Archive for the ‘Ankara’ Category

Gates Discussed Missile Defense in Turkey

March 12, 2008

TurkeyPress.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A spokesman for the Pentagon said Tuesday U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates discussed missile defense system with Turkish officials during his meetings in the capital Ankara in late February.
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“Part of our talks with the Turkish government was indeed missile defense. I must tell you the focus of the talks at the time primarily dealt with the cross-border operation into northern Iraq, but missile defense did come up during the course of our talks, not only with the Turkish military, but with President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, not that it was so much an issue here,” Geoff Morrell told reporters at a daily press briefing.

Batteries of the US-made Patriot missiles in the Saudi Arabian ...
Batteries of the US-made Patriot missiles in the Saudi Arabian desert in 1991.
(AFP/Bob Sullivan)

When asked to speak about the details of the issue, Morrell said, “I can’t. It was a subject of discussion, but I don’t think we want to get into specifics at this point.”

Recalling that Gates talked about the terrorist organization PKK at press conference last week, Morrell said, “I just want to reiterate this notion that in no way is anybody in this department advocating that we sit down and negotiate with terrorists.”

“What has been suggested is that there needs to be a comprehensive approach to dealing with the Kurdish problem that the Turks face. And the secretary and others have advocated that there needs to be outreach to the larger Kurdish community so that you can diminish the pool from which the PKK recruits,” Morrell said.

Rice: Kurdish rebels are ‘common threat’

November 2, 2007

By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writers

ANKARA, Turkey – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured Turkish officials Friday that Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq were a “common threat” and that the United States would help Ankara in its fight against them.

Speaking after meeting with both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Rice said she had emphasized that the United States is “committed to redoubling its efforts” to help Turkey in its struggle against the rebel fighters.

“We consider this a common threat, not just to the interests of Turkey but to the interests of the United States as well,” she said at a joint news conference with Babacan….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071102/ap_on_re_us/rice;_ylt=
AmsCtEsdUHFFgswfGNVOME.s0NUE

The path to a better Middle East goes through Ankara

October 22, 2007

What Ms. Pelosi seems to have missed….

The Wall Street Journal
Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some day, we may look back on this week as a turning point in America’s relations with its closest Muslim ally, Turkey, and perhaps for the entire Middle East. Unfortunately, only a seer can say whether it’ll be a turn for the better.

The ructions over the House’s foray into Ottoman history and Turkey’s threat to invade northern Iraq don’t look good. But clear-eyed leaders will spot an opportunity in this crisis to renew an alliance for this difficult new era. American and Turkish interests overlap, and the countries need each other as much as they did during the Cold War.

The more sober politicians in Washington and Ankara understand this. Wednesday’s parliamentary approval of a possible Turkish incursion to chase down Kurdish terrorists in their Iraqi hideouts was remarkable for its restraint. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan waited more than a week after the latest strike by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (or PKK) killed 13 Turkish soldiers to bring up the measure. No democratic government could ignore such attacks and the growing public outrage.

The Turks have also ruled out any rash move into northern Iraq. Ankara would prefer that the Iraqi Kurds and U.S. squeeze the PKK hiding in the Qandil mountains and avoid the risks of launching its own incursion. The vote this week is a wake-up call from the Turks–not least to the Iraqi Kurds, who have an opening to improve ties with their most important neighbor.

Meanwhile, with uncanny timing, Congressional Democrats this week were about to stick a finger in Turkey’s eye. Whether the massacres of up to 1.5 million Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 constitute “genocide,” as a nonbinding House resolution declares, is a matter for historians. In the here and now, the resolution would erode America’s influence with Ankara and endanger the U.S. effort in Iraq. Worse, Mr. Erdogan’s ability to work with Washington would be constrained by an anti-American backlash.Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the week promising to bring the resolution to the House floor. But she is now having second thoughts–if not out of good sense, then because her rank-and-file are peeling away as they are lobbied against the anti-Turk resolution by the likes of General David Petraeus. Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert tabled a similar resolution when asked by President Clinton in 2000, and we’ll soon see if Ms. Pelosi will do the same for a Republican President.

The PKK also reads the papers, and its leaders timed their attacks on consecutive weekends this month as the resolution moved through the House. The Marxist separatist group, whose 20-year war has claimed almost 40,000 lives, would love to divide the U.S. from Turkey. Unless managed right, the Turkish response this week also imperils improving bilateral ties between Ankara and Baghdad; the countries had only recently signed a counterterrorism pact. In Turkey itself, PKK support is dwindling, and Mr. Erdogan’s ruling party swept the Kurdish-majority areas in July’s elections.

To avoid the trap set by the PKK, the U.S. needs to press the Iraqi Kurds to act against them. This doesn’t have to hurt America’s friendly dealings with the Kurds. But someone has to remind Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s Kurdish region, that the PKK poses a grave threat to the economic boom and stability of northern Iraq. His aggressive rhetoric toward Turkey, and the Kurdish peshmerga militia’s disinterest in cracking down on the PKK, gives the wrong impression of complicity with the terrorists. With typical bluster, Mr. Barzani yesterday said he’d fight the Turks–hardly helpful.

Short of declaring war on the PKK, the peshmerga could easily cut off supply lines of food and arms into the Qandil mountains. The Turks want the U.S. to nab a few big PKK fish, which is easier said than done. But Ankara isn’t unreasonable to expect to see more of an effort. In return, its troops can stay on their side of the border.

This hasn’t been an easy year for Turkey. For most of it, Mr. Erdogan and his neo-Islamist party fought a cold war with the country’s secular establishment, led by the military. His commanding election victory in July ended that political crisis, only to see Congress and the PKK distract anew from his primary task, which is building the Muslim world’s most vibrant free-market democracy.Turkey wants a unitary, stable and prosperous Iraq, and should know that any wrong moves in the north could jeopardize that. The Turks unabashedly support Israel’s right to exist and can’t abide a nuclear Iran. On these and other issues, Ankara is an indispensable partner for America. Mr. Erdogan is expected to meet President Bush next month to discuss Iraqi Kurdistan and probably the Armenian resolution. The U.S.-Turkey friendship is too important to let it be ruined by parochial politics in either country.

Related:

Pandering Pelosi-crats

Iraq and Turkey See Tensions Rise After Ambush

Pelosi: Our Candidate for “Catch and Release”

Turkey to approve troops to Iraq in defiance of U.S.

October 16, 2007

By Gareth Jones

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will defy international pressure on Wednesday and grant its troops permission to enter northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels based there, though it has played down expectations of any imminent attack.

 

Washington, Ankara‘s NATO ally, says it understands Turkey’s desire to tackle rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but fears a major incursion would wreck stability in the most peaceful part of Iraq and potentially in the wider region.

Turkey’s stance has helped drive global oil prices to $88 a barrel, a new record, and has hit its lira currency as investors weigh the economic risks of any major military operation.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071016/wl_nm/turkey_
iraq_dc;_ylt=Ar.kdVwGKsFObLiopEDrU1es0NUE

Torture? Well Intentioned Hearts Hurting the Nation?

October 11, 2007

Let me get this straight: the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday labeled Turkey a country that fosters “genocide” for acts of barbarism committed around 1915 by the failing Ottoman Empire which has nothing to do with Turkey today.  Isn’t this like convening a Nazi war crimes trial in Berlin today and putting the leadership of Germany on the stand?

Despite the fact that the President of the United States warned the House committee that their vote may harm relations with one of the key (and one of the ONLY predominately Islamic) U.S. allies in the war against terror, the committee voted to label Turkey a nation that supports genocide.

Now Ankara has withdrawn its ambassador from Washington.

Proud now, Mister Lantos?

Rep. Tom Lantos, the Chairman of the committee and several others are good and honorable men; and they have been under intense pressure from their Armenian-American constituents, most of whom reside in California, Nancy Pelosi’s home state.

Have we lost sight of the “big picture” to gain local state votes?

Is Mr. Lantos just seeking Armenian-American votes or does he really care about our men and women fighting a war; and the support that sustains them via Turkey?

I have a few problems with the committee’s actions.

First, both sides engaged in horrendous acts of lawlessness as the Ottoman Empire dissolved and World War I transpired. The facts are that evil was rampant on both sides and it is difficult to tell which side was worse. Second, the label of “genocide” now, almost 100 years later, gains us what? A good feeling? And third, everyone knew this labeling would offend Turkey; an ally we can ill afford to lose.  Seventy percent of U.S. supplies going to the war zone go through Turkey. Finally, this act has the potential to harmfully impact U.S. troops engaged in the field.

Even though we usually stand with human rights advocates foursquare, we deplore this committee action.

Which brings us to former President Jimmy Carter.

Proclaiming to the world that the U.S. has committed torture gains what?

The former president has just supported a position fostered by Osama bin Laden and others among the people who want to destroy America. Even if Mister Carter’s well intentioned accusations are accurate; it would have been better to hold fire until after the smoke of war cleared. Mister Carter, instead, while hawking his book on radio and TV shows, has sided with the terrorists and the enemy.

Ann Coulter has been accused of making bombastic statements while selling her latest book.  Now, knowingly or unknowingly, it doesn’t matter, you can add Jimmy Carter to Ann’s club.  And didn’t President Carter draw a lot of heat when his last book laid out a very problematic account of the Middle East?

President Carter is an honorable man; but he himself admits he was broke when he left the White House so he wrote a book.

Sometimes good intentions and a big heart can stand in the way of the nation’s objectives.

If we cannot stand together a little better on the big issues, we cannot beat Al Qaeda. Or anyone else.

–Submitted to Peace and Freedom by a concerned citizen.

Related:
Jimmy Carter: Human Rights Godsend Will Criticize Even His Own USA

Torture Policy Undermines U.S. Interests

Turkey recalls US ambassador for talks

October 11, 2007

By C. ONUR ANT, Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey ordered its ambassador in Washington to return to Turkey for consultations over a U.S. House panel’s approval of a bill describing the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians as genocide, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The ambassador would stay in Turkey for about a week or 10 days for discussions about the measure, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman.

“We are not withdrawing our ambassador. We have asked him to come to Turkey for some consultations….”

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071011/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey_us_genocide;_
ylt=AsbTVA6Ew.9JCx9b.TxCMLKs0NUE