Friday, November 7, 2008

A New Era in Turkish-American Relations?

From Saban Kardaş in EDM:
Many Turks joined the worldwide rejoicing over the Democrats’ victory and Barack Obama’s election as the next president of the United States. The Turkish public is sympathetic to Obama’s call for change as they find parallels in his story to Turkey’s experience with the reformist wave brought about by the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) landslide electoral victory in 2002.

President Abdullah Gul, in a letter to President-elect Obama, reflected this positive mood in Turkey: “Your message of change and hope is one that meets the expectations of our day. It is a message that Turkey embraces” (, November 5). Similarly, by emphasizing Obama’s background, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented Obama’s victory as evidence of the American political system’s democratic credentials (, November 5). Obama’s vision on pressing issues of American politics aside, his promises of reorienting America’s role in the world instilled hope for a new direction in American foreign policy, hence reinvigorating the Turkish American relations in the wake of the Bush administration.

Growing anti-Americanism in Turkey, caused by the current administration’s unpopular policies, has been one of the factors adversely affecting Turkish-American relations. Several studies have found that the Turkish people harbored unfavorable views about the United States and preferred the Democrat Obama over Republican John McCain (Pew Global Attitudes Survey, June 12; Given the positive image of Obama among the Turkish people, analysts expect him to take important steps toward saving the United States’ image in Turkey and helping to revitalize the relationship (Turkish Daily News, November 6).
For full article, click here.

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