America’s Relationship With Turkey Goes Far Beyond Israel


Last Monday – the same day that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington to meet with President Obama – ten United States senators wrote the letter below to Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy – expressing concern about the recent deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel. (Sensoy has since resigned, but that is another story)
The senators can hardly be faulted for raising this issue. The United States has a clear interest in constructive Turkish-Israeli relations, particularly since Turkey has served as an effective mediator between Israel and Syria and is the Muslim country with the most significant history of positive relations with Israel.
The letter is also fair because it reaffirms the importance of the U.S.-Turkey relationship and is careful not to convey the message that the United States is singularly concerned about Israel and is ungrateful for Turkey’s cooperation in other areas.
But I hope that these Senators take the same level of interest in those issues on which the United States and Turkey are working together including stabilizing Iraq, diversifying Europe’s energy supply and integrating the Middle East into the global economy.
The letter is below. The pdf – courtesy of the Weekly Standard – can be found here.
091207Nelson-Collinsletter-1.jpgThumbnail image for 091207Nelson-Collinsletter-2.jpg
— Ben Katcher


15 comments on “America’s Relationship With Turkey Goes Far Beyond Israel

  1. DonS says:

    “Turkey has already jettisoned its relationship with Israel . . .”
    What utter crap, but that’s Israel alright. You’re either with us or with the terrorists. But that’s what these Senators are also implying. Pretty soon Obama will pick up the beat with gusto.


  2. DonS says:

    “Turkey has already jettisoned its relationship with Israel . . .”
    What utter crap, but that’s Israel alright. You’re either with us or with the terrorists. Pretty soon Obama will pick up the beat.


  3. nadine says:

    Dan, what are you smoking? Turkey has already jetisoned its relationship with Israel for a better relationship with Syria! It is moving into the Iran/Syria alliance. The extent of the wishful thinking here is incredible.


  4. JamesL says:

    Since the US and Britain are close, close allies, it would be nice if the US would help its little friend out and send some of our very capable agents over yonder to kidnap Livni and the other people in Britain’s war criminal list on one of their Israel First PR and fund raising jaunts and rendition them to several cooperative countries for some enthusiastic and patriotic questioning before making the final destination in Britain. This IS official US and Obama policy now–nothing wrong with it. A little help for our friends.


  5. Outraged American says:

    Israel ranked 4th LEAST PEACEFUL (out of 144) on the Global
    Peace Index, after Iraq, Afghanistan & Somalia. Way to go, Israel,
    way to go!
    Israel Ranks As The 4th Least Peaceful Country
    The Global Peace Index Rankings have been released. Vision of
    Humanity has published them, and nothing there is surprising.
    The least peaceful nation is Iraq, followed by Afghanistan,
    Somalia and in the fourth position: Israel. Not surprising, as on
    many of the parametres used to measure peace. quite
    specifically respect for human rights, they fall short again and
    again. 144 countries were ranked in 2009. You can visit the
    chart, click on a country to see the detail of its peace indicators
    and drivers.
    In other news, Tipsy Livni, hailed as a “moderate” candidate for
    Israeli Prime Minister in the last election (this while she cheered
    on the carnage in the Gaza Strip) IS NOW OFFICIALLY A WAR
    CRIMINAL in the UK because of her support of the slaughter!!!
    Yes, Virginia (or rather, Fatima) there is a Santa Claus!
    Now why hasn’t the UK issued a warrant for B-Lair, Dumbya and
    Israel confirms U.K. arrest warrant against Livni
    The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called for an end to the “absurd
    situation” in which arrest warrants were being issued to Israeli
    officials over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
    “Only actions can put an end to this absurd situation, which
    would have seemed a comedy of errors were it not so serious,”
    said the Foreign Ministry, a day after it emerged that opposition
    leader Tzipi Livni had canceled her trip to Britain after a warrant
    was issued for her arrest.
    Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a
    British court had issued an arrest warrant against opposition
    leader Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel’s military
    offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip nearly a year ago.


  6. jonst says:

    POA wrote : “How the hell can you throw together a post like that without mentioning the REASON that Turkey has given for excluding Israel from the Anatolian Eagle exercise?”.
    ‘Reasons? Reasons? I show you no stinkin reasons’!


  7. Dan Kervick says:

    Turkey will maintain constructive relations with the US and Israel, since doing so is essential to their bridge strategy. They are in a powerful position, and are using the strength inherent in that position to enhance their interests. For now, they have helped themselves in their neighborhood by showing that at least one country had the balls to hold Israel accountable for Gaza, and was able remain in good standing with Washington while doing so. And whether the White House wants to admit it publicly or not, the Anatolian Eagle move helped Washington as well, but positioning Turkey more effectively in the Middle East. Turkey is crucial to Obama’s regional strategy in Iran and Afghanistan, and Erdogan’s government is in even higher demand now in DC than it was before.
    Nadine and Abe Bird: you’re flailing and desperate. You would love to convince people that the US-Turkey relationship has suddenly gone deeply bad, and that Turkey is now a land of dangerous, crazy Islamists. It won’t work. The US is sometimes dumb, but their foreign policy in this case won’t be based on the emotional requirements of spite, which drive so many Israelis and US supporters of Israel. Amazingly, a smart move by Turkey was met in this case by a smart response from the White House. Read it and weep.


  8. Colin Laney says:

    “The letter . . . is careful not to convey the message that the United States is singularly concerned about Israel.”
    But the United states IS singularly concerned aout Israel.


  9. Outraged American says:

    These f*cktards need to be drawn & quartered. They are
    supposed to represent the US not that sh*tty little country.
    Israel’s going to be the death of us all. Wonder what post-Xmas
    surprise she’s going to launch this year?
    Will we wake-up on Boxing Day to find Natanz a pile of rubble?
    Or will it be Beirut for the umpteenth time.
    I’m calling each of these dickwads’ offices, we, the People of the
    United States of America have to stand-up to UsRael and its
    carnage once and for all.
    Now UsRael wants to attack a major Pakistani city, Quetta.
    Good times…


  10. nadine says:

    Erdogan is an Islamists. He has publicly expressed great sympathy for fellow Islamists such as Hamas and the government of Sudan, whom he proclaimed innocent of genocide. He is taking Turkey away from the West. This article is unreal. It is a game of wishful thinking.


  11. Abe Bird says:

    I’m pretty surprised from the writer’s remarks about the mutual US – Turkey building up a system to stabilize ties between both states, as if he learned anything or remember nothing. Turkey holds diverse relationships within the Middle East and Europe that motivated by a complex vocal conflicting and considerations. Many Turks interests and goals are conflicting to the American interests regarding these spaces. U.S. – Israel relations are much simpler regarding of the long-term common goals.
    Turkey interests in Iraq are mainly motivated from the existence and aspirations of the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Eastern Turkey. The Turks deny the right of Kurds for self-determination, as opposed their enthusiastic support the alleged rights of the Palestinian Arabs (that is at the expense of Israel). Turks hit the human rights of the Kurds in Turkey and even kill from time to time political opponents. Is this the partnership that America is looking for in the Middle East?
    Therefore, it is to see the American – Turkish approach in appropriate context, especially to prevent Turkey’s bleat against the interests of the U.S. (as it did several times in the past). Closer US-Turkey relationship won’t do any good for the alleged “Turkey channel” and intermediary between Israel and Palestinians because of the strange, betrayed and odd attitude of Turkey towards Israel since Operation ‘Cast Lead’.
    In general, there is no long-term significant Turkish American strategic option, if only because the conflicting Turkey’s long-term interests and goals.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, Katcher.
    How the hell can you throw together a post like that without mentioning the REASON that Turkey has given for excluding Israel from the Anatolian Eagle exercise?
    Turkey To Israel: Cross Our Airspace To Bomb Iran & We Will Respond Like An Earthquake
    By politicaltheatrics
    Published: December 8, 2009
    Admins Comments:
    The following has been translated from its original Arabic by the site administrator.
    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stated that if Israel crossed over into Turkey’s airspace in order to bomb Iran then their answer to Israel shall be like that of an “earthquake“.
    Erdogan’s response was due to a question, in an interview with Lebanese newspaper “Al Safir”, over information indicating that Israel had violated Turkish airspace in the process of spying against Iran.
    Erdogan continued,saying that certainly “the information [stating that Israel was using their airspace to spy on Iran] is incorrect,” but he stated that, “if Israel did so, they will receive a response equal to that of an earthquake.”
    He also said it was not reasonable that Israel went to Gaza and “swept” the population and later had the audacity to believe that they would still be permitted to train with Turkish defense forces after they have wrought havoc on the Gaza Strip.
    “We,the elected government,came into being due to the will of our people. We cannot then challenge the feelings of the Turkish people, who were greatly effected by what happened during that aggression on Gaza. Our respect for the sentiment of the Turkish people played a decisive role in the background of our decision in refusing to conduct exercise “Anatolian Eagle”.
    Furthermore,the Israeli’s cannot use the relationship they have with us that is declared on paper in order to hit Iran and we will not stand neutral or with folded hands”
    Katcher, if you are only going to give us PART of the story, why give us ANY of the story?


  13. Pahlavan says:

    Turks routinely line up to rock US official vehicles making their way accross the border into Iraq, and over the past 8 years Islam’s popularity has grown in Turkey in part due to uncle Sams “be free or die” policies deployed in Iraq and Afghanestan. I hope I’m wrong, but I see this letter as a desperate attempt and validation that our politicians are digging themselves deeper without even realizing.


  14. DonS says:

    All diplomatic niceties aside, both in the letter itself and in Ben Katcher’s post, I don’t see how this presumptuous letter can be read as anything but US Senators attempting to push Turkey around on behalf of their vision of how Turkey should behave. The underlying message of course is that they are displeased that Turkey has hewn an independent path that does not simply ignore Israel’s behavior just because that is what the US habitually does.
    It’s perfectly ok for Israel to poke everyone in the region in the eye whenever they please but these oh so righteous Senator don’t think Turkey should be able to evaluate and choose their own foreign posture.
    Katcher hopes these Senators would exhibit the same level of interest in other mutual US-Turkey issues of concern. I wish they would exhibit 1/100th the same level concern with regard to the many ways Israel thwarts regional cooperation.
    That’s right, these US Senators presume to attempt to dictate, in the nicest language possible, what the sovereign nation of Turkey should do.
    I would venture these Senators are less concerned with Turkey’s role as “honest broker” than they are with the exclusion of Israel from military maneuvers. The “honest broker” stuff is just a throw away line equivalent to pretending that US foreign policy really gives a damn about anyone in the area except Israel. But, you know, Turkey is a little bigger fish, so a little deference has to be mouthed.


  15. JohnH says:

    America’s relationship with ____________ (you fill in the blank) goes beyond its relationship with Israel…unless Israel runs US foreign policy.
    If the US wants to be respected, it will have to solve its Israel problem and run its own, independent foreign policy.


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