- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2005

Today in this section we introduce the first in a series of original articles about Turkish attitudes by Ms. Tulin Daloglu, the Washington correspondent of Turkey’s Star Television and newspaper. Quickly deteriorating American relations with Turkey — our longtime NATO ally and best path into Islam — bode ill for America’s interests in both the Middle East and more generally in the war on terror.

This major — perhaps historic — foreign policy deterioration is unfolding with little public attention and even less public comment from the Bush administration. Last month Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns addressed the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs (via prepared remarks read by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs David Fried) in what the administration characterized as the first serious policy expression of Turkish-American relations since before the Iraq war. The gap between American policy and Turkish expectations was on display at that event in the reaction of several members of the audience representing the Turkish policy community in Washington.

As in all such circumstances, there are no easy solutions. We are publishing this series of articles by Ms. Daloglu in order to increase public understanding of shifting Turkish attitudes. Turkish calculations are being affected by the delicate governance negotiations the United States is overseeing in Iraq between the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunnis, which are affecting our policy against the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. It is also affected by the newly heightened doubts of Turkish entry into the European Union and by the growing fundamentalism in the Turkish body politic.

The historic American-Turkish amity is a major national-security asset to the United States, the preservation of which now requires the attention of Congress and the public.

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