Photo Credit:
AKP spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara denied that an apology letter was sent.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland defended the U.S. Ambassador during her briefing on Thursday, February 7, stating that Ricciardone had not said anything that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had not already said, and nothing that the current secretary of state is not going to say.

Advertisement

American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin – who is no fan of Ambassador Ricciardone – told The Jewish Press that the evidence against the Sledgehammer prisoners is “so flimsy as to be laughable.” Rubin said, “the only thing those prisoners are guilty of is crossing the Prime Minister and Fethullah Gulen.”

TURKEY TAUNTS SYRIA FOR NOT ATTACKING ISRAEL

In a separate incident which highlighted a divergence in positions between the U.S. and Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu brutally criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for failing to respond with force to Israel’s bombing of a weapons convey near the Lebanese border that was allegedly carrying chemical or biological weapons to Hezbollah.

Davutoglu said, “Why didn’t Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?”  He went on, “Is there a secret agreement between al-Assad and Israel? Why don’t you use the same power that you use against defenseless women against Israel, which you have been as an enemy since its foundation,” he said to reporters on a trip to Belgrade last week.

In the February 5 news briefing, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called Davutoglu’s comments “inflammatory,” and said they harmed U.S.-Turkish relations.

Despite the relatively high level war of words being waged between U.S. and Turkish officials, there is speculating that President Obama will visit Turkey sometime soon, perhaps during his spring trip to the Middle East.

AEI’s Rubin characterized that visit as an unfortunate “reward” for Turkey’s misbehavior.

He explained, “had U.S. ambassadors in Ankara taken a detached and firm line to Turkey, we might not be in a situation where ‘the model for democracy’ in the region had a press freedom ranking below Russia, Venezuela, and Iraq and was regaining its ‘Midnight Express’ reputation  on human rights.”

IS THE REAL ISSUE OIL IN NORTHERN IRAQ?

There is speculation that the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Turkey are actually about an entirely different issue, one that crops up in most discussions about the Middle East: oil.

Until about four years ago, Turkey was adamantly opposed to establishing any relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq for fear that it would lead to a balkanization of that neighboring state.  Now, however, due to its interest in investing in oil and gas projects in the region, Turkey’s position has thawed dramatically.  Turkey has begun receiving crude oil from KRG fields, to be refined into gas and diesel fuel, with payment by the Kurds in crude oil.

Turkey’s burgeoning economic relationship with the KRG has infuriated the Baghdad government.  The U.S., through Ricciardone, has warned Turkey that it might cause the disintegration of Iraq, creating even greater destabilization in the region.  This scenario is of particular concern not only to the U.S., but also to Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States.

Advertisement

1
2
SHARE
Previous articleThe Curse Of A Great Man
Next articleEight Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

13 COMMENTS

  1. Another US Ambassador to Turkey — or rather, the Ottoman Empire — embarrassed the folks in power almost a century ago. His name was Henry Morgenthau, Sr., and he made regular reports on the targeting of Armenians by Ottoman security forces.

    Nobody paid any attention — save one Austrian who served in the Bavarian Army during World War I, who noted that it was possible to commit genocide and get away with it. 🙁

  2. The first sentence says it all. Follow that with the calls by the ottomans for syria to go to war with the "Zionists" indicates clearly were obama and the ottomans stand. First the Armenians, then the Kurds and now the Jews. All genocide all the time.

  3. The first sentence says it all. Follow that with the calls by the ottomans for syria to go to war with the "Zionists" indicates clearly were obama and the ottomans stand. First the Armenians, then the Kurds and now the Jews. All genocide all the time.

  4. "U.S. President Barack Obama has described Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the world leader in the Middle East with whom he has the closest relationship." So what's the problem? Obama can just call Erdogan, make nice on the phone, Erdgan will forgive and require it not happen again. And all will be well. Then Obama can recall Ricciardone, replace him with another stellar pick like Clapper, Brennan and ohers of their ilk who'll join in lockstep with "democratic" Turkey on their march towards "Democracy." Obama is after all "the ;eader of the free world." Just ask him.

  5. Donald, you need to get out more!!!!!!! I play bingo at Marshcreek Community Center on Thursdays…..at 10:00…come on and join us!!! It is right around the corner from you on New Hope Church Road…what have you got to lose?????

Loading Facebook Comments ...