Saturday, June 7, 2008

U.S. Shifts Line . . . Slightly

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has spent the week meeting with various U.S. officials over a whole host of issues ranging from cooperation with the United States to develop nuclear power to Turkey's role in ongoing peace talks between Syria and Israel. Most important to my interests, however, is an apparent decision on Rice's part to declare the United States' support of AKP. Speaking at a joint press conference following here meeting with Babacan, Rice responded to a question about the closure case:
"Our view is that Turkey will, of course, resolve its issues through its democratic processes. But we are going to continue to work with this government with which we have found an excellent working relationship, with which we share common values and which increasingly, over the last year or so, we find ourselves working more cooperatively, more in unison to solve really hard problems than I think has been experienced in US-Turkish relations for some time."
Although her positive words do not constitute condemnation of the closure case, they do at least bolster support for AKP and send a clear message that the United States is in no way a proponent of AKP's closure nor will it "authorize" military involvement, as was the case when Refah was pushed out of power as a result of intense military pressure on the governing coalition at the time. I still contend that it is important for the United States to join the European Union in condemning the closure case, but the Bush Administration is obviously not willing to do so (see April 18 post).

In other news, the United States has appointed career foreign service officer James Jeffrey as its new ambassador to Turkey.

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