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Erdogan Praised at White House as He Subverts US Interests

With a 'friend' like Erdogan, Obama’s policy toward Syria, Iran, the advance of revolutionary Islamism, and the Israel-Palestinian “peace process,” is in serious trouble.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Photo Credit: swiss-image.ch/E.T. Studhalter

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“So fragile was the structure of their reality that a single unsubsumed consciousness, a solitary ripple in their little pond was enough to roil the waters into a frothing, burbling foam.” —Norman Spinrad, The Void Captain’s Tale (1985)

Consider five factors that had no effect on the very warm reception given by President Barack Obama to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

–While the U.S. government has pressured Erdogan not to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Erdogan announced in the White House Rose Garden that he would do so. An alleged U.S. ally says publicly in front of Obama while being hosted by him that he is going to defy the United States.

This is not some routine matter. With previous presidents, if an ally was going to do something like that he would say nothing at the time and then months later would subvert U.S. policy. Or better yet the foreign leader would not do so. To announce defiance in such a way is a serious sign of how little respect Middle East leaders have for Obama—and U.S. policy nowadays—and how little Obama will do about it.

–Equally bad is the fact that Erdogan directly promised Obama that he would conciliate with Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cooperated because Obama asked him to do so. That’s what U.S. allies do. But immediately Erdogan showed he would pay no attention to the agreement he made.

His negotiators subverted it in several ways, including the demands for ridiculously large amounts of money, the delay in the promised return of the Turkish ambassador to Israel, the continuation of legal action against Israeli officials involved in the Mavi Marmara affair, when Israeli soldiers were attacked by Turkish terrorists demanding to sail to Gaza to deliver equipment to Hamas.

So a second time Erdogan betrayed Obama and make the president look foolish (that is, if anyone in the mass media pointed it out). Again, there was no U.S. criticism of the move or apparent pressure to make Erdogan keep his promise.

There are three other ways that Erdogan has subverted U.S. interests with minimal costs. In fact, the Obama Administration has usually furthered this behavior.

–Some small U.S. diplomatic protests were made about the growing internal repression in Turkey and human rights’ violations there. Increasingly, the country lives under a reign of intimidation even as the Western media mostly ignores this situation. Since the United States keeps praising him, Erdogan can demoralize his opponents, who cannot hope for foreign help, even as he carries on a policy of spreading anti-Americanism in Turkey.

The political power of the Turkish armed forces–the traditional guarantor of the republic and stability in the country was dismantled by Erdogan with U.S. approval. The Turkish media was subverted with only an occasional American squeal of complaint. Now he’s destroying the independent judicial system, the last barrier to his assault on democratic rule. The U.S. embassy in Turkey consistently warned about what has been happening; the White House ignored this information.

–With the Obama Administration’s permission, the Turkish government violates the sanctions against Iran with ever-larger trade and major bilateral cooperation projects. Erdogan’s consistent defenses of Iran’s policies (though the two countries are at odds over Syria) have been forgiven and forgotten by the White House.

–Finally, in many ways the Turkish government has been taking the lead on setting U.S. policy toward Syria. It was Erdogan who largely determined that the official opposition exile leadership would be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a path followed by Obama. (I can’t prove it but I’ll bet that Turkey’s regime promised Obama that if he would declare support for the rebels verbally and let them be armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia then Assad would easily fall. I’d also bet that Erdogan assured Obama that if the president helped the rebels a moderate government would emerge in Syria.)

Meanwhile, Obama has praised Erdogan unstintingly. Obama thinks Erdogan is the very model of a “moderate Islamist” and since Obama’s strategy is to support such people in much of the Arab world, Erdogan has been his guide to the region, though this has meant supporting the radical Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is especially ironic is that Obama believed that Erdogan’s goals were essentially the same as those of the United States while Erdogan was in fact following a profoundly anti-American policy designed to bring hostile Islamist governments to power. Remember this is no longer the old Western-oriented Turkey of previous decades but a radical–if concealed–Islamist regime.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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10 Responses to “Erdogan Praised at White House as He Subverts US Interests”

  1. Ruth Hirt says:

    Is the USA yielding, throwing their guards down?

  2. Ruth Hirt says:

    Is the USA yielding, throwing their guards down?

  3. Ruth Hirt says:

    Till when should the US and company's lethargic spell weave defeat?

  4. Since when the Israeli Prime Minister apologizes for killing "terrorists"?

    These activists were carrying humanitarian aid to a sieged city of Gaza, the terrorists there were the army staff of Israel.
    That's why they will be caught by Interpol very soon.

  5. Chris Leibundgut says:

    Humanitarian aid?! What are you – a comedian?! Hardly anything worthy of the word 'aid' was found once those vessels were emptied at Ashdod. If you want to know who sailed on the 'Mavi Marmara' all you have to do is go on YouTube and watch IHH terrorist-in-chief Bülent Yıldırım rile up his troops on board and hear those fanatical would be shahids talk about martyrdom! If anything, Turkey should be apologizing to and compensating Israel for endangering the lives of IDF personnel!

  6. Anonymous says:

    AS FOUNDER OF Rabbis for Romney I WARNED YOU ABOUT OBAMA.

    Watch this. It is well worth it. NO one in this administration knows anything. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  7. Ruth Hirt says:

    He is a disoriented charlie (charlatan). Lost all forms of diplomacy, let alone any hint of decent intelligence. The world is infested with m*****al dictators. The Church seeks help from on HIGH.

  8. Only an idiot would praise Erdogan–the most fanatic, evil leader of any country–with the possible exception of Iran's Ahmadinejad. No wonder those two monsters are pals.

    Praising Erdogan is a bigger blight on the Obama Administration than Benghazi or the IRS Scandal. That this evil leader was invited to the White House by Obama is the utmost in arrogance.

  9. Meryl Davis says:

    Obama won't say "radical terrorism" – what do u expect??? Our president likes dictators…what else is knew???

  10. Laurence Cox says:

    Perhaps if Israel spent more time paying attention to its own matters instead of sponging off of, and criticizing America, it would have far fewer problems. I'm no fan of Obama but an Israeli newspaper has little right to complain about USA foreign policy. Israel would not exist without American charity, American tolerance, and America's best weaponry.

    So shut your traps, stop subjugating your own people, and solve your own problems. I'm tired of sending American taxpayer dollars to prop up your country which, in the long run, history will show as having been an unsustainable proposition. Israel… America's Cuba.

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