A discussion on anti-Americanism sparked by a Robert Pollock article in The Wall Street Journal last week dominated the headlines in the Turkish press. Dailies also featured the political failure to effectively oppose to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Feith warns against anti-Americanism in Turkey
Hürriyet, reported warnings that U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith made in a panel discussion organized by a U.S. think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations. Reporting Feith's words under the headline, “Another warning from the US,” Hürriyet quoted Feith as saying, “Cooperation between the United States and its allies is an issue not only for our governments but also for the public of those countries.”
Daily Sabah, which was accused by the secular media of approaching the United States issue no better than the religious media, reported Feith's words with the headline “Stop anti-Americanism in Turkey” and quoted Feith as saying, “Turkish-U.S. relations are not sustainable unless anti-Americanism in Turkey can be stopped.”
Another newspaper mentioned in the article, Yeni Şafak, reported Feith to have said, “Turkey, among certain other countries, is one of our [most] important allies. Our government officials are trying hard to explain how important Turkey is [to us] in the U.S. Congress.”
In his response to a question concerning anti-Americanism in Turkey, Feith also said the United States was hoping and urging its partners to improve their relationships with the United States by endeavoring to provide public support for the United States in their countries.
Having contacted the writer of the article, Hürriyet sought Pollock's comments on reactions to his article. “My goal was to give voice to the thoughts of intelligent people regarding the relationship between Turkey and the U.S.,” Hürriyet reported him as saying.
Responding to a question concerning the article, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “The official line has already been declared by officials. There is no friction in our relations with the United States; we conveyed our official views to U.S. Secretary of State Condeoleezza Rice during her visit.”
In the mentioned article, Pollock claimed that relations between the United States and Turkey were experiencing “collapse.” The article further accused the AKP of pursuing a “subtle yet insidious Islamism,” Pollock also criticized the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) for accusing the U.S. administration having plotted against its leader. He concluded his original article by saying if Turkish leaders failed to reverse public opinion, the country could “easily become just another small-minded, paranoid, marginal country, which is friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe.”
Turkey heading to the brink without strong opposition
Daily Radikal launched a series of articles concerning what it has described as the opposition's failure to create a viable alternative to the ruling party, running the series of articles as front-page news.
Professor Baskın Oran, an academic from Ankara University's faculty of political science and a contributor to Radikal's series, said Turkey would face disaster unless it managed to build a strong opposition, adding, “It is plainly nonsensical to think that the CHP could in any way fill this position with its ideology that belongs to the 1930s.”
Another contributor to the series of articles in Radikal, İzzettin Önder, an academic from Istanbul University's faculty of economics, said that in order to establish a strong opposition they first had to rouse the working class and make those classes oppressed under feudalism play their part under capitalism. “Otherwise, it will be impossible to build a strong opposition against the ruling AKP,” he said.