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Argos Media

Foreign Policy: Turkish Delight - 0 views

  • The last eight years have been brutal on the U.S.-Turkey relationship. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 exposed a deep rift between the two countries, with Ankara opposing the war and Turkey's parliament refusing to pass a motion that would have allowed U.S. troops to use the country as a launching pad for attacking the Saddam regime. Things have been even more dismal on the public opinion front. In a 2007 Pew Research Center public opinion survey, only 9 percent of Turks surveyed held favorable views of the United States, meaning that Turkey was the country with the least favorable view of the United States among the 47 countries and territories surveyed. (If it's any consolation for the United States, other surveys found that Turks seem to be a grumpy lot, holding generally unfavorable views of many other countries.)
  • America's fall from grace was reflected in Turkish popular culture. A 2005 Turkish bestseller, Metal Firtina (Metal Storm), envisioned Turks and Americans engaging in all-out war, the story ending with a nuclear device detonating in Washington. Kurtlar Vadisi -- Irak (Valley of the Wolves -- Iraq), a crassly anti-American and anti-Semitic 2006 film that became one of Turkey's best-grossing movies ever, saw a team of Turkish agents battling evil Americans in northern Iraq and a devious doctor (played by Gary Busey) who runs an organ-harvesting operation that relies on Iraqi corpses.
  • Yet Turkish public opinion might now be turning a corner. Obama's election and visit seemed to bring out a healthy dose of goodwill and excitement in Turkey.
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  • in a speech he gave in late March at Princeton University, Ahmet Davutoglu, the chief foreign-policy advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested that we might soon witness the dawning of a "golden age" in U.S.-Turkey relations. "Our approach and principles are almost the same, very similar [to the United States'] on issues such as the Middle East, Caucasus, the Balkans, and energy security," he said.
Argos Media

How Barack Obama refrained from using the 'g' word in Turkey | World news | The Guardian - 0 views

  • During last year's presidential election campaign, Obama had no doubt. "The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence."
  • Obama, with Turkey's president Abdullah Gul and before parliament yesterday, refrained from using what the Turkish media call "the g word". It was not because his views had changed, he said, but because of ongoing talks between Turkey and Armenia, they no longer matter. "What I want to do now is not focus on my views but on the views of the Turkish and Armenian people," he said.
Argos Media

Barack Obama woos Muslims from secular Turkey | World news | The Guardian - 0 views

  • Barack Obama extended an olive branch to the Muslim world from the floor of Turkey's parliament yesterday by declaring the US was not "at war with Islam" but instead sought its partnership to pursue common goals.
  • Mindful of Turkey's offer to mediate in settling America's 30-year-old dispute with Iran, he reiterated his previous offer of rapprochement to the leadership in Tehran but warned it must abandon any ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Turkish television channels emphasised Obama's supposed links to Islam throughout the day yesterday by repeatedly referring to his middle name, Hussein.
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  • "The US strongly supports Turkey's bid to become a member of the European Union," he said. "Europe gains by the diversity of ethnicity, culture and faith - it is not diminished by it. And Turkish membership would broaden and strengthen Europe's foundation once more."
  • Soli Ozel, an analyst at Bilgi University in Istanbul, said Obama had pressed "all the right buttons". "It looked at both sides of Turkey's identity, secular and Islamic," he said.
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