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.