The United States has been slow to recognize how Turkey’s perspective
and interests have changed, argue former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Mort
Abramowitz and Henri Barkey, in The
Acrimony permeates American-Turkish relations. Harsh words have been
exchanged at high levels over Gaza and Iran. The American right-wing has
virtually declared Turkey beyond the pale and appears to long for the
Turkish military to take over. Turkey’s nationalistic media talk about
the country’s noble role in the flotilla crisis, and the words of senior
leaders border on the conspiratorial. Many wonder whether our interests
are now so different that they preclude close collaboration.
This is not a new phenomenon. Turkey has always been a prickly ally, not
one that simply saluted. During the Cold War the Turks closed U.S.
bases and kicked out the Peace Corps after we imposed an arms embargo in
response to their invasion of northern Cyprus. As for our secular
Turkish military friends, they barely supported the United States in the
first Gulf War and undermined it in the run up to the second; and
refuse to send combat troops to Afghanistan.
Besotted by the language of strategic partnership it invented for
Ankara’s benefit, the United States has been s… >>>