Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Talking Turkey: Aunt Nancy, Uncle Sam & Turkish Demands

This is a fine mess. First Turkey was so miffed over the now-tabled Congressional "Turkish genocide" resolution that its ambassador flounced back home.

Now Turkey is demanding that the U.S.take military action against Kurdish fighters on Turkey's borders: or else. From flounce to hardball bounce, Turkey is making it clear that the U.S. is, apparently, among its subject states.

Of course, if the U.S. bows to their demands, then the U.S. will be excoriated worldwide for bringing in troops to support Turkey. If the U.S. doesn't send in troops, then the U.S. will be denounced for not sending in troops in Turkey's long-running domestic dispute.

It's a clear win-win for Turkey in their undeclared diplomatic war with the U.S. With the Turks spending millions on lobbying in the U.S., it's obvious that someone else will have to pay for aid to their poor, and their wars. And who better than Uncle Sam?

The complex issue takes on another strata of shakiness when the actions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are examined. Pelosi, who assumed presidential airs as she jetted around the world on her own foreign policy trip, has fought against the support of American troops in Iraq.

At the same time, she cozied up to Syria, among others, and was one of the leaders calling for the Turkish genocide resolution. But when political shots were fired on the issue, Pelosi waffled and wavered.

Now Turkey wants real American guns on their side, on their borders. With Turkey's demands for firepower from Uncle Sam, will Aunt Nancy suddenly decide that wars abroad aren't a bad idea after all? Will she stand firm when pro-Turkey lobbyists tout "terrorism" as the reason for the U.S. to storm Kurdish ramparts?

What happens if Turkey's "or else" comes into play? The first threat is that Turkey will shut down an American air base used to support our troops in Iraq. In diplo-speak, that's called a "review" of the access. But Turkey's also mumbling about taking action against the U.S. in vague and seemingly-sinister ways.

So here's how the table looks: Turkey's battling Kurds & the PKK. The U.S. is at war in Iraq, and using Turkish land for an air base. Turkey, wanting everyone to just forget about the l.5 million Armenians slaughtered in 1917, is focused now on the Kurds.

Pass the war plate, please--with American aid. If not, Turkey will, at the very least, with-hold the American base biscuit. But now comes the key question: where's the gravy on this menu?

This Turkey is covered in gravy. Back in 2002, U.S. largess to Turkey included an arranged $16 billion IMF bailout and a $228 million US aid package. Plus specialized free trade arrangements for dessert.

OK, so buying allies gets more expensive all the time. In fact, in 2003 Turkey demanded $32 billion in U.S. funds. In 2006, Turkey had $10 million to spend on the anti-American, anti-Semetic film "Valley of the Wolves--Iraq."

Today it was announced that the U.S. is sending another $10 billion in aid to Turkey. That alone is a pretty darned good rental price for some land for a military base.

Not only that, The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are shipping in another $10 billion loan. Seems the $11.5 billion sent to Turkey just two months ago didn't go all tha far.

But then again, a reliable friend and ally is a good buy, right? Let's look at Turkey's role in World War II. Ostensibly neutral, Turkey actually made a darned good profit by being Nazi Germany's sole supplier of chromite, used to harden steel for weapons and armaments.

When it finally became apparent which way the war cookie was crumbling, Turkey lost no time in declaring "war" on Germany in 1945. Why? Turkey wanted a seat in the U.S. and the belated war declaration was its purchase price.

For awhile, Turkey eagerly jumped on the American lunch wagon. But, its feelings hurt by European Union humans rights charges and the 1997 declaration naming Turkey as unfit to join the EU, Turkey began biting the hand that feeds them.

Turkist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan in 2004 accused the U.S. of "state terror." In 2003 Turkey lashed out against the Iraq war, saying that the U.S. campaign "lacked international legitimacy." In the mounting anti-U.S., pro-radical Islamist climate, the American government was compared to Hitler.

This from a country with its hand out for American largess and one repeatedly cited by Human Rights Watch for torture, attacks on civilians, and massive displacements of civilian populations? Apparently, Turkey is under the illusion that it can take U.S. money, tell the U.S. what it is to do, and threaten the U.S. with Turkish reprisals should Turkey's gravy get watered down.

Perhaps it's time for the U.S. to remind Turkey: at the great banquet table of world leaders, especially those who practice freedom and democracy, Turkey is well, very small potatoes.

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