How Conspiracy Theories Spread
By Soner Cagaptay, Jaclyn Blumenfeld, and Burc Ozcelik | 01 August 2010
The party, for instance, now refers to the PKK as a "subcontractor" (taseron), suggesting that Israel and invisible actors, not the PKK itself, are responsible for the terror attacks. At the same time, the AKP has also begun labeling domestic and international media that have been critical of its foreign policy as other "subcontractors" puppeteered by the same forces that are "behind the PKK." These two new conspiracies are laying roots in Turkey. Here is how.
Turkey's New Foreign Policy Direction: Implications for U.S.-Turkish Relations
By Michael Rubin | 28 July 2010
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, Honorable Members. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
Prime Minister Erdoğan, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have changed Turkey fundamentally. They do not simply seek good relations with their Arab neighbors and Iran. Instead, they favor the most radical elements in regional struggles, hence their embrace of Syria over Lebanon and of Hamas over Fatah, and their endorsement Iran's nuclear program.
Over the last 8 years, the AKP government has reoriented Turkey toward the Arab and Iranian Middle East, not to facilitate bridge-building to the West, but in an effort to play a leadership role not only in the Middle East but also among Islamic countries more broadly. Unfortunately, that leadership is increasingly oriented around the most extreme elements, including Iran, Syria and the terrorist Hamas leadership of Gaza.
In addition, Erdoğan has defended Sudan's Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who had been indicted on charges of genocide by the International Criminal Court, and personally vouched for Yasin al-Qadi, whom the U.S. Treasury department has labeled a "specially designated global terrorist" for his support of al-Qaeda.
Statement of Dr. Ian Lesser
By Ian Lesser | 28 July 2010
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to share my views on Turkey's evolving foreign policy and the implications for American interests and strategy. With your permission, I will offer a brief summary of my remarks. Let me also note that these are my personal views and not those of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Turkey and the United States: How To Go Forward (and Not Back)
Statement for the Record
By The Honourable Ross Wilson | 28 July 2010
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the honor of being invited to speak at this hearing on Turkey and U.S. Turkish relations.
Turkey is a fascinating, sometimes frustrating, often confusing and very important country in a key part of the world for the United States. Figuring it out is a challenge. It is tempting, but always misleading, to see black and white where grays are the dominant colors. One of the most useful observations I heard while I had the honor to serve as American ambassador in Ankara came from a colleague who had been there many years and left shortly after I arrived. He said, "Turkey is one of those countries where the more you know, the less you understand." I hope that today's discussions will give me, and maybe others, more knowledge and understanding.
The reasons for this hearing are self-evident. Questions are being asked about whether Turkey has changed its axis and reoriented its priorities, about whether it remains a friend and ally of the United States or is becoming, as Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations recently suggested, a competitor or possibly a "frenemy." That this debate is happening ought to be disconcerting to Turks who argue – as many in the military, foreign ministry and government did to me – that the United States is Turkey's most important and only strategic partner. It frustrates the Obama Administration, which has invested heavily in U.S.-Turkish relations, including when the President visited Ankara in April 2009, when Prime Minister Erdogan came to Washington last December, and at the nuclear security summit here several months ago.
Statement of Soner Cagaptay, Ph.D.
By Soner Cagaptay | 28 July 2010
House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives
"Turkey's New Foreign Policy Direction: Implications for U.S.-Turkish Relations"
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, for inviting me to this timely and important hearing on Turkey at this crucial juncture in U.S.-Turkish relations. I will present to you a summary of my prepared remarks.
Where do U.S.-Turkish relations and Turkey's ties with the West stand today, almost eight years after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power in Ankara? The AKP government recently voted against sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council, and has established intimate links with Hamas to the detriment of the Palestinian Authority. Ties with Israel are now at an all time low, after the unfortunate flotilla incident in which the Israelis killed nine Turkish citizens—this very sad act will not be forgotten in the Turkish psyche for a long time.
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