Mass circulation daily Hurriyets exciting news a couple of weeks ago was hardly worth the bother in that it was nothing unusual for analysts of Turkish-American relations of the post war period. The newspaper banner headlined all over the front page on Thursday (30th), Handcuffing (to American soldiers) in Incirlik. While the Turkish General Staff (TGS) denied that there was any handcuffing, An American authorized person in Washington told the reporter, Kasim Cindemir, Yes, in that hustle at least one of our men was taken away handcuffed. The next day, the American Embassy of Ankara joined the TGS in rebutting the handcuffing and stated that Turkish-American relations in Incirlik were continuing in perfect harmony. For an appraisal of this news within the overall context of mutual relations and its place in the heating up todays world developments please read the article below. According to the Hurriyets story, an American C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft wanted to make an emergency landing in Incirlik in mid-May. The TGS permitted it to land in the Etimesgut military airfield near Ankara, but unheeding this instruction, the American aircraft still landed in Incirlik whereupon Turkish soldiers interned the aircraft and its crew. The American soldiers on the base attempted to resist this move causing a hustle between the two forces. Naturally the Turkish soldiers, who have the responsibility and the necessary military equipment for the security of the Incirlik base, had the upper hand in this unwarranted skirmish. There was no handcuffing and putting a sack on the heads of detainees is totally alien to Turkish practice; but the Turkish soldiers were firm enough to force some American personnel to lie face down on the ground and proved that they would go all the way in enforcing law and order, as well as security on the base. Common sense prevailed in a short time, but as military sources in Washington said to Cindemir, the Americans took it as a sign of the grudge the Turkish soldiers bear upon the sack incident which took place in Suleymaniye, northern Iraq, on 4 July 2003. Misunderstandings of the two different worlds continue This relatively trifling event was a recurrence of a much graver incident exactly 40 years ago. In the first two decades of the post war period, the American Navy and Air Force used to have a totally free hand in the Black Sea by using Turkey as a base because Stalins unwise policy of threatening Turkey had forced Ankara to seek an alliance with the United States for its national security. This anti-Soviet obsession of Turkey which continued even after Stalins death in 1953 when Moscow dropped its claims on the Straits and in three Turkish provinces in the East, eventually reduced Turkey to the state of a voluntary satellite. Especially the Garry Powers U-2 scandal in May 1960 and the Johnson letter in June 1964 induced Turkey to take steps to normalize relations with the Soviets. The official visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Ulvi Cemal Erkin to Moscow in November 1964 was clearly a milestone in this regard, as Turkey and the USSR decided at this visit to be good neighbours. As good neighbours do not peep at one another from the air or sea or disturb one another, this new policy called for the discontinuation of the U-2 flights from Incirlik or American Navys passages through the Straits in total violation of the Montreux Convention. The Soviets fulfilled their part of the agreement and withdrew their reconnaissance vessel right at three miles outside the Bosporus (the territorial waters were three miles in the Black Sea at that time), but Turkey faced a tremendous difficulty in making Washington conform to these rules. Ankara had to take stringent measures to prevent the U-2 flights over Soviet airspace and faced even much bigger difficulties in making the American warships act within the provisions of the Montreux Convention. It is hard to believe, but the newly formed Demirel Government at the end of 1965 had to warn the Americans that the Turkish Air Force would have to use force against the American warships which had passed through the Dardanelles and were proceeding towards the Black Sea via the Marmara Sea, despite all objections of the Turkish Navy. The American warships eventually returned to the Mediterranean, but PM Demirel paid a high price by being toppled by the Americans from power with military coups 2-3 times during his long political career. Compared to these tragic events of the last 4-5 decades, which went as far as an American military embargo on its ally Turkey between February 1975 and 1978, the Incirlik event was an innocent childs game. The important side of this latest incident is that the Americans have still not understood the difference between the Suleymaniye outrage and the Turkish Armed Forces determination to enforce its sovereignty rights. From what Ambassador Edelman said to the press before his departure from Ankara and the above dispatches in Hurriyet, it is understood that Washington puts down this last event to young Turkish officiers impulsive reaction to the Suleymaniye event, while, they believe, the 3- and 4-star Turkish generals feel differently. General Ozturk, as the head of the Turkish Armed Forces, had to go out of his way to correct this mistaken judgment and said that there was no such difference in the Turkish Armed Forces. The top brass was feeling the same way as the younger ones, but they were more patient in showing their feelings, he stressed. As for the latest Incirlik event, it is not an impulsive reaction on the part of the young officers, but the enforcement of a totally legitimate sovereignty right within the latest Incirlik agreement between Turkey and the United States. If anyone in the Turkish Armed Forces acts emotionally and impulsively against the Americans over the Suleymaniye outrage, the TGS takes the necessary disciplinary action. This was evidenced by the retirement of a valuable Special Forces general who was calling names to the Turkish speaking American Military Attaché, Col. Martin over this scandal. Unless Washington understands the difference between their breach of confidence of the Turkish soldiers at the Suleymaniye outrage and the Turkish Armed Forces enforcing international rules and law, there will not be the required harmony in mutual relations of the two countries. ------------------------------------------------ How wrong can you get? the U.S. Disinformation Mechanism Certainly the vital key issue in Turkish-American relations these days is the Iraq, Kurdish and Kirkuk issues and the PKK terrorism. The American Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, along with Chargé dAffaires McEldowney, said in Ankara after their contacts with the Turkish Government on 25 August that the PKK question was much more complicated and difficult than the Turkish people thought and that its solution required time. It was fresh confirmation of Turkeys judgment that Washington was doing nothing about the PKK terrorism despite the American militarys several written assurances to Turkey that it would be seriously tackled and solved without delay. Worse still, Washington was using the PKK terrorism as a tool and underhandedly fostering it to induce Turkey to blindly come over to the American side in its Broader Middle East policy, as some Turkish rulers like Ozal, Ciller and some others did in the past. Much to the Americans shock, the Responsible for Iraq Affairs of the Turkish Government, Ambassador Osman Koruturk abruptly left the conference table in Washington at the Tripartite Security summit by Turkey, the United States and Iraq last July on the grounds that the Americans did nothing but dilly-dallying (Tercuman, 18 July). Rupturing diplomatic relations or delivering ultimatums for tactical reasons being alien to Turkish diplomacy, these summits have since been reduced to lower levels and, as expected, they have got nowhere with Turkeys shifting the emphasis away from these tripartite summits towards other partners in this region. To this background, when the American Embassys initiatives begun in Ankara for a new strategic vision, they have found equally deaf ears in Turkey as Ambassador Koruturk had received at the tripartite summits in Washington or elsewhere. No need to be an insider to know for sure what the American Chargé dAffaires is saying to the Turkish Government, because for experienced eyes it is all over the media with heavy American disinformation. Apparently wishing to ensure his presence at the next Bilderberg conference, a prominent member of the American Disinformation Mechanism in the Turkish media, Cuneyt Ulsever, devoted his first three articles in Hurriyet (23th, 24th and 25th), after his two weeks of summer holiday, to the PKK and Middle East under the heading, The (Turkish) Government has no policies for either the Kurds or the Middle East! Obviously reflecting the briefings he had had from the boss while on holiday, Ulsever forecasts that Turkey will never be able to solve the PKK problem before it brings clarity to its Iraq and PKK policies. He claims that because the PMs and his advisors minds are perplexed on the Middle East question, they are dragging the Kurdish problem towards dangerous adventures. He takes exception to PM Erdogans words that The Kurdish problem and the PKK terrorism are different topics and invites the intellectuals to ask him how Abdullah Ocalan managed to get published the full texts of his 101 contacts with his visitors since 1999 from the prison island of Imrali even though he was not even given a pen to write with or without any exchange of documents. Before going on with the details of these interesting articles may I take the liberty of reflecting my 50 years of experience as a political scientist to show how unfair is the claim that the Turkish Government has no policies for the Kurds or the Middle East, starting with answering Ulsevers question about the leakages to the press of Ocalans 101 contacts from his isolated prison island the CIA is providing it to the PKK with or without its sophisticated space technologies. As for the claim that Turkey knows nothing about the Iraq war, the United States started the war on 20 March 2003, a day after the Ankara process came to an end with the 11-point Final Statement, indeed an official protocol, reached between Turkey and United States including all the eight political forces of the then Iraqi opposition (ADM, CMM, INA, INC, ITF, Barzanis KDP, Talabanis PUK and SCIRI in alphabetical order). This vitally important document which the American Disinformation Mechanism hushed up from the Turkish and world Medias was carefully placed in the MFAs webpage in Ankara as a guideline for the outcome of the Iraq war. So, far from having no idea about the Iraqi affairs, Turkey did establish with an official document at the beginning, the conditions and results of the Iraq war. Whether the signatories and endorsers of the agreement keep to their pledges now is another question. They would certainly not have been in their current plight and the quagmire in Iraq today if they had applied this protocol sincerely. As for the Kurdish question, and Ulsevers claim that Turkey has no policy about it, my mind goes back to my service as a junior Turkish diplomat in Beirut in 1958 and thereafter. As a young second secretary brainwashed with American economic miracle and democracy, I used to put all the blame on the Communist Soviet Union and never believe that the United States would make any such thing as separatist subversion in an ally. Yet the representative of the Turkish Intelligence Service, an Arabic speaking Major working as assistant military attaché, used to whisper to my ears that the Kurdish problem was not the Soviet doing, but the Americans. He used to point to the American Embassys Air Attaché and say that the American Air Colonel (whose name Ive now forgotten) had stirred up lots of problems for Turkey in Eastern Anatolia when he worked in Incirlik before coming to Beirut and that he was continuing with this Kurdish subversion against Turkey at the Middle East level now. So, far from Ulsevers claim that Turkey has no Kurdish policy, the Turkish intelligence was aware of everything even 50 years ago and I personally lived through these critical days ranging from the Kingdoms downfall in Iraq by the Kurdish General Kassem on 14 July 1958 to Saddams services to the CIA. Cutting these old stories short let us come to this day. Are Turkeys PKK, Kurdish and Iraq policies determined by PM Erdogans and his handful advisers confused minds now, as the American Disinformation mongers claim or by Turkeys centuries old security organizations such as the TGS, the MFA, MIT? Here is what these sound forces whisper to the ears of a more reliable journalist than Ulserver, on a next column to the former. Yalcin Dogan writes in Hurriyet of 26 July 2005 about the PKK terrorism: ---------------------------------------- Some American ambassadors are acting like Zionist militants For an unknown reason, Washington has systematically sent Jewish diplomats to Turkey as ambassador for the last few decades. Turkey neither cherishes hostile feelings towards the Jews, nor is it against Judaism. On the contrary, when the notorious Inquisition of the Spanish clergy persecuted the Jews over five centuries ago they found a new and safe home in the Ottoman lands. Again, when Hitlers Holocaust committed a ruthless genocide against the Jews only in our life time, several persecuted Jewish Germans took refuge in Turkey and rendered useful services to the fledgling Turkish Republic. The Ministry buildings still in use in Ankara were their doings and several new departments of Ankara and Istanbul Universities were set up by these Jewish Germans. That is why Ankara and the Turkish nation neither paid any notice to this strange coincidence of Jewish ambassadors from Washington one after the other, nor, of course, did they react to it. The necessity of reminding the American friends in Washington once again that bullying does not pay in dealing with the Turks. Former Ambassador Eric Edelman: What did he do to deserve this warning? The hoods put on the eleven Turkish soldiers, three Turkish businessmen and an elderly Briton, Michael Todd, in Suleimania on 4 July 2003 may not be the Ambassadors fault, but it is doubtful that he reflected to Washington the true nature of its impact. The American Disinformation Mechanism may have prevented the world from learning the wounds inflicted on Turkish-American relations by this regrettable event, but I have the Turkish text of Michael Todds most descriptive statement about this tragedy. Yet the Turkish and world public opinions have not even heard of the presence of an Englishman in this affair. An ambassadors duty is certainly to defend his countrys views and deeds, even if he may not feel the same and may have several reservations. But there is another duty incumbent on a good ambassador and that is reflecting the true nature and feelings of the people and the government to which he is accredited. Some ambassadors go too far in defending the views of the host country and it is jokingly called the localitus disease in diplomacy. This pro-host country stance of an ambassador, on the other hand, greatly facilitates his contacts and relations with the host government and enables him to fulfil his duty more easily and properly, for the good of both countries. Ambassador Edelmans activities and statements during the Telafar crisis between Ankara and Washington were especially noteworthy. He reacted in Ankara to Foreign Minister Abdullah Guls public statement that the cooperation in Iraq with the United States could be terminated over this issue and said to journalists that the Foreign Minister must have had no contacts with the military because the Turkish and American soldiers were cooperating closely in northern Iraq. The American military had given the necessary information to the Turkish soldiers there. The claim was untrue. Abdullah Gul and Chief of the TGS, General Ozkok, were both in Estonia at that time and they had a long tête-à-tête in this Baltic country before the Foreign Minister said what he said because it was the only way to stop the Telafar tragedies. Ambassador Edelman also persisted in defending the in-practice defunct LISA (Libya-Iran Sanctions Act) about his unprecedented threat to the Turkish Government through the media that if PM Erdogan went to Tehran LISA would go into action against Turkey. This threat did not prevent the Prime Minister from going to Iran. Foreign Trade Minister Kursat Tuzmen said to Hurriyet that he would make a landing on Iran with 500 businessmen with the end in view of increasing the mutual trade volume to $10 billion. Of the 650 foreign companies from 35 countries at the current International Industrial Fair in Tehran, 220, i.e. one-third, are Turkish. And where is LISA that the Ambassador claims to be in force? The answer may be, Well see. So Ill leave it there with the belief that if Ambassador Edelman wants to serve his country and Turkish-American relations he should remind Washington that such sanctions do not work with the Turks.