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    "Turks see the US through the eyes of Islamic, nationalistic, and leftist writers' eyes..."

    Hurriyet
    31.03.2005 - 11:13 | Son Güncelleme: 31.03.2005 - 11:13

    The US Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, who is preparing to vacate his post in June of this year, has characterized diplomatic relations between the two countries as "fantastic." On the subject of how the Turkish people perceive the US however, Edelman's viewpoint was not as positive. "The Turkish people see and judge the US through the lens of Islamic, nationalistic, and leftist thought."

    The following are some outtakes from a conversation he had with a reporter from Hurriyet:
     
    Incirlik
     
    "We want to use the base in Incirlik as a bridge to our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as a logistical center. We have applied to the Turkish government for permission. The government is still examining our application....."
     
    Relations Between the Governments are Fantastic
     
    "We have had a few difficult periods over the past few years.....(but) visits between Erdogan and Bush were very successful.
     
    The 'Metal Wave' is Unsettling
     
    "...There is no sign that Americans and Turks see eachother as enemies. But looking at the polls, there are sometimes a few unsettling signs that emerge. Are they permanent, or passing? Last year, in a poll aimed at understanding trust for the US, it came out that more than half of Turks believe that the US could attack Turkey at any given moment. When you combine the findings from this poll with the "Metal Wave," the situation becomes unsettling."
     
    Opinion Writers Affect the People
     
    "It is important to see who is influincing public opinion. The effect of the daily opinion writers (in newspapers) is significant. People are getting their information through Islamic, nationalistic, and leftist perspectives. The approach to America and American politics is through this perspective. The general approach is anti-capitalistic, anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Semitic. The recent rise of sales of Hitler's memory, Mein Kampf, along with the anti-Semitic themes of the pro-Islamic press, means that this perspective has run over into the mainstream media too. This situation angers the Jewish community."
     
    Americans Don't Concern Themselves with Turkey
     
    "The US is always in the news here....but Americans themselves are not that interested in Turkey. For awhile, Turkey was linked in the US to things like "Midnight Express," but now Turkey is being seen in a more positive light."

    Relations Ruined by Iraq, but Will Be Healed by Iraq
     
    The war in Iraq has been responsible for the rise of anti-Americanism in Turkey. But now Iraq will be part of the solution to this problem. There are positive developments in Iraq, and this will affect public perception of the US in Turkey. Because an independent, united Iraq will be in the best interest of Turkey.

    Felluce: "While not a single Arab country reacted to the US operation in Fellucah, Turkey reacted. Then they said that 'well, in those countries, there is no freedom of the press.' Well, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya television channels exist, bu they didn't react because they knew the operation was against Iraqi-killing, throat-cutting terrorists. The war in Iraq is criticized widely in America too. Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky....the important thing here is, marginalized figures in the US are not celebrated."
     
    Direct Flights to Cyprus Not That Easy
     
    "It is true that after the referendum, Turkish Cypriots felt disappointed. I think that anti-American forces in Turkey added to this feeling. Direct flights to Cyprus aren't that easy of a question to work out, there are international laws at work here. This is not something that the US can decide on by itself."
     
    My Departure Has To Do With My Career
     
    "There is no problem behind my decision to depart. I did not tell (Turkish President) Ahmet Sezer not to go to Syria. It is a completely personal decision based on my career with the foreign service. I have been working abroad for a very long time. I will continue to work with the government, though I am not sure in which area."

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