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Turkish-American relations in the Obama period

A visit by the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, to Turkey is of course a key indicator of a new approach in the Turkish-American relations. It was announced in advance of the U.S. presidential elections that Obama in the new term would act in line with multi-axis world policies. He actually agreed on the fact that we are living in a multi-polar world now and has saved himself from a single-axis foreign policy devised by the perception of a uni-polar world in the George W. Bush period.

Obama also announced that he would try to reach out to countries such as Iran and Syria in the new period and that he would adopt a realistic approach to follow several organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Taliban.

A Syria that is no longer under the Iranian influence, an Iran that has given up nuclear arms production, a Hezbollah and Hamas turning away from terror are also foreign policy initiatives that the new U.S. president can try. Plus, he has a vision of creating a Taliban by having rapprochement with moderate powers and framing the staunch members of this organization.

As a projection, Turkey is an extremely important broker in this new term.

Largely as a result of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top adviser Ahmet Davutoğlu’s vision, Turkey has become an ideal broker due to a bit of ideological similarities and its getting closer to Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, where the United States remained at a distance to all during the Bush administration.

We will see, however, over time if this new approach covered by some press organs in a festivity atmosphere is a strategic partnership or simply mediation, as I stress.

Let me ask a few questions today though:

1) Picture this, a year later the United States and Turkey will do everything in their power but there could be an Iran still insisting on nuclear arms production and a Syria next to Iran. Therefore a Syria that fails to find peace with Israel. In addition to a Hamas and Hezbollah that are no longer influenced by Turkey and that continue terrorist activities in Iran’s control.

In such case, will Turkey be needed as a broker, let alone the strategic partner?

2) What will the United States say to Iran? If Iran after a while says, "Forget about Turkey’s mediation. Let’s have face-to-face talks on our own." Moreover, what could the United States’s answer to Iran be? If Iran wants to be the big brother in the Middle East and says, "Why shouldn’t I be a strategic partner the United States on the condition of being involved in talks in the multi-axis world?"

3) After all the tries, what will Turkey do if the United States determines that Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah cannot be tamed up and the only thing they understand is violence?

4) Besides, if the importance of "strong strategic relations" hadn’t been underlined in the Ali Babacan-Tzipi Livni meeting in Brussels, and if the two foreign ministers hadn’t decided to continue "cooperation and diplomatic talks" by giving the message that the "cooperation between Turkey and Israel is of importance for the stability in the region," what would U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said to Turkey? (Semih İdiz, Milliyet Daily, March 7, 2009). If the "Conqueror of Davos" hadn’t declared to the entire world through the lines I quoted above that he is not a conqueror anymore, will the relations be heated to this extent?

5) Did Clinton, who has given a face lift to the new face of the United States, give a face lift to the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government and Erdoğan in particular by her visit to the Anıtkabir, Atatürk’s mausoleum, her emphasis on a laic Turkey and on freedom of the press?

6) Did the human rights advocate Ms. Clinton ask Erdoğan anything about his good friend and butcher of humanity Sudanese President Omar al Bashir?

7)
Will the U.S. State Secretary, reiterating that the United States will help Turkey’s accession to the European Union, support Turkey if we don’t make any compromise at all about the Cyprus issue and insist that the EU should accept Turkey as a member despite all?

Actually, my questions are simple: Will the real politics or sentimental close-up between the double-faced Erdoğan who is admired in the streets of the Middle East and Obama determine the Turkish-American relations?
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