- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Turkish visit planned

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is making plans for a visit to Washington as soon as May to help repair relations damaged by the war in Iraq, says a report from the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Turkish and U.S. officials are still discussing the dates and itinerary, a diplomatic source told Reuters news agency yesterday.

The source said the Turkish government is concerned by a growing sense of anti-Americanism in a country that has been a strong U.S. ally as a member of NATO for four decades.

“The anti-Americanism is worrying. It seems to be escalating, and we need to do more to counter it,” the source said.

U.S.-Turkish relations suffered when the Turkish parliament failed to allow the United States to mount a northern front through Turkey in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Mr. Erdogan also plans to visit California on his trip, which would come just before U.S. Ambassador Eric Edelman is scheduled to resign. Mr. Edelman, who announced his resignation for personal reasons, has been a target of both the left-wing and nationalist press in Turkey, Reuters said.

Apology accepted

The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines apologized for the way American immigration officials treated the wife of a former Philippines president on a visit to San Francisco over the weekend.

Franklin Drilon, president of the Philippine Senate, yesterday told reporters that he met with Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, who “deeply regretted” the incident involving Luisa Ejercito Estrada, also a member of the Senate.

“Ambassador Ricciardone expressed regret and has assured us of a full report from the U.S. State Department in Washington,” Mr. Drilon said. “He promised to get to the bottom of the case and get details of what actually happened … at the San Francisco airport.”

Mrs. Estrada is the wife of former President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted from office in 2001 in a popular uprising that was backed by the army. He is under arrest on charges of embezzling more than $80 million in government funds.

Mrs. Estrada complained that U.S. immigration and homeland security officials detained her for more than 90 minutes and questioned her about her husband’s legal case.

Mr. Drilon said, “I denounce this shabby treatment of a duly elected Filipino senator in the hands of U.S. immigration officials. The unnecessary and uncalled-for harassment of Filipino officials at U.S. airports should stop.”

Silvestre Afable, a spokesman for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said the government has accepted Mr. Ricciardone’s apology.

“Since the U.S. ambassador has expressed an apology, I think we should leave it at that and leave the U.S. authorities to rectify their procedures so this would not happen again,” Mr. Afable said.

Where right is left

Politics are curious in the Netherlands, Europe’s social laboratory for left-wing experiments.

In the land below sea level, euthanasia, prostitution and same-sex “marriages” are legal and smoking marijuana is allowed in some cafes. Pim Fortuyn, an openly homosexual politician, was denounced as a right-wing extremist and assassinated in 2002 for calling for limits on Dutch immigration policies.

Boudewijn van Eenennaam, the Dutch ambassador to the United States, summed up politics in his country yesterday over lunch with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, as he discussed the difference between American and Dutch conservatives.

The ambassador learned about conservative American politics firsthand, as a diplomat in the Dutch Embassy in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president and now with President Bush.

“Where the right stops in the Netherlands,” he said, “the left starts here.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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