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    Cunelt Ulsever: A refreshment course on how the US sees the AKP

    Hürriyet Haber
    29.09.2005 - 14:10 | Son Güncelleme:

    The meeting I attended last week in Washington, DC, entitled "Turkey and it's non-EU Neighbors," of course wound up touching on the relations between Turkey and the US. The perception of Erdogan's AKP administration in Washington was a focus of discussion. Let me make it immediately clear that all talk of the AKP at the meeting was from completely personal perspectives.

    As I wrote yesterday, the AKP administration, with its multi-poled (otherwise known as "strategic depth") approach to the US, has implemented a foreign policy independent of the US's power for the first time in many years of Turkish government. For this reason, it is in a relatively unusual period of being "enemy-less," and of being much closer to some of its neighbors, a situation which, according to some independent American analysts, has made the US administration very uncomfortable. According to these same analysts, the AKP administration's foreign policy is phenomenally successful!

    On the other hand: there are also analysts and foreign policy bureacrats who see the AKP's foreign policy as resembling that of a chicken with its head cut off. These analysts ask: "Since the AKP is implementing this "strategic depth" foreign policy, why did Turkey's PM and his advisors take every chance they could get last June when they were in DC to repeat and stress that they were strategic partners with the US?"
    According to these analysts, relations between Turkey and the US have never been the same following the March 1 resolution in the Turkish Parliament, which severly limited US access to Iraq through Turkey. Actually, this resolution did not sadden the Americans as much as the Turks thought it might. But there are those who express their feelings very clearly following the March 1 incident: "The Erdogan administration that we had so much hope in in the beginning is one which we approach with limited trust now!"
    Some of these analysts also insist there was a clear panic visible in the Turkish delegation which visited Washington, DC this past June. There is a view held that the AKP administration, whether subconsciously or not, sees the US as a country opposed to Muslims, and dual relations are thus carried out under this cloud of paranoia. Many analysts were not convinced of Turkey's good faith during the official visit by Erdogan and his delegation to DC in June. Many found it "strange." Anyway, since the June visit, there has been a slight improvement in Washington's relations with Ankara, though some analysts at the meeting also talked about how the warming relations between Turkey and Syria made the US openly uncomfortable. The proposal that it was in fact Turkey which convinced Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon is met with a disbelieving smile.
    The US has a great need for Turkey within the framework of the Middle East, but it doesn't deny the disappointment it has experienced in the face of the AKP administration.
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