than this issue.
    First of all, Turkey is sovereign state and it established in 1923 .If we look at the history there ise no Kurdish state in the past.We must know this information because some Kurdish groups says that “this land is our land” like PKK.It is not correct.This land all times shared with lots of populations such as armenians, kurdish,arabics,caspians in Ottoman Empire and now he Republic of Turkey.According to Treaty of Lausanne which is founder treaty of Turkey says that there is no ethnic minority in Turkey just there is religion minority in Turkey.
    Kurdish people in Turkey’s territory lives in Turkey equally,they have all right of Turkish people.But Kurdish people and PKK are different.PKK is illegal organization which attacked innocent people or some instituons of Turkish Government. Turkish government do not fight innocent people like Israel.The Republic of Turkey only fight terrorist group PKK.Because PKK want to seperation(its different to HAMAS in this situation.Hamas defend their lands, but PKK didnt have any land.) and They attacked innocent people( maybe hamas and pkk same this situation, but each of them do not have right to kill innocent people) in Turkish land.After this attacks, Turkish government take a decision that ?t will fight PKK and ?t will solve this problem.
    In Turkey there is no Kurdish problem.Yes, there is a problem but it is called ” PKK problem” .Republic of Turkey doesn’t seperate its citizens , It behave equally all of nations because its a democratic government.If there is a seperation between kurdish and other nationalities,Kurdish parlamenter couldn’t be a parlementer in TBMM or we know that Turgut

    Reply

  4. Ridvan says:

    Of course not, we will fight against them. But we will distinguish between terrorists and civilians like we do gor 25 years. you can not see all population as same as terrorists and punish all of them. If you see Hamas as a “terrorist group” which is not anymore, but you don’t want to see and understand it, what the hell you want from civilians and innocent people in Gaza!!

    Reply

  5. nadine says:

    “1-war planes are not sending bombs to the Kurdish villages, but to the mountains which PKK terrorists placed themselves between Northern Iraq and Turkey. there are no civilians in there.” (ridvan)
    So if the PKK hides inside Kurdish cities and begins bombing Turks again, Turkey will leave the PKK entirely alone?

    Reply

  6. Ridvan says:

    “oppression” is not the appropriate word I think. As i say before we are living with our Kurd population for a thousand year. we have common religion, Turkish as a common language and the most important one common history and future…this history really makes the situation special and different than other examples. This issue open to abuse and there are many aspects about it. Although some mistakes have done by state policies before, we have never had a fear to disintegrate or Kurd population never want to seperate from Turkey. Most of the Kurd population voted for Erdogan’s AKP rather than Kurdish Party in last elections. PKK claim that they are fighting for secession and rights of Kurds, but really small amount of Kurds support them. And PKK supported by different actors in the region. This is a long story, but i can say that this is like family issue and we have confidence and capacity to overcome it. The constitutional rules just necessities of nation-state like other states. Day by day Turkish democracy is developing and expanding rights for its society. Kurds now have their state channel in their language, in elections they can make a propaganda in their language. This is a process that all nations, democratic countries had before or others will have in the future.
    when you are comparing this issue with other examples, you need to consider this situation because Basque,Catalunia in Spain, Kosovo in Serbia, Taiwan or others in China, Abkhazia in Georgia and also Palestine in Israel can not be seen as an example of our relation with Kurds.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks for your reply, Ridvan.
    Well, of course a small, peaceful, egalitarian, and relatively
    homogenous country like Norway is not comparable to a large,
    complex, and multi-ethnic country like Turkey. But we practiced a
    policy of assimilation by force upon the S

    Reply

  8. Ridvan says:

    Hi Paul,
    Actually, in my opinion it is so explainable. In Republic of Turkey the offical language is Turkish and in Turkish alphabet we have 29 letters, but we don’t have the letters X,W,Q.
    You know Turkish Republic established after collapsing of Ottoman Empire and that is why we have different populations in Turkey such as Bosnians,Kosovars,Caspians and Kurds. However these populations are not minorities, depending on Treaty of Lausanne which has signed after first world war, these are the sub-identities that constitute Turkish supra-identity, such as in the US or in France. Even if we have kinds of sub-identities we are all “Turks” according to this definition. Those populations and 95 percentage of kurds (according to polls) don’t see themselves as a “minority”. But we have religious minorities such as Armenian,Greek.
    If we let them the using of these letters, it means we recognize second language as offical. and if we do that,how can we respond other sub-identites’ demands? As a citizens of the nation-state we can not violate the constitutional rules. Therefore, to protect and maintain our nation-state we have to implement such rules. I think this kind of issues can cause some troubles in all nation-states, and require understanding for sides of the issue..
    For a Norwegian maybe this issue is a tough one to understand, but i hope my explanation can help you…

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Ridvan,
    I guess my views are not very well developed either on these
    issues. Could you please explain to me why the Turkish
    government has had so much trouble accepting the use of
    Kurdish names containing the letters X, W, and Q?

    Reply

  10. Ridvan says:

    Sweetness, it is so obvious that you don’t have well-developed views and also have lack of knowledge about the issue in Turkey!!
    1-war planes are not sending bombs to the Kurdish villages, but to the mountains which PKK terrorists placed themselves between Northern Iraq and Turkey. there are no civilians in there.
    2-this action is legal according to the international law. Also US-TURKEY and IRAQ military and intellegence powers are cooperating in these actions. it is not related to flotilla.
    Is it so difficult to read the facts and to learn before making a comment?
    maybe you even dont know when you refer as a “another country”,let me remind you that it is Iraq border and this news from yesterday:
    “The leader of the regional administration in north of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, visited Ankara after a period of six years. Speaking with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Barzani said that they wished to improve their relations with Turkey. “We are ready to extend all support in Turkey’s fight against terror,” Barzani said.”
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-212123-turkey-press-scan-on-june-4.html
    it is so clear right sweetness? hope you got the point…

    Reply

  11. Sweetness says:

    As far as Turkey goes…
    I don’t have any well-developed views, but it does seem a little odd to overlook those 50 war planes that were sent to bomb Kurdish villages in Iraq in more or less the same time as the flotilla occurred.
    Is it okey-dokey for Turkey to bomb defenseless villages?
    Is it not an act of war to cross a sovereign border and bomb another country?

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Now, there is demonization, and than there is analysis. Here is
    an example of the latter, re the change in Turkish foreign policy:
    “Gaza flotilla: Turkey’s stance is a lesson to the west
    Turkish efforts to change policies that turn blind eye to
    suffering in Gaza are characteristic of its diplomacy in last
    decade
    Hugh Pope
    guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 June 2010 18.52 BST
    Growing strains in Turkey’s relationship with Israel, which
    reached a nadir this week over Israel’s killing of Turks on the
    aid flotilla to Gaza, are raising new questions about the balance
    Turkey is striking between its long-standing western allies and
    its status as a rising power in the Middle East.
    Leading members of Turkey’s ruling party have indeed given at
    least moral support to the Turkish activists who organised the
    flotilla. And it is true that activists have staged rallies
    numbering in the thousands in Turkey to condemn Israeli
    actions, chanting Islamist slogans and burning the occasional
    effigy of the US president. Israeli spokesmen have gone so far
    as to accuse these activists of links to al-Qaida, an unproven
    claim.
    A dispassionate overview of what Turkey has been trying to
    achieve in recent years shows that such analysis and
    accusations miss the mark. Yes, Turkey is trying to change
    western policies, especially those that turn a blind eye to the
    human consequences of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. But it is
    using legitimate channels, such as its hard-won seat on the UN
    security council.
    The strain in ties with Israel is not a function of the Turkish
    government’s ideology. Just over two years ago, Turkey hosted
    promising proximity talks between Israel and Syria, broken off
    only when Israel launched its winter 2009 assault on Gaza.
    Indeed, crises have always followed a perception among the
    Turkish public that an injustice is being done to the
    Palestinians, whether during the six-day war in 1967, the
    declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel in 1980, or the
    occupation of West Bank towns in 2002. The golden era in
    Turkish-Israeli relations in the 1990s coincides exactly with the
    years of the Oslo peace process.
    Such attempts by Turkey to add stability to its region are
    characteristic of its efforts in the past decade. One by one,
    Turkey has agreed with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Libya to
    implement visa-free travel, to open new road, rail and
    communications links, to integrate energy infrastructure, to sign
    free-trade accords, and to hold regular joint cabinet meetings.
    Similar arrangements are being entered into with other
    countries in the region. Turkey is explicitly imitating lessons
    from the EU that proved how such convergence can end cycles
    of conflict.
    This is not just a Middle Eastern or “Islamic” policy, since these
    ideas of greater openness and integration have been applied to
    ties with Russia and Greece. And nor does it mean any
    fundamental change in Turkey’s basic stance towards Europe
    and the west. More than half of Turkey’s exports go to Europe.
    EU states account for 90% of foreign investment in Turkey, and
    more than four million Turks already live in Europe. By
    comparison, Middle East states take less than 25% of Turkey’s
    exports, account for just 10% of its tourists, and contribute at
    most 200,000 in immigrant workers.
    It is true that Turkey’s EU negotiations have stalled, and not for
    the first time in a half-century of convergence. This time,
    however, the primary responsibility for pushing Turkey away lies
    in attacks on the process by populist politicians in France,
    Germany, Austria and the Greek Cypriot government.
    Turkey’s dispute with Israel is therefore not evidence of a
    Turkish animus against the west. Turks may have been the main
    organisers of the Gaza flotilla, but they were joined by activists,
    vessels and supplies from more than 30 countries, including
    several politicians from EU states. There is nothing un-
    European about protesting against Israel’s punishment of the
    inhabitants of Gaza. All that is uncharacteristic of today’s
    European states is that Turkey is actually doing something to
    end it.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/04/turkey-israel-
    gaza-lesson

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Nadine and Wig-wag’s comments have become so detestable, so blatantly founded in bigotry, that what they post here is far more despicable than the worst anti-semitic comments I have seen here over the years. Their callous disregard for human suffering and the welfare of Palestinian non-combatants, women and children, is as bad as ANY anti-semitic sentiments towards jews that I have seen here. Worse, they both, PARTICULARY Nadine, regularly post purposeful and known HORSESHIT. In other words, they both consistently post what they KNOW is shameless propaganda.
    Nadine is a liar, and has demonstrated it again and again here. Racist, and dishonest. And the irony is, these kinds of people seem to be on the front lines of the internet hasbara effort. I find it amazing that the Israeli government thinks they are well served by having lying bigots carry their water for them on the blogosphere. In actuality, it tells us alot about what Israel has become. And sadly, it tells us alot about what Washington DC’s elitist cowardly legions of maggots have become, because they are peddling the same line of shit.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Good comment I’ll repost from Walter Russell Mead’s blog:
    Good to see we have a few obligatory terrorist apologists who chimed in above, as no discussion of Israel

    Reply

  15. JohnH says:

    The Israel Firsters are all wringing their hands about Turkey. [yawn]
    I think the Erdogan government understands Turkey’s interests very well. The US government could care less about them.
    1) To grow and prosper, Turkey needs trade with its neighbors. Ankara was made fully aware of this when the US invasion of Iraq cut of its exports.
    2) Regional water problems can only be solved through negotiations.
    3) Regional population problems (read Kurds) require a regional solution among Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
    4) Turkish and European energy demand requires a regional solution with Turkey and Russia serving as land bridges for Middle Eastern and Caspian natural gas.
    Washington and Tel Aviv want Ankara to cut ties with Syria, Iran, etc. But doing so only postpones solutions to problems that the Europe and the region urgently needs to have addressed.
    As usual, Washington and Tel Aviv cannot relate to any interests but their own.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Pretty good, Paul, but just a few corrections.
    To sign up for 1 to 4, Paul, all you have to do is listen to what Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran, and Turkey under Erdogan say on a routine basis AND BELIEVE THEY MEAN WHAT THEY SAY.
    That’s all. Hamas and Hizbullah say they want to destroy Israel and kill the Jews on a routine basis. Iran is only slightly more coy. Ditto Erdogan.
    Did you miss Robert Pollock’s piece on how the Turkish media reports on the Mideast? Did you miss “The Valley of the Wolves”? You prefer to stuff wax in your ears. I don’t. Nazi-level anti-Semitic propaganda is followed by Nazi-like actions.
    Now point 5 is in two pieces. Piece A
    “5) The Left is a bunch of reactionary progressives (Wig’s expression) who support the Islamist cause, Turkey, Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah against Israel.”
    and B
    “This proves that the Left is a bunch of Jew haters too, who eagerly anticipate and work for
    their ultimate goal: Holocaust II and a Stalinist version of a Caliphate.”
    The evidence for A is all over TWN comments and any other place frequented by the Left. But as I have also noted many times, the Left is taking great pains not to notice that they are curled up snug in bed with a bunch of theocratic fascists, who loathe human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, everything in short the Left tells itself it stands for. Your posts alone are sufficient evidence.
    The ultimate leftist irony are those nitwits who run around holding signs “Queers for Palestine” when the queers IN Palestine are running for their lives to Israel, who has granted asylum to some hundreds of them.
    Of course, as the mindless Israel-bashing and Jew-hatred becomes more common on the Left (they certainly don’t seem to mind it), it is only rational to assume that they too mean what they say.
    6) Not “Europe”, the “Euro-Left”. There are moderate and right-wing parties in Europe.
    7) “The Muslim world is reactionary, oppressive, and anti-democratic.” Generally speaking, this undeniable. You can ask the residents. “All the Muslims believe in what is said in the Quran, which is essentially a militant Islamist and evil text, Salafist in its core ” No, ALL Muslims don’t believe or interpret it like the Salafis. Not even MOST Muslims in most places. But the Salafis have the upper hand, and the moderates keep quiet. Look at the career of Yusuf Qudurawi. He’s the biggest imam on al Jazeera. He’s Muslim Brotherhood all the way. His biggest fatwa so far is allowing women to become suicide bombers. This guy is on TV with an audience of millions, not hiding in a cave. He is mainstream.
    8) Yup, Barack Obama imbibed anti-Americanism with his mother’s milk and has hung out with the far left all his days. He thinks he’s moderate because he’s not an outright communist like Bill Ayers. But he’s deeply embarrassed about America’s superpower status (“unfortunate” was the word he used) and is giving it away, one bow and cringe and appeasement at a time. His incompetence is his saving grace, as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok, so let me describe the reasoning that I call “demonization” –
    a crude simplification of complex factors, entities and
    geopolitical constellations. Here is basically Nadine’s message
    during the last months:
    1) Hamas is an Islamist terrorist organization whose ultimate
    goal is to destroy Israel and exterminate the Jews.
    2) Hizbullah ditto.
    3) Iran is an Islamist state that wants to destroy Israel and
    create a new Holocaust.
    4) The current Turkish government and ruling party is Islamist –
    they want to be seen as moderates but are extremists. They
    support Hamas, Iran and Syria, and this proves that they are evil
    fanatics and Jew haters too, supporting and working for
    Holocaust II.
    5) The Left is a bunch of reactionary-progressives (Wig’s
    expression) who support the Islamist cause, Turkey, Iran,
    Hamas and Hizbullah against Israel. This proves that the Left is
    a bunch of Jew haters too, who eagerly anticipate and work for
    their ultimate goal: Holocaust II and a Stalinist version of a
    Caliphate.
    6) Europe is synonymous with “The Left” (see point 5).
    7) The Muslim world is reactionary, oppressive, and anti-
    democratic. All the Muslims believe in what is said in the Quran,
    which is essentially a militant Islamist and evil text, Salafist in
    its core – a text that is mainly used to legitimate the
    extermination of the Jews and destroy Western civilization and
    the values of Enlightenment.
    8) Barack Hussein Obama is an incompetent Manchurian
    candidate and the first anti-American president in the history of
    the United States. His goals coincide with those of the Left and
    Europe (see point 5 and 6), the Muslims (see point 7), and the
    rest of the above mentioned evildoers (see point 1-4).
    —————————
    I think that’s it.
    This is basically the kind of demonization Nadine is involved in
    day out and day in. And you WigWag, do not object to any of
    this mixture of half truths, simplifications, and distortions, but
    basically support this bizarre world view, expressing the same
    simple and crude message in a more sophisticated, less
    paranoid and more ironic English prose.
    And you do it just for fun. Nice for you.

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    “Speculating what my motives might be is juvenile on your part.”
    Who are talking about motives, WigWag? Whether you and
    Nadine are “having fun” or feel bored while writing nasty
    remarks about Islam and Muslims, is irrelevant in this context.
    I’m just reading your comments – you have to ask yourself
    about your motives. And yes, both you and Nadine have been
    involved in demonization of the Muslim world in general, and to
    an increasing degree Turkey (especially Nadine) during the last
    months. It this reflects a widespread tendency on the right in
    Israel and the US, it is a worrying sign.
    I am not thinking about the particular effect of two scribblers on
    a blog, I am treating your activities as part of a bigger collective
    act of demonizing parts of the Muslim world – and it is in this
    larger context your writing is morally and politically dubious.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    I agree with Wigwag’s remarks. I would add, that if you had been reading Wigwag’s remarks, and mine, Erdogan’s behavior in sending a flotilla that included Islamist IHH Hamas supporters would not have surprised you. But if you had just been reading Ben Katcher’s happygrams, it would have been a complete surprise. Wigwag & I are amateurs. Isn’t Ben Katcher supposed to do better than us? Were we “demonizing” or was Ben Katcher “whitewashing”?
    Here’s another recording of the “peaceniks” on the Mavi Marmara. Listen for yourself:
    “In response to a radio transmission by the Israeli Navy warning the Gaza flotilla that they are approaching a naval blockade, passengers of the Mavi Marmara respond, “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz” and “We’re helping Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11″ (source: IDF)”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/06/04/new_flotilla_to_israeli_navy_go_back_to_auschwitz_dont_forget_911_.html
    Here’s the Israeli description of what happened, from the 15th commando to rappel down. Note that when he landed, he saw three of his men down, two with bullet wounds and one with a fractured skull:
    We had no choice, commando who killed 6 tells ‘Post’
    By YAAKOV KATZ
    06/04/2010 06:13
    “They were coming at us with murder in their eyes,” says S., describing the “battlefield” aboard the

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  20. DonS says:

    “One would have to be rather puritanical to think having fun is demeaning”
    Most certainly, Wig wag, but isn’t it a bit prescriptive to deem it the ‘only’ reason to be here? Maybe some have motives in addition to fun.

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  21. WigWag says:

    One would have to be rather puritanical to think having fun is demeaning; don’t you think, DonS?

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  22. DonS says:

    “Remember, the only reason to be here is because it

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  23. Don Bacon says:

    We’ve come out of the semi’s and into the finals — Israel v. Ireland. The smart money is on on the Irish, by gorry. They have all that built-up resentment going back to the British experience and they don’t even get along very well with each other.
    But Israel has some background in these matters also so it should be a smash-up event.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    Israel says doesn’t want clash on ‘Rachel Corrie’
    Published: 06.04.10, 16:34 / Israel News
    Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal said Israel “has no interest in a confrontation” with activists on board the Irish vessel Rachel Corrie, currently making its way towards the Gaza Strip.
    “We have no interest in boarding the ship. If it saild directly to the Ashdod port, we will secure its crew and refrain from boarding it. The cargo on the ship will be checked and if it is found to contain no weapons Israel is prepared to transfer it to Gaza,” Gal said. (Ynet)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Gee what’s wrong Israel?..afraid to kill anyone but brown people and Americans? Afraid no other country will tolerate murder of it’s citizens?
    Come on you IDF cowards…kill some European gentiles.

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    All Fall Down
    by James Wolcott June 3, 2010, 8:29 PM
    Paul Woodward at Mondoweiss asks a pertinent question:
    “Can the Israeli government kill Americans with impunity?”
    For several days, Israel has been able to contain some of the fallout from the flotilla massacre by withholding information about the dead and injured. The object of this exercise has clearly been to slow the flow of information in the hope that by the time the most damning facts become known, the international media

    Reply

  26. WigWagkm says:

    “Regular TWN commenters like Nadine and WigWag have been demonizing Turkey for months now, and in the current crisis, I think this is an extremely foolish thing to do if they care about Israel. Does Israel really need more enemies or a more hostile environment in the current situation?” (Paul Norheim)
    When it comes to Turkey, Paul, I say what I think. I’m interested in Turkey and the Balkans, admittedly as a complete amateur. Speculating what my motives might be is juvenile on your part. When I comment about Turkey, if you have facts that contradict my comments; present them, otherwise you

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  27. Carroll says:

    MV Rachel Corrie due to reach Gaza within hours.

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    From Salon….
    Government for Sale
    This Saturday, June 6th in Cyprus at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East the Vatican’s “Instrumentum Laboris” (Work Plan) will be released. The document challenges the usual pro-Israel chorus of US leaders and articulates the growing displeasure with Israel which Americans fearful of being branded anti-Semitic
    avoid expressing.
    The Vatican says:
    “The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories makes daily life difficult for freedom of movement, the economy and for social and religious life (access to Holy Places, requires military permission, granted to some and denied to others, for security reason.) Beyond that, fundamentalist Christian groups use Holy Scripture to justify a political injustice imposed on Palestinians thereby threatening the position of Christian Arabs even more.”
    Yet the human toll in the endless Middle East conflict is too often ignored by US leaders willing to kowtow by a powerful Jewish lobby. Thus 1% of the population determines US foreign policy because of its political involvement, political contributions, and influence in the media.
    US political leaders sympathizing with displaced Palestinians oppressed in a land which their forebears have called home for centuries are almost non-existent. The brutal Hamas taints the official American view of all Palestinians, including civilians living peacefully alongside Israeli neighbors. The UN’s annual resolution calling for “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine” is always supported by the majority of the world’s powers, but the US, Australia, Israel and some minor countries oppose it. The US veto at the UN halts any wrist-slapping of Israel.
    New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner– an arch-liberal on all other issues– reacted to last week’s Israeli shooting upon a humanitarian aid flotilla, killing at least 10 international activists and wounding 50 others, saying, “Even if we are the only country on earth that sees the facts here, the United States should stand up for Israel.” As outrage resonated around the world, the US remained bizarrely and hypocritically silent and Salon’s Alex Pareene accurately characterized Weiner’s remark as, “the statement of a man with whom there can be no reasoning.”
    Pareene’s final conclusion that Weiner “would rather be a successful New York politician than a prominent national liberal,” crystallizes the rationale behind US refusal to deal with Israel objectively and firmly, at a cost of undermining US global credibility and endangering effective foreign policy.
    US politicians fear the loss of power which alienation from the Jewish lobby can precipitate. The US spends billions each year providing planes and arms to keep Israel’s war machine humming, and its leaders get payback from grateful Jewish constituents. Elderly, Black and Latino support, considered critical for political success, pale beside the mandatory support of the Jewish community which– despite its size– controls America’s Middle East policies and the political fates of those who form them– from the White House through Congress and beyond.
    Acts equivalent to Israel’s shooting on humanitarian ships and oppression of civilians in the land of their forebears, if done in China, Russia, or Chile, for example, would receive swift and unquestioned American condemnation. Yet the disruption of daily Palestinian life, as the Vatican suggests, is being sacrificed at the altar of political power and greed. This fuels a broader American concern that ignoring Israeli aggression in a post-9/11 reality may justify the global Islamic majority’s determination to snuff out its American enemy.
    Despite my history of sparring with Rome, I applaud the underscoring of the Mid-East’s human issues by the Vatican: lost freedom of movement in Palestine, economic, social and religious deterioration, injustice and even abuse in the name of whatever “god” the players call theirs. The complicity of the US in allowing those human rights to be trampled, volunteers assassinated, journalists restrained, and civilians held virtually captive– all for political gain and for the personal advantages which flow from it– disgusts many Americans too intimidated to speak out.
    Norman Gary Finklestein, author, scholar and a Jew rejected by fellow Jews for his willingness to criticize Israel if appropriate, told PressTV in a June 2 interview: “Israel is out of control and it is insane, even in terms of its own self interest. And you just have to ask this question that if this is the kind of decision they make after a week of intense deliberations, what kind of decision would they make amidst a war if missiles are being sent to Tel Aviv?”
    Americans ought to be asking themselves– and their elected officials from the White House on down– that very question.
    What kind of decision, indeed.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The truth is, Israeli atrocities occur DAILY in the Gaza strip. The raid on this flotilla, due to its sensational nature, is recieving press, but probably not for long as our media is sure to distract us with some new tale of nasty anti-semitic heathen Muslim’s committing atrocious misdeeds in Gaza, the West Bank, Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan.
    Tell me, what other country can shoot an American engaged in peaceful protest, at close range, in the head, with nary a mention from our press or the maggot pieces of shit in DC? And if it was just one American, the argument could be made that the IDF nazis have accidentally hit the individual. But it is now FOUR Americans that have been shot at close range in the West Bank. The racist fascist IDF gestapo is TARGETING our citizens. And what does Washington do??? NOTHING. Not even a word.
    How many Americans have heard of “Neda”???
    But what of Tristan Anderson? Or Emily Henochowicz??? Who do you know that has heard of these two people? Have you ever seen Steve mention them??? Katcher??? ANYONE at NAF??? ANYONE in Congress???? AMYONE in the White House??? ANYONE in the State Department? Fuckin’ agenda driven cowards, whose concern for human rights, and for their fellow Americans, is nothing more than political opportunism, to be turned on or off at will, depending on how any given abuse or atrocity fits their political agenda.
    Washington has become a cesspool of everything that man should aspire NOT to be. The fealty that DC pays to Israel is shameful and demeaning to our nation. We ALL should be ashamed.
    Turkey, its leaders, and its people are to be commended. It seems they are made of far better stuff than we are.
    http://ingaza.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/the-same-boat/

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    CNN today:
    “Autopsies reveal 9 men on Gaza aid boat shot, 5 in head
    By Ivan Watson and Talia Kayali
    June 4, 2010 — Updated 1023 GMT
    Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) — Autopsy results by forensics experts
    in Istanbul revealed that all nine of the men killed by Israeli
    commandoes aboard the humanitarian convoy that had planned
    to dock in Gaza died of gunshot wounds.
    The autopsy results give clues about how the violence unfolded
    after Israeli commandoes stormed the Turkish ship Mavi
    Marmara in the pre-dawn hours on Monday.
    Five of the men died with bullet wounds to the head, said Dr.
    Haluk Ince, the director of Istanbul’s Medical Examination
    Institute, said Friday.
    One casualty, a 19-year-old dual national Turkish-American
    citizen named Furkan Dogan, was found to have bullet wounds
    in his head and multiple bullets in his body, Ince said.
    According to the U.S. State department, Dogan was born in
    Troy, New York and had been living in Turkey. American
    diplomats have been extending consular services to the
    deceased’s family.
    In one case, Ince said, a gunshot victim had been shot at at
    extremely close range.
    “From the analysis of the bullet distance on one of the bodies,”
    Dr. Ince said, “the gun was fired between 2 and 14 centimeters’
    distance from the victim’s head.”
    In one month, the forensic report will be submitted to an
    Istanbul prosecutor’s office. There have already been petitions
    from families of Turkish activists this week, submitted to state
    prosecutors to sue the government of Israel on charges of
    murder.”

    Reply

  31. Nikolas K. Gvosdev says:

    Hi WigWag:
    Ridvan has already clarified several points regarding the Turkish-Serbian interaction. Yes, Turkey was one of the first to recognize Kosovo’s independence. However, Turkey does not pressure Serbia to recognize, understanding Belgrade’s perspective. The Turkish goal in the Balkans is to get dialogue started, rather than to issue orders. This is why Turkish mediation between Serbia and Bosnia has been very successful in reducing tensions. Perhaps Turkey might then be able to begin such a process over Kosovo as well.
    My overall point in posting my initial comment was to emphasize that there has been a long-term shift in Turkey’s conception of itself and a re-evaluation of Turkey’s foreign policy needs versus the needs of the United States; this isn’t a sudden development as a result of the Gaza flotilla. In some cases, Turkish policy aligns with ours, but in other areas, it doesn’t, and Ankara is less amenable now to changing to accommodate Washington’s perspective.
    Larry Birnbaum’s point is well taken. Some of the policies of the Erdogan government don’t seem to be necessarily enhancing Turkey’s position, and Turkish voters will have to decide that. But let’s not assume that a change of government in Turkey in the future would bring back the “good old days.” For one thing, the booming relationship with Russia is one that would survive any change in government.

    Reply

  32. Nikolas K. Gvosdev says:

    Hi WigWag:
    Ridvan has already clarified several points regarding the Turkish-Serbian interaction. Yes, Turkey was one of the first to recognize Kosovo’s independence. However, Turkey does not pressure Serbia to recognize, understanding Belgrade’s perspective. The Turkish goal in the Balkans is to get dialogue started, rather than to issue orders. This is why Turkish mediation between Serbia and Bosnia has been very successful in reducing tensions. Perhaps Turkey might then be able to begin such a process over Kosovo as well.
    My overall point in posting my initial comment was to emphasize that there has been a long-term shift in Turkey’s conception of itself and a re-evaluation of Turkey’s foreign policy needs versus the needs of the United States; this isn’t a sudden development as a result of the Gaza flotilla. In some cases, Turkish policy aligns with ours, but in other areas, it doesn’t, and Ankara is less amenable now to changing to accommodate Washington’s perspective.
    Larry Birnbaum’s point is well taken. Some of the policies of the Erdogan government don’t seem to be necessarily enhancing Turkey’s position, and Turkish voters will have to decide that. But let’s not assume that a change of government in Turkey in the future would bring back the “good old days.” For one thing, the booming relationship with Russia is one that would survive any change in government.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    It looks like some of the Israelis are asking themselves precisely
    the same questions. Here from a Haaretz article today:
    “Published 02:02 04.06.10.
    Who’s really under siege?
    “Israel’s security chiefs surely recognize that the flotillas to the
    Gaza Strip will not stop; rather, they will only intensify. The
    political and military leadership that decided to take over the
    ships behaved in a way befitting a different era. The struggle
    today takes place on the media battlefield and requires a
    corresponding solution.
    Moreover, what will Israel do with the next flotilla? Or when the
    United States ceases to show understanding for Israel’s
    position? Or when the number of casualties is higher?
    And what will the army do when countries like Turkey begin
    providing military escorts to such civilian flotillas?
    The military’s response to this week’s challenge suggests a lack
    of understanding of the nature of the conflict, and makes one
    wonder: Who endangers our security more? The human rights
    activists and the militants who have linked up with them, or
    those who determine Israel’s defense policy?”
    More here:
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/who-s-really-
    under-siege-1.294147

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    Dirk, I’m not sure if I understood your point. I’m afraid that this
    could escalate to a much more serious level than expelling
    some Israeli ambassador – if not in this round, so in the next –
    for example during a possible war between Israel and
    Lebanon/Syria, say, 7 or 14 months from now.
    Just like Turkey’s involvement in the flotilla actions is, among
    other things, also motivated by a belated expression of their
    anger when Israel bombarded Gaza a couple of years ago, the
    killings of some of their citizens may result in a response now –
    or one, two, even six years from now. But sure, I am most
    concerned by the unpredictable direct consequences of the
    current conflict. It has a potential for escalating and getting
    seriously out of hand.
    BTW, I am a Norwegian. Our Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr St

    Reply

  35. Dirk says:

    Your right Paul, if something happens to the MSV Rachael Corrie the Prime Minister of Ireland has promised severe consequences. Since Ireland, like Australia already has, is ready to expel an Israeli diplomat in the forged passport/Hamas assassination scandal, I can imagine what the PM will instead opt to expel the Israeli ambassador.
    Given that Israel already killed the original Rachael Corrie with a bulldozer, I’m sure the Israelis are not a little worried about the image of shooting up a ship named after her. Still, they probably would.
    Write your congressman/senator or member of the EU parliament or country MP.

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    Regular TWN commenters like Nadine and WigWag have been
    demonizing Turkey for months now, and in the current crisis, I
    think this is an extremely foolish thing to do if they care about
    Israel. Does Israel really need more enemies or a more hostile
    environment in the current situation?
    And do the defenders of the current Israeli government really
    think that the relationship between Israel and America is so
    rock solid (due to a pro-Israeli population and ditto members of
    the Congress and Senate) that they can go on demonizing and
    ridiculing their President the way they’ve done since he took
    office?
    Are they so confident that nothing dangerous could happen to
    Israel, or US-Israeli relations, during the next couple of years,
    that continuing to demonize Obama is the smartest tactic until
    a devoted pro-Zionist US President is elected in 2012, or
    perhaps in 2016 – six years from now?
    Personally, I doubt that the flotilla crisis is over. There will be a
    new boat arriving during this weekend, filled with celebrities
    and more ordinary activists, and a second and larger flotilla is
    being prepared as we speak. And everybody in the world who is
    against the blockade on the Gaza strip – from sincere peace
    activists and humanitarians on on side of the scale, to people
    who want to destroy the state of Israel on the other hand,
    possibly even some who hate Jews as a “race”, or are attracted
    to this for the sake of an anarchistic fight – realize that the
    flotilla is currently a much more effective tool than political
    means or terrorism. Countries like Turkey, and now also
    Ireland, are actively backing and organizing the actions.
    In short: this is a development that could easily escalate into a
    muddled and highly unpredictable affair on many levels;
    something that no one is able to control.
    I think President Obama (at least to some extent) realizes this,
    and I assume that he and his staff are discussing the possible
    scenarios and options. And it looks like he has come to the
    conclusion that urging Netanyahu to ease the blockade or lift
    the siege is the best option, since it would eliminate the
    rationale for further boats or flotillas heading to Gaza. If Obama
    managed to convince Israel that this is the best option, the
    activists, as well as Erdogan, would declare victory and be
    celebrated as heros – as long as it lasts…
    But what if Netanyahu says no? What if the majority of his
    cabinet argue that the negative consequences of ending the
    blockade are bigger than the gains? What if a majority sincerely
    believe that this is a complot to crush the state of Israel? What if
    they are more eager to save their international faces and
    domestic asses than to accept a solution that could calm down
    the situation?
    Nobody knows at this stage. Netanyahu may say yes, and
    Netanyahu may say no. Just like Netanyahu said no to the
    settlement freeze. In the last days, he’s said: No!
    And if he doesn’t change his mind, the question remains the
    same as in every single confrontation with Netanyahu:
    Does Obama have a Plan B?
    And are nations like Turkey and Ireland prepared for a situation
    where Israel once again raid the boats and kill activists? Do they
    have a plan B – and what kind of plan?

    Reply

  37. nadine says:

    Robert Pollock wrote this in today’s WSJ:
    To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness. Imagine 80 million or so people sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. They don’t speak an Indo-European language and perhaps hundreds of thousands of them have meaningful access to any outside media. What information most of them get is filtered through a secular press that makes Italian communists look right wing by comparison and an increasing number of state (i.e., Islamist) influenced outfits. Topics A and B (or B and A, it doesn’t really matter) have been the malign influence on the world of Israel and the United States.
    For example, while there was much hand-wringing in our own media about “Who lost Turkey?” when U.S. forces were denied entry to Iraq from the north in 2003, no such introspection was evident in Ankara and Istanbul. Instead, Turks were fed a steady diet of imagined atrocities perpetrated by U.S. forces in Iraq, often with the implication that they were acting as muscle for the Jews. The newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s daily read, claimed that Americans were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that local mullahs had issued a fatwa ordering residents not to eat the fish. The same paper repeatedly claimed that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah. And it reported that Israeli soldiers had been deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and that U.S. forces were harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. “organ market.”
    The secular Hurriyet newspaper, meanwhile, accused Israeli soldiers of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul and said the U.S. was starting an occupation of (Muslim) Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Then U.S. ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman actually felt the need to organize a conference call to explain to the Turkish media that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. One of the craziest theories circulating in Ankara was that the U.S. was colonizing the Middle East because its scientists were aware of an impending asteroid strike on North America.
    The Mosul and organ harvesting stories were soon brought together in a hit Turkish movie called “Valley of the Wolves,” which I saw in 2006 at a mall in Ankara. My poor Turkish was little barrier to understanding. The body parts of dead Iraqis could be clearly seen being placed into crates marked New York and Tel Aviv. It is no exaggeration to say that such anti-Semitic fare had not been played to mass audiences in Europe since the Third Reich.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704875604575281392195250402.html
    ridvan, your history of Hamas is 95% nonsense, but if you read the Turkish media I understand where you get your ideas. Hamas began their first terrorist campaign blowing up buses in the 1980s and 1990s, precisely to derail peace talks. “Israel will survive until Islam obliterates it” says their charter, and that is their mission, no more, no less. Gaza was not any kind of a “cage” at all until they took it over in a coup and began shooting rockets. Whenever the crossings to Israel were open, Hamas would bomb them. Peace is their enemy. They worship death and would be happy to do their people the “favor” of letting them become shahids in large number. They used to be paid by Saudi Arabia, but nowadays are paid by Iran.
    Note: for all Abbas’ noise, if the IDF did not support him in the West Bank, Haams would take over there too and kill him and many of his cronies. BTW, everything you’re saying about Kurds, Israelis can say about Arabs: there are Arab MKs in the Knesset.
    My next question to you (you still didn’t answer my question about elections) is this: what did Iran promise Erdogan to get him to stage this provocation now?

    Reply

  38. downtown says:

    It’s not Turkey that’s a problem for the US in the Middle East. But then most of us already know that.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So tell me, Katcher, how many Americans has Turkey, shot, maimed, or murdered this week?
    When are you think tank wizards going to stop pushing agendas and come to the realization that REAL PEOPLE are severely damaged by the constant stream of bullshit you people use in your sleazy efforts to shape policy?
    My bet? You’ve never even heard of this girl. But if TURKEY had shot her in the face, you’d sure as hell be lettin’ us all know about it. And so would this witch Hillary and those pimps over at AIPAC.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/3/emily
    US Student Loses Eye After Israel Fires on West Bank Protest
    American college student Emily Henochowicz, 21, has lost her left eye after being shot in the face by an Israeli tear-gas canister during a protest against the flotilla assault in the occupied West Bank. A talented visual artist whose recent work has been inspired by her experiences in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Emily also suffered considerable facial damage, including fractures to the bone around the eye socket, cheek and jaw. We speak to Israeli peace activist Jonathan Pollak, who witnessed the attack.
    AMY GOODMAN: We

    Reply

  40. Don Bacon says:

    NATO Treaty attack exemption: paragraph 36, section 27: Except for Israel.
    It’s called the Liberty Clause.

    Reply

  41. downtown says:

    Turkey is a NATO ally…the very definition of this treaty stipulates that if one of its members is attacked…the rest will come to its aid. The Israelis just put this treaty to its ultimate test. Some Americans may be dumb…but even dumb ones eventually see the light. Not now…it’ll take some time. But from now on, any so called liberal who rides on the coat-tails of liberalism while being a diehard Zionist will be defeated at the polls. It’s not going to happen over night….but it will happen!!
    WE’RE ALL TURKS NOW!!
    Thanks, Netanyahu!

    Reply

  42. Ridvan says:

    WigWag, thanks for your words and in Turkey it is 6 am in the morning right now, but i enjoy to discuss these subjects and meet new perspectives and share my opinions.
    1) i knew the situation of recognition about Kosovo, as i told you i was there to study on my report about it. As international community i meant important powers in world politics, especially US, and 22 of 27 member countries of EU. The opposing countries such as Russia,China,Spain and so on fear it will set a precedent for their minorities and the other countries doesnt recognize because of effects of these countries especially in Asia. Process show that if Russia can be persuaded to recognize Kosovo, lots of countries will do,too. This is about nature of international relations.
    I think for other points my previous answer to nadine is an answer for you,too. It is really interesting for me that you know very well our internal issues. As i say, we are in a process that demands of society start to get what they want. It can be late but every country,nation has their special situations that can be diffucult to understand for others,but when we fulfil our aims Turkish society will be happier and Republic of Turkey will be more powerful.If you know something about Ottomon Empire, how it survived 550 years with its different nations, you can find out humility of Turkish nation.i always say some mistakes maken, but it wasnt delibaretly. If you really interested in my country, i’d like to recomemnd you to read and search from different sources and please dont be biased.

    Reply

  43. downtown says:

    Congratulations…to nadine, the Krauthammers, Dershowitzes, Zuckermans and their ilk:
    “WE’RE ALL TURKS NOW.”
    Good going! And henceforth…all of my very mild-mannered friends will make the Schumers and Ackemrmans and Engels and Nadlers and all the other Israeli infiltrators accountable for their votes. Will it happen any time soon…NO…We’re realists. But you and your ilk have just alienated too many of the mild-mannered Middle-Of-The-Roaders. Good luck…it won’t be pretty.

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    My apologies. I see this essay is Katcher’s, not Steve’s. Had I of noticed, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to comment. When Katcher did a big high fallutin’ long winded 10,000 word essay about the “rift” between Turkey and Israel, without ONCE mentioning Turkey’s stance on the Goldstone Report, this outside the beltway know-nuthin’ serf pretty much figured out he’s full of crap.
    Truth be known, if this country still stood for what it USED TO stand for, in these days and times, Turkey would be a far more admirable ally to have than Israel is.

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The United States remains steadfastly committed to Israel….”
    NO.
    The scumbags in Washington DC remain “steadfastly committed to Israel”.
    But “the United States” IS NOT honestly represented by this lying elitist megalamaniacal tangle of maggots currently smelling up things in DC.
    “The United States” is THE PEOPLE, Steve. I think you, and those you have surrounded yourself with, tend to forget that.
    The ONLY reason that Israel is in favor to the PEOPLE of “the United States”, is because Israel has an extremely well funded lobby and propaganda program. The PEOPLE of the United States, if they knew THE TRUTH, would spit Israel out like a mouthful of soured milk.
    And slowly, but surely, THE TRUTH is getting out to the PEOPLE, Steve. And beware, because if we get enough of the truth, the gravy train just might be over for you folks in DC.

    Reply

  46. Ridvan says:

    nadine,you are good at provocation. Try to restrain your antogonistic ideas. My parents immigrated from Macedonia to Turkey, but i am not demanding Macedonian as a offical language because we have Turkish identity as a supra-identity and our sub-identities constitute this supra-identity such as in the US or France.There many kinds of Kurdish, even kurdish deputies in Turkish Parlament can not communicate because of that difference, do you know that? We are triying to expand democratic rights for all sides of society in Turkey, this is a process.
    Hamas is a group of people that in 1970s supported by Israel against Fatah in order to divide muslim population and in Israel Parlament,on 12 of january,2007,Olmert accused Netanyahu of creating Hamas. You can get more information in this article: “Hamas history tied to Israel”, United Press International, June 18, 2002.
    You can not even compare PKK and Hamas. Hamas struggle for stay alive and protect their land which was invaded by Israel and people who are living such a cage in Gaza. As Isreal left no choice for them,they were using terrorist actions for their rights, but Turkish government persuaded them to leave terrorist actions and joining political area and it is a legal, choosen political party, if you treat them as a terrorist, they will be terrorist. i have no doubt that this is what you want in order to justify Israel’s invasion.On the other hand PKK is completely different. They never negotiate,because this is how Terrorist groups act.if they start to negotiate, they now they will lose their basis of existence. they reject to demand their rights in political area
    You can be sure that our 87 years old democratic,secular Republic of Turkey is strong enough to protect its structure!

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    First of all Ridvan, I admire you for your willingness to converse in a language that is obviously not your first language. You make yourself very well understood. I could never engage in a dialog in a language other than English and I think it is terrific that you can. Thank you very much for making the effort to engage with me.
    I do think you are incorrect in several areas:
    1) You say that although Serbia has not accepted the independence of Kosovo, the international community has. This is not true. Neither the United Nations Security Council nor the United Nations General Assembly has voted to recognize Kosovo’s independence. According to Wikipedia, which keeps a running tally of nations that recognize Kosovo, of the 192 member countries of the United Nations, only 69 (36 percent have recognized Kosovo’s independence.
    The Secretary General of the United Nations has said, “The United Nations has maintained a position of strict neutrality on the question of Kosovo’s status.”
    If you would like further information on all of this, here’s the link,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_Kosovo
    2)It is true that Prime Minister Erdogan’s political party made a real effort to reach out to Turkey’s Kurds, especially early in his term when he thought it would provide a political advantage. But it is also true that the main Kurdish political party has been expelled from your national legislature; this was done by order of the Courts.
    3)I understand that you think the PKK is a terrorist organization but then the Israelis think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. The United States and most western European countries classify both the PKK and Hamas as terrorist organizations. Do you agree that like the PKK, Hamas is a terrorist organization? Do you really think that the Kurdish political party was allied with the PKK and thus should have been expelled? Does this mean you agree that Israel should refuse to recognize Hamas and that the Palestinian Authority is right to consider Hamas illegitimate?
    4)You may think the Alevi are well-treated; you may even be Alevi yourself. But anyone who reads Hurriyet knows that the Alevi are angry and that they feel aggrieved.
    Don’t you think that given its historical record and given the treatment of the Kurds, Alevi and Orthodox Christians in Turkey today that at least a little humility by the Turks is called for?

    Reply

  48. Ridvan says:

    WigWag, I think when it comes to Turkey,lack of knowladge and biased ideas about Turkey prevent being objective.As i mention above, Turkey seek to play an influential role in regional conflict resolution. Its hard and soft power potential and historical connections around the region encourage us to do so. Thats why, although we are the among the countries that recognized Kosovo,in fact strongly, our vision obligate us to find alternative policies in order to develop our relations with other countries. Serbia is one of them. Eventhough they dont accept the independence of Kosovo, they know that international area has already recognised it. there is a UN report that justify the independence of Kosovo. In international law, self-determination is a right for a minority nation which is not sharing any common value such as language,religion, common history and common future and after the Kosovo War from early 1998 to 1999 independence was inevitable. Therefore,eventhough it is not easy to accept it, Serbia can not put this event priority in their foreign policy and isolate itself and cut the relations with the countries which have recognised Kosovo. this is not reasonable.
    Each single country in the region notice that conflicts didnt bring anything, but cause huge troubles. When economical developments occur and cooperations increase,they can start to integrate and become interdependent, political issues can be secondary and they can gain more. Turkey has this vision and now we want to impose this vision all region and rapprochement will be provided with the countries which share the same vision. Actually, the rapprochement between Turkey-Serbia is more about Bosnia and Herzegovina, right now Turkey is a mediator between Serbia and Bosnia,but this is an another subject.
    I dont think so that i am exaggerating the level of brotherly love with our Kurd population. In the region they voted for Erdogan’s AKP much more than Kurdish political party DTP in last elections and also DTP is not demanding separation. Yes there is a terrorist group,PKK, that demands secession,but there are interesting informations about the structure of pkk and its supporters! Also 40 thousand people didnt die in a war in my country,30 thousand soldiers were killed by PKK in terrorist activities and Pkk cost billions dollar of my country. You are still writing biased and it is not nice.
    During Military Coup in early 1980s the implementations of government affected many side of citizens badly, not only Kurd population.and the structure what they established at that time still affecting our country, we are still trying to make amendments in the Constitution to be more democratic and to built a structure which opening the way for the integration of the

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    LI, Turkey routinely practices collective punishment against Turkish Kurdistan. It’s in far worse shape than Gaza. But who cares, they are all Muslims, right?
    I would recommend Israel announce that at the end of the year, it would close the entry points to Israel entirely (instead of letting 100 trucks a day in), allow anything to be shipped in but missiles, shut off the electricity and water supplies unless Hamas wanted to renegotiate the contract, and say, Hamas is on their own now. Unfortunately, Hamas, which would be delighted to see the Gazans suffer, will probably not import anything and create food shortages which are not there now, secure in the knowledge that Leftists blame Israel for anything Hamas does.

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  50. Liberal Internationalist says:

    “So how come Turkey can defend itself against the PKK but it’s illegal for Israel to defend itself from Hamas?”
    It’s not illegal for Israel to defend itself against Hamas. It’s illegal for Israel to practice collective punishment against people living in
    Gaza. The blockade as practiced by the Israeli government is morally untenable.

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  51. larry birnbaum says:

    To repeat the obvious, it’s inevitable that with the decline of a very threatening common enemy (Russia), Turkey and the US would find themselves less closely aligned.
    It’s less clear to me what Turkey’s actual interests are. They are clearly becoming more oriented towards the east (I enjoyed using the word “oriented” in that sentence). At one level this seems an understandable reaction to the EU’s lack of enthusiasm for having Turkey as a member state. This ambition always struck me as misguided. Not because Turkey is Muslim and Europe is Christian (although that is probably a factor). But because the EU couldn’t possibly be excited about having countries like Syria, Iraq, and Iran on its borders. Which is to say, Turkey is a great buffer state for them.
    But to repeat, I don’t think I understand their interests. Actually to be clearer I’m not sure that they have such a good grasp on those themselves. So now they’ve contributed to this fiasco and made the moderate Arab countries look bad by becoming the hero of the Palestinian Arabs. Or provided a useless fig leaf for the Iranians by arranging this uranium swap after too much time has passed for it to serve its actual purpose, viz., reducing Iran’s stockpile sufficiently to make it impossible fo for them to make a bomb for some period of time, thus buying time for negotiations. Good for Erdogan in the next election maybe. But how it contributes to peace and stability in the region is a mystery to me. How it contributes to Turkey’s economic and social development even more of a mystery.

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  52. nadine says:

    “we have common language,common religion and the most important one common history and future…this is not like relation between palestine-israel or kosovo-serbia.” (ridvan)
    The Kurds are of a different opinion. Common language? Do you deny the existence of Kurdish? At least you don’t call them “mountain Turks”. 20 fighter jets just bombed PKK positions in Northern Iraq; 4 killed according to the PKK. http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=170607
    So how come Turkey can defend itself against the PKK but it’s illegal for Israel to defend itself from Hamas?
    One more question: I hear the AKP is sinking in the polls. What do you reckon the chance of a free and fair election happening in Turkey next year? Or will Erdogan just follow the example of his new buddy Ahmedinejad and steal the election?
    When it comes to the treatment of minority populations, Turkey is not the one to give anybody lectures.

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  53. WigWag says:

    Ridvan, you are absolutely correct and I was absolutely incorrect; Turkey has recognized Kosovo and does have diplomatic relations with it. In fact, Turkish recognition was granted on February 18, 2008 at just around the time that Kosovo declared independence.
    I apologize for the error and I appreciate your correcting me.
    All of this does make me wonder whether Nikolas K. Gvosdev’s comment about Turkey seeing Serbia as a lynch pin of development in the Balkans is correct. Serbia is no more reconciled to independence for Kosovo than Turkey is to independence for its Kurdish provinces or to recognition of its role in the Armenian Genocide.
    If Gvosdev is correct and Serbia truly seeks a rapprochement with Serbia, it

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  54. Liberal Internationalist says:

    For Turkish news on recent events in English, see:
    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/bolum.do?link=100
    Lots of interesting articles, interviews and commentary from a Turkish perspective. Some articles obviously need to be treated with some skepticism, but it’s far better than the Jerusalem Post or many US news sources.

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  55. LiberalInternationalist says:

    There is little reason to doubt that Turkey’s position on the Gaza blockade is a principled and moral one. If the blockade was designed only to interdict weapons and other war materials, Turkey would not have supported peaceful efforts to challenge the blockade. This is not the case. As Matt Yglesias noted today, the blockade is “politically and morally scandalous.”
    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/06/collective-punishment-in-gaza.php
    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/06/permitted-and-forbidden-in-gaza.php
    I would not recommend abandoning Israel, but if forced to choose Turkey is a far more important country and strategic ally for the US. I also believe that in recent years the Turkish government in its foreign policy has shown more adherence to core US values and interests than the Israeli government.
    The Israeli government and its commandos should have known you don’t mess with the Turks. I am surprised no one has mentioned the reaction of some Turkish businessmen to the hijacking of a Turkish airplane in 1981. Four armed leftist radicals wanted to get to Bulgaria. While the passengers’ lives were not at risk, these unarmed Turks didn’t take kindly to being diverted in their travels and overcame the hijackers. Israelis used to admire such gumption.

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  56. Libera lInternationalist says:

    Cook’s piece is titled “How Do You Say “Frenemy” in Turkish?” A more pertinent question is how you say it in Hebrew, particularly after learning in the Washington Post this morning that the US State Department warned the Israeli government prior to Memorial Day to handle the situation with “caution and restraint.”
    As others have noted, supporters of Israeli government actions (like Nadine and WigWag)have decided now is the time to demonize Turkey.
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/06/03/time-to-start-smearing-turkey/
    I don’t like feeling so cynical about this, but when I first read Cook’s piece on FP’s Middle East blog a couple of days ago, I was suspicious that this just might be a subtle and sophisticated effort among to justify the US distancing itself from Turkey so we can continue to embrace the Israeli government. When I learned on the CFR website that Steven Cook cut his teeth at WINEP, an AIPAC offspring, these suspicions were not allayed.
    As it did in 2003 at the time of the Iraq invasion, Turkey appears to have a better sense of US strategic interests than the US government often has when it comes to the Middle East. Yes, Turkey’s current policies are affected by its domestic politics and regional objectives. However, Erdogan was as firm a supporter of Israel as previous governments until he felt was betrayed by the Israeli government’s decision to invade Gaza in late 2008 while in Syria acting as a mediator in negotiations between Israel and Syria.

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  57. Ridvan says:

    WigWag, all your comment is depending on Turkey’s opposition of independence for the Kosovars. you also connected other points on it.I am sorry, but i have to correct you.Turkey is the fifth country that recognized Kosovo, before than the US and we have perfect relations with them.I was in Kosovo two months ago and i learned that Turkish companies is the most important companies which have investments in all kind of sectors such as education,construction, agriculture. Also there are Turkish minority in there and the Minister of Environment is a Turkish.
    even an easy Wikipedia research could help you before making your comment.your wrong basic idea makes your other points invalid,therefore i dont need to correct them, but just know that we are living with our Kurd population for a thousand year. we have common language,common religion and the most important one common history and future…this is not like relation between palestine-israel or kosovo-serbia.Therefore we have no fear like “it will set a precedent for Turkish Kurds who would like to partition off Kurdish provinces in the east for the future State of Kurdistan.”
    If you examine current Turkish Foreign Policy, you will figure out that we want to make our region more stable,more peaceful by making the countries interdependent to each other economically,politically. we do not war in our region any more, thats why in the Caucasus, in the Middle East,in Balkans,in Asia we try to mediate between conflicting sides.
    I dont think that Serbian,Russian,Armenian goverments which we want to develop our relations also are the fellow-Islamists of PM Erdogan (as nadine says always!!)
    if you dont know the region, if you dont feel what we feel here,if you dont need what we need here,and also if you dont have a vision for peace there is no way to understand this sort of foreign policy.
    I think,Unless the US dont share the same vision with Turkey, we can not be allies.
    i strongly recommend all my friends here who interested in current Turkish Foreign Policy an article of Minister of Foreign Affairs,Ahmet Davutoglu:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/20/turkeys_zero_problems_foreign_policy

    Reply

  58. Ajaz says:

    Despite winning the election on a promise to change policies in Washington, Obama Administration is still following the failed policies of George W. Bush when it comes to Iran.
    How can the Administration not work with Turkey and Brazil? After all they have succeeded in getting Iran to swap the enriched Uranium. Isn’t this what the Administration was trying to accomplish in the first place. A smart move would be to build on this and get Turkey and Brazil to continue the dialogue with Iran so as to build on their accomplishment leading ultimately to US and Iran sitting down on the table (if need be with Turkey & Brazil too) to defuse the situation. Problem is the neocns in Washington want to continue their war mongering rhetoric and aggressive posturing on Iran and Obama does not appear to have the gumption to resist them. Obama should have charted his own course and left the neocons in dust. What they accomplished anyway, except for launching an illegal and a deadly war on Iraq, the long term consequences of which are likely to be disastrous.

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  59. nadine says:

    Hi WigWag, well at least the Foreign Policy article seems to have bumped Ben Katcher out of his nostalgia for 1985. This is the first non-happygram.
    However, Katcher still messes up when he says Turkey has taken the “Palestinian” side. Erdogan may say “Palestinian” a lot but he has never had one kind word for Abbas or Fatah; his support is strictly for his fellow-Islamists in Hamas. Giving semi-official Turkish backing to IHH, which funds both Hamas and Al Qaeda, makes his true allegiance quite plain.

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  60. Bilejones says:

    It’s hard to think of any sane country that wouldn’t be walking away from the U.S.

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  61. WigWag says:

    “Turkey’s outreach in the Balkans has tended less to clash with U.S. interests, but Turkey is a much greater proponent of engagement with Serbia and Ankara sees Serbia as the key to regional development, not the obstacle.” (Nikolas K. Gvosdev)
    This is a very interesting comment from Mr. Gvosdev (who has an entertaining blog by the way).
    It seems to me that Turkey’s interests and American interests are almost perfectly aligned in the Balkans. Turkey certainly can’t be enthusiastic about the emergence of Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and the support offered by the Americans to the Bosnians has to be appreciated by the Turks. It’s hard to imagine ethnic conflict in Macedonia being beneficial to the Turks either. The fact that the West is working consistently to tamp down violence there has to be to Turkey’s liking.
    I think the relationship between the Serbs and the Turks is particularly interesting. While the Americans and much (but not all) of Western Europe have recognized Kosovo, the Turks conspicuously have not. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that most of the ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo were converted to Islam by the Turks less than a century ago.
    Of course, Turkey’s main reason for opposing independence for the Kosovars is that they fear it will set a precedent for Turkish Kurds who would like to partition off Kurdish provinces in the east for the future State of Kurdistan.
    But Turkey’s increasingly important relationship with Russia also figures into Turkish hostility towards Kosovo. The Russians detest the idea of Kosovar independence; the religious shrines found in Kosovo may not be as important to the Russian Orthodox Church as they are to the Serbian Orthodox Church, but they are important. It’s fascinating that the Russians feel a stronger sense of kinship with their Slav cousins in Serbia than the Turks feel with their co-religionists in Kosovo.
    It will be very interesting to watch the relationship between Turkey and Serbia develop. Obviously from the historical point of view the relationship has been extraordinarily troubled. A true rapprochement between the Turks and the Serbs, if it were to come about, would be quite impressive.

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  62. Don Bacon says:

    I see it differently, on a grander scale.
    The US has promoted instability and turmoil in the Middle East and in other parts of Asia for decades. The US policy has been to divide and conquer while promoting a “need” to be (mostly militarily) active, to buy off allies like Egypt, to obtain political leverage by continuing arms sales to Israel and others, to invade and occupy, to keep I/P contentious, and last (but certainly not least) to continue to profit financially from arms sales. Saudi Arabia is always good for it, as long as the US keeps Iran stoked. The US is the largest arms merchant in the world by far.
    In east Asia the US has refused to end the Korean War and promote the unification of Korea — divide and conquer. In south-central Asia, Afghanistan is an endless conflict without any serious diplomatic effort to settle it — by design. Now even ally Pakistan is attacked.
    Now other nations in the world have seen that the emperor has no clothes. They aren’t afraid of supporting the US’s arch enemy Iran (most countries in the world do support Iran). In the western hemisphere the Monroe Doctrine countries are becoming increasingly independent of the collossis to the north, even supporting Cuba.
    So the biggest change is the death of US-type cold wars and the increasing collegiality of nations. That’s good. We see other players, like China, Turkey and Brazil, who actually believe that they profit more from good relations than from bad ones. The don’t depend upon arms sales and military blocs to obtain political and financial benefits — they actually believe in real diplomacy, no interference with other countries and good relations. (The corollary is that aggressively criminal behavior of countries is not accepted.) What a concept!
    These countries, now that the US is fading domestically and internationally, see opportunities to promote more sensible policies and they are doing it. Turkey is. China is. Others, even some others in NATO, might now take a cue from Turkey.
    Are the U.S. and Turkey still allies? Under Bush they wouldn’t be, under Obama Turkey might be tolerated if Biden and Emanuel, and other US domestic Zionists, don’t lean too hard on Obama. But they probably will, if only to set an example.

    Reply

  63. ... says:

    it is an absence of leadership, or worse – bush 2 coming out of the usa that has led to the present situation…
    in answer to the title question “Are the U.S. and Turkey Still Allies?”
    everything is 2ndary to the usa’s endless love affair with israel… everyone knows this except the american public it seems.. i sure as hell wouldn’t wait around to get closer to the alter with the us… they have been married to israel and nothing seems to motivate them to go for even a ””temporary”’ separation..
    amazing what can happen when no leadership exists in a country that is still militarily superior to all others… i guess that is the way the bankers like it……………………….

    Reply

  64. Paul Norheim says:

    “But Turkey can be forgiven for seeking to chart its own path
    given that U.S. policy toward Iran has failed for decades.” (Ben
    Katcher)
    In the same vein, one could add:
    “Turkey can be forgiven for seeking to chart its own path given
    that U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestine conflict has failed
    for decades.”
    Turkey can be forgiven for seeking to chart its own path given
    that U.S. policy toward Iraq has failed for decades.”
    And so forth…
    In the absence of reasonable positions from Washington, Ankara
    has recently become a loud and significant voice representing
    worldwide common sense, both politically and morally – first
    together with Brazil on Iran’s nuclear program, and now on the
    Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.
    Its path is certainly not without risks, but America should work
    in tandem with Turkey on both issues, as responsible partners,
    instead of ignoring or distancing itself from Ankara’s positions
    and taking Israel’s side on these issues. How long will it take
    before Europe feels compelled to side more with Turkey than
    with the US on the Israel-Palestine conflict? Due to
    unpredictable developments in the confrontation between
    flotilla activists (now backed by Ireland) and Israel, this may
    happen sooner as one would have previously imagined.
    A future “frenemy”-arrangement, not only vis a vis Turkey, but
    also between Europe and America – due to Israeli stubbornness,
    brutality, and reckless behavior? We saw signs pointing in that
    direction when Bush invaded Iraq. I wonder if Washington will
    position itself in ways that strengthen these tendencies in the
    current crisis related to the blockade of Gaza – or wake up and
    show some basic common sense? I am not optimistic.

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  65. non-hater says:

    The stark reality is that while Turkey and the United States are not enemies in the Middle East, they are fast becoming competitors. Whereas the United States seeks to remain the predominant power in the region
    How smart is it that the US is seeking to remain the predominant power in a region that is 5000 to 7000 miles away? Empires crumble on such foolishness. Instead, we should be seeking better relations with the obvious future regional powers: Turkey, Iran, and Egypt (all of Egypt, not just the military).

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  66. Nikolas K. Gvosdev says:

    Ben,
    This trend has been noticeable for the last several years, as Turkey emerges as a Eurasian power in its own right. The Gaza flotilla incident should not have been a wake-up call. Ankara and Washington had already clearly diverged in terms of Russia policy; while the U.S. under the Bush administration tried to contain the Russian resurgence in the post-Soviet space, Turkey now has a booming partnership with Moscow. Turkey’s outreach in the Balkans has tended less to clash with U.S. interests, but Turkey is a much greater proponent of engagement with Serbia and Ankara sees Serbia as the key to regional development, not the obstacle. And of course Turkey is working to integrate Iran rather than to isolate it.
    Washington policymakers, for the most part, have been stuck in 1985, still seeing Turkey as a lonely Western outpost facing the Soviet threat–and there is no returning to that supposed “golden age” of the U.S.-Turkey relationship. Turkey has discovered it has options–and because it wants “zero problems” with neighboring states like Iran and Russia, it is adopting a more pragamtic approach in its foreign policy.

    Reply

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